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It’s that time of year…shiny new engagement rings are popping up all over the place and giddy couples are starting to think about 2010 and 2011 weddings.

What does that mean for Annie’s Escapes? It means that honeymoon season is not that far behind!  Of course, the honeymoon is often the very last thing the couple thinks about, but I like to get out there ahead of the curve and at least plant the seed that I’m here, ready and waiting to help whenever they get to that point in their plans.

To that end, I’ll be taking part in La Bella Bride Magazine’s Newport Wedding Showcase next weekend (Sunday, January 10th)  It’s an intimate little boutique-style show at the Hotel Viking in Newport, and it showcases some of the best wedding vendors in southern New England.

If you want to come and check it out, just let me know — I have a limited number of free passes that I’m happy to share.  And I’m very excited about my booth! I’m working with some of my friends in the Rhode Island Wedding Group, and will have beautiful linens from The Perfect Setting at Felicia’s and gorgeous tropical flowers from Conceptual Image Designs.

I’ll be sure to post some photos after the fact!

Popular travel guide book series Lonely Planet has released their lists of “Top Ten Countries” and “Top Ten Cities” for the coming year.

Some of these “hot” destinations will be out of reach for most of us (Malaysia, Nepal, Bosnia-Herzegovina, etc.) but some are surprisingly accessible. According to the experts, this just might be the year to visit Germany, Greece, Portugal, Charleston (South Carolina), or Cork (Ireland).

I’m especially pleased to see two of my planned 2010 destinations on the list — I’ll be visiting Cuenca, Ecuador in May and Vancouver, Canada in July!

And, if you’re interested in the “Best Value Destinations” for 2010, Lonely Planet has a list for that too. It includes such popular spots as Mexico, London and Las Vegas. I absolutely concur that there are bargains to be found in all three of those destinations, so give me a call and we’ll have you on your way!

If you’re flying somewhere over the next few weeks, the single most important thing to bring with you is a good attitude (and maybe a sense of humor).

You should go into the trip assuming there will be crowds, hassles and delays…and just prepare yourself as best you can to cope with the headaches that come with holiday air travel.

Once you’ve assumed this “zen” mindset, there are a few more concrete things you can do to prepare. An article in today’s NY Times  offers some great advice, including: have a “plan B”, make sure you have all necessary emergency numbers on hand, pack smart, and more. For the full list, click here.

If you have your own tips for making holiday travel smoother and more pleasant, please add them below!

I freely admit that the allure of skiing escapes me.

I used to ski, when I was in high school and college, but it was definitely more about the apres-ski activities and less about the slopes themselves. And now, older and wiser, I just prefer to skip the whole thing altogether and vacation somewhere warmer.

But I do certainly work with clients on ski vacations, and have seen my share of families in conflict over what to do about the nonskiers (or the “not-fully-committed, might ski if it’s really nice and sunny out” skiers), so I was interested to see this article  in USA Today about the best ski resorts for nonskiers.

I’ve only been to one of them personally (Stowe, VT), but I do agree with that choice. What do you think about the others?

As a follow-up to my recent post about some of the best travel gadgets of the year, here’s a link to an interesting article about some of the wierdest.

I’m not sure anyone on my gift list really needs a self-propelled suitcase or metal-detecting sandals, but maybe you have some more “unique” and hard-to-buy-for folks on your list!

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