Entries in ‘San Francisco’ Journal

6 Things I Learned at Women’s Travel Fest

Monday March 2, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

Now in its second year, Women’s Travel Fest attracts women (and some brave men) from the United States and Canada. This was my first time attending this annual event that empowers and inspires women’s travel. Last years inaugural debut took place in New York, while this years conference took place at the San Francisco Design Center in California. This multi-day event offered insights from many women in travel. Here are six things that I learned at Women’s Travel Fest.


Patricia Schultz, author

Patricia Schultz Author 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


I. Always stop for homemade pie
“Always stop for homemade pie,” laughs Patricia Schultz Author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. “Always stop for an authentic experience that lets you peek into the back door of the place you are going to.”

2.Solo Travel
“If it can go wrong, it probably will, so fix it now!” says Felicity Aston, the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone. She learned many things about herself during her travels, but said that the most important lesson learned was the power of perseverance. The hardest thing about her journey was not the blizzards, the crevasses or the frostbite, it was getting out of her tent every morning. Her life lesson take away, “if you chip away at something, you will eventually make progress. So keep getting out of the tent!”

Felicity Aston, solo travel

Felicity Aston on solo travel. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


3. Poshtels
Do you know about Poshtels? “When you are traveling and looking for a hotel deal, think about Poshtels,” notes Travel Expert Courtney Scott. They are posh hostels. It’s like staying in a boutique hotel, but at the price of a hostel. Generator is one of the best brands leading the charge with a new property opened in Paris, France.

Paula Froelich, Laura Ling

Paula Froelich of Yahoo! Travel and Laura Ling of E! Network; how to stay safe while traveling. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


4. Pack light
Whether you are a woman traveling solo or on a river cruise in Europe, packing light is an important key to travel. For safety reasons, you don’t want to be lugging multiple suitcases on your journey, as you don’t want to be perceived as a vulnerable target. Beth Whitman of Wanderlust and Lipstick says, “my big travel safety tip is to pack light. Most importantly, never carry more than two pairs of shoes no matter wear you are going.”

5. Safety travel tip
“Take your street smarts with you,” says California-based writer Marybeth Bond of Gutsy Traveler. “Trust your instincts, but don’t stay home!”

Mickela Mallozzi, Women's Travel Fest, San Francisco

Travel does not end when you have children. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


6. Traveling with kids
“Travel does not end when you have children,” said Mara Gorman author of The Family Travelers Handbook. “In fact, it can be the beginning of some of the best adventures you’ll ever have in your entire life. The best way to teach your children about the world and different cultures is to take them with you on the road.”
When’s the last time you attended a travel show? Next year, the Women’s Travel Fest will take place in New York. I hope to see you there! Thanks to Go! Girl Guides for inviting me to cover Women’s Travel Fest and Expedia for sponsoring the conference. I look forward to learning and speaking about travel with you.

If You Go:
Women’s Travel Fest www.womenstravelfest.com

Ride The Ducks San Francisco: San Francisco Duck Tours

Wednesday September 3, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

The bus/boat of the San Francisco Ridte the Ducks tour.

The bus/boat of San Francisco Ride the Ducks tour.

If you live in the city of San Francisco or Boston or Philadelphia or Seattle, you’ve probably noticed them. It’s hard not to. Amphibious vehicles tooling around the neighborhoods with the music cranked up and the passengers blasting kazoos shaped like duck bills.

My family and I took the San Francisco ‘Splashtastic Sunset’ Ride the Ducks land and water tour on a recent Friday night. When we boarded, we were each handed  a “quacker” (the duck-shaped kazoo). I tucked mine away, sure that I wouldn’t be joining that party. But it wasn’t long before Captain Jeff rallied the half-full bus of revelers (including myself) into humming along with Sinatra, the Village People and Tony Bennett as we traversed Fisherman’s Wharf and the neighborhoods of North Beach and Chinatown.

Quacking up on the San Francisco Ride the Duck Tour

Quacking up on the San Francisco Ride the Duck Tour

Corny, scripted jokes aside, Jeff was an entertaining and informative host, bus driver and boat captain. We cruised through Union Square, the Fi Di and SOMA and entered the water just south of AT&T Park. By then it was dark, and the bay cruise was definitely “splashtastic” as we watched the light show on the Bay Bridge twinkle, creating psychedelic patterns.

We dipped into McCovey Cove, next to the Giants ballpark and the Captain turned over the reigns to anyone who wanted to drive the boat. My kids (and I) jumped at the opportunity.

We emerged from the water via the same boat ramp and returned to Jefferson and Taylor Sts. in Fisherman’s Wharf via the Embarcadero where we quacked and waved at pedestrians along the way.


The nightly  light show on the Bay Bridge.

Nightly light show on San Francisco Bay Bridge

Ride the Ducks San Francisco
450 Bay St, San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 922-2425

This post was contributed by Lisa Crovo Dion of Friscomama.com. Photos by Dan Dion. We were guests of the Ride the Ducks tour.

Cruising San Francisco Bay Aboard Bay Voyager

Wednesday May 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM | 4 Comments

The dismantling of the old span of the Bay Bridge, Oakland, CA.

The dismantling of the old span of the Bay Bridge, Oakland, CA.

I have logged many hours cruising around the San Francisco Bay. Two of my good friends live on a houseboat at Pier 39 and take us out on their wooden sailboat “Lola” and I worked for years as a bartender on a beautiful charter yacht called “Compass Rose” out of Alameda. I also have a good friend who is a ferry captain on the Blue & Gold fleet.

But, never have I experienced the Bay the way I did aboard the Bay Voyager!

Parker and Captain Charles Jennings of the Bay Voyager.

Parker and Captain Charles Jennings of the Bay Voyager.

Captain Charles Jennings is extremely affable and knowledgeable about the Bay, and his banana yellow rigid inflatable boat is, how shall I say, super fast!

I was invited recently to go out to test the waters with my nine-year-old daughter, Parker. It was one of those picture-perfect San Francisco days, made all the better by riding the waves on this amazing 300hp, 12-passenger vessel.

Capt’n Charles is meticulous about safety and even though it was balmy on the dock, he had all of us suit up in full waterproof jackets, pants and safety gear.

Since it was a light crew, we skipped circling Alcatraz (been there, done that) and headed out of the Golden Gate where the currents are strong and the view is unparalleled. Parker and I couldn’t wipe the perma-smiles of our faces!

We circled back, ducked under the first stretch of the Bay Bridge and took a look at the construction in progress on the second span. Here we could see the piece of the old bridge that is being taken down in pieces. An amazing sight.

Next we dipped into McCovey Cove just before game day at the San Francisco Giants’ stadium. We crossed the paths with some party boats — one already in full swing with bikini-clad ladies chugging champagne from the bottles. Good times.

During the cruise, Capt’n Charles peppered us with interesting facts about the cities (San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley) and articulately answered all of my pesky questions.photo copy 3

This is, by far, one of the best ways to experience the San Francisco Bay.

If You Go:

Bay Voyager
Captain Charles Jennings
Bay Voyager
Pier 39 Gate “C”
San Francisco, California 94133
(510) 542-4200

Post and photos contributed by Lisa Crovo Dion of Friscomama.com. I was a guest of the Bay Voyager.