Monday, July 2, 2007
As a television producer and travel maven, I subscribe to the belief that one can never be too prepared.
For me, the fun of planning a trip (for business or pleasure) is the research, which I tackle with relish... especially, "the essentials". And by that, I mean the basics, which I like to determine early on.
First: hotels. My taste runs to unpretentious, smart, stylish…with a splash of charm. Sure who wouldn’t want to just book the local Four Seasons and be done with it? But, there's challenge to finding a hotel that won’t hit the wallet too hard, and still has that perfect blend of practicality, comfort and style.
Next: dining. I’m always looking for special places to eat, because that’s one of the foundations of a great trip: the meals. By ‘special’ I don’t mean super-fancy, although that’s ok too! I mean local, off-the-beaten-path gems, or places simply known for their specialty.
Finally: neighborhoods. One of my favorite things is a nice walk and I'm always on the lookout for unique neighborhoods where one can take a long stroll that includes some interesting shopping… (Is anyone else tired of seeing the same retail chains in every city you land in?) and spots to stop for a coffee, snack or refreshment.
From websites, newspapers, and my overstuffed folders of magazine clippings to friends, neighbors, family, back to more magazines, more websites, I troll for information until I’ve got my 'file' ready.
I wouldn’t call it comprehensive or A-Z. It is simply one person’s effort to shape a good travel experience, whether for work or play.
So, I'd like to share all this great information by posting on travel here under the label, Cityphile. And, since I live in a great city -- Chicago -- Cityphile will also include opinions and recommendations on some of my favorite places here.