Magazine article Sunset

Your Travel Hotline

Magazine article Sunset

Your Travel Hotline

Article excerpt

Want to reinvent your summer vacation? Let Sunset show you how

Bargain beach vacation

Q: We've both fallen in love with Hawaii. We've been twice in the last year and discovered a deep need for the sandy, sunny saltiness of Waikiki. Trouble is, we can't keep going to Oahu twice a year. We need a sunny beach escape on the Mainland without an all-day plane trip and the ticket price that goes with it.

Zack Reinigand Molly Moon Neitzel Seattle

A: The restored historic Crystal Cove Beach Cottages (from $165; crystalcovebeachcottages. org or 800/444-7275] in Laguna Beach, California, have an endless-sand, step-back-in-time feel, and they're unusually affordable. But they're first come, first served, and you can only book up to seven months ahead.

Mexico can also be cheaper than Hawaii. We love the Villa Amor (from $710; villaamor. com or £19/8130 -5407] in Sayulita, 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta.

Fido-friendly getaway

Q: We used to travel constantly, often booking trips at the last minute. But since we got our dog, lassie, we've found it's a lot harder to be spontaneous-or even to travel at all. What should we do, and where should we stay with the pooch?

Mike Bland and Kimmie Wong San Francisco

A: Check out (877/471-3436) and for general tips on where to stay with dogs, then try [877/475-2275] for everything from beaches where dogs can romp to facts about flying with dogs.

Our favorite dog-friendly town is Carmel, California. At Carmel Beach, dogs run leash-free, and at the historic Cypress Inn (from $150, plus $30 pet/ee; cypress-inn. com or 800/443-7443], big dogs hang out in the lobby and bar. For more on bringing your dog to Carmel, visit carmelcalifornia. org or call 800/550-4333.

Inn-to-inn bike trip

Q: We were all set to go on a guided cycling adventure this summer-until we looked into prices. Ouch! What should we do instead?

Jeff Rakow and Munira Rahemtulla


A: Forget the outfitter and try what we call a credit-card bike trip: Charge your food and lodging each night, and carry only the essentials (like one evening outfit) in small day packs or bike baskets called panniers.

Try the 34-mile Galloping Goose Regional Trail ( or 250/478-3344), which links Victoria in British Columbia (B&B central) to the little town of Sooke-home of the famous Sooke Harbour House restaurant ($$$$ U.S.; 800/883-5688) and Cooper's Cove B&B (from $175 U.S.; $75 five-course dinner Wed and Sat for B&B guests only; or 877/642-5727). For easy scenic routes in the States, check out the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (

Food lover's holiday

Q: I used to take high-end foodie vacations around the world, but now traveling all that way for a few good meals seems irresponsible. …

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