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Four Grab-Your-Stuff-And-Go Day Trips

Summer's in full-swing and everyone's abuzz with their fabulous vacation plans. Have you failed on that organizational front?  Are you murderously jealous of everyone's fabulous vacation plans? Don't be. There are tons of quick grab-your-stuff-and-go day escapes within an hour of the city.  Here are four we love.

Half Moon Bay

Wine and Dine in Paso Robles

In Northern California, Sonoma and Napa Counties get all the buzz. But what about their southern little sister, Paso Robles, which has often been considered the next wine country destination by oenophiles from far and wide? Even if you're not already heading that direction for this weekend's 27th annual Paso Robles Wine Festival, may we suggest you add this pleasant region to your list of summer travels? (Just be sure, you pronounce it right: That's PAS-oh ROH-buls to you.) Here's how we recommend passing the time in Paso.

Last Minute Mother's Day Ideas

If Mother's Day crept up on you like it did us, you're not totally out of luck. Rather, take advantage of the research we've done for you (or um, ourselves) and treat the woman you love to the creme de la creme in Mother's Day gifts. But hurry up while the offers still stand!

Cavallo Point: A Quick and (Now) Affordable Getaway

Even if you live in San Francisco, Cavallo Point Lodge is the perfect getaway.  It's quick (just across the Golden Gate Bridge) and, thanks to their new date-night package, pretty affordable.

Sfgirlbybay's Stylish Seven: Bit of Britain

Pip, pip...cheerio and all that! In this week's Sfgirlbybay's Stylish Seven we're off to London Town! I found the airfares to the United Kingdom are quite affordable these days, so I'm in the midst of planning a May trip to London. So, in that spirit, I thought I'd share a bit of the brilliant and stylish Brits with you today.

A Winter Wonderland

President's Day weekend travelers were rewarded for all the hard effort it took to actually reach Tahoe--a seven-hour drive from the city, if you were lucky--by the biggest snowfall of the season. And it just keeps getting better for ski junkies and snow bunnies alike. Northstar-at-Tahoe, for example, has accummulated 59 inches of powder in the last week alone, with the promise of more in coming tonight, as a winter storm lingers over the Sierras.

Upside of the Recession: Killer Last-Minute Getaway Deals

If you didn't plan a weekend getaway for Valentine's or President's Day in advance, that might have been a wise decision. Whereas in holiday weekends' pasts, you'd be looking at a 500 percent increase on day-before bookings, 2009 has proven that it pays to wait and be flexible. In an effort to keep occupancy high, many hotels are offering killer deals--deals that are sometimes even better than their normal rates (and when does that ever happen over a peak weekend?). This is where new California travel site, LocalGetaways, comes in. Offering amazing new specials each week on regional travel, you won't find better proposals anywhere on the Web. Check out some of the ones still available this weekend:

How Obama Will Change Travel (Hello Cuba!)

Now that the parties are over, it's time for all this change to take place (word on the street is that was kind of Obama's MO). The new prez, a fellow jetsetter himself, has promised to make traveling easier on the masses. Here's what globetrotters have to look forward to in the coming four (maybe eight) years.

Live in Paradise--and Get Paid for It

Sick and tired of your current life? Dream of somewhere nice and tropical and far from the Bay Area, because sometimes you just need to get away? Vacations to exotic locales are not really on many people's list of things to do this year--at least until the rapidly declining unemployment rate reverses itself. However, you're in luck. The Queensland tourism board in Australia is going to bring one lucky gal or guy to Hamilton Island (the central hub for the Great Barrier Reef) for an entire six months, to serve as the “island caretaker" as part of its "Best Job in the World" campaign. What does an island caretaker do, you may want to know?

Deciphering Hotel Deals with DealBase

Here’s a common element of modern-day travel that can baffle even the most seasoned globetrotters among us: the hotel deal. In times like these, they seem to appear at every turn and on every travel web site. Some are good, decent, all-American deals that give us the chance to go, see and do for less. But just as many are gimmicky, glossy temptresses without much real value.

But as more and more travelers see deals as deciding factors in whether they’ll travel far and wide in the coming year, the art of deciphering the travel deal becomes ever more important. So how is the average traveler to assess a hotel deal’s, well, dealiness (see: truthiness)?

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