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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)?

Happy Trails: Cross-Country Ski or Snowshoe for Free

Planning on staying home in your cozy bed this weekend warding off the Bay Area drizzle? That’s suddenly not going to sound so good when you hear what we have to tell you. For one day only--Saturday, Jan. 10--100 ski resorts in 23 states sprinkled across the country are offering snow bunnies the opportunity to try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing FREE in celebration of the 14th annual Winter Trails Day, part of Learn a Snow Sport Month put on by SnowSports Industries America.

10 Driveable Locations to Visit This Year, Part II

Don't let an unstable economy keep you at home this year. Instead, use it as an excuse to stay local and explore parts of your state you may have only ever seen on a map. Last week, we revealed five of our can't-miss spots for 2009. Read on for our remaining five picks of delectable escapes within driving distance.

5. The Shasta Region

New Year's Resolution: Get Your Belay On

Two very popular New Year's resolutions: get in shape and try something new.  Why not kill both those birds (and also impress a lot of people) with a visit to one of San Francisco's climbing gyms.  There's old-timer Mission Cliffs (2295 Harrison Street) and new-comer Planet Granite just off of Crissy Field (which boasts some seriously impressive views of the Bay).  Both gyms offer lessons,  routes for beginning and advanced climbers and extensive bouldering terrain for those who don't want to tie in (e.g.

10 Driveable Locations to Visit This Year, Part I

2008 was the year of the staycation, and 2009 doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon. This is excellent news for California residents who have everything one could want--sand and snow, mountains and deserts, plains and valleys--all within the state's confines, plus some stellar ongoing deals on local getaways. In this two-part list, we'll tempt you with 10 can't-miss spots to visit in the coming 12 months--make it your New Year's resolution to hit them all.

10. Mammoth Lakes

A Revamped Redding?

Let's be honest, Redding has not historically been the hippest of destinations.  But what was once written off as a rural wasteland has now evolved into a hopping little city that serves as a convenient jumpoff point for Mount Shasta escapades. Here are our recommendations for the next time you happen to be passing through.

5 Tips for Making Holiday Travel Less of a Nightmare

If you're not from California, chances are you're one of the projected 8.1 million travelers who will be heading home by plane this holiday season. Which means--sorry to break it to you--you'll likely be spending more time than necessary sitting in the airport or on the tarmac, dealing with weather delays, air traffic, mechanical issues or overbookings. But your experience doesn't have to be miserable. Here are a few tips that will hopefully make your holiday travel a little less painful.

A Little Bit of History and R&R All Rolled Into One

You needn't pack your Outback and hightail it all the way to the farthest reaches of the Lost Coast for a refuge from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco living. In fact, as little as an hour's drive east will land you in the remote and rustic Lockeford, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of place encapsulated by cherry tree orchards and wide expanses of nothingness. This classic Delta town has just one of everything--one bank, one market, one antique store and one perfectly charming inn. And the inn in itself--chock full of history and quirks of its own--is enough of an excuse for a weekend jaunt to Lockeford.

Snow!!!

Now that we're finally getting the shivers, let's all take a deep breath of cold, cold air. For many Bay Area skiers and snowboarders, this storm has quelled the nervous wait. Our prayers were granted; our snow dances were answered. There will be skiing and snowboarding this year in the Sierras, and just in time for Christmas. Hallelujah!

Need proof? Check out these live cams.

 

 

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