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Jay Lloyd's Getaway: Foul-weather chores

January 25, 2019 - 5:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — When the weather isn't fit for man or beast, and outdoor getaways are sheer folly, it's time to tackle some of those chores that belong to past and future travel. 

There are pictures to be sorted, notes to file on hotels, sites, bar and eateries — all while hunkered down between rounds of shoveling.

But first, we have to make the snowbound weekend part of the travel nostalgia — starting with food and drink.

Getaway flavors

Let others clean out the grocery store aisles of milk, bread and eggs. As a deep freeze threatened our area last week, our shopping list recalled our travels to Spain, complete with squid, shellfish, rice and saffron for paella. 

Paella
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

There were a few bottles of Barcelona white and tempranillo, some cava and Estrella Damm beer. The combination would fuel a weekend when we finally got around to dealing with acres of pictures.

Photo memories

Faced with files and boxes of  slides, prints and digital images that covered decades of getaways, the time had come. 

We spent a lion's share of the weekend culling, scanning and digitally converting the photos. Then came the process of building slideshows and videos.  

Some quick tips: If you have slides, prints and negatives, get a reasonably priced scanner that will digitize them. Process only the best of the best. You'll never miss the rest. 

Digitized slides
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

You'll also need a combination DVD and VHS player to digitize old discs and tapes. File digital copies by destination and date. When you build a video, save it to a DVD. 

I learned the hard way that Windows 10 does not support the movie maker program that was included with previous operating systems. Time for a beer.

Paper clutter

If you have a paper pile containing hand-scrawled notes from every getaway destination you've ever seen, it's time put them in order or just trash 'em. 

Many of us jot down paper notes or smartphone memos about favorite restaurants, hotels, bars and sites. They can make repeat visits a breeze and provide the narrative for those home videos, slideshows and journals — but only if they're easily accessible.

The money drawer

We brought home crinkly and jingly foreign currency from overseas getaways — and promptly tossed it in a drawer. 

It's time to scrape out those loonies, pesos, euros and pounds. Organize them for the next trip or find friends who are heading to foreign destinations and sell them at market rate. 

Friends get a break by beating cambios or bank exchange rates, and you clean up another loose end. 

Amsterdam is one city that has a casino at the airport, fortunately, to help rid us of leftover euros. It usually does.

Research

Snowbound days are a good time to tuck in and do some serious research for the next big getaway. 

At the top of my list is checking on my current cellphone plan for foreign travel. I also plan to look up rates if you take an unlocked phone and buy a local SIM card. 

Don't forget to research cellphone browsing pitfalls while traveling abroad. If you typically pay online or local travel agencies for lodging in U.S. dollars, it might save money by researching accommodations and booking directly with hotels at foreign currency prices. You'll often get a better exchange rate. 

Finally, always check current foreign and U.S. customs regulations to avoid costly surprises. 

You'll be amazed at what can be done in a single weekend and the memories that are refreshed while doing it.