• San Diego
    Road Warriors: Choose Companion Wisely
    It's not all about the destination. People make or break vacations. Think Thelma and Louise. Whether it's a date,  "just the guys or gals" jaunt, test-drive your potential road trip companion in advance to avoid disasters.
Discuss budget and who will pay,  from gas to dinners out.
Plan the itinerary in advance; museums vs. beach bumming?
Zen or Zulu road warrior, know how they'll react when you get "bumped."
Spend a weekend before you spend a week on the road.
Decide where you'll meet up if separated; watch Hangover in advance.
Before you hit the highway, know everyone's agenda.


Solo Dining
Eating well is an art, perfected by M.F.K. Fisher at Paris cafes and by you on your next adventure.

Think Audrey Hepburn, as you sweep into the bistro with your sunglasses and head high, your Bon Appetit magazine, journal and paperback (Calvin Trillin or New Yorker's book of food and drink will do).  McDonald's, Starbucks do not count.

Choose wisely, dine well. Life is a journey, search in advance for a town's best bites and explore. Munch on these tips for the perfect dining alone experience.

Scan the room, select your table based on best people watching and let the hostess know that's the one you want.
If you're single and on the prowl, and there's a handsome man dining alone, suggest being seated near (not next to) El Cutie.
Make nice with the server, they often perceive solo as tiny tip. Be gracious and they will be your slave for the evening.
Ask the server what they like (or patrons like) on the menu.
Start with an appetizer so you can gauge your comfort level at the restaurant. If you don't feel pampered and loved, pay up and move on to the next place on your list.
Reading or writing in your journal is best kept to starters and desserts. Give your full attention, like a woman in love, to the entree and savor your meal.
Dine at the bar. At places like Dobson's or Nick's at the Beach in San Diego, California or Middlegrounds in Treasure Island, Florida, you can catch the community gossip, insure prompt refills on your pinot and enjoy a convivial meal.
Strike up a conversation when appropriate, about the wine they enjoy or their favorite dish, or other great places to sample on your trip. "There's no such thing as strangers, only friends you have not met."
At home, if you plan on making a restaurant your regular solo dinner haunt, tip well and tip often. They'll remember you and treat you like royalty on your return.