Along the Travel Scene

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - by Diane Siskin
Mobile ordering at McDonalds
Mobile ordering at McDonalds
- photo by Diane Siskin

The following information was gathered by travel, phone, email and release


Have Family will Travel

A creative and unusual online community and resource for families who want to travel in style is open and available to all. To follow this blog created by the Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts you need only to email, Twitter @fourseasons or check out their Facebook page: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

On December 3 the site posed information about vacationing with kids in style. The bloggers were actual families.

The question posed by Four Seasons asked these bloggers what they are putting under the tree this year for their children.

They (the parents) came up with a short list of the best gifts for kids and families from the functional to the stylish and everything in-between.

Here are just some responses:

The Shanghai Tang iPhone cover. It does just what it is called but in a truly attractive way. The reason for its purchase: “Because one blogger wrote: “They’re going to drop it.””

“This is” series of beautifully illustrated children’s picture books by Miroslav Sasek make great gifts for traveling kids (or non-travelers for that matter). These books depict cities including New York, Paris, London, Venice, and Washington, D.C. and are full of facts about each place. The books make wonderful travel guides for kids.

There is also one titled, “This is the Way to the Moon.’’

Another great gift, this time for a teen, is a designer USB charger. Any tablet-lover young or old would be delighted with a limited-edition bracelet that does double duty as a charger.

eBay and the Council of Fashion Designers have partnered with 5 leading designers on this Holiday Collective, a special collection of customized tech bracelets, whose proceeds go to benefit the council.

The most compact stroller is still another choice. While you might be able to take your current stroller right to an airline gate, there’s no guarantee you will get it on your arrival at your destination. There is also a problem if you are staring down a lengthy delay at an interim gate or airport with a bustling toddler.

The BabyZEN YO YO is a fully collapsible stroller that can actually fit in the overhead airline compartment and it is also quite cute!


McDonald’s Fast Food Now Has a Way To Make the Food Arrive Faster!

The McDonald’s Corp. is working on implementing what it calls a Fast Forward DriveThru. This arrangement will permit customers whose orders aren’t quite ready to bypass the second window (where they usually receive their food) to pull up further to a third window to wait.

“This test, along with other recent additions like double-lane and side-by-side drive- throughs, will enable us to better serve more customers quickly,’’ according to Lisa McComb, McDonald’s spokeswoman, who was quoted in a recent USAToday article.

On a recent trip by this writer, once again through Phenix City, Alabama (seemingly a test site for improving restaurant service); McDonald’s has already rolled out some of this new “faster service.”

There inside the Phenix City McDonalds, located along a very well-traveled road for both travelers and locals, is a tall red free-standing kiosk where customers with a smart phone can scan their order directly to a computer screen in the prep kitchen.

The premise behind this machine order-taker is that whose customers waiting to give their order to a cashier behind the counter will spend less time waiting to give and receive their food.

Many customers prefer to not get out of their cars to either place or receive their food order. That is why drive-throughs are so critical to fast food restaurants.

Now those customers who elect to come inside to either place their order or dine-in can obtain the same fast, friendly service they expect.

I am sure down the road if the results are good, these kiosk order takers will start appearing outside the restaurants and maybe in a location near to you.


Old Filling Stations No Longer Providing Gas but Still Offering Services

Now that the big state college football rivalry in Alabama is over until next year. (I am, of course referring to the Alabama/Auburn game held last weekend in Auburn, Alabama), you can pack your bags, load the car and head off for a calmer journey throughout the state.

In a great tabletop book titled Alabama Road Trips, the Birmingham News Company//Alabama Media Group in cooperation with The Alabama Tourism Department provides a colorful and well-designed guide for 52 relaxing road trips – one for each week of the year- throughout the state.

You can pick your date and your destination and most of all take a journey open to creating new memories as you savor the senses in Sweet Home Alabama!

Countrywide there is a new trend to renovate old gas stations into new resources.

In Abbeville, Alabama, located in the South region of the state (along Highway 411 a road familiar to legions of vacationers heading to the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico) is the Old Standard Oil Filling Station on Washington Street.

And while you can’t get gas here any longer, nor can you tour the interior of the building which now houses some of the Yella Fella”s company offices, you can pull in and view the exterior, “filling up on a slice of Americana.”

In Biloxi, Mississippi you can go into National Restaurants” The Fillin’ Station on Howard Avenue. You can also stay outside and sit on a patio which once housed the gas pumps under a drive-through portico.

But, whether you choose to sit outside or go inside you will be able to dine at this former filling station. In a sense this station, it still serves the same purpose, only now it is filling people’s bellies instead of their cars!

Diane Siskin   

The Fillin' Station Restaurant at Biloxi, Ms.
The Fillin' Station Restaurant at Biloxi, Ms.
- Photo2 by Diane Siskin

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