Ski Vacation Tips: Go Green to Prevent Them From Melting

Planning on a ski vacation this year? Why not consider skiing green this time. With Earth getting hotter than usual due to global warming, ski resorts are mostly affected by this change. At present, they are now thinking of ways on how they can help to mitigate the problem.

The good news is, you too can do something to help reduce this problem. There are various ways that you can do to make it happen. You may think that your individual efforts aren’t enough to make a difference, but they do! So, here are some eco-friendly tips that you can do to help preserve our environment.

Ride smart for a greener trip

Instead of flying to other places for your ski trip, travel to ski resorts closer to your home. The good thing about this is you can pack other things like a cooler and enjoy your own food, drinks and snacks.

Also, if your friends and coworkers share the same interest as you do, you can carpool with them. But if you insist on flying to other destinations, you can also ask if the resort offers a shuttle service to and from the airport. This will allow you to save on gas instead of renting a car.

Choose greener ski resorts

Resorts are more aware now of the impacts of climate change and are now inclined towards pursuing a greener environment. In order to make greener choices, you may ask questions before you make a reservation. You can ask them questions such as:

What do they recycle?

Do they have a water conservation program?

Are their cleaning products eco-friendly?

Do their machines that help clear trails use bio-fuel?

Do they use wind power for energy needs?

Do they offer a shuttle service to and from the airport?

This will help them realize that their efforts in being an eco-friendly resort, really do matters. Also, compliment them on their efforts and encourage them to continue to maintain an eco-friendly facility.

Cross-country skiing? Why not!

You may also consider cross-country skiing this year. This can be done in many “local” places depending on the snowfall in your area. The good thing is, cross-country skiing burns more calories than resources, compared to downhill skiing.

Respect the environment

Every time tourists flock to ski resorts, it’s the environment that suffers due to the irresponsibility of the people. So be responsible with your trash every time you visit any ski resorts. Don’t throw your garbage everywhere. Use biodegradable products and reduce the use of plastic bags. Follow proper segregation and as much as possible, recycle.

With these simple tips, you will not only enjoy your ski vacation, you’ll also be able to help the planet from further devastation. So think green, go green, and support a greener ski vacation. Let’s continue to take care of this planet we call home.

What to Look for When Buying Sofas for Vacation Rentals

Vacation rental furniture must be durable in order to stand up to regular use by a wide variety of vacationers who may not care for your furnishings quite as well as you would like them to. Holiday rentals, by their nature, are occupied by a constantly transitioning parade of temporary residents who use them as a home base for family vacations, ski trips, weekends at the lake or corporate retreats in the mountains. While some renters are mindful of the furnishings and treat their temporary housing as if it was their home, many do not. Anyone who owns temporary rentals has either heard stories of raucous parties and trashed houses, or they have experienced these things themselves.

Knowing that your furniture will very likely be mistreated by at least some of the folks who call your rental property home for a weekend, a week or a month, it is imperative that you invest in furnishings that you will not have to replace every time a rowdy group of friends parties a bit too hard or a pair of permissive parents lets their children run loose with chocolate ice cream, crayons and fruit punch. This is particularly true when purchasing a sofa, since you know this piece of furniture will definitely be used on a daily basis and will take the brunt of any mishaps that may occur.

What to Look for When Vacation Rental Sofa Shopping

When shopping for vacation rental sofas, there are three main factors to keep in mind: They should be durable, washable and renewable. Other features that might not be deal breakers, but are certainly nice to have, include storage space and the ability to be separated and moved around to create a variety of seating arrangements.

Seeking out high-quality, durable sofas is a given when shopping for rental furnishings. Poorly made furniture will not last and is not worth the money, even if the sofa was incredibly cheap. If you have to replace your rental’s sofa every few months, or even every few years, you are not getting the value you need out of the piece. Therefore, shopping for sofas with sturdy construction from a reputable manufacturer is essential.

It is also important to keep in mind that even the most well-constructed sofa can still be damaged from spills, cuts, ill-mannered pets and rowdy guests. This is where choosing a washable fabric sofa from a company that offers replacement fabric, cushions and pieces comes into play. Washable sofa fabrics are a must-have and allow you to easily launder all of the sofa fabric at the end of the vacation season or when a guest soils the fabric during their stay. This alone can save you hundreds – or even thousands of dollars – while making it easy to keep your rental attractive and appealing to new guests.

Of course, you may have more than a spill to contend with if your renters managed to cut the sofa fabric, allowed their dog to chew up a sofa cushion or somehow managed to break one of the wood pieces on the arm or back of the sofa. If you purchased a sofa from a company that does not offer replacement pieces or fabrics, than this would mean costly repairs or needing to replace the sofa completely. But if you purchased the sofa from a company that allows you to easily order a single replacement cushion, new fabric pieces or new wood pieces, than you can inexpensively and conveniently have your sofa looking as good as new. This kind of renewability is an important part of getting the best value when furnishing rental properties.

Other Things to Consider When Shopping for Sofas

In addition to these must-have qualities, the sofas you choose for your rental properties can also serve additional functions, if the right sofa is chosen. For example, choosing a storage sofa that offers storage space under each cushion is a great way to make room for extra bedding, pillows and towels without having to purchase a cabinet or cluttering up shelves with these necessities.

If your rental caters to larger groups, you might want to also consider purchasing a sectional sofa that has multiple pieces that can be grouped together or separated to provide a variety of seating options. This will appeal to guests with varying needs, such as companies holding retreats, and is a great way to fit abundant seating into a small space.

Scouting Film Locations From Your Santa Barbara Vacation Rental

Santa Barbara vacation rental guests are often curious about film locations, and with good reason. There are a lot of iconic Santa Barbara locations that crop up in movies and TV shows. Read on to find out why our fair city is the setting of choice for so many popular productions and how you can recognize and visit famous filming locations in and around the Santa Barbara area.

A lot of visitors feel a strong sense of familiarity or belonging the first time they explore Santa Barbara. We’re not going to discount anyone’s claims of psychic powers or a past life lived on America’s Riviera, but chances are more like that they’ve seen one of the over 200 different movies and TV shows filmed in whole or in part here over the last 100 years.

Don’t leave your vacation rental in search of locations made famous on the silver screen until you read the Santa Barbara Film Commission’s full list. You’ve probably seen at least one or more of these popular productions:

2009 It’s Complicated

2006 Pirates of the Caribbean III

2006 There Will Be Blood

2006 Psych

2006 The Bachelor

2006 Top Chef 2, Bravo

2005 Monk

2005 Oprah Winfrey Show

2004 Flight of the Phoenix

2004 Monster-in-Law

2004 Sideways

2003 Hidalgo

2003 Seabiscuit

2003 Sorority Life

2001 The X-files

2000 Bedazzled

1999 Double Jeopardy

1998 Star Trek: Insurrection

1996 The Long Kiss Goodnight

1996 G.I. Jane

1996 Face/Off

1995 Nixon

1994 A Walk in the Clouds

1994 Congo

1994 Young Indy/Hollywood Follies

1993 Pelican Brief

1990 Rocketeer

1984 Scarface

1980 The Postman Always Rings Twice

1978 The Frisco Kid

1967 The Graduate

1964 Batman pilot

1923 The Ten Commandments

1914 The Perils of Pauline

It’s Complicated

The most recent high-profile film to come out of our region was last year’s Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin romantic comedy It’s Complicated.

The film’s director Nancy Meyers chose Santa Barbara for a definite reason that any tourist or native film enthusiast will be able to relate to. In an interview with Santa Barbara Magazine, Meyers said that “Santa Barbara felt right for so many reasons – the natural beauty everywhere you look, the state of mind I feel when I’m there, the calm…It feels as close to the good life as you can get.”

It’s Complicated is a beautiful film that seems to show off our fair city to its finest advantage.

The operative word here is seems. Most of it was shot on a sound stage in Brooklyn in the middle of winter. Only three brief scenes were actually shot here.

  • There’s a scene where Jane is jogging through her Montecito neighborhood and her architect friend Adam pulls up in his car. This was actually filmed in her little burg, as you can tell from the unique wooden street signs. If you want to walk in Jane’s Montecito shoes stop by The Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, which may have been the inspiration for the hotel where Jane and her ex-husband had their aborted rendezvous.
  • When Jane lies in wait for her therapist at the fictional Santa Barbara Medical Center, she is actually lurking at the Anacapa Street back entrance of El Paseo, an outdoor Spanish-style shopping arcade.
  • While we have a dizzying array of Farmers Markets, the one Jane shops at was actually set designed for her outside the 1920s Spanish-Moorish style Santa Barbara County Courthouse on Anapamu Street.

Sadly, there is no such place as Jane’s luscious and comfy-looking business Village Bakery. The set was built inside Picnic House in Brooklyn. But hungry visitors will be able to find close facsimiles at Jeannine’s or Xanadu (temporarily closed until April, 2011 due to a fire) in Montecito or Renaud’s in downtown.


The wine-tasting buddy picture Sideways was a sensation when it was released in 2004. Filmed primarily in the nearby Santa Ynez Valley, it spawned a whole new appreciation for wines (just not Merlot!) from the area, and a cottage industry grew up around people who wanted to retrace the footsteps of the film’s questionable protagonists.

Fans of this movie often search for “the Sideways Map” which will lead you on a car tour through the movie’s highlights.. Many of the destinations even have a sign bearing the Sideways logo. If you want to travel by bike, the Sideways bike map will help you find the sites.

Different locations in Santa Barbara Proper

There are a lot of local locations that crop up in movies that aren’t even set in the area. This is because of the profusion of beautiful features in the area that blend so seamlessly into other locales.

  • Stearns Wharf is a 19th century landmark, located at the bottom of State Street. It is the oldest operating wharf on the west coast, and the second longest pier on the Pacific coast at just a hair under 2,000 feet. In the 1940s, actor James Cagney and his brothers were part owners of Stearns Wharf. It has appeared in A Date with Judy and My Favorite Martian and the 1966 version of Batman. “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”
  • State Street features many familiar landmarks. It has appeared in the movies Cutter’s Way and Steal Big, Steal Little, among countless others.
  • The Old Town Clock at State and Haley streets was featured in The Pelican Brief.
  • Santa Barbara County Courthouse on Anacapa Street was also in Steal Big, Steal Little.
  • Mission Santa Barbara was in Sunset Boulevard and Cruel Intentions 3.

Different locations in the Greater Santa Barbara Area

There is so much more to this region than just the pretty red roofs of downtown. One of the reasons the region is so popular with filmmakers is its almost infinite variety.

  • Cold Spring Arch Bridge – Steal Big, Steal Little.
  • Lake Cachuma – The Postman Always Rings Twice
  • Gainey Vineyard – Seabiscuit and Of Mice & Men.
  • Downtown Los Olivos – Return to Mayberry.
  • Paradise Road – Seabiscuit and Star Trek Insurrection.
  • Gaviota Coast – Spartan.
  • Gaviota Trestle – Of Mice & Men.
  • Gaviota Tunnel – The Graduate.
  • Guadalupe Dunes – The Ten Commandments, Hidalgo, GI Jane, Pirates of the Caribbean III.
  • Santa Maria Airport – The Rocketeer and The Best Years of Our Lives.
  • La Purisima Mission – Seabiscuit.
  • Jalama Road – A Walk in the Clouds.
  • Surrounding Ranchland – Of Mice & Men.

Faking Santa Barbara

Sometimes a production may be set in Santa Barbara, but for whatever reason they can’t film there. In that case they may use a few stock footage-establishing shots, like the pier and tower seen in the TV series Psych.

In the movie I Love You, Man a wedding scene was supposed to have taken place at the fictional El Encanto Spa & Resort of Montecito. It was actually filmed at a private residence on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Sorry, a vacation rental concierge won’t be able to make you a reservation at El Encanto, but they’ll be able to find you a nice alternative!

Sometimes, scenes are shot with certain geographical liberties taken. In The Graduate, the scene of Benjamin driving south to Santa Barbara shows his car heading north through the Gaviota Tunnel, in the wrong direction. Even the church he banged on during the wedding was nowhere nearby. It is actually located in La Verne, east of Los Angeles.

Television Loves Santa Barbara

Moviemakers aren’t the only people infatuated with the area. Its glamour beckons on the little screen, too. Countless TV shows have been set in, had special episodes located in or just mentioned our name. There was even a nighttime drama in the ’80s called Santa Barbara.

More recently, our fair city has been featured or mentioned in episodes of Gossip Girl, Entourage, Victorious, Beverly Hills 90210, The L Word, Baywatch, Melrose Place, Privileged, L.A. Law, Zorro and Oceans Away.

Kind of Santa Barbara, but Not Really

Then there are the productions that are located in places that sound and look suspiciously like our lovely town, but are never overtly established as such. The television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a classic example.

Buffy’s hometown “Sunnydale” is described as being a coastal town, two hours north of Beverly Hills – check. Both towns are homes to branch campuses of the University of California. The architecture of Sunnydale looks very familiar. Both towns abut the Pacific Ocean, and suffered devastating earthquakes between the two world wars. Sunnydale was also described as being the home of the Chumash tribe who were indigenous to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and many of the show’s establishing shots were of…you guessed it.

Most convincing of all is the fact that on several occasions throughout its seven-year run, characters used maps of Sunnydale that were in fact of…Santa Barbara. Now, we want to assure anyone staying in a vacation rental that there is no such thing as a hellmouth lurking under our utopian city. But you might want to bring a garlic necklace if you plan to wander around a lot after sunset.

Santa Barbara’s 100-Year History in the Movies

2010 marks the 100-year anniversary of a lively and thriving film presence in Santa Barbara. Starting in 1910 the Essanay Film Company made regular visits from Chicago in search of better weather and appropriate locations to shoot their wildly popular western genre short films. They were followed in July, 1912 by a permanent western branch of Flying “A” Studios, which was also looking for better weather and relief from the stranglehold of the Edison Trust in the east. They chose our town because they could find both urban and rural locations so close at hand.

Flying “A” took a big hit due to the combined effects of World War I, the flu pandemic and the beginning of the Great Depression. But we were already well established as a choice filming location. In 1923, Cecil B. DeMille shot The Ten Commandments on the sandscapes of Guadalupe (also used in Pirates of the Caribbean III), once again launching us back into the movie vanguard.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Coming up Next from Santa Barbara

The entertainment industry is alive and well here. Last June, the cast and crew of a new film called No Strings Attached set up shop at All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church and The Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore. Billed as a romantic comedy, the film stars Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher and is scheduled for release on January 21, 2011.

There are a lot of famous filming locations to visit. If you want to go out exploring on your own, offers three different itineraries that will lead you through the area, scoping out locations from some favorite high-profile films. And when you’re done for the day, you’ll have a Santa Barbara vacation rental to return home to, living a life the movie stars envy.

3 Little Known Tips to Saving Money on Beach Vacation Travel

Here’s a really simple way to save on beach vacation travel. We are going to show you 3 ways to save you some bucks when booking your next beach vacation. The beach is an incredible experience. No matter whether you’ve traveled to far western Australia or taken a quick weekend trip to the Jersey Shore, barring rain, the beach is usually a really enjoyable experience. We’ve taken trips all over the world we’ve missed giant opportunities of money savings that were seemingly all around us if we had just taken the time to do a little extra research. Well, you are in luck. The travel research has been done for you, all you have to do is be willing to keep reading. Before you know it, you’ll be taking the beach vacation of your life, for a steeply discounted price. Here we go:

1)Buy it used. Well, not really used: more like discounted (or unused actually). Sometimes, people can put their vacation opportunities up at real discounts. Did you know that there are all sorts of people out there who own time shares but can’t use them for various reasons? Maybe the season isn’t right, or they can’t seem to get the flight that they need. eBay has a thriving market for timeshare opportunities. A lot of the listings are permanent (e.g. people looking for others to buy their times shares out completely), but sometimes people are just looking to monetize a weeks worth of timeshare that they can’t seem to use themselves. Their loss can be your opportunity. eBay is an auction, and the highest price wins usually.

2) Compare everything. Guess what? Expedia and Orbitz seem like they are juggernauts of internet travel and they control a lot of the market. BUT, they don’t have every vendor available. A lot of the discount airlines like SouthWest and JetBlue don’t use either of these massive companies and you can only get their deals by going directly to their website. Don’t’ tell anyone, but from what we’ve heard JetBlue is supposed to have really nice seats and monitors on new planes with really good prices. We haven’t used JetBlue ourselves yet, but it’s supposed be really good (especially at delivering good value on Northeast to Florida routes). That tip alone could save you some bucks while getting you a really nice flight.

3)The first 2 points are perfectly valid in any trip planning but almost worthless when you consider that you might have to shell out a lot more bucks for destinations abroad. There is a beautiful beach state located not too far from anyone East of the Mississippi. That’s right. Florida. Florida is back and it’s beaches are still fantastic. Florida is still beautiful. There has been a lot of development of Florida during the last 50 years, but Florida is still a massive state with plenty of undiscovered beaches. The state of Florida can be great if you know where to look. It’s pretty nice. Trust us….the undiscovered spots of Florida can really be something else. However, they are becoming more and more difficult to find as thousands of people move to Florida every month.