Leave Your Baggage at Home
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Visit The Getaway Girl Online
Purchase the Books
Tips for Tipping During Your Travels
Girls Getaway to Key West Winner
The Getaway Girl in the News!
Girls Getaway to Austin
Submit Your Girls Getaway
Upcoming Events
February 11-17
Girls Getaway to Nashville
One more research trip to go and the Girls Getaway Guide to Nashville will be on its way to the printer.  Nicknamed Nashvegas for all of its "bling," Nashville is one of my favorite cities and I cannot wait to go back.  To follow me during my trip via text message updates, sign up at www.Twitter.com and follow me at www.Twitter.com/GetawayGirl.
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February 22
Lady in Red Charity Event, Tampa
Join us for a great Girls Day Out at The Palm Restaurant in Tampa (205 Westshore Plaza) as we come together to raise funds for 1Voice (www.1VoiceFoundation.org), a charity charged with battling childhood cancer.  Saks Fifth Avenue will co-host and provide make-up and hair stylists, and the chef at The Palm is preparing a very special menu.  Enjoy live music and a fabulous day with your girlfriends to benefit a great cause.  For more details, call (813) 849-7256.
March 12-15
Girls Getaway to Key West
After all of our Getaway Girl fun at Fantasy Fest, it is time to head back down to America's only Caribbean island for some fun in the Florida sun.

March 20-22
Girls Getaway to Jackson, MS
Since 1982, the Sweet Potato Queen herself, author Jill Conner Browne, has led a group of Sweet Potato Queen-ites in the Jackson St. Paddy's Day Parade.  Their one-of-a-kind outfits come with enhanced chests and butts and wouldn't be complete without their big red wigs.  Sounds like too much fun!  
March 27
Girls Night Out to the Florida Film Festival, Orlando

Join me in Orlando for Opening Night of the Florida Film Festival.  Celebrate with us on Friday, March 27 at the Enzian Theater to enjoy a fabulous night of film, sumptuous tastings and the beautiful Garden of Eden.  After the Opening Film at 6:30 p.m., we will indulge in the Opening Night VIP Party (8:30 - 11:30 p.m.) where master chefs dish delightfully sinful morsels of aphrodisiac-themed, eclectic cuisines paired with superb wines.  The evening's celebrity guests include Food Network sensation and master Iron Chef Cat Cora, along with the founding father of New World Cuisine Norman Van Aken.  Tickets to this exclusive event are $100 and can be purchased by visiting http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?agency=TDC&pid=6435529.
May 15-17
Girls Ranch Getaway for Old Friends/New Friends Week
For some of us, a Girls Getaway isn't just about shopping and spas.  To celebrate Old Friends/New Friends week, I am planning a Girls Ranch Getaway to a 5,000-acre working cattle ranch in Central Florida.  Get your boots on and saddle up for this unforgettable weekend.

June 5-7
MEGA Book Marketing Conference, Orlando

Chicken Soup for the Soul co-creator Mark Victor Hansen is hosting another wonderful event in Orlando.  For more information, visit https://mvhansen.infusionsoft.com/go/MBook/a746/.
June 30 - July 5; July 7-12 & July 21-26
Girls Getaway to Montana, Livingston, MT

Overlooking the magnificent Absaroka Mountains of Southwest Montana, the Flatpenny Inn will play host to three, 5 nights/6 days fabulous girls getaways on 20 private acres.  Just 23 miles from the Bozeman Airport and close to Yellowstone, this Inn is perfect for a summer getaway.  All transportation, meals and a daily four-mile hike are included.  This weekend will host the Livingston Roundup Rodeo and hundreds of professional cowboys will inundate this charming town.  Limited to six girls. For more information and to register, visit www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net/Montana.html
GG to Montana
Email us at
info@girlsgetawayguide.net if you are interested in joining us at any of the above-mentioned events! 
Join Our Mailing List
Visit The Getaway GirlOnline:
Where To Purchase Books
Barnes & Noble (select stores)
Cat's On Main, Wauchula 
Gift Basket Boutique, Lakeland
Highlands Art League, Sebring
Key West Art Bar, Key West
Peppers of Key West, Key West
Red Geranium, Winter Haven
Redhead Lounge Boutique, Orlando
Shou'Ture, Winter Park
Urban Think! Bookstore, Orlando

Tips for Tipping During Your Travels

During a recent Girls Getaway we chatted about the appropriate amounts to tip service providers.  After some research, here's what I found:
Taxi/Limo Drivers: A $2-$3 tip is usually satisfactory, but more is recommended if the driver helps you with bags or provides special service.
Porters: A $1/bag tip is standard for airport and train porters.  Include more if your bags are very heavy.

Hotel Bellman: $1/bag upon check in and checkout is standard.  Tip more if you require special attention during your stay.

Hotel Room Attendant: For stays of more than one night, $1/night tip is standard.  Be sure to leave the tip in the hotel room in an envelope.

Parking Attendant: Tip $1-$2 when your car is delivered.

Cloakroom Attendant: Tip $1-$2 is there is no charge for the service.  If there is a charge for the service, you don't need to tip.

Tour Guide: If a tip is not included, tip $1/person for a half-day tour, $2/person for a full-day tour and $5-$10/person for a week-long tour.  If you are part of a private tour, a higher tip is recommended.

Person Hailing a Taxi: Tip about $1-$2 is appropriate.

Bartender: Be sure to tip your bartender when ordering drinks.  If your bill is $15-$25, a recommended tip amount is $5.  If your bill is more, be sure to leave a higher tip.  If you order bottle service at a night club, check your bill to see if gratuity was added.  If not, you should tip 10%-15%.

Waiter/Waitress:  Most people are aware that the standard tip rate is 15%; however, if service was above average or your party was more than 6 people, you should tip more.  Be sure to review your bill closely to see if gratuity was already added.

Room Service: It is recommended to tip the person delivering your room service $2-$3.
Par & Poker Celebrity Challenge for Charity
Jennifer and I had fun at the Par & Poker Celebrity Challenge for Charity in Tampa. Its celebrity host Super Bowl Champion Seth Joyner (pictured below) and the sponsors provided a first-rate celebrity golf and poker event raising thousands for local and national charities.
Seth Joyner
The event featured an 18-hole golf tournament where sports and entertainment fans get to play with celebrities, hang out in VIP tents, as well as participate in a No Limit Texas Hold'em Poker tournament. The best part of the experience is the money raised benefits charities that help children in need.  The Joyner-Walker Foundation, Inc., which puts on the event, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing life skill programs to high school students. The flagship program is financial literacy.
Red Carpet
I was thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event, and thank Seth and the Walkers for inviting me. For more information, visit http://www.parandpoker.com/.
Red carpet photo courtesy of Brian Lambert.
Girls Getaway to Key West Winner!
Congratulations to Tiffany Allen of Orlando, FL for winning a Girls Getaway to Key West donated by the Crowne Plaza Key West - La Concha (www.LaConchaKeyWest.com). 

crowne plaza la concha

Everyone who purchased a Girls Getaway Guide to Key West: Leave Your Baggage at Home in 2008 was entered to win this fabulous vacation.  Tiffany and a friend will enjoy a two night stay, a 2-hour Wind & Wine Sunset Sail, breakfast for two and two drink tickets, all valued at $795.  Many thanks to everyone who purchased books and the Crowne Plaza Key West - La Concha for partnering with us on this fantastic prize.  Congratulations Tiffany!
News From The Getaway Girl™
Happy Valentine's Day!  This year is already off to a great start.  We had a fantastic trip to Austin last month, and I leave for Nashville this week to celebrate Valentine's Day with some of my favorite girlfriends.  To follow me during my trip, sign up at www.Twitter.com/GetawayGirl
There was a lot of interest last month in our incredible Girls Getaway to Montana trip, so we are now offering three date options for this amazing vacation.  Grab your girlfriends and go...to Big Sky Country.  For details and to register, visit www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net/Montana.
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 In the News

Daily Buzz - On Dec. 29, I appeared on the Daily Buzz TV show, which is a nationally syndicated morning news program and is one of the fastest growing syndicated shows in America.  It is currently carried in 148 markets, encompasses 39% of American TV audiences and is broadcast every weekday morning.  To see the clip, visit www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net/News.html.
Daily Buzz 
Amateur Traveler
- I was thrilled to be interviewed by Chris Christensen with Amateur Traveler. Chris and I chatted about the great things to do in Key West, such as riding the Conch Train, visiting Ernest Hemingway's house, catching lobsters and dining with chickens at Blue Heaven!To listen to the interview, click on the link http://AmateurTraveler.com/2009/01/10/travel-to-key-west-florida-episode-168.
Orange Appeal - Many thanks to Orange Appeal Magazine for naming The Getaway Girl one of Orlando's "Women to Watch" in the January/February 2009 issue. To read the full article, visit www.girlsgetawayguide.net/documents/OrangeAppealJan2009.pdf
Skirt Magazine - I am thrilled to be featured in the Browse Section of Skirt! Magazine's January 2009 issue. Editor Chris Kuhn reviewed the Girls Getaway Guide to Key West: Leave Your Baggage at Home.  Sounds like we will see Chris in Key West very soon.  For more information about Skirt!, visit http://www.skirt.com/.
Highlands Today - The Highlands Today (a regional section of the Tampa Tribune) ran a feature article: "Helping Girls Getaway."  To read the full article, visit the link: http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2009/jan/04/lc-helping-girls-get-away/news-newbusiness/
WE Magazine - WE Magazine named me as one of the "101 Women Bloggers to Watch in 2009."  Visit www.WEForWomenMagazine.com for details or check out my blog at http://GirlsGetawayGuide.BlogSpot.com.
Girls Getaway to Austin 
Ali and I had a fantastic time in Austin, TX.  We arrived on Thursday and were greeted by Ashley who drove us to the 405-acre Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa (www.LostPines.Hyatt.com), which is 20 miles away from downtown Austin and used to be a pecan orchard.  With 492 guest rooms, most with private balcony or patio, the resort brings jeans and business suits together in a comfortable ranch-style setting.  Activities here are endless, from Spa Django to the Renegade Equestrian Center to the Wolfdancer Golf Club, as well as hiking in McKinney Roughs Nature Park, white water rafting on the Colorado River, and fun-in-the-sun at the Crooked River Water Park.  We enjoyed massages and an amazing dinner at Stories Restaurant that included five courses and items such as scallops, lobster, venison, quail and filet mignon.  It was wonderful!
 hyatt entrance
The next morning, we headed back to town to our host hotel, The Driskill Hotel (www.DriskillHotel.com).  Built in 1886 as a cattle barron's showplace, The Driskill is located in downtown Austin with 189 guestrooms and suites distributed between the original Historic Wing and the Traditional Wing, which was added in 1929.  No detail is forgotten inside or out as the hotel features a very ornate exterior complete with flags out front, a beautiful columned lobby; original art, oil paintings, and precious antiques; ornate beds designed exclusively for the hotel; marble floors and stained-glass dome.  The Driskill has hosted celebs such as Dennis Quaid and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Singer Jewel filmed her latest video here and both Lance Armstrong and President George W. Bush held press conferences here.
Driskill Hotel
Where We Ate
Our first stop in town was lunch at Guero's Taco Bar (www.GuerosTacoBar.com) on South Congress.  This popular taqueria is housed in a renovated feed store and provides an eclectic atmosphere for patrons to enjoy some of Austin's finest Tex Mex.  I loved the combo Tacos Platos (Chicken Especial & Carne Guisada).  Dinner Friday night was at Eddie V's (www.EddieV.com) where we sat in the lounge area and enjoyed the live, four-piece jazz band.  We all agreed that while all the food was delicious, my Steamed "Hong Kong Style" Chilean Seabass was the best.  This was a great pick for fine dining!  On Saturday, Ali and I took several recommendations and ate lunch (and saw a movie) at the Original Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (www.OriginalAlamo.com), which was just blocks from The Driskill.  We watched their feature movie The Wrestler, but heard they also have Sing Along and Quote Along Nights too.  We heard more recommendations for Uchi (Japanese word for "home") Restaurant (www.UchiAustin.com), so we had to try this sushi hotspot despite the almost two-hour wait (which actually turned out to be part of the Uchi experience).  Just a 5-minute cab ride from our hotel, we enjoyed lounging in the outdoor seating area while we waited.  They really do make you feel at home here, from the comfortable outdoor seating clusters to the soothing decor inside.  Executive chef and Florida native Tyson Cole does an outstanding job of pairing traditional sushi with unusual flavors to create mouthwatering dishes.  We loved it!  
ali uchi
Our Sunday morning bunch at South Congress Café (www.SouthCongressCafe.com) served up another amazing meal.  I had to try the Carrot Cake French Toast (which was delish) with their original cream cheese-pecan syrup.  Yum! 
Where We Shopped
Our first shopping stop: SoCo.  On South Congress Avenue, two to three blocks are filled with a diverse selection of funky stores.  Here you'll find boot shops, vintage clothing, galleries, trendy outfitters, antiques, and more, including the costume store Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds (www.LucyInDisguise.com) where Bob Dylan is rumored to have shopped for retro outfits. We spent some time in the vintage store Feathers (512- 912-9779), trendy boutique By George (www.ByGeorgeAustin.com), folk art gallery Yard Dog (www.YardDog.com), local fashion house Parts & Labour (http://PartsAndLabour.BlogSpot.com), jewelry and gifts at Maya (www.MayaStar.com), and the all black boutique Blackmail (www.BlackMailBoutique.com).
We also indulged in some shopping on Second Street, which housed great store and trendy boutiques.  We visited several, including Girl Next Door (www.GirlNextDoorAustin.com) which showcased some amazing jewelry and fashions, Estilo (512-236-0488) with a great selection of men and women's clothing, Mercury Design Studio (www.MercuryDesignStudio.com) with cool home furnishings and gifts, Shiki (www.ShopShiki.com) that had several items I wanted to take home, and Peyton's Place (www.PeytonPlaceAustin.com) for some fashion deals.
Shopping on 2nd Street 

Other Austin Adventures
Nightlife: Sixth Street (formerly known as Pecan Street) is Austin's (probably even Texas') best known street and the city's entertainment center.  It is lined with many historical houses and commercial buildings dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s. The old buildings now house bars, a host of live entertainment venues, tattoo parlors, art galleries, casual cafes, upscale restaurants, and our fabulous host hotel - the Driskill. Live music from the bars is heard on the streets, and music lovers of all kinds (jazz, blues, country, dance, rock, hip-hop, progressive, metal, punk and more) will be able to find whatever musical style suits their taste.  Our first stop on 6th Street was The Blind Pig Pub (512-472-0809) and we bar hopped the rest of the evening. 
blind pig
We ended up in the Warehouse District, which is a little less touristy that 6th and where many of the locals go.  Ali and I were in awe of the live shark tank underneath the clear dance floor at Qua (www.QuaAustin.com).  We also checked out Cuba Libre (www.CubaLibre.com ) where Ali played the bongos, J. Blacks Feel Good Lounge  (www.JBlacks.com), as well as several others.  In the South Congress area, we checked out the live music at The Continental Club (www.ContinentalClub.com), which is a great hangout for music lovers. 
Sightseeing: We were so thankful that Trenton, from The Driskill, drove us around to see some of Austin's sights.  The bats were not flying this time of year (Austin has the largest urban bat population; at dusk in warmer months, 1.5 million bats fly from their home under the Congress Avenue Bridge), so we at least stopped at the Bat Sculpture for a photo. 
bat statue
He also took us to Lake Austin where we saw the infamous Chuy's Hula Hut (www.HulaHut.com) and Mozart's Coffee Roasters (www.MozartsCoffee.com).  He drove us by Austin's City Hall that was designed to look like an armadillo; it even has a tail!  We also stopped by the brand new (and super cool) Hotel Saint Cecilia (www.HotelSaintCecilia.com), which is owned by Liz Lambert who also owns trendy and popular the Hotel San Jose (www.HotelSanJose.com).   Hotel Saint Cecilia is housed in a renovated 1880s Victorian estate with 14 bungalow-style rooms.  On Sunday, we joined Dani who took us to Mount Bonnell (Austin's highest point at 775 feet).  We hiked to the top and enjoyed the amazing views of downtown and Lake Austin.  
 mt bonnell
Many thanks to Ashley, Trenton, Dani, Jennifer Walker with the Austin CVB, and the staffs at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines and The Driskill for their hospitality during our trip.  I cannot wait to go back to Austin.  "Keep Austin Weird" I love it!
Submit Girl Getaway Photos
Thank you to Nancy DeVault of Orlando for submitting this photo of her (pictured on left) with Denise Ward and Bridgitte Harmon during a Girls Getaway to LA.  The photo was taken on the set of 'Friends.'

Nancy DeVault

Please send us some of your favorite Girls Getaway photos by emailing them to
Info@GirlsGetawayGuide.net with names, location and a description of your getaway.
Thanks for reading. Wishing you fabulous getaways!

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Casey Wohl, Author/The Getaway Girl
Girls Getaway Guide series