Adventures in Good Company

Adventure Travel for Women of All Ages


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In This Issue

  • Tips for staying warm this winter
  • How to keep your hands warm
  • Update on 2011 trips
  • How to book a hotel
  • Last words

  • Great Smokies Sampler



    We just finished the inaugural trip of the Great Smoky Mountains Sampler

    Calico Street



    This used to be a street in a town that had to be abandoned when Fontana Dam was built

    Smokies colors



    The fall foliage was at its peak.

    Fontana Lake



    Fontana Lake is huge. It was a 45 minute trip on a pontoon boat to get to where we started hiking.

    Appalachian Trail



    We climbed the AT to the top of Shuckstack Mountain. The views were absolutely gorgeous.

    Tips for staying warm this winter

    With winter descending, now is a good time for a few tips on how to stay warm. Of course if you stay huddled in your house or only go outside long enough to walk to your car or into the mall, you don't have to be particular. But you don't have to let cold weather cramp your love of being outdoors.

    To stay warm, your primary focus has to be moisture management. As long as we're active, we stay warm. When we stop, because we've been (often imperceptibly) sweating, the sweat starts to evaporate and we get chilled. The damper we get and the colder it is, the more likely we are to develop hypothermia. Paying attention to the following will help you stay totally toasty.

    1. Don't wear cotton, not even underwear. If you want an excuse to go braless, this is a great one. Otherwise invest in one made of synthetic materials that wick sweat away. Sierra Trading Post has several for under $20.

    2. Wear layers so you can pull them on and off as you get warmer and colder. Heavy jackets really don't work for the active woman.

    3. When you start, you should be just a little on the chilly side. If you're already warm, you will quickly overheat. As soon as you do, stop and pull off one of those aforementioned layers.

    4. Put a windproof layer on as soon as you stop. If you're overheated, you might think you want to cool down. You don't, at least not abruptly. By the time you think youÕre just right, your body temperature is on a downward trajectory that will overshoot. A windproof layer will slow the cooling down process.

    5. Should you wear a hat? Well yes, of course, it makes you look outdoorsy! And there are so many cute hats these days. But contrary to popular wisdom, it does not in fact have a major impact on keeping you warm. Heat loss through your head accounts for about 7% of your heat loss because the head accounts for about 7% of your body surface. For a good discussion, check out this article.


    How to keep your hands warm

    What's the best way to keep your hands warm? There are two major decisions: mittens vs gloves, and wool vs synthetics. The first is easy. If it's cold, mittens are always warmer than gloves because your fingers share warmth. If you need to use your fingers, some people wear glove liners under their mittens. I personally find that this still makes my hands cold and I would rather take my mittens off for short periods. The one exception is if I'm touching metal or ice, and then gloves are definitely better than bare flesh.

    For material, it largely depends on the likelihood that your hands will get really wet. If synthetic materials get drenched, your hands will get really cold. For this reason people often choose to wear a waterproof shell over their mittens. Wool, however, still retains substantial insulating ability. For whitewater rafting, paddling, or being out in cold, rainy weather, wool mittens not only work well but are definitely the least expensive way to go!


    Update on 2011 trips

    We now have all the trips listed on the Trip Calendar and almost all posted on the website. There are three summer trips still to be finalized; a brand new backpacking trip in the Sierra, a revised multisport trip in the White Mountains, and Colorado Rockies Ramble which is just waiting for me to go look at some new housing options next week. Remember, to get the 5% discount, you have to be among the first 5 women to register and you have do it at least 3 months before a domestic trip or 4 months before an international trip. Add in the 3% discount for paying by check and you can easily save $100 off the list price of any trip over $1250.

    Still having trouble deciding on your winter vacation plans? Read our blog post and press release: Four Cures for the Common Winter Vacation..


    How to book a hotel

    Frommer's just recently had a good article on different hotel booking websites. The common characteristics of the ones they liked best were a lack of booking fees, full refundability if you had to cancel, and guaranteed lowest price or they would refund the difference. You can read it here. Bottom line, you really aren't going to save money by checking out the exact same hotel on every site. However, not all hotels are listed on all sites, so it's worth checking a couple.

    So are there any ways to save money on hotels? Yes, if you have a little time. Follow these steps:

    1. Pick a couple of sites you like (we often use hotels.com and bookings.com) and use them to find some hotels that meet your price range, desire for location etc.

    2. read reviews on TripAdvisor (some sites have the reviews integrated). Note: TripAdvisor has struggled with competitors unfairly blasting each other and with hotels bribing their customers to write favorable reviews. One bad review among others that sound genuine shouldn't turn you off.

    3. Call the hotel, tell them the rate you're seeing on the internet, and ask for the best rate they can offer you.

    4. Consider throwing caution to the winds and first look up Hotwire and then bid on Priceline. On both websites you can specify the area even if you don't know the hotel. We routinely do this for our guides for pretrip lodging and have never been burned.


    Last words

    Our last trip in 2010 ended Monday and we're glad to be having a bit of a break - at least a break from all the last minute busyness that accompanies the start of each trip. In the next newsletter we'll be publishing our guides' suggestions for your holiday shopping list. If you don't want to wait until early December, we'll also be posting them on our Facebook page and tweeting them from the brand new and not really functional company Twitter account: @AdvGoodCo. Happy Thanksgiving!--
    Marian, for all the guides at Adventures in Good Company