Melinda Crow

8x NATJA prize winner; #TBINchat host. Found on: Newsweek, News Break, Cruise Critic, MSN Travel, Medium, Travel Pulse, Yahoo. Weekly series on The Writing Cooperative: Writer’s Toolkit

A Milan Guide for Foodie Travelers

The locals of Milan have long proved that they know about more than just fashion and architecture — they also know how to feed the foodie craze. Now, the Italian city is ready to show off both its luxury and its culinary prowess, beginning in the kitchens of top chefs, within historic marketplaces and among the vines of its popular wine region. Eat In Italy, the feasting begins with lunch. Chef Viviana Varese serves rustic, reimagined delights at the Michelin-starred Alice Ristorante, located...

This Woman’s Retirement Years Are a Nightmare Thanks to Airbnb

Ellen inherited her modest lake house in Texas from her mother. It had always been her plan to retire there in the quiet neighborhood that stretches along an almost hidden piece of the shore of Lake Whitney. She eventually did just that, only it’s no longer the quiet neighborhood or quiet retirement she envisioned. The first rumblings of neighborhood troubles started more than a decade ago, as vacation rentals gained a foothold around the lake. The first vacation rental house on Ellen’s street

Avoiding Crowded Beaches: All You Need to Know

When traveling, crowded, cramped and noisy beaches throw a wrench into one of the main reasons to go to the shore in the first place — complete and utter relaxation. But what if you could have a stretch of sand all to yourself? Here’s how. Pick the Right day and time While early morning hours are usually the best times to find empty beaches, there are a few other tricks to try as well. Think about hotel turnover times. At many resorts, Friday is the busiest day of the week with guests checking

Is Your Flight About to be Canceled?

Flight cancellations are a fact of travel life and cannot always be predicted. The key to managing a cancellation is to get out ahead of it as far as possible. During the recent hurricanes, I happened to be traveling with a group of seasoned travel professionals including some fellow travel writers—all full of advice about determining the odds of cancellations and managing the wiggle room for avoiding delays. Here is the list of telltale flight cancelation warning signs we compiled. You Are on

Crazy Things We Say in All 50 States

Actually, it's only 49 funny sayings from where I sit. Probably from where you sit as well. Let me start by saying that I am from Texas and the rest of y'all talk funny. Now don't get all riled up. We all sound funny to outsiders. I'm going to ask the grammar police to take a day off and allow us to have a little fun with the language of all fifty states: what we say, how we say it, and what the heck it means. Of, course I may have to translate it into Texan first, then into English for you.

Jones Act and PVSA: What's the Difference, and How Do They Affect My Cruise?

You are far more likely to have heard of the Jones Act than the Passenger Vessel Services Act, but only one of them applies to passengers on a cruise ship and -- surprise! -- it is not the Jones Act. Confused? Don't worry; even the cruise lines and their employees sometimes mistakenly refer to the Jones Act when explaining the complicated rules that apply to passengers on ships that call at more than one U.S. port. We've done a little (OK, a lot) of digging to help clear the confusion.

4 More Writing Templates to Increase Your Productivity

You can actually set your creativity free when you use templates. Let’s consider what parts of a writing project belong to which part of the brain. This is the order we often use for our writing projects. • The actual writing of the story: creative But one little swap could be a game-changer. What would happen if you tried planning your layout and design before you begin writing? That’s what templating is all about.

How to Find Atomic Niches for Selling Success on Amazon

Everything is made of something. Even items with no “parts” are made of materials. By narrowing your product search to the tiniest part of something, you often find things to sell that are impossibly hard to find. That tiny part we began selling all those years ago still sells well today for two reasons: It’s got multiple uses and it is not available in stores. It’s the kind of thing you would think you could purchase at Walmart, but you won’t find it there. That’s where you start. What have yo

Inside Montgomery, Alabama: Take a trip through American History

The history of Montgomery, Alabama, is inextricably tied to some of the darkest chapters of American history—slavery, Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era. But the city was also home to civil rights leaders like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, country music legend Hank Williams and, for a time, literary It couple F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Montgomery's culture, its very essence, tells the story of America—the good, the bad and the heartbreaking. What to see and do Nicknamed "the most histor

The 30 worst decisions you can make during your next hotel stay

Having stood on both sides of the hotel front desk, I can tell you that, like most travelers, you’re probably making a mistake. It may be something as simple as not getting better rooms or service, but you could also be making mistakes that put you and your loved ones in danger. Here are the 30 worst things to do on your next hotel stay. Not asking for an upgrade When you arrive at the check-in desk, you greet the person behind the counter warmly, state your name, and your purpose thusly, “H