At my workplace, we usually have a holiday party at the end of the year. It’s more of a pot luck kind of thing where people will bring the experimental recipes that they’ve been working on throughout the year and see if they pass the taste test among the employees. I’ve seen some pretty weird looking dishes at these parties. In fact, the only thing that is usually safe to consume is the punch. This year, we decided to do things a little differently. The entire office got on a Platinum Party Bus and had a much more fun experience.
No one brought any crazy food concoctions this year, because we didn’t need any. We had all of the alcohol we could drink on the bus, and we went around to restaurants to eat.
I am finding that it is time for me to have fun in life. I have been very school-oriented since I was in elementary school. When I reached high school, my goal was to get excellent grades so that I could get into a good university. My ultimate goal was medical school. When I got in to the med school of my choice, I was ecstatic. Unlike many of my friends who were just getting business degrees, there was no time for partying. When I graduated, I wanted to make up for lost time by getting a Platinum party bus rental to celebrate all of my hard work.
Because I could not spend time partying when I was in school, I had no idea which ones were the best ones, and I really did not care. I had heard too much about the trouble that goes on in some of them to want to spend time finding a quieter one. I figured that renting a bus so that we could just do our thing onboard in a classy way was a better idea.
I asked if the bus has a DVD player for the TVs that are onboard, and I was told that they do. So, I bought a bunch of fun dance DVDs to play in the background on the screens. I figured that if anyone was quiet when the music started, the DVDs would inspire everyone to get up and have fun. That is exactly what happened after everyone had a few drinks in them.
Later, I asked that food be catered because If anyone had been drinking too much, filling your stomach with some food always helps to balance things out. We had a fantastic dinner, and it tasted so yummy. At the end of the night, the bus dropped everyone off at the parking lot where their cars were parked.
Summer is coming to an end and with the first day of school right around the corner, we’ve put together last minute summer getaways for the entire family to enjoy.
From flying kites in Mackinac Island, MI to educational development at the Kid’s Club in Nantucket, MI, below find the best ways to make the most out of summer with your family.
The Nantucket Hotel – Nantucket, MA
The Nantucket Hotel, located in the heart of Nantucket and the Island’s only premier, all-season destination hotel and resort, is offering a new complimentary program for toddlers from August 31 to September 11, 2015 – perfect for a last minute summer getaway for the family. The Parent/Toddler Program allows parents and children to participate in a variety of activities, geared towards the many stages of your child’s early development with themes including ‘Strength and Motor Coordination/ Fine Motor Development / Imagination and Creativity / Sensory Stimulation. Located in the Kid’s Club, parents will enjoy spending time with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers from 9AM – 10:30AM, Monday – Friday. The Nantucket is made up of guest rooms and 1-4 bedroom suites and cottages, sleeping from one to twelve people and ideal for family getaway.
Vanderbilt Grace – Newport, RI
Originally built by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt 1909, Vanderbilt Grace is a vintage Newport mansion that been restored to its former glory to operate as a fulling functioning luxury hotel. An ideal family getaway, Vanderbilt Grace offers indoor and outdoor pools, a variety of activities and lies minutes away from the waterfront and many cultural attractions of Newport. From May 9th-October 31st, families can book the Newport Family Getaway Experience which includes:
- Book one Master Jr. Suite or Commodore Suite and receive a connecting suite half price for the children
- Children under 12 will receive a special children’s menu, and under 3 will receive complimentary food and beverage
- Bedtime snack cart rolled to rooms for kids to choose from cookies, popcorn, fruit and cereal
- Selection of activities:
- Eaton’s Beach, inflatable water slide on Tues/Thurs
- Vanderbilt Grace Scavenger Hunt
- Atlantic Beach Club’s afternoon live music
- The Breakers mansion kid tour and tennis lessons at International Tennis Hall of Fame
Mission Point Resort – Mackinac Island, MI
Set on 18 acres of lakefront property where Lake Huron meets Lake Michigan, lies Mission Point. Idea for families to enjoy before the end of the season in October and when kids go back to school, Mission Point offers activities such as a waterfront 18 hole putting course, observation tower and museum, movie theater, Mackinac art and history museum, and tennis court. Kids will enjoy flying kites on the sweeping lawn, tasting fudge at the fudge shops throughout town and playing golf on the 18 hole water-front golf course. Families can book the Mission Point Family Experience, which includes:
- Breakfast in Round Island Bar & Grill on two mornings
- Round of golf on the 18 hole executive putting greens
- Half day bike rentals
- Fort Mackinac tickets
- Butterfly house tickets
- Round trip ferry tickets on Star Line
- Milk and cookie welcome amenity
- Resort lawn games (tennis, croquet, bocce ball)
Winnetu Oceanside Resort Resort – Edgartown, MA
Winnetu Oceanside Resort Resort, a family-friendly resort on Martha’s Vineyard, is the perfect property for a fall getaway before the kids go back to school in September. Located on South Beach in Edgartown, the property recently launched a fully complimentary Toddler Program which includes an extravagantly kitted out Play Room designed to keep even the youngest toddlers busy and amused. There are several themes of the Toddlers Program geared towards the different stages of toddler’s development targeting Strength and Motor Coordination/ Fine Motor Development / Imagination and Creativity / Sensory Stimulation. The Toddler’s Program includes trips to a local farm, fire truck rides (in the resort’s vintage 1956 pumper fire truck) plus an elaborate pirate themed playground, face painting, lemonade and cookies, and outdoor, life-size chess. The resort features 1-4 bedroom hotel suites and to 3-5 bedroom private homes, all featuring either a kitchenette or full kitchen- perfect for large families. In addition, the resort offers two private cottages and larger, 3-bedroom private townhouse/home rentals for families who want to stay for extended periods of time. Additionally, the property recently launched a ‘Sea For Yourself’ experience which allows families to explore the sister resort on Nantucket – The Nantucket Hotel – through a fully complimentary ferry service, plus complimentary pick up/drop off car transfer.
Whether it’s for a destination wedding, school trip or conference, traveling with a large group can bring about a unique set of challenges. Here are some tips to make the process a bit more manageable.
In a large group it’s virtually impossible that everyone’s interests and personal travel tastes will be accommodated, therefore it’s important to manage group expectations. Set a clear itinerary before the trip so everyone knows what destinations or sights will or will not be visited.
Large groups can split into several smaller groups to make the traveling process more manageable. In this case it’s useful to choose sub-group leaders who can better micromanage the individual needs of the smaller groups. Holidaymakers can then be sorted by their travel interests and assigned to group leaders. Artsy travelers can enjoy endless hours in art museums, while outdoorsy types can instead hit a hiking trail.
Don’t get caught out. Instead aim to receive full payment from each group member well in advance of the trip. Sometimes, a deposit just isn’t enough.
Reserve Air Travel 6-9 Months Ahead
Any group that wants to fly together should contact the airline to reserve their air travel at least 6-9 months in advance. Airlines will be more likely to have large quantities of seats available on popular routes and on off-peak days like Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday.
Try Trip Planning Services
Specialty travel agents will be able to provide logistical support with everything from private bus transportation, group dining experiences and accommodation. Contacting the hotels directly is definitely an option, but it can be time consuming. Besides, specialty accommodation booking services, like House Parties in the UK, have already done this legwork when it comes to planning perfect large group holidays.
One thing most holidaymakers would like from their trips is an authentic experience. All too often a trip to a foreign land can leave us feeling as though we would have been better off staying at home. If you want a truly authentic holiday experience the next time around then you should consider the following reasons for going on a camping trip.
1. Meet Local Tourists
An interesting statistic about camping holidays in Europe tells us that around two thirds of people who go camping do so in their own country. Of course, you might choose to stay at home as well. However, if you decide to go to a foreign campsite you can expect to bump into at least a few tourists from that same country. This is a brilliant way to make new friends and to find out things about the place you are staying in. If you go with children then they can also enjoy meeting other kids of their own age from the country they are in.
2. Explore a Wider Area
[Also see our travel article “Five Reasons Barcelona is Good for a Family Camping Holiday“]
Before we go on holiday each year most of us have a lot of good intentions about seeing the local sights, going to the parks and basically seeing as much of the place as we can. After all, it might be the only time in our life that we are there. However, on hotel breaks it can be tempting to waste a lot of time watching television or just sitting around. Matters get even worse if you are in an all inclusive hotel or resort and have to head back there at every meal time if you don’t want to end up paying out twice for each meal you eat. When you go camping you have everything in your favour in terms of exploring a wide area in a relaxed way so you should make the most of it and go out walking or cycling and discover what is around you.
3. Buy the Food Locally
The food is a hugely important factor in any family holiday. This is often one of the most memorable features of the trip, whether for the right reasons or the wrong ones. You certainly don’t want to be stuck in a hotel with poor quality food but isn’t it almost as bad if you eat the same sort of thing you do back home?
Many of the hotel buffets which are designed for their international guests are bland affairs or simply too boring because they lack local flavor. When you go camping you can choose to eat in restaurants and cafes but you could also choose to cook some meals. This means that you can add an extra element to the holiday by shopping for local produce and then cooking something traditional. You could make a head start by looking up some recipes from the area before you go and maybe even practicing one or two of them.
4. See Traditional Events
Another interesting thing you can do when you go on a trip to a campsite is see some of the local festivals and events. To do this right it makes sense to check out what is on in the area you plan to go to. Cheese fairs, strawberry festivals, garden festivals and art events are just some of the things which take place near Keycamp sites in France. You will find other fantastic, traditional events across the rest of the continent too.
- Compare prices on discount travel sites and on airline sites three to four months before your trip. Keep in mind that some airlines don’t do business with the discount sites, and you can often find the best deal on the airline’s site. You can also set up fare alerts that will email you when fares are offered within your price range.
- Compare prices for the destinations that you are considering. If you are flexible in terms of your destination, you may be able to find a very affordable fare.
- Be flexible on your dates for even greater savings. Most sites allow you to look at fares for an entire month to see which dates have the cheapest airfares. Changing the length of your trip by a day or two may be the key to saving money on your flights.
- Purchase non-refundable tickets, as they are usually the cheapest. Only buy refundable tickets if you think that your vacation may be canceled.
- Check for package deals for even greater savings on airline tickets, hotels and car rentals. Package deals may help you to get lower rates for airfare, transportation, lodging, and activities at your destination.
Traveling With Remains
- A cremation certificate is necessary to transport cremated remains. You will receive this receipt, or certificate with the cremated remains. This certificate identifies the remains to people in the course of your chosen method of travel. Even if you are traveling by car within one state, across state lines or internationally with the remains, you must have identifying paperwork.
- A cardboard box will be necessary to transport the remains to a final resting place where they can be placed in a permanent urn or scattered. If you are traveling by air, the Transportation Safety Agency requires cremated human remains be regarded as carry on luggage. Cremated remains may not be checked through as regular baggage. The cremated remains should be transported in a temporary plastic or cardboard container that will pass through screening procedures. Most airlines will not permit metal or stone urns unless they are transported separate from the remains. You should contact your airline carrier for regulations concerning the transport of human remains.
- A second outer container is required by the U.S. Postal Service if you choose this type of transport. The durable container must be sealed with the original container inside. Remains must be transported by registered mail with return receipt only. Remains will not be sent overnight or by regular mail. A copy of the cremation certificate form must also be enclosed. Your crematory may have the proper containers specifically designed to ship human remains, so you will want to tell them your travel plans prior to cremation. Many crematories will package the remains properly according to your mode of travel. When you arrive at your destination you may want a funeral home to assist in placing the remains in your chosen urn.
Uganda is steadily becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations of east Africa. From the snowy Rwenzori Mountains to the idyllic Lake Victoria, this country is diverse and utterly delightful. Here are the top five things to see and do on your trip.
Go on Safari
No trip to east Africa would be complete without a safari trip, but Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is something special. While there, look out for tree-climbing lions and let the beauty of the remote plains wash over you as you look out for the ninety-six species of mammals and over six hundred species of birds!
Get Up into the Mountains
There are ten national parks in Uganda, but Rwenzori is the most popular because of its stunning mountain range. As the highest in Africa, many tourists choose to trek along the peaks. Keep your eyes peeled for the Angola colobus monkeys! Visit Uganda have some great tips on safe trekking.
Push Out the Boat
For thrill-seekers, the river White Nile is heaven. Ride the rapids between Jinja and Bujagali in kayaks or rafts and see an incredible mix of wildlife, including crocodiles. This is not for faint hearted!
Among the Trees
Budongo Forest Reserve has the honour of being the biggest mahogany forest in east Africa, alongside around four hundred and sixty-five other plant species. This is the perfect place for horticulture enthusiasts to experience the true geography of Uganda, and a whole host of animals along the way! Find out more at holiday sites such as http://www.steppestravel.co.uk.
Bobbing Along on the Lake
While Uganda is technically land locked with no seacoasts, it does benefit from several beautiful lakes. Lake Bunyoni is a stunning area peppered with small and wonderful islands. You’ll find a selection of idyllic beaches perfect for relaxing and a whole range of sites of historical interest.
As well as doing Uganda gorilla trekking, many visitors go to this country for the chimpanzees. Head to Kibale National Park to take a guided trek through the forest and spot these gorgeous creatures. The tour guides at Kibale also offer nighttime tours for more adventurous travelers. It’s fascinating to see the nocturnal creatures that crawl out of the woodwork!
Add these tips to your bucket list this year for a truly memorable holiday in beautiful Uganda.
Traveling is one of the best ways to relax and explore the beauty of world. The only thing that is not perfect about travelling is the money which is required to travel. But there are many ways by which you can make your travel less expensive and efficient. The most important thing that needs to be done is plan properly. Good planning will ensure that you are left with some of the cheapest ways to travel. There are many benefits of travelling here are some of them.
- Enhances Your Social aptitudes
Meeting new individuals with Low cost flights to Tel Aviv is one of the colossal upsides of voyaging. Whether it’s visiting up your flat mate, making casual conversation with your seat-mate on a train or having an exuberant discourse at a nearby bar, you will be compelled to enhance your social aptitudes (particularly in case you’re voyaging solo). On the off chance that new circumstances tend to make you restless, voyaging is a certain approach to step toward decreasing that uneasiness. Travel can also make sure that you get the best in class social aptitude for yourself.
- Decreases Stress
Requiring significant Low cost flights to Tel Aviv off is an undeniable approach to energize and diminish stress levels. Be that as it may, while staying home and resting is a commendable utilization of your time off, voyaging expels you from your regular life and lets you really escape. Voyaging gives you a chance to set aside your day by day obligations and spotlight on yourself for a minute. When you return home you’ll feel revived and have the inspiration you felt depleted of before you cleared out. Travel will also make that all your stress will disappear which will make sure that you are all set for your next routine.
- Performs Goals
Having a go schedule and check things off that rundown keeps you persuaded and positive. That rundown can incorporate things like going by specific areas or achieving something, for example, climbing a mountain or getting to be conversational in the dialect of your next destination. Accomplishing those objectives likewise expands certainty and gives a feeling of achievement.
- Makes You More Flexible
Now and again things don’t work out as expected while voyaging. Perhaps your flight is wiped out or it rains the day you’re planned to go on an epic open air experience. It’s alright – there are different flights to take (or prepares, or transports) and perhaps on that stormy day you’ll find a shrouded book shop to investigate or a lovable bistro to encounter. Making a trip helps you to be more adaptable and receptive, making you more zen in your regular life.
- Educates To Be More Patient
Travel can include a great deal of holding up. You’ll hold up in lines, for flights or at eateries. Figuring out how to adapt to those holds up, how to make discussion with those you’re holding up with and how to stay quiet in frustratingly moderate circumstances will show you how to stay patient and quiet in all circumstances.
The exotic and beautiful country of Turkey attracts the attention and the interest of global tourists and they visit the place in huge volumes every day. This point of transit between Asia & Europe, would welcome you a rich portfolio of historical evidences, breath-stopping scenic beauty and multifarious sources of amusements and entertainment. In short, the place offers comprehensive “package”, covering aspects from various dimensions that would surely make your vacation enjoyable and pleasant.
The Turkish blue cruise services
Since tourism is one of the major sectors of revenue earning at Turkey, the country had envisaged prominent arrangements for the entertainment and amusement of the tourists who pays a visit. One out of these arrangements is the cruising services that connect between the major tourist spots of the country. These cruises are not merely the vehicle of connectivity but these are full fledged torturing programs that can enable you to experience the diversified attributes of the country. The blue cruise operators offer several touring options of which the Kas Antalya blue cruiseservice is a name worth of giving a special mention. This amusement voyage, sailing from the harbor of Kas with a schedule of there nights & two days, is a short tour options that would handhold you to discover the costal lines and the pictorial vicinity, along with the options to delve into extremes of water adventures like paragliding. This tour is the perfect choice if your major interest lies upon the exploration of the nature and to ensure the ultimate of relaxation and amusements, the touring program also covers up arrays of aquatic entertainment, chances to shoot some best snaps of lifetimeand chances to spend few days in the companies of co-voyager who are the residents of several countries and thus you get a chance to interface multiple cultures too.
The tour itinerary
Availing the Kas Cruises, you will sail for Fethiye, moving through points like the island of St. Nicholas and the butterfly valley the beach of Oludeniz. Kas itself is a fishing village where you can get into activities like swimming, diving or if you want some shopping, there are multiples of shopping malls. In between your course of journey, you will experience some swiping scenic landscapes, chances to experiment on adventurous sports like paragliding and of course when you reach the harbors interim times, you would be able to taste the lives on the lands, wherein you experience a prominent blending of Asian & European life styles. Ultimately, when you reach to the terminal harbor at Fethiye, you get a chance to experience the striking and colorful nightlife that will make your experience complete. This touring program swings in a gullet wherein all the facilities and the amenities are provisioned to make your stay comfortable. The hospitality of the services will definitely impress you and make you feel great. This touring along the pristine costal lines, will give you one of the bets vacation you would have ever in your lifetime.
The cruise touring is one of the prominent sources of entertainment and amusement that attracts the tourists here. Many tourists are come here to enjoy the beauty. Therefore, once you finalize your trip to Turkey, ensure that you book your reservations in advance. The booking can be made over the online platform. Do remember that across various blocks of the year, the charges for the services vary in between them and thus you consider the payables for the specific time that you had scheduled for your visit. You can be assured that this input of money and efforts will come back to you with manifold returns.
San Diego is an absolute gorgeous city with so much to offer to everyone who lives there or anyone who visits. Among the various attractions in the area though, the nearby waters are certainly a good place to start. In fact, one could easily find himself spending an entire week vacation just checking out the various water adventures that are in store. From whale watching in San Diego, sailing tours, and just paying a visit to the beach, there is really something for everyone.
Enjoy a Day at the Beach
One of the simplest things you might look to do while in this beautiful city is to just take some time to enjoy the beach. Get yourself a nice big picnic blanket, grab a towel, and fill that cooler up with some drinks and snacks. San Diego has some great beaches to explore and whether you just lay out on the shore soaking in the rays or you go get your feet wet, you could easily spend a day just lounging around. While you’re at it, you might check out one of the area’s restaurants and have a nice meal.
Make It More Adventurous
Of course, when you get tired of just sitting around the beach, you can always look for something more adventurous. Since you are right there on the water, you might consider checking out one of the local Jet Ski rentals and going out on the open waves. Or, you might even go a bit further out there and try some parasailing or water skiing. Whatever the case may be, getting out on that ocean can be exciting.
San Diego Sailing Tours
Instead of really putting yourself out there though, you might want to try something that is a bit more secure. There are some great San Diego sailing tours being offered by experienced ship captains in the area. This can allow you to do something you might never have done before and explore the waterways around the city. You might even opt for a sunset cruise, which can be quite enjoyable. Just keep in mind, if you happen to get seasick or you are worried about this, look for a captain that pilots a catamaran rather than a monohaul. In case you don’t know what this means, basically a catamaran is a wider, more stable boat, which means less movement out on the sea. Next, you might even consider whale watching in San Diego.
Go Whale Watching In San Diego
After you have done your regular San Diego sailing tours, the next thing you might be interested in is doing some whale watching. There are some great opportunities to see whales around the city and the best ship captains know exactly where to take you for the best showing. You can spend a few hours out on the open waters and most of the time you will find that you’ll get closer than you ever imagined to these giant mammals.
At the end of the day, whale watching in San Diego can be a very fulfilling experience but so can any of these other water adventures.
Innsbruck in the capital of Tyrol state, in western Austria. It is a beautiful city, which attracts numerous visitors each year with its beautiful ski resorts, the historical past and amazing architecture. The castles, palaces and the old town centre will make you feel as if you went back in time.
The InnsbruckAirport is only 4 kilometers from the city centre, so getting a taxi is a viable option if you want a fast and comfortable way of getting to your destination. You can either take a cab right outside the arrivals terminals or pre-book one, to make sure that there will be a car waiting for you upon your arrival. If you plan to book a taxi you will also get a significant discount on the total price.
A journey to the centre of theInnsbruck city should not take more than 15 minutes, and the price varies from 10 to 15 euro. If you choose to take an Innsbruck airport taxi from the arrivals terminal, be extra careful as there might be some drivers who will try to trick you. Ask before you get into the car how much the fare will be and if any fees are not included in this price. Many drivers will charge extra for your luggage, if you have pets, for toll roads, if you travel during local holidays or on Sundays, if there are more passengers or if you request a child seat. Make sure that you ask all the questions you need and try to have an idea about what the fare will be just to make sure he does not try to trick you.
Once you get in the city you should buy an Innsbruck card that is available 72 hours and will cost about 39 Euro. With this card you will have the possibility to use public transportation for free (cable cars, buses, trains or hop-off Sightseer buses). This way you will easily get to all the main attractions of the city, without having to worry about the cost of tickets or where to buy them from. You can also visit the city by taxi, but it might get quite expensive when you draw the line at the end of your holiday.
Getting an Innsbruck airport taxi is a fast, reliable, comfortable and quite affordable way to get to the center of the city.
A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship’s amenities are a part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way. Cruise ships are organized much like floating hotels, with a complete hospitality staff in addition to the usual ships. Cruising can be one of the most romantic vacation options with the ambience and décor of the cruise ship giving an ecstatic feeling to the passengers. First-class, personalized service is just one of the hallmarks of ideal cruise lines. One can expect exotic itineraries, varying degrees of services in pricing, fine wines and gourmet cuisine. That being the case, one might think any old luxury cruise ship will do, but that is not quite true. Like people, cruise ships have their own unique personalities, and passengers should be able to choose according to their taste and requirements. Some offer spacious suites, smaller cruise ships can stealthily visit ports that large ships cannot. Some provide vacation experience, while some draws travellers with a more independent streak. Thus passengers should carefully choose their cruise ships for that breathtaking experience.
- Passengers are greeted with a warm welcome by the courteous crew staff, the moment they step aboard. The crew staff is always at their beck and call to give them that out of the world experience..
- Dining on almost all cruise ships is included in the cruise price. The ships’ specialty restaurants are remarkable. They have myriad, upscale options like steak and seafood restaurant with an open grill, fine dining multi-cuisine restaurants, one of a kind Italian eatery. For a more casual option, wine and sushi bar could be very pleasing to the palate!
- Besides the dining room, modern cruise ships often contain one or more casual buffet-style eateries, which may be open 24 hours and with menus that vary throughout the day to provide meals ranging from breakfast to late-night snacks.
- Casino ,fitness center, gym, club, lounges, shops, library etc top cater to the various requirements of the passengers.
- Theatre with Broadway-style shows
- Indoor and/or outdoor swimming pool with water slides, basket ball courts, pool tables, ping pong tables, bowling alleys, tennis courts
- Ships also feature numerous bars and nightclubs for passenger entertainment; .
- Butler service is offered by ideal cruise ships who handle everything from dry-cleaning and unpacking to daily delivery of canapés and making reservations for the spa.
- Cruise ships take several different approaches to their onboard spas. Spa services with outstanding high-tech cardio machines and creative spa treatments inspired by an array of Eastern traditions are provided..
Thus to sum up, cruise ships in today’s world of cut-throat competition, offer a variety of luxurious amenities to please their passengers. As a result, Choosing the right cruise line and, even more specifically, the right ship within the fleet, can be a big challenge. So, passengers should wisely choose the Cruise Transfer Services so that they can enjoy an enchanting experience of a lifetime.
Known as the Golden State, California is home to some of the very best culinary experiences, culture and entertainment. It is a location filled with lots of fun activities and attractions guaranteed to interest you. Below we will take a look at some of the reasons that California should be high on your list of places to visit. You will love California!
Transport is easy to find
Regardless of where you first arrive, connecting to other parts of California is as easy as finding a warm sea breeze in California. Most capital cities of the world have daily flights to the state too.
It is the home of adventure
California is the place to be if you love your outdoor escapades. You can enjoy climbing Mount Whitney, biking through the red sand of the Joshua Tree National Park, hiking through the amazing Yosemite National Park or even Urban Kayaking. Do you want to soak up some beautiful alpine scenery? Head to Lake Tahoe. There are really no limits to the adventures to be had here.
A word of warning- Travelling to California, or indeed any part of the US, as a citizen of a country covered under the Visa Waiver Programme requires that you have an ESTA document. Fill out yours as you plan your trip! Otherwise you adventure might be cut short at the departing airport.
It is the home of arts and culture
Art and culture are two things that comes to mind when the topic is California, and for good reason too. It is a place known for creativity, so little wonder that it is overflowing with the very best in music, food, art and design. Downtown Los Angeles is the centre of it, and Gallery Row is the best place to go for a great mix of culinary hotspots, lofts, bars, art galleries and studios. If you have the time visit San Francisco and stop by The Mission. This is an iconic neighbourhood that is associated with a lot of intrigue, ranging from the oldest building in the state to early punk bands and street art.
You can’t find as much entertainment anywhere else
Hollywood grabs all the attention when the topic is entertainment in California, but the glitz and glamour goes well beyond the movie sets. Hollywood’s desert oasis, Palm Springs, is a little further to the east and a good option if you are looking for somewhere to go to relax with celebrities escaping the hustle and bustle of showbiz.
The culinary experiences are top notch
South California is known for the fresh produce and fusion of tastes. It is therefore a place to be if you are looking for world-class culinary delights. Santa Monica is the best locale in this regard, as its innovative restaurants and chefs put together some of the most sumptuous meals you will ever taste. There are no limits or boundaries in California; from high quality vegan dishes to spicy Mexican delicacies.
Nassau Paradise Island, Bahamas announces a summer of deals and events for families, including the extension of its popular $250 Instant Savings Promotion.
Travelers planning to visit throughout 2015 can now book an air-inclusive minimum four-night stay at any of Nassau Paradise Island’s participating hotels by June 1, 2015 and save $250 instantly. Travel can take place now through Dec. 18, 2015.* In addition to the Instant Savings extension, the destination’s hotels are offering summer promotions and programming perfect for families.
Atlantis, Paradise Island
Known for its expansive Aquaventure waterpark, Atlantis, Paradise Island welcomes Cartoon Network for its fifth consecutive summer of fun at the resort. From June 19 – Aug. 22, attractions include the Cartoon Network Lagoon, a 9,000-square-foot inflatable obstacle course in Paradise Lagoon; the NERF SUPER SOAKER Flood Zone, an interactive maze built for NERF SUPER SOAKER battles; Cartoon Network character parades; Cartoon Network show screenings and more. Throughout the summer, Atlantis will also offer an all-access Atlantis Kids Experience Pass. The pass, a $150 value, includes one admission for CRUSH or Club Rush, one Climber’s Rush session, one Atlantis Kids Adventure session, one Atlantis PALS stuffed toy and one rented car session at Atlantis Speedway. One pass is offered per room, per stay and is available through June 30 for travel June 1 – Sept. 8.
Meliá Nassau Beach
At the all-inclusive Meliá Nassau Beach, guests can save with an advanced booking rate offer. Guests who book a minimum two-night stay at least 10 days in advance of their visit save 15 percent on their trip. Travel must be completed by Dec. 22, 2015. Located on the stunning Cable Beach, the family-friendly hotel is close to all of Nassau’s best shops, restaurants and night spots.
Graycliff Hotel, nestled in the heart of downtown Nassau, also offers an advanced-booking discount this summer. Guests who book travel by June 30 will save 15 percent on their stay. Travel must be completed by Dec. 20, 2015. Graycliff Hotel is housed in a colonial mansion that dates back to the 18th Century and features the first five-star restaurant in the Caribbean, plus one of the largest private wine collections in the world.
For more on Nassau Paradise Island and its properties, visit www.nassauparadiseisland.com.
Myrtle Beach Seaside Resorts (MBSR) – operator of the area’s premier oceanfront condo-hotel and vacation rental properties – announces registration is now open for the inaugural “Myrtle Beach Family Fun Golf Tournament,” August 20-23.
MBSR and partner Mystical Golf will welcome two-person teams (parent / child and grandparent / child pairings) to the Grand Strand. Groups will be flighted based on age and gender with children 18 and under invited to participate. The value-packed event, ideal for a memorable summer family vacation in Myrtle Beach, starts at $995 (per team).
“With schools getting out for the summer and vacation plans being made, we’ve seen registrations take off in recent weeks,” says Jim Eggen, General Manager of MBSR. “With our unmatched accommodations, Mystical Golf’s beautiful courses and the area’s many entertainment options, we’re looking forward to hosting teams from all over the country.”
The $995 per team rate includes:
– Three nights’ lodging (Aug. 20-23) at the oceanfront Grande Shores (two queen beds)
– Two tournament rounds on the acclaimed Wizard and Man-O-War courses (Aug. 21-22)
– Welcome reception at Grande Shores (Aug. 20)
– Daily breakfast and lunch
– Two tickets to the Alabama Theater’s “One Show” (Aug. 21)
– Dinner for two at Logan’s Steakhouse (Aug. 22)
– Golf skills challenge and demonstrations on tournament days
– Gift bag for each participant
– Prizes awarded to event winners
The Wizard ClubhouseThe Wizard Clubhouse
Practice rounds are available on Aug. 20 for cart fee only. Non-competing family members may be added for $160 (per person) which includes lodging at Grande Shores, welcome reception, daily breakfast, one ticket to Alabama Theater’s “One Show,” dinner at Logan’s Steakhouse, and all non-golf related activities at the courses.
To participate, call 855.420.8043 or visit www.grandeshores.com/familygolf. All entries must be in by Aug. 7.
The Grand Strand features 100-plus golf courses and myriad family-friendly venues including The Alabama Theater, The House of Blues, Broadway at the Beach, seafood hotspots in Murrells Inlet, and 60-plus miles of sweeping Atlantic Coast oceanfront. For baseball fans, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans – a Class A advanced affiliate of the Texas Rangers – play at one of the great stadiums in the minor leagues.
For Myrtle Beach Seaside Resorts information: http://www.myrtlebeachseasideresorts.com, 888.571.4104.
Belmond has launched a series of fun-packed family experiences at its hotels in Venice, Portofino, Florence, Ravello, and Sicily.
These family-friendly luxury hotels offer an array of kids’ facilities such as special restaurant menus, children’s spa treatments and in-room bathrobes and slippers. Family experiences on offer include:
Venetian Treasure Hunt at Belmond Hotel Cipriani
Positioned beside the lagoon on the tip of Giudecca Island, Belmond Hotel Cipriani is a true Venetian legend famous for its exquisite interiors and incredible cuisine. The iconic hotel’s younger guests have use of a dedicated kids’ pool, while at the fun-packed Smile Club an English-speaking tutor leads activities such as picnics and pastry lessons.
And the fun doesn’t stop there – beyond the hotel, children can become mini sleuths on a treasure hunt around Venice, tracking down hidden clues in St Mark’s Square before embarking on a gondola ride. Budding artists, meanwhile, can paint a typical Venetian boatyard before learning how the vessels are built followed by an ice-cream along the Fondamenta delle Zattere waterfront; or decorate a traditional Venetian mask before wearing it on a guided tour around the city, learning the history and secrets of the Carnival of Venice.
Private Aquarium Experience at Belmond Hotel Splendido
Set overlooking the picture-perfect harbour of Portofino with its luxury yachts bobbing at anchor, Belmond Hotel Splendido is one of Italy’s most glamorous retreats. The child-friendly luxury hotel offers a host of activities for little ones, from learning Italian to angling with a local fisherman. Other fun-filled diversions include children’s yoga sessions, tennis lessons and pizza-making classes.
For families seeking a truly unforgettable holiday experience, the hotel can arrange an exclusive after-hours evening visit to the Genoa Aquarium. Children can meet the resident dolphins with a marine biologist and enjoy a special behind-the-scenes tour before the family sits down to dinner before the shark tank; or feed the aquarium’s adorable penguins before enjoying brunch or dinner with the sharks or dolphins.
Underwater Photography at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo and Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo sits adjacent to Taormina’s Greek Theatre in Sicily with unrivalled views of the coastline and Mount Etna, while sister hotel Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea is set on its own exclusive beach down in the beautiful Bay of Mazzarò.
Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea’s dedicated kids’ club is available to guests of both hotels, offering a range of fun-filled activities including sandcastle contests and fishing trips with a Sicilian fisherman. Children can also splash out with a supervised underwater photography session at both hotels. Water babies are provided with an underwater camera and goggles, allowing them to snap away as they play in the swimming pool. Children can then keep their underwater camera as a gift from the hotels.
Open-Air Cinema at Belmond Villa San Michele
Nestled on a hilltop amid lush trees and terraced gardens, Belmond Villa San Michele is a 15th-century national monument with unparalleled vistas of Florence. Parents can unwind over a poolside family barbecue, arrange fun days out with the hotel’s dedicated Kids’ Concierge and send the kids off for pizza-making demonstrations and picnics at the supervised Smile Club (open from mid-June until the end of August).
Families can embark on a photographic treasure hunt of Florence, listening for clues on a guided tour before racing to be the first destination to snap a picture of the site in question, before returning to Belmond Villa San Michele where kids can enjoy a weekly open-air cinema night complete with pizzas and popcorn. Parents wanting to jazz up their children’s mealtimes back home can even join a special workshop at the hotel’s acclaimed cookery school, where they will learn to create animal faces and enchanted scenes out of their ingredients.
Holiday Movie-Making at Belmond Hotel Caruso
A former 11th-century palace set on cliffs beside the Amalfi Coast, Belmond Hotel Caruso in Italy seems to drift on a ‘balcony’ above the Mediterranean Sea. Children staying at the hotel are kept occupied with a range of activities including local tennis lessons and pizza-making classes – and can even create a special holiday scrapbook.
For the ultimate keepsake, little ones can capture their holiday adventures on film by directing their own short movie. Led by a talented local film-maker, cameraman and sound engineer, children select the location and soundtrack, plan the scene and act it out for the camera before their film is edited in HD for the family to take home.
Based in the newly renovated club room, the hotel’s Smile Club offers activities including craftwork, face-painting and dancing. Children can also take pottery classes with the resident sculptor, book tennis coaching at the on-site championship courts and embark on a ramble with the hotel’s three donkeys, Pancho, Luna and Alba. Belmond La Residencia can also arrange a personalised underwater photographic portrait. Expert Carmelo Serra assists guests in diving underwater before producing a fine art photographic print.
We’re Off to be A Wizard…Ireland’s Five-Star Ashford Castle Invites Kids to Wizard School This Fall…
This Halloween and Thanksgiving, Ashford Castle in Western Ireland is welcoming families to Wizard School. The 13th-century castle, with its winding passageways, hidden alcoves and secret gardens, lures participants into the magical and mystical world of witchcraft and wizardry hidden within its walls.
A “Forbidden Forest” treasure hunt on the estate’s 350 acres, a visit to meet Dingle (Ashford Castle’s resident owl), painting in the “Chamber of Art,” a cookery class for “House Elves” and a special Wizard School dinner are all part of the two-night package. In the evening, a Harry Potter movie in the castle’s brand-new cinema – complete with jars of candy and popcorn – will be screened, while adults relax in the elegant George V Dining Room with a sumptuous five-course table d’hote menu.
The program is as follows:
Day 1 (October 23, 25 and 30, November 25):
Noon: Forbidden Forest Treasure Hunt for the family (unsupervised)
3pm: Visit the hiding place of Dingle the Owl (supervised)
4pm: Afternoon Chamber of Art (supervised)
5pm-6:30pm: Kids Dinner in Wizard School (supervised)
6:30pm-9pm: Harry Potter Movie Evening (supervised)
From 7pm: George V Table d’Hote Dinner for the adults
Day 2 (October 24, 26, 29 and 31, November 26):
Noon: Hidden Garden Treasure Hunt for the family (unsupervised)
3pm: ‘House Elves’ little helpers Cookery School (supervised)
4pm-5pm: Afternoon Chamber of Witchcraft & Wizardry (supervised)
5pm-6pm: Kids’ Dinner in Wizard School (supervised)
6:30pm-9pm: Harry Potter Movie Evening (supervised)
From 7pm: George V Table d’Hote Dinner for the adults
The two-night package is priced at $1,349 and includes accommodation in a Deluxe Family Room, breakfast and dinner and is based on two adults and two children (under 12 years of age) sharing the room. Complimentary estate activities include tennis, golf, billiards, self-guided walking tours and access to the solarium, steam room and indoor pool. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the castle.
For more information on the Wizard School pacakges at Ashford Castle, please visit www.ashfordcastle.com
Belmond Hotel Caruso is now offering a Create Your Own Movie activity for children and their families when holidaying on the Amalfi Coast. Led by a professional filmmaker, kids will learn how to plan a scene, act it out and capture it exactly as they imagined.
A treasure trove of children’s adventure the ‘Create Your Own Movie’ is intended to bring siblings together and allow them to build memories that will last a lifetime. Acting as both film directors and actors, the children are led to choose the narrative of their short movie, pick the soundtrack according to their tastes and to learn how to plan the scene, act it out and make sure they capture it just how they want it. Under the supervision of a professional filmmaker, the Hotel youngest guests become “literally” protagonists of their day and game.
This new trend goes along with a series of educational fun-packed and easy-going activities created for children to encourage them to have fun while learning and to keep them entertained while parents can relax and rejuvenate.
While the children are busy making their own movie, parents can rejuvenate at the Caruso Wellness Centre and enjoy face and body treatments, massages and special spa treatments. The Intensive Muscle Release Massage and Garden Massage are amongst favourites, along with the camomile massage and numerous oxygen revitalising facials.
Priced at €450 + VAT (22%), the offer includes a 3 hour tour, filming and editing in high definition and either 2 DVD copies, blu-ray versions or the movie on a USB, tailored for 2 kids. To book or for more information, please email email@example.com visit belmond.com.
Exciting-but-safe destinations like Costa Rica, the Galápagos Islands and Iceland, are attracting more families than ever.
This new demand is prompting many tour operators to develop family-friendly itineraries that combine excitement and adventure with comfort and security. The industry name for this booming market niche is “soft adventure.”
“Soft adventure” varies. It can be cycling in Italy, river rafting in Costa Rica, exploring a glacier in Greenland, or even playing cowboy on a Colorado dude ranch. The dollar’s strength against many currencies coupled with a growing desire to expose children to other cultures in an exciting way has made soft adventure the buzz word of 2015.
7 soft adventures perfect for families:
Galapagos Multisport – Perfect for athletic families and fit seniors, this itinerary allows you to explore the Galapagos the active way — hiking, kayaking, biking, and snorkeling. Paddle with sea lions, dolphins, turtles and bountiful birdlife. A truly unique alternative way to view this enchanted archipelago. http://www.adventure-life.com/tours/galapagos-multisport-998
Italy Family Cycling Tour – Cycle the scenic roads along the Adige and Etsch River Valley. Traverse the “Ciclopista del Sole” (bike path of the sun), and experience an awe-inspiring descent into Lake Garda. This cycling tour is perfect for adventurous families who want to explore Italy by bike in a leisurely and luxurious fashion. https://ciclismoclassico.com/trips/family-bike-tour-sud-tyrol/
Greenland Adventure – This photography-hiking adventure is a magnificent introduction to calving glaciers, fjords, hot springs, palatial icebergs, dogsledding, indigenous cultures, and arctic wildlife. Perfect for families who love taking photos, viewing wildlife and hiking. http://bigchilladventure.com
Costa Rica Quest – Wildlife enthusiasts will be thrilled at the chance to tour Tortuguero National Park, one of the most important nesting sites for the green sea turtle. The adventure offers a thrilling whitewater rafting trip on the clear waters of the Sarapiqui River, and culminates with a visit to Arenal, Costa Rica’s most famous – and most active – volcano. http://www.adventure-life.com/tours/costa-rica-quest-612
Colorado Dude Ranch – The High Lonesome Dude Ranch is the premier place to make memories that will last a lifetime. Fishing, equestrian activities, and culinary excellence creates the perfect setting to discover true western tradition and keep everyone in your family happy. http://www.frontiersej.com/public/elegantJourneys/1/The_High_Lonesome_Dude_Ranch/main_menu_ej
Vietnam Family Cycling – This family-friendly “Coastal Vietnam” cycling holiday is designed for both cyclists and their non-rider family members. Using two centrally located hotels in UNESCO World Heritage Sites Huế and Hội An, Ride & Seek guides will offer optional morning rides with the aim of being back at the hotel in time for lunch and traditional tourist activities, ranging from exploring historic sites and National Parks to lounging on the beautiful beaches of Hội An. http://www.rideandseek.com/local/vietnam-coastal
Russia’s Reindeer Adventure – Explore the remarkable Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia’s east coast. Highlights include helicoptering to UNESCO-listed Valley of the Geysers, visiting a camp of reindeer breeders, soaking in an extensive system of hot springs, and trekking Avacha volcano. This is perfect for families with adventurous teens. http://www.mircorp.com/tour_kamfre.asp
Studio M is an all-suite hotel in the Robertson Quay area of Singapore. It’s a bit removed from the nearest MRT, so it’s a little out of the way for business travelers. But for those who don’t mind taking the bus or walking for a bit to get to their destination, Studio M is a great spot. It’s right on the river, a 15 minute walk from Clarke Quay, and there are a ton of cafes, restaurants and wine bars on Robertson Quay that are mostly frequented by locals. As for the hotel itself, its guest rooms have a cool multi-level loft design that make them feel very spacious. To some, this would be considered a fairly cheap hotel in Singapore and a steal. Another great thing about the hotels location is it right next to Alkaff Bridge (The Art Bridge), this beautiful piece of art adds a nice splash of color and distinctive architecture to the Singapore River.
Whether it’s the outdoor pool in the sheltered courtyard, the huge loft-style guest rooms that come equipped with desks and sofas, or the local-favorite Robertson Quay locale, we just can’t get enough of the Studio M Hotel Singapore.
Studio M Hotel
Address: No. 3 Nanson Road, Singapore
Phone: +65 6808 8888
Rates: Start at SG$200 (US$157) per night
The InterContinental Sanya is a relatively new entrant into the crowded Hainan resort market. While most of the international five-star resorts in Sanya are situated on the picturesque Yalong Bay, the InterContinental is all by itself on the Luhuitou Peninsula, about 15 minutes outside of Sanya City. This is a mixed blessing, as it makes it harder to get out and socialize, but it also offers a ton of privacy. The resort is entirely self contained with six restaurants, five swimming pools, a private beach and even its own microbrewery. The rooms are a highlight of the resort, as they’re big, offer ocean views, and come equipped with all of the desired amenities like WiFi, mood lighting and iPod docks.
[Also see our travel article “Sanya Travel Guide“]
At times it feels like the staff outnumbers the guests at this resort, which is not a bad thing. Its large and uncrowded feel make it a great place for a romantic holiday, and though it’s hard to get out and explore from its secluded location, with five pools and seriously awesome guest suites, who would ever want to leave?
Address: No. 1 Zhouji Lu, Sanya
Phone: +86-898 88618888
Rates: Start at ￥1,400 (US$230) per night
Say the word “hostel” and chances are it immediately conjures up images of rowdy college students backpacking around Europe. And while hostels have certainly catered to students and younger travelers over the years — the concept of the hostel was actually founded by a German schoolteacher traveling with his students and in need of cheap accommodations — there’s a growing contingent of older travelers who recognize hostels as an affordable and comfortable option.
Hostels tend to be most plentiful in Europe, where there are fewer budget hotels and the average city hotel room can run several hundred Euros per night, but the idea is gaining popularity in the U.S. and other parts of the world. For the adventurous older traveler on a budget, staying in a hostel can be an ideal way to see the world and not break the bank.
Not All Hostels Are Created Equal
Some older travelers resist hosteling because they think that staying in such an accommodation means sleeping (barely) on a bunk bed in a room with strangers, fighting for bathroom time and dealing with curfews and a long list of restrictions. Even the low rates — some hostels charge less than $20 per night — aren’t enough to convince them.
What these travelers don’t realize is that hosteling has come a long way and for less than the cost of the average American budget hotel they can have clean, comfortable accommodations in some of the world’s greatest cities. Many hostels offer private or family rooms with their own baths, letting travelers get a good night’s sleep and wash in privacy. Some hostels even cater to older travelers, offering rooms and amenities more appealing to the experienced traveler on a budget. It’s not unusual to find hostels that offer cafes, gyms, saunas, Wi-Fi and other amenities. One hostel in Lisbon (click here for Venere.com’s related offerings), for example, offers a free breakfast and a book exchange, while a hostel in London has its own movie theater.
So how does one find the right hostel? Research before the trip to get an idea of the options available. Several websites offer unbiased traveler reviews of individual hostels and by reading the reviews travelers can get an idea of what to expect in terms of the typical visitor, cleanliness and overall experience at the hostel. Pay close attention to themes in the reviews; one person complaining about the cleanliness of the facility or a party atmosphere doesn’t necessarily represent the hostel, but if several people complain about the noise there may be a problem. Look for notes about the location and other factors that could influence enjoyment of the hostel; if younger travelers note the building is located at the top of a steep and tiring hill, older traveler may not want to make that walk after a long day of sightseeing.
Making the Most of the Hostel Experience
One reason that hosteling is so appealing to travelers is that it affords the opportunity to meet and interact with people from all over the world. Hanging out in the common room or even just chatting with roommates introduces new perspectives — and it’s a great way to discover travel tips. So when staying in a hostel, try not to hide out in the room. Instead say hi to others staying at the hostel and try to make friends.
Before arriving at the hostel make arrangements to ensure an enjoyable stay. While reservations aren’t always necessary — another part of a hostel’s appeal — for private rooms it’s best to call ahead and reserve. Pay attention to the check-in times, though, as the hostel might give the room away to the next weary traveler who shows up. If a private room isnt available, request a bottom bunk and bring earplugs to ensure a good night’s sleep.
With low rates and plentiful amenities, hostels offer travelers of all ages the chance to see the world without the high costs of a hotel.
Visitors may be torn between traveling independently or traveling with a group tour the first time they visit a destination, and both options have their pros and cons.
Independent travel is ideal for travelers with an adventurous spirit and is good either solo or in small groups. It allows travelers to move at a slower pace and to better immerse themselves in the local culture. Groups with a unique taste in sights or activities should probably stick to independent travel, as no amount of tour customization can beat traveling solo with only time and a guidebook in hand.
Small group tours, however, have their own benefits. Firstly, they allow travelers to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. Because transportation is already organized and the groups are led by regional experts, group tours can be a great way to pack in a lot of sights in a narrow time frame. Another benefit to group tours is that they offer safety and security. The importance of this might seem inconsequential when planning a trip to Rome, but it can be quite important when considering a trip to destinations off of the beaten path.
[Also see our travel article “Travel Tips for Large Groups“]
Let’s look at some examples. Say a traveler is considering a trip to Spain. One could go independently and spend two weeks lounging on the beaches of Barcelona and exploring the nearby cities of Valencia and Girona. It could be a lot of fun, getting to know the different tapas restaurants and discovering favorite bars and museums.
If that same traveler, however, wanted to take that two weeks and visit the top destinations in all of Spain, a group tour would probably be a better idea, as travel logistics are much more complicated when visiting a dozen cities. Sure, the traveler would only have superficial knowledge of any one destination at the end of their trip, but if the idea of going to Spain without visiting Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla and San Sebastian is unbearable, it is an option.
In another case, countries like India or Russia are perfect examples of destinations where it’s easier to travel with a group than independently, both for logistical and safety reasons.
The next time that you’re waiting in the economy line at the airport, or pulling in at Howard Johnson for a night’s sleep, spare a thought for our less fortunate brethren who can’t experience the joys of traveling on a budget. Unlike most of us, the megarich have to put up with an intolerable amount of luxury, and have no opportunity to experience the character-building joys of modern vacation travel.
Let’s start with something relatively modest – the motorhome. While the average middle-class family might have a camper van or perhaps aspire to a Winnebago, the recreational vehicles available to those who have money are in a different class. A case in point is the Vantare Platinum Plus motorcoach, which is basically a mansion on six wheels. For a very reasonable $2.5 million, you get an interior complete with sofa and chairs covered in the softest Italian leather, many marble and crystal accents, a king-sized bed, a real bath that you can soak in, and of course all of the latest shining stainless steel appliances. You will also find touches of antique bronze, onyx and copper throughout the vehicle.
However, the real party piece isn’t inside the coach. Located under the vehicle, where you would normally find luggage storage on a mundane Greyhound bus, there is a slide-out compartment that – and this is truly incredible – Is designed to take a sports car. Of course, you could fit a little Mazda in there, but what will the neighbors think? Try a Maserati or a Ferrari instead.
Of course, traveling on the road will only get you so far. Sometimes, you have to take to the air, and that’s where finding an airplane for sale comes in. Now, we’re not talking about a Cessna or Beechcraft here. You should be able to pick up a used Boeing 737 for $4 million to $6 million, but that would be cheap. Instead, take a page out of the book of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, who is the proud owner of a customized Boeing 747, which is fitted out with two bedrooms, a dining table that seats 14 people and even a throne. He only paid $220 million for the plane, and it looked for a while that he wanted something a little more upmarket. It seemed that the double-decker Airbus A380 might be more to his liking, and it is reported that he placed an order for a VIP version that included a concert hall with a baby grand piano and seating for 10, a steam room, and even a parking spot for his Rolls-Royce – and accommodation for his horses. However, the financial crisis seems to have got to everyone, and apparently he sold the plane to an unknown private buyer for an undisclosed price before taking delivery. He still does have the 747 however, along with a 420-room palace in Riyadh.
When it comes to yachts, Prince Alwaleed really isn’t at the top of the world league tables. He has a yacht, the Kingdom 5KR, which he bought from Donald Trump in 1991, but that is only 282 feet, making it a dwarf compared to others – such as the 414 foot Octopus owned by Paul Allen, cofounder of Microsoft. The Prince has commissioned a new yacht, the New Kingdom 5KR, which he is going to take delivery of in 2014. However, despite the $500 million price tag, the yacht still won’t be the largest one in the world.
The honor of having the world’s largest yacht used to belong to the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who owns, among other toys, the Chelsea football club in the UK. His Eclipse, launched in 2009, came in at 536 feet and held the title until 2013. Initially, the cost of the Eclipse was supposed to be about $475 million, but there are rumors that the final cost was nearer to $1.5 billion. For that, Abramovich got a boat that included two helicopter pads, a disco hall, two swimming pools and a small submarine. This is one of five yachts that Abramovich owns, although he has had others, including one he gave away as a gift, and another that went to his ex-wife in a divorce settlement.
The undisputed champion of the seas is now the Azzam, launched in 2013. It is over 50 feet longer than the Eclipse, and is said to have a spectacular open plan interior that includes a 90 foot long main salon, although other details of the internal facilities have not been made public so far. For a long time, it wasn’t known who had actually commissioned the yacht, but it turns out that it’s the floating palace of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nayan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi.
Going on vacation can be an exciting time. You’ve got your flights booked, accommodation sorted and you’ve even gone as far as organizing an itinerary for your stay. But regardless of where you are going, everyone needs good luggage. Luggage is essentially just the storage space in which you keep a limited portfolio of your possessions, but it is so much more than just a bag for your clothes. Choosing the wrong luggage for your trip can be awkward, bulky or just generally unsuitable.
Luggage comes in a variety of different shapes, sizes, styles and weights. That is partly because there are so many different reasons and requirements for those using luggage in the first place. A quick flight across the state will probably require a small bag, for example, whereas a long vacation to Europe probably requires something a bit sturdier. To a certain extent, it depends on the type of trip you are planning and the length of time you will be away. But there are ways to ensure you get uniformly more suitable baggage to make your travel arrangements a bit easier.
The first thing to look for when choosing luggage is the size. As a general rule of thumb, you want to buy something that is large enough to fit all of your clothing and accessories, but something small enough not to contravene airline baggage limits. Many airlines specify the dimensions of the maximum bags allowed to be carried on their flights. You may have the option of paying excess baggage charges but these are frequently very expensive. Try to choose luggage that is of a more portable size, yet still offers a good amount of storage space so you can fit in everything you need.
Similarly, your luggage needs to be lightweight. Visit a luggage store, and when possible try to lift different bags. While most will be relatively light on their own, some will definitely feel bulkier and heavier than others. Heavier bags tend to be more robust and sturdier, but this comes at the price of the convenience of lifting and carrying it around while you are away. It is important for your cases to be robust, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of usability.
Aircraft holds are particularly dangerous places for bags to be. As they get tossed around throughout the trip, they can frequently come into contact with other, heavier bags, freight and even machinery. This can chew through poor quality or flimsy luggage, rendering your case – and perhaps also your possessions – unusable. This makes it all the more important to choose luggage that is solid enough to survive the rigors of international travel.
There is no point in sacrificing the volume, or types of things, you can bring on vacation, simply to suit your bag. Choose a bag that is solid enough, but also lightweight enough to be portable – preferably with the wheels to make it even easier to transport. These are advantages you only truly appreciate when something goes wrong with your luggage, but prevention is always better than cure.
When it comes to preparing for your trip, the type of luggage, suitcases and bags you use might not rank immediately top of your to-do list. But it should, because it can have a considerable impact on your enjoyment of the holiday. Not just from the point of view of limiting your wardrobe options, the wrong bags can actually cost you more money, and leave you with a burden to carry around on your arrival and departure days. Choosing the right luggage can put an end to all of this before it even becomes a factor, so you don’t have to worry about the implications of taking the wrong luggage with you.
There is a saying that the traveller who travels lightest also travels furthest. Maybe…..but one thing is for certain – the traveller who struggles around with a huge backpack crammed with non-essentials and just-in-case items quickly becomes a fed up, weary traveller.
Many travellers set out armed to the teeth, ready for all eventualities and with some strange notion that where they are headed people don’t use/sell this, that and other items…..an idea which hardly ever has any foundation.
Of course, a traveller might struggle to find modern comfort items and conveniences in out-of-the-way rural areas, but cities and towns all over the world stock exactly the same items or something very similar.
Shaving your backpack contents down to essential items only means you will be travelling as lightly as is possible. So, what exactly constitutes essential? Well, of course that will depend on the individual and to some degree also on the destination – no one size fits all. However, this list is intended to get you started.
Travel Adapters and Chargers
If you intend to take any sort of electronic device with you then don’t forget their individual chargers and country-specific plug adapters. Surprisingly, these things are not always easy to obtain once you have arrived at your destination and, even if they are available, can take some real hunting down.
The travellers’ watch words here are:
-anything but white
-clothes which you can layer are better than bulky, thick items
-if you are headed somewhere with mosquitoes then remember to include something with long sleeves and legs for evening cover up
-don’t forget to research any religious or cultural customs of your destination to ensure you have appropriate clothing
-roll rather than fold your clothes for packing which takes up way less space and creases them less
First Aid Kit
Although first-aid supplies are available almost everywhere it is always a good idea to carry your own basic kit so it is there ready, should you need it. It is far more useful to make up your own kit than buy a ready-made one because you can tailor it to the needs/risks of your specific destination.
[Also see our travel article “Global Health Insurance Coverage Choices: Travel Insurance Edition“]
There is a great debate that rages among travellers regarding insurance. Of course the choice is yours but travel insurance is relatively cheap and offers enormous peace of mind.
Horror stories abound of those folk who thought they could lighten their budget by avoiding this cost. Bear in mind also that should the worst happen, good policies aren’t just there to financially compensate you but are also there to assist you in times of crises – the very times when you need all the physical, mental and emotional help you can get.
If you are going to be travelling on a tight budget then you will probably be using dorms and using lockers for your valuables. Padlocks are sometimes provided but not always and those that are can be a little on the flimsy side. Bring your own good-quality option for greater security.
Photocopies of Essential Documents
This includes passport, visa, driving licence, work permits – anything in fact which could help you out if the originals of these important documents are lost or stolen.
A Line of Credit
It’s a good idea to open up a line of credit for your trip, even if it’s only for emergencies. A line of credit from a bank or credit card company allows you to withdraw as much or as little as you need depending on the situation. For example, the experts at BB&T recommend a BB&T home equity line of credit because it has a low fixed rate and can be borrowed and repaid whenever it’s convenient for you. This makes it the perfect line of credit to use in case of emergencies or if you run low on funds in the middle of your trip.
Sleeping Bag Liner
Although there are exceptions, it is normally a sure bet that if you spot a traveller carrying a sleeping bag he is a newbie. Experienced travellers have discovered that such a bulky item is both annoying and unnecessary because there are very few places which don’t provide bedding – even those in the super low-budget category.
However, a sleeping bag liner is something else. As a budget traveller you might well find yourself shown to rooms where the bedding looks uninviting to say the least and at those times you will be glad you have your own cocoon. A silk liner is the most useful as it will work to keep you cool when it’s hot and warm if it’s chilly.
The only thing you need here is a small, basic kit which will get you through the first couple of days – shower gel, toothpaste and toothbrush, hand sanitiser, razor, shampoo, deodorant, sun cream.
Don’t take your full bulky bottles from home – just decant a little into small travel friendly containers (plastic not glass), alternatively, invest in some travel sized toiletries.
Another item that is well worth packing is a microfibre towel. These towels are lightweight and compact, saving space that can be used to pack other essentials. Travel towels are also quick drying and often come with anti-bacterial protection to prevent mold and odours from developing.
Ladies – sanitary items can typically be bought everywhere but it is worth noting that tampons are not easily available in many countries.
Great for separating dirty/wet laundry, avoiding toiletry spills and for organising your backpack as a whole.
We all enjoy going on vacation, but, despite the old saying, getting there isn’t always half the fun. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting in long airport queues, suffering through lost luggage, or trying to figure out how to get to the hotel. It’s an awful way to start a holiday. However, there are things travelers can do to make the journey more enjoyable, and this starts before they ever head for the airport.
The first thing they’ll want to do is to find a flight that best meets their needs. For instance, if travelers are flexible on departure dates, they may be able to find a cheap flight from a charter airline such as Thomas Cook. However, if they need to arrive at a specific time, they will probably need to go with an airline that offers regular scheduled flights, such as American, British Airways or Air France.
However, the problem is that searching through huge numbers of airlines for the best deal is both confusing and time-consuming. Rather than doing this, it’s better to use a website that searches all the airlines to find what you want. For example, you can find Thomas Cook flights on www.fly.co.uk, along with flights from American, BA, Air France and literally dozens of other carriers.
The next thing to do is to choose your seat. Travelers can do this online with many airlines, and the earlier one does it, the better choices they will have. Unless someone really want to look out the window, it’s a good idea to choose an aisle seat, since this makes it easy to get up and move around. If legroom is a problem, try to choose a seat in an emergency exit row, since these have extra space. One thing to avoid is choosing a seat at the front of the cabin by the bulkhead, especially on long flights, since this is where airlines often put passengers with babies – who inevitably start crying as soon as the flight takes off.
Once the airline booking/seat selection is out of the way, it’s time to start the trip. It’s a good idea to have distinctively colored luggage and to tag it with names and addresses before setting off on the journey. This will make it easy to spot at the other end, and if the luggage gets lost, people will know where to return it.
Finally, take a look at the hotel website or call them up before departing to ask the best way to get there from the destination airport. They may even offer a free shuttle service.
High End Coverage
- The higher end of travel insurance pays for the option to cancel your trip for any reason. Some travel insurance companies add the “cancel for any reason” option at an additional cost. Premium coverage allows you to cancel your trip for any reason and still be reimbursed your travel costs. People who purchase this Cadillac plan like to cover for the unexpected.
- Travel insurance typically covers medical expenses should you require medical help during your stay. Travelers who purchase medical coverage like the peace of mind of knowing that they can seek medical attention in a far away destination without having out of pocket expenses, according to the U.S. Traveler Insurance Association. Standard coverage costs 4 to 5 percent of the entire cost of your trip.
- Travel insurance offers coverage for lost or stolen baggage, medical evacuation costs, and financial protection should your trip be interrupted, A little known gem called “excess valuation” available from airlines provides an additional $5,000 coverage should the airlines lose your bags. That’s better than the $9.07 per pound they offer with a limit of 40 pounds.
- Seventy percent of cruise travelers buy travel insurance, according to the MSNBC travel article, “9 Reasons to Buy Travel Insurance”. One reason is because unlike traveling in the U.S., where your health insurance typically covers medical emergencies in another state–cruise travel on a foreign flagged ship is not always covered by your U.S. health insurance.
- Buying travel insurance is a personal decision. When spending $20,000 on a 30-day luxury cruise, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it to blow the $20,000 should a real-life emergency intercede. Or is it worth it to protect your investment for a cost of anywhere from $800 to $1,600? With travel insurance, you’re not only protecting your monetary investment. You’re also investing in your peace of mind.
- Make sure your dog’s rabies vaccination is up to date. If it isn’t, plan to get your dog vaccinated before you leave on the trip.
- Plan a visit to your veterinarian within 30 days of your trip. Tell your vet of your intentions to travel to Canada, and that you will need a rabies certificate and an international health exam certificate for your dog.
- Go to your vet appointment. After a quick check up, your vet will issue you an international health exam certificate. You will need to pay a $20 fee for the certificate. You will also need to bring with you the address of your destination in Canada for inclusion on the form.
- Ask the vet for a rabies certificate. The certificate needs to show that your dog’s vaccine is up-to-date. The certificate also must contain a description of your dog along with the specific date, serial number and manufacturer of the rabies vaccine.
- Pack the necessary travel documents for your dog in a convenient place, probably in the glove compartment or with your family’s passports.
- When you arrive at the border checkpoint in Canada, have the required documents ready for inspection by the border agent. Tell the border agent that you are traveling with a dog. Keep in mind that the border agent may not ask to see all of your documents, but it is the law that you have them in the car with you.
- Travel is often seen as a luxury, and when people are earning less or worried about earning less, they may eliminate travel from their budgets. As the world economy struggled in 2009 and into 2010, the travel industry suffered along with other businesses.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, global travel and tourism was down nearly 5 percent in 2009, specifically due to a struggling economy. Still, as the economy bounces back, the tourism industry will as well. The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts a 3.2 percent growth in the travel and tourism industry in 2011.
Internet and Social Media
- Consumers have instant access to reviews and opinions about travel spots and accommodations around the world, as well as airlines, car rental agencies and other related travel companies. More and more, people turn to the Internet to research potential trips and seek out bargains. Thus, the Internet and social media can influence consumers’ travel choices.
According to The Digital Letter, reviews on sites like TripAdvisor “can make or break a destination.” Prospective travelers can read reviews and find out if others found the hotel to be clean and the staff courteous, or if the “service [they will] receive is worthy of [their] time and money.”
The Digital Letter points out that travelers can learn everything they want to know about a destination in a matter of minutes on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. While a business’s website can also play a factor in consumer choice, if independent online reviews aren’t consistent with the company’s claims, travelers are likely to make a different selection.
- Even with a bad economy, some people still need or want to travel. In 2010, savvy travelers have many ways to find deals online and cut their costs before heading out the door. Airlines offer online specials for discount flights and last-minute trips, and companies such as Kayak exist solely to gather the best travel deals on the Internet into one place, so shoppers can compare prices. Travelers no longer need to rely on the standard price for transportation or accommodations. They may now make their travel choices based solely on price.
- Sign up for a free email or Twitter account (if you do not have one already), where you can receive alerts from airfare tracking services that you have registered.
- Sign up with farecompare.com. Receive an update when the price drops on your selected flight. Follow farecompare’s “flyfrom” Twitter feed, which offers location-specific fare sales when you plug in your home airport’s three-letter code, as in “flyfromNYC.”
- Use FareWatch, an exclusive service at gofox.com, to help you track average fares and the current market leader for your itinerary. Select your cities and compare airfares. FareWatch offers unbiased, up-to-date information directly from the Department of Transportation. Create a free account and enjoy internet-only deals, as well as exclusive bonus offers.
- Use yapta.com to help you track the lowest airfare prices before you fly and get airfare refunds if the ticket price increases after you buy. Sign-up through email or Twitter to have yapta track the price of your ticket and alert you of any price fluctuations. Call the airline to claim the credit.
- Subscribe at airfarewatchdog.com to receive daily, frequently, or weekly email alerts about the lowest fares. Select which alerts you want to receive: from your departure city, to your destination city or city-to-city. Airfarewatchdog maintains that all of its low fares are found and verified by humans.
- Use Bing Travel to help you decide when to purchase your airline tickets for the lowest fare. Select your cities and dates to find a Price Predictor, which can indicate whether the lowest fares will rise or fall during the coming week. Use Bing Travel’s Smart Travel Search to easily compare flight results for hundreds of websites and to help you decide when to buy your airline tickets. Book your flight directly at the supplier’s website.
- Begin by calling the airline in question, because the operators that answer the phones have up-to-the-minute information about cancellations and seat vacancies. You won’t find the best seating arrangements or ideal conditions going straight to the airline, but when you’re coming in at the latest possible second, you’ll have to make some concessions.
- Check online and see what kind of deals you can find; this can often turn out to be beneficial. Print out a confirmation of your flight and ticket if you do this, especially if it’s done at the last minute. This will avoid any glitches or confusion once you get to ticketing at the airport, and provide you with proof you actually have the flight, because mistakes can easily happen when things are done with little time before departure.
- Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice when you’re looking for extremely cheap last minute flights, and don’t be too strict on your departure times. Sometimes vacancies pop up and you don’t want to miss an opportunity because you weren’t prepared.
- Keep looking constantly until you find what you need, both online and by continuing to call airlines. By adopting this attitude, and being ready to leave at the drop of a hat, you’ll be in the best position available to have success finding your flights.
- Register on the Southwest website to be notified of special offers. Click on the “Special Offers” button at the top of the website and enter your email address in the Click ‘n Save box. You’ll receive an email each week informing you of special offers.
- Download the DING! program. You’ll be able to choose up to 10 airports and will be notified when there is a sale for those airports. Once you download DING!, you will see a small red airplane tail in your system tray. When there is a new DING! fare, you’ll hear a “ding” sound and can access the fare by clicking on the airplane tail. There are usually only a limited number of seats available at the DING! price and they are booked quickly.
- Keep checking the website. If you have a trip approaching and need to find cheap fares, check the Southwest website several times each day. Check first thing in the morning, in the early afternoon and before you go to bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night, head to your computer. New flights and prices are sometimes added at odd hours, and you’ll want to make it your mission to check the website as often as possible if you want to find cheap tickets.
- Drive to another airport if necessary. If you aren’t happy with the Southwest fares from your local airport, check out the fares in other cities. Determine the maximum number of miles that you would be willing to drive for a lower fare and check all airports in that radius.
- Check prices for two tickets at a time. Airlines price tickets in fare buckets. If there are only two tickets left in a lower fare bucket and you search for four tickets, you will only see the tickets available in the next fare bucket. The system will not split your request between two fare buckets. If you search for two tickets at a time, you’ll be able to book two tickets in the lower fare bucket and two tickets in the higher bucket.
- Book each part of the trip separately. Book two one-way trip flights rather than one round-trip flight. You may find that you have more flexibility when booking this way and can find cheaper fares by booking them separately.
- Plan ahead if you want to save as much money as possible because airline ticket prices skyrocket as the departure date approaches. Begin your ticket search six months to a year in advance of your trip.
- Use the resources of your travel agent if you have one. A travel agent can give you easy access to practically all of the flights going to your destination.
- Sign up for discount offers (again, well in advance or your travel date) at airlines that travel to your international destination. Get on the airline’s email list. Don’t be afraid of junk emails because some of them might actually have the cheap deal you’ve been looking for. Airlines offer new deals almost every day, so sign up and watch out for those emails.
- Use the service at Kayak.com to find discounted flights. This website searches the databases of more than 140 airline websites, and you may be able to easily find your dirt-cheap international airline tickets here.
- Use websites like Orbitz.com or CheapTickets.com. Not only does the Orbitz website find flights, but it can also book your hotel, rental car and any activities that may be involved at your destination.
- Ignore any offers that come to you via unsolicited email (spam) or fax. These offers can look really good, but the con artists behind them always have hidden fees that you won’t find out about until you have given up your personal information.
- Don’t pay any money to join a “club” or pay special fees just to have the privilege of accessing cheap flights. With this scam, you are out a membership fee before you even find out for sure what flights are available. And once you join, you often find that the flights are not any cheaper than flights arranged by a travel agent or through the airline.
- Walk away from any deal that requires you to make your payment “right now.” High-pressure tactics are often a warning sign for scams.
- Pass on the offer if it says “Limited Availability.” That’s another tactic used in cheap flights scams to pressure you into booking the flight.
- Be careful about giving your credit card information to an unknown source. Not only do some con artists run cheap flights scams, but they also sell credit card information to identity thieves as a secondary business.
- Contact the Attorney General’s office in your state if you suspect a scam. With their help you may be able to recover your lost money.
How to Find Great Prices on Flights
- Find the least expensive domestic airfares is to use Yahoo Farechase (in Resources below). This site allows you to find the best prices available from many airlines, as well as discount sites like Orbitz in one step without having to search each of the various sites separately.
- Use Yahoo Farechase–it’s simple. You just plug in your origin and destination cities, whether you want a round trip or one way and your dates of travel, and it pulls up the flights and prices. You are then directed to the airline or other website to book your flight.
- Consider that once you find a great flight, you go to the website. Let’s say that the best price was with AirTran. Now, you can visit AirTran for that specific flight. Call the airline or look on the website itself to see if you can get an additional discount for AAA or AARP.
- Check to see if moving your dates around gets you a cheaper flight. You might find, for example, that there is a special right now for flying on Saturdays.
How to Pay the Least Amount Possible for Your Flight
- Save even more on your flight. If you book your ticket on the Internet, you will generally save about $10 off the charge of calling the airline directly.
- Know that some airlines are now charging you about $5 per flight segment to select seats. You can save money by not picking seats now. The best way to deal with this is to check in early at the airport so you can get the best seats left that day without having to pay those fees.
- Consider that some airlines are now going to be charging for luggage over one checked suitcase. When you are searching for the best fares available, this won’t be factored into the final price, since it is unknown whether a passenger will check extra bags beyond the one. Take this into consideration if you book with an airline that has this new policy and you will need to check more than one bag.
- If you need to be on the beach, the slopes or somewhere in between ASAP head straight for the internet and have a look at the best last minute travel and vacation website, (see the “resources section” at the end of this article for the link) http://us.lastminute.com
This is where you will find the best travel deals for airline tickets and hotel packages to get away today, this weekend or later this month! us.lastminute.com
- If your idea of last minute is more like next month check out http://www.lastminutetravel.com
If you are looking for a last minute travel deal and you are not set on any particular destination go to http://www.shermanstravel.com/top25/
“Shermans travel” offers very impressive cheap trip and vacation packages, including last minute cruise deals and useful travel information.
- Travel smart! If you are not sure if you should plan a trip in advance or wait until the last minute to purchase airline tickets and hotel rooms check out http://farecast.live.com
When you submit your search request, farecast.com will predict if the price of a flight will go up, down or stay the same. Buy now or buy later? Low fares made easy.
Living spontaneously is fun! Save time and money with cheap last minute discount flights. Travel the world! What are you waiting for?
- Travel abroad in the off-season. Summer is the most expensive time to travel as children are out of school and the weather is warmer. Air fares to Europe are much lower between mid-October and March.
- Join Senior groups. Groups such as the American Association of Retired Persons offer travel discounts to anyone over age 50.
- Travel by rail. Amtrak offers a 15% discount for senior travel. In Europe, different countries offers different deals. Eurostar offers 25% off fares for seniors, but they need to be booked ahead of time.
- Look for early-bird menus at restaurants. Many seniors like to turn in early, so an meal served between 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. may suit your needs perfectly. Many restaurants offer the same meals for less money earlier in the evening.
- Ask whenever and where ever you go if there is a senior discount. Many bargain prices are offered but not advertised. Make sure to ask for discounts at hotels, car rentals, retailers, restaurants, or when booking air, bus and train travel.
favorite destinations without breaking the bank. If you don’t know anybody who works in the airline industry that can give you a hook-up, follow the advice below.
- Keep yourself updated on airfare wars by watching the news and reading the newspaper. Look for limited-time promotional fares from major airlines and airline companies just starting up.
- Be flexible in scheduling your flight. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are typically the cheapest days to fly; late-night flights (‘red-eyes’), very early morning flights and flights with at least one stop tend to be discounted as well.
- Ask the airline if it offers travel packages to save money in other areas. For instance, is a rental car or hotel room available at a discount along with the airline ticket?
- Find out whether the stated fare is the cheapest, and inquire about other options when speaking to the airline reservations clerk. If you’re using the Internet, check more than one Web site and compare rates.
- Inquire about standby fares if you’re flying off-season. High season is a bad time to fly standby because most airlines overbook flights, making it difficult to find a spare seat.
- Purchase tickets through consolidators, who buy blocks of tickets and sell them at a discount to help an airline fill up all available seats. Check the travel section of the newspaper under ‘Ticket Consolidators.’
- Book early. You can purchase advance-ticket discounts by reserving 21 days ahead; book even earlier for holiday flights, especially in November and December. Keep in mind that holiday ‘blackout periods’ may prevent you from using frequent-flier miles.
- Stay with the same airline during your entire trip to receive round-trip or connecting fare discounts.
- Gather all your policy information. You will need your policy number, name, address and phone number as well as the policy’s effective date.
- Write a letter requesting a policy refund. State that you would like to cancel your policy and that you are requesting a full refund. Include your policy number, name and contact information.
- Email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 715-345-2915. You may also mail it to Travel Guard, 3300 Business Park Drive, Stevens Point, WI, 54482.
- Save a copy of your request for your files.
- Check the coverage provided by the travel insurance policy.
- Decide the line of action based on the type of loss or mishap sustained.
- Inform the insurance company immediately after the event, as it will help speed up processing of the claim.
- Call the insurance agent to make sure you use the correct claim form. Claim forms differ according to the kind of coverage in your policy.
- Ask the insurance agent about the information and documents required for processing your claim. Usually several documents as well as pertinent information about your travel need to be submitted with your claim form. These typically include travel date(s), mode of transport, name of travel agency and reservation receipts.
- Collect and retain all the documents you believe are related to your claim for the kind of coverage in the policy. Your insurance agent can guide and help you in this effort.
- Cooperate with the adjuster from the insurance company to verify your claim.
- Assess the depreciation value, if possible.
- Monitor your claim status. It may be available online.
- Stay in touch with your agent to ensure prompt processing of claim.
Documents Needed for Specific Claims:
- Rental car claim: Provide the make of car, travel date, proof of travel, police complaint copy and the estimate of loss or damage.
- Air travel: Provide a copy of the airline tickets, proof of travel and estimated loss or damage.
- Baggage theft: Provide a list of items that are lost or stolen, a copy of the complaint to police and travel agency and estimated cost.
- Baggage delay: Provide a list along with receipts of urgent purchases until your baggage was returned.
- Medical expenses: Track the treatment offered and retain a list of prescriptions and receipts for reimbursement.
- Cruise clothing, cameras, computers, sports equipment and electronics are expensive. If your luggage is misdirected or lost, travel insurance can replace your items and compensate for the financial loss. Common carriers, including airlines, cruise ships, buses, ferries and trains, include some coverage in the purchase of your ticket. This coverage is often quite limited and may not cover the value of your items. Travel insurance providers offer additional coverage to cover lost or stolen items. Compare insurance plans to make sure that you have adequate insurance to replace all high ticket items you transport.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance
- Online insurance providers offer dozens of different policies and add-on options to provide complete comprehensive insurance for persons planning a cruise vacation. Several providers offer up to $1 million in accidental death insurance, coverage for medical emergencies, medical evacuation, lost baggage, flight interruptions and cancellations, as well as for trip disruption for business. Use their interactive tools to find a policy that offers you emotional and financial assurance. Enter the date of departure and return, destinations and the number of people traveling in your group. Special group rates are offered for parties of 10 or more. Most companies offer free coverage for children under the age of 18 traveling with an insured guardian or parent.
- Compare policies by reading the fine print. Determine if there are rules or regulations that limit coverage based on previous conditions, age or gender. Travel insurance companies also offer coverage for high risk sports activities, such as rock climbing, scuba diving, skiing and white water rafting. If activities offered by your cruise line or activities on shore put you at risk, this type of coverage is a prudent purchase.
- An illness in the family, conflicting business obligations, inclement weather, airline strikes or political unrest can cause you to need to cancel or reschedule your cruise vacation plans. Cruise lines, both large and small, offer insurance packages that will offset the expense of events that can disrupt your travel itinerary. Be sure to read the fine print carefully and ask questions if you do not fully understand the extent and limitations of a policy.
- People whose baggage containing their medication is lost or stolen can fill emergency prescriptions because of travel insurance.
Identification and Cash
- Travel insurance is important if people’s passports and wallets are lost or stolen. The insurance helps travelers replace lost identification and get emergency cash.
- Travel insurance covers medical emergencies, accidents and treatments that may occur on a trip to a foreign country.
Acts of Nature and Terrorism
- Travel insurance covers money people loss if they have to evacuate their vacation location due to severe weather like hurricanes, typhoons or tsunamis. If travelers wish to cancel their trip because a terrorist attach occurred at the travel destination, travel insurance gives them a refund.
- People with travel insurance will not lose money if cruise lines, airlines or tour operations file for bankruptcy. The insurance covers non-refundable expenses.
- If the airline cancels a traveler’s flight, travel insurance refunds the cost of the plane tickets.
- Travel insurance refunds trips that have been canceled because of personal circumstances, such as illness.
- Protect yourself from expensive hospital bills and fees by purchasing emergency medical care with your insurance. This portion of your policy reimburses you for emergency procedures due to changes in air pressure, elevation and illnesses that may develop on your flight.
- Prevent a ruined vacation due to postponed flights or mechanical difficulties with flight disruption coverage. This coverage allows you to transfer tickets from one airline to another or use alternative transportation methods.
- Keep your trip going despite the failure of travel carriers when you get business default insurance. This specialized portion of your policy will keep you on helicopters and airplanes even if the provider goes bankrupt or fails to meet their obligation to customers.
- Check the policy you purchase to determine how far its service stretches globally. Get a policy that has a contract with reliable air carriers in major destinations throughout the world to get the best value.
- Determine the level of experience your travel insurance dealer possesses before you sign your name on a policy. Many travelers may assume that a local agent provides better service than online dealers. This perception is not always accurate, as there are many insurance providers with years of experience selling policies online.
- Pay close attention to the life insurance aspects of air travel coverage as you determine the best policy for you. This portion of your air travel insurance pays out a certain amount of money to your next of kin in case of accidents in flight to make up for lost earnings.
- Review the definitions of an applicable airplane or airline in your travel insurance policy as you set up your next trip. Some insurance providers will not cover charter flights or new airlines in remote areas due to the level of risk involved.
- Review your past and future travel itineraries and count the number of international trips that you expect to make on a yearly basis.
- Ask your personal or group health provider if they offer medevac coverage as an add-on to your health insurance.
- Read articles on the various coverage options for international travel medevac and terrorism policies at the Smarter Travel website. The articles often have links to companies that sell medevac policies.
- Compare the current rates and coverage for at least three providers. Request a written quote by mail or by fax. You will often get better coverage from companies that have offices and customer service representatives worldwide.
- Check the Better Business Bureau rating for the companies that you are considering. In addition to complaints or warnings, note how long the company has been operating as an emergency medical evacuation provider.
- Consult the Consumer World site for in-depth reviews of different travel insurance companies, links to government consumer agencies and information on avoiding travel scams.
- Choose a carrier whose coverage meets your needs. Purchase an annual coverage policy if you make several trips every year. Purchase per-trip coverage, if you only plan to make one or two international trips a year.
What is Travel Insurance?
- Tourists purchase travel insurance to protect against unforeseen events such as inclement weather, sudden business closure, lost luggage and other nuisances. Insurance policies may even cover rare occurrences like terrorist evacuation and plane crashes. They’re a security blanket that could save time and money in the long run. However, some argue that travel insurance is superfluous and a waste of money, pointing out that many airline carriers cover lost baggage, while credit cards frequently cover losses from shuttered transportation concerns. There is also the danger of scams from unscrupulous, non-licensed dealers. Fine print problems exist; CNN notes that name ambiguity can shade regulation and contractual guarantees. Travel insurance may seem like a good idea, but it’s necessary to study the facts before buying.
Tricky Travel Insurance Contracts
- Be sure that what you’re purchasing is actually a state-regulated insurance plan. Steve Dasseos, chairman of Tripinsurancestore.com, states that buyers are often misled by policies called “trip protection plans.” These deals are anything but, since they’re not official insurance policies with any sort of government policing. Look for plans that are labeled by name as insurance products.
Read the fine print. Just like health insurance, pre-existing conditions are a way for an underwriter to deny coverage. This means that a flight-induced anxiety attack that results in a hospital visit in the middle of Paris won’t result in a refund of the hospital costs, especially if the sufferer is under treatment for mental health issues. Some companies issue pre-existing insurance waivers, but those require strict adherence to company regulations to apply.
What Type of Insurance is the Best to Get?
- Peter Greenberg, TODAY travel editor, states that “while a majority of those who don’t buy travel insurance are familiar with flight and trip cancellation insurance, many people are unaware of travel health insurance, baggage coverage and medical evacuation insurance. ” All types of insurance are not created equal, with some types a bad value for the money.
Flight insurance, sold at airports as a high-priced add-on item, is usually considered a poor investment. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance is dependent on the value of the trip being covered; the more expensive the cash outlay, the more necessary this policy is. Travel health insurance with medical evaluation coverage is great for those that travel internationally. Lastly, baggage insurance is great if you dress expensively. Otherwise, airline baggage coverage will probably do. Keep valuables like jewelry and computers on your person at all times to avoid trouble and minimize the chance of loss.
- Seek the definition of senior citizen by an insurance provider as you collect a quote. The traditional definition is 65 years old, but some travel insurers have moved the age up.
- Research senior citizen travel insurance that covers specific methods of transportation. You should review policies for air travel, cruises and rail travel to find the right coverage for your upcoming vacation.
- Modify travel insurance quotes based on the length of your trips. Many senior citizens get policies that provide coverage during summer or winter stays in a different region. If you plan on traveling extensively as a senior citizen, a permanent plan will save you money and provide steady coverage.
- Write out a travel budget to set spending limits for travel insurance. You should include flights, accommodations, dining and extra expenses as the staples of this budget. After calculating the total for these fixed expenses, add between five to 10 percent of the total as a fair estimate of insurance premiums.
- Visit a variety of travel insurance agents to find one with a combination of experience and a wide range of options. The ideal insurance agent will unveil a menu of basic and premium services that can be added to your policy for optimal coverage. You should also note any awards, certifications or positive reviews highlighted by an agent.
- Place the emergency medical coverage in your travel insurance with your health care plan. You can get a clear picture of the financial protections or burdens you will face if you experience health issues during your trip. Check out medical liability coverage if there is too big a gap between policies.
- Check your existing insurance policies and credit card coverage before you buy travel insurance. You may already be covered for medical expenses, canceled tickets or lost luggage.
- Decide which type of travel insurance is best suited for your destination (for example, terrorism insurance for your trip to Egypt, or emergency medical transportation insurance during your ocean cruise). Keep in mind that the cost varies widely, depending on your age, your health, and the cost and length of your trip.
- Determine whether the following is included in your policy: international medical insurance, emergency medical evacuation (including helicopter transport), accidental death and dismemberment, repatriation of remains and family travel benefits.
- Have your travel agent purchase an insurance plan for you or shop commission-free online. You’ll find a wide selection of reputable insurance companies on the Web, including Travel Guard and Access America, that can get you a policy within 24 hours (see Resources).
- Make sure your travel insurance provider offers 24-hour hotline service. Don’t buy trip-cancellation insurance from the tour operator that may be responsible for the cancellation, and don’t overbuy–you won’t be reimbursed for more than the cost of your trip.
- Although creative talent is necessary for any writer, a good education is the first step. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that a bachelor’s degree is usually required for a writer, especially one who wants a full-time job. Degrees in English, communications or journalism are typically preferred by employers. If you already know your target is travel writing, choose travel-related topics for course assignments whenever possible. Consider taking foreign language classes as electives to improve your ability to communicate in other countries.
- Writing experience will help you sharpen your skills and make you more attractive to an employer. Work for your high school yearbook or college newspaper while you complete your education. Explore part-time jobs or freelance opportunities with magazines and non-profit organizations, and in advertising or publishing companies. Some magazines offer summer internship, so look for travel magazines if possible. Many aspiring writers create personal blogs, both as a creative outlet and to practice their skills. Talk to your local Chamber of Commerce or visitor’s bureau about writing local flyers, newsletters and brochures for travelers to your area.
- In today’s electronic world, a thorough knowledge of computers and excellent computer publishing skills are mandatory for a writer. Online publications might use text plus graphics, audio, video, animation and still pictures, all of which you might use in your work as a travel writer. Take additional courses to help increase your knowledge base and skills. Focus on topics that will help you prepare material directly for the Internet, such as graphic design, page layout and multimedia software. You might also be off the beaten track as a travel writer, so learn how to troubleshoot basic computer problems so you can still file stories even if you can’t find a computer technician in your area.
- Many travel publications accept articles from freelance writers. Check their websites for submission guidelines, and if necessary, offer to write some articles for free to get your work known. Once you’ve built a reputation, you can propose articles to editors who know your work. Networking helps in establishing yourself, so join travel writers’ organizations or establish relationships with travel agencies or other organizations such as public relations firms involved in travel and tourism. Don’t expect overnight success, as it takes a long time to establish yourself as a travel writer and positions are limited.