Category Archives: Travel

How You Can Spot a Travel Scam

Unlike most products, travel services usually have to be paid for before they are delivered. This creates opportunities for disreputable individuals and companies. Some travel packages turn out to be very different from what was presented or what the consumer expected. Some don’t materialize at all!

How You Can Spot a Travel ScamWonder how you can spot a travel scam?

If you receive an offer by phone or mail for a free or extremely low-priced vacation trip to a popular destination (often Hawaii or Florida), there are a few things you should look for:

* Does the price seem too good to be true? If so, it probably is.

* Are you asked to give your credit card number over the phone?

* Are you pressured to make an immediate decision?

* Is the carrier simply identified as “a major airline,” or does the representative offer a collection of airlines without being able to say which one you will be on?

* Is the representative unable or unwilling to give you a street address for the company?

* Are you told you can’t leave for at least two months? (The deadline for disputing a credit card charge is 60 days, and most scam artists know this.)

If you encounter any of these symptoms, proceed cautiously. Ask for written information to be sent to you; any legitimate travel company will be happy to oblige. If they don’t have a brochure, ask for a day or two to think it over; most bona fide deals that are good today will still be good two days from now. If they say no to both requests, this probably isn’t the trip for you.

Some other advice on how you can spot a travel scam:

* If you are told that you’ve won a free vacation, ask if you have to buy something else in order to get it. Some packages have promoted free air fare, as long as you buy expensive hotel arrangements. Others include a free hotel stay, but no air fare.

* If you are seriously considering the vacation offer and are confident you have established the full price you will pay, compare the offer to what you might obtain elsewhere. Frequently, the appeal of free air fare or free accommodations disguises the fact that the total price is still higher than that of a regular package tour.

* Get a confirmed departure date, in writing, before you pay anything. Eye skeptically any promises that an acceptable date will be arranged later. If the package involves standby or waitlist travel, or a reservation that can only be provided much later, ask if your payment is refundable if you want to cancel, and don’t pay any money you can’t afford to lose.

Senior Trip Ideas

Peter Greenberg has compiled a roundup of some of the more interesting options for senior trip ideas, which run the gamut from safaris to small-ship cruises.

senior trip ideasELDERTREKS

One of the most adventuresome senior trip ideas, ElderTreks has been offering senior-oriented trips for almost two decades. With both land and sea vacations, ElderTreks features some pretty exotic destinations, including Mongolia, Ethiopia, and Antarctica. Most of the offerings tend toward the strenuous, but the Activity Level rank gives an idea of just how active a particular tour is.

A Level 3 (most physical) voyage in Ethiopia, for example, could include climbing down the base of the Blue Nile Falls, a three-hour hike in Lalibela, and camping in the Omo Valley after some serious off-roading. ElderTreks are not for the faint of heart or the physically unfit, and can range from about a week to a month or more. If you’re adventurous, and looking to meet someone else who is, too, consider joining up with ElderTreks.

SINGLES ADVENTURE CRUISES

While the “Adventure” moniker may be a bit misleading considering this company’s emphasis on large-ship cruising. Still, for seniors aged 55+, it could be a good way to meet others. Senior singles in need of a buddy or wingman might like the “Travel Mates” program, which can help to start friendships and meet up with a roommate to avoid a singles supplement charge. Do be careful when exploring Singles Adventure Cruises options, though — seniors should look for cruises specifically targeted to them. Otherwise, you could end up on a cruise full of single, hard-partying twenty-somethings. Their garishly-designed website doesn’t help, but seniors should look for cruises targeted at the “55+.”

They also offer “Ad-Lib Cruises” for folks who don’t like to be over-scheduled with group activities. These cruises allow you to be on a ship with significant numbers of singles and participate in group activities when you desire, yet still give you the freedom to pursue your own schedule, making this on of the best single senior trip ideas.

GOLDEN TRAVEL GUIDES

Golden Travel Guides isn’t actually referring to the “golden years”; the company was started in 1997 by Rick Golden. But they do have plenty of options for senior travel, providing seniors with a search engine for exploring options on their own over the Internet. Alternately, they offer a toll-free number to allow you to speak with an actual “travel specialist” to help make your plans. Not all of their trips are singles-oriented; however, a significant percentage of their travelers on nearly every trip are, in fact, single.

ELDERHOSTEL

With more than 8,000 all-inclusive trips in all 50 states and more than 90 foreign countries, Elderhostel has a global reach. But a couple of things make Elderhostel a bit different from other senior-focused tour companies. First, as a non-profit, Elderhostel is dedicated not to making money, but to providing meaningful experiences that help and educate both travelers and their hosts. Second, Elderhostel maintains a strong commitment to community service with many of its tours.

For example, seniors learn about habitat restoration and biological research by helping scientists study endangered Giant Otters and Hyacinth Macaws in Brazil’s Pantanal. Finally, Elderhostel is committed to education as a goal for travel, with many of their trips having significant cultural components to show seniors a more meaningful side to the country than they might otherwise see. Elderhostel also offers inter-generational trips, for grandparents looking for service-oriented vacations for the whole family.

ALUMNI CLUBS

One final single senior trip ideas vacations…trips for college alumni. Many university alumni clubs will sponsor trips that can re-connect seniors to long-lost classmates and spark new relationships. The added bonus of these trips, aside from the fact that all the participants will have at least their college in common, is that it will often help the ol’ alma mater, too. Contact your former college for more information on joining an alumni club.

Tips for Traveling With Children

The Basic Tips for Traveling With Children

tips for traveling with childrenFor most people, the only time when the thought of traveling with children wasn’t frightening was before they actually had kids of their own! Those with children often cringe at the thought of traveling (in any fashion) with their kids in tow. If you are preparing for a trip and have kids, then you are probably experiencing a little anxiety about how you are actually going to manage the logistics of traveling with the kids…without killing anyone!

Tips for Traveling With Children
Don’t worry. It is possible to have an enjoyable trip while traveling with kids. While there’s no guarantee that your children will act like the angels they are for the entire trip, following a few bask rules can help everyone be on their best behavior.

1. Take Advantage of “Sleep” Hours. When traveling with young children, you will find it very beneficial to plan the bulk of your traveling during the hours your children normally sleep. For example, if you are traveling by car and your destination is 12 hours away, consider leaving at night, around your kids’ bedtime. You and your spouse/partner can drive in shifts to ensure traveling all night is possible. Then, when the kids wake up in the morning, most of your traveling will have already been done. For plane trips, look for early flights so the kids will rest on the plane ride.

2. Pack More Than You Think You Need. This is a very important rule to remember when traveling with children. Always pack more than you think you will need. This goes for all things, but especially toys. A toy that you think will keep your child entertained for 15-20 minutes, will probably only hold their attention for 5-10 minutes. Therefore, make sure you have plenty of things to keep your child busy. Many parents actually go and purchase a few new toys before a big trip and wait until they’re in the midst of traveling before pulling them out.

3. Allow Time for “Pit” Stops. There is no such thing as a non-stop trip with kids. It doesn’t matter how short of a trip you’re going on…kids aren’t able to sit for hours on end without stopping. It’s important that you give your kids a few opportunities to get out, use the restroom and stretch their legs a little when traveling. An easy way to incorporate “pit” stops in your travel plans is to stop at normal meal times. Stopping to eat usually gives kids at least 30 minutes outside of the vehicle, which will do wonders for them!

4. Plan a Few “Fun” Things. To ensure everyone in the family has a good time, make sure you plan a few activities that your kids will find fun. Having fun activities planned specifically for the kids will not only give them something to look forward to while traveling, but it also gives you some bargaining power as well. “Fun” things can be as simple as stopping for ice-cream or as time-consuming as visiting a popular amusement park. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something the kids will enjoy!

You can get even more FREE tips for budget traveling from Globe Cheap’s free report. Grab it and find ways to save while traveling!

It’s hard to imagine any parent getting excited about traveling with their kids (the actual traveling part, anyways), but if you follow these Tips for Traveling With Children, the thought and act of traveling with your children shouldn’t be as stressful. Just remember: kids are kids. They don’t have the patience or attention span of adults; therefore, traveling with them will require a little more thought and patience on your part.

6 Top Winter Cruise Destinations

A warm, sunny cruise sounds so good in the middle of a cold, damp winter! Finding the Top Winter Cruise Destinations will help you discover a wonderful escape that can provide all kinds of great memories. You’ll have a chance to shop, soak up sunshine, explore historic places, and view spectacular natural landscapes. Here are some of the top winter cruise destinations.

Presidents Day Savings!

6 Top Winter Cruise Destinations

1. Australia and New Zealand

It doesn’t get much more “south” than the sunny southern hemisphere, which is in the middle of summer during January. You can scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef, tour the Sidney Opera House, and visit the historic area known as “The Rocks.” In New Zealand, there are lovely national parks like Tongariro National Park and Fiordland National Park. Expect a cruise to this part of the world to last about two weeks.

2. South America

A South American cruise offers sightseeing in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, and other destinations. You can see the Amazon River and the Galapagos Islands. When you choose a South American cruise, your choice is based on the sights you want to see, as there are many South American cruise routes.

3. Caribbean

On a Southern Caribbean cruise, you will get to see the islands that are dry and warm this time of year, such as Aruba and Barbados. This is a wonderful cruise for those interested in or fascinated by volcanoes. There are also dense rainforests on the islands of Grenada, Tobago, and St. Lucia.

Cruises to the Bahamas are included in Eastern Caribbean cruises, particularly those that set sail from Florida. The islands of St. John, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico are usually visited on these cruises.

If you choose a Western Caribbean cruise, you can visit Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba, and Cozumel.

4. Dubai

For an exotic cruise with a Middle Eastern flavor, Dubai is an excellent choice. There is also very good shopping in Dubai, and the beaches are said to be very beautiful.

5. Hong Kong

This teeming, vibrant city is a good cruise destination for the winter. Its impressive harbor, Victoria Harbor, provides a striking view. You can engage in dolphin-watching, or watch a “Symphony of Lights” at Victoria Harbor.

6. Hawaii

Another volcano-intensive cruise, a trip to Hawaii in the winter months is a tradition for some. The temperature in Hawaii remains pretty much constant, and the beautiful beaches and spectacular views make this a popular cruise in winter. You get all the exotic experience of an out-of-the-country cruise, but without worrying about changing currency or other headaches.

 

As you can see, winter is a perfect time to take a cruise with many exotic top winter cruise destinations awaiting you.

Should I Get Travel Insurance?

key-west-81664_1280No one like to think about insurance.  That is especially true for travel insurance.  Many travel agents today will not even ask their clients if they want insurance for fear of losing the deal.  Many people considered it a rip-off and not necessary.

This is not so true anymore.  People are realizing that they potentially have a lot to lose when traveling today.  Smart travelers are considering the right insurance an essential item when planning a trip.  Some even consider it downright irresponsible to leave home without it. So when you ask yourself “Should I get travel insurance?” think long and hard before you say no.

There are many reasons why you should have travel insurance.  Here are a few:

  1. Your flight can get cancelled and totally wreck your plans
  2. Your baggage can get lost
  3. Your passport or wallet can get stolen (You need emergency cash)
  4. You get sick
  5. You get injured
  6. Your cruise line, airline, or tour operator goes bankrupt
  7. You are forced to evacuate your hotel, cruise or resort due to storms or disasters (hurricanes, wildfires, etc.)
  8. Rental car accidents
  9. Trip cancellations
  10. Peace of mind (probably the most important)

I am sure there are other reasons but these are the ones that come to my mind.  Most of them are related to recovering your financial losses, but knowing you are cared for in an emergency situation can be priceless.

What should you look for when buying travel insurance?  The first thing to consider is what coverage you may already have.  Some credit cards offer varying degrees of protection if you use them to book your travel.  Some car insurances cover your rentals.  You may have adequate life insurance coverage and don’t need any extra.  Make sure you check all of these out before deciding what travel insurance you need.

So what are the types of travel insurance?  Here are some of the basics:

  • Medical – If you travel out of the country your health care insurance probably won’t cover you.  This includes foreign-flagged vessels such as most major cruise ships.  I would strongly consider getting this if that is you situation.
  • Trip Cancellation – Most booking d3eals you get today are non-refundable.  If you have a big investment in your trip you should get this insurance.  Less than $100, not so much.
  • Baggage – Damaged, stolen or lost it’s good to have some reimbursement to get those new clothes you have to buy when you arrive.
  • Evacuation – Natural disaster or civil unrest can be very unsettling.  And very expensive to relocate to safety.  This can cover those costs.
  • Death – Think regular life insurance.  For your loved ones in case the worst happens on your trip.

Should I Get Travel Insurance?

It is very hard to put a price tag on peace of mind.  Just remember to make sure you get what you need but only what you need.  Do your research so you can have peace of mind in knowing you are covered as well as not spending more than you had to.

How to Cure Common Travel Worries

Are you someone who would really love to spend time traveling, seeing new places having new experiences? But do you also find yourself freaking out when you start thinking about planning such a trip? Don’t worry, this is fairly common. Many people suffer from what is referred to as ‘travel phobia’. Maybe you are not afraid of flying but you are afraid of all the things that can go wrong while flying. You have heard the horror stories so you hesitate to book that trip and find yourself missing out on some great experiences.
Well, don’t let these phobias get you down, there is a cure. These suggestions by Rick Seaney explain how you can alleviate some of the common travel phobias.  Don’t let anxiety keep you from enjoying life, try these tips and have yourself a stress-free vacation!

1. The Getting Started Phobia
You want to travel but don’t know where to begin. Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and make a few lists regarding where you want to go and what you want to see.

Plan ahead: Go online and Google “official tourism site for [destination]”. Now, the fun part: Pick out attractions or activities you absolutely must see. Then, where possible, book tickets (or at least make reservations). Do it quickly because popular activities can fill up quickly (like a White House tour, for example). Finally, print out receipts and/or reservations (yes, these can live on your phone but paper copies are always good).

Don’t over-plan: Leave some empty space on your day-to-day trip calendar because sometimes you just need a break – time to do nothing more strenuous that bask on that beach in Florida or wander the Champs-Élysées of Paris.

 

2. Security Phobia

We all get this to some extent but security is here to stay. The good news is with PreCheck you’ll get a faster experience and a five year membership only costs $85 (and personally I think the shorter lines are worth $17 a year). If you travel much internationally, Global Entry makes returns to the U.S. faster and easier and it includes PreCheck.

 

3. Packing and Baggage Phobia

The trick is to pack light and pack early. With just a few exceptions, carry-ons are free while the vast majority of airlines charge $50 round-trip for a checked-bag. Packing only what you need as opposed to what you might want to bring is key and packing light is easy with the roll-your-clothes method.

Another tip: Pack a day or two ahead of time and place a list of last-minute items to add to the bag on top of it.

 

4. No WiFi Phobia

This is a vacation, so ease off on the email and text messages. Yes, we know you’re important but if the office really needs you, they’ll call. Free yourself so you can actually enjoy the vacation you’ve worked so hard for.

 

5. Fear of Glitches Phobia

Here’s another instance where ‘letting go’ is sometimes the best thing to do. Yes, a flight might be delayed but so what? Stuff happens and you can’t fix everything so just relax. If stuck in an airport, here’s where electronics will come in handy so fire them up (you packed the charger cord, right?) and find out what’s happening on Game of Thrones. Your plane will take off eventually.

 

One more thing: Be polite in all your dealings with airline representatives and it’ll come back to you, or at least that’s what a rep told me long ago: “Who would you rather help, Mr. Jerk or Mr. Nice Guy?”

So don’t let these little fears get in your way.  The reward of travel far outweighs the risk and most of these things are minor when you look at the big picture.  Happy travels!

If You’re Planning a Road Trip With the Kids  You Need to Read This…

trip-307920_1280Are you getting ready to head out on a family road trip for Spring Break? Snacks, iPods and coloring books are a must, as are activity books full of games, puzzles and stickers. Here are five of my favorite children’s activity books that are perfect for your next road trip: License Plates Across the States: Travel Puzzles and Games: Kids […]

Source: 5 Must-Have Activity Books for Family Road Trips – Kidventurous

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