travel-brochure

20 Tips You Need to Know For Holiday Travel

It is nice to get away for the holidays, especially to warm climates. However, it can be very stressful since everyone else has the same idea and everyone flocks to the airport at the same time. Here are 20 tips that we feel you need to know for holiday travel.

  1. Be prepared for crowded airports and long line-ups. The more you prepare yourself for this fact, the less stress you will likely feel.
  2. Check-in online to reduce the wait time at the airport.
  3. Check different airlines, flight dates, and alternate routes for best price and fastest flight.
  4. Get a direct flight, with no connections, if possible. Connecting flights can be stressful, especially at big airports.
  5. Sometimes you can get a better price if you buy one-way ticket to and from your destination. But this requires more preparation and price hunting.
  6. Look for package deals that include air/hotel or air/hotel/car. There is a lot competition for vacation travelers during the holidays so you may find a great deal.
  7. Cheapest flights are either early morning or red-eye (overnight) as most people prefer to be asleep during those hours. But flying at those times will mean you also will get an extra day, or most of a day, to enjoy your destination.
  8. Make sure to leave for the airport with plenty of time as security checks are longer than usual and you may miss your flight as a result.
  9. Traveling on Christmas/Christmas Eve or New Year’s/New Year’s Eve Days can have less travelers than other days around the holidays as most people are busy celebrating.
  10. The holiday travel period is a good time to use those travel points you accumulated.
  11. Make sure to pack any medicine you may need, including sunscreen, medication for diarrhea, headaches, etc.
  12. If you can get away with packing everything in carry-on luggage you will move quicker through the airport since you can skip the check-in and luggage pickup. This means you can start your vacation faster.
  13. Buy gifts at the Duty-Free shop to have more time to enjoy your destination. And also reduce the need for more luggage space.
  14. Take advantage of short-cuts at the airport such self-service ticketing, checking-in, and visa kiosks if available.
  15. Fully charge up your mobile devices.
  16. Make sure you know your roaming costs. Smartphones are constantly checking the Internet and if you are not connected to WiFi you can get a very expensive surprise when you get back home.
  17. Get flight protection. Winter flights can be postponed or canceled if the weather is really bad.
  18. Download your own entertainment that you can enjoy on the flight and your hotel (if there is unexpected inclement weather).
  19. Take a snack and water with you to the airport to avoid the expensive food and drink sold at airports. Take just enough to finish before you go through security. Being hungry or thirsty can make you more tense and irritable.
  20. Install travel apps on your phone, especially one from the airline you will be traveling to get updates. Make sure the airline has your email address so they can send you updates specific to your flight.

Bonus Tip

Enjoy your vacation!

listening-ocean-nature-sounds

How to Extend Your Post Vacation High

If you are like me, then you likely start feeling a low coming on as the end of your vacation approaches. This can usually begin a day or two before your return flight. Then, once you return home, you can get into a bit of a depression for a few days, especially if you return to wintery weather and daily routine. This is commonly reffered to as post vacation blues. Here are a few tips on how you can extend your vacation high after you return home.

Bear in mind that a lot of what we take in through our eyes and ears impacts our emotions. So relive your vacation through those senses. Did you go to the islands or another tropical place? Why not listen to local traditional music. Make sure you buy yourself a CD or DVD of the music while on vacation to listen back home. Yes, you can download it probably on iTunes or Amazon.com but having a physical disc with art and photos has an effect on both eyes and ears, and even touch of the hands. Try to get your hands on recording of natural sounds from the destination you visited. Listen to it with your eyes closed and picture yourself still there. Or listen while looking at the pictures you took. This is a great way to relax, especially before going to sleep. The day-to-day hustle of your life at home can slowly fade away as your mind drifts to the beautiful place you visited. Did you forget to buy music and sounds during your vacation? Don’t worry. You can purchase these vacation souvenirs online once you are back home.

Buy yourself souvenirs that are big enough to place as decoration in your home. Things like art work, paintings, large prints of photographs, etc. These will be a constant reminder of your vacation and you will get a feeling that you had when you were there each time you look at these souvenirs.

You will like this next tip. Try to learn to make dishes indigenous to the place you visited. Did you go on a vacation to Mexico? Learn to make tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, gorditas, etc. Did you vacation in Jamaica? Learn to make roti. The same can be said of vacations to Europe, Africa, Asia, and other places. This is a fun way to recreate some of the experience you had on vacation. Plus, you are adding another sense to sight and hearing, that of taste.

Another sense that you can reignite to feel your vacation high is smell. I love the smell of coconut oil. It makes me feel like I am at the beach. It is a very particular smell of lotions that people put on while on the beach. Smelling it can lift up the mood and make you remind you of the feeling you had in that place you visited. Can you think of other smells that remind you of your vacation? It might be certain perfume, or food.

Now imagine putting all of these tips together and bringing the senses of sight, sound, taste, and smell into a harmony so that each reminds you of your vacation at the same time. You will certainly feel that vacation high long after you return home, and avoid the post vacation blues people commonly experience. That would be sweet, wouldn’t it?

real-jamaica-ocho-rios

Don’t Get Stuck in a Resort – See the Real Jamaica

The temptation to go away on a well-earned vacation and spend the week holed up in a flash resort lying by a sparkling swimming pool sipping cocktails is all too strong in today’s hectic and stressful world. Make no mistake, this style of vacation sounds idyllic to most and the idea of a week doing nothing but relaxing is very appealing, but discerning travelers these days want more from their break and from their well earned and costly vacation.

Ocho Rios is the gateway to a number of authentic and rewarding experiences and excursions on Jamaica’s north coast and surrounding areas. The most famous attraction in the whole of Jamaica is that of Dunns River Falls. Starting on the beach at the base of the falls, you can experience a thrilling climb along rocks and through the crystal clear waters whilst surrounded by tropical plants and wildlife. For the more sedate, spend an afternoon exploring the serene beauty of Coyaba Gardens and Falls or Shaw Park Gardens. These lush tropical gardens feature many varieties of native flora and fauna, and allow visitors a relaxing couple of hours strolling through water gardens and enjoying stunning viewpoints of the bay of Ocho Rios. Further afield is a cultural Mecca for all visitors to Jamaica, the village of Nine Mile and the birthplace and final resting place of reggae legend Bob Marley. Hiring a car rather than taking an official tour allows you to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Fern Gully and hidden villages where locals go about their lives without the distraction of the mainstream tourist crowd. The journey inland is punctuated by places to stop to sample traditional Jamaican food and to get a glimpse of rural Jamaican life not available from a resort or an official tour. How about an early morning fishing trip to see how Jamaicans use the Caribbean Sea as a way of making a living? Watch and participate as local fisherman catch tuna, barracuda and snapper amongst others using traditional methods and near telepathic knowledge of where the fish are to be found on any given day.

Jamaica and specifically its utopian north coast is just begging to be explored from beyond the confines of a luxury resort. Renting a luxury villa, for example, enables you and your family and friends to enjoy the trappings of a five star resort with the added benefit of the staff’s local knowledge and the ability to explore the surrounding area. Even if staying in a resort is a must, it is easy to rent a car and explore this fun and laid-back country. You will fall in love with the place and its people and will have made your hard earned vacation truly worthwhile.

The mention of vacationing in California effortlessly evokes the thought of Los Angeles and for a good reason. For decades, LA has earned the title ëentertainment capital of the worldí due to the location of Hollywood in its heart. It is thus logical that a tour of the city comes naturally to most visitors of California and if you have been thinking of a place to visit with family, then this diverse city will definitely satiate your curiosity. Not only will you be at the heart of one of the most populated metropolitans n the world, but also one of the most diverse cities in the US. These factors make it an ideal place to get a wide range of attractions to suit every visitor. If the travel bug is already itching, here are 5 free things to do in Los Angeles; Griffith Observatory They say that there is nothing as spectacular as an aerial view of your favorite city and at the Griffith observatory; you will get a sweeping view of the city of angels which will no doubt leave you awestruck.  Using a large telescope, you will even be able to locate some of the favorite spots which you only get to see in movies. Inside the planetarium, you will also find a free astronomy museum and this is rated as an attraction suitable for any age.  Hollywood Walk of Fame If you are a movie lover, you might have heard the mention of your favorite start receiving this great honor. This is where you will get to see pinkish stars on the floor each representing movie greats such as scarlet Johnson and Matt Damon. It will definitely bring you closer to the cinema world as you walk around the 15 city blocks looking for your favorite movie actorís place of honor. It is very exciting every time you recognize a familiar name on the side walk and it will take you back to the movies you liked best. In addition, it is a great place to mingle with people. So, start your search among the 2,400 starts on the terrazzo. Chinatown The mention of LA cannot be complete without a mention of Chinatown. It is a great way of sampling the famed diversity of LA as you learn a few things about Chinese culture from food, festivals such as the moon event, and ping-pong tournaments among other things. From the central plaza, you will observe the statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen and you can start the journey by popping into phoenix bakery one of the oldest in Chinatown. California Science Centre If you have a knack for science, then this is the place to be and in fact, even your kids will love it. It features innovative and interactive exhibits some of which you might never have an idea they existed. So, let your mind roam and observe another realm altogether.  Outdoors Santa Monica Pier If you like breathing fresh air, take a walk down the Santa Monica Pier and observe artists in their element along the way. Whatís more, the solar powered Ferris wheel offers your kids an opportunity to enjoy themselves. The amusement park is also ideal for unwinding and having fun. To state that these 5 free things to do in Los Angeles do not even scratch the surface of the long list is an understatement. There is a plethora of activities to keep you busy without dipping into your pocket.

Free Things to Do In Los Angeles

The mention of vacationing in California effortlessly evokes the thought of Los Angeles and for a good reason. For decades, LA has earned the title entertainment capital of the world due to the location of Hollywood in its heart. It is thus logical that a tour of the city comes naturally to most visitors of California and if you have been thinking of a place to visit with family, then this diverse city will definitely satiate your curiosity. Not only will you be at the heart of one of the most populated metropolitans n the world, but also one of the most diverse cities in the US. These factors make it an ideal place to get a wide range of attractions to suit every visitor. If the travel bug is already itching, here are 5 free things to do in Los Angeles;

Griffith Observatory
They say that there is nothing as spectacular as an aerial view of your favorite city and at the Griffith observatory; you will get a sweeping view of the city of angels which will no doubt leave you awestruck.  Using a large telescope, you will even be able to locate some of the favorite spots which you only get to see in movies. Inside the planetarium, you will also find a free astronomy museum and this is rated as an attraction suitable for any age.

Hollywood Walk of Fame
If you are a movie lover, you might have heard the mention of your favorite start receiving this great honor. This is where you will get to see pinkish stars on the floor each representing movie greats such as scarlet Johnson and Matt Damon. It will definitely bring you closer to the cinema world as you walk around the 15 city blocks looking for your favorite movie actorís place of honor. It is very exciting every time you recognize a familiar name on the side walk and it will take you back to the movies you liked best. In addition, it is a great place to mingle with people. So, start your search among the 2,400 starts on the terrazzo.

Chinatown
The mention of LA cannot be complete without a mention of Chinatown. It is a great way of sampling the famed diversity of LA as you learn a few things about Chinese culture from food, festivals such as the moon event, and ping-pong tournaments among other things. From the central plaza, you will observe the statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen and you can start the journey by popping into phoenix bakery one of the oldest in Chinatown.

California Science Centre
If you have a knack for science, then this is the place to be and in fact, even your kids will love it. It features innovative and interactive exhibits some of which you might never have an idea they existed. So, let your mind roam and observe another realm altogether.

Outdoors Santa Monica Pier
If you like breathing fresh air, take a walk down the Santa Monica Pier and observe artists in their element along the way. Whatís more, the solar powered Ferris wheel offers your kids an opportunity to enjoy themselves. The amusement park is also ideal for unwinding and having fun.
To state that these 5 free things to do in Los Angeles do not even scratch the surface of the long list is an understatement. There is a plethora of activities to keep you busy without dipping into your pocket.

adult-airport-bags-upgrade

How to Score Upgrades when Traveling

While the old adage “you get what you pay for” often holds true when you travel, a savvy traveler knows that you can often get more than you pay for from hotels, airlines and rental car agencies. The secret? Upgrades. You can book a seat in coach and get upgraded to business when you fly, get a boost from a compact car to a full size one when you drive, or get a view of the pool instead of the parking lot when you check into a hotel.  While upgrades are not guaranteed, there are ways to improve your chances of getting a coveted seat, car or view at no additional charge. While the only way to guarantee you get the room, car or seat you want is to book it, getting an upgrade is relatively easy and free.

Airline Upgrades:

  • Become a member: If you are a member of an airlines frequent flyer club, or better yet, their VIP club, you may be more likely to be rewarded with an upgrade from one class to another.
  • Look the part: It seems silly, but if you are presentably dressed and look like you belong in first class, you are more likely to score a seat in this coveted section.
  • Be nice:  The person who checks you in is the one who has the option of awarding an upgrade, if one is available. Storming up to the counter, complaining and demanding an upgrade and some great ways to be passed over.
  • Be flexible: If the airline has overbooked, and you are not in a great hurry, you may be able to secure an upgrade on a replacement flight simply by giving up your seat. Most airlines will get you on the next flight to your destination – and give you a nice voucher as a thank you as well.

Hotel Upgrades:

  • Book Direct: While you may not have a choice in the matter if your company is booking the room for you, contacting the hotel directly may increase your chances of receiving an upgrade when you arrive. Why? Because hotels need to pay a commission to large clearinghouses like Orbitz, Expedia and Hotels.com if you use one to reserve your room.  If the hotel is already receiving 100% of your room rate, they will be more likely to want you to come back, making you a prime candidate for an upgrade.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask: Hotels are often underbooked, and simply asking if there is an available upgrade may secure one for you. If you visit the hotel frequently, mention this as well; you may be rewarded with a larger room or better view that would otherwise sit vacant.
  • Be friendly: Whether you travel for business or fun, if you find yourself visiting the same hotel again and again, make it a point to make friends with the hotel staff. If the front desk staff, concierge or General Manager gets to know and recognize you, you’ll stand a good chance of getting a great room.
  • Complain in a nice way: If there is something wrong with the room you have been assigned, or you are uncomfortable with the location or condition of the room, say so. If the hotel has some vacancies, you may be moved to a better room; smaller properties are more flexible than large ones when it comes to accommodating requests like this.
  • Be loyal: Many hotel chains, even small independent ones, offer frequent guest rewards programs. These are usually free to sign up for and may entitle you to a room upgrade after a certain number of visits. Simply having the card and presenting it may be enough to reward you with a room upgrade, whether you have used it before or not.
  • Use a partner card: If you have a credit card that partners with a hotel chain, you may be rewarded with an upgrade when you use your card. Check with your credit card rewards program to learn more.

Rental Car Upgrades:

  • Book a class below: Book a rental car that is one class below the one you like; many brands will upgrade you automatically if the next level is available. You can always pay the difference if you need to, but the gamble often pays off.
  • Niceness counts: While politeness pays off any time you are seeking an upgrade, car rental clerks in airports are routinely abused by harried passengers; being nice in this line can pay off with a great upgrade.
backpack-backpacker-affordable-travel

Affordable Travel Tips

Affordable travel is important but it’s not as difficult as you would think.  Most people think that saving money on travel takes a lot of time and effort but there are many quick, simple thinks you can do to save money while not sacrificing the quality of your experience.

With all the new fees applicable to traveling, especially by air, you’ll save money if you keep your luggage to a minimum.  You can do that by packing differently, such as rolling your clothing instead of folding.  Rolled clothing takes up less space so you can take more with the added benefit of being wrinkle-free if you do it carefully.  Take advantage of the amenities at your destination to avoid packing hair dryers, curling irons, clothing steamers and similar items.

You should also look into medical and travel insurance, particularly if you’re on a vacation that includes a lot of physical activity.  One accident can cost you tens of thousands without the proper insurance, particularly if you’re in a foreign country.

Book your flight well in advance and be flexible on your travel dates.  You can often save a lot of money on flights with connections; they are inconvenient but considerably less costly than direct flights.  If it’s a long trip consider a night flight so you can sleep on the plane and save a night’s lodging price.  You might also consider a bus—security checks plus flight time is often as long or shorter than a bus ride.  You can sleep on the bus or enjoy the scenery.

Check with your employer to see if there are company discounts on rental cars, hotels, or airlines.  You can often save a lot with these discounts.  Also, think about renting a room in a nearby town rather than a large metropolis and save at least half on your room.  If you stay somewhere with a refrigerator you can save on meals.  Also, having a big lunch and a light dinner will save money; the same foods are often twice the price in the evening.

Finally, look into all-inclusive packages that cover all the costs of your stay including gratuities.  These packages can save you hundreds and you’ll have a lot less to worry about.