Flight upgrades: 20 tips for free or cheap business class #airfares

#where to get cheap airline tickets
#

Get free or business on the cheap

They’re the Holy Grail for regular travellers but while rare, flight upgrades do exist.

The chances of getting one can be slim, but here are our top 20 tips for boosting your chances of bagging a better seat. Of course, the bulk of these tips won’t be relevant on a budget airline where there is only one class.

Join frequent flyer schemes before you fly

The best way to get regular upgrades is to join a frequent flyer scheme and diligently build up points/miles.

Getting to top levels like ‘Gold’ or ‘Premier’ (varies by airline) gives you huge status at check-in, putting you at the front of the line for any spare expensive seats, and sometimes even equals an upgrade every time one’s available. Of course, to get there, you need to fly regularly and airlines can make it tricky to accrue points on discounted flights.

If you don’t take to the skies that often, it’s still a good idea to join as most are free and you’re more likely to get an upgrade than if you’ve no relationship with the airline at all.

Even if you have no intention of sticking with the airline you’re flying with, it could still be worth joining its scheme to leapfrog people who haven’t, and nothing stops you signing up for a few different ones.

If you have no luck with a free upgrade, loyalty schemes also allow you to use any points to buy an upgrade for some tickets.

It’s not what you know but who you know

If you’ve got close friends at the check-in desk, or better still, higher up in the airline, they may be able to wangle you occasional special privileges. Some airlines also give their staff upgrade vouchers, which’ll effectively buy you an upgrade if there’s a higher-class seat available.

Don’t waste your time or miles on short-haul upgrades. long-haul is where it’s at

There’s not much point going to the end of the Earth to wangle a free upgrade on a short-haul flight, and certainly little sense in using your flyer points or cash to pay for one. Often, all you get is a slightly bigger seat and a fancier sandwich at best.

Instead, medium and long-haul flights offer the best value upgrades and you’ll have time to enjoy them. You only tend to get the flat beds and all the bells and whistles on a longer journey.

What do I get if I upgrade?

Here we explain the different cabin classes and what you typically get. But before getting into the nitty-gritty, this is about non-budget airline cabins, given the budget carriers only have one class. The four main classes are.

Economy class. Small seat, basic food, basic service.

With limited legroom on most long-haul carriers, ‘cattle class’ offers the most basic service, and is primarily the domain of leisure travellers.

What’s included can vary widely, though. Nifty website SeatGuru shows whether an airline includes in-seat video and games, and if there is a power socket and wi-fi.

Not on every airline, premium economy offers a similar overall service to regular economy, but around six extra inches of legroom with seats that fold back further, making sleeping much easier – especially if you’re tall.

Business class. Big and possibly fold-flat seat, luxury food & service, lounge access

Flying business on European short-haul flights isn’t so exciting; many book it to get access to the lounge (see cheap lounge access instead). Going long-haul business class is a different story, with all sorts of benefits.

This highly profitable class is made to impress, so travellers get faster check-in, top quality menus, and many long-haul business class seats can be rendered totally flat for sleeping. You can find quasi-classes, such as Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, which many say is a cross between business and first.

First class. High-end luxury, exceptional cost, lounge access

True first class only exists on premium commercial routes, so beware as a few airlines call their business class “first”. It means the crиme de la crиme of comfort, both on the plane and at the airport. Often the seat can be replaced by a full bed with bedding. Massages may also be available, as well as the highest quality of personal concierge service.

Of course, this level of luxury comes at an eye-watering price. For a transatlantic return, 6,000 isn’t surprising.

Free upgrades do happen – nearly one in five have got one in the last two years

They might be less frequent than they used to be, but free upgrades do still exist. In July 2014 we polled our users who’d flown in the last two years and found 16% had been upgraded for free, though of those on a non-budget airline, the figure is 18%.





22/12/2017

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The 20 best travel websites #cheap #tickets #hotels

#online travel sites
#

The 20 best travel websites

12:01AM BST 02 May 2008

Comments

We now use the internet for all sorts of boring grown-up things such as banking, looking for a new house and reserving library books. But the net also has its guilty pleasures and showbiz gossip websites rank among the finest. Here, we search for the best in travel websites

Related Articles

02 May 2008

Mr and Mrs Smith

The upmarket weekenders’ bible: hundreds of highly recommended (and anonymously reviewed) boutique hotels around the world.

Black Tomato

Award-winning website (and rightly so) of this young London-based agency. Insider tips, a superb ideas generator, great pictures and a “Panic Button” for when you need travel inspiration fast.

World Travel Guide

The travel agents’ information database – a massive source of information now available to the rest of us. From skiing to beaches, cities to what’s on, if you can’t find it here you’re probably not looking for the right thing.

Visa Express

Visa-service website with extremely comprehensive database of the visa requirements, costs and application procedures of almost every country in the world.

The Man in Seat 61

Routes, tickets, tips and advice – the only guide you need to travelling by train from the UK to Europe and the rest of the world.

Online pedestrian routefinder for London, Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh that shows you the best route to walk from A to B. Includes calorie counter, CO2 savings and points of interest on the way. Other cities coming soon.

Excellent all-round travel site. Use it to find good prices on flights and holidays but click on “Destinations” for some well-researched and up-to-date travel guides to where you are going.

Business Traveller

City guides, news and reviews for those who spend most of their working life in the air.

SeatGuru

Aircraft seating plans, showing you the prime seats, the possible annoyances and seats you should do your very best to avoid.

Airline Meals

A consumer guide to what you can expect aboard. There are news and features from the airline catering world, but the best part is a gallery of photos of on-board meals sent in by passengers and listed by airline.

World Hum

Travel writing with a twist. Click on the destination you have in mind and be prepared to be inspired.

Often devastatingly honest reviews of airlines, airports, seats and lounges from customers and crew.

Powerful airline price-comparison site. Scans hundreds of agents and airlines across the world for the best deal to your destination. Good graphical interface so you can see if there’s a cheaper fare the day before or after.

TravelZoo

Good source of special offers and last-minute deals. Sign up for the weekly newsletter of Top 20 bargains on the net.

MapDango

Excellent one-stop reference site bringing together travel information, weather, photographs, events and news for locations around the world.

Low Carbon Travel Adventures

Fun, new and full of information for travelling in an environmentally less-destructive way, from sailing on a cargo ship to cycling through Serbia.

Sustrans

The home of the UK’s leading green transport charity. Excellent for tips and features and a superb database of cycle routes throughout the UK.

Door to Door

Excellent, if dully designed, UK government guide to domestic and foreign travel for disabled people. Plenty of information on the practicalities for travel and links to good specialist services and operators.

Couchsurfing

Find-a-sofa, make-new-friends site for travellers who would like to meet the locals. Originally a way of bagging a couch for the night, has expanded into a social networking site where people are just as happy to meet up for a beer and tour of the city. Predominantly younger users but independently minded oldies are starting to sign up too.





08/12/2017

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Nepal: 20 Important Tips for Nepal Travelers #tucan #travel

#nepal travel
#

Nepal: 20 Important Tips for Nepal Travelers

Share your knowledge

20 Things Every Nepal Traveler Needs to Know

The form of greeting in Nepal is “Namaste” performing by joining both palms together. It literally means “the divine in me salutes the divine in you”.

1 – Do not trek alone. There have been numerous disappearances of solo trekkers in recent years. Always hire a guide or trek with other people. There are online forums where  travelers can look for fellow-trekkers. This applies to everyone but especially women that are travelling single – they seem to more vulnerable. Always communicate your travel plans to your next of kin.

2 – Food safety – Avoid water that is not bottled or boiled. Avoid raw vegetables and pre-cut fruit as much as possible.

3 – Even though Nepal is known for its pristine environment and beauty – not the highways and major city streets. They are crowded with traffic, full of smoke and bumpy and dusty. Hence travelling on a bicycle or a motorbike for the most part is not advisable. There are some off-road mountain bike trails that are ok to do.

4 – Do not give money to beggars that you see on the streets. Even though they look pitiful, your giving away of money encourages them only to beg for more. If you really care support one of many charity organizations working in Nepal.

5 – Be sure to exchange back all the Nepalese currencies before you leave. They are not accepted (or even exchanged for that matter) outside of Nepal. Besides, taking currency out of the country is against the law.

6 – Do not touch someone’s head or sit showing the bottom of your feet towards them. It is considered rude.

7 – Do not fully rely on schedules and times that are committed to you whether in verbal or written while you are in Nepal. They may not commence in time as stated or committed and may end up disrupting all your subsequent schedule. Have time buffer as much as you can between your major plans and activities, especially if you have a hard stop date that you need to fly out by.

8 – Always be alert/aware of “Bandhs” (Strikes – where no transportation is allowed) as they can alter all your travel plans substantially.

9 – Do not assume that “ganja” (marijuana) is legal in Nepal. It is not. Even though it is a common weed on hillsides you can get in trouble for picking it and carrying it for consumption purpose.

10 – Do not assume that when a Nepali says “yes” or shakes the head in affirmation that it is a done deal or they agree with you. Re-confirm using simplest of words but being as direct as possible to make sure.

11 – Stay away from dance bars in KTM and PKR. These are tourist traps where they scam you on buying alcohol and food at much inflated prices. Some of these places have a history of intimidation and violence.

12- If you are planning to apply for the Visa at the airport, make sure to have passport size photo available. Plan B is to have your photo taken at the booth at the airport.

13- There are daily scheduled power outages. Have a flashlight handy all the times.

14 – All nightlife pretty much ends by 10 pm with only a few places around the Thamel area that may stay open a little later.

15 – Bring a universal plug and voltage adapter kit for your Electronics. Nepal uses 220V.

16 – Keep in mind that there may be an entrance fee to some of the common temples and public areas applicable only to foreigners ranging anywhere from 250R’s – 700R’s.

17 – Always have some tissue paper and hand sanitizer with you at all times – and note that some of the toilets may require squatting.

18 – Insist for a Running Meter in the Taxi. After 10 PM you do pay double of the meter fare however – that’s the commonly accepted norm.

19 – Avoid displaying food around monkeys around temples, as they are used to snatching it.

20 – Support the NON-Plastic Initiative, please limit your use of plastic items, and help make Nepal a better place.





06/12/2017

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Travel Top 20: The pick of the best travel sites on

#travel website
#

Travel Sites Net Top 20

The Travel Net Top 20 brings you the pick of the most popular and highest-rating sites for travel on the Net today.

It gives you access to the world’s best travel sites, all from a single page.

Expedia is the world’s leading online travel agency and offers great great deals on air, hotel, vacation packages, cruise, car rentals, and in-destination services.

They have partnerships with over 500 travel partners including direct airline and hotel suppliers and more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide so it is no surprise that they offer some of the best travel deals online.

Expedia is the benchmark by which the rest of the online travel industry is measured.

Travelocity is an outstanding one stop shop for travel online, offering a full service for flights, hotels, cars, cruises and vacation packages with some exceptional deals.

They guarantee the lowest price, and their service is highly regarded, but what really sets them apart is the fact that they look out for you throughout your trip with guaranteed service. In fact, they offer a guarantee so complete it is the most comprehensive in the travel industry today.

So, in summary, Travelocity are all about guaranteed service with guaranteed lowest prices. That’s a fairly compelling equation in the world of travel today.

Fodors describe their website as travel intelligence, and that is exactly what it provides, a vast source of knowledge, resources and articles on a wide selection of destinations and subjects.

To put it simply Fodors is a n outstanding online travel resource.

All the sites in the travel sites top 20 are sites of some note in the industry, and bring different strengths to the subject. This top 20 listing lets you compare them and find what you are looking for from a single source.

If you like this page don’t forget to bookmark it this time around.

You may also be interested in some of the other Net Top 20 directory listings which take you straight to the best on the Net in popular categories. They are all at the one easy-to-remember address:





18/08/2017

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20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel #flight #hotel #car

#lastminute travel
#

20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel

Wise Bread Picks

Last-minute travel can afford you some screaming deals, and it’s an exciting way to go not knowing exactly where you’re going or what you’ll be doing until shortly before you depart.

There are a few tricks in mastering the art of last-minute travel; here are 20 secrets to get you on your way for your next last-minute trip. (See also: Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards )

Researching and Finding Deals

Here are some ways to do your last-minute travel research and tap into the latest deals.

1. Subscribe to Newsletters

Sign up for your favorite airline and travel provider newsletters. A quick scan can sometimes reveal a last minute show-stopper among their regular deals.

2. Track Social Media

Follow the Twitter and Facebook streams of your favorite travel providers and airlines; sometimes they offer social media specials for followers.

Searching for flights with tools like ITA Matrix and Kayak allow you to view fares for the calendar month, based on how many nights you can spend at your destination (such as 5-7 nights).

4. Flight Alert Services

Track your preferred flights. Services like Yapta will send you fare alerts if there’s a change in price.

5. Consult With Travel Agents

Ask a travel agent. You never know what last minute deals they have access to.

6. Subscribe to Deal Alert Services

Subscribe to last minute vacation newsletters and deal alert services, such as TravelZoo .

7. Follow Fare Alert Services

Take some of the guesswork out of discerning which destinations are cheap when with a fare alert service like Airfare Watchdog .

Last-Minute Flights

Here’s how to take advantage of last-minute flight deals.

8. Book Within 24 Hours of Departure

Sometimes, if a flight has lots of seats left within 24 hours of departure, they’ll release a new batch at low prices. However, this is a risky strategy if you have your heart set on a specific route; the price can just as easily go the other way in the last 24 hours as well.

9. Spend Rewards Points Within a Week of Departure

Flights only have a limited number of reward seats for people paying with frequent flyer miles. If you want to fly on your frequent flyer miles, then you either need to book your ticket a few months in advance or at the last minute. If the airline still has unsold seats within a week of departure, they’ll open up additional reward seats. (See also: Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles )

10. Book on Tuesdays for Flights That Weekend

Planning a weekend getaway? Airlines that don’t have full planes will often start reducing prices on Tuesday.

11. Go Stand By

Hitch a ride on an airplane; these fares are hard to come by, but they’re often free and last minute. (See also: How to Hitch a Ride on an Airplane )

Last-Minute Hotels

Hotels offer some of the more dramatic last-minute deals; you can find many of them using the tips for researching and finding deals above, in addition to the following.

12. Always Call for a Reservation

Even if you’re standing across from the hotel, call them to make a reservation. By calling first and asking for a discount. you stand a better chance of success than by walking in last-minute and asking in person.

13. Research Package Deals

Don’t forget package deals; some of the best offers are for last-minute flight+hotel or all-inclusive packages. A little comparison shopping might reveal the hotel is practically free with the package deal! (See also: How to Book an Amazing, Affordable Vacation Package )

Other Last-Minute Suggestions

From knowing your bag to knowing yourself, consider these suggestions, so you can have the best last-minute travel experience.

Know your packing list well, so you can pack quickly, pack well, and know where everything is. It will make your trip much smoother, and will help you get out the door faster once you know where you’re going!

Most deals (such as promotional tweets) have a short time span. Be prepared to jump in when the opportunity feels right, even if it feels impulsive.

16. Travel Solo

Last-minute travel works best for solo travelers. You have the ease and ability to book on a whim without consulting anybody, and last-minute openings or unfilled spots are more easily filled with singles.

17. Plan at Least a Little Ahead

Last-minute travel generally refers to booking anything within two weeks of your departure. The braver you are, the longer you might be willing to hold out for a deal but the outcome could go either way.

18. Let the Deal Be Your Guide

Don’t focus too much on one destination or type of vacation. If your heart is set on a given place or activity, you might miss out on dozens of equally exciting but different deals. The gift of last minute travel is being flexible with your plans. Tools like Kayak Explore allow you to open your mind and see where you can fly for how much money.

19. Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Last-minute travel isn’t right for everybody. People on business trips, or with limited vacation time should ensure time away is maximized by planning ahead. (See also: Ways to Keep Long-Term Travel from Ruining Your Career )

20. Don’t Skimp on Research

Even though you might be doing this last minute, you want to get the most from your trip. Research your destination’s climate, culture, things to do, and places to eat. You don’t have to lock in any specific plans; it’s simply nice to know what’s possible.

What are your last-minute travel secrets?





12/08/2017

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20 Tips for Traveling in Peru on a Budget #easy #click

#travel peru
#

20 Tips for Traveling in Peru on a Budget

By Tony Dunnell. Peru Travel Expert

Tony Dunnell has been living and traveling in Peru since May 2009. From his base in the jungle town of Tarapoto. he continues to explore the rich culture and endless attractions of his adopted home.

Traveling in Peru on a budget requires some discipline and smart money management, especially for longer stays. The following tips will help you stretch your Peru budget as far as possible, giving you extra cash for occasional splurges and expensive tours.

1. Understand the Peruvian Nuevo Sol

2. Eat for Cheap in Peru

Touristy restaurants, especially in hotspots such as Lima, Cusco and Arequipa, are vastly more expensive than the typical restaurants frequented by regular Peruvians. Eat where the locals go and you’ll be surprised at how well you can eat in Peru on a budget (for price ranges, see How Much Does it Cost to Eat Out in Peru? ). Shoestring travelers should make the most of lunch in Peru. when big meals are available at incredibly low prices.

4. Set Prices in Advance

5. Cook Your Own Food

6. Know How Much to Tip in Peru

Peru isn’t a big tipping nation, so don’t go blowing your daily budget on unnecessary tips. There are a few occasions when a tip is expected, such as in midrange to upscale restaurants, but don’t feel the need to hand over your loose change to taxi drivers. Peruvian taxi drivers don t expect tips, and they are probably overcharging you anyway. More

7. Keep Alcohol to a Minimum

8. Learn How to Haggle

Don’t be afraid to haggle over prices, especially in traditional markets. Prices generally start high, so it’s your job to settle on a price acceptable to both parties. Also, try negotiating prices for hotel and hostel rooms. You’ll often receive a straightforward no, but there’s no harm in trying. It’s easier to get a discount for stays of at least four to five days. More

9. Eat Your Free Breakfast

If your hotel or hostel has a free breakfast. drag your bones out of bed and make the most of it before it’s gone. Breakfasts normally start at about 7 a.m. and finish at 9 or 10 a.m. but the later you are, the slimmer the pickings become.

10. Try CouchSurfing in Peru





12/08/2017

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20 Secret Bargains of London #travel #odge

#travel to london
#

20 Secret Bargains of London

There’s just nothing in the world like my hometown – the architecture, the colorful street life, the even more colorful nightlife, the rainbow of eccentric and fairly friendly inhabitants, and better dining than at any time in its history (no cracks, please). Sadly, Cool Britannia has earned another nickname courtesy of our local tabloids: “Rip-off Britain.” But the truth is that especially away from the touristy downtown areas, London doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. If you aren’t afraid to take the bus, the train, the tube, or to arm yourself with a street map and walk, you can dig up some brilliant bargains in exciting places. (To call London from the United States, first dial 011-44-20. From within the U.K. first dial 020 for London; for other cities, dial 0 before the city code.)

Notes from the Underground

No question, the best way to get around is the weekly Travelcard (you’ll need a passport photo to get one), which covers the Underground (the world’s most extensive subway system), those red double-decker buses, and British Rail trains – especially good for navigating the further reaches of town. If you plan to explore only central London, buy a Zone One unlimited travel pass for £15.30 ($22.25); other passes cover up to six zones (£35.40/$51.50), but four will get you pretty much anywhere you’d want to go except Heathrow. The cards are available at all train and tube stations and tourist offices. There’s also a transport advice line (7222-1234) to help you get exactly where you want to go.

Tips on the Thames

Get started even before you leave the States, by visiting the vast londontown.com (which also has special offers on lodging and events) or calling the British Tourist Authority at 877/899-8931 for a free info pack; ask for the brochures Where to Stay on a Budget 2001 and the London Planner. Once over here, there’s lots of useful help at the London Tourist Board’s main information center at Victoria train station (whose tube station has the same name) and the Britain Visitor Centre at 1 Regent Street: mostly leaflets, booking services for tours and bus trips, and accommodation services. The weekly Time Out (£1.95/$2.85) still runs the top listings guide, but several newspapers now publish their own; the best is “Hot Tickets,” free with the Evening Standard (35p/50cents) on Thursdays. The free morning newspaper Metro (available at tube stations) also has listings for that day.

Remember the scruffy local eatery that features prominently on the Brit soap EastEnders? (You can frequently find the series stateside on public TV.) Colloquially known as “caffs,” these cafes are the English version of diners – a real blue-collar experience, with simple food and sometimes gruff service. Here, they close at 6 p.m. and are beloved by construction workers and celebs alike. An all-day breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, and toast hovers around the £3 ($4.35) mark; make sure you try some “bubble and squeak” (fried mashed potatoes and cabbage, very tasty local delicacy) with your brekkie. I recommend Mike’s Cafe (12 Blenheim Cres. Notting Hill, W11; tube: Notting Hill or Ladbroke Grove), Borough Cafe (11 Park St. around the corner from Borough Market, SE1; tube/train: London Bridge), Dishes Cafe (23 Cromwell Rd. near the Natural History Museum, SW7; tube/train: South Kensington), and Mario’s Cafe (6 Kelly St. near Camden Market, NW1; tube: Kentish Town/Camden).





12/08/2017

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Nepal: 20 Important Tips for Nepal Travelers #cosco #travel

#nepal travel
#

Nepal: 20 Important Tips for Nepal Travelers

Share your knowledge

20 Things Every Nepal Traveler Needs to Know

The form of greeting in Nepal is “Namaste” performing by joining both palms together. It literally means “the divine in me salutes the divine in you”.

1 – Do not trek alone. There have been numerous disappearances of solo trekkers in recent years. Always hire a guide or trek with other people. There are online forums where  travelers can look for fellow-trekkers. This applies to everyone but especially women that are travelling single – they seem to more vulnerable. Always communicate your travel plans to your next of kin.

2 – Food safety – Avoid water that is not bottled or boiled. Avoid raw vegetables and pre-cut fruit as much as possible.

3 – Even though Nepal is known for its pristine environment and beauty – not the highways and major city streets. They are crowded with traffic, full of smoke and bumpy and dusty. Hence travelling on a bicycle or a motorbike for the most part is not advisable. There are some off-road mountain bike trails that are ok to do.

4 – Do not give money to beggars that you see on the streets. Even though they look pitiful, your giving away of money encourages them only to beg for more. If you really care support one of many charity organizations working in Nepal.

5 – Be sure to exchange back all the Nepalese currencies before you leave. They are not accepted (or even exchanged for that matter) outside of Nepal. Besides, taking currency out of the country is against the law.

6 – Do not touch someone’s head or sit showing the bottom of your feet towards them. It is considered rude.

7 – Do not fully rely on schedules and times that are committed to you whether in verbal or written while you are in Nepal. They may not commence in time as stated or committed and may end up disrupting all your subsequent schedule. Have time buffer as much as you can between your major plans and activities, especially if you have a hard stop date that you need to fly out by.

8 – Always be alert/aware of “Bandhs” (Strikes – where no transportation is allowed) as they can alter all your travel plans substantially.

9 – Do not assume that “ganja” (marijuana) is legal in Nepal. It is not. Even though it is a common weed on hillsides you can get in trouble for picking it and carrying it for consumption purpose.

10 – Do not assume that when a Nepali says “yes” or shakes the head in affirmation that it is a done deal or they agree with you. Re-confirm using simplest of words but being as direct as possible to make sure.

11 – Stay away from dance bars in KTM and PKR. These are tourist traps where they scam you on buying alcohol and food at much inflated prices. Some of these places have a history of intimidation and violence.

12- If you are planning to apply for the Visa at the airport, make sure to have passport size photo available. Plan B is to have your photo taken at the booth at the airport.

13- There are daily scheduled power outages. Have a flashlight handy all the times.

14 – All nightlife pretty much ends by 10 pm with only a few places around the Thamel area that may stay open a little later.

15 – Bring a universal plug and voltage adapter kit for your Electronics. Nepal uses 220V.

16 – Keep in mind that there may be an entrance fee to some of the common temples and public areas applicable only to foreigners ranging anywhere from 250R’s – 700R’s.

17 – Always have some tissue paper and hand sanitizer with you at all times – and note that some of the toilets may require squatting.

18 – Insist for a Running Meter in the Taxi. After 10 PM you do pay double of the meter fare however – that’s the commonly accepted norm.

19 – Avoid displaying food around monkeys around temples, as they are used to snatching it.

20 – Support the NON-Plastic Initiative, please limit your use of plastic items, and help make Nepal a better place.





22/07/2017

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20 Life Lessons You Learn Traveling the World in Your 20

#traveling the world
#

20 Life Lessons You Learn Traveling the World in Your 20 s

StumbleUpon

This week I hit a life milestone. I transitioned out of my 20’s and into my 30’s.  In the past, the thought of turning 30 was always followed by a flop sweat, yelling at the top of my lungs, and a mild panic attack.

However, as this new decade of my life clicks over like the hands of a clock, I find that my nervousness has been replaced by excitement.

The main reason for this is because I am totally in love with where I am in life.

I spent at least three months out of every year in my 20’s traveling with the exception of one, in which was I was busy working, tying up loose ends, and saving for long term travel .

I’m not going to lie. It hasn t always been all fun and games. I’ve had some hard moments. Some of these have included endless debates with myself about whether I should look for a career or risk everything to see the world.

I also have suffered the discouragement of many people that have said that what I was doing was wrong. Plus, traveling and working is not always easy to balance.

Traveling full time is like anything else in life. It takes hard work and passion to accomplish your goals.

I’ve fought through the discouragement, doubt, and more sacrifices than I care to mention. However, every single moment of it has been worth it. I have found that the rewards I get from traveling far out way the sacrifices.

Looking back, I realize that I am obviously not the same person I was at 20. Travel has completely effected every fiber of whom I am.

So in honor of everyone out there (still in your 20 s) t rying to make your travel dreams come true, I thought I would share 20 ways in which traveling will change you, and some of the benefits of traveling the world .

Life Lessons you Learn Traveling the World in Your 20 s

1. Travel Makes You Fiercely Independent.





18/05/2017

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Europe Tour Packages 2015: Save up to 20% by Booking Early

#travel europe packages
#

Europe Tour Packages 2015: Save up to 20% by Booking Early

You want to travel to Europe next year, but you want to choose when you want to go, and still get the best pricing. Often you have to travel in the off season for the best rates, but for those ready to plan and commit to a trip now, Europe tour packages 2015 are available, with guaranteed lowest prices of the season. Enjoy a wide selection of European escorted tours from budget to luxury, with a variety of travel styles including small group tours, rail journeys, family trips and more.

Just how much can you save when Europe 2015 tours booking early?

Depending on the promotion, it could easily average $1,500 to $2,000 per couple. Here are the best early booking deals from some of the most reputable tour companies in the business. Of course there will be other deals down the road, but saving of up to 20% off per person, happens only before brochures for the following year have been released. Tour companies want to have a strong start to the following year, so they and are willing to sacrifice in price to get reservations now.

Best Early booking deals for Europe Tours Packages 2015:

Globus Tours 2015 :

Orchestrated by the world s finest Tour Directors and remarkably knowledgeable local guides, Globus Europe multi-country vacations are designed to allow you to experience and compare a variety of cultures, take in the must-see sights, and make the most vivid memories. From the ancient ruins in Italy and Greece to the spectacular architecture in France, Globus shows you Europe like no one else. On Globus escorted tours, you visit must-see sights as well as special gems and behind-the-scenes activities, such as a woodcarving demonstration in Germany s Black Forest, a pasta party in Venice, a Stein of beer or Sp tzi at Munich s famous Hofbr uhaus, a visit to the world s largest flower market in Holland, and much more. With Globus, you ll not only see Europe you ll experience it!

Book select 2015 Globus tours and save 10% per person on the land-only portion of the trip. Does not include extra night accommodations, extensions, taxes, fees, tips or supplements. Booking must be made and under deposit before September 17th, 2013, for travel between January 1st and December 31, 2014. Offer is combinable with Journeys Club Repeat traveler discount.

Trafalgar Tours 2015:

If you re looking to travel to Europe next summer, book early and lock in Trafalgar s guaranteed lowest rate on 2015 trips. Many of Trafalgar s trips sell out before the brochures are even printed. So this 2015 Europe Preview Program lets you save your spot and Trafalgar guarantees they will refund the difference if any trips goes down in price when the actual brochure is released in October.

PLUS you can save up to 10% with Trafalgar s Early Payment Discount. Offer is valid on select tours only included in the Preview brochure and is valid only through September 24th, 2014 A non-refundable deposit is required. Early payment based on full payment made by December 18th, 2014.

Insight Tours 2015 :

At the moment, brochures for Insight 2015 trips are in production, but don t let that stop you from securing your seat on the trip you want, at Guaranteed Best prices. Simply choose a tour from the Preview collection, then wait for Insight to release the Europe 2015 brochure. By placing a deposit, Insight will guarantee that the cost of your trip will not go up. If it goes down, you will be refunded the difference. PLUS you can save up to 10% with Insight Vacations early payment option. A non-refundable deposit of $200 per person is due within 7 days of reserving space, and must be made before September 24, 2014. Offer is not valid on City Breaks and Eastern Mediterranean itineraries. To qualify for the early payment discount, you must pay your trip in full by December 18, 2014. Offer can be combined with Insight s 5% past passenger discounts as well.

Tauck Tours 2015 :

Also worth mentioning, Tauck Tours 2015 are also available, the Tauck s popular Gift of Time promotion is back. Past Tauck guests receive one FREE pre or post hotel stay on any 2015 River cruise or Exotics land trip booked and deposited by September 30th, 2014. Tauck has already released Europe and U.S. preview pricing, as well as China, South America and River cruises for 2015. Ask about Tauck s new Cuba and Dubai tours!

With all these great deals, now is the best time to book your Europe tour packages 2015.

Europe offers timeless landscapes, quiet country roads, poppy fields, and stone farmhouses encircled by elegant cypresses. Discover treasures of medieval villages perched on hillsides cloaked with dark forests hiding truffle secrets. Listen to fountains splash in sunny squares or waves sweeping the shore. Walk along old pilgrimage routes past roadside crosses and tiny chapels or follow in artists footsteps through seaside towns and glittering resorts. Pass through gates of mighty ch teaux looming on impossible cliffs and stone doorways leading to flower-filled courtyards. Follow ancient Roman roads around majestic snow-capped peaks and listen to cowbells clank across Alpine meadows. Meander past olive groves, vineyards, and fields of sunflowers. Savor famous wines in lively caf s and buy a picnic in markets bursting with olives, tapenade, goat cheese, and red tomatoes. Contemplate masterpieces of art in monastery cloisters and magnificent cathedrals. Get lost in peaceful green countrysides, dotted by thatched cottages and curious black-eyed sheep.





27/04/2017

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Flight upgrades: 20 tips for free or cheap business class #kesineni

#where to get cheap airline tickets
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Get free or business on the cheap

They’re the Holy Grail for regular travellers but while rare, flight upgrades do exist.

The chances of getting one can be slim, but here are our top 20 tips for boosting your chances of bagging a better seat. Of course, the bulk of these tips won’t be relevant on a budget airline where there is only one class.

Join frequent flyer schemes before you fly

The best way to get regular upgrades is to join a frequent flyer scheme and diligently build up points/miles.

Getting to top levels like ‘Gold’ or ‘Premier’ (varies by airline) gives you huge status at check-in, putting you at the front of the line for any spare expensive seats, and sometimes even equals an upgrade every time one’s available. Of course, to get there, you need to fly regularly and airlines can make it tricky to accrue points on discounted flights.

If you don’t take to the skies that often, it’s still a good idea to join as most are free and you’re more likely to get an upgrade than if you’ve no relationship with the airline at all.

Even if you have no intention of sticking with the airline you’re flying with, it could still be worth joining its scheme to leapfrog people who haven’t, and nothing stops you signing up for a few different ones.

If you have no luck with a free upgrade, loyalty schemes also allow you to use any points to buy an upgrade for some tickets.

It’s not what you know but who you know

If you’ve got close friends at the check-in desk, or better still, higher up in the airline, they may be able to wangle you occasional special privileges. Some airlines also give their staff upgrade vouchers, which’ll effectively buy you an upgrade if there’s a higher-class seat available.

Don’t waste your time or miles on short-haul upgrades. long-haul is where it’s at

There’s not much point going to the end of the Earth to wangle a free upgrade on a short-haul flight, and certainly little sense in using your flyer points or cash to pay for one. Often, all you get is a slightly bigger seat and a fancier sandwich at best.

Instead, medium and long-haul flights offer the best value upgrades and you’ll have time to enjoy them. You only tend to get the flat beds and all the bells and whistles on a longer journey.

What do I get if I upgrade?

Here we explain the different cabin classes and what you typically get. But before getting into the nitty-gritty, this is about non-budget airline cabins, given the budget carriers only have one class. The four main classes are.

Economy class. Small seat, basic food, basic service.

With limited legroom on most long-haul carriers, ‘cattle class’ offers the most basic service, and is primarily the domain of leisure travellers.

What’s included can vary widely, though. Nifty website SeatGuru shows whether an airline includes in-seat video and games, and if there is a power socket and wi-fi.

Not on every airline, premium economy offers a similar overall service to regular economy, but around six extra inches of legroom with seats that fold back further, making sleeping much easier – especially if you’re tall.

Business class. Big and possibly fold-flat seat, luxury food & service, lounge access

Flying business on European short-haul flights isn’t so exciting; many book it to get access to the lounge (see cheap lounge access instead). Going long-haul business class is a different story, with all sorts of benefits.

This highly profitable class is made to impress, so travellers get faster check-in, top quality menus, and many long-haul business class seats can be rendered totally flat for sleeping. You can find quasi-classes, such as Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, which many say is a cross between business and first.

First class. High-end luxury, exceptional cost, lounge access

True first class only exists on premium commercial routes, so beware as a few airlines call their business class “first”. It means the crиme de la crиme of comfort, both on the plane and at the airport. Often the seat can be replaced by a full bed with bedding. Massages may also be available, as well as the highest quality of personal concierge service.

Of course, this level of luxury comes at an eye-watering price. For a transatlantic return, 6,000 isn’t surprising.

Free upgrades do happen – nearly one in five have got one in the last two years

They might be less frequent than they used to be, but free upgrades do still exist. In July 2014 we polled our users who’d flown in the last two years and found 16% had been upgraded for free, though of those on a non-budget airline, the figure is 18%.





22/04/2017

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The 20 best travel websites #travelling #europe

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The 20 best travel websites

12:01AM BST 02 May 2008

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We now use the internet for all sorts of boring grown-up things such as banking, looking for a new house and reserving library books. But the net also has its guilty pleasures and showbiz gossip websites rank among the finest. Here, we search for the best in travel websites

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02 May 2008

Mr and Mrs Smith

The upmarket weekenders’ bible: hundreds of highly recommended (and anonymously reviewed) boutique hotels around the world.

Black Tomato

Award-winning website (and rightly so) of this young London-based agency. Insider tips, a superb ideas generator, great pictures and a “Panic Button” for when you need travel inspiration fast.

World Travel Guide

The travel agents’ information database – a massive source of information now available to the rest of us. From skiing to beaches, cities to what’s on, if you can’t find it here you’re probably not looking for the right thing.

Visa Express

Visa-service website with extremely comprehensive database of the visa requirements, costs and application procedures of almost every country in the world.

The Man in Seat 61

Routes, tickets, tips and advice – the only guide you need to travelling by train from the UK to Europe and the rest of the world.

Online pedestrian routefinder for London, Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh that shows you the best route to walk from A to B. Includes calorie counter, CO2 savings and points of interest on the way. Other cities coming soon.

Excellent all-round travel site. Use it to find good prices on flights and holidays but click on “Destinations” for some well-researched and up-to-date travel guides to where you are going.

Business Traveller

City guides, news and reviews for those who spend most of their working life in the air.

SeatGuru

Aircraft seating plans, showing you the prime seats, the possible annoyances and seats you should do your very best to avoid.

Airline Meals

A consumer guide to what you can expect aboard. There are news and features from the airline catering world, but the best part is a gallery of photos of on-board meals sent in by passengers and listed by airline.

World Hum

Travel writing with a twist. Click on the destination you have in mind and be prepared to be inspired.

Often devastatingly honest reviews of airlines, airports, seats and lounges from customers and crew.

Powerful airline price-comparison site. Scans hundreds of agents and airlines across the world for the best deal to your destination. Good graphical interface so you can see if there’s a cheaper fare the day before or after.

TravelZoo

Good source of special offers and last-minute deals. Sign up for the weekly newsletter of Top 20 bargains on the net.

MapDango

Excellent one-stop reference site bringing together travel information, weather, photographs, events and news for locations around the world.

Low Carbon Travel Adventures

Fun, new and full of information for travelling in an environmentally less-destructive way, from sailing on a cargo ship to cycling through Serbia.

Sustrans

The home of the UK’s leading green transport charity. Excellent for tips and features and a superb database of cycle routes throughout the UK.

Door to Door

Excellent, if dully designed, UK government guide to domestic and foreign travel for disabled people. Plenty of information on the practicalities for travel and links to good specialist services and operators.

Couchsurfing

Find-a-sofa, make-new-friends site for travellers who would like to meet the locals. Originally a way of bagging a couch for the night, has expanded into a social networking site where people are just as happy to meet up for a beer and tour of the city. Predominantly younger users but independently minded oldies are starting to sign up too.





20/04/2017

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Where to Go in September: Top 20 Trip Ideas – Vacation

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Where to Go in September: Top 20 Trip Ideas

September is a great time to go on vacation – you will find fewer crowds and great deals in many popular destinations. Whether you are dreaming of a quick weekend getaway or a longer vacation to a sandy beach. our list of Top 20 will give you plenty of ideas. Be sure to check out or fall foliage watching ideas in September and October.

Don’t miss out: Join us! – our best ideas in your Inbox.

El Encanto in Santa Barbara

California coastal cuisine is served in the restaurant which offers romantic coastal views. Indoor and terrace seating is offered. The Wine Room is available for private parties, while the Lounge serves light meals and Afternoon Tea. The spa incorporates local flora into seasonal treatments that make you feel pampered from head to toe. The Fitness Studio features a variety of core, Pilates, yoga and strength training classes. Nightly rates start at $425 USD (805 845 5800, 800 393 5315, website ).

Hawaiki Nui Hotel

The staff can help you arrange a sailing or fishing charter if you want to explore the nearby islands on your honeymoon. You can also take an excursion to Tahaa and visit a pearl farm, take a helicopter ride to get an aerial view, or observe marine life from a glass bottom boat. There are 28 traditional guest rooms, including 9 overwater bungalows with a veranda and direct access to the lagoon. All rooms have TVs, ceiling fans and telephones. Ask for one of the overwater bungalows for added romance. The restaurant serves seafood dishes with a view of the pool. Fly to Tahiti and then catch a connecting flight to Raiatea. Rates start at US $240 per night; from $380 for overwater bungalows (+689 60 05 00, 800-65-PEARL, website ).





10/04/2017

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20 China travel tips. #hotel #and #car #rental

#china travel
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Story highlights

Exploring China can rattle even veteran travelers.

And understandably so.

It’s a huge country with enough languages and dialects to leave even many native Chinese flummoxed at the thought of communicating away from home.

But traveling away from the big cities isn’t scary, and it’s not unmanageable.

Traveling for the past few years from my home base in Shanghai, I’ve picked up a lot of tips — both from my own experiences and from others — that make life on the road in China a little bit easier and a lot more rewarding.

Here are 20 of them to get you started.

1. Score extra beds the easy way

Chinese hotels aren’t too fussy when it comes to matching the number of beds to the number of people, particularly when the extra bodies are children.

For families, this can save a lot of cash. Rather than needing two rooms, a family of four can get cozy in a twin room, where both beds are the same size as a regular double bed.

2. Follow proper currency protocol

Don’t insult a Shanghai taxi driver by burdening him with small bills, such as 1 yuan or 5 jiao notes. He likes the jingle of coins.

Conversely, in northern and western China, expect market vendors to reject coins outright.

They only like paper money no matter how small the denomination.

3. Use the best language app for travelers

Pleco is the best Chinese language app for travelers.

The basic dictionary app is free. It costs US$14.95 to buy the optical character recognition function (compatible with the iPhone 4 or 5 camera). Point the iPhone at a Chinese menu and get an instant translation.

4. Customize your gifts

Have fine items made by hand and to order — a neon sign of your name, pair of riding boots, set of sheets, oak cabinet, silk quilt or cashmere coat.

China is the land of possibilities. If you can dream it, someone can make it.

The Shandong Juancheng Neon-Plasma Tech company make customized neon signs in one week and will ship anywhere.

www.chinaneonsign.en.alibaba.com

5. Use the best guides to offbeat China

China Little T(r)ips is a series of guides for those who want to get off the well-worn tourist path in China, but don’t have the inside knowledge or the language skills to do so.

These guides to Inner Mongolia, Gansu and soon Sichuan and Qinghai contain detailed itineraries, maps and language cards specific for each stage of the trip.

Inner Mongolia Guide RMB 78 (US$12.50), ebook RMB 45 (US$7), www.chinalittletrips.com

6. Order rice the right way

You want rice? You gotta say it aloud.

Rice is rarely served during a meal in Chinese restaurants, being seen as a cheap way to fill up at the end if needed.

Anyone wanting rice with his or her meal should make it clear to the waiter by saying: mifan (rice) mashang (straight away).

7. Toilet paper reminder

Toilet tissue is rarely found in public restrooms in China. Carry your own supplies.

8. Sidestep difficult breakfasts

Outside of large cities and internationally branded hotels, Chinese hotel breakfasts cater exclusively to the local market.

This is no issue for anyone fond of congee and pickles, but can be an unimaginable hurdle for children or picky eaters. Bring a box of their favorite cereal and a few small cartons of milk and everyone starts the day happy.

Most hotels don’t mind.

9. Don’t worry — it’s safe

China is nowhere near as terrifying as many guidebooks would have you believe.

Yes, the traffic is chaotic and the air could be better — much better — but China is one of the safest countries in the world for female travelers, solo travelers and families.

10. Give — and get — instant gratification

Those traveling in rural China often wish to give a small gift to locals they meet, but are unsure of what might be considered appropriate.

A portrait delivered instantly on a Polaroid camera is a much-appreciated, on-the-spot gift.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 7 Polaroid camera retails for around RMB 400 (US$62) from large electronics retailers.

11. Trespass with confidence

Most authentic Shanghainese life is hidden in alleyways.

Accustomed to the idea of private property, international travelers are often reluctant to stray from worn footpaths into lanes and hutongs for fear of intruding.

But that’s not how the Chinese see things.

All of these outdoor areas are public spaces, and lanes and alleys hold some of the most captivating scenes in China’s big cities.

12. Don’t be fooled by loud voices

Chinese people like to converse very loudly and passionately at times, and it can be easy to mistake this for an argument.

Listening in to a heated discussion in Shanghai between a taxi driver and a Chinese friend I thought they were about to come to blows.

“No,” they told me. “We were just talking together about how devastating the Sichuan earthquake was.”

13. Need help? Find a high school student

The array of Mandarin dialects and variations across China can make communication difficult even for native Mandarin speakers.

But help is always at hand: those under 25 years old are most likely to speak both standard Mandarin and English.

Students who have studied English in books for years, but have had little contact with native English speakers, may more readily understand written questions.

14. Make a hometown connection

Learn the name of your country’s most famous landmark for beaming instant recognition from taxi drivers, waiters and the man on the street.

Tip: Eiffel Tower is “ai fei’er tie ta,” Statue of Liberty is “zi you nu shen xiang” and Great Barrier Reef is “da bao jiao.”

15. Get a backstreet breakfast

In order to get some local color on business trips that will otherwise be spent inside taxis and boardrooms, “take to the backstreets behind your hotel for an early breakfast of dumplings or noodles and watch the area wake up while you eat,” suggests Australian business traveler Matthew Tobin.

16. Enhance wellness

Want to unblock your qi? Hit up a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic. Illness isn’t an essential requirement — TCM doctors believe preventing disease is just as important as treating it.

“TCM is ingrained in Chinese culture,” says Canadian Leslie Bottrell, who is trained in both Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“It permeates everyday life and so empowers individuals to be responsible for their wellness by promoting disease prevention.”

Consultations are available at Longhua Hospital in Shanghai, one of the country’s top TCM Hospitals.

LongHua Hospital, affiliated with Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 725 Wanping Nan Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai; +86 21 6438 5700; open daily 8-11:30 a.m. 1-5 p.m.

17. Find art in unusual places

Art exhibit in Opposite House: a wall comprising more than 6,000 drawers.

Some boutique hotels provide interesting art experiences, like the Opposite House Hotel in the Sanlitun area of Beijing.

“Their permanent art collection is second to none,” says Hong Kong-based art consultant Alison Pickett .

“And they have a fantastic rotating exhibition venue in the lobby which showcases really challenging and interesting installations, many of which you wouldn’t get to see in any of the galleries.”

The Red Gate Gallery in Beijing holds open studio exhibitions. Visitors can see how resident international artists work, live and create in Beijing.

The Opposite House, The Village Building 1, 11 Sanlitun Lu, near Dongzhimenwai Da Jie, Village 1; nightly rate from about RMB 2,500 (US$400); +86 10 6417 6688; www.theoppositehouse.com

Red Gate Gallery, 1/F and 4/F, Dongbianmen Watchtower, Dongcheng District, Beijing 4; +86 10 6525 1005; open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

18. Take the kids along. without regret

Taking small but manageable risks when traveling in China with children can reap big rewards.

Three Mountain (San Shan) Island northwest of Shanghai is an ideal spot to venture away from the big city for the weekend with the family.

“Our family took a weekend trip by train and boat to San Shan Dao, where we had an extraordinary China experience staying in small local guest houses and exploring the island,” says Lynette MacDonald, editor in chief of Shanghai Family magazine and frequent traveler with children.

San Shan Dao, near Suzhou, Jiangsu Province

19. Get a tea education





06/04/2017

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