Travel Tips & Intel: Essential Jet-Setting Advice, Travel Leisure, travel tips.#Travel

Travel Tips + Intel

Navigating the globe—especially one that changes as often as ours—can be confusing and intimidating. How much gratuity should you leave in Italy? Will you need a guided tour to explore the Taj Mahal? How early do you have to get in line for ferry tickets to Culebra? Travel + Leisure has authoritative travel advice about these matters and more, along with the latest on airline news, travel deals and discounts, the best gear and gadgets, and totally trendy or entirely off-the-beaten-path travel ideas.

Finding the Best Travel Advice

At Travel + Leisure, we’re constantly expanding and updating our in-depth city, region, and country guides. But our expert insight doesn’t end there. We’re here to offer informed reviews of products, hotels, restaurants, and routes, and provide our take on the latest travel news (or anything that might affect your ability to relax, explore, or hit the road). That includes consumer industry news, breaking weather events, political shifts, and hyper-local cultural events.

T+L’s annual “World’s Best” survey asks readers to rank travel experiences across the globe—including cities and islands, hotels and cruise lines, even destination spas, airlines, tours operators, and safaris. We also scour data to determine the cheapest day to fly over the summer, and when to book your hotel reservation. At T+L, we also carefully craft travel ideas and itineraries, from perfect three-day weekends to five must-do activities in destinations around the Earth. Everything you need to plan your perfect trip is right here.

But Travel + Leisure is not all planning. We reserve the right to ask such pressing questions: What sort of collection does a vampire museum have on display? What is it like to be a professional mermaid? What does the world’s youngest billionaire do when she’s on vacation? Why is this a favorite brand of luggage among celebrities and A-listers? What is it like to eat at a nude restaurant? How many pies could be made out of the world’s largest pumpkin? You may not need to know these answers but—you’ve got to admit—that doesn’t mean you don’t want to.


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SmarterTravel – The Best Trips Start Here, travel tips.#Travel #tips

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Air Travel Health Tips #cheapest #airline #flights

#air travels


How can I improve plane travel?

Most people don’t have any problems when they fly, but it’s possible to make airplane travel safer and more comfortable. Here are some tips:

  • Carry enough of all of your medicines to last your whole trip in your carry-on luggage. Ask your doctor whether you should change your dosages if your eating and sleeping times will change at your destination. Take extra medicine with you in case your return trip is delayed.
  • If you have diabetes or epilepsy, carry a notification and identification card (such as the Diabetes Alert Card from the American Diabetes Association). Have the name and phone number of your doctor with you in case of an emergency. Remember to bring along the names and dosages of all of your medicines.
  • The air in airplanes is dry, so drink nonalcoholic, decaffeinated beverages and water to avoid becoming dehydrated.

What can I do about jet lag?

  • Get plenty of sleep before you leave.
  • Don’t drink a lot of alcohol.
  • Eat well-balanced meals.
  • Avoid overeating.
  • Exercise as much as you can on your trip.
  • Use sleep medicines for only a few days.
  • Get used to a new time zone by going along with the local meal and bedtime schedules.

Melatonin may help with jet lag, but no one knows how long it can be used safely. Tell your doctor if you plan to take melatonin or any other herbal or alternative medicines.

What about pain in my ears?

If your ears hurt when you fly, try taking a decongestant medicine (such as pseudoephedrine) before you get on the plane. You can also swallow often and chew gum during the flight. Babies can suck on bottles or pacifiers during the flight.

What else should I do?

Even healthy people can get blood clots in their legs after long flights. Try to walk every now and then during your flight (unless the crew tells you not to). It also helps to drink water, stretch your calf muscles while you’re sitting and wear support stockings.

If your doctor wants you to take oxygen when you travel, remember to tell the airline about this well in advance of your flight. The airline will probably provide oxygen for you for a fee. Federal air regulations don’t allow you to carry your own oxygen unit on a plane. You’ll have to make arrangements ahead of time for oxygen at your destination and also for layovers between flights. You can also arrange for special meals or a wheelchair ahead of time if needed.

It’s dangerous to fly immediately after scuba diving. You’ll need to wait 12 to 24 hours after diving. Ask your doctor or diving authorities for guidelines on flying after scuba diving.


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Maldives Travel Tips #travel #pro #luggage

#maldives travel

Maldives Travel Tips

George Fisher/Maldives Tourism Promotion Board

Keep in Mind.

  • Off the resort, it’s a different place While you’re lounging blissfully poolside at your choice luxury property, be aware that locals (the staff who are currently serving you) endure a much harder lifestyle. Be courteous and mindful of their customs.
  • Respect Islamic tradition The Maldives is a conservative Muslim nation, where you’ll find plenty of mosques and very little alcohol beyond the resorts’ borders.
  • Communication may be tough The official language is Dhivehi, which originated from Sinhala the dialect of Sri Lanka. Most people in the hospitality industry will know English, but you should be patient with their speech.

Picture it: A private villa stands over crystal blue water; days finish with orange sunsets that make you hungry for local citrus; gourmet room service and a masseuse are on call to avoid any unnecessary trips from your porch; and the only thing to make you want to leave is the breathtaking coral reef and underwater creatures that demand a scuba session for a proper introduction. This is the Maldives.

If you don’t want that clich Caribbean beach getaway (The Bahamas ) or that trendy South Pacific retreat (See Bora Bora ), you should venture to the Maldives. However, getting to and staying in this tropical paradise requires patience (i.e. no direct flights from the states) and plentiful cash. Located between the Arabian and Laccadive seas, roughly 500 miles southwest of Sri Lanka, the Maldives is about as isolated as you can get (or would ever want, anyway). And while the country’s government and economy has recently been in flux, the sublime nature of this paradise has stayed constant in the dreams of travelers.

How To Save Money in Maldives

  • Choose Flights Wisely Airfare from the States is incredibly expensive and one of the key reasons why the Maldives has not become an American tourist hotspot. If you can pair a vacation here with one in the Middle East or Europe (where you can catch a direct flight), the cost will be less ludicrous.
  • Pick Accommodations Carefully “Budget” accommodations don’t exist here; even the low-end hotels are sumptuous and advertise hefty price tags. So avoid the most expensive properties because food, drinks, and excursions there will also cost an arm and leg.
  • Consider All-Inclusive Packages Rates that include airfare, hotel stay, and meals may be your easiest and cheapest bet.

Maldives Culture Customs

The Maldives has been an Islamic nation since the 12th century. With this rich heritage, you ll find religious traditions entrenched in the culture. Mosques dot the capital of Male’. and you ll see some men and women dressed in very conservative attire. Should you wish to visit a mosque, you too should dress accordingly; however, be aware that some mosques are closed to non-Muslims. You’ll also notice people praying in public at certain times throughout the day. Be respectful by lowering your voice and not walking in front of those who are praying. Most of these visible cultural and religious traditions have been extracted from the resorts. However, particularly during Ramadan, expect to witness some Islamic customs, such as local restaurants closing for the daytime when the population will be fasting.

Maldives Dining

The lavish dinner entr es that you’ll sample at hotels are nothing like that of local meals. When you’re in Male’, try dining at a local eatery to sample the cuisine only if you have a hearty stomach. Some travelers report sickness after consuming local food because they haven’t allowed their digestive systems enough time to adjust to the cuisine. You’ll find that fish and rice are two staple dishes of the Maldivian diet.


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6 Tips for Traveling by Rail in Europe with Kids #cheap

#travel europe by train

6 Tips for Traveling by Rail in Europe with Kids

Train travel in Europe is almost always affordable, comfortable, and safe, making it the ideal way to get around Europe with kids. Given the choice, I ll opt to sit back and relax instead of attempting to navigate by car in a foreign country any day, and my kids would thank me for it. On trains, kids are not confined full time to seats like in cars or on planes and the scenery is much easier to see out the window. All this said, traveling by rail in Europe can be confusing. Here s what you need to know when planning to travel in Europe by rail with kids. Here are some ideas for finding a baby sitter while traveling

6 Tips for Traveling by Rail in Europe with Kids

1. You can travel by train in Europe with rail passes or specific destination tickets. Which to buy? It can depend. In rural areas and small towns, often non-reservable, or open destination tickets are the only option. If nothing else, plan for these accordingly. For some high speed trains, even families with applicable rail passes must purchase reservable tickets. Generally speak, however, if you re traveling from city to city or country to country, you re almost always better off with a rail pass. Note: France is an exception. Learn more about rail travel in France .

2. Plan your itinerary before purchasing tickets. This seems like a no-brainer, but with rail passes, it s possible to purchase Global or Select country passes, then decide where to go later. While spontaneity still has a place in travel with kids, you can t compare ticket pricing options effectively if you don t know where you re going. Start at country rail travel sites like TrenItalia for Italy, and add up the price of your tickets a la carte. Then head to Eurail and see if a Global, Select. or Country pass will save you money (and allow for some spontaneity). Or, you can let Rail Europe do the work for you: you put in your itinerary, and they decide which rail options suit you best. Rail Europe is generally trusted among travelers to provide competitive pricing, so this is a viable option. When mapping out your itinerary and selecting your rail pass, keep in mind that you ll need to pay even for countries you re only passing through, not stopping in.

3. Decide whether to travel first class or second class. Second class is fine (think airline coach), but first class is not much extra per ticket and includes various perks such as wifi or light meals, depending on the train. Often, only first class tickets are reservable, worth the extra price for the peace of mind alone. However: if you have teens, you may be forced to travel second class or pay extra for adult passes. Why? Youth ages 13-25 are eligible for discounted pass prices with Eurail (approximately 35% less than adult), but only on second class tickets. If your family will be traveling first class, teens will need adult tickets (or you could make them sit alone in second class, I suppose, which might be warranted… kidding, of course). The good news: children ages 4-12 are always 50% discounted, no matter the class, and children under age 4 are always free.

4. Decide on your number of travel days. When selecting which Eurail pass is right for you, you ll need to select between a number of travel days. Bear in mind: these days do not refer to the number of days you re on vacation, but the number of actual rail travel days. You can save considerably by traveling by rail only once every 3-4 days instead of every day, and your kids will feel more rested as well.

5. Bring snacks, toys, and games for train travel. A train day can be a day to rest and recoup after busy travel and sightseeing days. Let kids spread out with games and books, or use the electronic plug-ins you ll have at your disposal in first class. Bringing food on the train is always cheaper than purchasing on-board, and the luggage and carry-on allowances are much less strict than during air travel, making packing a meal easy.

6. Know the difference between sleep compartments. Overnight trains are a great way to save daylight for sightseeing, and are a great adventure for kids. However, it s helpful to know what to expect. In second class, you usually have the choice between sleeping compartments (small compartments of bunks that are gender specific) or couchettes, which are cabins with 4-6 beds that are non-gender specific (perfect for families). In first class, you ll almost always encounter single or double sleeping compartments, which means more room, but the necessity for families to split up for children to be accompanied by adults.

Photo credit: German Saavedra R. and AroundTuscany.


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7 tips for booking train tickets in Europe #south #africa #travel

#rail travel europe

7 tips for booking train tickets in Europe

Train Travel

Here’s a quick rundown on how to get the best deals for inter-city rail travel in Europe.

1. European websites frequently sell tickets at lower prices. For example, French Railways often supplies lower prices on its website for tickets that are identical to the ones it sells via an American agency. To be sure, agencies like sometimes do provide superlow deals, such as a current discount of 50 percent off train tickets on Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam routes. (Details here .) Still. you gotta shop around–and not merely rely on American sites for one-stop shopping–if you want the best deal.

2. English speakers living in the U.S. can still buy discounted tickets through European websites. Your first stop online should be at This amazingly helpful British website offers step-by-step advice on how to pinpoint the best route for your desired itinerary. and also how to find the cheapest tickets. (The site’s editor, Mark Smith, answered reader questions yesterday at Transcript here .)

3. Booking at the last-minute? There may be a deal for you online, too. In the same way that airlines offer last-minute deals to fill empty seats, Europe’s rail networks have deeply discounted point-to-point tickets. You’ll find examples here .

4. You can only buy a Eurorail ticket in the U.S. but it’s not always your cheapest option for rail travel in Europe. Says Mark Smith, “In theory, Eurail tickets can ONLY be bought outside Europe, as they are intended for overseas visitors. But in many cases you’ll find ordinary point-to-point tickets are a cheaper option, especially if you book direct with the European rail operators at their own website rather than through an expensive US agency, and especially if you are prepared to pre-book tickets on a no-refunds, no-changes-to-travel-plans basis so as to take advantage of European railways’ various budget-airline-beating special train deals.”

5. Get your timing right. The most intuitive way to figure out train times for any European rail journey is to visit the website of the German rail line Deutsche Bahn. which has comprehensive listings for all major European train companies. But the website makes it difficult for Americans to purchase travel, so book your tickets at RailEurope. or European Rail. These sites offer point-to-point tickets, rail passes, and student discounts. For railpasses for travel within the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, visit Railkey’s website .

6. Know that booking tickets on the “Chunnel” between London and Paris can be tricky for Americans. Eurostar offers fares and times for routes reaching London, Paris, Brussels, and other nearby destinations. But Eurostar’s website doesn’t offer reservations for overnight trains. Expect to make such reservations by phone instead. Another warning: Eurostar will not mail tickets to the U.S. but you can dodge this problem by booking your Eurostar tickets at The site will give you a choice of picking up your tickets at Waterloo station in London or having your tickets be mailed to a British address, such as your hotel, says rail expert Mark Smith. If your train will travel on through France, after stopping in Paris via the underground Chunnel, then opt to pick up your onward tickets at any major ticket office in France, says Smith.

7. Look beyond Europe’s best-known tourist destinations. Europe’s train systems make it easy to take a day-trip to a place outside of a well-known capital–and still be back in time for dinner. Here are ‘s ideas for adding on day-trips out of Amsterdam. Barcelona. Berlin. Copenhagen.

Related. Europe’s newest high-speed train, the TGV East between Paris and Strasbourg, is a hit with Americans after just one day in operation,” reports the Los Angeles Times .

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Amsterdam Travel Tips #ctc #travel

#amsterdam travel

Amsterdam Travel Tips

Dennis van de Water/Shutterstock

Keep in Mind.

  • Red Light District photo opps are a no-no Bouncers and police have been known to confiscate cameras and even toss them into the canal.
  • Amsterdam has great pancakes Not only are they delicious, they’re varied savory or sweet, cheese or meat-stuffed, jam or fruit-topped, and on and on and on.
  • Amsterdam is kid-friendly Despite its penchant for adult entertainment, the city has numerous kid-centric attractions like the science center NEMO. the Zandvoort beach and the Anne Frank House .

Don’t believe everything you hear about Amsterdam. Yes, this Netherlands city takes a lax look at women beckoning business in the Red Light District and “coffee shops” selling an unorthodox type of herb to a toking clientele, but these descriptions only scratch the surface. At some point, during an excellent Indonesian meal, a twilight canal-side rambling or a shopping excursion through the boutiques of Nine Streets. you’ll realize as many travelers have before you that there’s much more to Amsterdam than you might’ve thought.

And although the city’s loose laws on vice seem to attract a college-age, male-dominant crowd, Amsterdam is also ideal as a romantic getaway for two or an educational excursion with the kids. With attractions that range from biking along a maze of canals to remembering the Holocaust through the eyes of Anne Frank; from exploring the swirling Expressionism of Van Gogh to lazing in the expansive Vondelpark. Amsterdam suits a variety of traveler tastes.

How To Save Money in Amsterdam

  • Purchase an “I Amsterdam” card This little piece of plastic allows you free use of all GVB public transportation, free entrance to more than 40 museums and a free canal cruise, among other perks, for a set price. The catch? You buy your card for 24, 36 or 72 hours and can only access the deals within those time periods.
  • Do the heel-toe step Walking rather than taking taxis or public transportation will cut down on costs. And this small city is immensely walkable; just leave a wide berth between you and the serious cyclers on the bike lanes.
  • Visit in winter Invest in a cozy coat and come to Amsterdam in the winter, where the slashed hotel rates will keep you feeling warm and fuzzy. An added bonus: crowds are at an all-time low, as are lines for top attractions.

Amsterdam Culture Customs

Amsterdammers officially speak Dutch, but most residents also speak English and it’s insulting to think otherwise. If you’re versed, try to speak a little Dutch: hallo for “hello” and dank u for “thank you.” But don’t patronize Amsterdammers by asking, “Do you speak English?”

“Going Dutch” is more a way of life than an expression. The Dutch are notorious for their frugality yet they also have a large appetite for consumerism, so enjoy shopping. Amsterdam’s official currency is the euro (EUR). Since the euro to U.S. dollar exchange rate fluctuates often, be sure to check what the current exchange rate is before you go. Major credit cards are accepted at most restaurants and shops.

Marijuana use in Amsterdam is permitted though not legal. Though as of 2011, Amsterdam has implemented a ban on tourists from its coffee shops. As a result, many coffee shops have had to shutter their doors. Let’s Go Amsterdam also notes that “hard drugs including heroin, ecstasy, or cocaine are very much illegal and not tolerated, and possession is treated as a serious crime.” And as of 2008, hallucinogenic mushroom sales have been banned.

Amsterdam Dining

Raw herring. Pancakes. Indonesian. Like many other international cities, Amsterdam has a multiplicity of ethnic establishments sure to whet appetites. But the city does have a few specialties like pancakes, smothered or stuffed with every topping imaginable, from bacon to blueberries. (Recent travelers rave about The Pancake Bakery ). Raw herring is a Netherlands specialty and is consumed whole. And Indonesian rijsttafel (or rice tables) rice topped with spiced meats, vegetables and fish are hugely popular.

Indonesian establishments are scattered throughout the city. Cheap ethnic eats are mainly gathered in the De Pijp neighborhood. For an upscale dining experience, try the Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets ) or the Reguilersdwarsstrat areas. Travelers also praise the food finds on Elandsgracht Street in the Canal Ring. Beware tourist traps in the party-hearty areas of Rembrandtplein, Leidseplein and the Red Light District .


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Amsterdam Tips for Visitors #flight #prices

#travel to amsterdam

Amsterdam travel tips for visitors

Suggested itineraries

Whether you have one, two, three days or more, Amsterdam has plenty to offer and more than enough to keep you entertained. These are our recommended itineraries to give you the best possible overview of the city.

Amsterdam canal cruises

A fleet of about 200 vessels offer a waterborne variety of services and entertainment available on shore. In 2014, almost a quarter of all canal cruise boats were electrically powered. Clean and silent, these boats are ideal for tourists who want to record their cruise on video. No engine noise or tremble will pollute their recordings.

Amsterdam tours

Bike tours run throughout the year with an option to combine a coutryside tour in the summer. Good Amsterdam tips for people who like active relaxation. The daily bike tour goes through the city and countryside visiting sites like a windmill and a cheese farm/clog factory.

Explore Jewish Amsterdam

Jewish population, its culture and religion was since the beginning of the 17th Century an important element of life in Amsterdam. Explore jewish history museum. synagogues, restaurants and the well known Anne Frank house.

Amsterdam photographer

If you would like a profesionally taken photos you can arange a meeting with Amsterdam photographer. The good thing is that she can also tell you a lot about the city just like a guide would.

Buy Dutch Souvenirs online

Have a look at our Amsterdam online souvenir shop.

Timing your visit

The peak of the tourist season is July and August, when the weather is the finest. Weather, however, is never really extreme at any time of year, and if you’re one of the growing numbers who favor off-season travel, you’ll find the city every bit as attractive during these months.

Things to avoid

General knowledge of what to avoid in Amsterdam, concerns the car driving, bicycle lanes, public transportation and visitor’s safety, as well as smoking at public areas and other Amsterdam tips.

Things to do in Amsterdam with children

The variaty of attractions kids would enjoy is enormous. Whether you are traveling with young children or nearly-grownups you will find fun, crazy, exciting and fascinating things to do all over the city of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Holland Pass , iAmsterdam Card and Museumkaart

As admissions to museums and public transport tickets might represent an important cost during your visit to Amsterdam, three different discount cards aim at lowering these expenses. Amsterdam Holland Pass offers free transfer from and to the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, free tickets to most important museums (including Rijksmuseum), discounts on many attractions and 24-hours public transport ticket. iAmsterdam card offers free entrance to several museums (but not Rijksmuseum) and city attractions, 25% discount on selected restaurants and a free public transport ticket in Amsterdam (but not transportation from and to the airport) for a limited period of 1 to 3 days. Museumkaart opens the doors to 34 museums in Amsterdam (including Rijksmuseum) and 400 museums in the Netherlands for a period of one year.

Amsterdam tourist information office

Local tourist office is a one of the great information sources that dwarfs many countries offerings, especially what is up in Amsterdam and useful Amsterdam tips. They however charge a small fee for the room reservations.

Sending your postcards

Most of the shops with cards and souvenirs also carry the post stamps. Postal boxes are in colour red or orange (the new ones). The post is collected every day at 6PM, except for Saturday. If you send your cards abroad, especially overseas, the quickest way is the priority mail. Cards and letters sent with a priority mail are usually delivered within couple of days. Using the priority mail, do not forget to put the blue priority mail label on your card or letter. As the mail service is largely automated, writing Priority or Air Mail will not do the trick, and your post will be delayed.

Central Post Office

If you are sending some letters overseas and you are not sure how many stamps to put on, or you just want to send a small parcel, the Central Post Office is your place. In addition, telephone cards, useful stationary and money change, although the specialized places in town will give you a better rate. The address is Singel 250 (at the corner of Radhuisstraat).

Money and currency

In Amsterdam, as well as in all the Netherlands and many other countries of European Community the accepted currency is Euro (EUR, ), no other currencies are commonly accepted, so you will have to change your dollars, sterling, yens, etc to Euros. Credit cards are widely accepted too, though in some small shops or hotels, there might an extra charge (2-6%) if you pay by a credit card, passport may be required. Generally, the most preferred payment method is Euro cash with the banknotes up to 50 Euro bill.

Using the telephone

Public telephone in Amsterdam can be found on streets all over the city, at railway stations, post offices and some bars. Using the phone is quite straightforward, just when you have the right telephone card. See where you find the phones, where to get the phone-cards, places you can use a credit card or call-direct cards, learn about mobiles and calling from the hotel and other Amsterdam tips.


Amsterdam is a safe city, and there is nothing to fear when walking in any part of the city. However, don’t leave your belongings unattended. When you’re in a coffee shop. bar or restaurant. keep your bag near to you – under the table, between your legs. As in every larger city, beware of pickpockets. Some residential surburbs (outside the city) have a bad reputation at night.

Dutch language

Dutch is the national language of Holland. However, English is spoken by everyone in Amsterdam. In addition, many Dutch people speak German and French. Dutch is the mother tongue of well over 21 million Dutch people and Flemish people (Dutch- speaking nationals of Belgium). Find a here few Dutch keys phrases and other Amsterdam tips.


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Anthony Bourdain s Rome Travel Tips #travel #to #brazil

#rome travel

Visit the Eternal City

Anthony Bourdain has a little over 30 hours to experience the “Eternal City” of Rome. He crisscrosses the city by bus, by Fiat, and by Vespa determined to get his fill of Italian cuisine before his flight out. Before your next visit, check out some of Tony s tips from The Layover: Rome episode.

The Pace of Rome

“Ideally, you visit Rome slowly. You sit, you stroll, you take it slow and as it comes. You don’t go to see stuff, you let it slip up on you — one piazza, one fountain, one amazing structure at a time. That would be the best-case scenario.”

Airport Transportation

“Fiumicino Airport has the usual assortment of transportation options. The easiest but pricier would be a taxi straight into town to your hotel. That s a flat fare of about 60 bucks. There are shuttle buses for about 15 bucks, which should take about 40 minutes, but traffic can be unpredictable. I opt for the express train this time around: $20 and only 30 minutes. It’s supposed to be fast, efficient, easy, but honestly as I stare down another walkway, I begin to regret my decision.”

Rome s Train Station

“Termini station is the massive transportation hub of Rome, and it s the center of suck-dom as far as I’m concerned.”

Public Transportation

“In Rome, you can for 1 euro, get 75 minutes of unlimited access to any of Rome s many means of transportation the metro, for instance. However, there are only 2 lines that crisscross the city like an X, meeting at — guess where? — Termini station. There are also buses and trams above ground. Not a big difference, just depends where you’re going.”

Where to Stay

“I suggest the Centro Storico, or historical center of the city, so you’re within walking distance of all the good stuff that you want to at least lay eyes on. Hotels are expensive, so book early if you re looking for lower-priced penziones as they tend to fill up quickly. On the other hand, if you want to blow it out and live large, and pay bigtime for the privilege, the Hotel de Russie is swankadelic, discreet, and it s right down the street (yet comfortably insulated from) the Spanish steps. But again, it’s expensive.”

What to Bring

“The toilet paper in this country is not the fluffiest, it’s very abrasive like I m sitting on steel wool every time I sit down. Here s a traveler’s tip bring your own double-ply.”

What Not to Do

“You could have that ubiquitous hotel breakfast, I guess. But you are seriously a (bleep) idiot if you do. You will be needing that real estate for good food, not room-temperature eggs.”

A Proper Roman Breakfast

“No eggs, no pancakes you save room for lunch. It’s cappuccino, and maybe a cornetto. That’s it.

For a Snack

“What s a Roman specialty you might have for a light lunch or a snack? Well, one might head off to the Pigneto district to score yourself some porchetta.”


“The pride of Rome, porchetta, is a whole deboned pig stuffed with herbs, spit-roasted and generally served with a pitcher of ice-cold Italian beer.”

For a Picnic

“Italian deli/groceries, known as alimentari or salumeria, are the perfect place to stock up on some of Rome’s best flavors. Procured, stored, sliced and solid with passion and real craftsmanship. You pretty much can t go wrong with takeout like this. And of course, there are fountains and piazzas around every corner where you can sit down and eat.”

The Best Gelato

“There are, of course, gelaterias (good and not so good) everywhere in Italy, but it’s worth looking for a great one. Gelateria dei Gracchi in the Prati district is probably the best of the best.”

An Italian Cocktail

“When making negronis at home: 1/3 high-end gin, 1/3 Campari and 1/3 sweet vermouth. I don t really like gin, I don t really like Campari, and I don t like sweet vermouth but together your friend. The count negroni, it is said, invented this fine cocktail in Florence. Unsatisfied with the level of alcohol in his Americano cocktail of Campari and sweet vermouth, he suggested his waiter ratchet up the danger level with the addition of gin. Thus was born a classic.”

Why to Rent a Vespa

“You can speed through traffic, you’re out there in the world you can actually smell it, feel it, wind in your hair. OK, it’s a little more dangerous, but think about it you can also pull over as the instinct or impulse strikes you. You know, it s not a big commitment to park. It’s cheap. It’s the most totally awesome way to get around Rome. Five times as fast, 5 times as flexible, 5 times as fun why wouldn t you do this?”

Tony s Final Bite in Rome

“Cacio e pepe. You could get it anywhere, but you want it good. This place, named strangely enough Cacio e Pepe. does it good. I love this (bleep). Looks like just some plain pasta with a little black pepper and cheese and it basically is. But, you have no idea how good that is.”

The One Thing to Do in Rome

“If you do one thing in Rome, one thing. Forget about Vatican City, all the rest, one thing: Find a place that is guaranteed by locals to make good cacio e pepe, get yourself a nice jug of wine and eat.”


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Belize Travel Tips #chicago #travel

#travel to belize

Belize Travel Tips


Keep in Mind.

  • You’ll hear multiple languages English is the dominant language here, but you’ll likely hear one of Belize’s other languages: Spanish, Garifuna, Mayan, and Creole.
  • Explore the Mayan sites in the A.M. Hordes of tourists flock to the ruins at midday. Arrive in the morning to avoid long lines, as well as sweltering heat and damp humidity.
  • Stay alert in Belize City The country’s bustling urban center is known for its violence and petty crime. Stick to tourist areas where crime is less prevalent and keep an eye on your wallet.

Although this small Central American nation spans less than 9,000 square miles roughly the size of the state of Massachusetts few places on Earth can match Belize’s diverse natural beauty. The barrier reef’s turquoise and coral hues contrast with the staggering Mayan ruins scattered throughout the country’s lush rainforests. Plus, it’s not just the landscape, the history, culture and people of Belize are just as blended.

Belize has spent years concealed underneath the shadows of its Mexican neighbors Canc n. Cozumel. and Tulum. But today, this Central American country beckons visitors with its thatch-roofed jungle lodges, impressive Mayan ruins, secluded snorkeling and scuba diving havens, and laid-back atmosphere. Sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize’s eastern shoreline flanks the Caribbean Sea, while its mainland extends into a myriad of wild rainforests to the north, west and south. Facing off against the sun-drenched mainland coast are hundreds of tiny islands known as cays and atolls. These islets lure travelers with swaying palm trees and cerulean waters.

Belize’s largest island, Ambergris Caye. attracts the most visitors. Stroll through Ambergris Caye by day and you’ll find a relaxed beachfront filled with spectacular waterfront sites; by dusk, you’ll revel in its vibrant nightlife. Just be sure to save some time on the mainland for unraveling Belize’s subtle charms. From its luxuriant Mayan sites to its sparkling waters, there’s plenty to explore in this enchanting coastal country.


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Colombia Travel Guide – Essential Tips and Advice #book #cheap #flight

#colombia travel

Colombia: The only risk is wanting to stay

Long ignored as a tourist destination for it’s shady past Colombia is finally taking its rightful place as the one of the most fascinating and beautiful countries in the world .

Plaza de Bolivar, Bogota DC

As the only South American country with coasts on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans its shores are home to a wide variety of marine life. The majestic hunchbacked whales migrate along the pacific coast while the caribbean coast abounds with colourful coral reefs and crystal blue waters.

The interior of the country boasts everything from deserts to snow-capped mountains. jungles to glaciers .

Given the overwhelmingly negative media coverage the country receives it is hardly surprising that most people dismiss Colombia out of hand when it comes to planning their next trip. I can understand this because I was also once of this mindset!

If you’re looking for a slightly more reasoned argument about the country being safe for visitors than “Trust me, it’s great!” then have a look at my safety guide for more reassurance.

The key is to speak to people who have actually visited the country. And I challenge you to find one of those people who doesn’t rave about how wonderful the place is – it won’t be easy!

So jettison all those pre-conceptions you have about this country and give it a chance. I did, and I’ve now almost clocked up almost a decade here with no plans of leaving anytime soon!


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Cancun Travel Tips #find #flights #cheap

#cancun travel

Cancun Travel Tips


Keep in Mind.

  • Don’t stop to chitchat Canc n is crawling with timeshare representatives. They’ll try to grab your attention in the airport, in the hotel lobbies and around the shopping areas. If you’re not interested, give a polite but firm, “No, thank you” and keep moving.
  • Siestas are important If you’re planning to party well into the night, plan to take a little afternoon siesta to keep your energy level high.
  • Take your time Cars are about the only thing that move quickly here. Residents of Canc n move at a relaxed pace. Take a cue from them and slow down.

Canc n is nothing if not resilient. Consider the debilitating effects Hurricane Wilma had on the region in 2005 drowned shores, destroyed storefronts and capsized boats. But now, this skinny “7”-shaped barrier island in southeastern Mexico is once again a go-to spot for beaches, golfing and nightlife. Canc n also remains one of the most affordable vacation destinations in the Western Hemisphere you could pay less than $600 per person for an all-inclusive vacation along these Yucat n sands, even during the self-indulgent spring break season.

So what’s there to do here? Canc n’s beaches are spectacular spots to try some jet skiing and parasailing. And there’s also a host of after-hours activities; be sure to check out the acrobatic dance performances at the Coco Bongo Canc n. This area is also close to one of the most recognizable sites of Mexico don’t miss out on the chance to behold Chich n Itz . a large Mayan archaeological site that is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

How To Save Money in Cancun

  • Don’t buy a phrasebook It’s a great idea to learn a foreign language, but purchasing a Spanish phrasebook just for your trip to Canc n would be a waste of money. Nearly everyone speaks and understands English here.
  • Use the buses They’re reliable and abundant, and they cost less than a dollar to ride. Enough said.
  • Go all-inclusive Canc n is heavily populated with all-inclusive resorts. Some of the best packages include all your meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, gym access and even tips.

Cancun Culture Customs

Canc n’s popularity with college-age travelers lends to a more casual dress code, even in restaurants. You should cover up your swimsuit when away from the pool or beach, but you will find many people walking along the Boulevard Kukulc n in beach-type attire. Unlike other destinations, Canc n’s nighttime establishments welcome a more relaxed atmosphere and appearance.

The official language here is Spanish, but because Canc n is such a popular tourist spot for Americans, you should have no trouble finding someone who speaks English, especially within the tourism and hospitality industries.

Canc n s official currency is the Mexican peso. Since the Mexican peso to U.S. dollar exchange rate fluctuates, be sure to check what the current exchange rate is before you go. American dollars are, however, widely accepted in Canc n.

Cancun Dining

Canc n has almost as many restaurants as it does hotels, so travelers should have no problem finding suitable cuisine. The area specializes in regional Mexican food and fresh seafood dishes, but North American and European restaurants are also very popular. If you’re seeking the classic Mexican food and drink, travelers recommend Calypso’s. For more elegant fare, the moderately priced Labn serves authentic Yucateco dishes in huge portions and is highly recommended by travelers and experts.


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Brazil Travel Tips and Information #travel #world

#travel to brazil

Knowledge Before You Go

Brazil is a vast country and there are many different Brazils within Brazil. Even the most basic understanding of the country’s history, culture and people can go far in enriching your entire travel experience. A relatively painless way to gain valuable insights into Brazilian history is by reading the historical novel Brazil by Errol Lincoln Uys (Silver Springs Books, July 1, 2000, ISBN 0916562514). New editions are available at and they also often have used editions advertised for sale. Additionally, You Tube contains a wide range of Brazilian videos and slide shows.

You may also want to visit the Brazilian government’s tourism page [in Portuguese but soon available in English] for more information about various areas and locations you may want to consider visiting in Brazil.

Knowing as much as you can about the particular area you plan to visit in Brazil before you get there will make your entire trip more rewarding and enjoyable. If your Brazilian travel plans span different states or areas, you also may want to consider buying and carrying a Brazilian road map (bought either before you go or as soon as you arrive in Brazil) because it will help your better understand where you are at any given moment.

Where to Go in Brazil

If you are contemplating a trip to Brazil, it could be for any number of reasons. For some, it could be to experience and enjoy the hundreds and hundreds of miles of white sandy beaches. For others, it could be to experience the wonders of the Amazon, the wildlife of the Pantanal, the awesome power of Foz de Igua u (Igua u Falls) or the historical charm of old cities like Ouro Preto. For still others, it could be to experience the music, cuisine and heritage of Brazil’s 500 year old culture. It doesn’t matter if you are drawn by the allures of Rio de Janeiro or simply want to kick back and enjoy the delights of a freshly made caipirinha and do nothing. Brazil is a big country and there are places, people and things that will be of interest to even the most jaded traveler. Brazil is more than a country, it is a sensation unlike almost anywhere else on the planet.

To successfully plan any trip requires that you have sufficient information. Many Brazilian travel guides (such as those published by Lonely Planet. Fodor’s. Frommer’s. Michelin. etc. as well as many online resources) describe areas of interest throughout Brazil and have a lot of specific information and descriptions. These resources can provide invaluable information when planning your trip. Additionally, many cities, states and areas in Brazil have English web sites packed with information and resources. Just do a search on Google, Yahoo or your favorite search engine for a specific state, city or locale.

Other places to start gathering information can include merely searching on Google for the Brazilian topics ypou are interested in. Additionally, Brazilian Tourism . another Brazilian government web site (in English), p rovides a broad range of information about various areas and locations you may want to consider visiting. Additionally, many travel agents are well versed in traveling to and in Brazil and can advise you about specific locations that may be of interest to you. There are also official Brazilian government Tourism offices locations in the US and UK that can be contacted for information:


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Puerto Rico Travel Tips #cheap #airfare #and #hotel

#puerto rico travel

Puerto Rico Travel Tips

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Keep in Mind.

  • The term “balneario In Puerto Rico, this normally means “public beach.” Some of the island’s best include Balneario de Carolina and Balneario de Luquillo great family spots that are free to enjoy and have changing facilities on site.
  • The term “comida criolla It’s the phrase Puerto Ricans use for traditional street food. The plantains, pork, rice and beans served here will be tastier (and cheaper) than anything you’ll find at the hotels.
  • The term “paradores These inns scattered throughout the island’s countryside could be a nice, affordable compromise to staying around the activity of San Juan.

Determining Puerto Rico’s charm is a no-brainer. Less than a three-hour flight from Miami. this island is a U.S. territory (in case you didn’t recall from high school history class). So when you’re shopping in San Juan, you can pay for your souvenirs with American bills. But don’t be mistaken: This isn’t quite a home away from home. Puerto Rico has both 20-foot waves for surfers and calm, clear waters for families. It’s a stroll back through time (El Morro ) and an up-close look at the contemporary (Calle del Cristo ). It’s an exhilarating mix of landscapes, from the serpentine jungle of El Yunque to the corkscrew caves of Parque de las Cavernas del R o Camuy. And if you want to get away from civilization entirely, you can ferry over to the secluded not to mention jaw-droppingly gorgeous islands of Vieques and Culebra. Convinced?

If not, we can drive a few further points home. When other Caribbean isles put a premium on wintertime at the beach, Puerto Rico offers year-round affordable packages so travelers can relax along its blanched sands. And while other regional spots like to advertise exciting nightlife, the capital city of San Juan actually delivers. Follow a pulsating beat to the dance clubs in the Santurce neighborhood, catch some live music in a Ponce lounge or grab a casual drink at a San Sebasti n bar.

How To Save Money in Puerto Rico

  • Take an Eastern Caribbean cruise Puerto Rico really should be explored over at least three or four days. But if all you want to see is the famous El Morro fort, you can get your fill during a port of call.
  • Plan ahead You can visit this “Island of Enchantment” in the peak winter for less money than other Caribbean spots, but to do so you should book two to three months in advance.
  • Use a road map The buses are essential to navigating much of San Juan, and the p blicos provide a less stressful way of visiting neighboring towns. But it’s easy to get turned around, miss your stop and therefore, spend more money. Knowing your route will also help you when taking a taxi.

Puerto Rico Culture Customs

Much of Puerto Rican culture, from the food to the music, represents the island’s combined North American, Caribbean and indigenous Ta no ancestry. In Old San Juan, for example, you can grab comida criolla (traditional Puerto Rican meals of pork, rice and beans) just a stone’s throw from Calle del Cristo’s Coach and Polo Ralph Lauren factory outlets.

Speaking of clothes, you’re on vacation in the tropics and you’re going to want to dress informally. But it’s a good idea to cover up your swimsuits with clothing unless you’re at the pool or the beach. Also pay special attention to your attire before enjoying Puerto Rico’s nightlife only tourists go out dressing like they’re at a barbecue. If you want to blend in at the bar, turn up your fashion a notch and leave the culottes in the suitcase.

Many Puerto Ricans speak English, but Spanish is the language of daily life. Packing a Spanish phrasebook is handy, and Puerto Ricans welcome your efforts to converse with them in Spanish.

Since Puerto Rico is part of the United States, the island’s currency is the U.S. dollar and credit cards are widely accepted. Tipping etiquette is the same here as in other parts of the United States; 15 to 20 percent is considered the standard, but more is appreciated for exceptional service.

Puerto Rico Dining

Dining in Puerto Rico reflects the island’s mixture of Caribbean, Latin, North American and indigenous Ta no influences. If you want to try something new, head to a fonda. or storefront eatery, along San Juan’s Plaza del Mercado. South Fortaleza Street, or Calle Fortaleza or even SoFo for short is another dining hub with some of the newest bars and restaurants. The food on San Juan’s SoFo is good at any time, but it’s a pseicla treat to try some during SoFo Culinary Week in June. That’s when Calle Fortaleza is barricaded to car traffic and transformed into an outdoor tasting plaza that’s popular with tourists and residents alike. If you’re staying in the northeast, you can expect a quieter dining experience along Luquillo or Fajardo beaches. The atmosphere and clientele is more subdued, and the affordable food exceeds expectations.

No matter where you dine, make sure you get a taste of some of Puerto Rico’s most authentic eats: asopao is a traditional stew often made with chicken or beef; mofongo consists of seafood, meat or vegetables atop mashed plantains; and lech n is smokey, roasted suckling pig.


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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%.


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Free Travel Tips to India – Travel Guide Help for Online

#travel to india

When it comes to traveling to India. you can never know enough. MakeMyTrip, one of the leading corporate travel consultants, would like to make your travel experience pleasant and hassle-free with important information to ensure a smooth travel experience in India.

For your convenience, we have provided contact information for important airlines, tour places in the US and India including phone numbers and website addresses. In addition, to expedite your holidays. we give you helpful information about security restrictions at airports along with the dos and don’ts of traveling in India.

Another aspect of travel, which constantly seems to be changing are Visa Rule in Indias for various countries. We help make things easier by detailing Visa regulations through major transit hubs en route to India.

The most common question travelers have is about baggage allowances. We provide detailed specifications on baggage allowances including size and weight restrictions for adults, children and infants.

Read more about these and other travel tips for an enjoyable journey! MakeMyTrip, one of the leading corporate travel consultants, for more information on summer holidays and tour places in India. Click Here.


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Hawaii Travel Tips – Information #flight #tickets #prices

#travel ideas

Hawaii Travel Tips

Getting to Hawaii

Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu is Hawaii’s major airport, serving as the entry point for most of Hawaii’s visitors. All major domestic carriers and many international carriers serve Oahu, so you can get here from just about anywhere.

There are also direct flights from the U.S. mainland to Maui. Kauai. and Hawaii Island. but for the most part, you may need to connect through Oahu to get to the neighbor islands including Lanai and Molokai. There are daily ferry services from Lahaina Harbor in Maui to both Manele Bay in Lanai and Kaunakakai Harbor in Molokai .Flight times from Honolulu International Airport (HNL), Oahu to:

Lihue Airport (LIH), Kauai. 30 minutes

Kahului Airport (OGG), Maui. 30 minutes

Kapalua-West Maui Airport (JHM), Maui. 30 minutes

Kona International Airport (KOA), Hawaii s Big Island. 45 minutes

Staying in Hawaii

Anytime of the year is a good time to visit Hawaii. Summer, between April and November, is warmer and drier (average temperature is 75?-88? F) while winter, between December and March, is a bit cooler (68?-80? F). Trade winds keep things comfortable year-round.

Traveling in Hawaii

To really experience all that Hawaii offers, you should consider renting a car. Reserve your rental vehicles in advance because quantities can be limited on some islands. Many visitors also enjoy taking bus tours to conveniently explore the Islands. Shuttles, taxis and public transport are available on most islands.

Hawaii’s Environment

The natural beauty of Hawaii s fragile environment comes from its geographical isolation from other ecosystems. Bringing plants, produce or animals can introduce pests and non-endemic species that could be destructive to Hawaii s environment.

The Department of Agriculture enforces strict rules regarding the exportation of uninspected plants and animals and requires a declaration form for each person arriving in Hawaii. When departing, your luggage must pass a pre-flight screening for uninspected fruits and plants. You are welcome to take inspected fresh flowers and fruits home. Items purchased at the airport or mailed home form local vendors are inspected for you.

The area code for the state of Hawaii is (808)

Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau: (808) 923-1811


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How to Book China Train Tickets, China Train Travel Tips #virgin

#chinese travel agency

How to Book China Train Tickets?

Online Travel Agency

An efficient and secure way for foreign tourists to book and purchase train tickets in China is by using a reliable online travel agency. However, buying through travel agencies the costs can be more, since travel agencies will charge a service fee. On the other hand, you will know that the booking is guaranteed and fixed.

Dozens of trains can be found, when searching online train schedule through the web. However, beware that not all train tickets are available for purchase such as short distance tickets. If the travel distance takes a small part in a long distance journey a ticket could not be purchased. In some cases, tickets are only purchasable in the departure city.

Compulsory documents such as full name and passport number are required for each passenger when booking tickets. E-tickets are not provided and tickets are not deliverable to countries abroad. However, we provide the possibility to deliver tickets to your hotel of staying according to your arrival in the city where you would like to depart by train.

CITS is now offering on-line booking service for train ticket, which allows you to depart from many cities throughout China. To start your booking, please click China domestic train booking .

Buy Tickets at the Rail Station

Rail stations at big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have a special English-speaking ticket counter for foreigners. In Beijing, tickets can be bought at the Beijing Main Rail Station, the Beijing West Rail Station or Beijing South Rail Station. Be aware that only domestic Chinese tickets are sold, thus no international tickets. Allow plenty of time to buy your ticket, as you may have to queue.

Note, before buying tickets at the rail station, check the opening date for purchase. High-speed train tickets in the C, D, G or Z-category could be purchased 10 days before departure. For the high-speed train tickets in the K or T category are only open 5 days before departure. Tickets are only purchasable during the opening date. Opening dates are subject to change during the Chinese holidays or festivals such as spring festival or national holidays. It is recommended to buy tickets as soon as they could be purchased.

Online Booking with China Railway Customer Service Center

Passengers can book train tickets online on China Railway Customer Service Center ( As of 2012, all train tickets are available online. However the website is only available in Chinese.

Online reservation service is only offered to its registered users, for tickets in 1-10 days usually (1-12 days in advance for 2012 Spring Festival Rush). Payment online are applicable for bank card of the Bank of China, China Merchants Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and bank cards stipulated by China Union Pay. The users should open up the e-currency payment service.

Telephone booking is available in several cities but only for local citizens. For the following cities, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Wuhan, Nanchang, Taiyuan, Shenyang, Zhengzhou and Lanzhou the number 95105105 is applicable. For Chengdu 96006 and for Xian 96688.


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How to Get Cheap Flights: 14 Foolproof Tips #travel #journal

#how to get the cheapest airline tickets

So stop shelling out extra dough and read below:

  • First-class airfare at coach prices.  What. It s possible, with a little research.  Be in the know about something never, ever advertised.  Y-up s are the airlines best kept secret .
  • Sometimes it s more cost-effective to book flights out of a major hub (large city). If you live in a smaller city, try to find the cheapest flight to that hub, and then another flight to your final destination from there. This is not the case every time, but it s something to look into.
  • Mix and match flights.  If you re looking for the cheapest possible route, consider that you might have to take two different airlines.  Skyscanner is excellent for this, and will combine flights from airlines automatically.

  • Use Skyscanner, kayak, Expedia. and other price comparison websites. However, it s wise to always check the actual airline website as well. You never know.
  • Check low cost airlines. Some, like Ryanair in Europe and southwest in the USA, don t come up when checking these websites used for comparison of prices.  Find a complete list of low-cost carriers here .
  • Fake your Location.  Prices change depending on the country of origin, and you can drastically reduce the price of your ticket by faking your current location.  The point is to make it look like you are actually in the country you hope to go when buying a ticket.  A few ways to do this: buy your ticket in the foreign currency, masking your IP address (with the use of a VPN), and/or using the airline’s regional website (by using .ca/Canada. fr/France. za/South Africa, etc NOT .com).

  • Clear your cookies.  Or, use an incognito window in Chrome and private browsing in Safari.  Airline websites are sneaky.  If they notice you checking out the same flights over and over again, they ll raise the prices for you.  Yes, you read that right.  Clearing your cookies erases certain aspects of your browser history, which will in turn keep the airfares at the same prices.
  • Bring your own food on board.  Is it just me, or is everything increasing in price these days?  Might as well bring your lunch and eat in-flight.  Remember to be courteous to those sitting near you, and bring foods without any intense smells.  Don t wanna stink up the plane, or make anyone too jealous!  #leaveyourpizzaathome

  • Sign up for airline emails/alerts.  THIS is where they release their sales firsthand, and it s likely the flights will be sold out by the time the deals are advertised to the general masses.  It s best to be on the list.  Deals occur year round, but look out for airfare deals around Thanksgiving, early spring, and early summer.
  • Check social media.  In addition to email, you ll find the best deals advertised on social media, especially on twitter.  Follow Airfare Watchdog on twitter for some top notch deals from your city.
  • Use points for long-haul, expensive flights. Sign up for a credit card when the sign-on bonus is unreal, and you ll automatically have enough points/miles to go almost anywhere.  Over the past few years, my husband and I have traveled to Greece, Hawaii, and Bora Bora all on air miles with our Delta American Express Platinum card. We use this card for every purchase we make (travel and non-travel related), and eventually, the points add up!

Follow these tips and your friends will be asking you how to get cheap flights!

It takes time and a little patience, and you may need to be a bit flexible with your travel dates, but finding cheaper airfare is possible.  Effort goes a long way here, which can potentially save you thousands of dollars.  Trust me on that.  I ve saved so much over the years.


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Jamaica Travel Tips: Jamaica: Travel Channel #travel #store

#travel to jamaica

Jamaica Travel Tips

For such a tiny island, Jamaica has left an indelible mark. Each year millions of travelers from around the globe rank this island destination on the top of their bucket list, curious to uncover firsthand what makes the island nation so great. Whether you re in search of a relaxing beach retreat, celebrating your recent nuptials or seeking adventure, these Jamaica travel tips will help ensure you have an irie time.

Arrive in Style

Regardless of airport, airline or class flown, start your Jamaican vacation in style with VIP Attractions arrival meet-and-greet services. Club Mobay (or Club Kingston ) staff welcomes you at your gate, where you are then expedited through customs and immigration. Luggage assistance and lounge access is provided while awaiting your transportation. It s the perfect option for families with small children, seniors needing assistance, unaccompanied minors, wedding parties or anyone looking to save time, especially during travel s high season.

Courtesy of Andrew Grey

Trident Hotel

Where to Stay

One of the first destinations to introduce all-inclusive resorts, Jamaica boasts an abundance of these big-box accommodations along the North Coast s hot spots. If you prefer a more private, secluded or unique lodging experience, consider one of Jamaica s villa communities or boutique hotels.

Hermosa Cove : These Caribbean-style boutique villas were built on a 12-acre property once visited by Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Just 5 minutes from the Ocho Rios city center, villa proprietors Clayton and Deb Korver have created a secluded retreat that seamlessly integrates the local community into the villa experience. Trident Hotel: The newest addition to the Geejam Collection, the 13-villa Trident Hotel channels Port Antonio s 1960 s jet-setting prime. Just minutes from the world-famous Blue Lagoon, this boutique hotel is home to Mike’s Supper Club. a plush cabaret lounge overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Tryall Club : Once a sugar plantation, this now Green Globe-certified country club and private villa resort community is the perfect getaway for tennis and golf aficionados and the discerning leisure traveler.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Eat Local

There s more to Jamaican food than jerk chicken. In fact, Jamaica s flavorful cuisine boasts a mixture of influences from Spain, Britain, India, China, Africa and its indigenous peoples. So put down the hamburgers, say no to pizza and fries, and give one of these local hot spots a try:

Jamaica Epicurean Escape : This annual 2-day food festival celebrates excellence in Jamaican food with a side of live music and cultural exhibits and performances. Top chefs, restaurateurs and bartenders from across the island (and abroad) offer tastings and cooking demonstrations of Jamaican favorites and unique culinary creations.

Jamaica Culinary Tours : In collaboration with Falmouth Heritage Walks, Jamaica Culinary Tours offers a walking food tour amid the backdrop of the city s Georgian architecture. Less than 3 hours in duration, it s a perfect shore excursion for cruisers arriving at this port.

689 by Brian Lumley : If your travels lead you to Kingston, make reservations at this gourmet Caribbean and fusion restaurant inspired by the 2013 Jamaica and Caribbean Chef of the Year, Brian Lumley.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Meet the People

One of Jamaica s most prized possessions is its warm and welcoming people. To better facilitate cultural exchange between tourists and Jamaicans, the Jamaica Tourist Board created the Meet the People Program. In operation since 1968, this initiative matches individuals and families visiting the island with local ambassadors based on your interests, hobbies or profession. Your experience can range from a home-cooked dinner at your ambassador s home to hiking in the Blue Mountains; it s totally up to you.

The Meet the People Program is truly a unique Jamaican experience that offers direct insight into the culture of the people. Signup is available online prior to your departure or upon arrival via your hotel s concierge.

Saying Goodbye

The hardest part of any trip to Jamaica is leaving. Thankfully VIP Attractions has made goodbyes a little easier with their VIP departure services. Similar to arrival, you re offered fast track through immigration and security and lounge access that includes complimentary Wi-Fi, food and beverages, and even a sound-proof playroom for kids. Need to relax and unwind? Shower facilities and spa services are also available minutes before takeoff.


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Japan on a Budget, Tips for Cheap Travel! Japan Travel Mate

#travel to japan

Japan on a Budget, Tips for Cheap Travel!

Here s a non-exhaustive collection of ideas for travelling Japan without spending a lot of money. These ideas for cheap travel are somewhat random, and unordered, but take a look and you ll be sure to pick up a tip or two to save money on your Japan holiday.

Things To Do In Japan

In this article:

Travel in off-peak times

Now this doesn t mean you will be missing the good weather. Peak times in Japan are during the major national holidays and the school holidays.

The best time is April. This is spring in Japan and students are at school, the cherry blossoms are blooming and the weather is great. September and October are good times also, it is autumn in Japan and everyone is back to school and work.

Around the end of April and beginning of May is Golden Week in Japan. 4 national holidays over a week, prices for accommodation go up and shinkansens are booked solid best to avoid this time!

Mid-July and all of August are summer holidays in Japan. which means peak domestic travel and hence, high prices on just about everything. It is easily the busiest time of year and also the hottest.

Japan Rail Pass

When people tell me they re going to visit Japan, the first thing I ask them is have you bought your Japan Rail Pass yet?

The JR Pass is available to anyone on a tourist (Temporary Visitor) visa and gives you unlimited travel on all Japan Rail buses, trains and shinkansen (bullet trains) the only exception is you can t travel on the fastest express services.

The Japan Rail Pass just flash this pass at the ticket gates and stroll on through

At first glance, the pass may seem expensive. Last time I travelled to Japan on a tourist visa I paid about $600 AUD for a 3 week JR Pass. Consider this example: a return trip on the shinkansen (bullet train) from Nagoya to Okayama is normally about 24,000 yen (about $300 AUD). Osaka to Tokyo is much further and more expensive. I did about 6 of these trips during a 3 week stay, so I saved about $1000 AUD and saw a lot of the country.

7, 14 or 21 day passes are available and conditions are you must be travelling on a tourist visa and you have to purchase the JR Pass before you enter Japan. Check costs and buy a JR Pass online .

Cheap shinkansen travel

If you can t get a JR Pass, but you don t want to take the bus, there are cheaper options for the shinkansen. You can buy an unreserved seat, which means a seat is not guaranteed. People tend to sit in the carriage vestibules and there is nothing wrong with that. Being a super fast train, you re not in for a long journey! But if you travel in off-peak times, and during the day (i.e. not the morning or evening when shinkansen is used for work travel) then you ll get a cheaper ticket AND a seat.

JR West Shinkansen series 700.


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Las Vegas Travel Tips #how #to #get #cheap #airfare

#travel las vegas

Las Vegas Travel Tips

Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock

Keep in Mind.

  • Prepare for desert weather Vegas can get extremely hot during the day, but nighttime breezes (and casinos’ air conditioning) can be pretty chilly. Be sure to bring a jacket.
  • The house always wins No matter how well your winning streak is going, it’s bound to come to an end at some point. Remain both optimistic and realistic.
  • Bring the kids Before you scoff at the thought of a family trip to Vegas, bear in mind that many of the casinos have kid-friendly attractions (like aquariums ).

Sin City, America’s Playground, the Entertainment Capital of the World. all worthy names for this Nevada hotspot. Think of Vegas as a theme park rather than a city it can awe as much as it can overwhelm, and that’s part of the appeal. This is a city where inhibitions are not welcome: Every night, Las Vegas draws pleasuremongers to the brightly lit Strip like moths to a flame. While you may not want to go as far as to re-enact “The Hangover,” you certainly don’t want to leave without experiencing a bit of “Viva Las Vegas.” Just remember: What happens here, stays here.

But gone are the days when Sin City appealed only to bachelors and brutes. Today, Las Vegas as a destination is just as malleable as it is ostentatious in that you can mold it into any type of vacation you like. You can opt for the traditional high-roller getaway complete with all-nighters at the blackjack table or PURE Nightclub. Or you can take a different approach to Sin City and indulge in its luxury spas, high-end shopping and gourmet restaurants. Las Vegas also makes a great jumping-off point for outdoor activities, such as hiking in Red Rock Canyon or visiting the Hoover Dam. And though you may not believe it, this city even has attractions for kids: Underage travelers will get a kick out of a Cirque du Soleil performance, the Bellagio Fountain show and the Neon Museum .

How To Save Money in Las Vegas

  • Do your research There’s no shortage of online deals on flights and hotel rooms, so be diligent about making travel plans and save the spontaneity for after you’ve checked in.
  • Ditch the car Traffic on the Strip can be mind-boggling; you’ll be better off relying on public transportation and your own two feet. Note: If you’re cabbing into the city from the airport, make sure to tell your driver to take Swenson Street it’s cheaper than using the airport tunnel.
  • Cut yourself off Winning feels amazing, but there comes a point when the tables start to turn. Decide how much you’re willing to spend at the casinos before you arrive in Vegas, and make sure to stop yourself before Lady Luck robs you blind.

Las Vegas Culture Customs

People tend to visit Las Vegas to release their inhibitions, win (or, most likely, lose) their money and sample the carefree life. It’s a place for escapists, promising to keep your vacation secrets (remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas). Be prepared for nonstop entertainment and pure, American-style debauchery.

But that doesn’t mean you can go buck-wild and get away with it. Hotels. casinos, restaurants and clubs will expect you to behave appropriately, and those who don’t follow the rules won’t be let off easy. If you’re smart and exercise common sense, your stay in Las Vegas should remain safe and enjoyable. As far as safety is concerned, you should take some extra precautions when on the Strip or in a casino. Cash and alcohol run wild, often placing travelers in compromising situations. Don’t overindulge in alcohol, and keep your winnings to yourself to avoid attracting unwanted attention. When on the Strip, never walk alone in the evenings, be mindful of the busy road and follow all street signals and applicable laws.

You should also note that many establishments (including high-end restaurants and nightclubs) enforce dress codes that may require you to wear semi-formal attire. Be sure to check before you plan your outfit for the evening.

Believe it or not, there is more to this town than bustling casino floors and questionable decision-making: Las Vegas caters to a wide variety of travel types with its host of fine dining establishments, world-renowned entertainment and even family-friendly activities. While you’re here, take some time away from the casino floor to get to know the other sides of America’s Playground learn about its history at the Neon Museum. enjoy its surroundings at Red Rock Canyon or try a different type of play at the casinos’ aquariums, zoos and amusement parks.

Las Vegas Dining

One thing’s for sure: There’s no shortage of choices in Las Vegas when it comes to finding something to eat. You’ll find everything from high-end French fare to budget-friendly burgers jockeying for your taste buds’ approval. The celebrity chef craze hit Las Vegas by storm, with some of the world’s most famous chefs including Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse establishing kitchens in Sin City. As a result, the city boasts some of the best dining in the United States; according to the tourism board. Las Vegas is “the biggest thing to happen to food since salt.” What’s more, Las Vegas boasts more master sommeliers than Los Angeles and New York City combined, ensuring that whatever meal you choose will be paired with the perfect libation.

Many of the big-name restaurants along the Strip come attached to high price tags, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to eat well here. Sin City caters to foodies of all budgets with restaurants offering menu items at a variety of prices. This city is also king of the all-you-can-eat buffet, with food lines featuring everything from pizza and Chinese to crab legs and gluten-free cuisine. Try the Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan for a culinary tour of Asia, or head to the buffet at the Bellagio for evening caviar service. Whatever you’re craving, you’re sure to find it at one of the buffets along the Strip, so come hungry.


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Mexico Travel Planning – Tips – Mexico Travel Insurance from Travel

#travel mexico


Mexico Travel Planning Travel Tips

Embassy Contact Information: Americans Americans living in or visiting Mexico are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Mexico.

U.S. Embassy in Mexico

Paseo de la Reforma 305

Col. Cuauhtemoc

06500 Mexico, D.F.

From U.S. (011-52-477) 788-7070.

From Mexico: (01-477) 788-7070.

Mexico Climate: Land to the north experiences cooler temperatures during the winter months varying from hot and humid during the summer, cooler in the winter (68 to 75.2 °F). South of the twenty-fourth parallel, Mexico temperatures are fairly constant year round (between 75.2 and 82.4 °F) and vary solely as a function of elevation.

Mexico has pronounced wet and dry seasons. Most of the country experiences a rainy season from June to mid-October and significantly less rain during the remainder of the year. February and July generally are the driest and wettest months, respectively.

Calling Internationally: To call Mexico from the United States, dial the international prefix, 011; then Mexico’s country code, 52; and then the city code, then dial the actual phone number.

Electricity: The electricity in Mexico is 127 Volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. If you travel to Mexico with a device that does not accept this, you will need a voltage converter. Plugs have Flat blade plug, so if your device does not have this, an adapter plug is needed.

Travel Insurance for Mexico Trips: You should consider the benefits of travel insurance as part of your Mexico travel planning. Most travelers look for travel tips that discuss the importance of travel insurance and travel insurance through Travel Guard can provide important coverage for your trip.

Whether you’re taking a family vacation or business trip, Travel Guard has a plan for your trip to Mexico. These plans may include valuable medical expense coverage, trip interruption, medical emergency assistance and treatment services and more. And with Travel Guard’s 24-hour assistance line, your coverage can act as a travel guide should your plans change.*

For more than 20 years, Travel Guard’s plans have covered millions of travelers throughout the world. We’re America’s leading provider of travel insurance plans and assistance programs and we’re here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Coverage provided through Travel Guard is easy to buy and with our 24-hour emergency travel services it’s even easier to use.

*Non-insurance services provided by Travel Guard.


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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.


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Rome Travel Tips #travel #locity

#rome travel

Rome Travel Tips


Keep in Mind.

  • Il Conto, Per favore If you need the bill at a restaurant, be persistent yet pleasant in asking. Life moves slower in Roma, so asking for your check once doesn’t necessarily mean it s on the way.
  • Ditch the diet This is Rome, home of fettuccine, ravioli, bruschetta, cappuccino enough said.
  • Speak Italiano When in Rome, do as the Romans do and at least try to speak a little Italian. Hello is ciao. please is per favore. and thank you is grazi .

Rome, the city of seven hills, enjoyed a mythic beginning. Romulus and Remus twin brothers who were nursed by a she-wolf and fathered by a war god reportedly founded the Eternal City. And although historians are a little skeptical about this epic entry into the world, most travelers are absolutely certain that there is something magical about Rome. Whether it’s the mystery of nearby Vatican City or the ghosts of the Colosseum. an afternoon caff on Piazza Navona or a piled-high plate of pasta at a trattoria, Roma is sure to enchant.

Italy’s capital city, Rome is also known for a history that dates back to the eras of Octavian, Julius Caesar and Hadrian, among others. Left behind are structures like the Pantheon. the Roman Forum and dozens of churches, among other historic gems. Art enthusiasts will relish the trove of art housed at the Vatican Museums. and foodies will enjoy the splendid Italian fare, not to mention the gelato. And though its momentous past is the focus for many vacationers, Rome is also a fast-paced, modern and relevant city, with gleaming designer storefronts, sleek hotels and cutting-edge restaurants.

How To Save Money in Rome

  • Buy the Roma Pass This money-saving pass gives you free or reduced admission to museums, discounts on certain exhibits, and free travel on public transportation for three days.
  • Church hop Many of Rome s little churches hold beautiful treasures and many are free to visit.
  • Visit on Sunday If you plan your trip over the last Sunday of the month, you can visit two of Rome’s most popular museums the Vatican Museums and the Musei Capitolini for free.

Rome Culture Customs

Trying to look like a resident isn’t difficult, especially if your own wardrobe is filled with high-end designer labels. Italian women strive for a sultry look, wearing tight-fitting dresses, tops and pants, accompanied by a pair of steep heels. Men wear immaculately cut suits. On the streets, snug jeans and fitted shirts are the norm for both men and women.

Rome Dining

Rome is overflowing with restaurants, from trattorias that cook up family recipes spanning generations to fusion restaurants that plate up the latest culinary trend. Don’t miss out on Italian specialties scampi alla griglia (grilled shrimp), carciofi alla romana (artichokes with white wine, mint and garlic) and Saltimbocca alla romana (veal with ham, cheese and sage), among other regional and country-wide specialties. Restaurants’ wine lists are also not to be ignored and neither are the gelato shops.


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Rome Travel Guide – Rome Travel Tips and Reviews #supermarket #travel

#rome travel


The capital city in the land of Leonardo, Michelangelo and the popes is today a living museum with gorgeous artwork, amazing architecture and inspiring ancient sites — yet at the same time it is alive and vibrant in a 21st-century way. It’s an unforgettable city to visit, and we’ll warn you right now: once you’ve experienced it, you’ll want to come back for more.

One of our favorite things to do here is walk and ogle. On a recent visit, we took one day to do the route from Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica, with its jaw-dropping art and statuary (not to mention religious significance), to Via del Corso, where our pursuit of the latest Italian fashions was more than fulfilled amidst the well-dressed crowd of Roman shoppers. And then the next day we went on an ancient history quest past ruins and columns, traversing the same streets Julius Caesar strode (and rode) to the Colosseum, where gladiators once battled. Then, walking on, we were awed by the Pantheon, the well-preserved ancient symbol of Rome and now a great hangout spot.

Photos: 11 Unforgettable Italy Experiences

Many first-time visitors, envisioning Rome as big and congested, will be surprised by the scenic layout, with its famous seven hills and the Tiber River running through the city. But your senses may be shocked by the general energy and hustle and bustle. With cars, taxis and scooters roaring here and there, crossing the street can be a challenge (don’t worry, there are quiet piazzas aplenty with lovely cafes where you can get away from it all and unwind).

The food is, of course, wonderful — we can’t eat enough pasta — and the spirit of la dolce vita (the good life) abounds. Whenever we do such a quest in Rome, we do regular gelato stops (try the yummy pine nut flavor) or coffee breaks because “when in Rome. ” And the shopping scene serves up Prada, Gucci, Armani and more (high style can be found in more affordable brands like Furla as well). What could be better than that?

–written by Fran Golden


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Travel and Leisure. Travel Tips and Destinations. Vacations and Tours #airplane

#travel leisure

Travel Tips

A little research and planning your travel and leisure can go a long way to insure you’ll have a safer, more economical and enjoyable trip. A little preparation will also help to keep your property safe while you’re traveling. But, who can remember all the little details when you’re rushing to get away? We can help find the resources needed for planning and remind you of all those little details so you can relax and enjoy your travels

  • Do some research, learn as much as you can about your destination.
  • Check to see what type of weather the area has so you can plan accordingly.
  • Check to see what type of paperwork and documentation you will need to travel.
  • Find out what type of diseases are common to the area you’ll be visiting and take actions to prevent your exposure to those diseases.
  • Check your own medical coverage to see what type of coverage you’ll have when away from home. Consider purchasing trip insurance.
  • If you plan on driving, get your car ready and investigate the local road conditions, laws and other driving requirements.
  • Do some research about the costs of local items so you can set your budget. Don’t forget to budget for taxes and tipping. Many governments charge high taxes for travel related services.
  • Check the dates of local major holidays or festivals, since services may be limited on those dates.

    Plan your trip

  • Start looking for special deals and other discounts for which you may qualify.
  • Do some research on the area you’ll be visiting and on the way you’ll be getting there. This is especially important to start your research early if you are planning foreign travel.
  • Check the valid dates on your passport if you are planning on leaving the country.
  • Take care of medical and dental checkups and vaccinations if necessary.
  • After consulting your physician, consider starting an exercise program to prepare your body for the extra exertion you’ll experience while traveling.
  • Make reservations.

    Three weeks ahead:

  • Watch the weather, so you’ll know what to expect and can pack accordingly.
  • Check with your credit card company for available spending amount; ask your bank for an increase if needed. Don’t forget about the deposits that will be charged and leave some room on the card for emergencies.
  • Check the valid dates on your credit card to make sure they will remain valid while you’re traveling.
  • Notify the Credit Card Company that you’ll be traveling, so they will expect charges from your destination.
  • Check your ATM and debit card for both daily and total limits.
  • Remember your PIN numbers or get new ones issued for all your credit, debit, ATM and phone cards.
  • Purchase automatic light timers to switch on and off in the evening.
  • Check your driver’s license to make sure it will remain valid while you’re traveling.
  • Check cameras, purchase new batteries if necessary, and film.
  • Make an arrangement with a neighbor, friend or relative to check your home periodically.
  • If a friend or neighbor cannot collect your mail, make arrangements for it to be held at the Post Office.
  • Arrange for lawn care or snow removal. Ignoring these areas will make your house stand out in the neighborhood and announce to everyone that you are gone.
  • Arrange for someone to start your car during very cold or very hot weather.
  • Arrange boarding for your pets.
  • Start breaking in the shoes you’ll be taking with you on your trip.
  • Add some yogurt to your diet to strengthen your digestive system. This is especially important if your plans include travel to foreign countries where you will be exposed to elements that are hostile to your digestive system.


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  • Tips for Finding Cheap Flights to Asia #jamaica #travel

    #best cheap flights

    Cheap Flights to Asia

    By Greg Rodgers. Asia Travel Expert

    Greg Rodgers is an experienced travel writer, photographer, and world nomad. In 2005, Greg traded his corporate office for a backpack and set out to see the world; he never came back.

    Crossing the Pacific is simply daunting. Anyone who has flown to Hawaii knows the pain of that long flight, particularly those flying from eastern parts of the United States. Now, take that flight and double it — Hawaii is only roughly halfway to Asia!

    With cheap food and accommodation, Asia is a great budget destination; however, one dilemma exists: getting on the ground in the first place! Unfortunately, cheap flights to Asia can be difficult to find; the ticket price proves to be a barrier for many Americans who would otherwise love to visit Asia.

    Continue Reading Below

    Fortunately, there are some tricks for getting better fares, or at least reducing the pain of ticket prices a little.

    Read about how to beat jet lag — you re going to need it — then use these tips for increasing your odds of finding cheap flights to Asia!

    Get Yourself to Los Angeles

    LAX tends to have a higher volume of flights to Asia than many other US cities. Good deals from other parts of the US to Los Angeles can be found from Delta, Southwest Airlines. JetBlue, and Allegiant Air .

    Consider actually breaking up your flight in Los Angeles. For example: Rather than booking a flight from Louisville straight to Bangkok, you may find a cheaper fare by booking a flight to LAX, then taking a different carrier later that evening from LAX to Bangkok.

    San Francisco (SFO) is another great option for finding cheap flights to Asia.

    Break Up Your Flights

    As mentioned above, sometimes one carrier can fly to Asia for cheaper than another because of volume. Try using a domestic airline to get to the west coast, then switch to one of the Asian airlines for crossing the Pacific.

    Continue Reading Below

    Don t be hesitant about using Asia-based airlines; they often have better food and more legroom than our own airlines!

    These Asian airlines fly out of Los Angeles and often have cheap flights to Asia:

    • Korean Air
    • Air China
    • China Southern
    • Asiana Airlines
    • China Airlines
    • EVA Air
    • Japan Airlines
    • Thai Airways
    • China Eastern
    • Singapore Airlines
    • Cathay Pacific

    Learn to Love the Budget Airlines

    Although devoid of frills — at least free ones, anyway — Asia is blessed with excellent budget airlines. Tickets between countries can often be found for less than US $50. AirAsia — based at Malaysia s new KLIA2 terminal in Kuala Lumpur — is the largest budget airline in Asia; they are your best bet for finding a cheap hop between large cities.

    Finding cheap flights on budget airlines is usually done by booking well in advance. Otherwise, sign up for AirAsia s newsletter or follow them on Twitter to find out about last minute specials.

    Always Fly Into Big Cities

    Obviously, flying into Bangkok is going to be cheaper than flying into smaller airports such as Phuket or Chiang Mai. If you find a flight into a neighboring country for significantly cheaper than your planned destination, consider taking that flight, then making a hop using AirAsia or one of the other budget airlines that fly between capital cities in Asia.

    Here are a few cities that serve as major hubs in Asia:

    Consider Ground Transportation

    Once on the ground in your target country, you have a few more transportation options. If time is less of a factor, consider taking the train or even a bus from the capital city onward to your destination. For instance, flying into Bangkok and taking the overnight train to Laos is often cheaper than just flying into Vientiane, the capital city.

    Ground transportation prices in Asia are usually excellent deals; however, be prepared for crowded buses, bumpy roads, and delayed trains in developing countries.

    Do Not Assume That All Booking Sites Show the Best Deal

    Sometimes the large flight consolidators and booking sites do not have access to small budget airlines databases; you may or may not be finding the lowest fares available, despite whatever promises are made.

    Insider Tip: Sometimes booking sites use nefarious means to make you want to book a flight faster. They may show flights for days around the day you picked as more expensive, so that you assume prices are going up. Some sites will even save your previous flight searches — because they know you want a particular flight — then add an additional amount to that flight price when you return to the site. Try clearing the cookies on your browser each time to avoid these scams.

    Use Frequent Flier Programs

    Flying across the Pacific and missing nearly 10,000 frequent flier miles is a shame; two return trips to Asia could easily net you a free flight. Chances are that you ll be hooked on Asia the first time and will want to return — why not let those miles add up?

    These airlines offer cheap flights to Asia and participate in Delta s Skymiles program :

    • Aeroflot Russian Airlines
    • China Airlines
    • China Southern
    • China Eastern
    • Korean Air
    • Malaysia Airlines
    • Thai Air Asia
    • Vietnam Airlines


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    Top 10 Car Rental Tips #travel #market

    #best price car rental

    Top 10 Car Rental Tips

    08/28/2006 (updated 07/09/2009) – By Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor,

    Remember when people rented cars mainly for the purpose of vacation transportation? These days, things have changed. The car rental industry has grown by leaps and bounds; the most current estimates available (for 2008) put annual car rental revenue at a whopping $21.9 billion. Airport rentals have historically been the main revenue driver, but that segment has remained virtually flat over the past decade and a half; the industry’s growth is due almost entirely to the explosion of the “home-city” rental market renting from a neighborhood location.

    Those renting from neighborhood locations do so for a host of reasons. Some need an extra-large truck for that move across town. Some need a comfy hauler for a cross-country family road trip or a weekend of furniture shopping. And others crave a glamorous high-end cruiser for a fun-filled night out.

    Whether you’re an airport renter or a home-city renter, we’ve got a list of tips designed to help make your car-rental experience as pain-free as possible for your bank account.

    1. Surf the Net.

    As is the case with many purchases, you’ll usually find the best rates on the Internet. Shop around. Buying online will afford you the luxury of seeing what rates look like on any vehicle your heart desires, without the inconvenience of having a salesperson breathing down your neck. Also, many companies offer special discounts to people who rent online. Rates will obviously vary from company to company, depending on vehicle availability, location and other factors. But rates aren’t the only variable to consider. Consider hours of operation, for example; some companies may close earlier on weekends. Depending on your schedule, this might be a crucial issue for you.

    2. Go weekend.

    Rates are typically cheaper on weekends. At one company we surveyed, you could rent a subcompact on a weekday for $64.99. When we opted for a weekend rental, the figure plummeted to a far more reasonable $22.99. If you’ve got some flexibility with your rental arrangements, opt for weekend rental. Your pocketbook will be eternally grateful.

    3. Weekly does it.

    Weekend rates are great, but weekly rates are usually the best of all. At one company we surveyed, a subcompact went for a weekday rate of $56.99. That same car could be rented on a weekly basis for just $252.99, a savings of more than 30 percent if you used the vehicle for all seven days, and more than 10 percent if you returned it after five days. If you plan on using the vehicle for five days or more, choose the weekly rate.

  • 4. Think twice about insurance.

    When renting a car, you’ll be offered a collision damage waiver (CDW) and a loss damage waiver (LDW). The first covers you in the event of a collision, while the second covers any loss to the rental company. Both kinds of coverage are a good idea, but not if they duplicate coverage already included in your own insurance policy. Most insurance policies offer liability coverage to protect you if you injure someone in an accident; some also cover rental-car damage via comprehensive and collision coverage. Check your policy or call your insurance agent to verify coverage before signing up for a vehicle. If you’re renting the car with a credit card, your card provider may pay for vehicle damages associated with an accident. Check with your card company ahead of time to make sure.

    There’s one caveat. The collision damage waiver covers “loss of use,” the charge levied by the rental car company to cover its lost income when the vehicle is out of service. In most states, auto insurance policies don’t cover this loss, so if you have an accident, you may wind up having to pay this charge out of your own pocket. As such, getting the collision damage waiver may be a good idea.

    5. Book early.

    It’s not just a clich ; the early bird really does get the worm, and he usually gets it much cheaper than everyone else. Rates depend on how many vehicles the company has on the lot at the time the rental is made, so sooner is better. Reserve your car at least a week in advance.

  • 6. Think twice about prepaid gas.

    Typically, renters have two choices when it comes to fuel: You can pay for a full tank of gas in advance and bring the vehicle back empty (or less than full), or you can opt to refuel it yourself just before returning it. Rental car companies suggest that paying in advance will add convenience and that the low rates offered will save you money. Well, they’re right on the first part but wrong on the second. Paying in advance is an added convenience; if you want to save yourself the hassle of a trip to the gas station or avoid a last-minute rush when you’re trying to make a plane, pay away. But unless you plan on using the entire tank of gas, prepaying will cause you to pay for more fuel than you’ve actually consumed. From a financial standpoint, prepaying is a bad idea unless you’re absolutely certain that you’ll use the full tank.

  • 7. Be careful of upgrades to larger vehicles.

    Sometimes, rental car companies will offer free upgrades to larger vehicles. They do this mainly because compacts tend to be in high demand. This sort of upgrade may seem like a great deal for you, the renter. If having a larger vehicle will genuinely enhance your rental experience, then take the upgrade. But if you have no real need for the extra space, it’s cheaper to decline. Larger vehicles burn more gas, so that “free” upgrade isn’t really free you’ll wind up paying for it at the pump.

    8. Steer clear of airport pickups.

    Picking up a rental car at the airport can be more expensive due to taxes and fees. Try looking at nearby neighborhood locations to save money. A recent Travelocity study showed that renting at an airport costs more than 11.5 percent more on average than renting at a neighborhood location. Texas airports were the chief offenders, but airports in states like Arizona, Ohio, Maryland, Missouri and New Mexico also cost renters more in taxes and fees.

  • 9. Got kids? Seat ’em yourself.

    If you’re traveling with a little one, you can save yourself some coin by bringing your own child safety seat. One rental company we surveyed charged almost $10 per day for child safety seat rental. Obviously, this can tack a significant amount onto your car rental expenses, so if you’re able to, bring your own child safety seat. If you’re renting a minivan, though, know that some rental minivans include integrated child safety seats at no extra cost.

    10. Join the club.

    Many of the larger companies offer club membership in which members pay a yearly fee in exchange for certain perks and privileges. These clubs can save you money with benefits like free rental days and airline miles, but you’ll likely only see savings if you’re a frequent renter. If you fall into this category and use rental vehicles more than occasionally, go clubbing.

  • 29/11/2017

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    Top Ten Peru Travel Tips (spoiler: bring your own t. p.

    #peru travel

    Top Ten Peru Travel Tips (spoiler: bring your own t.p.)

    Comments: 16

    Historically, the times that I ve actually known what I was talking about have been few and far between. This is particularly true when it comes to travel, or geography, or really, facts of any kind.

    Once, when we were in downtown Seattle, a middle-aged couple stopped Rand and me and asked where they could find a liquor store (at 2pm on a Saturday. I suppose they were putting the magic back in their relationship). I gave them very specific directions that, had the couple followed them to the letter, would have led them not only the wrong way down a one-way street, but nowhere near a liquor store. Rand looked on, in awe he would later tell me that I spoke to the couple with such confidence that, against his better judgement, he didn t question it.

    I have no idea what became of that couple. Odds are, they probably gave up, headed home, and promptly divorced. But some small part of me is convinced that they are circling those blocks down which I sent them, doomed to spend an eternity yelling to each other, It must be here. She said it was here. And she sounded so confident.

    The lesson is a simple one: asking me for advice is a terrible idea and it will ruin your marriage if not your life. And yet, on a nearly-daily basis, some poor misguided soul sends me an email, asking me what they should do in x country, and where they should stay. My response is usually, HOW THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW? GO ASK THE INTERNET.

    And then I realize with no small measure of horror, some people have already done that and ended up on my site. To them, I am  the internet. I am filled with curse words and rude comments and things you weren t looking for.

    And on very rare occasions, just like the internet, I have an answer. Like when blog-reader and certified chicken hawk wrangler (I totally made one of those up) Janine mentioned that she was going to be traveling to Peru. Janine sent me a message on Facebook (because she liked the Everywhereist fan page. Hint-hint) and I was quick to reply with some actual useful information, which I ve shared below. Hopefully, I ll was slightly more helpful to Janine than I was to that poor couple looking for liquor. Funny thing, too, because god knows they needed a drink after what I put them through.

    1. Instead of a visa, you will get an Andean Migration Card a little white slip of paper that will be handed to you, rather nonchalantly, at the airport. Like your virginity, no one will impress upon you the importance of it until it is lost. That slip of paper is as important as a visa you will need it when you check into hotels and when you leave the country. So don t get drunk and hand it over to the next guy who comes along.
    2. The sun in Peru is intense, even when it is cloudy. Be sure to wear sunscreen. We all got scorched in Machu Picchu, but that might be because we re pasty Seattlites. Ever lift up a rock and see the bugs underneath writhe around in a panic? That s us on a sunny day.

    We expose ourselves to melanoma while enjoying the scenery.

  • Watch your bag. Hold it on your lap in restaurants, and not, say, over the back of a chair. Even though Peru is relatively safe, it s still a good idea to this. Fortunately, my bag weighs roughly the same as a medium-sized anvil, so I would love to see someone try and take it, then throw out their back in the process.
  • Nearly every place accepts either soles or U.S. dollars. So don t panic if you only have American currency it s actually worth something in Peru (and no where else. Seriously. Stupid euro.)
  • If you go to Machu Picchu, you must bring your passport to get in (having dragged it all that way, you can also get a novelty passport stamp from Machu Picchu. I did this, but kind of regretted it the stamp is about the size of a child s foot and takes up valuable real-estate)
  • If you are desperate for food, there are a few chains in Peru that are great one is Pardo s chicken. which is surprisingly authentic and yummy, and the other is Bembo s. which is less fantastic but not bad in a pinch. We had dinner at the former, and dessert at the former and the latter (What? This is me we re talking about).

    Dessert at Bembo s. I was very happy. Rand was very dorky.

  • Haggle like crazy. Really, you shouldn t be paying more than a few dollars American for hats or scarves, depending on the quality. There are lots of little artisan markets in Peru you might want to walk around a couple and see the different prices and compare (in one place, scarves were 10 soles before we even started negotiating in another they were 20 for the exact same scarf. Guess how much I paid for mine? That s right! 25 soles.)
  • Carry tissues with you, and hand sanitizer or wet wipes, if you can get some. A lot of more rural places don t have t.p. and don t have running water or soap to wash your hands. Oh, and did I mention lots of meals are communal? So yeah.
  • In many villages, bakeries are denoted by these hanging baskets. Obviously, this is the most important thing you will need to know when traveling in Peru.

    They also had a bunch of guinea pigs in a pen.

  • Usually your hotel can help set up a tour for you if you want to see stuff in neighboring towns. This is usually incredibly affordable. We spent a day traveling to Moray and Pisac from Cuzco, and they served us a snack and gave us an elaborate tour for $30 U.S. a person. The market at Pisac was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it.

    Rand with Nicolas, our totally awesome tour guide who spoke English, Spanish, Quechuan, and Japanese.

    So there you go proof that I m not entirely worthless when it comes to giving advice. Unless it involves finding liquor stores in my hometown. Then you re on your own.

  • 28/11/2017

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    Top tips on travel to Ireland: from handling the weather to

    #travel to ireland

    Top tips on travel to Ireland: from handling the weather to the locals (PHOTOS)

    Heading to Ireland later this year or next? There may be a few things you need to know about before you head over.

    Heading to Ireland later this year or next? There may be a few things you need to know about before you head over.

    1. Check the baggage restrictions on flights

    They can catch you out, especially if you’re flying within Europe with Ryanair and you get charged a gazillion euros for carry-on luggage. Don’t forget to Google beforehand and check out the weight and size restrictions.

    2. You’re going to need an adapter

    We’ve wonky looking plug sockets here in Ireland so if you’re making your way over you’d better stock up on the adapters. This is especially true for Americans.

    3. It’s going to rain

    It will. You might as well pack your wellies now if you’re planning to head over because in Ireland when it rains – it pours.

    There’s also a chance that the sun might actually make an appearance so don’t forget the sunglasses!

    5. We don’t all speak in Irish

    Thankfully it’s not necessary to be fluent in Irish before you arrive – English is our main language. Not many people regularly speak in Irish in Ireland unless you’re wandering around in the Gaeltacht areas.

    6. But we phrase things differently

    ‘What’s the story?,’ ‘do you want a lift?’ and ‘get the shift’ are phrases used on a regular basis here but may not mean what you think they might mean. Never fear though, we’ve a guide to Irish sayings and phrases to help you along!

    7. We complain a lot

    Usually about the weather, the banks or the government but don’t be afraid to join in – we love a good moan about the state of Ireland.

    8. We drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road

    And by wrong, I mean the left hand side. Just in case you were planning on renting a car!

    9. Look to your right when crossing

    Following on from that, don’t forget to look to your right when you’re crossing a road. Thankfully there are now handy signs on the ground if you need a few pointers.

    10. We were born to jaywalk

    Listen, we just can’t help it. If there’s even the smallest gap in traffic we’re going to go for it.

    11. Blasphemy is illegal

    Yep, it’s true and written in Irish law – whether people actually abide by it however is another story altogether.

    12. Don’t order a ‘black and tan’ or ‘Irish car bombs ‘ in the local

    Just don’t. The barman probably won’t have any idea what you’re ordering and others may find it a bit offensive – don’t bother to risk it, safer to order a pint.

    13. Tipping not compulsory

    We’re not big tippers here in Ireland except in restaurant situations where the 10% to the waiter is almost a given. But no need to tip taxi drivers unless they’ve shown good service.

    14. If you’re planning to rent a car, don’t forget to book an automatic!

    The majority of cars in Ireland use a manual gear stick so if you’re planning to rent when you’re here don’t forget to book an automatic in advance.

    15. Booking a taxi not always necessary

    No need to call up a taxi every time you want to head somewhere, there are plenty to go around during the day. You can flag one down by stretching out the hand or just head to a taxi rank. But if you’re heading on an early morning flight home, best order one just to be sure. Taxi too expensive? Save a bit of money and take the bus instead!

    16. Buses won’t stop unless you put your hand out

    If you are taking the bus this is vitally important. But be warned, some days even putting your hand out and waving it around won’t be enough to make them stop. So don’t be surprised if you see people at the bus stop jumping up and down in desperation when the bus is in view.

    17. Prepare to be late, the buses are never on time

    No point in looking up the timetable, sometimes they don’t even bother turning up. This is particularly true for Dublin Bus whose buses randomly disappear off the timetable. You’re almost better off relying on these transport parody Twitter accounts.

    18. We tend to curse a lot

    Mind your ears, we do it without realizing! But we don’t mean it to be offensive; it just sort of slips out.

    19. We almost take pride in the state of our potholes

    Ireland’s country roads are notorious for having the regular pothole. You might as well take a crash course in rally driving before you tackle our roads.

    20. Anything over 17 degrees is considered warm

    Degrees Celsius that is, room temperature, about 65 Fahrenheit. We’ll head out in t-shirts when it’s this warm.

    21. Off-licences close at 10pm

    If you’re planning to head out or want a good night in, don’t forget that Irish off-licences, err liquor stores, close at 10pm

    22. The perfect night out ends with a 4 in 1

    What’s a 4 in 1 I hear you say? Why it’s the most delicious thing to eat after a night on the town. Usually contains chips (fries), curry, rice and some form of chicken to nom on.

    23. If you don’t want to stick out as a tourist abandon your Aran jumper

    Seriously. We don’t really wear them very often and if we do it’s probably in the comfort of our homes where we can’t be seen.

    24. Never say no to a cup of tea

    You’d be mad to say ‘no!’ We’re known for our expert tea-making abilities so grab the opportunity to have a cuppa.


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    Travel Tips for Rome, Italy #travel #to #go

    #travel to rome

    Travel Tips for Rome, Italy

    The Colosseum, one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions. (Photo: ancient rome image by jim from )

    Related Articles

    While millions of international visitors flock to Rome each year, the Eternal City marches to its own drum. No amount of foreign tourism seems to affect Rome s distinct atmosphere and culture; on the contrary, visitors should be prepared to yield to Roman customs, as touring etiquette is clearly defined.


    While many people in Rome speak English, don t assume the person you are approaching with a question does. In general, Romans are a proud people and some may think you re rude to ask them a question in English. Use an Italian phrase book to ask touristy questions. Most natives are delighted by foreigners attempts to speak Italian — chances are, when you try to ask a question in Italian, the locals will smile and grant you permission to speak in English.


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    Travel Tips Greece #the #travel #channel

    #travel to greece


    The good news for travellers to Greece is this: ignore the crisis headlines. Away from the grim scenes in central Athens. life goes on as normal; there s little sign of impending doom, instead it s consistent blue skies, clear water and good cheer. These tips are the accumulated wisdom of avid Hellenophile Marc Perry, after three trips around northern Greece over the past three years, on foot, buses and trains.

    1. Never ask for a second opinion

    This goes for finding out times or directions – you’ll create a street-side debate and probably end up confused by too many conflicting options. Everyone has different views: this being the birthplace of democracy.

    While it’s still state owned, it s cheap. For example, the 350km stretch between Thessaloníki and Alexandroúpoli  costs just €13. Thanks to German engineering the mainline trains are very modern and sleek, and thanks to Greek attitudes the staff manning them are so laid-back they’re practically horizontal. Once, after I missed my station – due to not being able to read or hear Greek properly – the guard phoned ahead to an oncoming train, pulled into a siding and let me off to switch. Being British I expected a fine, but all I got was a friendly pat on the back, a chuckle and a big grin from the guard.

    These state that something must absolutely definitely be done in a certain way – but if you smile, make a fuss, or know someone, maybe not. Places where I was told I absolutely must book ahead swung their doors open when I turned up spontaneously, so do try your luck.

    Greeks are family-centric. If you want to make friends, take the initiative. When you cut through the blank looks, the bluff and the gruff – especially of older men – people will talk to you forever and are extremely warm and helpful. Do learn a few well-chosen phrases as it helps melt the Greek reserve. A quick ti-kanis (“how are you?”) goes a long way.

    Buses and trains often leave you waiting, so half an hour means an hour and a half, one hour means three. Chill out. You re in a beautiful, warm, laid-back place. A Greek friend once observed: When we meet for coffee we mean three hours, not ten minutes.

    Rough camping is largely tolerated. People even camp under no camping signs, and if rules are ever implemented, it’s in a casual manner. Impromptu campsites often pop up at favoured beaches, and in select places nudism is allowed too; great for those seeking that all-over tan. The islands of Samothráki (or Samothrance) and Amorgós have a particularly good reputation for natural living hippy-style: fig leaves provided free of charge.

    Greece is so hot you have to chill out somehow, so try the local alcoholic beverages: tsiupouro. (pronounced chib-ber-roo), distilled from grape residue, has you laughing all night yet waking up with a clear head. God gave us it to think clearly, according to a Mount Athos  monk, whose brotherhood does a fine line in their own brand. For sober refreshment, drinking water is freely available at ornate town springs and village fountain-taps, so save yourself a few Euros by topping up a water bottle.

    Greece is an Orthodox Christian country. Don t be surprised to see roadside shrines and people signing the cross. Older passengers on buses and planes sign when it gets bumpy or if there’s a near miss. If you’re Catholic be choosy whom you share this with ­– the schism between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is still a bone of contention in certain quarters.

    Greece is littered with ruins, coves, little islands and quiet villages that you’ll never find in tourist literature. On the hilltops of towns and villages I’ve often found an ancient column kicking about in the grass, and on the southern outskirts of Ierissos in Halkidhikí. curiosity led me to find a natural cave, complete with stalagmites and a small stream, inside a quaint little church. Seek out these hidden gems before your fellow travellers ruin the experience!

    Food served partially warm is normal, so don t complain – there’s plenty in that golden sun to warm your bones and enrich your memories for years to come.

    Queuing is largely an abhorrence to Greeks (unless it s to make a confession to a priest!) so sharpen those elbows and show your assertive side.

    For itineraries, practical information and advice on where to go on the Rough Guides Greece destination page. Buy the Rough Guide to Greece here .  Book hostels for your trip, and don t forget to buy travel insurance before you go.


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    Travel Tips: When is the Best Time of Year to Visit

    #travel paris

    A Complete Guide to Deciding When to Book Your Paris Vacation

    By Courtney Traub. Paris Travel Expert

    A native of the notorious San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, Courtney Traub now divides her time between Paris and the UK.

    A freelance writer, reporter, and editor who’s worked for print, web, and radio outlets, Courtney enjoys aimless strolling around her favorite Paris neighborhoods. old movies on crackly screens. and the endless challenge of polishing her French .

    When planning a trip to Paris. one of your most pressing questions is likely to be when is the best time to go? If you re set to visit Paris for the first time, you may be persuaded that the much-lauded Paris in the springtime is the obvious choice– but depending on your budget, tolerance for large crowds, and your personal centers of interest, another time of year may in fact suit you much better.

    Similarly, if you ve been to Paris before, you may wonder whether a fall or winter visit will be worthwhile, given rumors of cold, bitter conditions and gloomy, unsociable locals. The reality, though, is far more nuanced– the winter holiday season in Paris offers plenty of light and celebration as the city lights up for Christmas and other winter holidays. In the fall, meanwhile, events like the Montmartre Wine Harvest (Vendanges)  and Nuit Blanche. an all-night arts and culture event that sees crowds throng the streets for free exhibits and performances, bring the city to life in a memorable way.

    As a long-time resident of the city of light, my own perspective is that every season here has its charms and pitfalls, pros and cons– as they do anywhere else, of course! There s no ideal time, in short, and deciding when to book is a highly personal decision that will depend on a number of factors.


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    Travel Planning – Tips for Planning Your Trip #affordable #travel

    #travel planning

    Travel Planning

    Travel planning can help or hurt you, depending how far you take it. The best way to break travel plans is to make them in the first place!  This is true, because you will most likely meet people along the way or see things that make you want to change your itinerary entirely.

    Try not to make the mistake of setting a strict timeline; instead, focus on a loose plan to help you get the most out of your trip. It is worth researching things like festivals, weather, and visa requirements so that you will have some idea of what to expect.

    Extreme flexibility beats extreme preparation any day!

    Where to Start Travel Planning?

    The only two things that you have to know for sure to begin your trip: what country you want to start with and when you want to go. Everything else done for travel planning is simply a bonus.

    When choosing your destinations, keep these things in mind:

    • Seasonal Weather:  Many tropical areas can have months of continuous rain. Forget getting a tan or enjoy any diving if you visit during the wet seasons, although accommodation prices will be rock bottom and there may be less tourists.  Most people plan their travel around the monsoon seasons.
    • Budget considerations:  You will get way more bang for your buck in developing regions like Southeast Asia, Africa, India, and South America as opposed to Australia, North America, or Europe.
    • Time of year:  Other than weather considerations, you may want to plan your travel around things like huge festivals and crowded tourists seasons. Imagine arriving in a country, just missing a historic festival by days, but still paying the high prices imposed because of the visitors that were drawn to the festival.
    • Political climate:  The mainstream news media seems to play up the dangers of traveling abroad, particularly for Americans. In reality, there are very few places that are too dangerous to travel provided that you use some common sense.
    • Language:  Don t let the local language no matter how difficult be a deterrent to visiting a country. English, of varying quality, is spoken almost everywhere that there are tourists. Learning the local language is a nice way to enhance your trip, however, doing so is not a requirement. Do not worry about studying too much before the trip, you will learn a language exponentially faster once you arrive.

    Travel Planning with Guide Books

    Once you have an idea of where you want to start your journey, go buy only the guidebook for your first destination. Books are too heavy and expensive to carry more than one destination s worth. Besides, you can trade with other travelers that have just come from your next country or buy them locally.

    With the amount of free information on sites such as, buying a guide book is optional anyway.

    • Lonely Planet is the most popular guidebook for budget travelers love it or hate it.
    • If you buy one of the gigantic consolidated versions like Southeast Asia on a Shoestring , feel free to tear out countries that you do not plan to visit. Removing unimportant pages will conserve precious space and weight in your backpack. Save the pages and staple them together for later just in case!
    • Do not get guidebookitus when planning travel don t make the guide book your new Bible. Believe it or not, but there are places to eat, stay, and visit that are NOT covered in the guide books. In fact, you can almost count on the top several places listed for accommodation to be full during the busy seasons.
    • Watch out for the Lonely Planet effect . The LP Effect is a theory that suggests too many backpackers are using the guidebook, so all the places listed with excellent reviews near the top of each section become saturated with business. With so much good business coming in no matter what, the actual quality of service declines at these places because they no longer have to try so hard. Sometimes this is true, so trust your own judgment about a place and listen to other travelers that have stayed there. The positive side of the LP Effect is that if you are looking to meet other backpackers, these places are usually where the party is.

    Travel Planning Advice From Travelers

    When travel planningl, take full advantage of the travel forums in places like and our very own Backpacking Forums. Many of the people out there are genuine, have just come from your future destination, and are anxious to help.

    Try reading travel blogs! Most of those people are not being paid to write, and you will get an honest, personal glimpse into what a destination was like. Check out some vagabonding blogs here on the site. (or my very own )

    Remember that everyone travels in their own style. What you consider a bonus adventure might be someone else s nightmare if they are expecting more luxury on the road than you. Take things that people tell you with a grain of salt, as people tend to filter memories through one or two specific events that happened when they were there.

    Traveling Solo or Together

    • You will need to decide from the start if you are going to travel alone or with a friend. Needless to say, this decision will radically change the overall experience of your trip. Many first-time backpackers especially women feel more comfortable if they have a familiar face from home tagging along. The truth is that you never have to be alone; other solo travelers are always available and team up together. Read about traveling alone .

    Here are a handful of things to think about for travel planning:

    • Local Customs:  Learn how not to offend someone accidentally. Offenses and customs differ between Buddhists, Muslims, etc. If you re starting in Thailand, go read about Thailand etiquette .
    • Currency Exchange Rate:. Know the current exchange rate before you hit the ground. You can check rates directly on Google with a search string like 1 USD in Thai baht.
    • Book Your First Night:  Consider booking your very first night at your first destination. You will probably be exhausted after the flight, and having a room provides a good peace of mind. Only book one or two nights, then shop around in the morning for something better/cheaper. is the most popular site for booking.

    Be a Wanderer!

    If you have less time abroad, then plan more; otherwise, try to resist the urge to over plan. When travel planning. strive to just stay flexible, keep your eyes and mind open for new experiences and opportunities, and let the road take you where it takes you.


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    When to Book Christmas Flights – Thanksgiving 2013 Fare Tips #travel

    #airline travel deals

    The Best Time to Book Thanksgiving Holiday Flights 2013

    Posted by on October 8, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    By now you know to expect high fares for Christmas and Thanksgiving travel, but there are a few booking secrets you can employ to get ahead of the pack. Here s what you can do to score to best deal on holiday flights 2013.

    So How is 2013 Shaping Up?

    Once again, airfare is up and by all analysis the 2013 holiday season will have higher fares than 2012.

    Hotwire found that fall airfares for 2013 are up 4 to 5 percent for domestic travel. This fall, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Toronto, and Vancouver represent the best airfare deals for 2013.

    Over the holidays, fares are on par with last year according to FareCompare. The site noted that prices are up just 1 percent over 2012, however 2012 prices were at an 8-year high.

    Orbitz also noted a fare hike. On average, flights to the top 10 destinations over Thanksgiving are up 9.4 percent. Over the Christmas holiday flights are up 8.6 percent, and flights during New Year’s Eve are up 2.4 percent.

    When to Book

    If you’re thinking about Thanksgiving travel, it s probably too late to take advantage of this year’s lowest fares.

    FareCompare CEO and co-founder Rick Seaney claimed last week that you can add $5 every day you wait to book your Thanksgiving ticket. If you wait until October 31, you can expect to pay $140 more.

    Kayak  offered a more tempered approach. The lowest time to book Thanksgiving flights appeared between mid-August and Labor Day. After the August drop, fares were predicted to stay low until the last week of October. Last-minute flights after October are predicted to rise 21 percent.

    Hipmunk offered yet another schedule for fare hikes. CEO Adam Goldstein noted that between August and September fares go up 35 percent, then an addition 10 percent in October and 15 percent in November.

    When it comes to the holiday rush or any other seasonal rush, it’s always best to keep your eyes out for fare sales. For the legacy carriers you can periodically find fare sales for year-round travel, a 330-day travel period, says Peter Thornton, senior airfare analyst at Smarter Travel Media, parent company of Airfare Watchdog. and other travel resources. Keep in mind a fare is not valid for all 330 days and blackouts will apply.

    Thornton  notes,

    “There will be more availability for the peak dates when [fare] sales happen just after the said travel period. February can be a good time to pounce on seats for peak holiday travel when the 330-day travel period flash sales occur. Of course, there is no guarantee that any given route will have one of those sales and no idea of knowing exactly when. Alerts are key.”

    Of course, the standard wisdom about when to book applies. The best day to book flights remains at the start of the week. Hotwire suggests, “Book on Monday or Tuesday and fly on Tuesday or Wednesday to find the best deals, as planes are typically at their fullest Thursday through Monday.

    If you’re even questioning whether the airfare you found for the holidays is a bargain, you’ve probably found a deal. To understand whether or not you have found a deal, search for the same route on a different days outside the holiday time period.

    Don’t expect the best airfares of the year for holiday travel. Thornton confirms what we all already know too well: “You will pretty much never see the lowest fare on offer available for peak holiday travel dates. These dates can often be much, much higher than dates which are just a few days or a week apart from them.”

    Instead, Thornton confirms that you will have found a deal if “the price for peak holiday travel is the same or only slightly higher than the off-peak prices (September/October, early November/December).”

    The Best Days NOT to Travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas

    If you’re worried about crowds at the airport, chances are you are flying during some of the most expensive days of the year.

    If possible, avoid traveling on November 27, the day before Thanksgiving; December 21, the Saturday before Christmas; and December 28, the busiest day for both New Years and Christmas travel.

    Orbitz noted that those traveling on November 27 will experience the most expensive airfares on average, paying $499, compare this to the cheapest average airfare of  $406 on Thanksgiving day. On Christmas, December 21 has an average airfare cost of $591, compared to $408 on Christmas Eve. For December 28, the most expensive departure date of the holiday week, the average airfare costs $513.

    Airfare experts at Kayak confirm that Wednesday, November 27, the day before Thanksgiving is one of the most expensive days to travel. Also to be avoided are Sunday, December 1 and Monday, December 2, the dates most are returning home from Thanksgiving travel.

    Kayak analysts also recommend avoiding December 21, which for them is considered the second-busiest travel day of the year.

    The Best Days to Travel

    When it comes to the cheapest days for travel over the holidays, fly on the actual holidays. For Thanksgiving, according to Kayak the least expensive is actually Thanksgiving Day. You’ll also save if you travel on the Monday or Tuesday before and the Saturday and Tuesday.

    Additionally, you will save up to 20 percent if you depart close to or on Christmas Day and returning close to New Year’s Day.

    If you don’t want to travel over the holidays, you can save money on airfares by traveling for longer. If you re able to take an extra long trip, (example leave before December 18 and returning after January 6) you shouldn t have too much trouble finding a decent price).

    As you book, keep in mind these resources:

    • Bing Travel has a flight-prediction tool that suggests whether prices are expected to go up, down or remain the same, based on historical data.
    • Subscribe to airfare alerts to jump on airfare sales when they happen. AirfareWatchdog has them, as well as Travelzoo. Cheapoair. Hotwire. and Expedia. If you do score a deal, pay attention to the fine print in terms of blackout dates and cancellation policies.

    By Lily J. Kosner for


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    Bidder beware on travel auction sites – Tips – Travel. #travel

    #travel auction

    Bidder beware on travel auction sites

    Related coverage

    October 12, 2008

    There are bargains on travel auction sites, but do your research, writes Jane E. Fraser.

    Auction websites are making big inroads into the travel industry, with consumers now able to place bids on anything from hotel rooms to tours and cruises. Travellers are attracted to such sites by the promise of a bargain: the potential to either spend less or get a more luxurious holiday for their money.

    An extensive search of travel auction sites by The Sun-Herald came up with varied results, including excellent deals, mediocre deals and a few nasty traps.

    One luxury Gold Coast hotel suite we watched sold in an auction for a mere $360 for three nights.

    A check of the hotel’s own website found that, while the travel auction site had dramatically overstated what the package was worth, the auction price was still very cheap.

    The lowest rate on the hotel’s website for the same dates was a little more than $700, making the auction price a bargain.

    However, many prices found on auction websites turned out to be the same or similar to those available through other sources, including booking directly with the hotels. What were being held up as cheap auction prices were, in fact, standard low-season rates or routine promotional offers from the hotels.

    Another possible trap was auction sites selling discount vouchers rather than actual holidays. Some hotels came up in searches with very low prices but the stated rate turned out to be the cost of the discount voucher, not the accommodation itself. The voucher could save a lot of money but the sellers rarely take responsibility for availability of the dates you want to travel.

    If you are considering buying a discount voucher, double-check and triple-check if there are any conditions or blackout periods that might make it difficult to redeem.

    Checking the conditions and fine print applies to any auction purchase. One offer found on a popular auction website looked like a great deal but had a condition that the buyer must attend a “presentation” during their holiday. Such presentations usually prove to be pressure-selling sessions and should be avoided – not to mention that it is your holiday and you should be free to do as you please.

    The website states that travellers who refuse to attend the presentation during their stay may be charged the full rate for their hotel room.

    Another thing to be wary of when bidding for travel is that it is easy to get carried away or make bad decisions under time pressure.

    Auction sites tend to use phrases such as “book now”, “be quick” or “last chance”, yet there is every chance that an identical package will be listed once the current one has sold.

    One final warning: hunting through online auctions can be extremely time-consuming. By the time you have compared the prices, checked all the conditions, looked up the pictures of the hotel and made sure you are booking with a legitimate agency, you will probably have spent many hours on the task.

    Then again, you might just get a bargain.


    * Are you buying the actual holiday or just a voucher?

    * Cross-check the price against other sources.

    * Don’t be fooled by claims about the full, or “normal”, price.

    * Check for blackout dates and special conditions.

    * Check that there is a licensed travel agency behind the site.

    * Check what currency the price is in.

    * Don’t be rushed into making the wrong choice.


    One of the problems with travel auction sites is that it can be hard to know who you are dealing with.

    Glen Wells, chief executive of the Travel Compensation Fund, which provides consumer protection for Australian travellers, says most Australian travel auction sites are backed by licensed travel agencies.

    “The majority are quite legitimate but there might be some that [are not],” he says.

    Wells recommends a “buyer beware” approach and says people should check before handing over any money.


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    Budget Travel Tips for Europe #cheap #flights #hotels

    #cheap travel sites

    Latest News

    Budget Travel Tips for Europe

    Practical, how-to budget travel advice is indispensible. There s something particularly valuable about travel advice that opposes the emphasis on expensive hotels and other forms of high-end consumption that characterizes the contemporary travel media, perhaps especially in regions like Europe where costs are generally quite high.

    Budget-friendly travel in Europe is no impossible dream, and the following sites are good for inspiring shoestring feats, assessing likely costs, and, above all else, disproving the idea that you have to spend hundreds of dollars a day to see Europe well. For some ideas about where to travel affordably in Europe, check out last week s ten budget-friendly European destinations post.

    1. Less Than a Shoestring. Though no longer publishing on a regular basis, the archives of this blog are astoundingly helpful in their low-budget audacity. Particularly useful for anyone scared off at the thought of Europe s cost index are the blog s Baring my Budget posts, which run through budgets for various short trips in great detail: three nights in Malta for €50 (currently $66); five days in London for £85 (currently $133); four nights in Venice for €91 (currently $120), all departing from Berlin. Costs breakdowns are provided in these Baring my Budget posts, as are the freebies encountered along the way. The mention of freebies is particularly helpful, as it reveals how often tourist information, maps, museum admission, and various cultural performances can be accessed free of charge. Though this series ran over two years ago, it is still very relevant.

    2. EuroCheapo. Disclosure: I worked as an editor at EuroCheapo for almost three years and continue to do occasional freelance projects for the site. Phew. Glad I got that out of the way. Personal loyalty aside, EuroCheapo really is an enormously helpful resource. It is first and foremost as a hotel review site with useful descriptions of hotels written by trained hotel reviewers. EuroCheapo also edits a great blog full of essential budget-oriented tips penned by correspondents on the ground.

    3. Guardian s budget travel section. To be fair, the Guardian s budget travel section is good for destinations around the world, though the density of articles on the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and other European countries is impressive. Recent articles that showcase well the newspaper s creatively open approach to the subject of budget travel include Susan Greenwood s budget Stockholm journey story, indebted to insider tips provided by a local blogger; a piece on backpacking in the Crimea by Maxton Walker; and Benji Lanyado s TwiTrips series, for which the author receives tips via Twitter about the city he s visiting and then liveblogs his discoveries. The most recent TwiTrip series installment sees Lanyado visiting Liverpool .4. Flycheapo. This site felt buzzing and electrified back when Europe s low-cost airlines were announcing new routes weekly. With all the route cut-backs and cancellations of the last few years, the site sees far fewer regular updates. Nonetheless, Flycheapo is still an essential place to look for route information for inexpensive flights around Europe. The site provides new route news snippets, a route index, an airline index, and a route search, all of which are helpful for figuring out potential itineraries for low-cost air journeys across Europe.

    5. Deutsche Bahn. Indispensible for figuring out train itineraries, features Europe-wide train schedules in enthralling detail. is also a much cheaper place for purchasing advance train fares than US-based agents. A very helpful run-down of how much cheaper these fares can be as well as information on how to access Deutsche Bahn sales personnel in English can be found in two posts by the editors of hidden europe magazine, here and here .


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    Cheapest international airfare – tips – tricks #travel #insurance #comparison #sites

    #the cheapest airfare

    Cheap Airfares

    Cheapest airfare for international flights

    For international flights, don’t count on the search engines

    Search engines like Hipmunk and Kayak are great for finding flights within the U.S. but sometimes they’re not so good for international flights, especially those that start or end in exotic places like Asia, India, or Africa. That’s because not all foreign airlines make their fares available to the search engines, and even those which do sometimes don’t list their best fares. International engines like Momondo. Skyscanner. and Mobissimo sometimes do better, but even they sometimes miss fares offered by certain airlines.

    So what do you do? First off, try a travel agent in the country you’re visiting. Yes, a travel agent. Years ago you stopped using travel agents for domestic flights because you realized you could get the best fares yourself online. (Either that, or you’re so young you never used a travel agent in the first place.) Well, that goes out the window as soon as you’re talking international fares. Case in point: Once the best fare I could get for Japan to India (Osaka to Delhi) from Kayak, Orbitz, etc. was $1641. I walked across the street to a travel agent in Osaka and got a price of $1108 a whopping $538 savings. (And yes, that budget price included taxes and all applicable fees.)

    I had a similar experience in India, trying to get a flight to Hong Kong. I spent hours on the net and I think the best I could come up with was around $1200. I mentioned my problem to the hotel staff, and they said they were sure they could arrange a ticket for me. I asked them to go ahead, and sure enough, they did, for around $566 — less than half price! (I tipped appropriately.) The point is, you just can’t expect all international flights to show up in the search engines.

    If you go this route you need to make sure that you’re not being scammed by buying a fake ticket, and that’s especially true in India. But as long as you work with staff at a hotel you should be okay, because if they scammed you then you could tell the police exactly who they were, so they’re not likely to do so. Just don’t buy from someone who doesn’t have a permanent business location.

    (Incidentally, those tickets I just mentioned were all before I stopped flying, because flying causes climate change . Now I travel by train and cargo ship, and I bought carbon offsets for the travel I already took.)

    Next tip: Check the price at the airlines directly. Find the airlines that serve the country you’re flying to or from. (Use Bing or Google.) You can then check the airlines’ websites or call them to get fares, which will often be substantially cheaper than what you can find in the search engines. One Australian reader says that he saved $200 by going directly to Qantas over what he could find on Kayak and the other engines.

    Finally, our general tips for getting cheap airfare apply to international fares as well. For example, round-trips are often cheaper than one-ways for some inexplicable reason, so if you’re planning an around-the-world trip full of one-ways, you might save by buying roundtrip tickets and then not using the return trip. Also, remember that when you insist on flying on certain days you’ll usually pay more, so if your schedule is flexible,pick your travel destination first. and then find the cheapest travel dates for that destination. If you start your research with hard-wired dates in hand, you’re unilkely to get the best deal.

    [an error occurred while processing this directive] U.S. to Bermuda, Cancun, etc. USA3000 offers service between select U.S. cities and Bermuda, Cancun, La Romana, Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana. In Sept. 2004 we checked and found a roundtrip fare between Baltimore and Bermuda for $160 (!), while the best Orbitz could find was closer to $400.

    Other international sites

    Other sites we found which have good international fares are:

    • Anywhere to anywhere: Skyscanner (reportedly very good with European flights, and lets you search for flights to or from an entire country, without having to enter the city)
  • U.S. to/from Canada: Air Canada
  • Canada to everywhere: Sears Travel
  • Australia to Australia: Fare Hunter
  • Other international, especially Europe: Mobissimo Momondo.
    • Momondo’s flexible dates feature is awesome. It gives you a GRAPH showing the price for every single day in any month you choose. Sweet! Unfortunately, this feature doesn’t always work, though.
  • Tip for flying into Europe

    Kelly Fine writes: “We found that it was much cheaper to fly to London on one airline and fly from London to the Continent on another airline. This seemed to be true no matter what city in Europe we wanted to go to. And it was impossible to find a cheap flight from anywhere to Bratislava, so we found a flight to Vienna, which is only a little over an hour by bus from Bratislava. Flying into central and eastern Europe is much more expensive than flying to western Europe.”

    Courier travel: A thing of the past

    For years I used to mention the great deals you could get as a courier, by carrying documents or packages in exchange for a deeply discounted fare. But over the years I had to slowly remove the courier websites from my list one at a time as they went out of business, and now there are pretty much none left. Well, there might be a couple, but they can’t really save you any money.

    So what happened?

    • The Internet now lets companies send documents quickly and cheaply, so fewer couriers are needed.
    • Post 9/11 regulations make it harder to transport items that aren’t actually yours.
    • The fact that airlines now charge for checked baggage makes courier travel a worse deal (both for the courier company as well as for the traveler).
    • Travelers now have easy access to discounted fares through the Internet, so they can already save a lot compared to what they might have had to pay in the past.

    Here’s a good article from MSNBC which explains the change. Sorry, the party’s over.

    Thanks for visiting, and I hope you liked the site. I’ll leave you with a couple of hand-picked ads.


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    12 Tips to Make International Travel Easier #travel #deals

    #international travel

    Blog Post

    Being in a strange place can be invigorating and eye-opening. Some of my favorite travel memories include an early-morning run along the Danube River in Budapest, touring the temples of Angkor Wat, and having late-night drinks and steak in Uruguay.

    There have also been plenty of business trips where the only sites I saw were those visible from my hotel room window, because I was too busy running from one meeting to another.

    Regardless of what type of trip you’re on, there are several steps you can take to ease an overseas journey. Here are 12 of my favorite international travel tips:

    Hotel business cards. The first thing I do when arriving at a hotel overseas is take a business card from the front desk. That way, if I ever get lost, I have the name and address of the hotel in the local language. Large populations around the world speak English, but having something in a local language that I can show locals and taxi drivers is an extra bit of insurance.

    The six-month passport rule. The expiration date on your passport is actually a bit deceiving. The U.S. lets you use your passport up to the date inside the cover. However, several countries will deny travelers entry if the passport expires in less than six months. Why? If for some unexpected reason you get stuck overseas longer than planned, that country wants to ensure that you have a valid passport to eventually travel back to the United States. To avoid any problems, I always renew my passport during a downtime in travel, about nine months prior to the expiration date.

    Getting cash. The way to get cash is usually an ATM, but many U.S. banks charge steep fees for using an ATM that is out of network. You can take out a large amount of cash at the airport ATM so you pay that fee only once, but it’s never advisable to carry large sums of cash. Plus, you risk having too much local currency left over at the end of your trip. Charles Schwab and Fidelity both offer checking accounts that have no minimum balance requirements and reimburse you for all ATM fees, including those from overseas.

    Credit cards. The best exchange rates are often found using your credit card. However, many credit cards will tack on a foreign transaction fee, sometimes as high as 3 percent. It’s a pointless fee that no traveler should ever pay. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Platinum American Express are two of the cards that don’t levy this fee. Also, never have a hotel or restaurant convert a charge into dollars first. It’s a bad deal.

    Fraud alerts. Notify your credit card company’s fraud department of what countries you will be visiting and on what dates. This way, they won’t think your card is stolen and shut it off just when you need it the most. Be mindful of any countries you might be changing planes in; you might need to make a charge during your layover, especially if there’s a delay.

    Credit card chips. U.S. credit cards rely on magnetic strips on the back that are swiped at vendors. In Europe, cards have a chip embedded in them which—when paired with a PIN—are used for purchases. It’s a much more secure way of charging goods, but hasn’t been adopted in the States. Most vendors overseas can still swipe your card. But train ticket machines, gas stations, and other machines where we pay without interacting with a person often reject cards that are swiped. Getting a chip and PIN card from a U.S. bank is hard. But many credit cards are now coming with chip and signature technology.

    Medicine. I always carry an eye mask and earplugs in my medicine bag because you never know what your hotel room is going to be like. But I also carry Advil, NyQuil, Imodium A-D, Tums, and a handful of other key medications. Yes, even the most historic European neighborhood has a drugstore. But do you want to be running around Germany late at night, trying to translate “diarrhea”? If you’re heading to third-world countries, stocking up on the right drugs is even more important. Many travelers fill a prescription in advance for the antibiotic ciprofloxacin and bring it with them just in case.

    Travel alerts. It’s a good idea to check the State Department’s travel warnings and alerts. It’s also smart to print out the address and contact information of the local embassy.

    Foreign airline sites. If you are on a tight budget—and don’t have to book through your company’s travel department—look at overseas airlines’ sites in their home countries. I recently booked a ticket from southern Italy to northern Italy on Alitalia. The airline’s U.S. site wanted twice the price of the Italian site. I’m not fluent in Italian, but Google Chrome translated every page for me. I paid in euros, using a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

    Data roaming. Set up your cell phone to avoid international data roaming. Many business travelers have an international calling and data plan. But infrequent travelers don’t. The biggest costs can come from transmitting data overseas. I was in a remote part of southern San Diego last summer, and my cell phone provider sent me a text alert welcoming me to Mexico. Apparently, I had jumped onto a cell tower in Tijuana. I immediately shut off my data roaming, turning it back on only once I was out of that area.

    Google Maps. I have a great sense of direction and rarely need a map. I know others aren’t as lucky, though, and have come to rely on their cell phones to get around. If you don’t add a data plan to your phone while abroad, you can still jury-rig a crude version. Using the Wi-Fi in your hotel, plot out a few routes you plan to walk that day. Then take a screenshot of those maps. You can later find the photo, zoom in, and follow the path. It’s not ideal, but it’s a work-around.

    Unwanted local currency. I figure out on my last night how much cash I will need and then set aside the leftover money. At checkout the next morning, I take that cash and ask the hotel to apply it to my bill and then pay the remaining balance with my no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card.

    Related Links:

    More Business Travel Tips

     Photo by Realimage / Alamy


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    10 Japanese Travel Tips for Visiting America #flight #hotel #car

    #travel to japan

    With the help of Google Translate (and an ability to interpret completely random sentence structure), an American can find out what kind of advice the Japanese give to their own countrymen on how to handle the peculiarities of American culture. Here are some things to look out for if you are visiting America from Japan.

    1. There is a thing called “Dinner Plates.” And what goes on them is a mighty disappointment.

    In Japan, each person eating gets as many individual dishes as needed for the meal. Sometimes more than 10 dishes per person are used. In America, there is a method where a large bowl or dish is placed in the middle of the table, and you take as much as you like from there, and put it on a big dish said to be a “dinner plate.”

    In Japan, meals at home are for eating, because your stomach is vacant. At an American’s dinner, there is food, decorations on the table and tableware, and music to produce a fun atmosphere. It is a time for maintaining rich human relationships. Therefore, the meal is as long as 40 minutes. In addition, often the decorative tableware has been handed down mother to daughter, two generations, three generations. In addition, there are even more valuable dishes used for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

    American food is flat to the taste, indifferent in the subtle difference of taste. There is no such thing there as a little “secret ingredient.” Sugar, salt, pepper, oils, and routine spices are used for family meals. There is no such thing as purely U.S. cuisine, except the hamburger, which isn’t made at home so much. There is almost nothing special to eat based on the different seasons of the year. Basically, they like sweet, high fat, high calories things.

    2. Beware Rough Areas Where the Clothes Demand Attention

    In Japan, hip hop clothes are considered stylish. But in the United States, it is wise to avoid them, as you might be mistaken for a member of a street gang.

    The entire United States does not have good security, unfortunately. However, the difference between a place with good regional security and a “rough area” is clear. People walk less, there is a lot of graffiti, windows and doors are strictly fitted with bars. And young people are dressed in hip hop clothes that say “I want you to pay attention to me!”

    3. But You’ll be Pleasantly Surprised by American Traffic Patterns.

    Manners with cars in America are really damn good. Japanese people should be embarrassed when they look at how good car manners are in America. You must wait whenever you cross an intersection for the traffic light. People don’t get pushy to go first. Except for some people, everyone keeps exactly to the speed limit. America is a car society, but their damn good manners are not limited to cars.

    4. Nobody is impressed by how much you can drink. In fact, shame on you.

    In the U.S. they do not have a sense of superiority if they are able to drink a large amount. Rather, if you drink a lot, there is a sense that you cannot manage yourself. There is something close to contempt toward someone who must drink a lot to be drunk. To drink alcohol habitually is to have alcoholism. Alcoholics are weak people mentally, to be one means you have spanned the label of social outcasts that can’t self-manage.

    Non-smokers are more important than smokers in the US. Smokers capture the concept that they are not able to control themselves, and are the owners of weak character.

    5. They Have Free Time All Week Long!

    In America, whether you are a student, working person, or housewife, you carefully make room for leisure time, weekdays and weekends. Most people are ensured free time, always. During the week they use it for walking, jogging, bicycling, tennis, racquetball, bowling, watching movies, reading, and volunteering. On the weekend, they enjoy even more freedom, and take liberal arts courses and have sporting leisures.

    In Japan we believe that there is no free time during the weekday. Only the weekend. We spend the weekend watching TV, hanging around home, working, studying, and shopping, or listening to music.

    6. Knowing how to use sarcasm is a must to communicate with an American.

    If you put your bent middle and index fingers of both hands in the air, you are making finger quotation marks. It means you do not believe what you are saying. You can also say, “or so called.”

    7. They tend to horse laugh, even the women. It’s how they show they’re honest.

    In Japan, when a woman laughs, she places her hand so it does not show her mouth. It is disgraceful to laugh by loudly opening the mouth. Adult males do not laugh much. There is the saying, “Man, do not laugh so much that you show your teeth.”

    In America, when men or women laugh, they do not turn away. They face front, open the mouth, and laugh in a loud voice. This is because in America if you muffle your laugh or turn away while laughing, you give the impression that you are talking about a secret or name-calling. It is nasty.

    8. You won’t be getting your groceries anytime soon, so checkout lines are a great place to make friends.

    Cashiers are slow. Abysmally slow compared to Japan. I get frustrated when I’m in a hurry. Americans wait leisurely even if you’re in the special checkout for buying just a little something. I thought Americans were going to be quite impatient, but in reality they are extremely laid back. I thought about what I should do with my time while waiting in the grocery matrix, and began to speak at length with other guests.

    9. Their vending machines are ridiculously limited and dishonest.

    Vending machines in the United States just give carbonated beverages. Coke particularly. If you try to buy the juice from a vending machine when you’re thirsty, it’s just all carbonate. I pressed the button and thought it would be a nice orange juice, but carbonate came out. I love carbonated, but there are times when it will make you sick indeed.

    In Japan, there is great fear of failure and mistakes in front of other people. It is better to do nothing and avoid being criticized than to taste the humiliation of failure. As a result, there are things we wanted to do, but did not, and often regret.

    In America, you can make mistakes, fail, and it doesn’t matter. It is a fundamental feeling that to sometimes be incorrect is natural. In addition, rather than thinking about mistakes and failures, American’s have curiosity and say, “Let’s try anyway!”


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    9 Helpful Tips For Traveling Europe Alone As A 20-Something Female

    #traveling europe

    9 Helpful Tips For Traveling Europe Alone As A 20-Something Female

    This summer I packed up a Rick Steves backpack, got on a plane and traveled Europe by myself. When I left, my dad was terrified and most of my friends thought I was crazy. BUT traveling alone was the best thing I’ve ever done and through trial/error/hangovers, I learned a lot.  Here are some tips for making your solo European trip as fun, safe, awesome and as cheap as possible:

    Shalom Alechem

    1. Realize what’s important in a hostel

    One of the reasons why traveling alone is the best is that you get to make new friends nearly every day. However, a key factor of this is choosing what hostels to stay in. You might think you’ve scored big time when you book a fancy hostel (complete with bar! food! pool!) for cheap, but I would recommend being weary of such accommodations. When hostels feel like hotels, travelers tend to be less social. What’s actually important? Kitchen, atmosphere (somewhere in between chill and party) and communal lounge areas. Major bonus if you snag free breakfast.

    2. Find friends at your hostel that you can trust

    The least sketchy way to start out an evening is going out with people you at least slightly know. Now that being said, you can still barely know them. For example, in Scotland I went outside out of boredom and ended up tagging along with some fellow travelers and it turned out to be a great night. But knowing they had my back (to an extent at least) allowed me to enjoy getting reasonably drunk. Example number two, while out with a large group from my hostel in Paris, I got SMASHED (believe me, the caps is justified), but because I was with a great group of people, and a really nice Australian (thanks Michael), I didn’t get robbed and/or taken advantage of.

    3. Come up with an Alias

    There are most definitely going to be creepers, because although in the states getting a man is about as easy as performing a root canal, in Europe they’re everywhere. Sadly, not all that attention will be welcomed. Therefore, you must have an alias most importantly a last name, so they won’t know anything too personal about you.

    Go with something realistic (a.k.a most of them won’t be stupid enough to believe your name is McLovin), also pick something that’s not already taken (they also won’t believe your name is Angelina Jolie). Get to know your alias so it sounds natural when you respond to their questions. Give this alias a fake city as well, preferably one you know something about. My name in Europe was Christine Benson (common last name) and I hailed from San Francisco (I have been there enough to be able to convincingly lie straight to peoples face).

    4. Learn how to avoid creeps without actually saying no

    The last thing you want to do is piss off the drunk Scotsman at the bar. So instead of saying “fuck off” like you want to, try to be a little more discreet. Since you probably don’t have cellular phone capabilities, expect them to ask for your name so they can stalk you on Facebook. Creepy, right? Good thing there’s a trick! Use this line: “my name is really common, let me get yours.” Say this even if your name is the most unique name on the planet (besides, your alias should be common). This way, you’re not saying no, but they also won’t be stalking your profile pictures/sending you messages in which they are overly interested in your whereabouts.

     5. Pack lightly

    Everyone will tell you this and you will ha-ha at them and say, “duh, I already know that”. But really, PACK LIGHT. Bring clothes you love so much you want to sleep with them, and then wear them over and over again (also helpful because there will probably be a lot of nights when you’re too drunk to take off said clothes before passing out). I thought I packed light, but still had to ship back an 80 Euro package to make my bag fit within the Nazi like limitations of RyanAir.

    6. Bring your student ID

    Nobody told me this! Nobody! To my friends who’ve been to Europe I ask: what kind of friends are you. Bring your student ID even if you don’t remember the last time you cracked open a book. It can get you cheaper drinks, free museum admission and pretty much everything at a discounted price.

    7. Find a grocery store

    Unless you want to sit alone in your hostel and cry, you are going to have to spend some money. However, in some aspects you will have control over the amount of money you spend. Food is one of these. I would suggest finding your nearest grocery store and getting real familiar with tortellini (cheap, delicious, protein filled) Spend your food money where it counts: scotch in Scotland, a nice dinner in Paris, authentic pasta in Italy, Tapas in Barcelona, etc. The rest of the time, eat all the baguettes you can find.

    8. Have flexibility to leave/stay

    Saying this is going to make me sound like an ungrateful, uncultured snob, but I hated Rome. The second I stepped out of termini station (and was greeted by a vomiting homeless man) I had a bad feeling about the place, and after the first night I was ready to leave. But I still had three more full days before I departed for Barcelona. I wish I’d had more flexibility to move around as I pleased instead of being at the whim of an airline. You do have to be careful of prices rising the longer you wait (BUY A CHUNNEL TICKET ASAP IF YOU’RE GOING FROM LONDON TO PARIS), but sometimes moving on with your journey, or staying where makes you happiest, is worth the extra cost.

    9. Dress/act like yourself

    You are going to constantly be putting yourself out there, meeting new people, asking for directions in a language you don’t speak, going into fancy museums. My best advice for dealing with any un-comfortableness associated with these things: be yourself. Not only will this make you feel more at ease, but it will also help you attract the kind of people you actually want to hang out with.


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    10 Las Vegas Travel Tips #isles #of #scilly #travel

    #travel las vegas

    10 Las Vegas Travel Tips

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    Whatever happens in Vegas certainly doesn’t need to stay in Vegas. We’ve collected some of our Deal Experts’ favorite tips and memories for traveling to the ultimate adult playground that is the Las Vegas Strip and beyond. More itinerary suggestions — and exclusive deals — can be found within Travelzoo’s Las Vegas destination page.

    Take advantage of the world-class spas: I think the great thing about spas in Vegas is they have the full facilities like steam rooms, whirlpools, saunas, and they give you snacks! It’s the perfect way to detox after a fun night out. Vegas is my favorite place to hit up the spa. Every single spa at every high-end hotel is just amazing. – Lily Fu, producer, travel

    Find deals for spa days. dining and activities in Vegas.

    Skip the taxi from the airport: For parties of two or less, it’s more economical to arrange roundtrip airport shuttle service. While The Strip looks close, traffic can be terrible and the taxi meter just keeps running — plus drivers have a tendency to take the longest route if you don’t instruct them. – William Brown, associate publisher, travel

    Some of the best entertainment can be found in the off nights: Imagine our delight to discover a packed piano bar downtown full of singers and performers from The Strip on their off night taking turns at the keys! What followed was countless Lady Gaga covers, and flowing vodka sodas was the best break from The Strip. – Hilary Solan, editor, travel

    Need a Vegas show deal? Check out these offers for Vegas entertainment .

    Say Prost: Head off strip for a taste of Munich with a trip to the traditional beer hall Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas for polka music and a stein of Bavarian beer. – Blaire Constantinou, senior associate producer, travel

    Travel midweek or in the summer: There no question that Vegas runs full throttle on the weekends, but don’t discount the idea of staying midweek – when hotels and shows offer their best deals. Let’s face it, there’s not really a dull night in Sin City, plus you’ll find a little elbow room at the tables and a bigger budget for blackjack. And no matter how hot it gets in the summer, remember that it’s always 65 degrees in the casino. – Andrew Young, editor

    The vibrant art scene is worth a look: Las Vegas is finally getting a downtown that’s worth the effort to go to. The Arts District is south of Fremont. Head over on the first Friday of every month when dozens of shops and galleries stay open late and scores of vendors come in for a party into the night. On another night, check out Bar+Bistro, an Italian tapas restaurant with fantastic bartenders. – Ben Jennings, executive producer, travel

    Not all memorable meals are dinners: The best breakfast in town and my favorite memory of Vegas: Hash House a Go Go. – Barrie Kosberg, senior producer, travel

    Remember to cool off and cool down: When I need a break from the flashing lights and dinging slot machines in town, I’ll head out to Lake Mead for a day. If it’s really hot — anytime between July and October –nothing feels better than splashing around outside in this man-made lake that powers the Hoover Dam. Lots of companies rent boats, jet skis and kayaks by the hour or the day, and the natural beauty of the Mojave Desert makes for some truly scenic shoreline. Don’t forget the sunscreen! – Kevin Kitchen, senior associate producer, local deals

    Nab big savings off The Strip: Look for hotels off The Strip. Sometimes rates will be lower, and most of the hotels and resorts have free shuttle service to the airport and The Strip. For a change of pace, tack on a day or two at Lake Las Vegas for a little desert resort R


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    31 Practical Ireland Travel Tips – Infinite Ireland #allianz #travel #insurance

    #ireland travel


    Don t be weighed down by too much luggage. Pack light to easily get around.           Photo Credit: Flickr user waymorefunner

    1. Pack only a week’s worth of clothes even if you are traveling for 2 weeks. You can always re-wear or have your laundry done for you at a laundrette located in many towns.

    2. Bring a garbage bag for dirty clothes. It keeps clean and dirty clothes separate and it also is handy when dropping them off at a laundrette.

    3. Roll your clothes. You can often squeeze a little extra space in your bag this way (read: more room for souvenirs).

    4. Take one medium luggage and one carry-on per person and no more. It quickly gets tiresome lugging the big guy suitcase up and down Bed and Breakfast stairs.

    5. Use packing cubes to separate out your clothes from electronics from make-up. Makes finding things much easier!

    6. Don t go out and buy packing cubes. Save the plastic packaging that sheets, pillows, etc. come in. They work just as well as expensive cubes, but don t cost anything extra!

    7. Pack old/worn out underwear or purchase some at a dollar store. As soon as you are done with each pair, throw them away. You ll have a little more room for souvenirs at the end of your trip.

    Car Rental:

    Only by renting a car can you see hidden places like hill tops on Achill Island, Co. Mayo

    8. Rent a car! So many travel Ireland by coach bus. This is okay if you are unable to drive, but if you have the ability be sure to rent a car to see the countryside and meet the people on your schedule.

    9. Compare booking sites before you book your car rental! Not only check the primary American brands, Hertz. Alamo. Budget , etc. but check Dan Dooley. Irish Car Rentals. AutoEurope. Argus. and Sixt. Just know what you are getting before you reserve. Some companies are great at sneaking hidden fees.


    Locals and tourists alike picnicking along the water next to the Spanish Arch in Co. Galway

    10. Buy snacks at an Irish store. It’s always fun being a local and to check out the differences in food options plus snacks will help tide you over until the next meal.

    11. Get a Twix! (This is a special Stephanie tip can you tell?). Twix candy bars in the US have all sorts of preservatives—not in Ireland! What a fun little treat.

    12. Take snacks, lunch or dinner with you to the airport. Airport/plane food is expensive not great on long haul flights. Enjoy your own food and make everyone else jealous!

    13. Go for a picnic! There are lots of great deli’s in most towns. With a little cheese, meat and some crackers, you ve got yourself a picnic (and a cheap meal).

    Saving Money:

    Cook up a storm in your own kitchen!

    14. Try a self-catering cottage or apartment to save money. Usually rented by the week, you can save a bundle on accommodations and meals!

    15. Sign up for Groupon  or other social coupon email list for the areas you plan to visit. You might get some great deals on cheap meals, activities, or accommodations.

    16. Eat the big breakfast that is served at your B B. It will last you well  beyond midday—lunch is then often later without much need for a big dinner. Again saving you some $$.

    17. Bring a water bottle for each person on your trip to Ireland. Fill up in the morning and ask your wait staff to refill throughout the day. You can save a bundle and it is better for the environment this way!

    18. Use travel points. If you have a credit card that you use often but aren t collecting any points, apply for a card that gets you lots of bonus sign-up points and use it! You may be able to get enough points to pay for a portion of your travel costs.

    19. Don t take much cash or bring traveler s checks. Use the ATM to get Euros when you land in Ireland. You ll get the best exchange rate this way.

    20. Check your local credit union to see if they charge fees for international ATM transactions—many don’t!

    21. Try AirBnB  as an alternative accommodation. It can be even cheaper than even a traditional Irish Bed and Breakfast but still the same intimate experience with local expertise. (Using that link will give you a $25 coupon on your first stay!).

    General Ireland Travel Planning Advice:

    Can you think of a better place to be lost in?

    22. Don t try to see the entire country in a week. Pick a couple of places and really explore!

    23. Reach out to the locals—they have the best advice and it s always great experiencing Ireland up close.

    24. Get lost. -) No really, taking a wrong turn in Ireland can lead to some of the best undiscovered small towns. It also gives you an excuse to stop to talk to the locals for directions or advice.

    25. Learn a bit o’ Irish before you leave! It s always fun to say Sláinte (Slan-cha: To Health) at pub and sound like a local.

    26. Seek out hidden gems beyond the regular tourist spots. Don t know where to start? Just ask your B B owner. They will know where to go. Or Check out Ireland Travel Kit  for off the beaten path, traveler tested, suggestions.

    27. The Trip Advisor Ireland Forum is very active and helpful when planning your first trip. Take a look at Trip Advisor s reviews of accommodations and attractions. Always drop the highest and lowest review to get more accurate evaluation.

    28. Double check your flight times before you leave. If you book airfare far in advance the departure time can change.

    29. Add at least a 1/3 more time to travel estimates between point A and point B. The roads are small. There will be many stops between for pictures. And you may enjoy a wrong turn or two. No worries though You are in Ireland!

    30. Bring a good pair of walking shoes. It will be really tempting to (and you should) get out of the car and explore the countryside.

    31. No matter what. Above all else. Even if something doesn t go as planned. Relax. Enjoy yourself. Because there will be a time that once again you will be dreaming of Ireland.


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    USA Travel Insurance tips #travel #advice

    #travel insurance usa

    Travel Insurance

    Visiting the USA can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can become very unpleasant and challenging when sickness or injury occurs and medical services or medical evacuation is needed. Medical care is excellent in most parts of the US, but it can be very expensive and even astronomical for cases of critical illness. Many travelers purchase supplementary international medical insurance or travel insurance to avoid the staggering costs that might result from serious sickness or injury on their trip.

    When you are planning your trip, it is a good idea to contact your primary healthcare provider or insurer in your home country to determine if you are covered and under what circumstances and to what extent while traveling abroad. You may be surprised to find that your health care provider offers little or no protection while traveling in the USA. If this is the case, it might be wise to purchase international travel insurance.

    Types of Insurance

    Many people are familiar with flight accident insurance. which pays you a large sum of money if you are killed or seriously injured in an air accident. This type of insurance policy normally does not cover any medical expenses resulting from illness or other types of accidents while traveling.

    Travel agencies frequently offer travel protection plans or trip cancellation insurance. These usually cover the cost of travel expenses should you be forced to cancel your vacation due to accident, illness or certain other causes. They often cover travel assistance services, protection for lost or damaged baggage and limited medical coverage. There may or may not be a deductible or co-pay for covered medical expenses.

    International Medical Insurance is short or long term insurance designed to reimburse you for medical expenses incurred while traveling or living in a foreign country. Maximum policy coverage is usually large enough to cover major medical expenses such as emergency surgery and extended hospital stays. “American Style” of international medical insurance coverage is usually subject to a specified deductible and co-insurance or co-pay. Plans may include emergency evacuation, reunion, and repatriation benefits as well as other travel assistance services. The plan coverage may be single trip, multi-trip or renewable.

    Definition of terms

    Maximum Policy Coverage. The maximum amount of money that the insurance provider will pay for covered expenses. It may be an overall maximum or an amount for each accident or illness.

    Deductible. (also known as excess ) This is the amount of medical costs that you must pay before the insurance provider starts paying. It may be an annual amount, an amount for the duration of the policy or an amount for each incident. Example: a $50 deductible would mean that you must pay the first $50 of medical expense before the insurer begins to pay.

    Co-Insurance or Co-Pay. This is the percentage or amount of medical expense that you must pay after the deductible is paid. Example: a co-insurance of 20% or an 80/20 co-pay means that the insurance company will pay 80% of the charges and you will pay 20% of the charges after you have paid the deductible.

    Exclusions. These are medical expenses that the insurance company will not pay. These usually include expenses arising from the illegal use of drugs, medical conditions that existed prior to the purchase of the insurance, and medical costs arising from participation in dangerous activities or high-risk sports.

    Emergency Medical Evacuation. covering the expenses for sending an injured or ill person home or transporting him/her to a place where appropriate medical care can be obtained.

    Emergency Reunion. covers the expenses of bringing a family member to the injured or ill person during a medical emergency.

    Repatriation Benefits. cover the cost of returning a deceased traveler’s body to the homeland.

    Single Trip Plans. cover one trip.

    Annual/Multi-Trip Plans. cover all trips taken within one year.

    Individual Plans. cover one person.

    Family Plans. cover all members of a family traveling together.

    Travel Insurance Online

    There are many websites that offer travel insurance online. Most sites offer only one type of coverage – either a travel protection plan or international medical insurance – or they offer coverage to citizens of a particular country. Only a few insurers offer a variety of plans for travelers from all countries. has affiliated with Travel Insurance Center to bring you a wide selection of travel protection plans and International Medical Insurance. Look at their web pages and check their prices. You can purchase your travel insurance on-line from their web pages.

    Squaremouth is another website where you can compare hundreds of travel insurance plans from top providers and buy immediately. Compare travel insurance or use their comprehensive research features. They also have insurance for visitors to the USA, immigrants, US visa workers, and foreign students who study inside the US. Click here to purchase travel insurance!

    Written by: Mike Leco

    Top Photo Credit: © Mike Leco /

    Photo Description: Memphis, Tennessee

    Have a question? Post it on the USATourist Facebook Page .


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    Travel Safety Tips #maldives #travel

    #airline travel

    General Pet Care

    Travel Safety Tips

    For some pet parents, a trip is no fun if the four-legged members of the family can’t come along. But traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and your pets. If you’re planning to take a trip with pets in tow, we have some tips to help ensure a safe and comfortable journey for everyone.

    Remember, no matter where you’re headed or how you plan to get there, make sure your pet is microchipped for identification and wears a collar and tag imprinted with your name, phone number and any relevant contact information. It’s a good idea for your pet’s collar to also include a temporary travel tag with your cell phone and destination phone number for the duration of your trip.

    Traveling by plane?

    Unless your furry friend is small enough to ride under your seat, it’s best to avoid air travel with your pets. If you must bring your pet along on the flight, here are a few suggestions to keep your pet safe while flying the friendly skies.

    • Book a direct flight whenever possible. This will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.
    • Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for a checkup. Prior to your trip, make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of your departure. Tranquilizing your pet is generally not recommended as it could hamper his or her breathing, so use this time to check with your veterinarian for ways to relax your pet if you suspect he or she may become afraid, anxious or uncomfortable mid-flight. For travel outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. Contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for more information.
    • Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably, and lined with some type of bedding—shredded paper or towels—to absorb accidents. Prior to your trip, tape a small pouch of dried food outside the crate so airline personnel will be able to feed your pet in case he or she gets hungry during a layover. The night before you leave, freeze a small dish or tray of water for your pet. This way, it can’t spill during loading and will melt by the time he or she is thirsty. Make sure the crate door is securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open it in case of an emergency.
    • Make sure your pet’s crate has proper identification. Mark the crate with the words “Live Animal,” as well as with your name, cell phone and destination phone number, and a photo of your pet. Should your pet escape from the carrier, this could be a lifesaver. You should also carry a photograph of your pet.
    • Tell every airline employee you encounter—on the ground and in the air—that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way, they’ll be ready if any additional considerations or attention is needed. If the plane is delayed, or if you have any concerns about the welfare of your pet, insist that airline personnel check the animal whenever feasible. In certain situations, removing the animal from the cargo hold and deplaning may be warranted.

    Taking a Road Trip?

    Traveling with a pet by car involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and motoring off, especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. Here are a few car travel safety tips to help you prepare for a smooth and safe trip.

    • Prep your pet for a long trip. Get your pet geared up by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. If you’re traveling across state lines, bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record. While this generally isn’t a problem, some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings.
    • Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop. If you decide to forgo the crate, don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window, and always keep him in the back seat in a harness attached to a seat buckle.
    • Prep a pet-friendly travel kit. Bring food, a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid, and any travel documents. Pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Be sure to pack plenty of water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure, and always opt for bottled water. Drinking water from an area he or she isn’t used to could result in stomach discomfort.
    • Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.


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    Tips for Travelling Alone #tours #and #travels

    #travelling alone


    Travelling alone can seem daunting from the comfort of home. What happens if you get stranded somewhere? Can you go out at night solo? Won t it feel weird to eat in a restaurant alone? All these worries and more (Will I get attacked by bandits? Or my car stuck in a ditch?) plagued me before my first solo trip – my first research trip for Rough Guides, in 2003. My fears quickly evaporated, and now solo travel is a huge bonus of my job. Here s how to make the most of your first solitary outing.

    Know your strengths

    Are you a sociable person who wants to be in the middle of everything? You might go crazy if you can t communicate, so head for where you speak the language. Or, barring that go somewhere with very few tourists. A gregarious friend of mine travelled in Indonesia last year and loved it – foreigners were so rare on Java that schoolgirls stopped him in the street to have their picture taken with him. I felt like a rock star”, he said. If you re more of an introvert and prefer to observe a culture, forget the language barrier and go for passive entertainment. Vibrant cities are perfect for this, especially ones with good café cultures. Paris is classic, but other former French colonies, such as Lebanon and Vietnam, are also great for sitting and people-watching, all for the price of a coffee.

    Sleep around

    Play the oddball card

    Just say no

    Pack a book

    A good book, a magazine or even just postcards to write or your travel journal to jot in – are all legitimate activities at a bar or restaurant if you get to feeling a little bored/lonely/exposed, so carry one of them with you at all times. And as a last resort there’s always fiddling with your smartphone.

    Take photos

    Making photography a mission, even if it s just little odd details you notice about a place, gives a little structure to your day. And you will notice more odd details, because you ll have the time and attention to look around. Your friends at home will appreciate your perspective and the story that comes with it.

    Eat big

    You might be tempted to live on fast food, just to avoid awkward restaurant situations. Don t. In fact, fancy establishments are fantastic places to dine alone. Waiters are happy to help solo diners who smile and say, I made a special trip just to eat here. What do you recommend? Social folks might want to eat at the bar, but there s no shame in taking a table for two.

    Get an early start

    If the thought of bar-hopping alone makes you die a little inside, just recast your day. Wake up early, enjoy a leisurely breakfast (when all the good stuff is still available on the hotel buffet) and head out for parks, museums and other daytime-only activities. If you pack your day full enough, you ll be ready for bed by 9pm.

    Find your people

    Use Facebook and Twitter to ask for connections where you re travelling. Offer to take local friends of friends out for dinner, and you ll be surprised how many people take you up on it – everyone likes to be tour guide for a night. Also seek out your interests in your destination – the fan club for the local football team, say, or the chess association. That same gregarious friend who loved Indonesia also hooked up with an improv-comedy group in Kuala Lumpur. Hilarity ensued.

    Revel in it

    Rough Guides Editors tips


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    Spain: Tips for Planning Travel to Spain #cheap #air #ticket

    #travel spain

    Spain: Tips for Planning Travel to Spain

    Share your knowledge

    Tips for Planning Travel to Spain

    These tips are for first time travelers to Spain. Many seem obvious, but one is always surprised at questions new travelers ask in the Trip Advisor forums. One has to do some homework if one’s trip will be one of pleasure and have less stress.

    1. Buy a book about travel to Spain. Read it and decide what parts of Spain interest you and which cities you want to visit.

    2. Get an idea of the geography of Spain. This is a good article from Wikipedia:

    Be aware that Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe (after France) and one of the most mountainous (after Switzerland). The central meseta is a highland plateau and Madrid is on this meseta. Be aware of distances between cities. Google Maps or the Via Michelin website can tell you what these distances are.

    3. The best time to travel in Spain is spring and fall because that is when good weather occurs. The months of April, May, June, September, and October are very good for travel. Summer is quite hot, especially in inland cities like Seville, Cordoba, and Madrid. The months of July and August are very crowded in resorts along the Mediterranean, so early reservations for hotels are required for these areas.

    If one want to visit cities in northern Spain near the Atlantic, such as San Sebastian, Oviedo, and Santiago de Compostela and the rest of Galicia, the months of July and August are the best. Barcelona, the Costa Brava, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands are best from May to September.

    The Costa del Sol and Almeria are the best places to visit during winter because they are the warmest. The Costa del Sol has balmy weather during summer. Almeria hardly gets any rain during the year. Nights in Granada are always cool because it is high up in the mountains. The central plateau gets weather extremes during summer and winter.

    There are many weather sites that will give one the average temperatures by month for every city in Spain. It is best to check them before making travel plans. Be careful of traveling during winter, especially if you are driving. Many mountain passes get closed and having chains is very important to have in a car.

    It makes no sense to travel to places like Leon, Burgos, Vitoria, Pamplona, and Logroño during winter. They get very cold and have much snow and ice. Not all of Spain is sunny all year long. Check the weather for each place you want to visit before making travel plans. The following site will give one average temperatures by month for each city.

    4. During fall, many resorts in the north of Spain and along the Mediterranean have many of their stores and restaurants closed for the season. This may happen in the middle of September. This never happens in the Costa del Sol, which is always open because there are many northern Europeans who migrate during this time and spend winter in the area.

    It is also a fallacy that most stores and restaurants close up during summer in big cities. Madrid is a city of 5 million and most stores and restaurants are open all year long.

    5. Madrid is in the geographic center of Spain. King Felipe II chose Madrid to be the capital of Spain for this very reason.

    The best way to travel from Madrid to other cities is by the high speed train, the AVE. It beats air travel because it is more comfortable than the plane, because you can move around in the train and go to the cafeteria car to eat snacks. Airlines like to restrict movement of passengers within the plane. Spain is now the European country with the largest network of high speed trains. If you have never traveled on a high speed train, you will enjoy the travel on the AVE.

    Read Buying Renfe Tickets Online. Study the map which shows what cities that the AVE goes to. You may be able to get the web discounts if you buy early.

    If one is to travel between extremities of Spain, such as Malaga and Barcelona, then the plane is better because the time will be much shorter than the train.

    Be aware that the AVE still does not go to Granada, so the best way to get to this city may be the plane or the bus.

    A Rail Pass will be more expensive than buying tickets at Renfe directly. You cannot get the discounts that Renfe gives.

    6. Do not plan to see too much of Spain at one time. Many want to see one new city every day. They may be unaware of the distances between cities and one does not want to be traveling every single day. It is best to stay in cities for at a minimum of two nights, preferably three. That way one can see a city in depth and remember it. Spain has to be savored slowly with time for one to sit at a sidewalk cafe, eating tapas and drinking a glass of wine while one sees the passing parade or contemplates a monument.

    7. Most travelers will want to experience Andalusia. From propaganda in foreign countries, Andalusia will be more like what a tourist expects of Spain, being the image of Spain, with women dancing flamenco, and with flowers in their hair. There are many monuments in Andalusia, such as the Alhambra Palace in Granada, the No. 1 tourist attraction of Spain, getting 3 million visitors a year. If you plan to visit the Alhambra, read Buying Alhambra Tickets Online. Cordoba has the Mezquita, and Seville has its Cathedral with the Giralda Tower and many other monuments. Do not forget Malaga, which has many monuments and museums, as well as its beaches and the best weather in Europe.

    8. Many say that Spain’s best invention are its tapas. About 30% of visitors say they come to Spain for gastronomy. In most places in Spain one can eat marvelously. One can eat tapas instead of having lunch or dinner and enjoy a wide variety of food. Read the top question in the Trip Advisor forums for each city you want to visit to see if there are articles about good restaurants and tapas places.

    9. The best way to get euros is to use an ATM machine. Spain is the European country with the most ATM machines and every block in cities has an ATM machine. Be sure to contact your bank that you will be using your ATM in Spain. The back of your ATM card will show what networks your bank is tied to, so using an ATM machine with the same network will minimize any currency charges. When you use an ATM machine, try to find one inside a bank for better security. Most banks will have an ATM machine inside the bank and another on the sidewalk.

    You may want to opt to not purchase Travelers Checks. There very few exchange locations and rates are high. You could lose a great deal in the exchange. Spanish banks will not accept Travelers Checks, nor will businesses. If you do not have an ATM. your best option is either to buy euros from your bank  (the rate of exchange + % they add per dollar + flat order and shipping fee), or take dollars to Spain and exchange them at a bank (the rate of exchange + % they add per dollar or some banks will offer flat fee exchange rates per x number of dollars for euros exchanged). Spanish banks also close for the day typically by 2:30 p.m.  While you can find other exchange locations open after banking hours, exchange rates will be higher.

    10. If you plan to rent a car and drive, read the Driving Guide for Foreigners. You will need an International Driving Permit. Be aware that it is almost impossible to find free parking on the street in cities. In big cities a commercial parking garage will cost between 18 and 30 euros a day. Hotels with parking will charge about 11 to 12 euros a night for parking. For Andalusia, check the top questions for parking guides for different cities. Rental Cars are available at any major airport with offices of the big international rental companies such as Hertz, Avis, Europcar. Some local companies received a lot of negative feedback such as Record Rent a Car.

    11. You can see Spain with a group tour. However be aware that most tours of Spain will try to allow you to see the most monuments and cities, so they do not leave one with enough free time. One cannot dawdle with these tours. For many older travelers, they may be too fast paced and one may develop health problems because of this. Most of them go by bus, so it is not much fun to be traveling by bus all day. One can see Spain on one’s own without a group tour if one plans properly. One is perfectly safe in Spain by going alone. If one is mature one does not need a chaperone or guide to tell him what to do all day long.

    12. Read Money Saving Tips for Spain.

    13. Electricity Info for Spain:

    14. Have a Happy Trip in Spain!


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    Seychelles Travel Tips #compare #travel #sites

    #seychelles travel

    Seychelles Travel Tips


    Keep in Mind.

    • Go heavy on the sunscreen The islands of Seychelles sit just a few degrees south of the equator and the sun’s rays are strong here. Make sure to apply sunscreen multiple times throughout the day.
    • Go easy on the spices Tap water is safe to drink and food here is prepared safely. That said, the spices used in Creole cuisine can upset sensitive stomachs.
    • Do not disturb Resist the urge to bring a piece of Seychelles home it is illegal to collect shells from nature reserves and marine parks, and you must have a permit to remove plant life.

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going and the rest of us conjure our ideal escape, dreaming of a remote island with crowd-free sands, bright blue waters and a tranquil aura. But when you’re ready to turn that dream into a reality, set your sights on Seychelles, a cluster of 115 islands peppering the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. You may have caught sight of the scenery here before: The seemingly endless white beaches, giant boulders and swaying palms are the stuff of postcards, television commercials and desktop backgrounds. And while you’re lounging along these famous shorelines, it’s likely that the only other life forms you’ll encounter will be the islands’ colorful birds and humongous tortoises.

    The Seychelles islands are often referred to in two separate groups. Most travelers limit their exploration to the 43 Inner Islands, basing themselves on one of the group’s three main isles. Mah is the largest, home to the Seychellois capital, Victoria. as well as the famed Anse Intendance beach. Praslin, the second largest of the primary islands, also boasts several acclaimed shorelines, not to mention the Vall e de Mai Nature Reserve. And then there’s La Digue, a quiet island where bicycles reign supreme and the sands of Anse Source d’Argent beach remain unspoiled. Charter a private yacht further out to sea and you’ll likely stumble across one of the 72 Outer Islands, low-lying, sandy cays ruled by wildlife. It doesn’t get more remote than that.

    How To Save Money in Seychelles

    • Visit in the off seasons Lodging and transport costs soar from May to September and in December and January. If you can plan a trip for April or November, you can save on travel expenses, especially if you plan several months in advance.
    • Avoid the resorts Seychelles’ big resorts will charge you an arm and a leg for a bed and a meal. You’ll save some dough if you bunk down in one of the islands’ smaller inns and dine at local restaurants.
    • Stay put It’s tempting to try to visit more than one of Seychelles’ 115 islands, but you’ll save on transportation costs by limiting yourself to just one. Many travelers choose to stay on Mah or Praslin thanks to the islands’ convenient bus systems, ample lodging options and numerous free beaches.

    Seychelles Culture Customs

    Comprising 115 islands located off the eastern coast of Africa, the Republic of Seychelles (or simply Seychelles) was first settled by the French in 1770, who maintained ownership of the islands until 1814. Following the passage of the Treaty of Paris, Seychelles relinquished to Britain, which governed Seychelles until the archipelago achieved independence in 1976. In their short history as settled territory, the Seychelles islands have welcomed people of varying nationalities European, of course, but also African and Asian all of whom have left their imprint on Seychelles’ culture.

    The island nation recognizes three official languages: English, French and French-based Seselwa Creole. Many Seychellois can also speak Italian or German, meaning there’s no shortage of ways to communicate with islanders. You’ll also recognize international influences in the islands’ art and architecture; houses are reminiscent of Europe’s Victorian era, seafood is prepared with hints of Asian and French cuisine, and Creole-style music and dance is infused with European, African and Malagasy melodies and movements.

    The price of most services like hotel stays, taxi rides and meals at restaurants already includes a 5 to 10 percent tip, although you’re welcome to leave more if you wish. The official currency of the Seychelles islands is the Seychellois rupee (SCR), which is equal to about 6 American cents. However, credit cards and major currencies, such as the British pound, the euro and the U.S. dollar are all acceptable forms of payment. If you decide to use the Seychellois rupee throughout your stay, you’ll find plenty of establishments that offer currency exchange services. But to avoid being scammed (or charged with a crime), only change your money at banks, hotel cashiers or the exchange bureau at Seychelles International Airport (SEZ). It is illegal to exchange currency with an unlicensed operator.

    Other than the occasional faux moneychanger, Seychelles is a relatively safe place to visit, though you should use common sense when it comes to your personal belongings and any late-night walkabouts. The sun actually poses the largest threat to unsuspecting visitors. Because of the Seychelles islands’ location just south of the equator, you’ll need to prepare yourself for powerful rays. Make sure that you are diligent about applying sunscreen and drinking water. It also doesn’t hurt to bring a hat and some shades.

    While visiting Seychelles, you should be careful to leave the islands as pristine as you found them. Do not take shells from nature reserves or marine parks and do not disturb the wild flora and fauna.

    Next Steps: Seychelles


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    Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Travel Tips #flights #for #cheap

    #travel republi

    Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Travel Tips

    There are 21 miles of beaches in Punta Cana. (Photo: Footprint on sand, Punto Cana beach on Atlantic ocean image by vadiko from )

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    Punta Cana is a popular vacation destination within the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispanola. In this city, there are 21 miles of beaches, many of which are public and some that are clothing-optional. Punta Cana has become the most popular tourist area on the island due to its acres of white sand and aqua-blue water. It continues to grow with new resorts–mostly all-inclusive. It is a wonderful place for a beach vacation, but there are some things you should keep in mind when making plans.


    Punta Cana is on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, at the point of the island where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. If you are looking to surf or go whale-watching, the rougher ocean might be a better choice than the warmer, calmer sea. Note that a hotel may list its location as Punta Cana, but this also encompasses the towns of Uvero Alto, Cap Cana, Cabeza de Toro, El Cortecito, Arena Gorda, Macao and Bavaro, a popular area beach for all-inclusive resorts.


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