First Time Cruise Tips

CruiseApply these first time cruise tips for an unforgettable retreat at sea. Keep certain essentials in your carry-on and find out how to choose your cabin. Use these strategies to avoid headaches and ensure a rewarding stress-free vacation.

1. First Time Cruise Tips for Packing

Keep your medications, a first aid kit, and sea sickness meds in your carry on. Take only one credit card with you. Leave the rest at home. Life on-board a cruise ship is very relaxed. So pack with comfort in mind. Your ship will also offer one or two formal nights so include one or two outfits for evening wear.

2. Essential Documents You Must Remember

A passport if you are a U.S. citizen or a certified birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID. Check with your cruise line for necessary visas to different ports of call. Your pre-boarding pass. This must be completed online prior to boarding the ship. A simple first time cruise tip to avoid headaches is to leave copies of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card information with a friend or family member.

3. Choosing Your Cabin Very Wisely

If you suffer from claustrophobia, avoid an interior room as these have no windows and are small. Instead choose one with a picture window, port hole, or balcony to make your cruise ship travel a rewarding one. Do you get seasick easily? Then choose a lower cabin near the center of the ship. Here there is less rocking motion. This first time cruise tip can be the difference between an enjoyable vacation and a disastrous one.

4. Crucial Cruise Travel Tips and Airline Accommodations

Fly in a day earlier if you can to avoid rushing. If you cannot, get to your destination at least four hours before the ship leaves. Arrive at your embarkation area at least two hours before departure. And avoid booking your return flight before 2:00 p.m. to give yourself ample time to catch that plane.

5. Essential Embarkation Tips

DO NOT place your documentation in your checked baggage. You will need it for check in. Your luggage will be transferred to the ship and placed outside your room. This sometimes takes a few hours. Use the time to get to know the ship. Find out where the dining rooms and outdoor cafes are located. A sail and sign card will be issued to you. It is used as your room key, for making purchases, and as identification to get on and off the ship.

6. Essential Debarkation Tips

The night before your cruise ends, custom forms will be left in your room to fill out as well as color-coded tags. Pack your bags on your last night and leave them outside your door. You will be called the next morning according to your color coded luggage tags. Keep your carry-on luggage with you. This includes necessary documentation and your sail and sign card.

Avoid ruining your cruise vacation with these easy to follow first time cruise tips. By choosing your cabin wisely and packing essential items you will enjoy an unforgettable floating holiday. And come back renewed and energized.

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Affordable Travel Destination Tips

Your first stop should be at your local travel agent. Ask about special packages to specific destinations that don’t cost an arm and a leg to get to and see the sights. This opens the door to what is sometimes called ‘adventure’ travel. Ever been to the Galapagos Islands? This is an affordable vacation destination, as many travelers are now hearing. Costa Rica, a U.S. territory, is another popular and affordable travel destination. You have no exchange rate to worry about and by going to some of the more out of the way beach locations, you get a better flavor of the culture, enjoying pristine beaches that aren’t overrun with other tourists and at a very attractive price. Give your travel agent the parameters of what you’d like to get out of your vacation, as well as how much you can spend. He or she is going to work very hard to find an affordable travel package that satisfies your objectives and budget.

Do some research on the net, too. Scope out travel destinations you find appealing and try to get a baseline on cost of accommodations. Consider alternative accommodations, such as youth hostels, convents and monasteries (great places to stay, BTW) and residency apartments, sometimes known as ‘efficiencies’. For about the same price as a hotel, you can rent a furnished apartment, with a kitchen, cookware and bedding. It’s obvious you’ll cut your costs by shopping locally and eating at home. Affordable travel plans require flexibility.

Another strategy is to simply throw your wish list out in a Google search. For example, you’ve got a budget of $1000 and would like to get away for 7 days to a beach holiday in Costa Rica. Google it! Something like ‘travel package Costa Rica 6 nights’ ought to get you to a site offering a deal.

Your travel agent is your best ally in finding a good, affordable travel package. The agency makes a commission, but only if you buy the package! After making your own online investigations, see what your travel agent has found. It may be far better than what you were able to find on your own. Especially in difficult economic times, the sharp travel agent’s connections serve your needs well.

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How to Organize a Family Travel Plan

Carefully planned and organized family vacation can be real fun and exciting and certainly leaves us with great memories which can be truly cherished for the rest of our lives. However, with all the fun and excitement, organizing an appropriate family travel plan is a huge risk and a big responsibility. Disagreements are bound to happen anytime a bunch of people come together irrespective of the fact that they are related by blood. Instead of being blamed for the unhappiness caused to everyone, by just paying extra attention to a couple of few things, you can surely turn your family vacation into a beautiful time spent in the company of your near and dear ones.

Tips to Organize a Fine Family Travel Plan

1) The foremost thing which you need to pay attention is to choose convenient dates, keeping in mind the schedule of 90 percent of the people who plan to come for the vacation. Always choose a couple of potential dates and then you can ask for everyone’s input regarding their availability.

2) Go in for a central location. All the family members must be traveling from different directions and thus it becomes a necessity to pick a central location. You can certainly please everyone in this manner if all the members have to travel approximately the same distance to get to the vacation spot.

3) Search for a big hotel. It will be real fun if everyone can stay at the same hotel which will allow all the family members to spend enough time with each other. While organizing family travel plans, also make sure that you think about the amenities required by those families who have children. Also, each family will have its own budget and thus you can choose a hotel which offers expensive suites as well as less expensive accommodation.

4) Researching fun activities which can involve all the family members is definitely important. Do not be under the misconception that family holidays can be great fun just because all the family members are coming together. You need to research and jot out a set of possible activities for each day of the vacation. But, also remember that not all people will want to do the same thing so be ready for suggestions and alternate plans.

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10 Business Travel Safety Tips

Every year, hundreds of thousands of business travelers go to all points of the globe. A business traveler’s personal safety is always potentially at risk – even if their destination is just a short distance away.

Below are some basic safety tips that when followed, can help make you less vulnerable when on the road.

  1. Don’t Go Solo– If possible don’t travel alone. If you do have to travel alone, set up scheduled times to check in with someone at home. If you don’t check in, they will immediately know that something is wrong.
  2. Be Aware– Being aware of your surroundings is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself safe. If something seems unusual or out of place – it probably is. Trust your instincts.
  3. Don’t Stand Out– Avoid behavior or dress that will make you stand out from the crowds – especially when traveling overseas.
  4. Know the Area– It is important to be up to date on the area that you are traveling to. This includes any travel warnings and any regional/local issues, especially political. You should also be familiar with where you will be staying and the places you will need to visit while you are there.

Visit the State Department’s website (travel.state.gov) for information about the country you will be visiting. They will also post any travel warnings or alerts. For additional information, call the U.S. Department of Transportation Travel Advisory and Airport Safety Hotline (800-221-0673).

  1. Have a Code Word– The number one way that people are kidnapped in foreign countries is by reading your name off of a sign that a driver is holding at the airport, duplicating the sign and standing in front of the real driver. To avoid this, have a code word that you can ask from the driver.
  2. Your Hotel– Avoid hotels with rooms that open to the outside and rooms on the first floor. Be sure to use the extra lock on your door and to secure all valuables. Know where the emergency exits and stairwells are. In the event of an emergency, you want to know exactly where to go.
  3. Meet in Public Areas– Never use your hotel room for meetings. Treat it as you would your bedroom at home – as a personal space for sleeping.
  4. Know What You Have– Make photocopies of your driver license, credit cards (front and back) and passport. In case they are lost or stolen, you will know exactly what you had and for your credit cards, you can easily call the customer service numbers to cancel them. Keep the photocopies in a safe place or scan them and e-mail them to yourself. If you use a web-based e-mail service, you will be able to get to the documents anywhere you have internet access.
  5. For Female Travelers– Female business travelers are at a greater risk when traveling, especially overseas. Wear a wedding ring – even if you are single. A cheap, fake ring can go a long way in deterring criminals. Also, wearing your hair down or in a pony tail should be avoided; this makes an easy way for someone to grab you.
  6. Have a Plan– In case something does happen it is important to have a plan and a good support system. Discuss with your family/friends what to do in case of an emergency. The U.S. Department of State has a Citizen’s Emergency center that you can contact for assistance in case of an emergency situation abroad – 202-647-0900.
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Tips For Last Minute Travel Plans

There are moments when we plan a getaway at the last minute or we find out that we have to leave on a business trip with the next flight. This type of traveling can be both costly and also it can give you a lot of headaches. You will have to find the right accommodation in just a few hours. Of course, there will not be enough time to find out all the necessary information about the hotel and so on. Nonetheless, everyone likes to have a little adventure in their lives every once in a while so why not do it? Here are some tips that might make your preparations easier.

Packing your suitcase might be a challenge but you will see that it is very simple to take care of this. You should start with the essentials such as toothbrush, comb, medicine and cosmetics. Afterward you will need to think about how the weather is going to be where you are going. Pack variable things in case it might rain. Once you finished with this you might want to pack your camera, cell phone charger and so on.

See what are the best deals online. When you have a little time you can search the Internet and see if there are some plane ticket offers or some accommodation offers. If you simply cannot do all of these on your own you might simply want to call a travel agency and ask him/her to help you. Maybe she/he will have better luck.

When you don’t know exactly where you are going, then you might also want to grab a travel guide with you. Also, print some things out the places that you can visit. They might come in handy if you don’t know exactly what to visit.

Also, before you head out the door, see if you have you IDs, the passport, the travel insurance and so on. Check and double check your home before you leave in order to make sure that everything is OK. Traveling can be a lot of fun if you know how to plan everything.

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Important Travel Health Tips To Keep In Mind

While going to different places, is always a fun experience, traveling can also be tiring and stressful at times, especially when there are cases of lost baggage, delayed flights, or accidents along the way. The nature of traveling can sometimes take a toll on a person’s health, weakening his/her immune system, and making him/her susceptible to different kinds of viruses and illnesses. Because this possible risk, it is important that one should prioritize his/her health and safety while traveling. Keep these travel health tips in mind so you can enjoy your vacation without having to worry about your health.

Be fit and healthy

Before the trip, make yourself fit and healthy by getting regular exercise. Even if your work is up to your eyeball, you do not have any excuses not to exercise simply because working out can be done without having to hit the gym. You can incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Instead of riding the car to work, ride a bike or walk. Instead of using the elevator, climb the stairs. Instead of discussing work plans with your officemate over online chat, walk up to him or her. Instead of hitting the showers the first thing in the morning, do a couple of sit-ups and jogging in place first. Not only that, you should also have a well balanced meal packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Go for foods that are low in fat but high in fiber and nutrients. Be sure to get enough sleep as well. You would not want to be lethargic and sluggish during your trip.

Take it slow

Do not sweat the small things. Stress over planning and preparations can get the better of you that you would not have sufficient energy to enjoy the trip. Get help from other people for things like packing, buying airline tickets, and so on. During the trip, do not cram all the things to see in one day. Make sure you pace yourself the right way so you do not consume all your energy on your first day. Remember, it’s not about the quantity but the quality of the vacation. Try to relax your mind and calm your nerves by engaging in fun and laidback activities. After all, going on a vacation is about relaxation.

Get travel health insurance

Do not leave home without the right international health insurance. Some insurance companies offer services online so you do not have to worry about visiting their offices physically to get visitors insurance. USA, Europe, Asia, and many parts of the world, are covered mostly in these policies. Make sure that you check to see what locations the policy covers and what inclusions are there in the policy so you know you are getting the right one.

Visit the doctor

Before you leave for your trip, go to the doctor for a complete medical checkup. This way, you would know if you are fit enough for the trip. The doctor will also advise if you need to bring any medication for your trip. Moreover, you would also be able to get the necessary immunizations that you need, particularly if you are traveling to remote or exotic destinations.

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Honeymoon Planning Tips

Planning a wedding can be stressful, so you want to make sure that your honeymoon is perfect. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when planning a honeymoon at a resort.

  • Shop around. Check the rates booking with the resort directly, versus booking through a travel agency. Sometimes travel agents have deals worked out with the hotels where you would receive complimentary upgrades or amenities, while paying the same price or less as booking direct with the hotel.
  • Don’t leave anything to chance. Research the property reviews online, or discuss your options with a travel consultant, to make sure there are no unwelcome surprises, such as hotel remolding, that would affect your honeymoon stay.
  • If you can, try to upgrade some part of your trip: consider flying first-class, upgrade your room to a suite, or consider hotels that focus on honeymoon couples which are all-inclusive so. This is a special trip you will want to remember, so try to splurge if you can. All inclusive resorts allow for avoiding money problems upon your return from your honeymoon, particularly if you are on a budget, as everything has been paid for in advance.
  • Research travel requirements for your destination of choice. Passports are needed for all international travel, so allow enough time for your passport to process prior to your trip. And brides, if your passport is issued in your maiden name, make sure that information on your air and hotel reservations matches your passport and any other required travel documentation. Airlines have gotten strict, and even want your middle names on the record if they are on your passport. Don’t risk disappointment – make sure names match.
  • It is not recommended that you fly out on the day of your wedding. Chances are you will arrive late to the resort and be paying for a room to just sleep. You will also be exhausted from the wedding. Try to fly out the next day – not too early if you can avoid it, and plan on arriving to your destination around 2 or 3 p.m. Keep in mind you cannot check into the resort until 4 p.m. anyway, so there is no need to rush and arrive early unless there are no other flights.
  • Be patient! Something may go wrong, such as a flight delay or long lines at airport security…don’t take it out on one another. Make sure each of you has a book, IPod or something to pass the time.
  • Try to pick a destination that has activities that both of you will enjoy, or are willing to try for the first time, such as horse back riding, scuba diving or perhaps swimming with the dolphins. Talk about your expectations in advance. Do you both want to stay in a place that has lots of activities and dining options, or do you prefer a secluded villa somewhere with a private pool where you can order room service and not leave your room?
  • Bring a copy of your marriage certificate if you are receiving gifts or amenities for being a honeymoon couple. Many hotels will want proof you are in fact married in order to give you these added benefits.
  • Don’t forget your camera, charger and plenty of memory to capture some of the special moments on your honeymoon.
  • Remember: once you arrive at your honeymoon destination, enjoy yourselves. Relax, rejuvenate, and make the most of your time together.
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Tips To Ensure Your Travel Plans Are A Success

Taking that well-deserved vacation can be a treat for you and the entire family, but traveling in this modern age isn’t the same as it used to be. Before you decide to book your vacation, find out what you didn’t know about traveling by reading this article. Use the tips and information provided to help you on your journey.

If you are arriving in a new city and don’t yet feel comfortable there, consider asking if your hotel provides an airport pickup service. This will allow you to avoid the pitfalls of baggage porters and taxi lines which trap many first time travelers. It also ensures you don’t get lost in the city and go straight to your hotel.

If you have a smartphone, check for useful travel and language related apps before you leave home. Having the ability to find a well-reviewed hotel or restaurant while in an unfamiliar city can help to make your trip more enjoyable and memorable. There may also be phrasebooks and translation apps that can make communication much easier.

If you are traveling by air, you can go luggage-free. It will save a lot of time and unnecessary travel. You can have your belongings sent to your destination via UPS or FedEx. Although this may cost a bit more money, is it worth it in the long run.

Although the idea of adding more clutter to your inbox may seem less than ideal, most major airlines do offer incentives for people who subscribe to their emails. People who can tolerate a few extra emails per week are often rewarded with first-come, first-served access to special promotions and information on upcoming sales.

Try to be flexible about your travel dates. If you can search for a day before and a day after a particular date, you will likely see that prices can vary. You may save some money by flying out a day earlier or later. These savings could easily add up to well over, a hundred dollars.

Avoid getting bumped when you are using an airplane to travel. First, be sure you get an advanced seat assignment. With seat assignments, you only get bumped if you are late. Next, you can check-in online. You can do this twenty-four hours before your departure and this will help save you a seat. Last, do not be late.

Traveling is something that most of us love to do, and many of us travel to various locations every chance we get. But it can be expensive and dangerous at times. Make sure you’re following this travel advice before you take your next trip. You’ll be thankful that you did.

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Top 5 Vacation Planning Tips

Planning a vacation but haven’t quite worked out the details? Here are five vacation planning tips every new traveler should know.

#1 – Start with the “What”, Not the “Where”

Destinations don’t make or break vacations–activities do. No matter how exotic the location, it won’t feel like much of a vacation if you’re not enjoying yourself.

Think of how you want to spend your vacation and make a list of your “must do” recreational activities. Use the list to narrow down your destination and hotel choices based on your recreational needs. You’re more likely to have a great time if everything you want to do is conveniently located.

#2 – Do Your Homework

Sites like Expedia and Orbitz make it easy to book cheap vacation packages, but these packages don’t necessarily provide you with the best value for your money. There are generally a lot of restrictions on these packages (e.g., travel dates, modifications, cancelations, etc.) and the price is often indicative of the quality of the accommodations.

Take the time to research every aspect of your vacation–not just the price–or you could end up with buyer’s remorse. Ultimately, the best vacation deals are the ones that best meet your needs and expectations in terms of quality, flexibility and price.

#3 – Timing is Everything

Every destination has peak and off-peak seasons. During peak season, there are many more consumers vying for the same services and accommodations. Due to the increased demand, you’ll have to contend with higher prices, larger crowds, and less attentive staff.

During the off-peak season, these service providers are starving for business. You can save a bundle on your package and you’re practically guaranteed better service.

#4 – Plan Ahead

The sooner you start planning your vacation the better. A lot of research goes into planning an amazing vacation, so allow yourself plenty of time.

Also, the further in advance you book your reservations the better the rates and the wider the selection of available flights, rooms/cabins and rental cars. Most reservations systems will accept bookings up to 11 months in advance.

#5 – Use a Free Vacation Planning Service

Believe it or not, some travel agents offer free vacation planning services as a way of adding value for their clients. A good travel agent can save you time, money and effort by:

  • Researching the best destination for your interests, budget and travel dates
  • Finding you the lowest prices for flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals and activities
  • Providing you with helpful information about the places you’ll be traveling
  • Offering flexible installment plans for vacation packages

The best part is, these services are provided at absolutely no additional cost to you.

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How to Make Travel Planning Wardrobe Decisions

Is there anything as stressful as travel planning and wardrobe planning for your travels? You have to worry about airport traffic, security checkpoints, and if adding a string bikini to your already overstuffed luggage will trigger an overweight luggage fee that even loan sharks call excessive. But, there is an upside! Because of a more thorough TSA, you can get your baggage scanned and a gynecological exam at the same time. Here are some travel and packing tips to help you navigate travel planning and wardrobe decision making.

Is your trip for business or pleasure? If your trip is for business, then you have to be extra careful packing because as a woman business trips mean that you cannot repeat outfits during your trip, particularly if it is a conference or anything that there are going to be many pictures. It will require extra careful prep planning for your wardrobe. Celebrities have wardrobe stylists who prepare their outfits for press tours and trips since their photos end up everywhere. If you are a guest speaker at a conference or trade show, you will also need to pay maniacal attention to your wardrobe to ensure that you are chic in every picture snapped.

Your wardrobe for a business trip does require more items and it might even require you to check a bag. However, you do have options. You can ship your clothing ahead of time to make sure it arrives in one piece and on time. That is another task that is performed by wardrobe stylists for photo shoots in exotic locales or if you are dressing other VIPs for exclusive events.

If this trip is for pleasure then wardrobe is a whole differently animal. While you still can’t show up to the first class lounge in six year old Juicy sweats and mismatched flip-flops, you can be more efficient in your wardrobe planning. A travel tip revealed by Kelly Ripa is to wear the same outfit to and from your travel location. It is your travel outfit and it will prevent this outfit from taking up valuable real estate in your suitcase.

There are two schools of thought concerning preparation for emergencies in travel planning and wardrobe. Some fashion experts say don’t bother planning for contingencies as you can purchase anything you missed once you arrive at your destination. The other fashion experts (some of these experts may also answer to a nickname of neurotic) say to always plan for contingencies. This means throwing in an extra pair of underwear and socks into your suitcase and maybe even an additional outfit. This depends on your own personal comfort level with uncertainty and how jam packed your schedule is. If there is no time on your itinerary to run errands then pack for contingencies.

There is one contingency that should always be accounted for when considering travel planning and your wardrobe. Derek Blasberg, author of the book Classy, reiterates this point in his book. Plan for an unexpected dressy event, throw in a dress you can wear to a really swank dinner party. You never know who you are going to meet and you don’t want to say you turned down a dinner invitation to meet some awesome people because you failed in your travel planning and made poor wardrobe decisions and now you missed your chance to have organic split pea soup Gwyneth Paltrow.

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5 Steps to Success

When you are embarking on a travel, the planning is the most important thing you need to do. You have to make sure everything is in order. Even the best things-the best vacation destination, the best hotel, etc.-can be of no avail if you have planned incorrectly.

Here is a travel planning guide you can use. It tells you of a systematic approach to plan your travel, which ensures you have a great time.

Research for the Destination

Where will you be going? This is the first thing you need to decide. The destination should be something that everyone in your party wishes to visit. That makes the vacation more enjoyable. It is great if there’s someone in the party who has visited the destination before, but if not, you need to get as much information as possible. Every popular vacation destination has a tourist website of its own, which is mostly run by the government of the place. Take some time out to research for your options through this website. Get somewhat acquainted with what kind of place it is-conservative or liberal as regards tourists, what kind of food you will get there, the climate, the appropriate dress to wear, the language to speak, etc.

What to Visit

Most people think about the hotel first and then what they would want to visit. This is the wrong way to go about it. First, you must draw up a list of the attractions the place has and then decide which of these you want to visit. Then you must chart out your route, or you could even call it your itinerary. This helps make more focused plans.

The Accommodation

Once you have the places you want to visit listed, you must look for accommodation in the nearby areas. This reduces the hassle and the cost of inner-city traveling. For accommodation, the Internet is your best guide. Every hotel worth its name has a website and you can book from there. Don’t underestimate the power of travel directories either. They will give you good comparative rates of different local hotels from which you can choose the one you like best. You can also read reviews here.

The Travel

You need to make your travel arrangements. Choose the mode you will need to, or like to, take-flight, rail, road, ship, whichever. Then see what dates are available. Getting tickets could be a problem if the place is very popular and it’s the peak season. That’s the reason why you should book travel and accommodation simultaneously, after finding out what options you have with both of them. Also, there are various websites that can give you great packages for travel and accommodation together, with goodies such as sightseeing trips thrown in.

Other Necessaries

Inner city travel is an important thing to book beforehand, or you should at least know what options you have. If the party is big, it makes sense to hire a private vehicle. Otherwise, you must find out about how you can use the local public transport. Also, find out about what sightseeing trips, cruises, adventure packages, etc. the place has. Book anything you want to check out, especially if it is very popular. Try to do your travel planning beforehand which ensures a relaxing time during the entire trip.

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