Preparing to travel

Preparing to travel
The world has changed a lot in the past century. Thanks to the invention of airplanes and high-speed trains, today’s world is wide open to travel. In a day’s time, we can travel to the other side of the world without using our entire life’s savings. We also have a number of options open to us to help us plan our travels, and choosing wisely can help save time and money.1. Travel Agents. Many people have the misconception that using a travel agent entails paying a fee. Nonsense. In actuality, most travel agents receive commissions from the vendors (airlines, hotels, tour agencies); they are the ones paying the fee, not you. A travel agent has access to deals that often are not available anywhere else. He or she can help take the headache out of planning, allowing you to sit back and relax while the logistics are plotted out. Another bonus is that travel agents often include travel insurance in their packages, to ensure that you are getting what you paid for.

2. Internet. With the widespread use of the world wide web, travel prices have gone down considerably. Using travel sites like Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity, buyers can find lower rates than ever before for airfares, hotels, and package deals. The downside? Truly finding the best travel deals often requires a lot of time and patience as you compare rates with other sites and with direct booking. Another downfall is that you can’t always find availability at these lower rates, but it is nice to plan right at home.

3. Guidebooks. Tried and true, travel guidebooks are a traveler’s best friend. Seasoned travel writers research and compile guidebooks based on their own experiences, and who better to give advice than someone who’s been there, done that? Depending on your preferred level of luxury, you are sure to find a guidebook to meet your needs. Best of all, travel guidebooks are often available at your local library-for free!

4. Booking Direct. Sometimes travel companies will offer special deals to customers who book directly. This is especially true with tour and cruise companies who advertise travel deals to repeat customers. You can often find rates as low as half-price (or lower) if you book at the last minute. If you have the flexibility and the determination, this may be the way to go.

In any case, travel opens up our eyes to worlds our forefathers never could have dreamed of visiting. Whether you travel around the globe or just a city away, a little careful planning and an open mind can allow for an experience of a lifetime. Happy travels!
Jeff Lakie is the founder of Travel Information a website providing information on Travel

Travel Agency

How to Pick a Travel Agency
The trip of a lifetime can take a lifetime to plan unless you know how to pick a travel agency.A common misconception is that travel agencies add to the cost of your trip. In truth, finding and using a good travel agency to plan your trip usually saves you time, money, and frustration. So how do you pick a travel agency?

Ask around!

The best way to find a good travel agency is through word of mouth. Ask your family and friends who they’ve used and then ask them about their trip. How did they travel? Where did they stay? Was their trip enjoyable? Getting a few referrals from friends helps you to know in ahead of time what to expect from a particular travel agent and helps you weed out the good from the not-so-good as well.

Are you a member?

Many clubs and organizations offer travel services for their members and many corporations have established relationships with travel agencies that their employees can use. “Members only” travel plans frequently offer the best values.

Compare

Shop a couple of experienced firms. Travel agencies come and go like any other businesses. The ones that stay in business add experience and know-how to each trip they plan. Make your first inquiry with a travel agency a listening experience; judge how well the agent listens to you and how comfortable they make you feel.

A good travel agent will ask you to outline your trip. They’ll ask where you’re going and why, how you’d prefer to travel, how long you plan to stay, and what your travel budget is. Be open and honest with your answers. A good agent will readily put together a sample itinerary that describes availabilities in transportation, accommodations, and estimated costs.

If you feel like you’re getting the “hard sell” or the travel agency tells you there’s only package available, keep shopping. You can always go back if you find that they’re right!

In addition to finding the best rates in lodgings and transportation, an experienced travel agent can also give you some helpful tips about your destination and here’s the bonus— generally it costs nothing to use a travel agency! Because they can buy in volume, travel agencies get discounts on prices for both tickets and lodgings!

For travel made easy, use the services of a travel agency to make your outing a time to remember well!

Romantic Travel

5 Romantic Travel Resolutions
A new year always means a chance for a new start. You and yours can begin this new year by making some travel resolutions together, regardless of your time and budget restraints. Put aside those old travel habits and make some new ones! Let this be the year that your travel plans focus on fun, fantasy, and festivities!

(1) We’re going to plan a real vacation. No, it doesn’t have to be an around the world cruise or first class getaway (but if you can afford it, what are you waiting for?) It does have to be an honest-to-goodness vacation, though. No cell phones, no laptops. Mark the dates on the calendar and keep it just like you’d keep any business appointment. The business of romantic travel, though, is a fun one and an activity that the two of you can plan for months.

(2) We’re going to involve each other in the trip planning. All too often, one partner gets the job for planning a trip…and that task quickly becomes a bore. Plan your trips together! Anticipation is half the fun. Visit a travel agent. Collect brochures. Buy a guidebook. Rent a video about your destination. Search the internet for information.

(3) We’re going to do something we’ve never done. Here you can be as mild — or as wild — as you dare. Go whitewater rafting. Rent a houseboat. Take a hot air balloon ride. Spend the night in a local bed and breakfast. Learn to scuba dive. Dance the whole night away under the stars. The choice is yours.

(4) We’re going to take one mini-vacation every month. Whether it’s for the night or just for the night out, plan one tiny slice of a vacation every single month. The only rule: you must pretend you’re on vacation. Book a night at a local bed and breakfast. Call your local hotel and find out their non-peak nights (in business-oriented cities, it’s usually Friday and Saturday) then plan a short romantic getaway.

(5) We’re going to go to at least one festival. Special events take place at just about every community around the world. Whatever your interests — from square dancing to sandcastle building — you’ll find a festival celebrating with a day or two of fun and food. If you don’t have the time or budget to go far, contact area chamber of commerce or tourism offices within a day’s drive of your home for their calendar of events. If you can, extend your trip into a long weekend. If you’ve got the time and resources, check out some of the major fun festivals: Carnival, Mardi Gras, Rio’s Carnivale. Don’t forget your costume!

 

 

 

Travel accessories

No matter what anyone says you can’t travel without some kind of accessory. Whether it be suitcases, suit bags, brief cases or money pouches you will always carry some kind of travel accessory with you.

The travel accessories say a lot about the life and personality of the person carrying them. Depending on the style and color of their travel accessories, and indeed what particular accessories they are carrying, you can gain insight into what country they are from, whether they are happy, outgoing and energetic or rather old fashioned, whether they are well off financially or have little money to spare and a myriad of other details.
The buying team at Mori Luggage and Gifts recently returned from the Travel Goods Show in Washington, D.C. – the largest exhibition of travel accessories and leather goods in the world. For three days, buyers walked the aisles seeking the hot new trends in luggage, briefcases and travel accessories.

President of Mori Luggage and Gifts, John Mori, said the Travel Goods Show was an excellent opportunity to network with other businesses who also manufacture travel accessories.
“The Travel Goods Show allows us to meet with all of the leading manufacturers in our industry,” he said.
“With the improving economy and travel increasing, we were pleased to discover lots of new, innovative travel products for 2004. Our customers expect us to always have the newest items that make travelling easier.”

Mr Mori said manufacturers of travel accessories such as luggage, briefcases and leather goods were responding to consumer demand for bright colors – especially when it comes to women’s business cases. While black will always be popular, fashion-conscious businesswomen can now pick a different color briefcase for each season. The Lodis Audrey Capri Brief has been tipped as a hot seller for spring and summer. Available in salmon and periwinkle, this beautiful brief is constructed of fine-grade Italian leather and features a streamlined exterior, organizer pockets for cell phone and business cards, and a removable shoulder strap.

The Zuca MobileLockerTM is a super-durable, lightweight rolling case. It was designed by a mom who couldn’t stand to see her 4th grade daughter lugging 50 pounds of books each day and developing back pain so early in life. The main compartment holds books and important gear and can be used for school, picnics, or airline travel. The top is so strong you can use it as a seat and the magneto LED wheels actually light up as it rolls. It’s an excellent travel accessory that is suitable for a wide range of uses.

One of the most interesting developments in luggage and travel accessories is the 22” Transformable Upright from Briggs & Riley. Either use it as a one-piece rolling carry-on or transform it into two separate bags: a deluxe duffle with optional backpack straps and a wheeled carry-on upright. Once the duffle is zipped off, a face panel zips onto the wheeled upright creating a new carry-on. Each bag can hold 2-3 days worth of clothes.

So just what’s new in the travel accessories industry? Ever wondered if the airline pillow covers and blankets are as clean as you’d expect? After all, its one of the most commonly provided travel accessories you’ll come across! According to a new company called pb travel, recent studies have suggested that many are not changed or cleaned often enough. That’s why they have introduced the pb blanket and pb disposable pillow covers. The pb blanket is a warm polar fleece blanket that is machine washable and dries in just 10 minutes.

If you’ve ever flown overseas, you’ve probably heard of deep vein thrombosis and other circulatory problems that can occur during long flights. Compression Socks by Elastic Therapy use a graduated compression system to improve blood flow and relieve leg swelling and discomfort. They are definitely a must-have on your travel accessories list. They are also great for walking or anytime you plan to spend a lot of time on your feet.

Brushing your teeth while travelling or at work just got easier with the Travelon Toothbrush. Actually, it’s a toothbrush and toothpaste all in one making it another one of those fantastic and ingenious travel accessories. Simply twist the handle and refreshing mint toothpaste comes up through the high quality

Ever seen a sophisticated man who carries his stack of dollar bills in a rubber band? We found a way for him to do this in style with the Grand Band from Budd Leather. Each Grand Band features a durable, colorful band with two replacement bands and a stainless steel plate that can be engraved. This is a useful and essential travel accessory for the stylish and professional traveller.

 

Travel Letter

As we drove from Traverse City, Michigan to Tucson, Arizona, I wrote a series of letters, and photocopied them to send to family and friends. This was the first of the three.Travel Letter #1

Saturday, 12/13/03 – Good morning. Welcome to our vacation form letter. We’re in Arizona now. The sun is shining and it will be in the sixties today, which should melt the ice on the windows soon. Ana’s foot doesn’t seem to be broken, as we thought, so we took a long walk in the desert last night. We saw a coyote, probably the same one I chased the other day, and there were javelina tracks everywhere.

The library in Safford has books in Spanish, so Ana is enjoying reading now that her eye-patch is off. The doctor promised that the “divet” left by his golf-club-like blade will heal soon. We learned that eyeballs have many nerve endings, and we think the object in her eye may have been a fiber from a yucca plant.

Our uncontrollable coughs are under control now, and we aren’t among the ten people in Arizona that died from the flu this week. Oh, and the antibiotics from the Safford clinic seem to have helped with Ana’s abcessed tooth.

I should start at the beginning. The first day, after dealing with the usual rudeness of the INS employees in Detroit, we made it to Kansas. We hit a traffic cone there at high speed, and heard a horrible sound coming from under the van. The cone, I discovered, had been dragging along underneath. Nothing was broken, but later the bright light switch stopped working.

Fortunately, we drove during daylight after that. In the Colorado mountains we went from 16 to 20 miles-per-gallon, confusing the sensors and causing the “check engine” light to turn on. We successfully ignored it until it changed it’s mind.

In Farmington, New Mexico, we spent a few days resting and coughing. We were about an hour away from buying a house when we discovered it needed new wiring, had a garden hose attached to the natural gas line, and other problems we missed on our first visit. The old man begged me to buy it, called our motel room to tell me he needed money for open-heart surgery in three days, and called again to lower the price, but we moved on. By the way, the house was to be a winter project, not a new home.

Monument Valley was beautiful, the Christmas parade in Holbrook was cute, and despite various problems and illnesses, we’re having a great time. You see, I didn’t want to make you all jealous, so I left out a lot – the constant sun, the beautiful sculptures in Grand Junction, and the nine times we’ve been in hot springs in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Next week we’re going to Mexico for lunch. Hope all is well in Michigan. Adios,

Steve and Ana

Caribbean Cruises!

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Millions travellers have used Caribbean Cruises save a lot of dollars on Caribbean cruises They typically visit the Western, Eastern or Southern Caribbean, and are available year-round a cruise usually ranges from four to 14 nights in length.

There are Caribbean cruises that include ports in Mexico, Belize, Honduras,Jamaica or Grand Cayman.

There are also cruise destinations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the BritishVirgin Islands or Puerto Rico; and cruises to Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao or Grenada.

A cruise is the best way to experience your fun in the sun and to visit
paradise ports all over the Caribbean!

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When you’re ready to sail, check out the following  Our cruise specialists are ready to help you plan a fantastic vacation.

Cheap Cruise Lines in Europe

Bargain Prices Cruising the  Mediterranean 

Because of the economic situation in most of europe now is a good time to travel. The travel industry in Europe is hurting cruise lines make a portion of their revenue in American and Canadian dollars, most came from the more lucrative euro zones that were until recemtly very profitable

Today it is a vastly different story. A lot of these European Travel companies geared up and expanded their operations they added more capacity to their existing cruise lines and for a while their gamble paid off.

However today the story is very different Cruise ships are running at less than their former capacity in some cases they are offering air credits and at least one cruise line is taking several ships out of the market because the demand from europe has decrease dramatically.

Another fly in the ointment hase been the increase in the cost of flying to Europe. and when you add in extra fees, especially here in North America the airfare has almost tripled in some cases.

Yet for a seven-day cruise the price is low. Why you may ask is the reason for this. On the one hand we have high air fares and on the other low cruise prices.

The answer is simple enough many current  Mediterranean countries are not doing so  well economically, there is very high unemployment in Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal to name a few.

People in these areas are understandably fearful of their economic future and now they will not spend the way the way they used too. So now you have consumers who are holding on to their disposable incomes.
If you are willing to get a great deal I would suggest this mode of travel contact all the major lines and check out some of the great deals they are offering. Many of them are willing to discount air fares for most destinations in the US and Canada.

Some of the latest news out reports on the following Transatlantic sailing specials on the Queen Mary 2, are already available including east-bound sailings from New York to Southampton

Royal Caribbean was the first cruise line to reduce its costs. With over a dozen ships sailing all over Europe, They recently announced only nine of them will return next summer.

Even though there will be a reduction of 25 per cent. Bargains currently exist for the remaining ships. Demand is low and the consumer can now have a better deal for the less money, that is why you should call and check out their prices.

Oceania is another cruise line that is cutting back on its European cruises, choosing to spend more time in Alaska next summerinstead. you will find some great travel bargains, especially in the Mediterranean area for some time to come.

Below you will find links to some of the biggest and best cruise lines offering great European destinations.

Cruise Destinations In Europe

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/home.do?SID=P3036322629

https://www.oceaniacruises.com/promotions.aspx?s=google&d=dest-europe&t=cpc&s_kwcid=TC|14470|%2Bcruise%20%2Bdestinations%20%2Beurope||S|b|16720945510

http://www.cruisecritic.co.uk/ports/

http://www2.ncl.com/cruise-destination/europe/overview

http://www.europecruises.com/cruises/european-destinations.html