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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Modern Strategies of Travelling Today (Part 4)

Lodging.
  • Be aware of the hotel bedspread that might be bug infested. It might be teeming with creepy crawlies. If you have one, remove it at once and place it in a corner of the room. Take note, you don't want to bring the bedbugs home with you, right?
  • Room service is not recommended and is a total rip-off unless you don't have any other options.
  • Valet parking would only be the last resort. A parking lot close by will be 50% cheaper.

Cruises.
  • Don't forget your passport, even if you're traveling by sea visiting Mexico, Canada, caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda. If something happens such as emergency, having one will make things considerably easier.
  • You can save money by booking directly with those running the shore excursions or similar outings. If you book an excursion with an outside operator and don't get back to the ship in time, you're out of luck. When you book through the cruise line, they will wait.
  • Try posting your travel info at cruisecompete.com about the cruise you want to take. Agents will then bid against each other to get your likings. You're not obliged to buy something you don't like.
  • You might want to pack things you want ready such as a book, swim wear, sunblock, etc..inside your carry on, because sometimes your bags won't arrive at your cabin for a few hours after you board.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Modern Strategies of Travelling Today (Part 3)

Packing.
  • Pack as little as possible. Packing light would possibly mean avoiding checking bags. Most airlines charge for check-in bags over 50 pounds or so. If your bag is over the limit and the airline allows two checked bags per person, simply pack in 2 smaller pieces of luggage instead.
  • It's a good idea to roll clothes to create more space and avoid wrinkles (at least much better than folding). Other option is layer your clothes inside plastic dry-cleaning bags which is friction-free which means wrinkle free. Hang them upon arrival.

Flying.
  • If you don;t have bags to check in, it's best to check in for a flight and print your boarding pass 24 hours beforehand.
  • If you are sensitive to noise (or hate it), purchase a noise-canceling headphone which make flying way more pleasant.
  • Whenever you deplane from an international flight, walk fast. Passing 10 people during the trek to immigration check points can spare you at least 5 minutes of waiting in a long line.
  • If your flight is cancelled and you're at the airport, call the airline's 800 number while walking to the airline counter. This way can increase your chances of getting on the next flight.
  • When checking your bags, be sure to have a photo of it and put your itinerary and contact details in case it doesn't arrive with your flight. For easy recognition, mark your bags with colorful straps or stickers. Never put items that are valuable or fragile when checking your bags.
  • If you're a first-time traveler, be aware of airport security guidelines.
  1. All liquids and gels (in 3 -z. containers) should be placed in a quart size ziploc bag. Wear slip on shoes, - easy to slip in and take out at the security line.
  2. Once in the security line, remove the necessary things you need to remove except your boarding pass.
  3. Laptop should be removed from your bag (if you are carrying one) and place it on the bin provided at the security line.
  • Got a big carry-on bag? Never allow the bag to end up behind your seat, or you'll have to wait for the entire plane to be empty before you'll be able to retrieve it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Modern Strategies of Travelling Today (Part 2)

Booking.
  • When booking, some sites automatically add extras that you might not like like travel insurance. So, if you see a checked box on a website, look closely for the fine print.
  • Travel sites use cookies on your PC to let them know you've been there which is how they remember your name. However, these cookies also are used to avoid showing the same price every time you visit. Try deleting your cookies, and they will treat you like a new customer. Delete only ones associated with the booking engine as some cookies serve a useful purpose.
  • The best deals are last minute, and to get them, you need to subscribe to e-newsletters from airlines, hotels and travel sites.
  • Charter flights with packages booked by tour operators sell cheaper flights than regularly scheduled one. Potential downside of this is that charter flights go only once a week, or if you missed your flight or plane conks out, you're stuck!
  • When airline slashes fares, competitors that fly same route tend to follow. So, if a carrier of your choice doesn't have any availability, try the competitors.
  • Confirm all your reservations and cancellations as well. Be sure to get confirmation number, or even better a confirmation email. it's always a safe idea to have your proof in writing handy with you, or else, you're facing an uphill battle if the charge eventually shows up on your credit card bill.
  • Pay all your bookings with a credit card to protect you in the event the airline or tour operator goes out of business.
  • Whenever possible, fly nonstop and depart early in the day before delays can occur. In winter, avoid airports that usually experience weather-related delays.
  • If you're on a cruise or in an adventure such as a safari, travel insurance looks much, much better because tour operators and cruise lines tend to penalize those people who cancel. Consider buying an insurance when you think the odds are decent that you won't be able to take the trip for one reason or another. Just make sure you know before hand exactly what are the coverage and which situations allow you to cancel and what the cancellation frame is.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Modern Strategies of Travelling Today (Part 1)

Trip Planning.
  • If you're planning with a large group, complicated itinerary or going on a cruise, call your travel agent for an advice. You might also want to ask; - has the agent been on the place before?
  • The best price is always out there somewhere. You can try meta-search engines such as Kayak and Sidestep that has good deals for flights, hotels, cruises and car rentals. Also good sites to search are orbitz, travelocity and expedia, although they tack on service fees.
  • Keep track on the exact distances of all your itineraries between your hotel and to the place you're going. Use google earth's cool satellite images to gauge your distance.
  • Keep searching for better prices. Prices for hotels or car rentals fluctuate, so never give up for a better deal.
  • It's also wise to call your hotels directly for certain special rates that are only sold via phone; others are sold online. Take note however, that cancellation policies for this can be strict.
  • Try getting a package. Here are some tips to consider before buying a package:

    1. To know if it's a real deal, see what it costs to book separately.
    2. Never trust the package description by the hotel or star rating; Do a research on the hotel on your own. If you aren't satisfied with the hotel being offered, you can always upgrade.
    3. If you're planning for a group tour or cruise, ask who will be joining you, - how mature they are or aren't, etc...
  • In case of emergency, bring a photocopy of your passport with you. Another thing to do is scan your passport and email it (including your itinerary) to yourself and to someone you trust back home.
  • Book directly to hotels whenever possible. Hotels are nicer to guests who searched for them out than to those who come via a third party booking engine.
Loyalty Programs.
  • The value of a frequent-flier miles can be used for upgrades, free tickets and even magazine subscriptions. Use them ASAP because the value is in decline.
  • Don't assume that miles will be added to your account automatically. Check your balance online and if the miles fail to show up within a week after you've flown, contact the airline reward program.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Travelling The Modern Style

There are many best advices you can get anywhere traveling wise. Too much of advice may lead you to nowhere and ending up loosing all of them out from your mind. So, I guess, brief and concise pieces of advice are the best, don't you think?

Consider these points:
  1. Buy medicines - Get and fill prescriptions for sleeping pills and medicine for traveler's diarrhea.
  2. If you're a member of loyalty programs, you can get better service, fewer hassles, lesser paper works plus great freebies and perks.
  3. Maximize your cell phone by turning it into an address book with contact information for airlines, hotels, car-rental companies, and your car and health insurance companies. Get a local phone number too, just in case you are traveling overseas.
  4. Buy boxes of antibacterial wipes in travel-size packets, then put some in your luggage and some in your car.
Happy trip! :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

ICE! at Gaylord National Resort



November 28-29, 2009 - Gaylord National Resort, Oxon Hill, Maryland

An early Christmas treat and as part of a late birthday treat by my husband, we went to visit Gaylord National Resort, a big hotel located at Oxon Hill, MD.

Our main purpose was to visit the ICE! show, but since it was the weekend, we thought of just spending a night there so we can as well see the lights. A little bit expensive for an overnight, but was worth it with all the spectacular colorful dancing lights and festive holiday decorations surrounding the hotel.


The ICE! show was great. It's like discovering a life-sized winter wonderland made entirely of ice! We got the chance to see life-sized holiday scenes sculpted from two million pounds of ice, including some ice slides that are more than 2 storeys tall!

The temperature inside was like 9F...freezing!...but we were provided with a thick coat to keep us warm while inside.

The ice sculptures were colorful, some looks like yummy candies, and some looks like real crystals.
It was fun!
The rest of the night was all fun as well.




Monday, January 4, 2010

Guide To Last-Minute Planning Trips

If you happened to be stuck with a rush planning for a trip, the following tips might help:
  • Go check hotwire.com's Tripstarter and check the best and least expensive months to visit.
  • Download tripstalker.com or subscribe to farealert.net. This way, you can track prices for a specific flight and alert you to fare movements.
  • If you have various itineraries, try itasoftware.com that combines cities with airlines. Take note: You can't book tickets through the site, so take your search results to a travel agent.
  • When reserving a last-minute ski holiday, be prepared to pa upfront. Most ski resorts consider booking within 90 days to be "close in" which means they require more than a deposit.
  • Going for a cruise? Better book with a travel agent, not online - to access blocked off staterooms, or sit tight for "wave season" between January and April. This season are when cruise lines offer early booking rates off up to 50% off.