Monthly Archives: February 2018

International Travel

When selecting luggage for international travel, there are certain factors that will affect your decision. First, you must check the luggage policy of the airline you are flying with. Second, you must research the travel and luggage policies of the governments of your international destinations. Finally, you need to have functionality in your luggage based on the purpose of your trip.

Most airlines have classifications for types of luggage and restrictions on their size and weight. The classifications for luggage are either “carry-on” (baggage you that you bring into the cabin of the airplane and store in the overhead compartments during the flight) or “checked” (baggage stored in the baggage areas on the undercarriage of the plane for the entire duration of the flight).

A good example of carry-on baggage is the Bramble & Brown Contemporary Sussex Holdall. It has dimensions of 12″ x 21″ x 7.5″ with a capacity of 1796 cubic inches. The adjustable and removable shoulder strap makes it perfect as international business traveller luggage. Another example is the Antler Translite II 28 inch Large Expandable Rolling Upright. At 28″ x 19″ x 12″ or 28″ x 19″ x 14″ (expanded) with a weight of 11.2 pounds it is appropriate for either a lady or a gentleman for business or leisure travel.

Examples of typically checked luggage are the Samsonite Aspire GRT Wheeled Garment Bag at 19″ x 23″ x 9.5″ and 3944 cubic inches, or the American Flyer American Elite Quattro with 5928 cubic inches. Airlines have an allowance limit on the size and weight of checked baggage. Going over this limit may result in an additional fee. There is also a maximum limit for personal baggage for carry-on and items over these limits may need to be checked.

There are different luggage and travel policies for different countries all over the world. Be sure to check with your local and destination travel authorities for their policies on luggage for international travel. This is especially important in regards to restricted items. For example, the airport authorities in the UK have a much different policy on liquids in carry on baggage to that of the US. It is common for some countries to allow bladed grooming objects to be checked as cargo, while others do not allow them at all. Researching the luggage travel policies of your destination countries may help prevent incidents that can cause delays on your journey.

Finally, be sure that you understand the specific purpose of your trip. If you are spending the majority of your time in business attire, you may want to select a wheeled garment bag rather than a rolling or handled duffel bag, which is suitable as international business traveller luggage.

Tricks For Preventing Luggage From Getting Lost While Traveling

There is nothing worse after a long day of travel than the sinking realization that checked luggage has been lost. Nothing will completely eliminate the possibility of lost bags but the following seven tips will decrease the odds of luggage getting lost and greatly increase the odds of lost luggage getting returned quickly.

1- Check in early

Baggage handlers may not feel the same sense of urgency as the bag owner for getting late bags on a flight. Having the check-in processes completed and baggage in the pipeline at least 45 minutes before the flight departure time is recommended.

2- Luggage should be accompanied by an itinerary

Airlines officials will sometimes open a bag to try to identify the owner. There should be a clearly visible itinerary inside the bag indicating its final destination.

3- Ship luggage instead of checking

Shipping bags UPS, FedEx or U.S. Postal service may not be as extreme as it first appears. Loss rates are much lower with these services and considering the fees airlines charge for checked bags (especially overweight or oversized), shipping may even save money. Planning ahead is essential. Ship at least five days ahead and make arrangements for storage at the bags final destination.

4- Make luggage stand out in the crowd

Luggage that stands out are more likely to get where they need to be and less likely to be accidentally taken off the carousel by someone who owns a similar looking bag. Marking a bag can be as easy as adding a tassel, decal, unique strap or even a little colorful duct tape.

5- Avoid short layovers

When travelers change planes, so does their luggage, at least in an ideal world. Less time between flights means less time for luggage handlers to sort and reroute baggage. A delayed initial leg will make that transfer even less likely. Layovers of less than hour should be avoided. Changing airlines during a layover increases the problem so stick with one carrier.

6- Double-check the destination

Travelers should take responsibility to double-check that the correct destination tags get placed on their luggage. This includes being familiar with the airport codes used on the tags. It is also imperative that all old tags and stickers be removed before bags are checked.

Five Step Guide To Brilliant Travel

  1. Travel a lot- Unless you actually traveled on that dusty road, chances are you won’t be able to have that zing in your travel writing that will attract your reader’s to carry on reading. A good travel writer must be curious about new places and people and should be completely bitten by the traveling bug! A wanderlust that is difficult to satisfy! So first and foremost, travel a lot and visit new places if you want to make your mark as a travel writer. If you are writing for a site, then write in such a way that you would if you were actually there at the spot!
  2. The second thing is to write – Writing is the best way to improve your craft, be it writing for a blog or travel writing. Keep writing and you will definitely see the improvement in a few weeks. Travel writing is no exception an if you keep on practicing the art, you’ll get better by the day! If nothing else, you’ll at least have an account of your trip, something to read back after a few years.
  3. Research your destination well – This of course is mandatory. If you want to write about a particular place, you better read up all you can about the place, its geography, history and local customs and incorporate as much as you can in your travel writing. A good knowledge of the region or culture will lend authenticity to your write up.
  4. Focus on unusual details – Certain tidbits or local traditions can be an interesting starting point for building up your story on the destination at hand. Always look for some small intere4sting fact or detailing that other people have missed. Something that makes the place truly unique and attracts readers to visit it. Never miss out on the details. God lies in the details, remember! It could be something weird, funny or out rightly disgusting….but anything eye-grabbing will do.
  5. Research your markets – If you are writing to friends or a travel blog, you probably know your audience already. But if you’re writing for magazines, newspapers, or a web site, make sure you’re familiar with the target audience. For example, if the readers are young and adventurous you can emphasize on the adventure activities in the place but, if the target audience are retirees or families focus on family spots or places the old and children can enjoy alike. Therefore it is very important to keep the target audience in mind before you start writing about a particular destination.

How to Have a Great Time Traveling

Many people who find themselves on tighter budgets these days due to the economy probably feel like they can’t take their yearly vacation. Even flying within the United States can end up costing you a lot of money and renting a car to go to your destination might be out of the question as well with the cost of fuel as it is. But, you still can enjoy that vacation with the right planning and traveling by train.

If you’ve never done travel in a train you’ll be happy to discover that traveling by train is a lot more relaxing than if you were flying or driving your own car. You can eat, drink, enjoy the view and sleep during your trip all without hassle and without ever stepping out of the train while traveling to your destination.

Traveling by train can even be more fun if you are including family members as well since you’ll be able to spend stress free time with everyone unlike the cramped confinements of a plane or a car. However; if it is your first time it might be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. Here are a few pointers for you to make your journey as enjoyable as possible.

Since trains tend to get a little nippy in the evenings you should bring your own blankets and pillows because this is one thing that you are not provided when traveling by train. When it is time to get something to eat in the car for dining make sure you get there early and want a particular seat. Also, if it’s crowded you need to prepare yourself for sitting with strangers. If you don’t like that idea, they do allow you to bring your own food. If you like to drink alcoholic drinks, they are OK with that as long as you don’t over do it.

When you first get on the train, make sure that you check the hours of operation of their dining car so you are aware of when they open and when they close. The last thing you want to do is find yourself hungry only to find out that not only did you not bring your own food but the car is closed for the night.

Make sure that you bring a long a lot of different things to keep you busy, especially if you are traveling with kids. Bring books, a laptop if you have one, music, hand held games, travel games, whatever you can think of that you might want to do while you are traveling.

Make sure that when you are up walking around that you don’t leave anything valuable in your seat. Always take your valuables with you or make sure to stow them away when you are not using them so that you don’t end up ruining your vacation by someone stealing something of value from you.

Before booking your trip on the train make sure to contact Amtrak first and ask them if they have any of their own tips on how to enjoy your journey a lot better while traveling on one of their trains. They will be more than happy to send you free information.

Amtrak also offers a planner that you can use and it comes with all the descriptions of what the train offers and all of it’s route information. It will also notate the different services available on the particular train you are planning on traveling on.

If you are hesitant to ride coach, don’t worry, coach on a train is far different than coach on a plane. The seats are bigger, far more comfortable and there is a lot more room between them than on a plane. If you are traveling for quite a ways you might consider reserving one of their sleeper cars. Not only are they private but usually coffee and meals will be included with those who book sleeper cars.

Like with any other trip always make sure to plan a head and do your research on what to expect and what you might be seeing along the route that your train will be traveling. But most of all enjoy the opportunity to relax, get to know new people and especially enjoy the scenery in a different way than you would be able to on a plane or in a car.

Requirements For Foreign Travel

You may think that all international passport requirements are the same but they can be as different as the country you are visiting. It is vital that you investigate the rules and regulations that apply to the entrance into and return from whatever country you will be traveling to. We have listed some popular destinations here that all require an official passport for entry or return with the exception of Mexico. Our border countries as well as a few nearby accept a passport card in lieu of an official passport but only when travel is not by air. All air travel requires an official passport.

When traveling to the United Kingdom, you must be aware of the rules that govern entry or the need for a visa. A five-tier system is used by the United Kingdom to determine a visitors need to obtain a visa. The first tier applies to “highly skilled” workers such as a chemist and does not require a sponsor. All other tiers, however, do require the visitor has a sponsor in the United Kingdom. Tier two affects “skilled” workers such as teachers who have been offered employment by a company based in the United Kingdom. Tier three relates to “low-skilled” workers such as construction or restaurant type employees who have been invited to fill positions with a specific purpose, for a specific project or due to a shortage in a particular field. The fourth tier relates to students and the fifth to temporary workers which would include musicians traveling to the United Kingdom for the purpose of a concert. The sponsorship provided to these last two tiers would be from an educational institution or a business within the United Kingdom.

A trip to Mexico give you the option to present a passport card or official passport but only if you are not traveling by air. All air travel requires a regular official passport. When a child is accompanying you, written parental consent with a notarized signature from both parents must be presented. The companions traveling with the child as well as the destination, travel dates and purpose and airline must also be indicated. If traveling with a parent, proof of parental relationship must be provided in the form of a birth certificate and it must be an original document. If your travel is for more than 72 hours and will be located outside the “border zone” which is an area more than 30 kilometers from the boarder, a tourist card similar to a visa will be issued. The cost for this document is usually included with your air fare.

Travel to France requires a visa if you are planning to stay longer than 90 days. It is also imperative that there are more than three months left prior to the expiration date of your passport.

 

How to Find Best Travel Deals

So you are in the market for cheap airline tickets, but not sure where to start and how to find the best travel deals. The reality is that in order to find the cheapest flight fares and schedules you need to know when and where to look and how to search. Yes, it is that easy, and all you need to know is several tricks. First of all, do you need a domestic or an international travel packing tips?

Domestic Air Travel

These can be US domestic flight or flights within Europe, or within any country or other continent. If you are looking great flight deals, you need to know WHERE to look for low airfares. If you are looking for flights within the US, you may contact local US airlines or travel destinations.

Airlines compete among each other and they can give great flight deals (just know WHEN to look). Travel agencies might also find you great deals. Here is the truth… lately several airlines and several large and well known travel agencies started having some issues and several airline banned those huge agencies from selling their airline tickets. Therefore, small and specialized agencies still do have very good contracts with major airlines of the world. So, my advise is to look who has the best flight deal, not at the size of the agency or the popularity. At the end of the day, it matters how much you pay for the ticket and that you have a confirmed seat.

Most smaller travel agencies have online only booking so they can save YOU money by eliminating staff salaries. Most of the time travel agencies use the same fares as airlines offer (unless negotiated better rates), but usually with 0 commission. Since agencies need to survive, they are forced to add a small service fee on the top of the ticket price. If you do not mind that, call your travel agent or best of all go online and check flights yourself. If you are traveling within Europe, you might want to contact a travel agent or search online travel agents’ websites first. In Europe local travel agencies and agencies outside Europe that specialize in international travel will have low fares because they use very low so called consolidator fares. This is nothing else, but negotiated contracts with airlines to sell special very low priced airline tickets.

International Travel

Whether you live in the US or other country, you travel internationally if you leave your country of residence.

What concerns transatlantic, transpacific or other between countries international travel, your best bet is a travel agency. The consolidators will offer you the best fare deals and will find you the best schedules. Depending on personal preferences, some might prefer talking to a travel agent, while others would want to do their own fare search online at their own pace. There is no right or wrong choice here. As long as you find a flight and a fare that works for you, you succeed. HOW to find a travel agency or a good travel website Always work with the travel agent or travel website that specializes in your travel destination or region. For example, if you need to fly from the US to Europe, search for ‘flights to Europe’ or so. Usually online search will give you best results. Check several websites or call several travel agents and compare the deals.

NOTE, you might know lots of huge agencies like Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. They might seem attractive to you because they are big and well known. But they will not always give you the best flight, hotel or cruise deals. They might be good for US domestic travel, but not always for international travel.

HOW and WHEN to search for best fares

Where you need a flight, hotel or a cruise, you need to know how to find the best fares and when to look for those. Let’s say that you found a travel agent or travel website that specialized in your travel destination.

5 tips on How to Find your Best Travel Deal:

  1. Be Flexible. In order to find lowest price, you might need to be flexible on travel dates, arrival/departure times, airlines, and sometimes destinations. In short, there are different price levels for every flight and the only difference is the price and number of seats an airline assigns to that price level. Therefore, all depends on when you buy a ticket, how popular is the destination, travel season (peak or low), and how full the flight gets.
  2. Book domestic travel tickets as early as you can (this applied to some international travel as well). Most domestic airlines have best fares with 21, 14, and 7 day advance purchase. This means that you may find lower fares when booking (= purchasing) a flight this many days before the flight.
  3. ‘Play’ with the search. This means that you need to be creative when searching for flights. Check flights couple days or weeks (if possible) earlier and later, check various airlines, different connections (an airline might have several hubs or fly with 1 or several connections), search based on price and try searching based on schedule (you’ll see different results).
  4. Check travel package deals. If the purpose of your travel is vacation, instead of booking flights, hotel, and car rental separately, check on travel package rates. Sometimes your total package rate is lower that if you book everything separately.
  5. Use miles or points when possible. Apply for airline/ hotel/ car rental, etc. frequent traveler programs. They are FREE, and you can get lots of benefits. For example, I cannot remember the last time I paid for a hotel room when Hilton Hotel is in my destination. Check out hiltonhhonors.com website. Go to the airline, car rental, or hotel websites and sign up. The only disadvantage of using miles and points is that you need to book your travel early as there is limited number of seats for miles or points on the plane and they go fast.

Travel Packing Tips

Packing for winter vacation trips can be a challenge, as usually winter clothing is very bulky, therefore it can take up a lot of luggage space if you do not know what to pack first. Therefore it is important to understand which are the crucial clothing that must be packed for any winter vacation trip. Here are some good travel packing tips for which important winter clothing to bring:

1.) Winter jacket that comes in layers

There are various types of winter jackets out there, but a good type would be those that come in layers, where there is an outer layer jacket that offers the main protection from the wind and water, and the inner layer jacket that provides the warmth. Reason why layers are good is that they lock in the warmth better, and that they help save luggage space as you can detach the layers as separate jackets so that they are less bulky.

2.) A fleece vest

Fleece vests are very good to lock in warmth around your chest, and they usually are not very bulky. Combine wearing the fleece along with your layered jacket, and you will be nice and warm for the winter.

3.) A wool hat or toque

A wool hat or toque is essential to keeping your head warm. They are usually very fashionable and also very compact as they can be rolled up and kept in your pocket when not in use.

4.) Jeans and long sleeve shirt

A pair of jeans comes very handy in winter as they can help block the wind and keep you warm. Also they are very lasting in case it gets wet by the snow and ice. As for the shirt, usually any long sleeve shirt will be enough to keep yourself warm in most commonly visited winter destinations, since there will be already a fleece and layered jacket being worn as well.

5.) Gloves or mitts

Gloves or mitts are great to keep your hands warm. A simple one made out of wool usually will do, as you can also put your hands in your coat pockets to keep warm. Gloves or mitts are quite compact and can be kept in your coat pockets when not in use.

6.) Long socks

A pair of simple gym socks up that goes up to your calf is more than enough for keeping your feet warm in most commonly travelled winter destinations.

Traveling in winter places can sometimes pose a challenge, especially for those that are from warmer climate areas. Therefore by following the travel packing tips above, you can assure that you will have the most important clothing to bring for traveling to winter destinations.