Monthly Archives: May 2018

Know Before You Book a Travel Holiday Online

Vacation deals are usually available and sold anywhere from a few hours to twelve hours prior to departure of your trip. If you thought that getting a travel deal at the tail end was foolish, you need to think again.

Some things you need to know prior to booking your travel deal at the last minute:

1) The more money you save, the better chance you have of having a nice surplus. When you make reservations for hotels, car rentals, airfare and other related items, make sure to look for the best discounts. That way, you will have more money to spend on other things.

2) Avoid mistakes that cost you money. Spend your money wisely. Get travel insurance in the event of an emergency. Read every part of any document that you have to provide your John Hancock for. Also, read the fine print. That is where you will find the stipulations and any fees. It is your responsibility to read everything before you sign.

3) Confirm all details. In regard to your trip, go over every detail to make sure it is correct. This includes the costs of the trip, additional fees, travel insurance and medical insurance. Again, read the fine print and ask questions if you don’t understand something.

Useful Air Travel Holiday Tips

It is recommended to bring a lot of patience if you are going for a holiday trip. Patience is a must especially if you are flying to your destination. You also have to plan ahead in order to avoid delays and long security checkpoint lines.

These warnings are what you will hear from almost anyone who will know that you will be spending the holidays somewhere else than home. You should not ignore such things since they really can help you out in enjoying your entire vacation, from the planning, to the journey, to reaching to destination, to relaxing there and to your return trip back home.

1. Plan Ahead

The first thing that you should do is to plan ahead. Book your flight as early as you can; booking in a rush is never going to provide you with the cheapest airline tickets.

2. Be Security-ready

There is nothing more frustrating than being at the airport and having to go through your bag for your passport and plane tickets. It is highly recommended to have these documents handy at all time, especially when you are about to go through the security checkpoints. As soon as you are about to fall in line, be sure that your tickets, passport, boarding pass and picture IDs are in your hands.

3. Be ready for Inspection

Take off your jacket or coat and your bag should be ready for inspection. TSA checkpoint protocols necessitate flight passengers to take off outer clothing for X-ray before they can proceed to the metal detectors. In case you are only wearing a blazer with no inner shirt or blouse, you will not be obliged to remove that.

4. Get the Kids Ready for the Journey

If you are taking children with you, it would be best if you can talk to them before you start off, because they need to know how things go at the airport. This is very important especially if they will be flying for the first time. As much as possible, educated them on how to behave properly, especially during security checkpoints so that everything will go smoothly.

5. No Wrapping of Gifts

If you are bringing gifts for families and friends, keep them unwrapped. Wrapped items may have to be opened during security check, so you better just do the wrapping once you get to your destination.

6. Pack Lightly

As much as possible, check in baggage should be avoided and it would be best if you can fit all your essentials into your carry-on bag. That way you eliminate the risk of lost or delayed baggage.

7. Tag your Bag

If you really have to bring a lot of stuff and check in baggage cannot be avoided, you should make sure that your luggage is properly tagged with your address and phone number.

It will be to your best advantage if you can follow the tips mentioned above. It is better to come prepared than get stuck in the airport and have your holiday ruined.

Travelling Holidays For Seniors

If you are a senior in search of a vacation, planning ahead could ensure you of a memorable and fun trip. Various types of vacations can be planned around senior travel, and whether you are looking to relax or plan your holiday full of activity, your convenience and any special attention you might require should be taken into consideration.

Taking a cruise no longer means sailing with young spring breakers looking for a 24-hour party. Certain voyages offer five-star treatment on a smaller scale, making manoeuvring about the ship an easier task, which is what many seniors require. The smaller, more intimate crowd offers a quieter trip, making relaxing conversation and new friendships possible. Most large cruise lines offer Alaskan cruises or South Seas cruises with ports-of-call geared with seniors in mind. You might even want to plan an around-the-world vacation on the world’s largest vessels that offer every amenity a senior could need.

If sailing the seas is not your chosen destination, you might consider a river cruise on some of America’s great rivers. The Mississippi River is popular to small cruise boats and paddlewheelers that offer cruises up to a week long. These senior cruises many times offer some type of on-board lecturers and history and educational cruises to peak the interest of senior travellers while they move lazily down the river. Several historical ports-of-call offer day adventures along the way in order to see the sights of each city.

If travelling by land suits you more, consider a senior tour. Many travel companies offer exceptional travel plans for the senior by offering unique railroad trips, hot air ballooning or private jet or plane tours with specific stops. Whatever your choice, planning details well ahead of your travel dates will ensure a successful trip. Agents and tour companies offer different types of senior tours, because seniors usually have varied preferences when it comes to group size. A large group of seniors will often take coach holidays which usually holds 40 people, with an escort. A great advantage to a senior tour is that sightseeing, lodging, and most of the dining arrangements are typically planned for you in advance.

If you are an active senior adult, you might want to plan a vacation geared around physical activity. While this type of vacation may not fall within the definition of typical senior travel, they are popular with many seniors well into their 70’s and 80’s. These types of tours could include extensive walking, hiking, or cycling. Your accommodations can be more rustic and the tour areas more remote if you choose. Sailing may also be included.

New Solo Travel Holiday Ideas

Looking for an alternative to “Home Alone for the Holidays”, I began checking out river cruises. My prior cruise on the Nile had worked well for me. As a solo traveler, I liked the fact that meals, transportation and sightseeing were taken care of while the small ship offered travel companions but with the privacy of my own cabin.

To narrow it down, I scanned my bucket list and immediately chose an Amazon River cruise. That left India and SE Asia as next on my list but too far roundtrip for Christmas week. I selected Brazil since most of the Amazon rainforest is located there although other options were via Peru and Colombia. (At least five other countries claim at least a piece of the Amazon.)

Although there were no non-stop flights available, Miami and Houston are gateway cities for frequent flights from the US to the capital of the Amazon, Manaus, bypassing both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo. An intriguing option, in my view, was the opportunity to connect through Panama. The flight’s layover of 17 hours gives ample time to check into a Panama City hotel for a good night’s sleep with time left over in the morning for a walking tour.

Having traveled five times to Spanish-speaking Latin America, in researching this trip, I discovered how little I knew about Brazil and specifically about the Amazon.

My first misimpression was of Manaus. I had envisioned the Amazon’s starting point as a quaint village with small planes landing on short runways as I had found in African game reserves. In reality, the metropolitan Manaus area, with its own Belle Epoque opera house, has over 2 million inhabitants, a choice of 5-star hotels and frequent air buses arriving from abroad.

Secondly, I had always thought of the Amazon as home to just one river, famous as second in length only to the Nile. In fact, there are three others in the Brazilian Amazon: the Rio Negro, Rio Solimões and the Río Jauaperi, each with their own characteristics.

A third surprise was that the Amazon Basin, deep in the rain forest, is not uninhabited. It includes villages of up to 15,000 inhabitants. Novo Airão, for example, on the Rio Negro, is an active boat-building center.

The Amazon Basin is a leading ecotourism destination for the rainforest itself and the array of wildlife, including one-third of the world’s birds. Species range from the more welcome sights, butterflies, iguanas, monkeys, manatees, to snakes, the latter not always a crowd-pleaser. Rarer sights are the pink dolphins and the capybara, a 150-pound rodent, which fortunately looks like a giant guinea pig rather than an oversized rat. Leaving behind honking horns, the greatest “noise pollution” appears to be from howler monkeys, hopefully reserved primarily for the daytime. Foliage in the Amazon is supersized looking like a set made for a science fiction film. The kapok tree can grow to 200 feet in height, and water lilies can reach 7 feet in diameter.

Night time exploration does allow for a change of pace and a view of nocturnal animals. However, you wouldn’t want to take a break under a tree without keeping a vigilant eye out for low-hanging squirrel monkeys or other tree-dwelling mammals. A swim is not recommended either unless you want to get up close and personal with a hungry caiman floating through the river looking for prey.

If time permits, Manaus is also well-positioned to connect afterwards with Brazil’s beaches or an island holiday returning via Aruba before facing the bleak winter weather above the Equator. For western bound travelers, history or archeology buffs, a connection via Machu Picchu may hold more allure.

An alternative to competing with large holiday groups for a table for one? The answer: a river cruise through the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest. You will be surrounded by unique species accepting you as guests in their natural habitat.

With a river cruise you have the added benefit that:

1. Planning is taken care of by the tour operator so that you will not have to organize sightseeing, find a hotel, and coordinate local transportation..

2. Pricing is close to all-inclusive, except for airfare, tips and transfers.

3. River cruises provide you with both a ready-made group but also the ability to have private time in your cabin.

4. Safety issues are unlikely on a river cruise, especially since you avoid foraging alone for dinner at night in unfamiliar territory.

If not for the holidays, themselves, the Amazon Basin is also the perfect antidote for winter north of the Equator!