Category Archives: Travel

10 Tips From Travel Experts, Flight Attendants, and Other Frequent Fliers

Don’t forget these travel tips as your pack for your next business trip.

For those of us who travel for work, we’ve come to expect that certain things are bound to go wrong from flight delays to long airport security lines and luggage mishaps.

To prepare for this article, I spoke to several expert travelers who clock in at least 25,000 miles or more each year for tips and tricks to make your trip more enjoyable.

On my last flight, I asked my flight attendants who didn’t want to be named if they had any tips.

Let’s just say, they had lots of suggestions for fliers including:

1. Have all your travel items in hand.

Make sure you have all of your items like your headphone and magazines in hand so you aren’t holding up the boarding process.

2. Don’t check your luggage.

Flight attendants also recommend not paying to check a carry-on, but instead to wait until you can check it at the gate. This way, you know your luggage will make it to your final destination.

3. Something will always go wrong.

Flight attendants also said that many people need to prepare for something to go wrong because it almost always does.

4. Give yourself time.

Fliers are more in control than they think, like leaving themselves at least an hour and a half to get to the next gate if you are taking a connecting flight.

5. Goodies for the flight attendants.

“Bring something for the flight attendants–chocolate, a snack, anything small and nice, just to say thank you,” said Lowell M. Aplebaum, Executive Consultant in Silver Spring, Maryland.

6. Don’t miss your connections.

Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency in Reston, VA said, “Many of us road warriors don’t talk to seat-mates. We haul out our laptop, book, work, or noise reduction headphones. I say, “Keep your antenna up for a warm smile.”

“If your instincts tell you this is an intriguing person, ask a simple question like, “Heading home or on business?” Their response (both the content and tone) will let you know if this is a conversation worth continuing.”

“I’ve met astronauts, inventors and fascinating individuals as a result of reaching out when the vibes are right,” she added.

7. App to relax.

The Brainwave app by Banzai for noise reduction, stress relief and better sleep on planes is something Brian Carter, CEO of the Brian Carter Group in Charleston, SC, swears by.

He also recommends, “not to unpack at the hotel, until you’ve checked out everything in the room.”

8. Join the club.

One piece of advice by frequent fliers is to invest the money for the club lounge membership. The bonus is it is also a tax deduction.

“Keep the phone numbers of any “loyalty desks” programmed in your contacts,” Lawrence Leonard, Executive Director of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.

“If seriously delayed or canceled, call the desk immediately, don’t go stand in line,” he said.

Other advice that I heard was to use the same hotel chain to build up loyalty points, Marriott and Hilton and W Hotels seem to be among the favorites.The same goes for picking one airline to accumulate miles and rewards.

Luggage favorites include brands like TravelPro and Tumi and travelers recommend getting bright colored luggage that won’t get lost in the sea of black suitcases.

9. Pre-Check yourself.

Getting Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check was the number one tip to get through security the fastest.

The time to get to the airport seems to be a topic of great debate with some saying they always catch the first flight to avoid delays.

Garrison Wynn of Wynn Solutions in Houston, TX, says, “I travel many more than 30,000 miles per year and catching flights after 3:00 pm makes a huge difference. The airport literally has half the people in it then it does at 9am.

Fewer delays, airport employees in better moods and more willing to help, weather is more likely to clear up and you have a better shot at upgrades,” he said.

‎Carla Balakgie the Chief Executive Officer of the National Automatic Merchandising Association said, “If you are going on an international flight buy what you need at your destination, instead of taking everything with you.”

10. Roll with It.

“Roll everything.” And, she encourages female executives to “bring solid color clothes and pack a few scarves – they are interchangeable and can make your outfit look more polished,” she added.

For international travelers, do the research and understand how to communicate and persuade effectively across different cultures. The Hofstede Model is a tool many entrepreneurs use to keep abreast of cultural expectations.

5 Tech Hacks That Will Save You a Bundle on Airfare

We all love to complain about airlines and their never-ending efforts to find new, clever, and incredibly annoying ways to squeeze every penny out of travelers. But when it comes to soothing your travel rage, revenge is sweeter than anger.

You know they’re using every tool out there to maximize their profits. So, of course, you should arm yourself with every tech hack possible to fight back and potentially save yourself a ton of money. Plus, how great does it feel to get a great deal and beat the airlines at their own game? Happy shopping!

1. Google Flights is your best friend.

As Suzy Strutner points out on The Huffington Post, when it comes to saving money on flights, Google Flights is your best friend. In an enormously helpful article, Strutner lays out all the ways the site can help you get a deal, including its “best bang for your buck feature” that figures out the best deal not only based on price but also on flight duration, and notifications when prices will probably jump via your phone.

2. A niche site for every issue.

Kayak and Google Flights might be the usual go-to choices for the savvy traveler, but there are a ton of other tech tools you should be aware of that can help with a head-spinning variety of particular travel issues.

  • Hopper notifies you of price drops.
  • Got no time but $49? FlightFox will do the work of finding cheap airfare for you.
  • Yapta tracks your flight details and lets you know if the price drops after you purchase. If the decrease is large enough, it can be worth paying the penalty to change your ticket.
  • Budget airlines don’t appear on all comparison sites, but WhichBudget will tell you which ones fly where.
  • Not sure where you want to go? Skyscanner shows you the best deals currently on offer for a particular country or even the whole world.
  • Use Points.com to trade, buy, or redeem points.
  • Airfarewatchdog employs actual humans to handpick a smaller number of truly awesome deals.

3. Clear your cookies.

Clever airlines use every crumb of data they can get to decide how much money they can charge you, including whether you’ve visited travel booking sites previously. Deprive them of that info by clearing the cookies on your browser and you’re likely to see a lower price.

Setting your browser to incognito or private browsing mode before you start searching works too.

4. Fudge your location.

What other information do airlines use to set fares? Your location. Tickets are sometimes cheaper in countries with a lower cost of living, a fact you can use to your advantage, Erica Ho of Map Happy tells Thrillist.

“It’s as simple as using the airline’s regional website (or masking your IP address to make it look like you live there) to buy your ticket in the foreign currency. So, let’s say you wanted to fly from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa. All you’d do is log onto South African Air’s local site (.za, NOT .com) — or use a VPN to get a South African IP address — select the ATL-JNB flight you want, and buy it in Rand — preferably using a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees,” explains the site.

5. Pretend you’re going solo.

According to lifestyle site MyDomaine, “many airlines hike up prices when you’re buying several seats at once.” Therefore, “even if you’re booking for the entire family, be sure to do a separate search for the flights set to one person first.”

What to do when travel dreams turn into a booking nightmare: Roseman

Travel can be stressful when things go wrong. Your dream trip can turn into a nightmare. Here are a few cases where I helped readers receive refunds after their travel bookings didn’t measure up.

Alison Bukhari was planning a two-week vacation to Maui with her husband and three children. She used Expedia to search for hotels.

“We found the perfect location and booked,” she said. “I received emails from Expedia confirming our booking at 475 Front St., Lahaina, right near the beach.

“Then, just days before we were scheduled to check in, the hotel sent me an email with check-in details. The address was 660 Wainee St., much further from the beach.”

In a panic, she called Expedia to report the error. Would she have to pay a cancellation fee? Was it safe to book another hotel?

Expedia assured her that it would work with the hotel to get her a refund, Bukhari said. She booked another hotel and kept checking her credit card account while on vacation, waiting for a refund to show up.

She called Expedia when she returned — five times in the first 10 days — and spent hours trying to get a response. Finally, a supervisor said that she was out of luck.

In a written response, Expedia told me that the hotel in Hawaii had a policy of charging a penalty of 50 per cent of the reservation cost when customers cancelled. A representative had told Bukhari about the penalty, but also suggested she cancel the reservation and book a new hotel in a preferred location.

Expedia said it had tried to advocate on her behalf, but the hotel would not waive the penalty, especially since the customer cancelled five days before the arrival date.

After I got involved, Expedia apologized for the misunderstanding and provided a full refund of $2,918.32 back to Bukhari’s credit card.

In another case I handled, there was a mix-up in booking airline seats. Barb Crowther and Ian Wigle wanted to fly business class to Copenhagen, but an Expedia agent had overlooked their request.

The agent did tell them during the booking process that their tickets were in the economy section. For this reason, Expedia denied a refund when the couple complained about having to buy new tickets.

Expedia later apologized for the confusion. It acknowledged the error and provided a refund of $2,295.98 for the lost residual value of the tickets and exchange fees.

Daniel Cabandie asked for help with Air Canada after he was barred from boarding a flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil, last July. The airline said there was a problem with his credit card.

When he had booked the flight in March 2016, he paid with a credit card that was replaced afterward because it wasn’t working. Shortly before departure, he rescheduled the flight using his new card.

At the airport, he was not allowed to check in for his flight since he was using a credit card that was different from the one used to purchase the original ticket.

“At one point, they requested the other credit card,” he said. “I no longer had it, since the bank had told me to break it and discard it. I missed my flight and was forced to buy a ticket to Brazil with United Airlines.”

Citing fraud prevention, Air Canada said it could not provide service if he could not produce the credit card used for the original booking — despite having confirmed payment at the time he rebooked.

It provided a refund on the flight he missed and a 20-per-cent discount on a future flight.

Cabandie wrote to me and to the Canadian Transportation Agency. Eventually, Air Canada agreed to refund the amount he had paid for the more expensive United ticket purchased at the last minute.

[via thestar]

Top 7 Budget Travel Tools

The days of relying on travel agents and hunting down elusive deals are over. Check out these seven budget travel tools to city-hop and save, just like Andy Steves!

Flight Search Engines

Skyscanner.net, CheapoAir.com, Kayak.com and Google Flights are my go-to websites. I do the same search across all of them to see what comes back to me. I keep my searches as wide open and as flexible as possible, because you never know what sort of options might pop up. Once I find the flight I like, I’ll book directly with that airline rather than going through a middleman service like eDreams.

Hopper

Another flight tool app that lets you set up price alerts, Hopper gives you visual representations of when the right time to buy is.

TripAdvisor & Yelp

Crowdsourcing apps such as TripAdvisor and Yelp give you great tips for sights, restaurants, nightlife venues, and more. Take their advice with a grain of salt because anyone can get on there and say anything they want, regardless of expertise in the subject.

Tripit

My favorite app to keep all my travel arrangements organized in one place and available offline isTripit. I can access flight confirmation information, terminal, departure time, airport info, and more in this handy, free app.

Airbnb & Hostelworld

Airbnb and Hostelworld are easy-to-use accommodation-booking apps and websites. Although their popularity is driving prices up for consumers, they’re still a better deal than most hotels.

Uber & Other Taxi Apps

Skip the headache of worrying if you’re being ripped off by cabbies on longer routes or fraudulent meters. Load up your card to the app so you can leave your cash and wallet in your pocket. Uberworks in most European cities now.

CityMaps2Go

CityMaps2Go is a vast resource of city maps which you can download and access offline, a godsend when trying to navigate a new city without Wi-Fi or data.

27-Year-Old Woman To Become First Female Ever To Visit Every Country On Earth

If someone traveled to 50 countries, we’d be impressed. If they traveled to 100 we’d be super impressed. But if they traveled to every single country in the world, and became the first documented female, youngest American, AND fastest traveler to visit all 196 countries on the planet….well, that would leave us pretty amazed indeed.

But that’s exactly what Cassandra De Pecol is doing. The 27-year-old from Connecticut has already visited 181 countries since July 2015, and with only 15 countries remaining and 40 days to go, she’s well on course to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest person to travel to all Sovereign States (plus an additional 11 countries). Her amazing journey is called Expedition196 and she’s traveling as an Ambassador for Peace on behalf of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism. We might not be able to follow in her footsteps, but we can at least follow her inspirational journey via Instagram. Go Cassandra!

Ever wanted to travel to every country in the world?

Well that’s exactly what Cassandra De Pecol is doing!

Her amazing journey is called Expedition196

She started off in Palau back in July 2015

And she’s already visited 181 countries since then

She’s hoping to become the first documented woman to travel to all 196 countries

Cassandra only has 15 more to visit in the next 40 days

If she does it she’ll break the Guinness World Record for the fastest person to travel to all Sovereign States

She’s traveling as an Ambassador for Peace on behalf of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism

The trip has cost almost $200,000 so far but the costs are covered by sponsors

She also uses her Instagram as a platform for advertising in exchange for free accommodation

She’s only 27 but she’s already seen more than most will see in a lifetime

From meeting lion cubs

And skiing in the mountains of Colorado

To relaxing on the beach in Kiribati

And taking in beautiful sights like this view of Mostar bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Cassandra doesn’t go anywhere without her camera

And her map of course!

The 5 most isolated houses in the world

Every now and then we all dream of living a peaceful and quiet life off the grid. Maybe the thought creeps up on us when work is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, or perhaps it’s just an ongoing internal longing for some real isolation.

On this note, I’ve gathered some of the most secluded houses in the world.

So take a few minutes and venture away from the cramped crowds and tedious traffic by picturing yourself relocating to these dwellings far, far away from civilisation – even if it’s just through the land of your imagination.

House on the Vestmannaeyjar Archipelago – Ellidaey Island, Iceland

Elliðaey is an island in the Vestmann Islands, south of Iceland, on this Island there is one lonely house. The story of this secluded house is fascinating.

“Three hundred years ago, Elliðaey was inhabited by five families. They lived there in huts and survived by fishing and raising cattle on the island’s grassy pasture — and by hunting puffins

Over the next two centuries, sustaining a community on Elliðaey became increasingly impractical and unappealing (to say nothing of inbred). People started to leave; sometime in the 1930s, the last permanent residents of Elliðaey moved away.

The island’s former residents found that Iceland had many places more economical than Elliðaey from which to fish and raise cattle. But, as it turned out, there weren’t too many better places for hunting puffins. So, in the early 1953, the Elliðaey Hunting Association built a lodge on the island for its members to use during their commando puffin missions.

It is this structure, the hunting lodge, that captures the imagination of photographers today. The lodge has no electricity, broadband internet (oh, the horror!) or indoor plumbing. This being Iceland, the lodge does have a sauna. The water for the sauna — and for less important tasks, such as cooking and drinking — comes from a rainwater collection system. The lodge, oddly, is surrounded by a fence, perhaps to keep the puffins from launching a counter attack.”

My Image
My Image

Casa do Penedo (House of Stone) – Guimarães, Fafe Mountains, Portugal

Hidden between the mountains in northern Portugal near the city of Fafe and a large wind field is the “Casa do Penedo”. The house was built starting from four giant rocks that were already on site and it was inspired by the American cartoon “the Flinstone”.

The house was built in 1974 by a local family and was supposed to be their vacation house. However, over the past years the house started to attract attention from tourists, architecture enthusiasts and others fascinated by its complete integration with the surrounding nature.