Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Travels: Miscellaneous Travel Tips

Want to get away but don't have a passport and don't have time to get one? Consider Puerto Rico, Guam, or American Samoa. They do not require a passport to visit.

Have you heard the tale that you can fool your body clock when you're crossing several time zones by staying up all night the night before your flight? Chances are this will just make you more tired when you get to your destination and put more stress on you. Instead, get a good night's sleep the night before your trip and use the flight time for naps. Wake according to the clock where you will land. It's a whole lot easier.

You check into your hotel and plug in your phone...only to realize you forgot to pack your charger. If you made a list, this might not have happened. However, before you run out and buy one...check with the front desk. The number one item left behind in hotels is...the phone charger. They may just have one in their drawer that fits your phone.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Travels: Safety Tips When Traveling

Did you know you could turn those little rubber door stops into a safety device. Instead of using them to prop open the door, use them to keep the door shut. It's an additional lock. Just remember they are there in case you need to leave your room in a hurry.

Concerned about losing your phone while traveling? Change your phone's lock screen to an image displaying your emergency contact info. Put your email address or an alternate phone number. If someone finds it and wants to return it, they will be able to get in touch with you.

If you carry a purse, do you wear it across your body instead of hanging off your shoulder? Across your body makes it harder for thieves to grab it. And, if you're really concerned about someone cutting through your handle or strap, buy one with a secure strap. Some have steel like cables, some are just harder to slice.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Travels: Air Passenger Rights, part 2

Per smartertravel.com here are more:

If your flight is canceled, substantially delayed, or rescheduled you have the right to reroute at no extra cost or to receive a full refund, even on a nonrefundable ticket. Airline policies do differ so be sure to check what is meant by substantial delay or schedule change.

Tarmac delays are also addressed. The DOT mandates that an airline may not keep you on a plane for more than three hours on a domestic flight or four hours on an international flight without allowing you to get off if you wish. These are subject to security and safety considerations. The airline is obligated to provide food and water after two hours delay, provide updates to the passengers every 30 minutes, and assure lavatories are operable. If an airline violates these rules, you do not receive compensation. The DOT fines the airline.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Travels: Air Passenger Rights, part 1

 Recently I read a post on smartertravel.com about passenger rights when you fly. There are some interesting points here. 

In the US and Europe the price you see when booking is the actual price. The EEC and the DOT require airlines to display the full cost of a ticket, including all mandatory airline charges, governmental taxes, and user fees. Travel providers from online travel agencies or airline websites must also clearly display full prices or face penalties.

The DOT mandates certain air travel rights when bumping, requiring airlines to cover them in their contracts. You may be owed compensation when bumped due to overbooking, unless your airline can get you to your destination within one hour of your scheduled arrival. If it's between one and two hours domestic or between one and four hours for international, it owes you 200 percent of the one way fare up to $650. If your airline moves you to another one, they must pay all the fees associated with that. Check with your airline to see exactly what they cover.

to be continued...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Travels: Helpful Hints

Travel socks make excellent cases for your sunglasses, for small souvenirs, as a makeshift screen cleaner, and as slippers.

Have a bug bite? Use that tiny bar of soap from the hotel, wet it a little, and rub it on the bite. Then, take the bar with you to take the itch out of that bite later in the day.

Did your shoes end up with water or salt stains during the day and you need to wear them again at night? Try rubbing a small amount of liquid shampoo on your shoes. Just a small amount rubbed in circles with a clean cloth can do wonders.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Travels: Fees When Traveling

You've probably already encountered parking fees at major downtown hotels in large cities. It's just part of the visit. But, did you know some suburban hotels with large parking lots are now charging to park? They typically don't tell you that on their website. Ask before you book or check all sites like Expedia, etc. before you book. The reviews may tell you what to expect.

If you are traveling to Europe and need a rental car, book from a US based company before you go. Typically the charge will be less than if you rented while in Europe.

What happens when you rent a car, then tell the rental counter your spouse may be driving it as well? Do they add additional charges for the second driver? California prohibits those charges and New York caps the charges at $3 per day. Check with your rental company before you go. If you are a member of their frequent renter program, chances are the fee will be waived.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Travels: Packing Tips and Tricks

If you travel, you've already found great tips and tricks that work for you. Check out these reminders and some new tips.

Save your bubble wrap when you receive a package with fragile contents. Use it to protect your valuables when packing. It works for bringing home souvenirs or protecting your tablet in your carry on.

Save that tissue paper from the department store. Use it to layer between your clothes, roll your clothes with the tissue inside, or ball it up to put in shoes, purses, or hats.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Travels: 2015 Places to See

According to several travel websites, these are some of the destinations you might want to look at for your 2015 travels.

Japan: They are gearing up to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and that means new hotels, visitor centers, and venues. Their new bullet train route debuts in March...a big deal as it cuts travel time in half for the beautiful coastal route. On a somber note, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both cities have educational peace parks and museums.

England: Did you know 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta? This historic document, along with an original copy of the US Bill of Rights will be on display in the British Library.

Toronto, Canada: In July the Pan American Games will take place for two weeks here. Like the Olympics, these happen every four years and include a must-see opening ceremony. Usually, tickets for these events are more affordable...making this the best place to see athletes from around the world compete in everything from diving to gymnastics to figure skating and more.

Milan, Italy: The Expo 2015 Milano will be held in Milan from May 1 through October 21. With more than 247 acres for the event, this year the Expo's theme is "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.  Foods, traditions, sustainability efforts, and technological innovations will all be highlighted.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Travels: Holiday Travel

Traveling at the holidays? Do you have your list ready? If not...take a look at this one and then customize it to meet your needs. 

Important Identification, Papers, and Essentials
Passport/visa                                    Guidebook                                                 Copies of passport
Identification                                    Maps/directions                                          Copies of credit cards
Boarding pass/tickets                     Medical insurance card                                 Itinerary              
Travel insurance card                     Emergency contact                                        Wallet
Credit Cards                                      ATM Cards                                              Cash
List of Medications

Personal Items
Contact lenses                                 Glasses                                                         First Aid Kit
Toothpaste/Toothbrush                Hair Products                                                   Soap                                   
Cosmetics                                         Deodorant                                                   Facial Products
Hand sanitizer                                  Bandages                                                      Tissues
Medications                                      Pain relievers                                                Vitamins

Underwear                                        Scarves                                                         Shoes
Sleepwear                                         Festive Wear                                                 Sweaters
Accessories                                       Casual Wear                                                  Jeans
Hats                                                    Jewelry                                                         Gloves

Electronics chargers                       Voltage adaptor                                             Camera/memory card
Tablet, phone, other devices

Gifts, etc.
Unwrapped gifts, if flying              Gift bags                                                           Gift wrap

Stocking stuffers                           Cookies or Holiday Food

Travels: Gift Ideas

WE are delighted to announce the launch of the WE Magazine for Women Holiday Gift-Giving Guide for 2014!

Looking for a gift for the traveler or the reader in your family? How about a special gift you might not find anywhere else? Check out this amazing guide to gifts! Take a look at this link:


Inside the 2014 Edition you will find articles, and a variety of our favorite gift-giving suggestions. Please take a look at all the exceptional companies who have included their products and services in this gift guide. The following vendors and individuals are represented: 

You can save time, gas and money by doing your holiday shopping with the companies listed in the WE Magazine’s Holiday Gift-Giving Guide. There are gifts for women, men, children and families of all ages.  It is our best buyers guide yet!

That’s not all! We wanted to make this a resource you would keep and use during the 2014 holiday season so we have included interesting articles throughout. 

Some of the topics covered include: The Stuff Alternative, 10 Holiday Diet Tips, Regifting Rules, Best Holiday for One, The Animals Shall Speak, Tips on Holiday Tipping and much more! Content-rich articles to help you get through the holidays with ease, grace and as little stress as possible are a part of WE Magazine’s Holiday Gift-Giving Guide.

The other benefit of shopping via a digital catalog: no trees were harmed in putting it together. Please consider that when deciding if you need to print this issue. 

Happy Traveling...and Shopping

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Travels: Airport Connections

When booking your flights and you have a connecting flight, how much time do you allow between those? 

Obviously, the amount of time you need to leave between flights depends on the airport, the airline, the weather, customs, security, and switching terminals...to name a few. 

Scheduling a safe amount of time saves you hassle and unwanted stress. But, how much time is that? Most sites tell you to leave at least 90 minutes between flights. That's the ideal amount. 

For international flights that connect with domestic flights, you will need to leave enough time to clear customs. And, that can vary widely in airports.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Travels: Simple Tips

When traveling to a foreign country, it seems like I always have some leftover cash. If I know I'm going back to that country, I'll save it. However, if I don't want to remember where I put it for next time...here's an idea.

Before you go on your trip, purchase a Starbucks coffee card. Then, before your return trip home, go to the Starbucks in the airport...there's always at least one. Take your extra change and currency and use it to add to the value of the card. 

No leftover change...extra money on your Starbucks card.

If you don't drink coffee, you can always use it for a gift. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Travels: Plan Ahead Tips

If you use a packing list, you probably won't forget important items. If you don't use a list...at least plan ahead to remember everything you need for your upcoming trip.

Are you traveling to a country where you need an adapter for your electronics? If so, do you know which one you need? It's best to plan this ahead of time to avoid looking for the right adapter at the last minute. No sense buying an expensive one in an airport gift shop.

Do you know the weight restrictions on your luggage...both carry on and checked? Good idea to check before you arrive at the airport.

Do you need any immunizations? If so, do you know how far in advance you should get them?

Have you broken in your new shoes?

Do you need or want a special meal on the plane? If so, have you ordered it?

Did you book your pet or house sitters?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Travels: Stags Leap District

The Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, California turns 25 this year. It was officially recognized as an American Viticulture Area (AVA) in 1989. However, cabernet sauvignon vines weren't planted there until 1961. This area of the Valley is known for its cool breezes, clay and loam soil, and gentle hills. Wines produced here are known for their soft, rich tannins and impressive ageability.

In 1976 the 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellers Cabernet Sauvignon took first place at the Judgement of Paris tasting, which propelled this AVA into fame. Ten years later another Stags Leap District wine, the 1972 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon took first place at the 10 year anniversary of the Paris tasting.

Stags Leap District is the smallest AVA by planted acreage in Napa Valley.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Travels: Language Tips

When traveling, it's always a good idea to be polite. It doesn't matter if you're going wine tasting, visiting a museum in San Francisco, or shopping in Paris. After all, you're in their territory.

Typically in Europe, and especially in Paris it's a good idea to greet the shopkeepers when entering a shop and to thank them when you leave. Why? It's just the polite thing to do. You also get to practice your French or Italian or wherever you are. 

In fact, practicing some simple phrases in the language of the country where you will be visiting is also a good idea. Start now by learning 'hello', 'goodbye', 'please', and 'thank you'. You'll be glad you did.