Trusted Tips from Your Travel Advisor
Being your travel adviser is more than offering you enchanting vacations to the far reaches of the globe. It also involves offering you personal support and helpful advice to enhance all your travel experiences, whether near or far.
The Travel Tips below are chock-full of important information that will help you travel the world safely and efficiently. Our agency simply wants you to have the best experiences possible, wherever you travel.
As always, please feel free to contact us about your future travel plans.
The Benefits of Upgrading on Your Next Cruise
Now featuring such wondrous attractions as surf simulators, waterslides, aqua-theatres, boardwalks, zip-lines and more, cruise ships have become quite amazing places in and of themselves. Many people assume that they will spend all their time onboard going from activity to activity, but the truth is, you will spend a lot of time in your cabin.
Because of this, many travelers are choosing to upgrade their interior cabin for a balcony stateroom, but is it worth it? Speaking as someone who has been on many cruises, we can say with confidence that YES, it is worth it! Here are the reasons why:
The View — The ever-changing view that cruises provide is greatly enhanced when experienced in the ease and comfort of your balcony. Just imagine sitting on your own private balcony, sipping champagne and watching your ship pull into Barcelona or sail next to a glacier!
The Space — While all cabins are extremely comfortable and well-appointed, the main difference is space. With a balcony to call your own, the limitless ocean becomes one of the four walls of your stateroom, making it feel incredibly spacious.
The Cost — Balconies do cost more than an inside cabin. But when you divide that cost by the length of your sailing, the per-day cost to treat yourself is quite low.
The Escape — Even though cruise ships are sizeable, with plenty of room for everyone to enjoy, it’s still valuable to have that one place to escape to and enjoy the cruise in total peace and quiet.
The Option — Another terrific possibility for cruise passengers is upgrading to a cabin with concierge service. Having a concierge’s assistance is invaluable, as he or she will help you secure reservations at onboard restaurants, book the ideal shore excursions, get you priority seating for on-ship events, provide insider information and much more.
Five Things to Know Before Shipping Your Luggage
There are many options when it comes to traveling, a truism travel agents know better than anyone. One such option, to avoid airline baggage fees or to simplify your time at the airport, is to ship your luggage to your destination. Here are five things to consider before employing such a tactic.
1. Shipping your luggage makes the most financial sense when you’re dealing with overweight suitcases and domestic flights. While many airlines now charge for checked bags, the cost is generally less expensive than shipping…unless your luggage is overweight, which airlines charge quite a bit extra to check. Also, shipping overseas is seldom wise, since many air carriers allow you to check one or two free bags on international flights.
2. There are several benefits to shipping your luggage. National shippers like FedEx and UPS have a better success rate than airlines at delivering your bags. Plus, their tracking codes let you know where you valuables are at all times. And shipping saves you time at the airport, since you don’t have to queue up pre-flight to off-load your bags or mull around the baggage carousal after your flight—a true benefit for those travelling with children.
3. There are several disadvantages to shipping too. You have to pack and ship days before you travel, making it difficult to make any last-minute adjustments. Also, you’ll need someone to sign for your package, which is easy if you’re travelling to see family, but not so if you’re flying for business, in which case you might need to request that the shipping company hold your bag until you can pick it up. And finally, it’s wise to purchase insurance when shipping your luggage, which will cost you a few extra bucks.
4. Know your hotel. Call to confirm ahead of time your hotel’s shipping address (which may differ from its street address), whether they accept bags at the front desk and if you will incur a fee for doing so.
5. Sports Equipment – Instead of shipping sports equipment such as skis, it may be cheaper to rent once you arrive. The benefit of renting is that you may end up with better equipment or at least get a chance to try out a different brand or style.
What to Pack for an All-Inclusive Vacation
Our clients book all-inclusive vacations in order to play, relax, eat and drink to their heart’s desire while being surrounding by a wealth of included amenities and activities. Packing for such a vacation can be perplexing, however, since resorts often assert that they have everything you need for the perfect vacation. While that may be true, you should consider the following before packing for you amazing vacation.
Ask your travel agent about your resort. We have personally stayed at many of the resorts we sell, so we know exactly what activities, amenities and services are free. We also know if a specific resort allows you to bring outside food or beverages, such as a special bottle of wine you’ve been saving for your anniversary.
Bring smaller items or specific brands. All-inclusive resorts will supply the basics when it comes to toiletries, so you should bring the smaller accessories or specific brands that you just can’t live without, such as your toothbrush, make-up, grooming supplies, medications and so on. Also, you’re most likely going to be outside a lot, so it’s paramount that you pack sunscreen.
Leave all beach and entertainment items at home. All-inclusive resorts specialize in fun, so all your beach and entertainment needs will be taken care of. Leave your bulky beach towels, snorkeling gear, family games and movies at home.
Don’t forget a wide range of clothes. Most resorts are located on gorgeous beaches, so packing your favorite bathing suits and other warm-weather attire is a no-brainer. However don’t forget to also bring athletic gear for the gym, tennis courts or golf course, as well as light evening wear for on-site clubs and romantic dinners.
Pro tip: bring a travel mug. You will be drinking a lot—from coffee and mimosas in the morning, to margaritas and iced tea on the beach. Insulated travel mugs keep your hot drinks hot and your cold drinks cold as you wander about and enjoy all the resort has to offer.
Travel Etiquette 101: Scandinavia & United Arab Emirates
When traversing the globe, we should never forget that we are guests in the countries we visit. Acting respectfully of the local customs is not just preferred but expected, so you should be prepared and know which actions are acceptable. With that in mind, here are general etiquette introductions to Scandinavia and the United Arab Emirates.
Never Call Someone a “Scandinavian” — While the three countries that comprise Scandinavia—Norway, Sweden and Denmark—share many cultural similarities, they still maintain strong independent national identities. Refer to each country’s people individually (ie. Norwegians, Swedes, Danes) rather than collectively. Also, inhabitants of Finland and Iceland, while sometimes included with their Scandinavian neighbors, are more accurately classified as Nordic.
All Men & Women Are Created Equal — Equality of the sexes plays a strong role in Scandinavian society, in both professional and familial roles, so always treat both sexes the same. That being said, chivalry still has a place, so men should never shy away from opening a door for lady.
No Time for Chit Chat — Scandinavians typically avoid idle conversation. So as much as you’re tempted to ask, “How are you doing?” it’s best to be direct with your conversation while looking them directly in the eyes.
Don’t be Late for Dinner Parties — Scandinavians tend to be extremely punctual, so if you are invited to someone’s home for a meal, show up on time. Also, a small gift is expected, such as sweets for the host’s children or a bottle of wine for the host.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Respect Goes Both Ways — Consisting of seven principalities or sheikdoms, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a rising star in the travel world. Although 80% of the population is Muslim, the country is, in general, very tolerant of all visitors in order to appease the business travelers who frequent Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Travelers, however, should never take this tolerance for granted. Both men and women should show respect for the country’s religious beliefs by dressing moderately and not showing a lot of skin.
Please Drink Responsibly — While most of the Muslim population stays clear of alcohol, it is still available in select restaurants and nightclubs. If you partake, drink responsibly in order to refrain from any “boorish” activities, which might attract the attention of local authorities.
Meet and Greet — Greet everyone in the room with a gentle handshake, direct eye contact, a smile and a polite “Salaam aleikum,” or “Peace be upon you” (the reply to which is “Aleikum assalaam,” or “and on you peace”). As with many Middle Eastern countries, always shake with your right hand, since the left is occasionally used for less sanitary purposes.
Sit Up, Soles Down — When sitting in a group, slouching is considered rude, so sit straight. Also, the soles of your shoes should remain on the ground and never be pointed in someone’s direction.