Tips for Traveling With Crutches

If you have a leg injury and are currently using crutches, don’t let that get in the way of your travel plans. Although traveling can be more difficult on crutches, if you plan ahead you can have a more comfortable journey.

Navigating the Airport

  • Transportation Security Administration rules require that all crutches undergo X-ray screening. Screening agents, therefore, must assist all passengers who have mobility issues until they are able to pick up their crutches. If you find you are not getting the assistance you need, or are left standing in an uncomfortable position, inform a TSA agent so he can get you a chair or reunite you with you crutches.

    Airlines are also required to assist travelers who use crutches. When booking your ticket, inform the customer service operator that you use crutches so the airline can issue you a pre-boarding pass. Pre-boarding passes allow passengers to board the plane first and get settled before general boarding begins.

    Consider traveling with a pair of collapsible crutches. Collapsible crutches fold up and can easily fit in your seat pocket, under your seat or in the overhead bins. Before traveling, talk to your doctor about the best kinds of collapsible crutches; they come in both forearm and traditional styles.Ask checkpoint security officers to help you through the screening process.

Carry-on Baggage

  • Carry-on baggage should be limited when you are traveling with crutches. Keeping your arms free is important. Consider carrying a backpack instead. When packing carry-on luggage take only essential items in your backpack. Medications, passport, identification card, tickets and entertainment items all fit nicely in a backpack, allowing you easier mobility.

    To help keep your backpack as light as possible, ask other family members if you can store other essentials in their carry-on luggage. A change of clothes and personal care items are important if you are traveling on a longer flight and will provide you with solace if your checked baggage gets lost.Keep carry-on luggage to a minimum so it’s easier to walk with your crutches.

Hotel Accommodations

  • Before leaving on your vacation check with your hotel to make sure it is equipped to deal with your disability. Ask if the hotel has an elevator and rooms that are handicapped-accessible. If the hotel does not have an elevator, request a room on the first floor.Make sure your hotel room’s bathroom is equipped with safety rails.

Recreation Activities

  • Just because you are on crutches doesn’t mean you have to stay in your hotel room. Many tourist attractions and recreational facilities cater to people with mobility issues. Consider renting a wheelchair. Or call ahead to see if the museum or attraction you are visiting has loaner wheelchairs.For larger visitor attractions consider using a wheelchair.

Travel Tips for the Dominican Republic

Whether you are interested in history, extreme sports, nightlife or just lounging on a sunny beach, the Dominican Republic is the travel destination for you. Enjoy the merengue beat, talk baseball, ride the concho buses, go birdwatching and try to find some of the large American crocodiles that live there. Make sure that you take along some mosquito repellent with DEET, if you plan any excursions into the country, though, because dengue fever is rampant there.

History

  • The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with the nation of Haiti. Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the island is rich with Spanish history and culture blended with the contributions of African former slaves and the original indigenous people of the island. Your plane will land at Santo Domingo, the capital city. While there, be sure to visit the Zona Colonial for a real view of this nation’s Spanish history. One of the city’s oldest streets, the Calle El Conde, is named in honor of th count who led the resistance against the British in the 1600s.

Features

  • If, however, your interest is in natural history, Santo Domingo has options for you as well. The Acuario Nacional, open since 1990, is a large aquarium that overlooks the Caribbean Sea and is home to 250 species of marine animals. Los Tres Ojos are also fascinating. The underground Brujuelas River feeds the lakes that are at the bottom of this series of caves. It is a popular tourist attraction that you should not miss.

Time Frame

  • If you plan to be in the Dominican Republic on Christmas Eve, join with the faithful at midnight mass at the Catedral Primada de America, the earliest church in the hemisphere. Now recognized as a basilica, this cathedral was constructed between 1514 to 1546 using coral to build part of the facade. Christopher Columbus was buried here, but his remains were removed in 1922.

Considerations

  • U.S. citizens need a passport to enter the Dominican Republic. It costs $10 to buy a visa which is also required but can be purchased on arrival. The island is vulnerable to hurricanes between June and October, which corresponds to the time when the average high temperature is 87 degrees F. It is cooler but still reaches average temperatures of 83 degrees F between November and April.

Expert Insight

  • The United States Department of State recommends that visitors to the Dominican Republic do not drink the water. They also advice travelers to be prepared with mosquito repellents containing DEET, to prevent being bitten by insects carrying dengue fever. In the countryside, there is also a risk of contracting malaria which is also carried by mosquitoes. In addition, the State Department warns Americans who travel to the Dominican Republic to be alert against petty theft and street crime in the cities.

Travel Tips on What to Bring to Scotland

Scotland: the land of the Loch Ness, “Lassie Come Home,” and the delightful sheep intestine snack they call “haggis.” Scotland’s tourism is known for both its outdoor adventures as well as historical cities and music festivals. No matter where you explore in Scotland, however, the locals will warn you about the weather. Knowing what to pack and taking some packing precautions will make your trip to Scotland all the more enjoyable.

Bring Layers

  • Pack layers of clothing. Weather is feisty and moody in Scotland, even in the summer. Winters are harsh, and you’ll want to have heavy socks and footwear. Although you might wake up to sun and warmth, a few hours later might have you drenched in rain and shivering. Bring lighter clothes to wear under heavier garments such as jackets and sweaters. Light scarves are handy as well, and easy to pack. Gloves and hats are necessities in winter.

Rain Clothing

  • Bring a raincoat. When the skies open and you’re in the midst of a trek on the moors, you’ll be thankful for this invaluable piece of clothing. Layers of warm clothes will be great for temperature changes, but sweaters and jeans aren’t the most comfortable to wear when wet. Always assume it’s going to rain at some point in Scotland, and plan accordingly.

Appropriate Footwear

  • Bring boots, or sturdy footwear. Rain boots are great for sightseeing in Edinburgh, and hiking boots are excellent for hiking the West Highland Way across the moors. You might want to bring both, or at least one pair, depending on your activities.

Good To Know

  • Always carry your credit and bank cards as well as some change, as public toilets and other services tend to require it, especially in the cities like Glasgow or Edinburgh. A small umbrella may be a good choice to pack. And don’t forget plenty of memory cards for your camera, as you’ll likely become a shutterbug once you take a gander of Scotland’s breathtaking scenery.

Travel Tips for Visiting the Temperate Deciduous Forest

Temperate deciduous forests can be found throughout eastern North America like the Great Smokey Mountains, western Europe, as well as in the Asian countries of Japan, China and Korea. You can also find them in Australia and on the southern tip of South America. If you are going to visit temperate deciduous forest, planning is imperative.

What to Wear

  • When deciding what to wear on your visit, you must pack layers. The temperature changes in the temperate deciduous forest throughout the day and you will need to add or remove clothing accordingly. You will also have to take a rain jacket to protect you from the elements and a good pair of sneakers. The ground will be uneven in places and having a pair of shoes that will both protect your feet and give you a good footing is imperative for your safety.

Weather

  • Weather in a temperate deciduous forest changes frequently. Be prepared for rain during the spring and summer and snow during the fall and winter. Because there are frequent changes in weather you must be prepared for all weather situations in terms of gear. So if you are planning on camping, make sure you bring thick blankets and sleeping bags to keep warm during the night.

When to Go

  • If you have no set date on when you are going to visit the temperate deciduous forest, consider going during the spring, April through June in the northern hemisphere, because you will be less likely to have to deal with temperatures below freezing that occur during the winter months and you will also miss the snow which can hinder your travel arrangements as well as your movement through the forest during your visit.

Native Animals

  • Be aware of animals native to the temperate deciduous forest for safety reasons. When beside waterways, avoid eastern newts which look like red salamanders. Their skin secretions are poisonous. Copperhead snakes are also prevalent and their bite is poisonous. You can identify them by their diamond shaped head. There are also black bears and rattlesnakes in these forests. Remember if you do not threaten or bother them, they will not bother you. However keeping a first aid kit with you in case of emergency is advised.

Travel Packing Tips

Efficient travel packing can make the difference between a good trip and a bad one. Good travel packing reduces the amount of luggage you take, saves you money on checked baggage fees and conserves time wasted waiting for bags at the luggage carousel. Good travel packing also allows you to take more things in less space and get them to your destination undamaged.

Size

  • The best travel advice in the world is “pack light.” The less you take the better. Airlines have strict limits on luggage size and weight. If you measure your luggage height plus width plus length you get its linear inches. Most airlines limit your carry-on bag to 45 linear inches. Checked luggage is increasingly restrictive. Some airlines charge extra to check one bag. Most charge extra to check a second bag. Checked luggage is limited to 62 linear inches and 50 pounds, or it incurs additional charges. Airlines won’t even take bags that weigh more than 70 pounds. A few international flights allow 100 pounds. Limit yourself to a carry-on bag whenever possible. If you must check luggage take just one bag.

Features

  • Buy luggage with the right features. Get a carry-on bag built to maximum airline dimensions. Always buy luggage with wheels. They make long hikes with luggage a breeze. External straps let you attach other items and roll them with your carry-on bag. Also include these features if you are buying a bag for checking.

Identification

  • Identify everything you want to take and try to get rid of half of it. In general, people bring twice as much as they need. Be versatile and choose outfits that mix and match. That way one garment has multiple uses. Layer clothing to prepare for both warm and cold weather. This reduces the number of heavy items like jackets you need to pack. Favor natural fibers like cotton. They are easier to wash and iron during travel. Take only one pair of extra shoes. Black goes with everything. Shoes are very heavy and take up a lot of space. All toiletries should be travel sizes. It is ridiculous to take a huge bottle of something when you will only use a tiny bit. Most hotels provide shampoo, conditioner, lotion, hair dryers and towels. Don’t take what you don’t need.

Function

  • Suitcases function best when you eliminate empty spaces. Before you pack do some preparing. Roll up your socks and underwear and slide them inside your shoes. Also roll up pants, t-shirts and other garments. Packing this way will minimize wrinkling. The only clothing you should not roll up are suits and freshly dry-cleaned items. Place all toiletries in a ziplock bag, then put that in another ziplock bag. Double bagging prevents a leak from damaging everything in your suitcase.

Benefits

  • You will benefit by packing the heaviest items at the bottom of the suitcase. Keep in mind that the bag will be standing up when it is transported. The bottom will be the side with the wheels. Position shoes top to top so they fit together and put them at the bottom of the suitcase. Next lay suits and dry-cleaned clothes sideways inside the bag. Leave the dry-cleaning plastic on them. The bottom half of these items should be inside the bag. Leave the top half hanging out for now. Add your rolled-up jeans, sweaters and bulky items. Fill the spaces with extra rolled-up socks, underwear and other items. Fold the dry cleaning over the top of this middle layer. Close the bag, then stand it up. Open the top again and place your toiletries on top. This puts the least pressure on things that might leak.

Warning

  • Airline security regulations forbid the transportation of sharp objects and liquids in carry-on luggage. Either pack these items in your checked luggage or leave them at home and buy what you need at your destination.

Boutique Hotels in Italy

When you choose a Boutique Hotel ( link http://www.charminly.com/listings/boutique-hotel-en/ )  for your holiday in Italy you will find the warm of a friend’s home. The small size of Boutique hotels  allows the owners to pay attention to every need of their guests. Also a Boutique hotel is often located in little towns or villages so you can enjoy the most hidden corners of the country, away from the common touristic routes.

However, the small size doesn’t mean to disclaim comfort, because a Boutique hotel often offers spa, swimming pools, tennis court, restaurants and other amenities.  The food is always organic and produced locally.

For your trip to Italy we recommend a visit in  Langhe, in Piedmont. This area is the heart of excellent food production, from wine to truffles. Here you can stay at Le Due Matote, a beautiful Boutique Hotel in Bossolasco, in province of Cuneo. The owners restored a 18th century building, maintaining the original features as the typical stone. There are 6 rooms decorated with antique furnishing and spacious bathrooms with full equipment. Le Due Matote is a place designed for relax, as you can see in the swimming pool,  in the beautiful garden, in the spa with sauna and massage room.

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The breakfast is served every morning in the ground floor, the food is organic and come from the farms around the property. Also you can taste home made cakes and freshly baked bread, while in the evening you would enjoy the finest Italian wine. If you like food you can learn how to cook with the lessons provided by the owners.

Other wonderful area to visit is Umbria. While you stay at La Palazzetta del Vescovo, near to Perugia, you can enjoy the stunning nature of the Appennino with many routes available on foot or by bike. You can also visit the cities of Spoleto, Perugia and Orvieto, reach in history and cultural background.

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La Palazzetta del Vescovo, was built in 18th century, as the summer country house of a Bishop. The property was restored in 2000 by the current owners, they did their best to bring back to life this beautiful residence and the result is amazing. This Boutique Hotel ( link http://www.charminly.com/listings/boutique-hotel-en/ ) has 9 rooms, several of them are suitable for a romantic holiday with elegant soft furnishing and antique details mixed with modern architecture. Wi-Fi is available everywhere in the hotel.

In summer you can eat your breakfast outdoor under the porch, while you enjoy the wonderful view of the hills and the valley. Around the property you have a garden with medicinal plants and also a vegetable garden where the owners grow organic vegetables to use in their nice recipes. In the evening you can have dinner and choose from a wide selection of Italian wines, most of them produced locally.

In summer the guests are welcome to lie in the sun or swim in the panoramic pool or have a drink in the terrace that overlook the hills of Umbria.

What to Take on an Australian Backpack Tour

Backpacking is an adventure, and one that you may have been looking forward to for a long time. Backpacking from Adelaide to Melbourne offers you some unique outdoor challenges along with many of its own benefits. Before taking a trip like this, it’s important to know what kinds of equipment you should bring. You’re going to be spending most of your time outdoors, and nature can be unpredictable. If you’ve never taken such a trip before, you may have no idea which items you should bring to ensure you’re safe and prepared.

Of course, the first thing you’re going to need is a backpack. It’s important that this pack is designed for backpacking, however, because if you bring the wrong kind of pack, you may be rather uncomfortable after a few hours. In addition, backpacks that are designed for extended wear will have other features that are important. When you’re shopping for your backpack, be sure to go to a specialty store in person or online to ensure that you get the things that you really need.

Sun Protection

Sun protection is one of the most vital items you should bring with you during Adelaide to Melbourne backpacker tours. The sun tends to be out most of the year in this region and you’ll be spending almost all of your time in direct sunlight. You’ll want lotion or spray to cover your face, scalp, and any exposed skin on your arms and neck. It’s important to reapply as often as the instructions on your sun protection suggest. It may be best to wear long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt as well.  You will also want to get protection for your lips. This is often forgotten and they can become extremely uncomfortable after a couple of days without protection. In the same category, you may also want to bring some form of insect repellent.

Navigation

You may have become used to having GPS navigation on your smartphone, but during this tour, you aren’t likely to have cellular coverage on your phone for most of the time. It’s important to bring a waterproof map of the area along with a compass. It might also be helpful to purchase a dedicated GPS module since the maps will be available on this device without needing a connection to the internet.

Clothing

Most importantly, you’ll want to be sure that the shoes you wear are designed for extended walking on rough terrain. You’re going to be spending many hours on your feet, so you want to be comfortable, but it’s also important that these shoes do not impede your movement. As mentioned above, you’ll also want to bring clothing that protects you from the sun. You’ll need at least a couple of layers of clothing including an undershirt, a thermal shirt, and a lightweight jacket. Depending on the time of year, you may want to bring a heavier jacket instead. You’ll also want a hat, perhaps one that can protect your face from the sun as well. You’ll also want a seasonally appropriate sleeping bag so that you can get a good night’s rest each night of your trip.

 

Travel Trailer Propane Tips

Propane is a generally a non-toxic, non-poisonous gas commonly used in travel trailers to provide fuel for cooking stoves and heaters. However, using propane in bottles or tanks is not without its risks. Therefore, all due safety measures should be taken whenever propane gas is being used in a mobile home.

Leaks and Ventilation

  • Always store the tank in a properly ventilated area. Do not use tanks or stove connections unless they fit tightly and securely. Do not sleep with your head near or over the propane tank valves. Do not use grills or camp stoves fueled by propane indoors; always ensure proper ventilation. The smell of rotten eggs or rotten onions in the air warns of a propane leak. If a leak is suspected, call 911 and ask for the Fire Department. Evacuate the trailer. Do not attempt to search for the leak yourself, and do not turn on the lights or use an open flame in the vicinity. Know the propane tank exhaust point in your travel trailer and clear it of any leaves, branches or other combustible items. If there is a leak, do not touch the stove igniter.

Proper Care and Use of Tanks

  • Tanks should remain upright at all times and not be permitted to roll or get damaged. They should be stowed securely if the travel trailer is moved. All manufacturer’s instructions for camp stoves and any other appliances which might use propane for fuel should be followed carefully. Propane tanks should never be punctured. The valves should never be tampered with, nor connected to a hose not suitable in size. No open flame should be allowed near the tank or valve. Know where the shut off value is at all times in the event of an emergency. Do not try to reconfigure or repair the connections from the tank to the appliance.

Fire and Burn Safety

  • Keep children and pets away from any appliances being run with propane. Keep all flammable or combustible materials well away from any open flames. No flammable materials should be near any exhaust vent for the appliance.

Tank Set Up at a New Site

  • Check that there is no damage to the tank, nor any leaks, before connecting the travel trailer cables to the electricity supply, and before starting to use the propane tank.

Do You Claim Tips on Travel Expense Reports?

Most companies and organizations allow for tips to be included on travel expense reports, and you should claim them using company guidelines. Travel for business often requires using the services of hotel room attendants, waiters, taxi drivers, baggage handlers and others. It is standard business etiquette to provide a reasonable tip for most service workers, with the tips then reimbursed by your company or organization.

Company Policies

  • People traveling on official business for a company or organization should carefully check the travel expense guidelines before leaving for a trip. Some organizations may specify how much can be spent on tips and for what purpose. For example, the University of Georgia allows employees to tip service workers related to meals, transportation and hotels–with one exception. The university will reimburse employees for tipping waiters, taxi drivers and baggage handlers, but will not reimburse tips paid to a hotel housekeeper. Fairleigh Dickinson University allows for room service tips only if the university representative is able to document the charge as necessary to entertain business guests, such as in a meeting room.

Specific Guidelines

  • There are generally accepted standards for how much to tip, but organizations may have their own specific policies. Employees who list tips that exceed company guidelines may have their expense reports rejected or they may be asked to justify the additional tip. A note of explanation should be included by the employee when the expense report is submitted if the tip is unusually large or beyond the published guidelines.

Documenting Tips

  • Tips documented on receipts are ideal for expense reporting purposes. For example, a signed charge slip from a restaurant or cab driver can display the amount you were charged for the service and the gratuity. However, other tips cannot be documented. Organizations expect employees to honestly report cash tips given to baggage handlers, valet parking attendants and others.

When To Tip

  • Generally, you should always tip when the gratuity is eligible for reimbursement. MSNBC recommends tipping even when the service is bad. In situations like that, you should tip less than the standard amount allowed by your organization and then speak to a manager about the qualify of service, according to MSNBC.

Standard Tipping Guidelines

  • Check your company guidelines for any specific regulations on how much to tip. MSNBC says you should generally tip 15 percent of the total at a restaurant, $1 or $2 for each bag handled by a baggage handler, and 10 percent of the fare for a taxi driver.

International Air Travel Packing Tips

Packing for international travel can be a challenge. Each airline has its own regulations for baggage allowance, and airport security can be difficult to negotiate. There is also the uncertainty of going to a new place and dealing with a new and possibly unfamiliar environment. The best way to pack for an international trip is to be aware of airport and airline restrictions for carry-on and check-in luggage, and to be adequately prepared for the unexpected.

Place Valuables in Carry-on Luggage

  • Carry-on luggage can be used to pack a day’s change of clothes as well as essentials and valuables that cannot easily be replaced at the destination. It’s also a good place to put documents, non-liquid medications, smaller electronics and heavy items, such as books, that do not fit into your checked baggage because of weight restrictions. For ease of access, place your essential travel documents — passport, ticket or ticket reference number and customs forms — in an easy-to-reach part of your handbag or carry-on.

Weigh Luggage Carefully Before Getting to Airport

  • Baggage policies for check-in luggage vary by airline, so check with their website before you travel for specifics on maximum weight allowed, number of free baggage allowed per passenger, excess baggage fees and items that need to be handled specially. To avoid unnecessary expenses at the airport, weigh your bags beforehand and distribute weight evenly among them. Also, consider placing some of your heavier items, like books or shoes, in smaller bags (or in your hand luggage).

Pack for Your Destination

  • Although easier said than done, packing for your destination is essential. Do some research about the place you will be going to before you get there. Find out what kind of weather you will encounter, the socially acceptable modes of dressing, and the challenges you might have in getting access to some items that you may need during your stay. Although it may be tempting to carry a lot with you, travel light since you will have to lug all your baggage around — and keep it secure — once you’ve landed overseas.

Secure Your Belongings

  • Make sure your address and telephone number are on the luggage tag as well as inside the luggage to increase your chances of recovering it if it becomes misplaced. Also, to prevent mix-ups at the baggage claim area, make sure you can easily identify your bags by tying a small ribbon around the handles. To secure your belongings inside the luggage and prevent accidental spills on your clothing, secure liquid containers by placing them in plastic bags or by putting plastic over the cap before screwing on the cap. Remember, aerosol cans should not be carried on board as the decompressed nature of the cabin may cause them to explode.

Cuba Travel Tips for Canadians

Traveling to Canada from Cuba can be both easy and rewarding. Here are some tips to assist you in planning your Cuban vacation.

Visa Requirements

  • Canadian citizens need a tourist card to enter Cuba. Package tour operators and most airlines provide you with your tourist card. If not, you may apply for a tourist card through the Cuban consulate in Ottawa. You will need a valid passport, return or onward ticket, and hotel reservations. Tourist cards are valid for 90 days and may be extended for another 90 days once in Cuba.

Getting There

  • There are numerous direct flights from Canada to Cuba on both commercial and charter airlines. Cubana Airlines and Air Canada fly from Montreal and Toronto. Charter airlines fly to Cuba from several cities in Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. Air Transat is one of the largest charter airlines servicing Cuba.

What to Bring

  • Bring film and batteries, as these can be quite expensive in Cuba. Good quality soap, deodorant, hand creams, as well as tampons, can be hard to obtain in Cuba, so bring enough with you to last through the trip. Over the counter medicines such as ibuprofen, as well as prescription drugs, can also be in short supply.

    If you’re traveling during the wet season of May through October, bring a light rain coat and umbrella.

    Some travelers also like to bring gifts to give to locals they meet on the island. Recommended gifts include pencils, pens, and notebooks for children, and gently used clothes or toiletries for adults.

    It is also advisable to use a money belt and carry a photocopy of your passport with you.

Travel Tips at 34 Weeks Pregnant

Traveling can be a nuisance when you’re not pregnant, let alone when you are struggling with carrying your baby at 34 weeks pregnant. While travel is generally discourages past 36 weeks, traveling at 34 weeks is fine if approved by your doctor. However, you may find yourself dealing with discomfort in your travels. With some careful preparation, you can make your trip more comfortable and easier. By packing a few extra items and asking for help when you need it, you can comfortably travel at 34 weeks pregnant.

Comfort

  • One of the things you should be concerned about is your comfort level while traveling. Whether traveling by plane or by car, sitting for a long period of time can cause major discomfort to a woman who is 34 weeks pregnant. Begin by wearing compression stockings to stimulate the blood pressure in your legs. Sitting for too long can cause your legs to swell, which can make them sore and make it hard to walk. Also, choose your seat on an airplane carefully. Choose an aisle seat so that you can get up and use the bathroom as often needed and so you can walk through the cabin if you are uncomfortable. Bring a small, inflatable travel pillow that you can place behind your back, under your legs, belly or any other place that needs extra support.

Snacks

  • When traveling, you may not have the opportunity to eat balanced meals at the times you want them. It is important to pack snacks that are nutritious and packed with energy. Try protein bars, trail mix, dried fruit or string cheese for a quick boost. Take full advantage of rest stops or stopovers to purchase something to eat, and don’t be shy about using the flight attendant button to secure plenty of water to drink on your long flight.

Medical

  • If you are traveling far from home and on your own, use some precaution by making sure that there is sufficient medical support where you are traveling. Let your doctor know your travel plans, and he might be able to refer you to a hospital in the area, so that if you are in need of one, you can get there quickly. Write down the phone number and address of the nearest hospital, and keep in your wallet. Make sure you always have a cell phone or pager with you so that you are able to contact help if you need it. And be sure to notify a fight attendant if you feel that you are in need of medical assistance; they may be able to procure you a wheelchair in an airport and find the nearest help.

Family Vacation Spots Near Chicago

Some of the Midwest’s finest family vacation destinations offer a quick getaway from the Windy City. Less than a tank of gas connects nature-loving families, the thrill seekers and history buffs to inspiring Great Lakes ecosystems, indoor and outdoor amusements and Land of Lincoln heritage venues.

Roller Coaster Heaven

  • It’s just a 45-minute drive north of Chicago to Six Flags Great America theme park, where thrills and chills await families. Six Flags is home to Goliath, the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster, 13 other roller coasters, more than 30 children’s rides and a 20-acre water park with a million-gallon pool, lazy rivers, plunge rides and a kiddie zone. Even the family’s picky eater is satisfied at meal time thanks to the nearly 30 park restaurants serving pizza, vegetarian dishes, American fare and more. National chain hotels sit within walking distance of the park or a short drive. Some offer shuttle service to the park for convenience. Learn about discounts and get park tickets online or at the gate.

Great Lakes Dune Experiences

  • Spanning 15 miles of the Lake Michigan coast about 50 miles east of Chicago, the towering Indiana dunes attract nature-loving families. No car? No problem. Chicago and South Shore Train makes four stops at the park. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, with its towering dune structure, encompasses six beaches for water play and sunning. Families with small children may prefer West Beach, the only park beach offering lifeguards. Explore 11 easy to moderate level trails winding through coastal ecosystems. Stop at the Visitor Center at Porter for maps and family programming information. Dunewood Campground sits a little more than one mile south of the shoreline for lodging beneath the stars. Its 66 sites are without electricity, but the campground offers restrooms, showers, a dump station and a convenience store. Camping runs from the end of April through October. A host of family restaurants and stores for supplies are in surrounding communities accessed off Interstate 94.Beaches provide summer recreation at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Playtime at Lake Geneva

  • Action-oriented families enjoy a treasure house of recreation options at the resort town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Situated 80 miles northwest of Chicago, paintball, canopy zipline tours and laser tag facilities keep teens engaged. Youngsters of all ages enjoy the interactive baby animal petting zoo at Animal Gardens and The Dancing Horse Theatre, a showcase for performing horses. Kids 6 and younger swim and play free at the city’s Riviera Beach and older kids get a discount. A sandy beach, bath house and lifeguards make Riviera a family-friendly experience. Tennis, golf, bowling, boating, and fishing round out summer options, while sledding, sleigh rides and ice skating offer winter recreation. The entire family eats and learns with casual dining at the 1897 vintage Clausing Barn Cafe within Old World Wisconsin museum village in nearby Eagle. For overnights and play, Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark is the ticket, with structured recreation including arts and crafts, movies and other activities.

Capital City Adventures

  • It’s no surprise that in the Land of Lincoln, a historic vacation experience appeals to families. A three-hour drive from Chicago, the Illinois state capital of Springfield celebrates the 16th president who called the city home. Overnighting at the President Abraham Lincoln DoubleTree Hilton hotel places visitors within walking distance of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and Presidential Museum. Other Lincoln sites include the Old State Capitol building where Abe got his start in politics, and the reconstructed New Salem Village where he once lived and worked. For a 1950s retro dining experience, take the family to Cozy Dog Drive-In along Route 66. Try the dog on a stick, and shop for souvenirs commemorating the famed roadway.Spend family time with an Illinois road trip on Route 66.

Cheap Family Spring Break Vacations

Spring break is a good time for a family vacation. Kids are off school and families are ready to shake off the winter doldrums. Satisfying a need to travel but on a budget can be a challenge, and sometimes means taking your family trip off the beaten path.

South Dakota

  • Driving destinations are cost savers for a family vacation. South Dakota offers educational fun for a family on a budget. Hike in the Badlands and take in the striking views of the red and yellow buttes, pinnacles and spires.

    Head west on I94 to see the man-made wonder of Mount Rushmore carved in the mountains of the Black Hills. Drive through Custer Park to see buffalo, and on the winding Needles Highway where tunnels cut through the rock are so narrow you have to honk your horn in warning before entering. Take a trip into the old West by visiting nearby Deadwood and the famous Wall Drug Store in Wall, S.D.

    When choosing accommodations, skip Rapid City and stay in smaller towns closer to Mount Rushmore. Keystone and Hill City offer a variety of smaller hotels and motels with clean rooms at budget prices. Temperatures average 34 to 45 degrees in March and April.

Mexico

  • If sun and warm temperatures is what you seek during spring break, head south of the border to Riviera Maya, Mexico. Snorkel at the world’s second-largest barrier coral reef. Explore nearby Mayan ruins. See jaguars and toucans, or swim with dolphins at two different eco-parks.

    Riviera Maya is about 18 miles south of the Cancun airport. Fly into Cancun and take a taxi or shuttle south. You will find a host of all-inclusive resorts that can accommodate a family budget.

Washington, D.C.

  • Spring break often overlaps cherry blossom time in Washington D.C. See the trees in bloom and the U.S. capitol building along with the White House and surrounding parks.

    Many of the museums and attractions, including the National Zooand its famous giant pandas, have free admission, which can help keep vacation expenses in check. Consider the transportation system to and from Washington D.C. when making plans. Commuter trains reach out to Maryland and Virginia, where you can find hotelsat cheaper prices than those in the capital.

Cheap Family Northeast Vacations

From exploring coastlines and museums to camping and fishing, the northeast region of the U.S. is densely rich with numerous award-winning attractions and natural beauty. Inexpensive activities and accommodations abound in the northeast. From tent sites to cabin rentals, Vermont and Maine have dozens of state and national parks and forests with inexpensive or free camping facilities. In winter months, budget family ski vacations are available, if you plan ahead.

Appalachian Trail

  • The Appalachian Trail snakes through mountains, across vistas and along creeks, rivers and country roads from northern Georgia to central Maine. There are numerous roadside trailheads for accessing various points and short sections along the way, allowing you to hike and camp from a few days to several months. In the Northeastern U.S. sections of the trail in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the hiking difficulty is rated easy to moderate, while further north in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, it is somewhat more difficult. There are camping spots and shelters (lean-tos) along the trail for use free of charge, but are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    Appalachian Trail Conservancy

    799 Washington St.

    Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

    304-535-6331

    appalachiantrail.org

Acadia National Park

  • Acadia National Park, the first national park to be dedicated east of the Mississippi River, lies on the coast of Maine. In addition to spectacular scenery, visitors will find historic roads with stonework bridges crossing rivers and waterfalls, open for hiking and biking. Acadia offers two museums, open during the summer; ranger-led interpretive programs; children’s activities; and boat cruises. Acadia National Park, and two campgrounds for tents and RVs, are open year-round. As of 2010, there is a $20 per night fee for camping. There is a small fee charged to enter the park from May through October.

    Acadia National Park

    Route 233 McFarland Hill

    Bar Harbor, ME 04609

    207-288-3338

    nps.gov/acad

Sugarbush Resort

  • Unlike the larger, higher priced resorts, Sugarbush is an intimate resort with affordable lift tickets. The ski area boasts an average of over 250 inches of snowfall on 111 groomed trails, covering more than 50 miles, that are serviced by 16 lifts. As of 2010, Sugarbush offers a free week’s pass to children under 12 with the purchase of an adult seven-day pass. While Sugarbush Resort has its own full-service inn with restaurants, lodging can be somewhat expensive during the ski season, and especially over the holidays. Budget rooms (and reasonably priced meals) can be found in the surrounding cites and towns–if you book early and avoid peak times.

    Sugarbush Resort

    1840 Sugarbush Access Road

    Warren, VT 05674

    802-583-6300

    sugarbush.com

Family Vacations: Restful for All, Including the Wallet

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/1/23/1422015986915/9397c174-70a8-431e-8599-959668227d7a-2060x1236.jpegWhile draining her bank account into the gas tank of the family wagon, a mother of three hears the Clash on her car radio and ponders the question of the summer family vacation: Should we stay or should we go?

The answer, if she plans well and seeks bargains, is “Yes.”

Staycation Is All I Ever Wanted

A staycation involves resting and playing like it’s vacation without leaving town. Rising gas prices have made that a popular option.

Janin and Marc Spoor, worn out from the stress of work, realized they needed a break. But limited in both time and money, they started a tradition – staying at a nearby luxury resort for an overnighter.

“The best part of a staycation is you are already saving money on travel, so you can splurge on a really nice hotel,” said Janin Spoor, who found a reduced hotel rate. “We stayed at the Four Seasons. You spend on a luxury stay, which comes with its own perks, like yoga classes, indoor pool, kids club, free parking, free meals for kids, etc. It all depends on the hotel.”

She said the only thing missing from taking a “real” vacation was the travel hassle and long hours, but with two young daughters, that was a plus.

“We had a great time. We didn’t have to spend a long time in the car, so we weren’t tired when we got to the hotel. We headed straight to the indoor pool and started having fun right away,” Spoor said.

Once they were done splashing in the pool they took in the sights around the hotel. Although it was close to home, they had not explored the area before.

“It really felt like we were somewhere else,” she said, but with a new baby, being 20 minutes from home was a distinct advantage.

As it turned out, the hotel was more than prepared.

“It was great. The hotel brought up a crib, baby shampoo, diapers, wipes and a diaper pail,” Spoor said.

If a night at a luxury hotel is out of the budget, family moments can also be created in the back yard.

“My kids love to pitch a tent and sleep out there. It is a full-family project. We put up tiki torches and barbecue. We play Monopoly and then the kids tell spooky stories,” said Iris Duran, mother of three and an instructional technician at AdvancePath Academy. “We love it.”

It seems that parents often equate the cost of a vacation with the entertainment and educational value. But, as the Spoors and Durans have found, the kids just want to have fun.

“Since you won’t be spending money on airfare and hotel, splurge on fun,” said Jamie Pearson, publisher of the family travel website Travel Savvy Mom. “Rent an inflatable water slide, go to the theater or buy really good seats to a Major League Baseball game.”

Pay Attention, Not Dollars

Listening to what family members really want out of their vacations can yield better — and less expensive — results.

“One of our readers told us she felt like they needed to take their family on a cruise,” said Nancy Schretter, managing editor for the Family Travel Network. “When they sat down and talked as a family, they found out what the girls really wanted was going to the beach, collecting shells, seeing wildlife and having fun together. They ended up driving to nearby Chincoteague [Virginia] where they could stay at an inexpensive motel, collect shells on the beaches and see the wild ponies there. The kids loved it and it was one of their most memorable family vacations.”

If you plan to venture away from home this summer, a little research can help you stretch your budget.

“It’s no secret hotels offering kitchenettes or free breakfasts are great for families and can help save a bundle,” said Beth Blair, co-founder of the family travel website TheVacationGals.com. “They are like a travel goldmine for families.”

A destination’s convention and visitor’s bureau is also a good resource for bargains while a vacation rental home is another avenue to savings.

“Our family stayed in a three-bedroom rental home in a popular vacation area for $100 per night,” Schretter said. “The average resort rental rate in the area was $275 per night for one room.”

Money Can’t Buy Me Fun

Planning the family vacation is largely about extending the dollar, so look for promotional deals. Duran scours everything from soda cans to the Internet for interesting getaways.

“Sometimes the best family vacations are the least expensive,” said Duran, adding she’d rather relax than worry about money. “We go to free museums and pack picnic lunches, go rock hunting on mountain trails, go to the beach or go camping by the river.”

The Durans also look to save money on out-of-town trips by staying with family who live in interesting cities or have a swimming pool.

“Just staying somewhere different and getting to go swimming is fun for our kids,” Duran said.

Whether your family vacation involves the ocean, a luxury hotel or a blow-up pool in the back yard, the best way to keep your children smiling and your wallet fat is to plan ahead and be flexible.

In town or out, you will still make fun memories with your family this summer.

Great Family Vacations on a Budget

When time comes to hit the road on a vacation with your family, consider some cost-effective options. Instead of emptying your wallet on one budget-busting vacation a year, plan several smaller and more budget-friendly getaways. Many of the less costly vacation options prove just as enticing to children and selecting one may mean that you and your family can afford to spend more down-time together throughout the year.

Camping Trips

  • Instead of spending your family vacation in a pricey, and often not particularly kid-friendly, hotel, explore the great outdoors. Camping trips are a highly economical vacation option, as you don’t have to pay a premium for lodging, and you can cook most of your meals on an open flame instead of buying them from an expensive restaurant. As you plan your next family vacation, explore the parks in your immediate area, looking for one that offers camping sites. Reserve one of these sites, outfit your family with some tents, pack up some cookware and food, and test your outdoor skills.

All-Inclusive Options

  • Don’t allow yourself to get nickeled and dimed your entire vacation. Instead, select an all-inclusive option. Many resorts or cruise ships offer all-inclusive vacations. On an all-inclusive getaway, all of your needs, from accommodations to food costs and sometimes even activities, are rolled into the cost of your trip package. By selecting an all-inclusive getaway, you can know upfront exactly how much the trip is going to cost you, and budget accordingly.

Week-Long Rental

  • While some families feel that they can’t afford much more than a weekend getaway, week-long rentals often prove more affordable than you would think. Often, if you rent a cabin or condo for a week you receive a discounted rate on the lodging. Also, many of the places available for week-long rental have in-house cooking facilities, allowing you to craft your own family meals instead of buying food out. Select a week-long rental in an area that offers an assortment of cheap or free activities, such as the beach where children can frolic in the surf or a remote wilderness area where the family can explore the woods.

Tours of History

  • Hitting the historical sites on your vacation is an easy, and low-cost, way to get your kids interested in history. To plan your history-themed trip, gather information on historical sites in your area or in neighboring states. Create a plan for hitting these major historical landmarks.

How to Plan a Disney Vacation for a Large Family

Disney theme parks are a vacation children dream of and parents want to give. There are many locations to choose from and you can personalize the trip to suit your needs and your budget. Disney package deals can be found and for less than you might think. Here are some tips on how to plan a Disney vacation for a large family, so you can enjoy as much of Disney as possible without sending you to the poor house. Disney is a wonderful place to take your family on vacation. Plan ahead and search around for the best deals.

Instructions

  1. Ask yourself if you want a relaxing getaway or do you want the excitement and thrills. It is quite possible you may want some of both.
  2. Decide who and how many are going with you. If you and your significant other are going, your itinerary will be vastly different from that of parents with a preschooler.
  3. Decide if you will use a travel agent or booking service. Many travel agents are able to secure lower airfares, hotel rates and attraction tickets at a reduced price from what the general public might play. You certainly can book all the arrangements yourself, but you may be missing out on some great packages or vacation deals.
  4. Plan your traveling arrangements. A large family will be costly, if you decide to fly. Of course, the rise in gas prices can be hard on a large family as well. Decide which means of travel is best suited for your family.
  5. Be aware that if you book a flight over 21 days in advance, you will get a substantially lower rate than if you book the week before you leave. To save some extra cash, try to find a flight that leaves on Tuesday or Wednesday. These are often the cheaper days to fly. If your children are older, you might also consider a red eye flight. Many times these flights can save you another 30 percent off a regular daytime airline ticket.
  6. Try to find a hotel located on a Disney property. There are some very substantial benefits to staying there. You will be provided transportation. The park has transportation to and from the hotels. Disney also has the Magic Express, which will take your bags from the airport to your room. It might, however, take up to four hours for you to receive them. A great bonus to a Disney property is how you can have your souvenirs delivered to your hotel room. This is a great way to keep from carrying toys and such from your children all over the park.
  7. Consider purchasing the Park Hopper Pass. You can enter all the parks, and some of the water ones, too. You can go from park to park at your leisure. If you buy the complete Disney pass, you will find your park passes, room keys, and credit card can be in one Disney card. It is a great way to keep from losing something.
  8. Check out additional special offers. Disney has many special offers. Extra Magic Hours allow a Disney hotel guest to enter the park after it is closed. This is great fun because you may not experience any lines for the rides. Dining plans are also available and usually will pay for themselves after the first meal.

How to Enjoy a Family Vacation With a Teen

For many teens, the thought of a family vacation — spending 24/7 with lame parents and annoying siblings — is akin to torture. Others like the idea of a vacation, but worry you’ll pick boring places and activities. If you’ve decided that your family is going on vacation no matter how resistant your teen is, it’s important that you consider his needs and wants so he won’t sulk the entire time. Getting your teenager’s input on where to go, ensuring there are plenty of teen-friendly activities and being flexible with family time just may turn his reluctance into excitement for the vacation.

Instructions

  1. Research vacation options that offer plenty of teen-friendly options. Your teenager may act less resistant to the family vacation if she knows there are activities that will appeal or even cater specifically to her interests. Large family resort destinations often offer attractions and activities specifically for teens. For example, many of the Club Med Resorts, located all over the world, have a teen club space where teens can hang out on their own, dance or engage in games and other activities. Most major cruise lines also offer state-of-the-art areas for teens only that include a party or nightclub space, video game lounges, private sun decks and teen-friendly sport activities, such as wave simulators and rock climbing walls.
  2. Ask your teen for input on where to go. Taking your teen’s desires into consideration can make all the difference in his attitude toward the family vacation. You don’t have to do exactly what he wants, but if he really hates the cold and loves the beach, announcing a ski vacation isn’t likely to earn you any cool points. Once you have agreed upon a destination, encourage your teen to do some research on activities and restaurants in the area that might appeal to him so you can make time for it.
  3. Negotiate family time with your teen. Family time likely is not as important to your teen as it is to you, so compromise is the name of the game. Offer incentives for your teen to suck it up and at least try to have fun with her siblings. If your teen is willing to take the younger kids to the kiddie pool for a couple of hours, tell her she can stay up late at the resort’s teen club until it closes. If she agrees to go with the family on the “boring” sky tram cable car up a mountain, offer to go ziplining with her afterwards. Don’t be surprised if your teen actually starts to have fun engaging in family activities, however — even if she won’t admit it.
  4. Allow a friend to come along, if possible. Yes, it’s a family vacation, but if your teen is an only child, or your other kids are much younger, it can be tough for him to have fun without someone close to his age with similar interests. Have your teen choose a close friend whose parents you have a relationship with, and ask them well in advance so you can address logistics and any concerns they may have. You also want to factor the friend into the decision on where to vacation, as the additional person will add significantly to your budget. It may be best to invite friends along only for budget-friendly trips that are just a few hours away, unless the friend’s parents are willing to pay for their teen’s expenses.

Cheap Family Vacation Ideas

http://www.minnesota-visitor.com/images/cheapfamilyvacationpackages.jpgIf you’re planning a trip for you and your family, chances are you’re working with a budget. If you haven’t been saving up and putting money aside for this trip, you’ll likely want to plan an affordable vacation that will remain memorable, as well. Take into consideration how far you’re willing to travel for your trip and what the weather will be like.

Road Trip

  • Take your family on a road trip. You don’t need to stay in a fancy hotel or worry about hotel amenities. In fact, your family won’t be thinking about the hotel at all. Plan a few key destinations–landmarks, famous natural wonders, or quirky sites (like the world’s biggest rubber band ball)—to keep your family engaged.

Rent a Cabin

  • Find an affordable cabin to rent for your family. You won’t have to worry about things to do—being so close to the outdoors will be enough. On your vacation you and your family can visit local parks, rent bikes or use your own to enjoy off-road trails, and enjoy barbecue for dinner and nights by the fireplace with s’mores. This trip will be an opportunity for you all to take a break from technology, television and connect with nature and the outdoors.

Dominican Republic

  • Known for being one of the cheapest Caribbean locations to travel to, the Dominican Republic has beautiful beaches and has plenty of all inclusive resorts to choose from. Look for some cheap vacation packages for your family to an all inclusive resort. Most resorts include amenities like windsurfing or sailing lessons, organized nightly events and open bars for the adults. Check in with the concierge desk when you arrive and ask about tours around the island—resorts will usually provide discounts on local tours and shuttles.

Theme Park

  • Take your family on a theme park vacation. If you decide to visit Disney, resist the temptation to stay in one of the extravagant resorts. There are many hotels located a few miles from the theme parks that will save you a ton of money. These hotels usually provide scheduled shuttles to and from the parks, as well. If Disney isn’t your style, plan a two day trip to a water park or roller coaster park. Some options include a Six Flags location, Dorney Park, and Busch Gardens. By splitting your park visit into two days, you won’t have to rush and you can enjoy the parks stress free.

How to Budget for a Family Vacation With Low Income

http://wdy.h-cdn.co/assets/cm/15/09/54eb331b99951_-_can-you-afford-to-go-on-vacation-mdn.jpgWhile the money may be tight or traveling expenses can be high, it is possible to take vacations on a low budget. By traveling off season, staying at low cost hotels with continental breakfasts, or visiting national parks where you can take trails, your family can still spend quality and enjoyable time together. If the family works together by saving change, doing odd jobs and cutting back, a vacation can be planned in your family’s future.

Instructions

  1. Study your family’s income and budget. Find areas where you can cut back on such as extra clothing purchases, dining out, or haircuts.
  2. Save each dime, penny, nickel, or quarters that you get. Purchase or find a big glass jar where all of the family’s change can go. Drop all of your change into the jar each time you have it. Every penny will add up.
  3. Have your children chip in by doing chores or other small jobs around the neighborhood such as mowing lawns, raking leaves, shoveling snow, walking dogs, and babysitting. If the children can help, they will feel like they are part of the project as well.
  4. Clip all the coupons and shop at all of the sales that you can find. Try coupon matching at your local retail store that offers it too. Try to save money on all grocery purchases. Create a weekly dinner menu and purchase only the items needed to prepare meals without buying a bunch of extra food and snacks.
  5. Look through vacation booklets and brochures. Study the places that you and your family would like to go. Plan for low cost hotel stays, eating out, and family activites and try visiting areas that have national parks where it is low costing or free to attend. Stay at hotels that offer continental breakfasts. Plan your family’s vacation onto paper and determine the exact costs of everything so your family will know how much is needed to be saved.

How to Take a Family Vacation With Adult Children

Family vacations tend to conjure up images of a mom, dad and younger children enjoying each other’s company in a faraway city, campground or beach: However, adult children can still vacation with Mom and Dad. Being together — away from normal daily routines — can give a family the opportunity to relax and get to know each other on a deeper level, even after the children become adults. Take a family vacation with your adult children to recapture the closeness you felt when they were younger, or to start a new tradition and enjoy the adults they’ve become. Vacationing together is a possibility, no matter how far you live from each of your children.

Instructions

  1. Discuss vacation options as a group, with all parties involved. Have a webcam conference or a conference phone call, so everyone can have a say in the destination — if you can’t meet in person. Vote on the vacation and go where everyone — or the majority — want to go. The family can rent a large cabin in the mountains, take a cruise, stay at a bed-and-breakfast along the coast or stop by the nation’s capital for an educational visit.
  2. Plan a location or destination that offers activities for young children, if grandchildren are involved. Multi-generational vacations provide an opportunity for the entire family to bond, especially if you don’t live near one another.
  3. Lay out who is paying for what. Some adult children may expect Mom and Dad to foot the bill, which could create a family feud instead of a bonding, relaxing vacation.
  4. Make specific travel plans, such as who will rent the car and drive, or if the family will meet at a central airport — or the final destination. For example, the entire family could fly into a central airport, then catch the same connecting flight to the final destination, so you all arrive together.
  5. Leave some free time in the vacation schedule to allow the parents and adult children to participate in activities they enjoy, but the others might not. Having together- and separate-time planned out, allows everyone to fully enjoy their vacation; as well as time with the family.

How to Travel on the Bus from DC to New York

Perpetual fare wars make taking the bus from Washington, D.C., to New York City an economical choice. If you’re flexible, you might find a fare for as low as $1 one-way. Buses, departing from the city’s Union Station, Chinatown, Dupont Circle and the D.C. suburbs leave Washington at all times of the day and night.

Leave the Driving to Us

  • Greyhound’s first bus to New York departs very early in the morning — the last leaves close to midnight. The majority of the routes are express buses, and the trip takes from four to five hours. Keep in mind that express doesn’t mean non-stop. Check the schedule for your particular bus to see how many stops it makes. Express buses have electrical outlets, Wi-Fi and extra legroom. The ability to print tickets before your trip and reserved seating on express buses mean you don’t have to wait in line at the bus station. Book online for the best fares. Greyhound also operates Bolt Bus between Washington, D.C., and New York, offering similar amenities to the Greyhound express bus service. Buses have restrooms.

Greyhound’s Competitors

  • The quality of service varies on Greyhound’s competitors, so if you choose to book one of them, do your research ahead of time. In addition to departures from Union Station, Best Bus picks up passengers at Dupont Circle and in Silver Spring, Maryland. The buses have Wi-Fi and outlets, and provide complimentary bottled water. Washington Deluxe also departs from Union Station and Dupont Circle, and offers one free voucher for a one-way ticket after four round-trip rides. If you don’t want a seat mate, consider Vamoose’s Gold Bus, with a double row of seats on one side and single seats on the other. Buses have restrooms.

How to Book Train Travel From Toronto to Montreal

Toronto is the most populous and largest city in Canada and sits along a primary VIA Rail Canada corridor connecting Toronto to Montreal.

Choose a Railway Line

  1. Jump on board a VIA Rail Canada train bound for Montreal. The Toronto station is located at 65 Front Street West across from the Royal York Hotel and between Bay and York Streets.
  2. Book your reservations at the station ticket counter that opens at 6:00 a.m. on weekdays, 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and 7:00 a.m. on Sundays. Among other services, the station is equipped with a restaurant, snack bar, bicycle box, baggage room, ATM and an elevator for the handicapped.
  3. Note that there are six trains running on weekdays, four on Saturday and five on Sunday. The trains leave in intervals of 2 to 4 hours.
  4. Arrive in Montreal from Toronto in between 4 hours to a little over 5 hours depending on the timetable of the train you choose.
  5. Find train schedules online and print them out or download them to your PDA or computer for handy access. You can also call 888-842-7245 for an up-to-date train schedule.

Select Traveling Class

  1. Indulge in the VIA 1 class and enjoy first class surroundings including wireless Internet access, a roomy and comfortable seat, three-course meal and access to the Panorama Lounge at the train station.
  2. Decide to book your train travel in Comfort class and take advantage of the inexpensive prices yet comfortable seating. Comfort class also allows you switch your train departure as long as it is on the same day the original ticket was for.
  3. Know when you book your reservation from Toronto to Montreal that not all of the trains offer assigned seating. Avoid having to fight for a seat by picking the train with assigned seats.

Purchase Tickets

  1. Take advantage of a great deal by purchasing the Corridorpass rail pass for travel in southern Quebec and southern Ontario. You can pick up a pass for a little over $250 for one adult and unlimited travel from Toronto to Montreal for 10 days.
  2. Pay for a one-way ticket from Toronto to Montreal in Comfort class for between about $80 and $125 and a VIA 1 class ticket from $150 to $200.
  3. Be careful not to lose your ticket or you’ll have to buy another ticket and may have to pay more for buying closer to or on the day of your trip. You can submit a claim form for the missing ticket, but the process will take up to 90 days and you will be charged $35 per ticket for processing unless VIA Rail was at fault.

How to Book Train Travel From Los Angeles to St. Louis

It’s a busy route for travelers headed to St. Louis from Los Angeles. Heavily traveled, Amtrak has three routes you can choose from to travel from the West Coast to the Midwest, though none of them are direct yet. One improvement to the route is the new St. Louis Amtrak station. Previously, St. Louis travelers had to use inconvenient regional stations. After a long journey, you’ll be relieved to finally see those famous St. Louis arches. Follow these steps to start planning your trip.

Book the Very Scenic Route

  1. Book your ticket through the Amtrak Web site (see Resources below) or call Amtrak at (800)872-7245.
  2. Start at Los Angeles Union Station. Board the 14 Coast Starlight train. You’ll be on board for about 22 hours.
  3. Change trains in Klamath, Oregon. Take Amtrak bus 3014 for 11 hours to Pasco, Washington.
  4. Board the 28 Empire Builder train at Pasco Station in Washington. This is the longest leg of the trip at 40 hours total.
  5. Arrive at Chicago Union Station and look for the 305 Lincoln Service. You’ll finally arrive in St. Louis in about 5 hours.

Travel on the Southwest Chief and Lincoln Service

  1. Get there somewhat quickly. With one connection and 48 hours of travel time, this itinerary is slightly longer than using the faster Southwest Chief and Kansas City Mule.
  2. Depart the Los Angeles Union Station on a train called the 4 Southwest Chief. It takes up the majority of this travel time with 42 hours on board.
  3. Arrive at Chicago Union Station. Grab your seat on the 305 Lincoln Service, which brings you to your last stop in St. Louis in just over 5 hours.

Take the Southwest Chief and Kansas City Mule

  1. Get there faster. The 4 Southwest Chief and 316 Kansas City Mule are the quickest options, taking just about 40 hours to deliver you to St. Louis.
  2. Depart from Los Angeles Union Station aboard the 4 Southwest Chief. In 34 hours, you’ll be in Kansas City, ready for your one and only connection.
  3. Change trains. Get on the 316 Kansas City Mule for a quick 5-hour trip into St. Louis, Missouri.

How to Book Train Travel from Toronto to New York

Spend a day on the train as you travel from Toronto, past Niagara Falls, and through the Hudson Valley to New York City on Amtrak’s Maple Leaf route. During this 12- to 13- hour ride, you’ll see that bright lights and tall buildings are not all that New York state has to offer.

Instructions

  1. Choose what form of identification you will be bringing. Since the Maple Leaf crosses an international border, you will need either a passport or a birth certificate and photo ID with you on the train. You will be asked what type of ID you will be bringing when you book your travel.
  2. Call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak’s web site in the “Resources” section below. On the web site, you can book your train reservations via Amtrak’s Fare Finder. You can also navigate the site if you have a PDA, Blackberry or other handheld device.
  3. If you ordered your tickets online or by phone, pick them up at a ticket agent or at one of the Quik-Trak kiosks that can be found at many Amtrak locations (you’ll need to enter your reservation number). If you’ve booked your trip far in advance, you can also request that your tickets be mailed to you.

When Is the Cheapest Time to Travel to New York

New York generally isn’t a cheap travel destination, but if you’re looking for bargains in the Big Apple, you can usually find them after the holidays. Avoid travel between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day; not only will you pay premium prices, you’ll also find the city more claustrophobic than usual with holiday season tourists.

Winter Travel

  • Travel to New York City from early January through April for the cheapest rates. The holiday crowds will have vacated hotels and you’ll get some great discounts. Avoid the city during seasonal events, such as Fashion Week in February, that bring huge crowds to certain areas of the city and raise prices.

Trains and Planes

  • Do some comparison shopping online and sign up for fare alerts on sites that contact you when ticket prices to New York City drop. If you’re near a city on the East Coast, you can take the train or a bus to the city for cheap.

How to Book Train Travel from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, TX

You’ll spend about four hours on the train from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. Choose a window seat so you can watch the rolling hills and scenic treasures of Oklahoma and Texas as you pass through Middle America. Your train is the Amtrak Heartland Flyer, and once you arrive in Fort Worth, you can continue to Dallas and San Antonio or catch a connecting train to Chicago and other points to the east and west.

Amtrak Heartland Flyer

  • The Heartland Flyer departs Oklahoma City at 8:25 a.m. and arrives in Fort Worth at 12:23 p.m. with five stops in between. You can book a reservation online, by visiting Amtrak.com and selecting the day you want to travel. Once you book, you can have your ticket emailed to you, or you can elect to print it from a kiosk at the station. It’s also possible to buy a ticket by calling Amtrak at 1-800-872-7245. There is no ticket office at the Oklahoma City Amtrak station, but there is a Quik- Trak kiosk, where you can print out your ticket from your reservation.

Train Travel to Quebec City

One of the oldest cities in North America, Quebec City is at the heart of the Canadian province of Quebec. The picturesque, hilltop city is full of historic attractions and events that tell the story of this French-Canadian city, from the sites of the Old Quebec district to the year-round festivals downtown. From the U.S., it’s fairly easy to get to Quebec City by train, using both Amtrak train service and Canada’s passenger rail service, Via Rail.

Canada Travel Requirements

  • As a U.S. citizen, you must have proof of citizenship and identity to travel into Canada. This can be a valid U.S. passport, passport card, a NEXUS trusted traveler card, an enhanced driver’s license, military ID or American Indian card. You do not need a visa to enter Canada. On Amtrak, when the train crosses into Canada, customs officials board the train and check the documents of each passenger before allowing the train to continue. If you are traveling with a child under the age of 18 without one or both parents, you must have a notarized, written consent form signed by any parent not present allowing you to travel out of the country with that child. If the other parent is deceased or you are divorced, carry the necessary legal documents to avoid delay.

Getting to Penn Station

  • For a trip from the U.S., you’ll need to get to New York to start your train trip to Quebec City. Amtrak has one train line, the Adirondack, that goes to Quebec province, and it starts at New York’s Penn Station. You can take an Amtrak train from anywhere in the country to New York, which could take hours or days, depending on where you are coming from. If you’re coming from quite a distance, you may want to fly into a New York airport, such as LaGuardia or JFK International, both in the Queens borough, then use New York Metro trains, a cab or car service to get to Penn Station.

New York to Montreal

  • When you arrive at Penn Station, purchase an Amtrak ticket to Montreal, the last stop on the Adirondack line. The trip takes nearly 11 hours, but the scenic ride through the Hudson Valley and the Adirondack Mountains makes it an enjoyable journey. All seats on the Adirondack trains are coach, but if you are traveling in the fall, Amtrak features the “Great Dome Car” on select journeys, which includes gigantic windows up to the ceiling for panoramic views. Dome car seats are completely on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Montreal to Quebec City

  • When you arrive at Montreal’s Central Station, you’ll transfer to Canada’s VIA Rail train service. Choose the VIA Rail going to Quebec City, which takes roughly three hours. You can choose from economy- and business-class seating. A light meal is complimentary in business class, but you can purchase meals in economy. WiFi is complimentary in all seat classes. When you arrive at the Quebec City station, you can take a taxi or bus, available outside the station, to reach your final destination.

How to Bus from Mexico City to Oaxaca

Getting to the colonial city of Oaxaca from Mexico City can be as quick and simple as boarding a plane. Taking a bus is just as convenient, nearly as quick and more fruitful than air travel. The intercity route, which takes approximately six hours, is reliable, safe and comfortable, while offering unparalleled vistas of rural and colonial Mexico throughout the states of Puebla and Oaxaca.

Classy Busing

  • ADO – Autobuses de Oriente – offers intercity transportation throughout Mexico. Striving for the best in service, the company offers only first and premium class travel that are ages ahead of legendary “chicken buses.” On ADO’s primary bus line from Mexico City to Oaxaca, departing approximately every hour, you can expect a comfortable ride on a state-of-the-art, first class bus with ample luggage space, television and restrooms. ADO also operates OCC — Omnibus Cristobal Colon — another common fleet of first class buses that travel the same route, although less frequently. For a superior experience, try ADO GL and ADO Platino (formerly UNO); these elite ADO bus lines offer food and drink service, memory-foam reclining seats and multiple high-definition television screens.

Budget Busing

  • If you are looking for a more budget-friendly bus ride to Oaxaca, try a second class line from Mexico City run by AU – also operated by ADO — or Sur. Both lines provide basic bus travel to the tune of American Greyhound buses. With the exception of questionable and unmarked chartered buses, AU and Sur are the most cost-effective options for getting to colonial Oaxaca from Mexico City. That being said, don’t be surprised by a bumpy ride with many stops along the way.

Departing Mexico City

  • Bustling Mexico City hosts several bus stations that offer travel to Oaxaca. However, of all the city’s bus station, Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente (TAPO), only 3 miles west of the Benito Juarez Airport, offers the greatest volume of bus travel to and from Oaxaca. If you are arriving at Benito Juarez, you can get to TAPO by either metro or taxi. ADO operates exclusively from TAPO, and as the company operates nearly all buses between Mexico City and Oaxaca, you will have the most flexibility departing from TAPO. You can buy tickets at the bus station, but make reservations beforehand to ensure your seat.

Arrival

  • If you are traveling by first or premium class bus, your final destination will be Oaxaca’s ADO bus station, just over a mile north of the Plaza de la Constitución, also known as the Zocalo. The ADO bus station is a major terminal where you can board local buses to get around Oaxaca or simply begin walking to many of the surrounding historical sites. If you are traveling second class by AU or Sur, your final destination is Central de Abastos, a large shopping mall next to Rio Atoyac and less than a mile west of the Zocalo. While the mall is by no means a showstopper, it is walking distance from the Oaxaca Cathedral and the esteemed Basilica of Our Lady Solitude.

How to Travel by Train From Miami to New York City

Passengers traveling by train from Miami, Fla., to New York City will spend more than a full day riding the rails northbound along the eastern seaboard. Though Amtrak is the only passenger rail service operating between Miami and New York, travelers have choices regarding departure times, routes and service levels. Choosing the best options for your individual needs will help to make your travel as enjoyable as possible.

Instructions

  1. Decide which train service you prefer. Amtrak operates two train lines between Miami and New York. Both the Silver Star line and the Silver Meteor line depart from Miami on most days. Each train makes several stops before reaching New York. The Silver Star service routes passengers through Tampa, Fla., and takes approximately four hours longer to reach New York City than the Silver Meteor takes. Passengers also have the option of disembarking at Washington, D.C.’s Union Station and using a regional train service to reach New York City.
  2. Choose a day and time to depart Miami. Traveling between Miami and New York by train takes approximately 30 hours. Consider carefully the time of year you will be traveling. Take into account possible weather delays when choosing your departure time.
  3. Search for discounts. Amtrak offers discounts to students, seniors, members of AAA and other groups. Identification will often be required to prove your eligibility for a discount. Amtrak sometimes publishes public discounts in advertisements and on its website.
  4. Choose a fare class. Trains between Miami and New York City offer several fare classes based on the type of accommodations. Coach seats are available on both lines. First class options include Viewliner Roomettes and Bedrooms. Viewliner rooms have private bathrooms,furniture that converts between bedding and seating, and special services such as newspaper delivery. Reserving a first-class ticket gains you access to special dining options.
  5. Call Amtrak (1-800-USA-RAIL) or navigate to the Amtrak website to reserve your ticket. Amtrak requires travelers to purchase tickets in advance for both the Silver Meteor and the Silver Star. Obtain information regarding baggage requirements from the Amtrak representative or the Amtrak website.
  6. Arrive at the train station in Miami 30 minutes before your departure time or earlier. Passengers with special needs should arrive earlier.
  7. Follow the directions of Amtrak staff when boarding the train in Miami and disembarking at New York City’s Penn Station.

How to Book Train Travel From Buffalo to New York City

Travel by train from Buffalo in upstate New York to downstate New York City, and you will experience the portion of the state called the Southern Tier. The Amtrak train service takes you through several major cities and magnificent eastern countryside. Enjoy a leisurely trip along the shores of Lake Ontario, through the Finger Lakes Region, down the Hudson Valley into New York City.

Find the Right Train From Buffalo to New York City

  1. Take the Amtrak eastbound to New York City from either the Buffalo Exchange Street station downtown or the Depew station near the airport. Once in New York City, there are a number of train travel choices to make.
  2. Book your final reservations based on which borough of New York City you wish to arrive in. Go to Penn Station for the west side of NYC and Grand Central Station for the east side.
  3. Continue from Penn Station to Queens, Brooklyn and other Long Island communities by taking the Long Island Railroad (LIRR).

Book Your Train Travel From Buffalo to New York City

  1. Book train reservations by either calling the Amtrak toll free number or online by going to their Web site (see Resources).
  2. Reserve train travel on the LIRR through the online MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) Web site (see Resources).
  3. Purchase a ticket at the Buffalo Exchange Street station from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Buffalo Depew station is open 24 hours a day.

Arrive at the Station

  1. Arrive in New York City at either Penn Station or Grand Central Station, collect your baggage and keep moving. Do not linger in the train stations of the Big Apple, especially if you have never been there before or are by yourself.
  2. Grab a map before you continue on the Long Island Railroad to make sure you are getting on the right train. The fee for an LIRR trip depends on the length of your ride.
  3. Accept transportation from the New York City train stations only from legitimate taxi services. Do not accept rides from people who offer to call you a cab; it’s a common NYC swindle.

The Best Disney Vacation Packages

Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida have been vacation destinations for families for many years because Disney characters come to life and engage children in activities and encourage happiness and fun. Disney resorts are very large and navigating the parks can be a challenge without careful advance planning. There are several Disney vacation packages and planning tools available to assist parents in creating the most reasonable vacation possible based on their budget and time of travel.
Disney vacation packages create an all-inclusive travel itinerary complete with accommodations, activities and attractions and even meals so families can focus on enjoying themselves.

Disneyland Vacation Package

  • Disneyland’s “Resort Hotel” vacation package includes accommodations at one of the three Disneyland hotels: Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, the Disneyland Hotel or Disney’s Grand California Adventure Hotel and Spa. The package comes with many amenities including access to on-site fitness centers and recreational facilities and access to the theme parks through an exclusive entrance. The Resort Hotel vacation package also includes a souvenir “Park-hopper” ticket which provides access into both Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure park in the same day. Guests also receive admission into selected attractions at the park as well as preferred seating at select shows at the California Adventure park.

Magic Your Way Platinum Package

  • Walt Disney World’s “Magic Your Way Platinum Package” provides carefree vacation planning and a very comprehensive list of amenities for families traveling to Disney World in Orlando. With this package, guests have the option of selecting accommodations at the Disney Deluxe or Disney Deluxe Villas Resort for anywhere from one to 10 nights. Guests receive pre-arrival itinerary planning which assists with dinner reservations, golf tee times, show tickets and theme park tours to get you acquainted with the park prior to your arrival. Each day, guests can choose which of the four Disney World theme parks they would like to visit. Visitors have the option of visiting a different park every day. Other amenities included in this package include fireworks viewing, Walt Disney World Marina discounts, miniature golf and more. There is also a dining package included which provides three meals and two snacks per day.

Getaway Today Disney Package

  • Get Away Today Disney Packages offers guests flexibility in accommodations as well as the number of nights they wish to visit Disney. Hotel locations vary depending on the guest’s budget and where they would like to stay within the proximity of the Disneyland Parks in Anaheim. Vacation package includes accommodations at the hotel of the guest’s choice as well as admission to Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure Park with the park-hopper bonus ticket.

    Other specialty items included in the package are collectible pins with each adult ticket, a Disney sling backpack for each child under 9, and printable discount coupons for use in and around Southern California. Travelers also have the option to add tickets for additional attractions, dining, transportation, tours and merchandise at the time they book their package.

How to Get the Cheapest Myrtle Beach Vacation Packages

Myrtle Beach vacation packages are a great way to save money and still enjoy a wonderful vacation on the beach. The most important thing that people need to realize is that not every vacation package is the same. Some Myrtle Beach vacation packages may look like a great deal but when compared to others it can be double the amount of money.
Here is how anyone can get the cheapest Myrtle Beach vacation packages and afford an exciting getaway that is in your budget.

Instructions

  1. Check out websites that offer discounted Myrtle Beach vacation packages such as Expedia.com and Orbitz.com. If you find a package that looks enticing, copy the information into a word processing document or print out the information. This may take some time but it is worth if you want to save money. Be sure that you save the website address where the package can be found in the beginning of the document.
  2. Start a file on your computer and Label it “Myrtle Beach Vacation Packages.” This file will contain all the different vacation packages that you find and save into documents. If you would rather print all the information out then you can simply use a paper folder and store all the information in the pockets. Some people find it is easier to compare vacation packages when they are printed out rather than simply on the computer.
  3. Look for Myrtle Beach vacation packages in the off season when prices on hotels get lower. The off season for Myrtle Beach ranges from the fall to the beginning of spring. You may also find that you can find cheaper rates in later spring, after spring break but before school has let out for the summer. Although the weather may be a bit colder you will find that rates are much cheaper and the beach is less crowded. This may not appeal to everyone, but it is a great way to save money.
  4. Consult a travel agent or discount travel agency like AAA to see if they have any cheap Myrtle Beach vacation packages. Sometime you may find that these places offer certain specials to certain areas that are cheaper than the vacation packages that you find online. Always ask about any fees or service charges that you may incur if you book with them.
  5. Be flexible in where you want to stay in Myrtle Beach. If you want to stay right on the beach you will most likely have to pay more for a hotel than if you stay somewhere that is not right on the beach or is on a quieter strip in the area. You can save hundreds of dollars on your vacation package by simply choosing a hotel or condo that is ½ mile from the beach rather than on the beach.
  6. Compare all your Myrtle Beach vacation packages that you have collected. Once you have done your research and decided on when and where you will stay, take all your information that you collected in your Myrtle Beach folder and compare the packages. Toss any of the options that don’t fit your criteria and then look at the price, what is included, and any special bonuses that you get in the package. Pick the Myrtle Beach vacation that is the cheapest and best deal for you.

How to Cancel a Disney World Trip Package

Walt Disney World Resorts offer guests the option of booking vacation packages through them, whether online, over the phone or in person. Disney World vacation packages include your hotel stay, theme park tickets, dining reservations and the Disney dining plan. All Disney World hotels are connected to each of the theme parks via the Disney Monorail, making travel to and from the parks to your hotel much easier. Unfortunately, sometimes vacation plans fall through and the need to cancel a trip arises. When this happens, Disney allows you to cancel your Disney World vacation.

Instructions

  1. Cancel your Walt Disney World trip package by calling a Walt Disney World travel agent at 407-939-6244. This is the only method available for cancelling reservations booked through Disney World, including reservations made online and in person.
  2. Speak to a Walt Disney World travel agent about cancelling your reservation. Cancellations made more than seven days prior to your arrival date are free to cancel. Reservations cancelled within one week of your arrival date are subject to a one night room forfeiture.
  3. Write down the cancellation confirmation number given to you by your Walt Disney World travel agent over the phone. This number is important to have in case a mistake is made on the part of Disney and you are charged for your cancelled vacation.

How to Sell a Vacation Package Website

Selling a vacation package website can be either completely easy or totally difficult. When selling a vacation package website, several strategies can be used. Ask for a website appraisal before deciding on a selling price and advertising the sale. Conduct your research and find out what vacation package websites are selling for on the web. Learn some strategies for selling a vacation-oriented website.

Instructions

  1. Begin your selling process by getting an appraisal for the vacation package website. Look online for Internet companies that can perform a website appraisal in 3-5 days. They can figure out how much your vacation related site is worth by analyzing sales revenues, incoming web traffic and the effectiveness of affiliate programs.
  2. Clean up your personal information within your vacation package website and take off what you don’t want other people having access to. Remove any affiliate programs and advertisements you have had with third party companies. When you sell your vacation related website, you might want to protect your security and keep from being affiliated with the website and developments.
  3. Ask people in forums about what is the best approach in selling your vacation package website. You might find that another forum member might be interested in your vacation website. Word of mouth is a very important marketing tool in getting people to discover and look over your website.
  4. Set up an account and sell your vacation package related website on eBay. Many people have sold their websites on eBay and have made a good sum of money. Please take note that eBay does take a percentage of your sale, but it is nothing compared to what you can get on the website. Everything is done securely through the site.
  5. Check out online website sales sites that you can post on. Use free websites to post your vacation website and all of its statistics. You can also post on Craigslist under “things for sale” or on Kijiji in the sale section.

The Best Europe Vacation Packages

A European tour can be a highly scripted trip or a more independent exploration of famous cities and sights. You can cover a lot of ground in a one- to two-week vacation, or you can zero in on one area and get to know it from the ground up. There are a number of traditional multicity package tours to choose from, as well as single-region excursions that can appeal to the whole family.

European World Travel: Rome, Paris, London

  • European World Travel offers an 11-day Rome, Paris and London luxury tour package from Monograms, a division of Globus Travel. The itinerary balances independent time with guided tours of classic tourist attractions: the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum and the Vatican Museum in Rome; the Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower in Paris; Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace in London. In addition to planned sightseeing, there are shopping discounts, afternoons to explore the cities on your own, meals in gourmet restaurants and first-class hotels.

    Tours are scheduled in April, May, June, July, August, September and October in 2010, and rates are $2,393 to $2,573 per person, double occupancy.

    European World Travel
    3175 Waialae Ave., Apt. 302
    Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
    808-732-5587
    europeanworldtravel.com

Cosmos: Six Countries, Venice & Paris

  • Spend 11 days in Europe and take it all in on the Cosmos “Six Countries, Venice & Paris” tour. You’ll sample the best of Western Europe, stopping in England, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France. In each stop you tour the city highlights and boat on the Rhine, the Thames or a Venice canal. Feed the pigeons—or not—in the Piazza San Marco; sigh over Juliet’s balcony in Verona. Treat yourself to dinner in a Montmartre café or a singing gondolier on the Giudecca.

    You can enjoy the tour guides and your introduction to each site and then create your own walking tour. Or you can check out the activity you’ve always wanted to experience from a menu of optional excursions. Stay at first-class or superior tourist accommodations throughout. Tours run year-round and begin at $1,379 (as of March 2010), double occupancy. The bel canto gondolier is 40 euros extra, plus a tip. Change $55 plus tip to euros at your Venice hotel.

    Cosmos
    5301 South Federal Circle
    Littleton, CO 80123
    800-276-1241
    cosmos.com

Blue Marble Travel: Family-Friendly European Bike Tour

  • Blue Marble Travel is a cycling adventure that offers week-long European trips for the whole family. In 2010, it has two “Family-Friendly” bike tours scheduled—one in the Austrian Alps (“Sound of Music,” anyone?) and one in France’s Loire Valley. For U.S. cyclists, the bikes and shipping are included in the vacation package. The day’s cycle is planned, with longer, more challenging options for older kids and teens and a direct route and sag wagon for shorter legs and attention spans. There is downtime along the route for sightseeing and lots of meals in local restaurants. Start to finish, all accommodations are included, all breakfasts and most dinners, and any trip transport between cycling areas. Stuffed animals are always transported free. Discounts are available for traveling children, depending on age and whether they share a parent’s room.

    The Austria Alps trip begins at $2,095, double occupancy, with a child rate available. The Loire Valley tour starts at $1,875, with a child rate.

    Blue Marble Travel/U.S. office
    350 Ramapo Valley Road
    Suite 18-131
    Oakland, NJ 07436
    210-465-2567
    bluemarble.org/

How to Find Cheap Universal Studios Vacation Packages

Vacation packages are a great way to save money on your Universal Studios vacation. If your family has been asking to take a trip to Universal Studios then go ahead and go! Find cheap Universal Studios vacation packages and make your wallet and your family happy.

Instructions

  1. Consult a travel agency. Travel agencies can offer cheap vacation packages because they buy them in bulk and sell them separately. The travel agency will also be able to inform you of the best hotels to stay at as well as the best restaurants to eat at.
  2. Search online. Many online ticket agencies sell discounted Universal Studios vacation packages at deeply discounted prices. These companies buy ticket packages in bulk and sell them individually for a cheaper price.
  3. Buy your package early. If you wait until the last minute to buy your vacation package, you might be forced to pay a premium.
  4. Travel during the off-season. Universal Studios tickets are usually cheaper during the off-season, when visitor traffic is low. According to the Frommer’s travel website, If you take your vacation during a time when children are in school, you could save some money.

The Best All Inclusive Travel Packages

If you’re willing to invest time up front in searching for an all-inclusive travel package, you could get a great deal on travel to and from your destination. The point of an all-inclusive travel package is that the sum total of its components will be cheaper than all of the separate parts would have been if combined normally. The packages traditionally cover round-trip airfare (or other travel methods), lodging costs, and sometimes transportation or food during travel times.

Planning

  • First, plan your trip. Consider how many people will be traveling, how long you want to be gone, and where you’re going. It’s easier to find all-inclusive packages for some vacation destinations than for others, so you may be better off booking through a travel agent if you can’t find many deals for your destination. Flexibility is key in the planning process. If you can alter your travel dates or if you’re open to staying in an area of your destination that’s a bit farther away from the usual tourist attractions, you may be able to get a better deal.

Online Searching

  • All-inclusive travel packages are available at many different websites, including directly through major airlines’ sites. You should also try searching at travel engines that will compare all-inclusive packages or display lists of the best deals. These sites include Kayak, Sidestep, Travelocity and Budget Travel. Exploring options with a different number of travelers or several different travel months can help you narrow the pool to all-inclusive packages that best fit your schedule and budget.

Read the Fine Print

  • Some travel packages imply that they cover certain expenses, but they actually don’t. Taxes and fees may apply on quoted airfare rates, and you should always factor in extra costs of tipping and side travel that isn’t included in the package. Even though some packages are billed as “all-inclusive,” they may only include the bare minimum (lunch and dinner but not breakfast, for example). Plan for extra fees on your trip, and make sure to thoroughly investigate what an all-inclusive package offers before booking it.

Check Alerts

  • If you sign up for flight alerts or notifications of package deals from travel sites, you’ll get all-inclusive package offers delivered to your mailbox in a weekly newsletter. You can then sift through those notifications to find the best deals. If you’re searching for packages to and from a specific destination and aren’t sure when you want to go, signing up for these alerts and tracking them through several months can help you find the cheapest times for travel.

Search Separately

  • Before purchasing an all-inclusive travel package, make sure to search for each travel component separately to make sure that the package is a better deal. If it’s not cheaper by much, you may be able to find more affordable hotels or plane tickets. A disadvantage of all-inclusive travel packages is that they’re not very flexible–you’re limited to what the package offers. So if you intend to take a lot of side trips or would prefer staying in a hostel to staying in a hotel, you may want to explore other options.

How to Find Cheap Hawaii Vacation Packages

Have you always dreamed of visiting Hawaii, but the cost is putting you off? Since Hawaii is considered the most remote place on Earth, travel can be expensive. However, there are lots of opportunities to get cheap Hawaii vacation packages if you know where and how to look for them. Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation spots on earth – don’t miss out on a wonderful time just because you don’t think you can get a good enough deal. Read on and learn how to find cheap Hawaii vacation packages.

Instructions

  1. ~ Travel During the Off Season ~

    Hawaii is overrun with tourists during the Christmas season, spring break, and for most of the summer. However, the months of August through November are typically very slow. April and May are slower months in Hawaii as well. If you can travel during those times, you are more likely to find cheap Hawaii vacation packages.

  2. ~ Sign Up for Email Travel Alerts ~

    In order to get a good deal, you’ve got to know when they become available. There are many places where you can sign up to get email alerts of travel deals. So that you don’t clog up your personal email, consider setting up a new address for these emails. Then sign up for as many travel alerts as you can think of. Travelzoo, Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, and your favorite airlines and hotels are great places to sign up.

  3. ~ Price All-Inclusive Vs. Separate Pricing ~

    At the surface, it may seem like an all-inclusive package is much more expensive. However, it may turn out to be less costly overall since everything is included. Consider all of the things that will be included vs. what you’ll spend on vacation to decide which is a better deal.

  4. ~ Consider Traveling at the Last Minute ~

    In order to get a cheap Hawaii vacation package, you may want to consider traveling at the last minute, if you can. Many airlines and hotels will offer great deals for rooms and seats that are not filled at the last minute. If you are able to do this, it may be your best option for a good deal.

  5. ~ Use Your Credit Card & Airline Perks ~

    Do you travel often or use your credit cards a lot? Using them for your Hawaii vacation can result in some great deals. The same is true for hotels. Many hotels will give you points every time you stay with them, which can eventually be turned into free nights. If you travel frequently, make sure that you are getting all the possible rewards.

  6. ~ Do Your Research ~

    To find cheap Hawaii vacation packages, you’ll have to do some research. Check as many different sites as you can in order to compare prices. You may find a price at Expedia that is substantially less than what you’d pay at Travelocity, or vice versa.

  7. ~ Use Flexible Travel Dates ~

    If your travel is at all flexible, always search with flexible travel dates in order to get the best possible deals.

  8. ~ Bid To Get Great Prices ~

    One great way to create your own cheap Hawaii vacation packages is to bid on your hotel and car using Priceline. You can often get really great deals. You can’t choose your hotel, but you can choose the specific area that you’d like to be in and the star-level of the hotel where you’d like to stay.

How to Find Cheap Vacation Packages

Cheap vacation packages are not hard to find if you know how and where to look for the best travel deals. You can even find all inclusive vacation packages that offer discount prices on flights, hotels and even car rentals. Save yourself some money by booking a cheap vacation. Read the below article to learn how to find and get cheap vacation packages.

Instructions

  1. DO A SEARCH ONLINE TO FIND CHEAP VACATION PACKAGES:
    Search for cheap vacation package deals by doing a search online. A lot of companies will advertise vacation deals online and you should be able to find multiple vacation deals that fit what you want. Try using keyword phrases in your search such as: “Cheap Vacation Packages” and “Discount Vacation Packages”. A list of websites offering cheap vacation packages deals will come up in the search results.
  2. COMPARE CHEAP VACATION PACKAGE DEALS:
    View a few of the package deal websites and compare deals and prices. Are the cheap packages all-inclusive, do they offer both flight and hotel, etc… Compare multiple packages before actually selecting the first one you find. Try to find a vacation package that offers an all inclusive deal. This will help you to save money. After you have compared multiple package deals, select the best one based upon price and benefits.
  3. BOOK A CHEAP VACATION:
    To book your cheap vacation, follow the directions on the vacation package website. You will either be able to book your vacation online right on the website or you may even be able to book your cheap vacation by phone. Make sure to print out any confirmation emails that are given after you book your vacation.

How to Find Senior Travel Packages

Senior travel packages can be a great option for those who want to have the travel details, like hotel reservations, taken care of for them, but want greater freedom in a location than an escorted tour would provide. Research your options, choose a package carefully and enjoy your trip.

Instructions

  1. Consider how much of the package you want to have planned for you. Some packages include only basic arrangements (transportation and hotels), while others offer more complete travel plans (sightseeing and meals, for example).
  2. Ask friends for recommendations on senior travel packages that they have taken or companies that they have arranged travel through. You’ll gain valuable information, both the good and the bad, by asking for first hand experience. Your local senior center or group may also have information on travel packages. Many offer escorted group tours, but they may also offer packages.
  3. Call senior groups and organizations like the AARP for travel packages designed for seniors. Since these groups specialize in helping seniors, destinations and activities will be tailored for your particular age group. You can also go to the AARP Passport site online which lists travel deals and packages.
  4. Search online for companies that specialize in arranging travel packages. Some companies specialize in senior travel, but you may find a package that fits your need in a company that offers a wide range of travel for all ages. Ask for references from the company to ensure that the company handles the arrangements and planning well.
  5. Make a list of the packages you’ve found through friends, senior organizations and travel companies that fit your needs in terms of dates, location, budget, activities and the amount of planning done for you.
  6. Choose and book your package with the company or organization offering it.

History of Commercial Air Travel

Commercial air travel began in 1909 with the founding of the German Airship Company, a partially government-funded air service that used Zeppelin dirigibles. Commercial aviation companies using fixed-winged aircraft began to appear in 1920, with the creation of KLM in the Netherlands and Qantas of Australia. The industry has since evolved into a global enterprise which served 2 billion air passengers in 2008 alone.

Acquisitions

  • The U.S.-based Aviation Corporation acquired 82 small airline companies in 1928-29, and formed American Airlines to serve as an umbrella company to manage operations.

Pacific Service

  • Pan American World Airways launched its China Clipper “flying boat” service in 1935, with routes from San Francisco to Asian destinations on its Martin M-130 aircraft.

Hindenburg

  • The 1937 Hindenburg fire disaster that killed 35 people led to the end of the dirigible for commercial air travel.

Truly International

  • By the end of World War II, Pan American’s Chairman Juan Trippe had established the first multiple global routes to become a true international airline.

Deregulation

  • Deregulation of the industry in the 1990s created airfare wars, increased competition for routes and created the concept of “budget” airlines.

Slower Growth

  • Annual growth of the airline industry dropped from a peak of 15 percent in the 1960s to about 6 percent in the late 1990s, with many airlines today merging or developing partnerships and alliances.

What Agencies Regulate Air Travel?

Countless flights arrive and depart from the United States daily to nearly anywhere in the world. The high traffic and the air travel’s importance to commerce makes it a prime target for threats. However, air travel remains the safest mode of transport. There are many regulations in place responsible for the security and safety of the traveling public. The complex management of air travel is shared by various agencies from different government departments.

Federal Aviation Administration

  • The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, is a government agency under the Department of Transportation. FAA plays the biggest role in implementing aviation regulations. FAA’s primary duties include regulating commercial air space, mandating flight regulations standards, inspection of airplanes and aviation facilities. In addition, FAA also develops new aviation technology, and issues, suspends and revokes pilot certificates. The agency also delegates various jobs to its internal organizations. For example, the Air Traffic Organization or ATO, oversees air traffic safety and efficiency for commercial, private and military aviation.FAA has many duties including air traffic control.

National Transportation Safety Board

  • The National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, is an independent government agency responsible for investigating domestic transportation accidents. In terms of air travel, NTSB investigates and assesses air travel accidents and incidents. Under certain circumstances, NTSB has the authority to investigate accidents and incidents on American-registered and owned aircrafts in another country. The agency sometimes assist in military related air accidents when called upon. NTSB also issues safety alerts, public forums and instruction on how to respond to transportation accidents including aviation related accidents.

Transportation Security Administration

  • The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, is an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. It was created as part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act enacted in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. TSA’s main duty is to provide security and safety to the traveling public. TSA is most associated with airport security checks. The agency has the jurisdiction in inspect luggage, perform body scans, as well as regulate or confiscate items that can pose danger in air-crafts and other transportation. It is also responsible for many layers of security that includes gathering intelligence and information against possible attacks, checking flight manifests, training flight crews against perpetrators and providing federal air marshals. Apart from aviation security, TSA also shares responsibility in keeping freight system and ports safe.TSA is most associated with airport security particularly luggage checks and body scans.

International Civil Aviation Organization

  • The International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO, is an agency of the United Nations or UN. ICAO adopts procedures and regulation for international flights. ICAO facilitates flight information, prevention of interference, travel information and travel advisories between states. Although the ICAO has no jurisdiction in the United States, the agency aides in the international flight’s transition to a host country.In doing this, the security and safety of travelers is monitored domestically and internationally. Membership to ICAO is extended to UN members and a few non-member states.

Pros & Cons of Air Travel

When popularized in the 1960s, jet travel heralded a glamorous, exciting new age of travel filled with customer service, passenger comfort and speedy travel. The speed remains today, but the other advantages have faded and disappeared. However, air travel continue to grow because wise travelers are aware of its pros and cons.

Speed

  • Despite security and schedule delays, flying by jet at over 500 miles per hour is the fastest way to get anywhere. Transoceanic journeys take hours instead of days and weeks.

Safety

  • According to the Smithsonian Institute, air travel remains the safest form of travel. More people in the United States die from auto accidents in three months than have died in the entire history of commercial aviation.

Multi-tasking

  • While seated in an airplane, you can use travel time to continue work: write letters, handle figures and process business information on a laptop.

Expensive

  • With the rising cost of fuel, passenger tickets have become increasingly expensive. Expect to pay from a couple of hundred to a few thousand dollars for a ticket. The price often depends on where you’re going and what class you fly.

Inconvenient

  • Getting on board the airplane requires waiting for the plane to arrive and for your baggage to appear. It also requires standing in lines to go through security, to check in and to board. This forces you to add hours to the beginning and end of your flight just to perform all the needed tasks.

Uncomfortable

  • Crammed three-to-five in a section, economy class passengers endure several hours of immobility with seats that are too close and too narrow. They then need to cope with the constant droning of jet noise and the lack of consumables for a hungry belly.

International Air Travel Packing Tips

Packing for international travel can be a challenge. Each airline has its own regulations for baggage allowance, and airport security can be difficult to negotiate. There is also the uncertainty of going to a new place and dealing with a new and possibly unfamiliar environment. The best way to pack for an international trip is to be aware of airport and airline restrictions for carry-on and check-in luggage, and to be adequately prepared for the unexpected.

Place Valuables in Carry-on Luggage

  • Carry-on luggage can be used to pack a day’s change of clothes as well as essentials and valuables that cannot easily be replaced at the destination. It’s also a good place to put documents, non-liquid medications, smaller electronics and heavy items, such as books, that do not fit into your checked baggage because of weight restrictions. For ease of access, place your essential travel documents — passport, ticket or ticket reference number and customs forms — in an easy-to-reach part of your handbag or carry-on.

Weigh Luggage Carefully Before Getting to Airport

  • Baggage policies for check-in luggage vary by airline, so check with their website before you travel for specifics on maximum weight allowed, number of free baggage allowed per passenger, excess baggage fees and items that need to be handled specially. To avoid unnecessary expenses at the airport, weigh your bags beforehand and distribute weight evenly among them. Also, consider placing some of your heavier items, like books or shoes, in smaller bags (or in your hand luggage).

Pack for Your Destination

  • Although easier said than done, packing for your destination is essential. Do some research about the place you will be going to before you get there. Find out what kind of weather you will encounter, the socially acceptable modes of dressing, and the challenges you might have in getting access to some items that you may need during your stay. Although it may be tempting to carry a lot with you, travel light since you will have to lug all your baggage around — and keep it secure — once you’ve landed overseas.

Secure Your Belongings

  • Make sure your address and telephone number are on the luggage tag as well as inside the luggage to increase your chances of recovering it if it becomes misplaced. Also, to prevent mix-ups at the baggage claim area, make sure you can easily identify your bags by tying a small ribbon around the handles. To secure your belongings inside the luggage and prevent accidental spills on your clothing, secure liquid containers by placing them in plastic bags or by putting plastic over the cap before screwing on the cap. Remember, aerosol cans should not be carried on board as the decompressed nature of the cabin may cause them to explode.

How to Pack Wine for Air Travel

For wine enthusiasts, bringing back a few bottles of a local vintage to enjoy at home is a special way to relive vacation memories. Watching your suitcase roll onto the baggage claim carousel leaking liquid from a broken bottle is a memory best forgotten, so you’ll want to make sure your prize wine makes it back intact.

Bringing Back a Bottle or Two

  • Wrap your wine bottle a few times around in bubble wrap before shoving it in a pant leg in your suitcase. You can also buy contoured bubble wrap sheaths designed to protect bottles in luggage. As an alternative, try a product that encases the bottle in an inflatable chamber — but if you’re one of those people who have to sit on the suitcase to close it, you might want to give this one a miss.

Going Big to Go Home

  • Bring back a full case of wine using a padded wine carrier you can check like any other piece of luggage. A contoured styrofoam insert holds up to 12 bottles securely. A second insert covers the top of the wine bottles, preventing crushing. The outer padded, zippered box has wheels and a leash to pull along easily behind you. Some cases fold flat, tucking easily into your luggage on the way to your destination.

Air Travel Problems With a Coronary Bypass

With the great strides in medicine, coronary bypass surgery has become a successful option for treating heart disease. Post-surgery patients have expressed concern about air travel after such a surgical procedure. Yale researchers have studied the problem and concluded that air travel is safe if you wait at least two weeks after surgery. They also suggest discussing travel with an internist or cardiologist, who can then determine if you need any pre-flight testing.

Security Metal Detectors

  • If you have a pace maker or defibrillator, you might set off metal detectors. Physicians suggest that you carry a card showing that you have a device and request a hand-held search. The cards are available from the manufacturer and your individual physician.

Proper Medication Not Available

  • Before traveling, be sure that you not only have ample medication for the length of the trip but that you keep it in your carry-on luggage along with an updated medication list with allergies.

Altitude

  • Altitude can decrease the oxygen content in blood and cause blood clots. Take medication for your blood pressure and other cardiac issues before takeoff. If you are 50 or younger with risk factors for venous thrombosis, wear below-the-knee compression stockings while traveling. Consider a graduated below-the-knee compression stocking for flights exceeding eight hours.

In-Flight Meals

  • Contact the airline about your dietary needs at least 48 hours before your trip. Avoid alcohol, caffeinated beverages and in-flight meals high in sodium. Drink plenty of water.

Medical History And Contacts

  • Carry a copy of your health history, your latest ECG, and contact numbers for physicians and family members.

The Effects of Air Travel

Within a century, air travel has revolutionized how people travel and perceive the world. Now many of the farthest-flung destinations require only a day’s travel, although air travel does come with its share of problems.

Pollution

  • Planes burn an immense amount of fuel, which contributes to polluting the atmosphere. To counterbalance the harmful effects of this pollution, many people purchase “carbon credits” to offset the negative effects of pollution by contributing money to sustainable energy projects, as Carbon Neutral explains.

Freedom

  • As travel becomes faster, people can choose to move to across the country or overseas. Thus, air travel contributes to people’s growing feelings of freedom to choose where they want to live because they can visit loved ones with relative ease.

Diversity

  • Air travel allows people from diverse cultures to settle in or visit a particular area. As cultures mix, people often become more open-minded and understanding of people from other backgrounds, as a 2006 report by the International Student Travel Confederation says.

Tourism

  • Air travel benefits tourism by letting people travel to places they couldn’t access by car. Some nations rely on tourism as a main industry, and proponents of ecotourism hope it will help to save some of the world’s natural wonders.

Military

  • Through air travel, militaries can quickly mobilize, crossing continents or oceans in hours instead of days.

Trade

  • Global trade allows people to export and import goods to and from countries around the world; thus, people can find tropical fruits in northern climates and apples in the tropics.

How to Pack Light for Air Travel

Whether you’re preparing for a trip around the world or just a flight across your state, its easy to overestimate how much to pack for a flight. Once you add up clothing for each day of your trip, two or three pairs of shoes, accessories and toiletries, your suitcase may be overflowing. With many airlines charging fees to check luggage, it’s a sound idea to pack lightly and bring mix-and-match items to reduce the amount of bags you need to bring.

Instructions

  1. Create a packing list by writing down everything you think you need for your trip. Stick to the list and check off everything as you add it to your suitcase. Websites like onebag.org and the Universal Packing List have packing lists you can print.
  2. Determine the weather for the destination you’re visiting to help you choose the appropriate clothing. Fodor’s recommends sticking to the predicted weather; don’t pack sweaters and pants in case it’s cold if you’re traveling to the Bahamas where the temps will be in the 90s. A general rule is to bring one outfit per day of your trip, but you can wear bottoms such as jeans two or three times and pair them with a fresh top.
  3. Choose mix-and-match clothing in the same color palette and one or two pairs of shoes that will match all of your outfits. Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane; same goes for clothing. If you need a coat, bring it on the plane instead of packing it in your bag. Bring one pair of underwear for each day of the trip and socks if needed. Stuff socks inside shoes.
  4. Avoid packing full-size toiletries and bring travel-size items such as deodorant, toothpaste and a toothbrush. If you plan to stay with loved ones or in hotels, leave your hairdryer, iron, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and shower gel at home. Pack prescription medications in your carry-on bag.
  5. Gather travel documents such as tickets, confirmations, passports and other identification and keep them close by, ideally in a purse or other carry-on bag. Include a book or magazine, MP3 player or other entertainment and one change of clothes (in case checked luggage is lost) in your carry-on.