Tips for succesful air travel on Thanksgiving

22.11.2010 In: Travel tips

Thanksgiving travelers have a lot to digest this year, and we're not just talking turkey. More of us are taking to the skies than last year at this time, experts say. Aside from the usual holiday hassles of jammed jets and fickle winter weather, we'll be navigating new body scanners and pat-down procedures at airport security checkpoints.

Here's how to keep Turkey Day travel worries from gobbling up your fun and finances:

Crowded planes: Airlines expect to handle 3.5% more passengers during this year's Thanksgiving holiday season than they did last year, filling nearly 90% of their seats on peak days (this year, Nov. 19, 24, 28 and 29), according to the Air Transport Assn. But that's no reason to panic.

"Some Fridays in the summer can be nearly as busy," ATA spokeswoman Laura Goodwin said.

The difference between flying 90% and 85% full (as airlines averaged in August, the U.S. Department of Transportation said) amounts to just seven seats on a 137-seat Boeing 737-700. That's no big deal, said industry analyst Mike Boyd , president of Boyd Group International in Evergreen, Colo.

"Airplanes have been jampacked for years," he said. And only about 5% more flight departures are scheduled for Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving, than for the prior Wednesday, according to Executive Travel SkyGuide and Seabury APG.

But the holiday brings more traveling families, more carry-ons, more checked bags and fewer no-shows than on a typical day, Boyd said. Mix in a snowstorm or two, and you've got a recipe for crowd anxiety and traffic snarls. Miss your flight, and you may owe hefty change fees and fare differences.

Tip: Get to the airport early and be ready to wait.

Losing your seat: Despite packed cabins — August's percentage of filled seats was the highest ever recorded for that month — fewer people are getting bumped off flights. The rate of "involuntary denied boarding," as the DOT calls it, has fallen by 6% over the last year. Still, the risk can rise at peak travel times.

Overbooking planes is legal but not unregulated. If you lose your seat, you may be entitled to as much as $800 in compensation in addition to a free ticket. (A DOT proposal to raise the limit to $1,300 is pending.) Airlines must ask for volunteers before they bump unwilling passengers, but given packed holiday planes, I'd avoid opting for that.

Who gets bumped? Low-fare fliers and those who check in late may be the most vulnerable, the DOT says.

Tip: "Get your boarding pass as quickly as you can, because when you have a pass, that seat is taken out of inventory and you can be assured of getting a seat," Boyd said.

Trapped on a plane: Not as bad as snakes on a plane, but a pain nonetheless, and more likely during bad weather.

Under laws that took effect in April, long tarmac delays may be less painful. U.S. airlines must let passengers off the plane after three hours or face potentially huge fines, and they must provide food, water and working bathrooms while they're stuck.

Tip: Know your rights during flight delays (and also bumping). A useful guide is "Fly Rights,", from the DOT's Aviation Consumer Protection Division. Print it out or bookmark it on your smart phone before you head out.

Tighter security: At many airport checkpoints this year, you'll find new advanced imaging technology, popularly known as full-body scanning, that uses X-rays to detect non-metallic and metallic objects.

In a change from past practice, "you must take everything out of your pocket and off your person," not just coins and other metal, to walk through the scanners, said Nico Melendez, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.

As of early November, 385 of the new machines had been deployed at 68 airports, including LAX. The TSA says the X-rays are safe and the images are anonymous —claims challenged by the Allied Pilots Assn. and the American Civil Liberties Union.

You can decline to go through the scanner, the TSA says, but if you do, you'll be subjected to a pat-down, recently changed to allow screeners to probe around sensitive body parts.

Tip: Decide in advance how you want to be screened.

Lanzarote island - perfect for any vacationer

08.11.2010 In: Travel tips

So where do you go for that ultimate European vacation that not only combines excellent weather and fantastic beaches, but also adds the charm of local culture to make your holiday all the more memorable? The Canary Islands have been attracting tourists from around the globe for decades and particularly those from European destinations, and the relatively short flight times to this group of islands make it ideal for travellers that are looking for a sun kissed destination, but do not necessarily want to spend 10 hours or more on their flight.
Booking a break in Lanzarote is simple. There are loads of cheap flights to Lanzarote thanks to the fact that low cost airlines. And finding good value accommodation is also simple – as there are thousands of well priced villas and apartments...

Still not scared after ghost hotels? Try European cemeteries

01.11.2010 In: Travel tips

Top 10 cemetery attractions in Europe, according to traveler popularity:

1) American cemetery, Colleville-sur-mere, France
The World War II cemetery is located on the bluff overlooking Omaha beach, which was one of the bloodiest landing points for the American forces during the Normandy invasion in June 1944. It contains the remains of nearly 9,500 American military personnel. The impressive and moving cemetery also features at the beginning of Steven Spielberg's 1998 film 'Saving Private Ryan'.
As one TripAdvisor traveller said: "My husband and I visited the American Cemetery in Normandy last week. I found it to be a beautiful and inspiring place."

2) Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Paris, France
One of the world's most famous cemeteries, located in the east of Paris,...

A guide to New Delhi - a metropolis of two cities

18.10.2010 In: Travel tips

Delhi may be guilty of dilly-dallying on preparations for next month's Commonwealth Games and construction of some venues is running seriously late. But the good news for visitors (the vast majority of whom won't come during the Games anyway) is that the rest of Delhi is completely finished, and has been for, well, centuries.
The capital of India has emerged as a mega-metropolis, divided in two between New Delhi, the manicured planned capital of India, and Old Delhi, the chaotic heart of the city.

One piece of Games-related infrastructure that will benefit visitors for years to come is the Indira Gandhi International Airport, which has the latest facilities. But whenever you go, as you must, you'll need this Delhi "to do" list.

Do: Be taken for a ride

Delhi is one Indian city...

Top 10 destination to enjoy the foliage-peeping in the US

04.10.2010 In: Travel tips

Top ten fall foliage destinations in the U.S. have been announced. The list is based a TripAdvisor survey of more than 2,300 travelers. From mountain peaks to seaside ports, these destinations offer a fabulous variety of activities for leaf-peepers.

1. Auburn Awakening: Asheville, North Carolina
Nestled in the foothills region of western North Carolina, Asheville is a spectacular location for leaf-peeping. Travelers can enjoy the beautiful views by peddling through the Appalachian Mountains on one of many biking trails, or hop in the car for a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. One TripAdvisor traveler said, "We stopped multiple times for the breathtaking views. We will be going there again." Peak foliage-viewing is from mid to late October.

2. Mass Appeal: Boston,...

Five shows you ought to see while in Las Vegas

13.09.2010 In: Travel tips

No Las Vegas escape should be considered complete without taking in a few shows. Shows in Las Vegas take entertainment to an entirely new level with fabulous glamor, glitz, and some major performers. If you are planning a visit to Las Vegas, be sure to make reservations for the shows that you wish to see prior to arriving if at all possible since many of the top events are sold out months in advance.
Cirque de Soleil (Circus of the Sun) has four permanent productions in Vegas with additional shows in planning stages. Their original show, at first projected to run for a limited time, was so well-liked that it was signed on indefinitely. Cirque de Soleil is based in Quebec, Canada and at first started with a couple of street performers. It is a circus without animals and the shows in Las...

Miami nightlife as it is

23.08.2010 In: Travel tips

Miami is the hottest and most exciting city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida. It is the seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous in Florida. Miami is well-known globally due to its finance, commerce, culture, media, fashion, film and international trade. Known as the Gateway of the Americas, Miami is an international center for entertainment, music, fashion, culture and art. The namesake port, Port of Miami is the busiest cruise ship passenger port in the world. Located near the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, Miami enjoys some of the warmest, tropical weather in the US and is a mere boat ride from the Bahamas and the Cayman islands.
As a cultural and international trade centre, Miami is one of the most exciting and often-portrayed locations in the world....

How to make the best of your trip with Hawaiian vacation rentals

16.08.2010 In: Travel tips

Are you in the process of planning a trip to Hawaii? If you are, you may be interested in booking a stay at a Hawaii vacation rental. While you will find some variances, Hawaiian vacation rentals are known for their beauty and their privacy, especially when compared to traditional hotels and vacation resorts. Those are just a few of the many reasons why vacation rentals in Hawaii are increasing in popularity.

As you are likely to know already, you will have a number of different options when it comes to making reservations for a vacation rental in Hawaii. The phrase 'vacation rentals' is often used to describe a number of establishments, including vacation homes, vacation apartment rentals, vacation villas, vacation cottages, as well as vacation condos. As nice as it is to have a...

How to use a credit card wisely on your vacation

09.08.2010 In: Travel tips

Back in the good old days, you could find airfares for flights leaving the country for less than $200. Everyone paid by check or cash at the travel agency or airport ticket counter. You never saw a credit card, although some executives would occasionally flash their corporate American Express credit cards. That's all changed. Today's travelers gobble up frequent-use bonuses or air-mile perks like candy. But, you'll have to travel smart lest your margin for savings fly away quicker than a jumbo jet.

Here are key tips for the informed globetrotter:

Be Prepared

Not every credit card you carry today comes with the famous American Express promise of a one-day turnaround for stolen or lost cards. Therefore:

Use a different card on your trip than the one you use to pay your routine...

The best places of Florida for your vacation

02.08.2010 In: Travel tips

The 'Sunshine State', Florida has endless attractions with innumerable beaches, theme parks, state parks, museums and aquarium. A good transport and communication system connects the areas across the state; therefore, it is not difficult to go from one place to another. Florida experiences warm and moderate climate throughout the year, since no part of the state is too far from the coastline.

During your vacation in Florida, you can enjoy wonderful water sports. A passionate swimmer can experience thrill and adventure by swimming with the dolphins at the Dolphin World at Florida Keys. While at the Cocoa beach, do not miss out on the pleasure of surfing in the sea. Canoeing down the tranquil lake at Grayton beach State park can be a wonderful romantic getaway with your partner....

Foreign etiquette tips - be prepared!

19.07.2010 In: Travel tips

IF you kiss in public, forget to flush the toilet or wear a mask you may be surprised to find yourself in hot water in some countries.
Here are 15 lesser-known acts that may breach the etiquette rules of some of the most popular tourist destinations around the world.

St. Louis, Missouri, US
Propriety is important in any city, and St Louis in no exception. But girls, don't get caught out without proper clothes on in a fire - it is actually illegal for firemen to rescue women who are still in their nightdresses or other various underwear attire. Interestingly, it's also illegal to sit on the curb of any city street and drink beer from a bucket - so no drunken tourist antics here, please.

United Arab Emirates
As the two Britons who were convicted for having sex on the beach near...

Water Safety Tips for Summer Vacation

04.06.2010 In: Travel tips

Dreams of spending lazy days at the lake, or stretched out on the beach will fill the minds of many this summer. By taking a few precautions, you can help ensure that your time in the water will be safe and enjoyable.

Water Safety Statistics

Water safety is a significant issue in the United States. In 2005 alone, more than 3,000 people drowned unintentionally. Children are particularly at risk during the summer months, as they head to the pool and beach with greater frequency.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “More than one in four fatal drowning victims are children 14 and younger.” Four children require medical attention for injuries on the water for every one child who dies.

Some of the most serious factors resulting in injuries are a lack of...

What to Bring to a Summer Vacation Rental

04.06.2010 In: Travel tips

With the kids out of school and the entire summer ahead of you, planning a summer getaway is always a wonderful way to spend the time. This summer, stay away from the crowded hotel resorts and rent a relaxing summer cottage by the lake. Most rental cottages are privately owned and are decorated according to the homeowner’s personal taste. Therefore it’s always important to bring along some personal items to make your new home away from home feel like your own personal space.

• Bed Linens: Rental cottages will provide bedding for guests to use. Although, it’s always nice to bring along your favorite pillow to rest your head against at night and perhaps a decorative throw or blanket to cuddle up in while lounging on the porch swing at night.

• Towels: Vacation rentals will...

How to Save Money on Urban Travel

06.05.2010 In: Travel tips

Every urban travel experience is different, but the world's biggest cities share some common traits. Although it's true that big cities generally are more expensive to visit than less populous urban areas, you'll can find opportunities for savings if you know where to look. For example, big cities frequently offer you and your travel party safe, swift and inexpensive rides to the airport via mass transit options that aren't available in smaller towns. Take a look at a step by step approach to saving money on urban travel. These pictures and tips were captured in St. Louis, but they can be applied to any large city in the world.

Know the Dominant Budget Carrier in the Market

Urban travel frequently involves getting on an airplane. In St. Louis (where all of these examples were...

Tips for a Stress Free Trip to the Big Apple

06.05.2010 In: Travel tips

With countless museums, zoos, parks, and toy stores, the Big Apple can be a very rewarding experience for the young and young at heart. Keep these useful tips in mind once you have decided to visit the big city:

* Pack comfortable walking shoes and rain gear
* Prevent tantrums by not overloading each day with too many activities
* Append back up plans to each daily itinerary
* Use the subway system. Initially, it may be overwhelming to the unseasoned city dweller, but expertise happens quickly and relief will also come for weary little feet (and big feet too)
* Look into ordering New York CityPasses. It includes entrance into many popular attractions for a fraction of the cost of buying individual tickets
* Get to attractions early to avoid...