Feel-Good Travel Trends For the Fun, Savvy Traveler

38Want a quick snapshot of the current travel trend landscape? Well, I didn’t figure you’d be much into stodgy facts, figures, and industry profits. Don’t you really just want to know what new things people are doing related to travel? I thought so.

Well, the travel train ain’t slowing down; on the contrary, though the economy has slumped the travel industry has barely skipped a beat. Go figure. Anyway, check out these little tidbits I found. Let them give you the idea for your next vast dream odyssey to go where few have gone before…! Sorry, I got a little carried away for a moment.

Vintage Train Journeys

People are warming up again to the coziness of long train treks through marvelous scenery. The Rhinegold Express and the Mahajaras Express are two of the most popular trains. The sleek classics include deluxe dining cars, glass-domed observation cars, and even sleeping quarters as they wind their way through both quaint villages and cosmopolitan areas. Though not a bed and board train, the U.S. recently earmarked $8 billion toward a high speed train in Florida.

River Cruising

River cruising is growing in popularity as more people learn of its availability. One can board a more modern boat and cruise the Rhine or the Volga. Or one can go tropical and float down the Mekong River where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. Many prefer river cruising to oceanic.

Red hot Destinations

Popular newer destinations include the Estancia Vik, Playa Vic, and Arbol Casaloft in Uruguay. Hotel Le Cordiere or StarHotel’s Savoia Excelsior Palace in the northern Italian port city, Trieste, are both wonderful. The city of Hangzhou, southwest of Shanghai, is an ancient city boasting quiet pagodas and Buddhist temples. The area is drawing some excited visitors. The Banyan Tree recently opened 72 waterfront sites there. Some are also opting for more serene waterfront hotels and B & Bs, avoiding the crazies or “party hearty” crowd.

Finding the Superior or the Unusual

Instead of cheap trinkets or commercialized junk, more people are purchasing the unusual, the exotic, the sentimental, or things the nationals value and use. Perhaps this interest has been sparked partly by the growing popularity of “Online Trunk Shows.” These shows promote quaint or rare products that may inspire wanderlust in viewers.

Social Network Travelers

Travel websites are growing. People are flocking to the internet to book travel or gain advice from travelers of forums and blogs. They can even find directions to locations when they arrive at locations in another country. Speaking of learning stuff, maybe, in spite of TV/movies, reading is coming back into vogue. Book shows and festivals are becoming increasingly popular. Two huge ones in widely disparate locations are in California this year and in South Asia.

SkyNannies

Gulf Air airline now offers on board baby sitting. So if you dread entertaining your kids for seven hours, just pay a skynanny to do it for you.

Bigger Showers/Smaller tubs

Many hotels have decided that most patrons don’t take baths in their sometimes-cramped tubs. So they’re beginning to build deluxe, spacious double showers and dispensing with the whole tub idea.

Underground Supper Clubs

More than ever, there are exclusive supper clubs worldwide in which members can indulge in dinners by the very top chefs. Another interesting tidbit: younger French chefs are finding new freedom in culinary self-expression which could revamp aspects of French cuisine. Check it out.

Virtual Travel

Crytpo-Historical video games such as Assassin’s Creed are astoundingly realistic. The creators spent millions reproducing extremely detailed and authentic simulations of Florence and Venice, Italy in the 15th Century. Travelers who have played the game and later visited the locales are caught by surprise at the similarities between the cities and the game backgrounds and landscapes.

So what’s holding you back from experiencing one of the fabulous, hip trends above. There’s got to be at least one that caught your fancy. After all, you are one of the trend-setters, aren’t you? Yep, I thought so.

The author, Debra Fortosis, is a travel agent. She owns a travel business named MnD Getaways and she loves helping people book travel. She will even help individuals set up their own travel business for a tiny fraction of what might be expected.

4 Travel Tips Before You Board Your Flight To Toronto Canada

45Whether you are traveling for business reasons or for that well-earned vacation, traveling to your destination can sometimes be a stressful experience. Being well-prepared can be the key to a hassle-free, stress-free travel experience. Being well-prepared can make a significant difference between a quality experience and an experience that can negatively affect your entire trip. Before boarding on your next flight, try these 4 hassle-free tips that will make your travel experience a little more enjoyable.

Call your credit card company before leaving

Traveling with credit cards can offer you a convenient and secure way to make transactions overseas, but without proper preparation, this convenience can turn into an inconvenience that will negatively affect your entire trip. Because most banks and credit card companies keep track of spending patterns, your transactions during your trips may be interpreted as suspicious behaviour. Whether you are traveling internationally or domestically, traveling outside your usual radius can lead to red flags for the credit card company. Transactions interpreted as suspicious can lead to a locked bank account, leaving you without access to financial means in a foreign country.

In order to ensure that your card in not unexpectedly denied and that you always have access to your funds as you travel, consider notifying you bank if you plan on using your credit card when you travel. The credit card company’s contact information can easily be found from the back on the card.

Notifying your credit card company also helps protect you from real credit card fraud while you are away. Because you bank has been notified of you travel plans, they will be alert when any fraudulent or unusual transactions from your account occur while you are away.

By contacting your bank, you can find out what charges you might inquire when you make transactions abroad. Many card banks charge fees for foreign transactions. In order to avoid or reduce such charges, by notifying your bank you are also able to check and find out what offers they provide to travelers. In some cases, you can check if you can get your purchases charged in your domestic currency to minimize transaction fees.

Also, by notifying your credit card company that you will be traveling, you can find out if your card offers travel-related perks such as waived language fees, priority boarding or access to airport lounges. The Toronto Pearson Airport has several business-class lounges that offer unique features. By contacting your credit card company before-hand, you can check if you are eligible for any special offers. This can make a difference between a typical travel experience and a quality experience. So, before you board on your next flight, a few days before you leave, call your credit card company and notify them of your travel plans.

Create a go-to packing list

Traveling anywhere can be a challenge. Knowing what to pack and trying to figure out what to bring can be a hassle. Being well-prepared can make the packing experience a lot smoother. A tip is to create a go-to-packing list. Especially if you are a frequent traveler, consider creating a go-to packing list that you can utilize every time you are preparing for a trip. Not only can doing this save you time from creating a new list every time your travel, reducing your stress, but it will also save you money. Rather than forgetting an item then having to make a purchase overseas for an item you already have, your go-to packing list will ensure that you have packed all the necessary items you need.

It also saves you more time from trying to figure out or recall what items are and are not permitted in checked bags. Your go-to list will ensure that you have already checked the language requirement adhering to the airline guidelines. The Toronto Pearson Airport provides a complete up-to-date list on restricted items. You can compare that to your go-to list to ensure that everything you pack meets the guidelines. It not only makes your packing experience easier, but your boarding experience less stressful.

Have a few copies of your packing list and keep one in your bag. This not only saves you time form creating a new list each time you travel, but when traveling back you can compare the list you have with the items in your bag. This way you can make sure that the items you came with will be re-packed in your bags. It will be a checklist of things to make you brought with you that you need to bring back. This will save you more money because of the checklist you will not forget items requiring to repurchase them when you get back home. This bring us to the next tip regarding your language.

Use language Identification

The Toronto Pearson Airport suggests you make sure that all your language has the proper identification. A tips, is use a colourful or noticeable identification tags on your language. This will help you language stand out among the sea of other language, making it easier to spot your language when it is time to retrieve your items. For security reasons, it is advised by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to use your work address if possible.

Another identification tip from the Toronto Pearson Airport is to make sure that your travel documents are ready as you approach the kiosk. Canadian flights require passengers to have valid identification of identity confirmation.

Arrive Early

Whether you decide to check-in at the counter, use the kiosk or online service (to save time), the Toronto Pearson Airport offers handy tips that will make your travel experience easier; arriving early. For domestic flights, the Toronto Pearson Airport recommends that you check in at least 90 minutes before departure. To save on time, you can also check in from home at least 24 hours before boarding your flight.

To ensure that you arrive on time for your flight use reputable transportation service that not only has quality transportation vehicles, but also values customer service. Hiring transportation, such as a taxi or limousine is a great way to make sure that you arrive on time, but stress-free because you do not have to worry about parking. Hiring quality service transportation to the airport can add to your travel experience.

Not only will a company that value customer service respect your time and ensure that you arrive in a timely and safe manner, but it will make your overall experience less stressful. With multiple ways of contact include smartphone application; you can have a stress-free travel to the airport.

How To Stay Safe As A Solo Traveler

44Several people like traveling, but the thought of traveling alone stops them from going on an adventure. The reason why people are scared of traveling is “traveling alone” but the good news is that you can travel as a solo traveler and stay safe on the road. Use these following few rules on the road as I have always followed them and had the best experiences of my life.

Trust Your Instincts
Always trust your gut instincts, if you are getting an internal feeling about something that is not right and it’s making you uneasy. Then don’t go for it, listen to your heart. This feeling with time becomes strong naturally as you gain more experience being a solo female traveler.

Never Be Scared Of Saying No
Never be scared of saying “No” your solo journey is yours to enjoy. So you decide what to do and what not to do, if somebody wants you to have another shot of whiskey and you don’t want to just simply say no. You don’t have to make anyone happy except for yourself.

Keep A Dummy Wallet
Some of the pro solo travelers recommend that beginners should keep a dummy wallet with them, meaning you can buy those dummy cash and credit cards and put it in the dummy wallet. It’s enough to make that thief think that there something worthy to steal, while your real wallet can be hidden in your socks.

Listen To The Locals
When you visit a foreign country ask the staff about the possible frauds and scams to look out for. Talk to the locals about that place and ask them about where you should go for sightseeing trust me the locals know far better than any tourist guide.

Dress Properly
When traveling to another country, try not to stand out of the crowd, you should be dressed properly. In fact, try to dress like the locals. In some countries you can’t wear tank-tops and if you do then you need to cover up with a shawl this usually happens in Muslim countries. In Muslim countries you can wear jeans, but no shorts or mini skirts. So, before you travel to a foreign country research about their dress code.

Make Copies Of Passport
When you are traveling alone, it is recommended that you make copies of all the important documents that you have. Keep the electronic copies as well as the copies with you in case the worst happens and your original documents get lost or misplaced.

Inform Friends
I know solo traveling means that you cut off from the world and plan your exciting journey yourself to give your mind some peace and relaxation. But on the other hand, it’s very important that you leave somebody informed back home that when will you be back, where you will be staying and give your contact details in case of an emergency back home or you can give a few minutes to call a friend just to give an idea that you are fine.

Guide To Unlock The Budget Traveler In You

43One common misconception most people know about traveling is it’s expensive. Buying plane tickets is heavy in the pocket when planning to go a trip abroad. Expensive gasoline is also one factor why most families or even individuals back out from a long drive to the countryside. Because of these factors, people tend to stay at home and plan their vacation when they receive their bonus at the end of the year. Budget is always a question when traveling. Realistically speaking, it is and always will be part of it. However, we can make things turn around and still live our dream vacation even if the times are tough. It’s only a matter of appropriate planning.

Here are a few tips that will help you endure traveling without spending too much.

Have a place in mind

Before making any itineraries, make sure you already have a place in mind where you want to go. List down all the spots you want to see there and this will give you a lot of encouragement to pursue the trip.

Check for Seat Sales

Budget airlines, even the major ones entice tourists by advertising airfare sale on their websites. Typically, they offer as much as 50% off from the regular fares. How will you spot if there will be a sale? It’s simple. Check your calendars for upcoming holidays. Airlines would normally announce the seat sale a day before the holiday. Also, check out their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Make sure you keenly follow every move they post on their wall or timeline. It’s not everyday that you can get this once in a lifetime chance to fly without paying that much.

Make an Advanced Research

Beyond looking at great pictures on the internet of the places you want to visit, take time to find out how’s the weather, culture, modes of transportation and the people living in this place. You might have a friend or colleague living there. Getting around will not be as much as difficult on your own.

Settle for Guesthouses

Instead of finding a hotel to stay, you may consider looking for less expensive guesthouses, hostels and even local houses offering a space for travelers. Besides, you will always be out in the streets to explore.

Make the Right Food Choice

You can spend as much as you can for food, that’s not a problem. But just in case that you don’t have enough to spend for the next couple of days, you can try local cuisine in the area or buy from the grocery store. This will help you save instead of dining in expensive restaurants.

Walk the Streets

As a traveler or tourist, you will be able to appreciate the beauty of the place if you engage yourself to the moment. Refrain from taking a cab if you’ll just roam around the city. Walking and mingling with the locals will give you much more memorable experience more than just getting there.

These are just a few ways you may find useful when considering budget travelling. It’s always best to appropriately plan ahead of every trip and be prepared to what might always happen. Traveling is an opportunity that opens doors to fun and unforgettable experiences.

Lonely Traveler – No Home, Sweet Home

42One thing is for sure: family life is great and vacations with your loved ones is possibly the best way to share a nice time and to have great memorials of the places you have visited related to the persons you have been there with. A lonely traveler, for sure will not have this opportunity, but many others are opened to him.

Who a lonely traveler must be? Is it anything special you need to go around the world alone? I can say right now that there are no born lonely travelers, but self-made ones. Nobody is born to be anything. In other words, and more typically said, we are what we do.

To be a lonely traveler you need to gain confidence in yourself and from this everything else comes together. The kind of way society is structure nowadays is fighting to make the lonely traveler to disappear. But you know one thing? We will survive! Sure we will, because traveling alone has many advantages that can’t be left behind.

Society makes us dependent. You can look it from the point of view you prefer, but society always tries to classify us in groups, sub-groups, tries to find us a position in this world and makes us assume this position and act accordingly. No way. As almost a 95% of people follow this rules, it is obvious that everybody has told them their obligations but nobody told them about their rights. And you all have the right to avoid following society. But nobody will tell you.

Difficulties for the lonely traveler exist. Hotel rooms is one of the discriminating examples for the lonely traveler. Why do I have to pay more if I travel alone? I do not need a double room! Don’t you have one for a single person? Sounds like obvious they should have but many times that’s not the case, or they have so few that you will need to book ages ago to get it. And the lonely traveler does not like to book hotel rooms in advance, it takes away the independence that traveling alone gives.

For this reason and not for our level of craziness it happens that the lonely traveler has been forced to find alternative ways to travel, probably not so luxurious but more interesting. Sharing a house with local families, many kind of hostels, working in farms to have the “sleep and meat” for free, etc. In the end this turns us into people with a very strong potential to save, and that also allows us to spend a lot more time in a destinations than the usual way of traveling.

One of the great alternatives for the independent travelers are places where prices are cheaper, and a great place to explore is Asia. One of my friends spent 3 months visiting China, Thailand and Vietnam for the same cost you would pay for 1 week at a 4 stars beach side famous resort. He was normally sleeping at hostels and traveling always by road or slow trains across the country.

The experience you can get from this is so deep that I could see it in his eyes when he was telling me about it. He knew almost everything about the region. The cultural immersion you have when traveling alone is extreme, as you don’t rely in your travel partners for everything, but you need to interact with the locals directly. When we are traveling in family or friends we tend to keep more closed to the new world, our senses many times are too much into our colleagues or loved ones than into what we have in front. Taking all distractions away lets the lonely traveler to go deep into every single place visited, and this is what makes the real enjoyment of traveling.

In no way my aim is to criticize the travelers that, like myself in many occasions, stay at quality hotels. The idea is simply to open your eyes to a new universe to discover. Still, not everything will be easy, and common sense needs to be a quality over all. No excuses to be a woman. If you put common sense and get informed you are safe everywhere as a lonely traveler. Still not convinced? Well, I’ll put you in contact with my other female friend who spent 2 months alone in Brazil. Her age? 22.