August 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

Win a Trip

There are Travel contests all over the internet from one day trips to week long excursions. Ever wanted a weekend in Las Vegas or a trip to Disneyland? How about a beachfront paradise for two? Well do a little searching and you can find plenty of contests and sweepstakes to enter. Don’t pay for the privilege and there is really no use in paying a contest site for the information. It’s out there for free. Here are a few you might be interested in.

Win a trip to Amsterdam courtesy of Amstel Light. The grand prize winner will receive round-trip airfare for two to Amsterdam. The winner and one guest will receive a five-night stay at a four-star hotel, $500 in spending money and ground transportation from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the hotel and back.enter here 

Glamour Magazine is offering a five night trip for two to Thatch Caye Resort, Belize. The trip includes 3 meals per day, Ocean view room with a roof deck and loads of freebie gifts. enter here

Wyndham Vacations is offering a family reunion vacation. The Grand Prize contest winner will get to pick their vacation destination from select Wyndham Vacation RentalsSM properties. Then they’re off to embark on the Ultimate Family Reunion vacation with up to 10 of their favorite friends and family members! The trip includes accommodations and flights for up to 10 people, your choice of one free family activity at your selected property, plus one $2,500 USD cash card—for a total value of $28,000 USD  enter here

Caribbean Travel + Life is giving away a five night luxury stay for two in St Lucia. enter here

For a really grand getaway try your luck with the Discovery Channel. They have teamed up with Michelob to offer an truly ultimate travel experience.
One prize will be awarded consisting of a Discovery Adventure Trip of the winner’s choice for two people from among the following destinations; China, India, Galapagos Islands Cruise, Serengeti Wildlife Safari, Argentina and Brazil or Ancient Inca ruins of Peru.

The prize consists of round trip coach air travel for two people from the major commercial airport closest to winner’s residence to chosen destination; standard double-occupancy accommodations for duration of trip; daily excursions and guided tours; and some meals. The prize will range in value from $5,198 to $9,598 depending on the trip chosen. Enter here

Go ahead and try your luck. What do you have to lose? But if you win send me a postcard.

August 25, 2011 at 3:47 am Leave a comment

I am Back

Well I am done traveling for awhile. I spent almost two months in Thailand. I was working on a business proposal that may or may not pan out one day. Thailand was great, I spent time in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. Saw a lot of sites when I wasn’t working on the other project and had a great time. The people were great and I look forward to returning. I will be in the process of migrating this to a wordpress format and moving it to a dedicated host over the next few weeks which will allow me a little more freedom to expand the blog and offer more to you the readers.  So thanks for hanging in there with me and stay tuned for more updates.

August 24, 2011 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment

One more Day

d airport securityImage by dmixo6 via Flickr

Well I leave in 24 hours so I won’t be posting for a couple of days. Taking this last day to finalize everything, packing, getting copies of reservations and passport printed, and a few other final touches. Then I will off on what is assured to be a cramped, overcrowded flight. Two stops which isn’t too bad, gives me chance to stretch my legs. That’s the only part of traveling I don’t like, dealing with long lines at the airport and cramped planes.
 Air travel has evolved from anticipated pleasant experience to more of a journey in a cattle car, unless you get Business or First class. Oh well what are you going to do? Unless you splurge for upgrades it is what it is. At least when I get there I can relax and enjoy what I like doing best which is experiencing different cultures, foods and sights. And on the bright side I get a little action at the TSA patdown area.

April 25, 2011 at 11:46 am 1 comment

The Final Countdown

10 tips for the perfectly packed suitcase -Tim...Image by John Barnabas Leith via Flickr

Crunch time, 48 hours until I leave for my first trip to Thailand. I will be gone almost a month and although I don’t really follow an itinerary I usually have the first part of the trip planned, so let me go through my checklist.

Plane tickets, check just need to print out the e-ticket and I have it saved on the desktop of my netbook which I will be taking. A lot of people leave computers behind but I like the option of staying connected when I need to so I have a Toshiba netbook. Weighing in at under 3lbs and a battery life of 7-8 hours it is great for web surfing and checking email and fits easily in a backpack.Plus I can keep copies of my passport, tickets and reservations handy. Of course the other option would be to put that data on a flash drive and tuck it into a side pocket.

OK gotta get back on track, Hotel reservation check. I will be arriving around midnight and since I don’t want to be stuck somewhere I made a reservation for 2 nights at a hotel. That gives me time to decide  what I am going to do and where I am going to go.

Passport, check, along with 3-4 color copies I can carry and tuck away in bags. Makes it easy if a bag gets misplaced or if you loose your passport it helps in getting a new one.

Medicine, check, not only any medication needed for the trip but also things like a small bottle of aspirin and a few Imodium tablets and anything else you might need on short notice.

Dog food, check. I know, I know it’s not for me. Well there was this one time when I had way too much to drink that I … never mind. I have a couple of dogs so I made arrangements for them to be taken care of and fed while I am gone. Gotta remember those dogs, cats, birds, snakes, whatever. Make sure you leave them adequate care while your off trippin the globe.

Ok that’s good for now, 48 hours, I have time to finish up the rest and not be rushed. What the hell am I forgetting?

April 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

New Airfare Rules

On the TarmacImage by sparktography via Flickr

 How often have you seen a ridiculously low airfare published only to find out that when you try to purchase a ticket that a tax larger than the airfare is added on? Well it happened to me today when I spent time purchasing a ticket for my trip to Thailand next week. I have been aggravated for awhile to see these fares and then waste time going through the motions only to find out the true airfare. Several airlines do it and some big air ticketing websites on the internet do it. Well not much longer. This practice was addressed in a Final Rule issued by the Department of Transportation along with several other issues.

Docket No. DOT-OST-2010-0140 issued by the Department and which can be seen HERE issues rulings on the following:
(1) contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays; (2) reporting of tarmac delay data; (3) customer service plans; (4) contracts of carriage; (5) responding to consumer problems/complaints (6) oversales; (7) full fare advertising; (8) baggage and other ancillary fees; (9) post-purchase price increases; (10) notification to passengers of flight status changes; (11) choice-of-forum provisions; and (12) peanut allergies.

The Full Fare advertising ruling not only affects the airlines but anyone selling a ticket to include agencies and online ticket sellers. Unfortunately this seems to have been brought on by the airlines and ticket agents not being willing to operate in a fully transparent manner. But at least next time I go shopping for a ticket I won’t have to navigate multiple web pages to find out what I am being charged. 

April 22, 2011 at 2:51 am Leave a comment

And You Thought You Had Jet Lag

Travelers sleeping in the Zagreb train stationImage by Kate B Dixon via Flickr

I had to renew my Passport recently and I started thinking about all the countries I have visited over the years. I realized I had been to quite a lot of places and started feeling very worldly, a seasoned traveler, yes a man of the world. But then I did a little checking and found out I am but a mere speck on the backside of some of the most traveled people in the world.

There are several travel clubs that track peoples globetrotting but the most revered, yes I am bowing down as I write this, is the Most Traveled Peoples Club . According to their website they have 10,511 active members, of which 248 are under the age of 20 and 65 are over the age of 79. The club was started in 2005 as a community for extreme travelers and the club has since voted on and designated 872 countries, territories, autonomous regions, enclaves, geographically separated island groups and major states and provinces. They even have a theme song which is fittingly “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash.

The Founder of this club is rightfully so, the most traveled member of the group. Charles Veley, an American, is a recruiter for a software company. He has visited 822 of the recognized destinations and is one of only 90 members to have visited over 400 countries putting him in the clubs Hall of Fame. I felt better when I saw that 1285 of the members were in the Couch Potato classification meaning they have traveled to anywhere from 1 to 24 countries. I have that beat so in the words of Carl Spackler, Bill Murray’s character in the movie Caddy Shack, “I’ve got that going for me”.

So if you have the travel bug in you then get after it and get your name in the Hall of Fame and maybe be the “Most Traveled Person in the World.

April 17, 2011 at 5:02 am 1 comment

Traveling to Thailand

Palm tree at dawn, Patong Beach, Phuket Provin...Image via Wikipedia

Well I think my next trip is on the horizon. I should be traveling to Thailand in the next few weeks. It is going to be a fairly short trip mainly for business. While I am there though I plan on taking in a few of the sites. Now I will be traveling with a long time friend that has been there several times and he knows a lot about the country. For me however this will be my first trip. Anyone have any suggestions regarding the must see sights? The plan is to spend a day or two in Bangkok and then some time down south in the resort areas. So if anyone has any suggestions feel free to leave a comment.

April 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

Important Things to Add to Your Packing List

Passport Pages 10-12Image by nathangibbs via Flickr

I do a lot of traveling and I pack what I need taking into consideration where I am going and how long I will be gone. But these are things I always do no matter where my travels take me and so far it has worked out pretty good.

Copies of Your Passport

Before you leave home get color copies of your passport made. Put one in your wallet or purse, one in your carry on bag and one in each checked bag. It is always a good idea to carry your passport on you after you check into the hotel and you are out exploring the city. This way you can leave your passport locked up in your luggage in the room or in the rooms safe. Extra copies are also important if you loose your passport and need to get one at the nearest Embassy. Having a copy on hand makes the process easier and quicker.

Small Flashlight

I travel in a lot of out of the way places but even in if you stay in the more populated areas a flashlight is a good idea. Blackouts, brownouts, unexpected storms whatever if you have a small flashlight it makes things much easier and safer. A compact flashlight small enough to put in your pocket or a zippered area of a bag costs as little as $2.00 and can be bought at any sporting goods store, Walmart or K Mart.

Universal Adapter

There is no need to take several adapters and cords for plugging in and staying connected.  Whether it is an electric shaver, cell phone charger, computer charger or anything else, a small universal converter does the job. I bought mine six years ago in the airport in Frankfurt Germany and it is still with me. At about 1 inch squared it fits easily in any bag and comes in handy. Just remember if you take electrical items to check the voltage, cell phones and computers don’t usually have problems and can recharge anywhere but try to plug in a 110 volt electrical item in Europe and you won’t have it long.

Baby Wipes

Even if your not traveling with a baby these things come in handy. They are great for freshening up after a long plane ride, or after and hour of walking around in the heat. They don’t take up much space and you will be glad to pull one out and wipe away the grime from your face, neck and arms.

Anti Bacterial Hand Sanitizer
Small bottle goes a long way. Whether your walking around and stop at that roadside food vendor or your hot, sweaty and dirty, after touring that tropical site, it is nice to get the dirt and germs off. A small bottle can fit into your pocket and you won’t even notice it.

First Aid Kit 
Ok before you say anything just wait. I am not talking about some big and bulky box. Lots of places sell a small kit about the size of a cell phone. I have found them at Walmart in the pharmacy section, Dollar Stores, Target and other places. Look for one that has a couple of band aides, some antiseptic cream and if it doesn’t have the following then put it in there; a couple of Imodium tablets, a couple of antacid tablets and a few aspirin or other pain pills. Doesn’t take up hardly any room and with any luck you won’t need it but you’ll be happy to have it if you do.

When I travel I take all of the things mentioned and like I said, it doesn’t take up much room, in fact it takes up less room than those neck cushions I see everyone using on the airplane. I don’t have one of those I just ask the stewardess for an extra pillow.

OK one last item and this is it I promise. Stop at the bank before you go and exchange some money for the currency you are going to need at your first destination. You have money as soon as you step off the plane without waiting in line with everyone else. Doesn’t seem like a big deal but take a 15 hour flight then stand in line behind 10 people and have that kid that bothered you for the duration of the flight play stomp the big guys foot and you will be glad you have the cash already.
If you have things you take and want to suggest  then leave a comment.

April 13, 2011 at 4:18 am Leave a comment

5 Romantic Destinations

Romantic Couple @ Nachtdigital 12 // 2009Image by Merlijn Hoek via Flickr

Aaah Romance, whether it is a honeymoon or you screwed up and need to make nice with the wife one sure fire way is to go on a romantic getaway. Somewhere just the two of you so you can relax, enjoy each others company, rekindle that passion or just keep the passion burning. There are lots of places and everyone has their opinions but here are five to consider. Click on each Hotel name to go to their website.

Image from Be Hotels

BE Tulum Hotel

Located in the town of Tulum Mexico, just south of Cancun, this boutique hotel is surrounded by tropical forests on one side and white sand beaches on the other. With twenty rooms, all suites, the hotel is small enough to be quiet, get lost and be attended to. With its location on the Maya Riviera there is something for everyone. You can spend quiet days at nights at the hotel, lounging at the pool or maybe going to the spa, enjoying the pristine beaches or just staying in and getting room service. Once you venture out of the resort, there are Mayan ruins in the town and Cancun is a short drive to the North.

Mystique Hotel

Stairway in Oia, SantoriniImage by MarcelGermain via Flickr

Located in Santorini Greece the Mystique has eighteen Suites and Villas, Pool, beautiful view of the  Aegean Sea, Gourmet Restaurant and a Wine Cave. Suites are appointed differently, all have terraces, some have Jacuzzi tubs, some steam baths, one has a treadmill and fitness machine with a spa bed. The Villas have separate living rooms and dining areas. With its natural beauty, seclusion, architecture and romantic cafe’s and bars, Santorini and the Mystique Hotel definitely make the list.

Il Pellicano

Image from Il Pellicano website

Located on the Tuscan Coast of Italy the resort  prides itself on being an exclusive, secluded resort. Having been bestowed with numerous awards  it is rated as one of the top hotels in the world. The resort is more of a cluster of villas than a traditional hotel. With ten Deluxe Suites, five Junior Suites, 35 Double Rooms and a few Cottages, there is something for everyone.There is a Health and Beauty Center, Michelin rated Restaurant, an open air grille and two bars.  The hotel was originally built in 1965 by a former WWII British Pilot and a Hollywood Socialite who found love and set out to create a place that others could come and enjoy. With flowering gardens and deep blue seas this is the place you want to go to be away from everything.

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

pavilionImage by shawnhoon via FlickrLocated on Vabbinfaru Island, Male Atoll, Maldives the resort has 48 rustic villas encircled by a white sand beach. Each villas has a bedroom with an open terrace, king sized bed, recessed sitting area, daybed, open air jet pool and private sundeck. Whether it is world class cuisine at the hotel or being taken by speedboat to a secluded area where you dine privately on the beach lit by torches, there is ample opportunity to enjoy this romantic escape. Of course you could always enjoy a one, two or three night sailing package aboard a double masted yacht enjoying your elegantly appointed cabin complete with queen size bed, air conditioning and ensuite bathroom.

San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge

A view of Arabba in the Dolomites.                                 Image via Wikipedia    Located in the legendary Dolomites, the lodge is an exclusive retreat. Not a hotel but your very own Chalet, with a kitchen, dining room, tea room, day room and terrace on the ground floor. The first floor has four bedrooms, a lounge and a relaxation area. If you like wine your in luck because you will have your very own wine cellar. With lots of activities in both Winter and Summer you can stay busy or just relax in one of the most beautiful regions in Europe in your very own Chalet.

So there are five suggestions for your honeymoon or romantic getaway. No matter what the reason, even if it is because you screwed up, one of these places should get you back in good graces.

April 11, 2011 at 5:25 am Leave a comment

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