Posted: December 4th, 2013

What Are the Benefits of Flying First Class?

First-class travel evokes luxury, personal service and prestige. It offers many benefits over economy class. Business travelers prefer the ambiance first class provides, as well as the extra room that allows easier use of laptop computers. It can also be a luxurious beginning and end to that vacation of a lifetime.

Types

First class differs according to the two basic types of commercial aircraft: domestic/intracontinental and over-water international aircraft. The former generally has two classes of service–economy and first class–while international aircraft usually have three classes: economy, business and first class (some carriers offer business and economy class only). The pitch, or distance between seat rows, and the seat size distinguish first class from the others. The pitch for international first class can be up to 80 inches, almost three times the space for an economy seat. For domestic flights, first class offers 20 to 25 percent more room.

Features

First-class domestic in-flight services include free meals (flights over two hours) and free cocktails, including pre-departure beverages, as well as more-attentive service. Free headsets and newspapers are commonly provided. While airlines have eliminated pillows and blankets in economy, they remain in first class. Most airlines now also provide laptop hookups. Some larger international aircraft feature first-class seats that can be converted into lay-flat beds. Other highlights include individual video screens and play-on-demand movies. Customers can choose between several gourmet meals, often by well-known chefs. These are accompanied by premium wines from around the world.

Benefits

Special check-in areas and security checkpoint queues speed first-class customers through the airport. They are also invited to board first, and on international flights are given free access to airport lounges (including showers). Customers do not pay for the first three pieces of checked baggage, either domestically or internationally (though oversize and overweight charges may apply, depending on the area).

Considerations

While first-class fares can be hefty, domestic business travelers sometimes get discounts through their company, or can upgrade with frequent-flier miles. Airlines offer upgrades to their best customers first. International first class, however, can be in high demand for full-fare-paying customers. International upgrades from business class are possible, but they should be sought in advance.

Expert Insight

First-class travelers can receive bonus frequent-flier miles. More Choose a program in which the airline is part of an alliance so the miles can be pooled between different airlines.

By Jeff Fulton, eHow Contributor

Source:  http://www.ehow.com/about_5087023_benefits-flying-first-class.html

Posted: December 2nd, 2013

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports.

At airports, program participants proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.

Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and interview before enrollment.

While Global Entry’s goal is to speed travelers through the process, members may be selected for further examination when entering the United States. Any violation of the program’s terms and conditions will result in appropriate enforcement action and revocation of the traveler’s membership privileges.

Find out more at: http://www.globalentry.gov/about.html

Posted: November 23rd, 2013

Looking to make a swift run through the security checkpoint? Now TSA has introduced a process that will allow more U.S. Citizens to enroll in TSA-Pre, an expedited screening process that allows passengers who have been pre-approved through this program to pass through security without having to remove their shoes, light outerwear or belt, while keeping their laptop in their case and the 3-1-1 compliant liquids in their carry-on bag while passing through the designated lanes.

At one point, those eligible for TSA-Pre, could only opt in through a frequent flier program or be enrolled in a Trusted Traveler program. Now U.S. citizens will be able to apply online and visit an enrollment site where they can provide their ID and fingerprints.

Currently, TSA-Pre is currently available at 97 airports nationwide. Eligible passengers traveling on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America may receive expedited screening in TSA-Pre lanes.This application program will require applicants to allow a background check, fingerprints, and comes with an enrollment fee. However it is important to note that TSA will always conduct random and unpredictable security measures and thus enrolling in TSA-Pre does not guarantee an expedited screening process.

Find out more at : http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck

Posted: November 15th, 2013

 

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
    The Atlanta International Airport has been number one among the busiest airports in the world since 1998. It serves 252,000 passengers each day.
  2. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
    Located 20 miles outside of Beijing’s city center, Beijing Capital International Airport quickly climbed the rankings of the world’s largest airports, becoming the busiest in Asia and the second on this worldwide list.
  3. London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
    Heathrow is the busiest airport in the UK and serves more international passengers than any other airport in the world.
  4. Tokyo International Airport (HND)
    This Tokyo airport, also known as Haneda Airport, handles most of Tokyo’s domestic flights and few international flights.
  5. O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
    O’Hare, a mega-airport located in Chicago, Illinois, offers flights to more than 60 international locations. It is number two on the list of the world’s biggest airports according to number of aircraft movements.
  6. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
    As the busiest airport on the West Coast of the U.S., Los Angeles International, also known as LAX, earned the nickname the “Gateway to the Pacific Rim.”
  7. Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG)
    Charles de Gaulle, also known as Roissy Airport, is located to the northeast of Paris and is the main hub of Air France.
  8. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
    DFW is considered an airport city because it includes on-airport businesses, such as retail and a hotel. In June 2013, the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport will reach a total of 200 destinations offered to its passengers and join an elite group of airports with this distinction.
  9. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK)
    The Soekarno-Hatta Airport, located outside of Jakarta, Indonesia, is currently being expanded to serve a growing number of passengers.
  10. Dubai International Airport (DXB)
    This Dubai airport is one of the main airline hubs in the Middle East and serves every continent excluding Antarctica.
  11. Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA)
    The Frankfurt Airport is the busiest in Germany and offers the largest number of international destinations in the world.
  12. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
    This airport has been operating since 1998 on the small island of Chek Lap Kok.
  13. Denver International Airport (DEN)
    The Denver International Airport is the largest in the U.S. by area and the second largest in the world.
  14. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
    The Suvarnabhumi Airport, also known as New Bangkok International Airport, is located 16 miles from downtown Bangkok.
  15. Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
    The Changi Airport serves over 100 airlines and is the home base of 8 major airlines in Southeast Asia.
  16. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
    The Schiphol Airport occupies 3,200 acres and is considered an airport city.
  17. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
    This airport, formerly known as Idlewild Airport, is located in New York City. It is just one part of the New York City airport system which is the largest in the U.S. and the second largest in the world in terms of travelers served.
  18. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)
    This airport is located in the Guangdong province of China. It is China’s second busiest airport.
  19. Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD)
    The Madrid Barajas is Spain’s main international airport. Established in 1928, it has now expanded to become one of the most valuable aviation centers in all of Europe.
  20. Ataturk International Airport (IST)
    This airport was named in honor of the founder of the Republic of Turkey. In 2013, Ataturk International Airport was named Airport of the Year and voted Europe’s Best Airport.

 

Source:  http://blog.flights.com/worlds-biggest-airports.html

Posted: November 7th, 2013

Most of us fly. Sure, some of us don’t do it very often, and there are a few of us who are terrified of heights and would never even climb a ladder, much less sail through the sky at 30,000 feet stuffed into a metal tube with a bunch of other people. However, for the general population who are willing to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice and jet off for business or for pleasure, flying has become such a common thing that they don’t really think much about it anymore. Which is really unfortunate, because that lack of thought means they also fail to think about the proper etiquette while their aboard the aircraft. Here are 17 things that everybody needs to think about each and every time they get on a plane:

1. Your space is your space, and the space for the guy next to you…? Well, that’s his. Or hers. Stay out of it. Keep your elbows, knees, and any other protruding body parts to yourself and make an effort not to spread out so much that you actually touch other passengers. They might not think you’re as much of a hottie as you think you are, and they don’t want you all over them.

2. Stick with a paperback. Don’t bring a giant newspaper, a map, a kite, or anything else that’s going to impinge upon the airspace of the person next to you.

3. If the guy/girl next to you is friendly, talk to him/him. If not, then shut up. Not everyone’s looking for a new best friend just because they happen to be sitting next to you for a few hours.

4. People who use the bathroom a lot should sit on the aisle, not by the window. Period.

5. You might love that hard rock music, but the elderly woman sitting next to you might not. And the little kid on the other side of you? He’s really getting an earful that will be sure to earn his mommy and daddy a lot of looks at the next family reunion. Turn down the volume on your mp3 player and let others enjoy whatever noise they choose for themselves.

6. People with aisle seats don’t get to hang across other passengers to look out the window. If you wanted to see the ground from that far up, you should have asked for a window seat – or packed a parachute.

7. Oh, wow. The guy next to you is reading the hot, new novel that everyone in your office is talking about! He bought it. He wants to read it, not have you eyeballing it over his shoulder. Get your own copy.

8. If you haven’t showered yet, do it before you get on the plane. People don’t want to sit next to you if you stink, especially in tight quarters full of recirculated air. Nauseating.

9. Don’t expect small children to sit silent, hands in their laps, not making a noise for the six hour flight you just boarded. However, if you’re mommy, or daddy, or some other person responsible for these children, make some effort to keep them from kicking and pummeling the back of the seat in front of them and yelling at the top of their lungs. It’s not cute, and it’s not funny, it’s just bad manners and bad parenting.

10. You really will get to get off the plane. We promise. You don’t have to stand up the very second that the aircraft comes to a stop, especially if you’re in the back row. Just sit. Breathe. You touched down safely and got to your destination, so just enjoy that. Let the people in front of you get off the plane, and then you get your turn.

11. When you get on the plane, carry your bag in front of you. If you put it over your shoulder and it bounces around and smacks seated travelers in the head, they aren’t going to be happy with you. Keep your luggage to yourself.

12. The food you are served – and some of the beverages – are hot. Don’t yank the foil off and throw them onto your seatmates. They probably haven’t done anything to deserve it. And even if they have, it’s still rude, so try to avoid it.

13. Keep your shoes on. Ditto for your socks. The people sitting around you don’t want to smell your feet.

14. Watch how you dress. If you’re a busty woman wearing a low-cut, tight shirt, people are going to stare at you. If you’re a huge, fat man wearing short shorts and a tank top, people are going to stare at you, as well. If you don’t want to be stared at, cover up a little bit. Dress like your parents were traveling with you, and be courteous. Other people have eyeballs, too.

15. If your aisle-seat-dwelling neighbor is sleeping and it’s becoming an exercise in bladder control for you, don’t try climbing over him. You can pat or touch him gently and say excuse me so that you can get by. Sure, you hate to wake him. Straddling him when he wakes up because you’re trying to get to the aisle would be bad, though. Peeing on him because you waited too long and didn’t wake him would be worse.

16. It’s tempting to play with that window shade, but don’t. Either open it or close it, and then leave it alone. The passenger next to you doesn’t want to keep getting blinded because you’ve flicked the shade up yet again and the sun has smacked right into their eyeballs.

17. Last but not least, don’t be a diva. No matter what your mother, father, boyfriend, husband, etc., might have told you, you’re not better than everyone else and you don’t deserve special treatment. Demanding it is not going to give you what you want, and it’s not going to make you any friends on the airplane. Weather delays and other problems affect everyone on the plane, and they all want the problems fixed. Griping about them won’t change that, so shut up and sit there and wait like everyone else.

Source: http://blog.flights.com/airplane_etiquette.html

Posted: September 13th, 2013

In searching for that “just right” cruise, you’ve followed all the rules — researched cruise lines, examined possible itineraries, booked your ship, selected a stateroom and picked an itinerary.

So what’s next?

You’d be surprised at how many factors — perhaps less earth-shattering but important nevertheless — remain to be considered. One of the first areas of concern is scheduling your flight in order to best accommodate your cruise.

When flying in, plan to arrive by noon — at the latest — on embarkation day. The day before is even better. The reason: You need to factor in possible flight delays and other transportation glitches that could keep you from getting to the pier on time. The same advice goes for the flight home — book flights no earlier than noon, just in case your ship is delayed clearing customs and you debark late.

If your flight is delayed, let airline personnel know immediately that you’re a cruise passenger scheduled to set sail that day so they can try to accommodate you on another flight. Then be sure to contact your cruise line as soon as possible and let them know about the delay (cruise lines offer a toll-free emergency number to call on the day of travel; make sure you have it on hand). In some cases, though not many, when several passengers are delayed a ship’s departure might be postponed. In other cases, you may have to arrange to fly to the next port and meet the ship, possibly at your expense.

Be sure to read through the cruise information before you leave, attach the luggage tags provided to all of your bags and fill out any boarding paperwork prior to departure (some cruise line Web sites now allow you to complete some of the boarding paperwork online via their Web sites). It’s also your responsibility to ascertain whether you need a visa or passport for travel, and to acquire the necessary documents prior to cruising. Hint: It’s always safest to bring a passport when cruising, even if you’re sailing roundtrip from the U.S.
Be sure to keep necessary documents and necessities in your carry on, and don’t forget to check with your particular cruise line regarding dress code, excursions and other activities to ensure a remarkable getaway!

Source:
http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=238

Posted: September 10th, 2013

Crosscheck? Ramp? Ground stop? Who comes up with these things?  Finally, decoding the insufferable jargon of air travel.

The experience of air travel is unique in that people subject themselves to a long string of mostly anonymous authorities. From the moment you step through the terminal doors, you’re hit with orders — stand here, take your shoes off there, put your seat belt on, do this, put away that — and a flurry of information. Most of it comes not face-to-face, but over a microphone, delivered by employees, seen and unseen, in a vernacular that binges on jargon, acronyms, and confusing euphemisms. There are people who make dozens of air journeys annually and still have only a vague understanding of many terms. To help, I’ve compiled a glossary, focusing on those expressions most easily misunderstood, or not understood at all. In no special order:

DOORS TO ARRIVAL AND CROSSCHECK “Flight attendants, doors to arrival and crosscheck.”
Meaning: Occasionally heard as “disarm your doors and crosscheck,” and announced by the lead flight attendant or purser as a plane approaches the gate. The intent is to verify disarming of the emergency escape slides attached to the doors. When armed, a slide will automatically deploy the instant its door is opened. Disarmed, it needs to be deployed manually. On departure the slides are armed to facilitate an emergency evacuation. (You might hear this as “doors to automatic.”) Upon docking, they’re disarmed to keep them from billowing into the boarding tunnel or onto the apron during servicing.
Crosscheck is a generic term used by pilots and flight attendants meaning that one person has verified the task of another. In the cabin, flight attendants crosscheck one another’s stations to make sure the doors are armed or disarmed as necessary.

ALL-CALL “Flight attendants, doors to arrival, crosscheck and all-call.”
Meaning: Often part of the arming/disarming procedure, this is a request that each flight attendant report via intercom from his or her station — a sort of flight attendant conference call.

LAST MINUTE PAPERWORK “We’re just finishing up some last minute paperwork and should be underway shortly…”
Meaning: Everything is buttoned up and the flight is ready for pushback. Then comes the wait for “last minute paperwork,” which winds up taking half an hour. Usually it’s something to do with the weight-and-balance record, a revision to the flight plan, or waiting for the maintenance guys to deal with a write-up and get the logbook in order.

FLIGHT DECK
Meaning: the cockpit.

FIRST OFFICER (also, COPILOT)
Meaning: Second in command on the FLIGHT DECK. The first officer sits on the right and wears three stripes. He or she is fully qualified to operate the aircraft in all stages of flight, including takeoffs and landings, and does so in alternating turns with the captain.

FLIGHT LEVEL “We’ve now reached our cruising altitude of flight level three-three-zero. I’ll go ahead and turn off the seat belt sign…”
Meaning: There’s a technical definition of flight level, but I’m not going to bore you with it. Basically this is a fancy way of telling you how many thousands of feet you are above sea level. Just add a couple of zeroes. Flight level three-three zero is 33,000 feet.

HOLDING PATTERN
Meaning: A racetrack-shaped course flown during weather or traffic delays. Published holding patterns are depicted on aeronautical charts, but one can be improvised almost anywhere.

GROUND STOP “Sorry folks, but there’s a ground stop on all flights headed south from here.”
Meaning: The point when departures to one or more destination are curtailed by ATC, usually due to a traffic backlog.

EFC TIME “Good news, we’ve been given us an EFC time of 30 minutes after the hour.”
Meaning: The expect further clearance (EFC) time, sometimes called a release time, is the point at which a crew expects to be set free from a HOLDING PATTERN or exempted from a GROUND STOP.

WHEELS-UP TIME
Meaning: Similar to the EFC TIME, except it refers to the point when a ground-stopped plane is expected to be fully airborne. The crew and ground team must be sure to get the flight boarded and pushed in order to be at or near the runway as close to this time as possible.

AREA OF WEATHER “Due to an area of weather over New Jersey, we’ll be turning southbound toward Philadelphia…”
Meaning: This typically means thunderstorms or a zone of heavy precipitation.

AIR POCKET
Meaning: Colloquial for a transient jolt of turbulence.

FINAL APPROACH “Ladies and gentlemen, we are now on our final approach into Miami.”
Meaning: For pilots, an airplane is on final approach when it has reached the last, straight-in segment of the landing pattern — that is, aligned with the extended centerline of the runway, requiring no additional turns or maneuvering. Flight attendants speak of final approach on their own more general terms, in reference to the latter portion of the descent.

THE FULL, UPRIGHT AND LOCKED POSITION
Meaning: upright

TAMPERING WITH, DISABLING, OR DESTROYING “Federal law prohibits tampering with, disabling, or destroying a lavatory smoke detector.”
Meaning: tampering with

THE OFF POSITION
Meaning: off

DEPLANE “Please remember to take all of your belongings before deplaning.”
Meaning: Deplane is used to describe the opposite of boarding an aircraft. There are those who feel the root “plane” should not be used as a verb, fearing a chain-reaction of abominable copycats. Imagine “decar” for getting out of your car, or “debed” for waking up. In fact, dictionaries date “deplane” to the 1920s, and while it’s not the slickest sounding word, I’m known to employ it myself. Like “stewardess,” it’s a term of occasional convenience. There are few snappy, PA-friendly options with the same useful meaning. “Disembark” is the most elegant one, and it’s rather clumsy.

DEADHEAD
Meaning: A deadheading pilot or flight attendant is one repositioning as part of an on-duty assignment. This is not the same as commuting to work or when engaged in personal travel.

EQUIPMENT “Due to an equipment change, departure for Heathrow is delayed three hours.”
Meaning: an airplane. (Is there not something strange about the refusal to call the focal object of the entire industry by its real name?)

DIRECT FLIGHT
Meaning: Technically, a direct flight is a routing along which the flight number does not change; it has nothing to do with whether the plane stops. This is a carryover from the days when flights between major cities routinely made intermediate stops, sometimes several of them. Most airline staff are smart enough to realize that if a passenger asks if a flight is “direct,” he or she wants to know if it stops, but check the fine print when booking.

NONSTOP
Meaning: That’s the one that doesn’t stop.

GATEHOUSE “If there is a passenger Patrick Smith in the gatehouse, please approach the podium?”
Meaning: An idiosyncratic way of saying the gate area or boarding lounge. Gatehouse has a folksy touch that I really like. They should use it more often.

PRE-BOARD “We would now like to pre-board those passengers requiring special assistance.”
Meaning: This one, on the other hand, has no charm. It means to board. Except, to board first.

FINAL AND IMMEDIATE BOARDING CALL
Meaning: A flamboyant way of telling slow-moving passengers to get their asses in gear. It provides more urgency than just “final call” or “last call.”

IN RANGE “The flight has called in range, and we expect to begin boarding in approximately 40 minutes.
Meaning: This is a common GATEHOUSE announcement during delays, when the plane you’re waiting to board hasn’t yet landed. Somewhere around the start of descent, the pilots will send an electronic “in range” message to let everybody know they’ll be arriving shortly. How shortly is tough to tell, as the message is sent prior to any low-altitude sequencing and assumes no inbound taxi congestion. What they’re giving you at the gate is a best-case time for boarding. As a rule of thumb, add twenty minutes.

RAMP “We’re sorry, your suitcase was crushed by a 747 out on the ramp.”
Meaning: Ramp refers to the aircraft and ground vehicle movement areas closest to the terminal — the aircraft parking zones and surrounds. In the early days of aviation, many aircraft were amphibious seaplanes or floatplanes. If a plane wasn’t flying, it was either in the water or it was “on the ramp.”

ALLEY “It’ll be just a second, folks. We’re waiting for another aircraft to move out of the alley.”
Meaning: A taxiway or passageway between terminals or RAMPS.

APRON
Meaning:  Similar to RAMP, above, this is basically any expanse of TARMAC that is not a runway or taxiway — i.e. areas where planes park or are otherwise serviced.

TARMAC
Meaning: A portmanteau for “tar-penetration macadam,” a highway surfacing material patented in Britain in 1901. Eventually it came to mean any sort of asphalt or blacktop. You hear it in reference to airports all the time, even though almost no ramp, apron, runway or taxiway is actually surfaced with the stuff. Real tarmac becomes soft in hot weather, and would turn to mush under the wheels of a heavy jet. (I think of Paul Weller’s invocation of “sticky black tarmac” in the gorgeous Jam song “That’s Entertainment!”) Like many words, it has outgrown its specificity, and there are linguistic traditionalists who are bothered by this. I am not one of them.

Source:
http://www.askthepilot.com/how-to-speak-airline/

Posted: September 3rd, 2013

The primary differences between first and business class on a plane are seats and service. However, no specific standards exist in the airline industry, and to ensure you get what you pay for, you need to do a little research. Significant differences exist between first class on a domestic flight versus an international flight. On the ground, most premium services are offered equally to international and domestic premium travelers.

Domestic or International

Domestic flights are generally, but not always, operated with two-cabin planes with first class and economy. International flights on many airlines are operated with three-cabin planes with first, business and economy cabins. First class on a two-cabin domestic flight is not the equivalent of its identically named counterpart when flying overseas. In fact, it does not even rival international business class. Occasionally a three-cabin international plane will be used on a domestic flight either to position the aircraft for an international flight or to operate a premium route, such as Los Angeles to New York.

First Class–International

International first class cabins generate significant revenue for the airlines and, as a result, receive the most attention in both seats and on-board service. Seats are evolving constantly, with each airline rushing to outdo the others in luxuriousness. Current seats feature a full, lie-flat bed at the touch of a button for comfortable sleeping. Many airlines provide luxury duvets and pillows to enhance the comfort of their passengers in-flight. Entertainment options include personal audio/video on-demand systems that feature dozens of movies and hundreds of songs with a large, flat-screen monitor at each seat location. Food and beverage service is top-notch with menus designed by celebrity chefs and wine pairings suggested by noted sommeliers.

Business Class–International

International business class falls short of first class but still exceeds the offerings of domestic first class. Competition for passengers and new technology developed for international first class has created a significant improvement in business class, which is still offered for significantly lower fares than first class. Seats are somewhat less luxurious than first, but many airlines have been upgrading their seats to the lie-flat standard in premium air travel. The difference between airlines rests in whether their lie-flat seats are at a true 180-degree angle or if they are slightly tilted toward the floor. Personal audio/video systems are also becoming the norm, with screens slightly smaller than those found in first class. Food and beverage service is still significantly better than in the economy cabin but might be a bit less high-end than first.

Hybrid First and Business–International

Some airlines offer a combination of first and business on international flights and operate a two-cabin plane. This is not to be confused with domestic first class on a two-cabin aircraft. Hybrid first/business is exactly what it sounds like–some elements of both features. The main feature of a hybrid class is its pricing. It will generally offer more services than the standard business class but at a cost much less than first.

First Class–Domestic

Not to be confused with its similarly named international counterpart, domestic first class still offers some advantages over flying economy. Most significantly, first class seats are wider and offer more leg room than those in economy. For example, a standard Boeing 757 has six seats across in a 3-3 configuration in economy, whereas first will feature four seats across with a 2-2 configuration. Most airlines are eliminating meals in economy, but first class still offers the convenience of hot meals on most routes, along with free alcoholic beverages.

Source:
http://traveltips.usatoday.com/difference-between-business-class-first-class-21078.html

Posted: August 28th, 2013

Travel with children has increased more over the last decade than any other type of travel. Since summer has come to a close, many families may soon be planning holiday trips or family gatherings.

The key to traveling with kids is striking the right balance between the challenging and the comfortable, the strange and the familiar.

Here are a few ideas to help achieve that stress-free balance for both the parent and child.

1. All travelers over the age of 4 should be responsible for their own carry-on bag.  Seriously.  It’s a small bag. Let them take responsibility for their own stuff.  Save your back and raise independent kids all in one fell swoop.  And, be sure to have a change of clothes in that bag for any unforeseen accidents or spills.

2. Other smart packables include any daily meds need to be in their carry on like age appropriate Acetaminophen (chewable), Ibuprofen (chewable), Benedryl, Dramamine, Pepto-Bismol, Immodium, Band-Aids, Neosporin, Cough Medicine, and a small thermometer.  Call your pediatrician before you leave and ask their advice – they may even prescribe an antibiotic to take just in case.  And definitely remember the antibacterial wipes!

3. Strange place; familiar food. Carry an insulated lunch bag with a shoulder strap on all long flights and fill it full of healthy, familiar items like protein bars, sliced apples, and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.  Just remember the liquid rules for passing security.

4. Handheld devices are invaluable for keeping kids entertained at airports and on long flights. However, once the kids are at the destination, the experience will not be very nourishing if they shut out the sights and sounds of where they are with the portable sights and sounds of home. Make the deal before you leave, digital distraction ends when you get there. It will cause serious withdrawal for some kids–which is not such a bad thing.

5. Have an electronics back-up plan with books, a drawing pad and a pen set, Mad Libs, a deck of cards and at least one modest project.  For example, older children could write thank you notes for whatever recent holiday just came and went while on the plane.  Having at least one directed task that needs to be accomplished helps the time go by.

6. Once at your destination, replace the digital toys with binoculars. One of the great benefits of travel is that it shows you new worlds. Binoculars show you new worlds within new worlds. Binoculars are on virtually all “What to Bring” lists for nature travel, but they are almost as valuable for other kinds of travel as well. They are not of much use inside the Louvre, but they are great for seeing the details of the molding above the cornice on the exterior of the Louvre. The same binoculars that work for bird watching work for people watching.

Above all, enjoy your time exploring and travelling with the kiddos!

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-kaye/six-tips-for-traveling-with-children_b_829444.html

http://www.thenotquitedailydispatch.com/2010/02/05/what-to-pack-in-a-carry-on-for-kids-traveling-internationally/

Posted: August 1st, 2013

Asia is the largest continent on Earth in both size and population. There are over 4 billion people living in Asia and when you add tourism on top of that, the number of people moving about is overwhelming. There are 48 countries within Asia, two being shared by Europe. Asia is by far the most culturally diverse of all seven continents.

Just as you would when traveling to any foreign place, you have to pre-plan. The top five Asian countries to visit according to thetoptens.com are Philippines, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand.

Years ago, traveling to any one of these locations could cost you a lot of money. With more and more Asian travel, new airlines are forming and current ones are offering affordable flights. Asia itself is known as one of the most affordable continents to visit.

There are a few myths revolving around travel to Asia and knowing these will help you enjoy your trip much more.

1. You need to learn the language before you visit. Truth is, in almost every place in Asia you will discover that English is spoken.

2. Street food is not safe. Actually, when you purchase food from a street cart you get to see the meals prepared for you, which is not the case when dining in.

3. Traveling to Asia is dangerous. Common sense goes a long way in a foreign place just as it does at home.

4. Asia travel is expensive. In Thailand, you can often sleep, eat and explore for just $20.00 a day. There is a favorable exchange rate in Asia.

5. Traveling by tour is the best way to travel in Asia. Traveling by tour can cost you more money and it’s not always necessary. For first-timers though, it can be a comfort to travel in a group.

Other helpful tips for traveling about in Asia include:

1. If you plan on venturing outside of tourist areas or are visiting Asia for a long period of time, it’s wise to get caught up on vaccinations. A common vaccine to get before traveling to Asia is Hepatitis A and B, Measles, Tetanus/Diphtheria and Typhoid. Check with your doctor before leaving.

2. Some Asian countries require a travel visa before entry. This is a stamp on your passport. Countries such as China, Vietnam, Myanmar, and India require this for access. You can visit the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs website for current visa requirement information.

3. Travel insurance is a wise investment to protect any valuables you’re bringing.

4. Asia has erratic weather conditions. Some locations are more dry or wet than others so check weather patterns before you go.

Source –

http://goasia.about.com/od/Planning/ss/Asia-Travel_7.htm

http://geography.about.com/od/lists/a/largecontinent.htm

http://www.thetoptens.com/top-asian-countries/

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