Tips to Help You Travel Better
As professional travel advisors, it’s our job to stay up to date and keep you informed about the ever-changing world of travel — hence, handy-dandy articles full of excellent insights such as this one. Read on and, if you have any additional questions regarding these topics or others, your trusted travel advisor is only a phone call, email or text away.
Photo: Family vacation
How to save time while travelling
Everyone wishes to make the most of their vacation time. It’s one of the main reasons travelers turn to professionals: Travel advisors can streamline your vacation, so you spend less time waiting and more time enjoying. Here are a few of our favorite ways that you can save valuable time on your next getaway.
Subscribe to a Pre-Screening Service
The first bottleneck many vacationers face is waiting in the long security checkpoint line that seemingly snakes for miles through the airport. To bypass this holdup, join a pre-screening service that accelerates the security process.
TSA PreCheck gives you a faster screening experience at domestic airports that is often less obtrusive.
Global Entry expedites entry via air, land and sea into the U.S. and includes TSA PreCheck.
Choose Priority Boarding
Start your cruise off on the right, faster foot with priority boarding which allows you to use a dedicated security and check-in lane. This lets you skip the usual long lines at registration, and typically your accommodations will be ready before others. Priority boarding is often an included perk for suite passengers and cruise line loyalty members, but many cruise lines allow any passenger to pay for this worthwhile privilege.
After a long flight to your destination, the last thing you want to do is queue up in a long taxi line or try to figure out where exactly your Uber driver might be. Have a professional transportation service booked and ready to whisk you away as soon as your luggage is secured. These services can either meet you inside the airport or can be easily accessed near the taxi area.
Buy Advance Tickets
Most main attractions and museums require a ticket to enter. And for anyone who’s seen the early-morning line at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence meander down and around the Piazza della Signoria, you know how long those ticket-purchasing lines can be. Skip this line by buying tickets online before you go. Most sights have a limited number of spaces each day, so if you buy your tickets way in advance, you can guarantee your place.
Use a Travel Advisor
When a travel advisor plans your vacation, these tips and more are usually baked into the entire experience. We excel at making your travels as smooth and stress-free as possible, so you never have to worry about a thing. How to get to your hotel? Tickets to the museum? Details on shore excursions? Relax … we have it all under control.
Benefits of longer vacations
Have you ever needed a vacation after your vacation? Did you spend so much time and energy trying to jam in all the attractions and activities during your vacation that you returned home exhausted and in need of more rest? It doesn’t have to be that way. Extending your vacation by a few days gives you the time and space to achieve your to-do list while also taking a few moments off to relax. Here are some additional benefits.
More Time to Get into Vacation Mode
Vacation mode is not a myth. It takes time to shake off the daily routine and mentally accept that you’re far away from the hustle and bustle of home life. When you give your vacation the proper space it deserves, you put yourself in a better position to de-stress and embrace the numerous benefits vacations should provide. These include a better mental state, greater physical health and a boost in overall happiness.
More Time to Explore
If you’re travelling far for your vacation, it makes sense to explore as much of that region as you can. Extending your vacation gives you the time to properly explore your vacation destination, take a day trip to a lesser-known area or even dip into a neighboring country for the day. For cruisers, a longer vacation lets you book a pre- or post-cruise experience. These are packages booked through our agency that allow you to tour the city your cruise embarks from or arrives at.
More Time to Stay Updated
In the modern world, many people are finding it possible to work from home without missing a beat. If you are able to do this, then bringing your laptop to another destination and putting in a few hours of work is worth it if it means extending your vacation. Plus, work tends to be easier to enjoy when you’re typing away from a tropical resort, hearing the call of macaws and smelling gardenias.
Picking the best cruise cabin
There isn’t much you need to know about a hotel room before you book it, besides the size of the bed, whether it’s a garden or sea view and how close it is to the ice machine. But choosing the best cabin on your next cruise entails a bit more knowledge. While cabins once were simply classified as inside, outside, veranda or suite, some ships now have more than 20 categories. Choosing one based on price alone is not wise. If you don’t like your cabin, you won’t be so thrilled with your cruise, and we don’t want that to happen. With that in mind, here are some helpful insights into picking the cabin that’s best for you.
Main Cabin Types
Inside Cabins: roughly 120-180 square feet, with no porthole or window
Outside Cabins: typically mirror images of interior cabins but with ocean views via a porthole or window
Balconies or Verandas: slightly larger cabins with sliding glass doors, giving you access to a small balcony large enough for a couple of chairs and a small table
Suites: expanded balcony rooms with either a small sitting area or separate bedrooms. They can be massive with multiple rooms, a grand piano or even a private whirlpool on your balcony.
Photo: Cruise vacation
Location, Location, Location
Usually, the least expensive, lower-deck cabins are best for those who feel the effects of motion discomfort the most, for they provide a smoother ride in rough seas. The downside is proximity, for they are the farthest from, well, everything you’d want to do on a ship. Cabins on the higher decks usually cost more, but they are close to all the fun stuff, making it immensely easier to run back to your cabin after lunch to grab your novel before hitting the pool deck. Midship cabins offer a good compromise when it comes to cost, proximity and motion control. Some staterooms are located in a private part of the ship with an exclusive restaurant and sun deck. Location matters.
Time Spent in the Cabin
Today’s ships are packed with enough activities to keep you on your toes (or on a rock-climbing wall) 24/7. But don’t assume you’ll never step foot inside your cabin. With so many things to do on board, you’ll need a good place to chill between activities. Or maybe you’ll just need a quiet sanctuary to relax, watch a movie or have a private dinner on the balcony. Every passenger spends different amounts of time in their cabin, but you’re likely to spend more time in there than you originally think.
To Splurge or Not to Splurge
Cabins range from compact to grandiose, with price tags to match. The least-expensive cabin on every ship is an interior one with limited space. Spend a little more, and you get an outside cabin with a window, and oh what a difference that window makes. Spend a little more and you get a balcony, where you can enjoy fresh air as you watch the next destination slide into view. Spend a little more and you’re in a suite, a luxurious home base for your family to reconnect after a day of adventuring. A splurge to a higher cabin category goes a long way, in our professional opinion. No one has ever complained about booking a suite, but we understand that budgets vary.
Your Cabin Is Ready
Each ship is unique, and new ships are launching yearly. How is it possible for you to keep track of all the different cabin types? Easy — ask us! Travel advisors make it their business to sail on or tour as many cruise ships as we can, so we have seen many of the cabins first-hand. Feel free to pick our brains about your next cabin selection anytime.
Travel better in the summer heat
For those who avoid travelling in the summer to evade the higher temps, you’re missing out. A little heat isn’t so bad, especially when you’re walking down cobblestone alleyways and exploring ancient temples. Plus, there are a few major advantages to travelling during the height of summer, several of which are outlined below. The key to enjoying your time is to not sweat the small stuff, even if you’re sweating through everything else.
Some Things Simply Taste Better in the Heat
Locals in the countries you visit have a long history of surviving the off-season heat, which led them to create many of the cultural treats and beverages that are now internationally enjoyed, such as gelato and other frozen confections, as well as national beers. Experiencing these treats in their country of origin on a wonderfully warm day is an experience you never forget.
Maximizing Your Day with Naps
We often push ourselves too hard during vacations, trying to see every major site in a 50-mile radius of the resort. While this is a perfectly acceptable strategy, you often return home drained and in need of another, more-relaxing vacation. Travelling during a heated summer solves this dilemma. You typically wake up early in the morning, leisurely enjoy one or two crowd-free attractions before the sun rises too high in the sky, and then return to your luxurious hotel for a swim and a nap. You awaken late afternoon, as the sun and the temperature descend, feeling refreshed and ready to relish the local nightlife.
Take Your Time in Museums
Summer is the best time to deliberately dawdle in some of the world’s greatest museums, when you can take your time appreciating masterpieces without fighting the crowds. Plus, during summer travel, museums become chilled sanctuaries from the heat since they must keep the halls properly air conditioned to protect the art.
The Beauty of Off-Season
Two major advantages of travelling in the off-season, when rumored heat waves keep less-adventurous tourists away, are smaller crowds and lower prices. It’s only natural for travelers to plan their holidays around the weather, aiming for sunny, 68-degree days so they can enjoy standing in line with millions of other tourists who craved similar forecasts. During summer, those lines melt away in tropical destinations, making it much easier to enjoy major attractions.
Talk to Us, Your Travel & Weather Advisors
Contact us at any time to talk about the best places to visit during the summer. Europe, Asia, Australia, Mexico, Las Vegas … all these fabulous destinations have off-seasons you can take advantage of.