Everyone today has a mobile device to use when traveling. Whether you're staying connected with a smartphone, tablet, notebook, or laptop, you will be accessing the internet and that's when things can go wrong. Hackers know you want to connect and they will do their best to access your device and important data. Follow these tips to keep you safer when traveling:
Prepare your device before leaving by installing anti-virus software and having the latest OS version loaded on your phone.
Because you are exposed to more threats from free wi-fi when traveling, you must have antivirus software on your phone. It also wouldn’t hurt to look into having a VPN service on your phone for safety. A Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used to access websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more.
Don't post your travel plans on Social Media.
You don't want your neighbors calling you on vacation to tell you that your house has been burglarized. Yes, that does happen. Save all of your beautiful pictures and share them at the end of your vacation. Burglars are known for scanning social media for travel plans and then making their plans on your homes.
Keep an eye on your devices at all times.
So much of our information is stored on our cell phone. Think about it - we have pictures, banking information, email, social media, and more on that little device. When you are traveling, don’t just leave it out on the lounge chair by the pool. Take care of it like you would your wallet. Put your phone in your hotel safe if you are not going to be using it. If you are using it, keep it next to you at all times.
Turn off Bluetooth.
Turn off your Bluetooth when not in use. Not only will this save on your battery life when you are on vacation, but it will be a big safety protector. Hackers may be able to get into your device from the Bluetooth connection. Only use it if you absolutely need to.
Change your passwords.
Even though you should change passwords every three months, it is especially crucial after coming home from vacation. You were most likely on free wi-fi at some point during your vacation.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful!
I'm sure you've heard by now that ocean cruising is slowly giving way to a more unique type of travel – river cruising. Most commonly thought of in Europe, on the Rhine, Danube, Seine, and Douro Rivers, river cruising is also extending itself to Russia, China, Vietnam and Cambodia and even the United States. Many of the voyages are “themed”, for special interests such as Wine Immersion, Tulip Time, Jewish Heritage, Beer Tasting, and the very popular Christmas Market cruises during the months of November and December. Besides the obvious benefit of unpacking once while seeing so many European cities, there are several reasons why so many travelers are switching to river cruising...and many of them will never go back to the oceans!
1. The boats are smaller and more intimate (120-170 passengers) so you can actually get to know your fellow guests. You may eat with whom you choose each evening and have a choice of a few on-board dining venues for variety.
2. It is as close to hassle-free as you can get. There are no lines to get on or off the boat and when you arrive at your next stop, you can usually walk right off and be immersed in your destination. Europe grew up along its rivers, so there are some very charming and interesting small towns and big cities to explore. Very few ports require bus transfers, which makes it easy to come and go at your leisure.
3. The trip can be totally all-inclusive, depending on the cruise line and ship you have chosen. Some cruise lines even include shore excursions in every port, airport transfers, wi-fi and all gratuities.
4. Being on the river, there are no waves, so seasickness is not an issue. Also, most cruises include transferring through a series of “locks” to accommodate the changes in elevation, which most people find super interesting to watch. You can literally touch the walls of the locks from your balcony as you pass through! Evening entertainment can be a little sparse compared to an ocean cruise ship, but there is always live music in the lounge, lots of movies and entertainment on your in-cabin TVs and most cruise lines bring on local entertainers in some ports, such as glass-blowers in Germany or Gypsy dancers in Budapest. Plus, there are informative talks on the ports-of-call and cocktails with your newly-made friends from around the world.
When you include everything you are getting for the cost of your river cruise, it becomes much more manageable, and quite a good value. Viking River Cruises is the most well-known of the river cruise lines because they spend lots of money on television and print advertising, and they have done a lot to introduce travelers to the river cruise concept. However, there are many other river cruise lines with amazing customer satisfaction rates and more complimentary inclusions just waiting to show you the time of your lives as well. Did you know that there are even river cruises designed for families?
A travel agent who has experienced European River cruising (like me!) can be incredibly valuable in helping you sort through all of the options and find the perfect fit. River cruising is also a great option for small groups of friends, family or even work colleagues who would like to travel together. Whenever I book a river cruise, I always ask if there is anyone who might want to join you on the trip and most times at least 1 or 2 additional couples come forward. Who would you like to sip champagne with as you cruise through the incredible Wachau Valley in Austria’s wine country?
So why not give river cruising a try? 96% of first time river cruisers say they would recommend the experience to a friend. Trip Quest Travel is authorized to sell all the lines and we would love to help match you (and your friends) to the perfect experience. Get on board the river cruise movement!
It’s easy to read for hours and hours about what to do, what to see, and what to pack. It can actually get a little overwhelming, so instead of telling you what to do, this time I want to share the top things NOT to do when you’re planning your next vacation.
Not checking travel documents
This is huge, and often overlooked. So many people assume that the travel documents say exactly what they’re supposed to say, but that's not always the case. Your best bet is to check and double check your travel documents. Make sure that names are spelled correctly and match what you have on your passport. Also check the dates, times, and locations of your flights, hotels, and transfers. These things are easier to fix before you depart for your trip!
Not having a proper passport or visa
Check your passport expiration date and the entry requirements for the country you’re visiting. Many countries require a passport to be valid 6 months beyond your entry date, not just for the length of your trip. Many countries also require a certain number of blank pages, or a pre-arranged visa. When checking requirements, be sure to include countries where you will be having a layover, even if you don’t plan on leaving the airport.
Not buying the right travel insurance
Most people don't want to purchase travel insurance, but when you need it you’re going to be really glad you have it. There are easy things like cancelled flights and lost luggage, but what about when you break your leg or become ill while traveling? You weren’t expecting to add local hospitals to your list of sights to see, but you’ll be very thankful that the bill is covered by your travel insurance while you’re there. The best time to book travel insurance is as soon as you book your vacation, but it’s never too late!
Not letting your bank know you’ll be traveling internationally
Call your banks and credit card companies before you leave to let them know that you’ll be traveling. By contacting them, you’re less likely to have your credit card flagged for fraudulent purchases while you’re traveling. Even better, plan ahead and know which ATMs have the best foreign transaction and usage fees. Some banks have international branches under another name that won’t charge you an additional fee for using their machines.
It’s so much easier to travel with less stuff. Do yourself a favor and know that it’s ok to wear the same pair of pants a few times. You’ll have more room to bring souvenirs home, and you’ll love how much easier it is to navigate the airport with a smaller suitcase. In many places you can even do laundry or have laundry done while you’re there. Most everywhere you go will have stores where you can buy what you’re missing – and think of the adventure!
Not packing correctly
This isn’t about how much you’re bringing, but more about what you bring and how you’re bringing it. Always keep your medication in your carry-on luggage. Bring a change of clothes in your carry-on bag. When your checked bag is lost or when your seat mate spills a drink on you, you’re going to really appreciate having a change of clothes you can easily grab. When you’re packing, know what TSA requires and pack correctly. Don’t be that person at the airport frantically trying to repack your checked bag with the shampoo bottle that was too large to carry on. Another tip – carry-on sizes have changed over the last few years. Check with your airline before you pack to make sure that your carry-on will fit on the airplane in an overhead bin.
It’s easy to jam pack your itinerary with things to do and places to go, but make sure to leave some down time as well. It’s easy to get caught up in the sights of a destination and forget to actually experience it. I love leaving time open in the itinerary to just enjoy where I am, and really take time to experience the destination. The same applies for cramming too many cities into one vacation. Sure you can see all of Europe in two weeks, but you don’t want to. Take the time to enjoy your vacation and make sure that you have something left to see for your next trip.
Not planning enough time for connections
None of us likes hanging out in the airport any longer than we have to. Often people will ask me for short connections; however, you have to allow enough time for the unexpected. Especially when traveling internationally, it’s hard to guess how long it will take for you to get through customs and find your next gate. If you have an extra hour or so, you can start your vacation early with a great meal and a quick airport shopping trip before your next flight.
Not bringing printed copies of your itinerary
Apps and electronic documents work great – until they don’t. You probably haven’t memorized the name and address of your hotel, so it’s always a good idea to have printed copies of everything for the time that your cell phone isn’t working while you’re sitting in the back of the taxi trying to tell the driver where you’re supposed to go. While most hotels don’t require printed copies of your reservation, most shore excursions, transfers, cruise lines, and airlines do – so it’s always better to have the printed copies of everything, even if you don’t need them.
Starting with impossible expectations
Let’s be honest – your vacation probably won't be perfect. Something at some point will be different than what you were expecting, and it’s how you react to it that will shape the rest of your vacation. Don’t start your vacation with a specific expectation at all; go with an open mind and a positive attitude. Go with the flow and have fun.
Planning a trip to Hawaii is exciting, but it can also be pretty overwhelming! The biggest mistake most travelers make is not planning far enough in advance. This timeline will help you ensure the best options are still available to you for the best prices.
When you give yourself at least a year in advance, you have enough time to research and choose the best island (or two) to visit. Each island is unique and will appeal to travelers for different reasons. There is no "best" island- only the one that is right for you. Although any time is a good time to go to Hawaii, you will have decide the best time for your circumstances. Some months are better than others depending on what's important to you.
Accommodations should always be the first thing you book. If you are traveling during peak times, many places will be filled a year in advance. Of course, you'll usually be able to find some place to stay, but your options will be much more limited and costly.
Where you stay on the island will have the biggest impact on your vacation. Do you want a luxury beach resort? a condo? a vacation rental away from the beach? Your budget and the type of accommodations that you're looking for may lead you toward a particular part of the island. Whatever you decide, I do not recommend staying at a fabulous beach resort and never leaving that area. Hawaii is too amazing to see only a beach! Of course, the beaches are a great experience, but if you don't go on some type of adventure, you are really missing out.
This is the ideal time to book airfare, but start monitoring it about 6 months out so you'll know when you've found a good deal. This might possibly be the longest flight you've ever taken and the most expensive, so you want to determine what's best for you. Do you want the cheapest price or the most convenient flight schedule? If you live in an area with several airport options, check them all. Although it's a hassle, flights with long layovers are the cheapest.
Reserve your rental car. I highly recommend renting a car in Hawaii. No matter which island you choose, there are places that you will want to explore. Renting a car in Hawaii is surprisingly affordable, but you must book in advance to find the deals.
Start planning your daily itinerary and booking activities. Don't wait until you arrive on the islands because luaus and popular activities will be sold out. You don't want to pay a higher price for a second choice activity. I recommend planning one major activity a day and use the rest for exploring, hiking, visiting the beach, etc.
There are MANY more things I'd like to share with you about planning your Hawaii trip. I can make it easy and give you specific recommendations. Give me a call anytime- discussing this fabulous destination is one of my favorite things to do!
It's the most important meal of the day for a reason- it gives you the energy to start the day right. If you don't want to eat out, buy some fruit and cereal from the local grocery store and eat in your hotel room.
Stick to Your Routines
It's easy to think of traveling as your time off, but taking care of yourself is just as important as always. Exercise, taking vitamins or medications, and even skin care will allow you to feel your best while traveling.
It's the most important thing you can do while traveling. Many people do more physical moving when they're on vacation, so your body will need rest each day. Crossing time zones, carrying luggage, walking all day, etc. can be hard on your body.
Carry a water bottle with you at all times and drink enough water even though it may not be convenient to find public restrooms on the road. Most of us tend to indulge in alcohol and rich foods when we travel, so staying hydrated is key to not spending your trip dehydrated or sick.
Have at Least One Fresh and Healthy Meal a Day
There's nothing wrong with trying all the amazing food in a new city, but having several large meals a day can be hard on your body. If you can't commit to eating healthy while on a trip, at least do it for one meal a day. Visit local markets and pick up fresh produce, meats, and seafood. If cooking isn't an option, choose carefully at restaurants. Order grilled instead of fried, try a vegetarian meal, and don't forget the salads!
Use Wet Wipes and Hand Sanitizer
Soap and water are always better, but these come in handy when they aren't available. Think of all the things you come in contact with while traveling- people, doorknobs, all kinds of things. Don't eat with those dirty hands!
Protect Your Skin
Wear sunscreen and reapply often. You definitely don't want to deal with sunburn during your trip. Insect repellent is a good idea too.
Don't try to see an entire city in one day. Consider staying longer and spreading out your itinerary. Be active; just don't overdo it. Have fun and take plenty of breaks.
Ann Jones, CTC, MCC