When it comes to booking a hotel, wi-fi is an absolute must for most travelers. 80% of hotel guests surveyed said that internet access is crucial and they won't book a room without it. The survey also found that 65 % of hotel guests go online within seven minutes of checking in at their hotel, and one third of hotel guests request the wi-fi password as soon as they arrive. Of course, that’s not really a surprise. However, there are some important things to consider before logging in to your next hotel’s wi-fi.
1. Some hotels still charge for Wi-Fi.
Most major hotel chains offer guests free wi-fi, but 36% of hotels worldwide still charge for use. Generally, cheap hotels are more likely to charge for wi-fi. High-quality and safe wi-fi connections are expensive, and if you have opted for a budget-friendly accommodation this may mean that you miss out on certain perks, like free wi-fi. However, depending on the hotel, there may still be ways to get it. Some hotel loyalty programs offer complimentary wi-fi to frequent guests, and many offer free wi-fi in their lobby or business center.
2. Know the difference between an unsecured and secured Wi-Fi connection.
Speaking of safety, you’ve probably heard the terms “secured” and “unsecured” wi-fi. Did you know there's a big difference between them? Unsecured means un-encrypted and does not require a password,while a secure wi-fi connection usually requires a password and is encrypted. If you want to protect your data, look for a hotel with a secured wi-fi connection. Unsecured wi-fi is vulnerable to criminal hackers looking for data as it travels through the airwaves.
3. Take the right safety measures to protect your computer.
If you still want to stay at a hotel with an unsecured wi-fi network, there are ways you can access the internet without making your personal information, bank accounts, and other sensitive data open to hackers. One way to connect to wi-fi from your laptop or tablet is by creating a mobile hotspot from your smartphone. This is a good option if your cell phone has unlimited data.
4. Following these precautions will help you further protect your personal data when using hotel wi-fi.
Turn off your device’s wireless signal when you’re not using it. Using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is another effective way to safely access wi-fi. A VPN is a
private network that only you can access, hiding your important data from potential hackers. Confirm you’re accessing the hotel’s wi-fi network—not a fake one. Some data thieves prey on hotel guests by setting up nearby wi-fi networks that look like legitimate networks, but aren’t. So check with the front desk to verify you’re accessing the right network before you connect. Don’t use sensitive websites and mobile apps. One way to prevent thieves from stealing your passwords to social networking sites, online banking services, and other websites and apps when using hotel wi-fi is by avoiding them completely. It’s not convenient, but it’s a safe approach. Finally, install antivirus software. These programs can help prevent viruses and other malware from getting into your computer. Hotel wi-fi is convenient but it’s not always secure, even if it was set up with the best intentions.
The topic of travel protection is one of my biggest challenges as a travel advisor. No matter how extravagant or low-budget your trip may be, there are many things outside of your control that could turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. For many years I, like many other travelers, believed that once I had committed to a trip, I was going to go on it - NO MATTER WHAT! It just didn’t seem necessary to add another $129 (or whatever the premium) to the cost of the trip for something as un-romantic as travel insurance - who really needs it? I have seen so many situations over the years that have affected my clients’ travel plans, and my eyes have definitely been opened to the need for a good travel policy.
Here are a few scenarios:
Have you ever considered taking a vacation during the holidays? This time of year can become very stressful, so here are five great reasons why a holiday AWAY makes perfect sense.
You Will Use Fewer Vacation Days
Extending a holiday that most people already have off minimizes the amount of time needed off from work.You can save those vacation days for later.
Step Away from The Hustle and Bustle
Holidays can be a source of major stress for families (especially moms) as they juggle preparations, coordinate meals, shop for gifts, and more. A resort getaway helps put the pause on all the planning. Of course, that involves preparation also, but when the major decision of the day is deciding between the beach or the pool, it doesn’t seem too terribly taxing.
Create New Family Memories
Wake up early to watch the sun rise over the horizon. Visit a volcano. Explore the local music scene. Try new foods. Visiting a new destination can awaken the possibilities and a sense of adventure in the whole family. Sharing a unique, common experience is one of the best ways to strengthen bonds and create memories that you will all cherish forever.
Leave the Housework At Home
For the big holiday dinners, many hotels and resorts have special menus for the day to celebrate the occasion. Whether it’s a traditional turkey dinner, or something infused with local flavors, it’s sure to be deliciously fuss-free.
Teach an Old, Young, Or Young-At-Heart Some New Tricks
Families can take advantage of being in a different environment by soaking up some new knowledge or acquiring a skill. Learn how to surf. Learn some foreign phrases. Explore a local museum. Doing so will help stimulate your brain and body in ways you wouldn’t be able to if you were at home in your comfort zone.
So think about it....but don't think about it for too long because popular destinations are already filling up with other families just like yours. Let us help you sort through the options and plan your perfect holiday escape this year!
A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to sail on Symphony of the Seas for its inaugural sailing. Although I love cruising on just about any ship, I am usually very careful when I make recommendations to my clients. Each cruise line is different and you have to be sure that you match your clients to the ship that will be best suited for them. However, after sailing on Royal Caribbean's newest ship, I truly believe Symphony of the Seas will be appealing to everyone. Here are the reasons you should consider it for your next vacation:
1.It's the world's largest ship and there are an enormous choices of activities. Even if you never get off the ship while in port, you won't run out of things to do. The ship is truly the destination. The outdoor decks feature three separate pool zones, three water slides, two surf simulators, a miniature golf course, rock climbing walls, a zip-line, the Abyss, laser tag, and more. Inside there are multiple bars, a comedy club, a jazz club, the 1,400 seat theater that houses a full-size production of Broadway's Hairspray, and even an ice rink.
2.Symphony has 2,759 cabins-the most ever on a cruise ship. Broken up into more than 30 categories, they include everything from economy priced interior rooms to a super-high-priced, two-deck suite. Symphony is eighteen decks high and 1,188 feet long, and has room for 6,680 passengers. Add the crew of 2,200, and on busy weeks you could find nearly 9,000 people on board.
3.Symphony sets sail from Port Miami's brand new Terminal A. Not only is it a beautiful piece of architecture, the terminal offers a brand new expedited check-in process that gets you on-board in minutes. No longer will you wait in line with thousands of other passengers. You will check in online before you arrive, have your boarding pass scanned at the terminal, and you're on your way!
4.You will never get hungry. Options range from Italian to sushi, to one of the best-reviewed steakhouses at sea. Two of the new restaurants are Hooked, with New England style seafood, and El Loco Fresh with fresh Mexican fare. You'll also find Cafe Promenade, Boardwalk Doghouse, Vitality Cafe, Park Cafe, Solarium Bistro, Izumi Hibachi, Starbucks, Johnny Rockets, Playmakers Sports Bar and Grill, Chops Grille, 150 Central Park, and Wonderland. Of course, I haven't even mentioned the main dining room and the buffet!
5.Symphony has some of the best entertainment at sea. You will find lots of live music, nightly comedy shows, stage productions, ice performances, an aqua show, a large casino, parades in the Promenade, and themed deck parties.
There are so many other things about this ship I haven't even mentioned. All in all, it's just a fun, high energy ship that I think everyone will enjoy. I am certainly looking forward to my next sailing!
Ann Jones, CTC, MCC