Saturday, June 30, 2012

Worried About Germs?

Wonder how clean your hotel room is? Even if the maid did a great job, there are some things you can attack with sanitizing wipes when you first get to your room.

Light switches
Desk handles
Dresser handles
Television remote controls
The refrigerator handle
Microwave touch-screens

As for the bed spread, rip it off the bed and throw it into a corner. Unless you stay at a hotel that uses clean duvet covers between guests, you probably don't want to know what could be on that bedspread.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Visiting the Reichstate dome

The Reichstag dome, in Berlin, was closed to visitors in 2010 because of bomb threats. The dome was reopened in April 2011 but if you wanted to visit, you needed to preregister at least a few days ahead. Now, as of March 2012, the registration an no longer be done by phone and must be done in person or on the Internet.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Keeping Food Costs Low When Traveling Internationally

Start by staying at a lodging that includes breakfast. Be sure to eat hearty so you can get by with a light -- and inexpensive -- lunch.

Buy sandwiches at the local deli or supermarket. Or the classic bread, cheese and wine.

Look for restaurants offering a "plate" or "menu" of the day which are typically cheaper than other menu items.

If the restaurant has a counter or tall tables, eating standing up is cheaper than eating sitting down.

Check the menu if you want to eat outside. In Lisbon we discovered (fortunately not too late) that it was more expensive to eat outside.

If food or water is placed on the table without your ordering it, be sure to ask if there is a charge before touching it. Americans, used to having bread placed on the table, typically dig right in, only to discover the bread is not free. If you don't want the item, politely ask the waiter to take it away.

Check the menu to determine if tax and/or tip is included or if they will automatically be added to the bill. In Iceland, both tax and tip are included in the menu price. Nice!

Stay young and eat at a university cafeteria. This is also an opportunity to have some interesting conversations.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Looking For Cheap Travel? Try India

Travel to India just got cheaper. As of May 31, the exchange rate for the rupee hit an all time low with 56 rupees to the dollar. This is the lowest rate in over 60 years.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Resource For International Airport Information

If you are looking for a good resource for worldwide airport information, check out I Hate Taxis.

At the site you'll find information on alternative transportation methods from the airport into town. There is info on taxis (in spite of the site's name), public transportation, shuttles and more.

Additionally there are destination tools, travel and money advice and medical suggestions (like a first aid kit). And this is just a sample of what the site has to offer.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Heavy Crime in Honduras

Honduras now has the highest murder rate per capita in the entire world. There has been an increase in gang and drug violence. During the chaos around the government crisis in 2010-11, organized crime expanded its reach, bribing judges and police. The police are not able to handle the current crime spree and the president is proposing asking for military assistance.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Visa and Passport Information for Americans

If you will be traveling overseas and have questions about visa requirements, an excellent resource is the U.S. Department of State American Traveling Aboard website. You can also get passport information from the State Department's website.

If you have any additional questions, you can check the website for the foreign embassy of the country you will be visiting. A list of these websites can also be found on the State Department site.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Over 75 Years of Age?

In March, four airports in the U.S. started allowing some passengers 75 years of age and older to go through selected security lanes without removing their shoes. This is one of the changes being tested, on a limited bases, by the TSA.

Only one lane at each of these airports is being used for this test: Orlando, O'Hare, Denver and Portland. The results will determine whether or not the TSA "will consider broader implementation."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Root For The Locals

Spending some time in a new city? Sport’s fan? How about taking in a local ball game? Through Ticketamerica you can get minnesota twins tickets, los angeles dodgers tickets and milwaukee brewers tickets.

Some Tips About Travel Insurance

Some people never buy travel insurance. My husband and I, on the other hand, always buy travel insurance. In the past it was because we had elderly parents and need to be prepared in case something happened to one of them. Now it is because of our own health status that we buy insurance. If you decide to buy trip insurance, here are some tips that might help you out.

If you have a chronic health condition, be sure to buy insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. Typically, this means you have to buy your insurance within a set period -- for instance within two weeks -- of depositing your trip.

Confirm that the insurance company will pay medical expenses directly. This will save you from the hassle of paying the expenses yourself and then waiting for reimbursement.

If you will be traveling independently and have minimal prepaid expenses to worry about, you can buy a freestanding emergency medical evacuation policy from a company like Divers Alert Network. And you don't need to be a diver to take advantage of their coverage.

Two excellent sources for comparing travel insurance coverage and cost are SquareMouth and Insure My Trip.