Sunday, October 21, 2012

Two Good Reasons to Use Only Small Memory Cards

The largest memory card I carry for my point and shoot camera is 4 GB. Most of my cards are 2 GB and I even have a couple of 1 GB cards. Generally when traveling I go through my 2 GB cards first. Then I'll use my 1 GB card and save the 4 GB for last. I suspect this is contrary to what most people do but I have two (what I believe) very good reasons for doing it this way.

Damage: It is not hard to damage a memory card. You can accidentally turn your camera off before a picture is completely saved. The card can get wet. It could come in contact with something magnetic. And if you have taken only one 8 GB or 16 GB card on vacation, ALL of your pictures could be gone.

Loss: This just happened to a friend of mine. She had one 8 GB card with her and had to take a taxi back to her hotel because she was ill. Not thinking right, she left her camera in the taxi. No trip photos. To say she was upset was putting it mildly.

So my recommendation, if anyone asks, is to take several smaller cards instead of one large one. Today cards are very inexpensive and so are SD card holders, like the one shown below. Another idea for protecting those valuable once-in-a-lifetime pictures: a portable back up device

Friday, October 19, 2012

Planning on Tobogganing in Switzerland?

Switzerland's Preda-Bergun toboggan run is the longest in Europe that is illuminated for nighttime use. You can sled on it until 11:30 p.m. The 6-kilometer course (around 3.7 miles) begins in Preda and drops 400 meters (1,300 feet). The average run time is half an hour -- although the record is only five minutes.

Visitors take a narrow-guage train from Bergun to reach the head of the run in Preda. A single run ticket costs CHF 13 (around $13) for an adult and CHF6.6 for a child aged 12 to 17. A half day ticket costs CHF26 for an adult with a full day ticket costing CHF36.

From Bergun, more daring sledders can take a chairlift to the head of the 4-kilometer Darlux-Bergun run, which drops 576 meters, has many tight turns and is only open during daylight hours. A single run is CHF for an adult and CHF11 for a child.

The runs are open mid-December to mid-March and closed December 24 and 31. If you don't have your own sled, you can rent one for CHF8 to CHF30.

For more information, contact Bergun Filisur Tourismus.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tour New Delhi With a Unique Kind of Guide

I've traveled all over the world but I have never had such a unique guide as those provided by the children of Salaam Baalak Trust City Walk . Unfortunately, these children know the Paharganj area quite well as they grew up on the city streets.

Now, with the aide of the non-profit Salaam Baalak Trust, these children now have food, shelter and future opportunities -- with some of them working as guides. The child guides lead their guides through back streets lined with temples, recycling shops and a pottery market. Personal takes of survival are often part of the tour commentary. The city walk ends near one of the shelters, where visitors can observe the children in their activities and classes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trip Planning Mistake – Inflexible Vacation Dates

A sure way to maybe end up paying too much for airfare is by setting vacation dates and then refusing to change them. Admittedly, a lot of people don’t have flexibility for their vacation time but if you can leave or come home a few days one way or the other, then check out airfare options. Typically, you’ll find the lowest airfare for flying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Friday and Sunday will cost the most, but this can vary depending upon your route. When using the Internet to search for airfare, be sure and use the Flexible Date option  – this will give you an idea of the airfares around your initial dates. Flexibility in dates also can pay off on your hotel bill. When visiting our grandchildren, my husband and I stay at a Homewood Suites in a business area. During the week, the rates are over $160 per night. When we stay on the weekends, with our AAA discount, the rate drops to $90 per night.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Finally - U.S. Chip and Pin Cards

Chip and pin credit cards have a microprocessor ship embedded in the card and when it is read at the point of sale, the customer inputs a PIN. This technology has been used for years in Europe. The idea is to provide better security and reduce the cost, to the banks, of losses due to credit card theft.

Banks in the U.S. didn't follow this trend. From what I understand, the cost of implementing this new technology is more than the cost of losses. However, finally, some U.S. banks are issuing credit cards that have, in addition to the usual magnetic strip, the chip and pin technology.

Bank of America is leading the way. All of its new Travel Rewards, Privileges, Virgin Atlantic and Merrill Lynch credit cards will have the chip and pin. Upon request, B and A will replace several other cards with the technology including affinity cards from Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Chase is making the technology available right now only to their Palladium cardholders.

And Wells Fargo has invited 15,000 customers to they have identified as frequent international travelers to take part in a test program.