Saturday, April 30, 2016

Low Airfare to Iceland and Beyond

WOW Air will begin offering flights from Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) to Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF) in June of 2016. The airline already offers flights from Boston (BOS) and Dulles (IAD).

One way fares for flights from the west coast start at $229. As is typical with low-cost airlines, there are extra fees for booking a seat, carry-ons (if more than 15 lbs), checked bags and changes.

The advantage of using this airline is that connections are offered, through KEF, to 20 other European cities.

(Before booking, be sure to check out all of the extra charges and fees to make sure the trip to Europe on WOW will really save you money as compared to other airlines.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How Can Travelers Check Health and Safety Risks

Checking the health and safety risks in areas you might be traveling to has just gotten easier. In December, the International SOS, a "medical and travel security services company," and Control Risks joined together to release the Travel Risk Map 2016.

The map uses color coding to indicate the availability to medical care -- green for easily available good care to red where good quality care is inadequate or hard to get. It also shows the level of risk from political instability to violence, from insignificant ("I") to extreme ("E").

The map is available in PDF format and can be downloaded from the International SOS site. Also on the site is an interactive map where you can click on a specific country and get a summary of medical and dental services availability.

While International SOS is geared towards business travelers, its services are available to any traveler. Membership can be on an annual basis or by trip.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Excellent Cruise and Port of Call Information

Whether you are just going on your first cruise, have cruised a couple of times, or are a veteran cruiser (the category I put myself in with over 30 under my belt), the absolute best resource I have found is the board on Cruise Critic.

This forum is used by cruisers all over the world. Whether you want to know about a specific cruise line or ship, or want details on what to see and do (and how to do it) in a port of call, this forum should be your first stop.

On a cruise in October, 2015, one of our ports of call (POC) was Istanbul. Not being a big fan of ship shore excursions, I found excellent information on the forum on how to do it ourselves. (I simply used the Search feature, typed in Istanbul, selected the Ports of Call forum, Europe, Other Mediterranean Ports, hit Search Now and a wealth of information was made available to me. So much so that my husband and I were able to do Istanbul on our own, using the tram and visiting the highlights of the Blue Mosque, Topkapi and the Aya Sofia. And everything worked out perfectly.

On an upcoming trip one of our stops will be Casablanca. Back to the forum to find out that everyone who had posted in response to a request about Casablanca said to get out of the city and visit either Rabat or Marrakesh. And almost everyone who went to Marrakesh said to take the ship's excursion because of horrible traffic and the possibility of arriving back late into port.

Want to meet some of your fellow passengers before boarding ship? Join your ship's Roll Call. Thinking about river cruising? There's a forum for that too. Travel with a wheelchair? You'll find help with that also.

Yes, it may take a little while to get the hang of the forum (for instance, responses to threads you post in will be displayed when you click CP on the tab bar at the top) but don't let that defer you. There is just too much great information and help here to pass up on.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Protect Yourself From Germy Airplane Trays

A couple of years ago I read an article in Yahoo News about how unsanitary airplane tray tables and seatback pockets were. Since then I carry antiseptic wipes with me and wipe down the tray table and the back of the seat in front of me (for when I put the table up and then take it down again). I also don't use the seatback pocket.

That's why I found the Executive TRAYblecloth Airplane Tray Organizer very interesting. I've taken a second and third look at it and think I might purchase one for me and one for hubby for out next trip.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Save Money on Baggage Fees With a Luggage Scale

It's bad enough having to pay fees now to check luggage. And the last thing you want is making it worse by having a piece of luggage that weighs more than your airlines allowable weight and paying even more to fly with that bag.

I got a luggage scale from my travel agent many years ago. At the time we were traveling with only carry-ons and didn't find much use for it. But now we are older, and since we are checking our bags, figured what the heck - and we now travel with larger bags. Now that luggage scale has come in very handy.

A hint on using it. The first couple of times I used our scale, I lifted our bag with a "jerk" and the bag weighed darn close to 50 lbs. Before I totally panicked about having to repack, my husband suggested I lift the luggage gently, without the jerk. Sure enough, the weight dropped almost 10 lbs.

Unfortunately, the luggage scale we have is kind of heavy itself and I really don't want to add it to my suitcase. So I'm considering getting another one that is much lighter, such as the Camry 110 Lbs Luggage Scale which weighs only 3.2 ounces. Then I can weigh my suitcases for the trip home, after I've added my purchases.  :)