Travel Tips

I have years of experience traveling around the world.  With that experience, come loads of travel tips stored away.  Part of my passion as a concierge cruise specialist is sharing all the inside secrets of traveling.  Scroll through the pages to discover my tricks, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, give me a call.

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Get Free (or Cheap) Wi-Fi Worldwide

When you’re desperate for Internet access, Free Wi-Fi Finder points you to the nearest hotspot (Android, iPad, iPhone; free). Free Wi-Fi can be slow and unsafe, though, so traveltips3consider renting unlimited mobile ­Wi-Fi for your next trip overseas. Rent from XComGlobal.com for a flat rate of just $15 per day, and you can use the following apps as much as you want without having to worry about international roaming fees.  Continue…

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Free (Discount) Drinks at Sea

At-sea alcohol prices are anything but cheap,but savvy cruisers know how to keep from drowning in their bar bill if you like to drink. Here are a few tips for scoring free cocktails on a cruise:  Image

Loyalty pays … in booze. When it comes to gratis pours, cruise lines can be generous with past passengers. Sail just once with on Holland rica and you can attend the complimentary Mariner Champagne Brunch. Amass 200 days at sea, and you’ll get the Champagne brunch, a complimentary wine tasting, plus half off wine packages. Continue…
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River Cruise vs Ocean Cruise

River cruises and ocean cruises differ more than you might think. Many of the people I’ve met on the former are refugees from the latter: They chose a river cruise to avoid the crowds, lines, and hassles they’ve encountered on giant ships at sea. But they compare 120- to 160-passenger river boats with mammoth 2,500- to 3,000-passenger megaships, whereas it would be more apt to compare river ships with similarly small seagoing vessels where such crowds, lines, and hassles don’t exist. For all you ocean cruisers who may be thinking of branching out and trying a river trip, I thought it might be helpful to lay out the biggest differences. Continue…

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Don’t Drink the Water

Most cruise travelers sail happily and healthily, but anytime you step out of your daily routine, you let your physical guard down and become susceptible to all sorts of troubles. From norovirus to swine flu, seasickness to dehydration and hangovers to jet lag, cruise ship passengers can easily succumb to a number of ailments.

Have we made you nervous? Don’t be. It’s relatively easy to stay healthy on a cruise ship if you take a few simple precautions. All you really need is a mental checklist and a few minutes a day. (Note to self: Pack the hand sanitizer, refill that water bottle, and apply sunscreen.)

While we can’t guarantee you won’t get sick — for all you know, your germy coworkers may have already infected you before you embark on your trip —Continue here for 7 tips for staying healthy…

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The Ultimate Fashion Faux Pas

While packing for a trip, I often run across items that raise questions like: “It’s functional, but is it stylish enough?” or “Can I wear this to certain tourist sites?”

To help you avoid any fashion blunders, check out what you should always skip when packing for your next trip! Continue…

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Packin’ It In – Four Key Pieces of Travel Gear

It’s never been more important to pack lightly these days. With many airlines charging for checked baggage, you can save money by carrying-on your luggage or otherwise condensing items to limit the number of bags stored in the airplane’s hold. It’s also key to pack smartly to make your way through airport security lines in an efficient manner. Here are a few pieces of travel gear that can help make your travels more convenient, affordable and hassle-free. Continue…
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Shhhh!

On a brilliantly sunny day at sea you might meander out to the pool only to find it overrun with fellow sun-worshippers , all fighting over the same few dozen deck chairs. Throngs of splashing, laughing children will have taken over the pools and the hot tubs, and the sound of the waves will have been drowned out by an outdoor movie’s soundtrack, the resident reggae band or a raucous belly-flop contest. Continue…

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Think Pink!

Many of us simply love pink, so looking for pink suitcases for sale when we need new luggage is an automatic activity. However, even if you are not a pink fanatic, you should consider this option when you next buy a suitcase. Continue…

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Better Now than Never – When to Book Your Cruise

The bulk of cruise lines offer their best rates soon after they open bookings, and they open ships between a year and a year and a half before departure. If you’ve missed that window, there’s always “wave season,” a high-booking period between January and March when cruise lines aggressively compete for customers with deals, promotions, and free extras like $100 onboard credits, typically for departures late that year or early next. Continue…

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Need a Lift? Booking a Rental Car

Rental car rates fluctuate even less than rates for flights and hotels, but there is one make-no-mistake rule when it comes to booking:

Do not simply show up at the airport rental counter. Car companies know that a walk-up customer is a captive audience, and rates can be considerably higher when booked in person.
Continue…

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Stayin’ on Track

Once upon a time, the best European train fares were only available to residents, but that is changing as rail websites such as Italiarail.com offer cheaper fares to Americans. That means that it makes sense to book online for two reasons: Continue…

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No Vacancy!?!

While airlines can be more than 80 percent full during good years, the U.S. hotel industry has never been more than 65 percent full. And many hotel chains cringe to see large numbers of rooms sitting empty. Continue…

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Don’t Miss Out – Book Ahead for Better Discount

What are we planning for today? That’s the question you’ll be faced with when you come into a port.  Here are some tips for planning those excursions.

Generally, the more expensive the activity and the more seasonal it is, the better it is to book ahead to lock in big discounts. Ski resorts and popular organized tours are good examples of activities for which purchasing ahead and in bulk yields discounts of more than 20 percent. Continue…

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Cruise Safely – Your cruise dream can quickly become a cruise nightmare is you’re not prepared.

  • Pay close attention to your safety briefing. Most cruise lines give a mandatory safety orientation on the first day, often before the ship leaves. Do not view this as an inconvenience, but rather as an important introduction to the ship. You will be instructed what to do in case of an emergency. Become familiar with the path you must take from your cabin to your emergency grouping area so that you can follow it when necessary. Continue…

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Single Supplements

These two words strike dread — not to mention resentment — in the heart of a solo traveler. ImageConsider for a moment the cost of a superior ocean-view room on a Royal Caribbean International seven-night Alaska cruise. For two adults, it’s $1,539 each. For a single traveler, the cost is $2,843 — an additional $1,304. Continue…

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How to Avoid Overeating on a Cruise Ship

Firstly, understand that it is almost impossible to avoid eating more than you usually do on a cruise ship. Unless you have good self-control or are keeping to a strict diet, it will be difficult not to splurge on the foods you like.italianfood2

Realize that you don’t always have to take that fancy hors d’oeuvre or beverage which waiters will often come up and offer to you. One or two mini egg rolls and a margarita is fine every now and then, but you will quickly intake unnecessary calories if that literally becomes a fourth meal.  Continue…
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Cabin With a View?

Panama CanalAfter 30 years of travel, I still love to cruise and can have a wonderful time in an inside cabin on the lowest level. However, I found a long time ago that having an outside cabin with a window, or better yet a balcony, makes the cruise experience much better and more enjoyable. Sitting on the balcony with a good book or just being able to step outside and breathe in the sea air helps differentiate cruising from a resort vacation. Having a cabin as a retreat after a busy day ashore has become more important as I’ve gotten older. Continue…

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Should a cruise be booked through a travel agent?

Here’s a helpful (and amusing) article I found on LATimes.com about using a travel agent to book your cruise:
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6 Packing Ideas to Save Your Small Things

Next time you’re packing for your cruise, try these clever tricks to keep your small things safe.  Continue reading to get these handy packing tips…

Store your small camera inside a plastic soap case to keep it safe inside your carryon.