20 Tips To Make International Holiday Travel Easy

Are you planning a trip out of the Country for the Holidays this year? We all think to visit family and friends out of town or to simply get away while you have a few extra days off. Let us give you some forethought and preparation to help you stay safe, healthy, and sane on your way. Traveling abroad and being in a strange place can be a bit intimidating, and to add to the stress, traveling over the Holidays! You just cant plan for everything, but keeping a few important things in mind will make your travels much easier, like keeping a list of your medications in your wallet, in case they get misplaced also, make copies of your ID, Passports, ect.

To read more about International Holiday Travel and how to prepare for your trip, see the link below:

Happy Travels!

http://www.readersdigest.ca/travel/travel-tips/20-tips-safe-holiday-travel/

www.hosteltraveler.com

 


When Using Travelers Cheque and Gift Cheques

Some advice from American Express on fraud prevention and safety when using travelers checks:

When Using Travelers Cheque and Gift Cheques

The most important thing to remember is that there is no legitimate reason why anyone would give you a check or money order and ask you to wire money anywhere in return.

If someone asks you to do that, be suspicious. Con artists use the anonymity of the Internet and e-mail to scam unsuspecting people. American Express can validate the authenticity of a Cheque quickly and anonymously.

You should contact American Express at 1-800-525-7641 if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • You are asked to accept Travelers Cheques or Gift Cheques but did not watch the Cheque holder countersign in the lower left-hand corner, or you are asked to accept a Cheque with no signatures.
  • You are asked to cash or accept a Gift Cheques in denominations of $500 or $1,000. The maximum denomination of an authentic Gift Cheque is $100, so any Gift Cheque with a denomination of more than $100 is a fake.
  • The Cheques are offered by someone you met online or from someone you know mostly through e-mail communications.
  • You receive the Cheques by mail.
  • You are asked to wire, send or ship funds from cashed Cheques, especially if the return address is a large U.S. city or another country.

T o find out more on information on check scams, visit www.fakechecks.org. The site is sponsored by the National Consumers League, the US Postal Service and American Express, along with other private, public and non-profit organizations, to educate Americans about the threat counterfeit check scams pose to their personal financial health.


What’s the Best Way to Make a Phonecall when Traveling?

What’s the best way to make phonecalls when traveling outside your home country?  Here are several strategies.

  1. Change SIM cards.  Avoid roaming charges by using an international SIM card in your unlocked GSM tri- or quad-band phone.  By cards from several sources, including cellularabroad.com.  Check that your phone has the correct GSM frequency for your location.  You’ll most likely get a temporary international number with this approach.
  2. Sign up for an International Roaming Plan.  Your carrier may have international roaming plans that can carry you temporarily through your travels.  This is a very convenient way of keeping your current phone and SIM card while traveling, but even with the special plans, rates can be high.
  3. Use your Laptop to make calls.  Using a service like Skype or other VOIP phone services may be a very cheap way to make phonecalls while traveling abroad.  All you need is a broadband wireless internet connection.  But, you must have your laptop with you.
  4. WiFi online calls with an iPhone or other smart phone.  If you have a smart phone, you can download WiFi software for making almost free calls over the internet from truphone.com.  You may also try purchasing a dedicated WiFi phone

Pets – How to Travel with your Pet

A few general tips apply whether you travel by car or plane.Be sure your pet wears a collar with complete identification and a license tag.

Have a rabies vaccination certifi­cate if you will travel across state or international borders.

Be prepared to present a health certificate, especially if you travel to Canada or Mexico.

Be sure to bring your pet’s favor­ite food, toy(s), and dishes.

Before undertaking a long trip, it would be advisable to have your pet examined by a veterinarian.

Travel By Air

Air travel is of most concern to pet owners. You can minimize the chang­es of an unpleasant experience by fol­lowing a few guidelines.

Regulations state that dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old and weaned at least 5 days before flying.

Current health and rabies vacci­nation certificates will be required.

Contact the airline well in ad­vance to check regulations and ser­vices, and to make reservations.

Try to book a direct, midweek flight or one with a minimum of stops.

During warmer periods reduce risk of overheating by choosing early morning or late evening flights.

Ask about other cargo on your flight (For example, fumes from dry ice can be lethal).

Be at the airport early, exercise your pet, place it in a cage yourself, and pick up your animal promptly upon arrival. Don’t take leashed animals on escalators.

The proper cage, available from most airlines or pet shops, should have the following features:

Large enough to allow the animal to stand, turn, and lie down.

Strong, free of interior protru­sions, with handles or grips

Leak proof bottom covered with plenty of absorbent material

Ventilation on opposite sides, with exterior rims or knobs to pre­vent blocked airflow

Label “Live Animals,” with arrows indicating upright position, and your name, address, and phone number.

Consult your veterinarian for spe­cific feeding instructions. Age and size of the pet, time and distance of the flight, and regular dietary routine must be considered.

Travel By Car

If your pet is not accustomed to the car, take it for a few short rides before the trip. Your cat might ride well in a carrying case. Following are some tips that may help the trip go a little smoother.

Stick to your regular feeding rou­tine and give the main meal at the end of the day or when you’ve reached your destination.

It will be more convenient to feed dry food if the pet is used to it.

Dispose of unused canned food unless it can be refrigerated.

Take along a plastic jug of cold water to avoid possible stomach upset the first day.

Give small portions of both food and water and plan to stop every two hours for exercise.

Remember to include a leash in your travel kit!

Pets should not be allowed to ride with their heads outside car windows. Particles of dirt can penetrate the eyes, ears, and nose, causing injury or infections.

Excessive amounts of cold air taken into lungs can also cause illness.

When leaving your pet in a parked car, be sure to lock all doors, and open windows enough to provide ventila­tion without allowing the animal to jump out or get its head caught.

In warm, hot, or humid weather, you should not leave your pet in a parked car!

Grooming (bathing, combing, nail trim) before the trip will make the animal more comfortable.

Travel By Bus or Train

Most states prohibit animals on buses, and recent rules now prohibit animals on trains. Exceptions are generally made for seeing-eye dogs accompanying blind persons. Inquire in advance with your local carriers.

Courtesy of Publishers Edge


Carrying Money when Traveling Abroad – Smart Cash Tips

We’ve come across many smart money tips for travelers over the years.  Here is the absolute best advice we’ve found for carrying cash, credit cards, or other money equivalents while you travel.  This advice is a must-read, especially if you’re traveling to areas where crime or theft is a concern.

If you’re traveling to a foreign country, you need a way to carry currency to pay your travel expenses.  But security and simplicity is of major importance.

Should I carry traveler’s cheques?  No.  Traveler’s cheques are not recommended, although they are still a means of guaranteeing absolute safety for the money you carry.  This is because they are simply not convenient.  If you purchase traveler’s cheques, you will need to sign every single bill in advance.  Many merchants will not accept them, and for incidental spending the inconvenience outweighs the benefits.

Should I carry credit cards?  Yes. If you own one or more credit cards, use them while traveling abroad.  Credit cards are the simplest way to make purchases overseas, and you don’t have to worry about converting currencies since your credit card company will automatically convert all your purchases to your home currency.  There is a small cost that credit card companies assess on FX conversions, however, the convenience outweighs the cost.  If possible, use a credit card that won’t charge a conversion fee per transaction (check out some cards by Capital One Bank).

For the bulk of my travel expenses, what is better, cash or credit cards?  Credit cards are better.  This is because you won’t have to worry about losing your cash or having it stolen.  Use credit cards for most large purchases, like your lodging expenses, transportation tickets, and meals.

 I have several credit cards.  How many should I bring?  Bring at least 2 credit cards on your trip.  This way, if you do lose one you won’t be inconvenienced.  If you do bring multiple cards with you, keep one locked in your luggage while you’re out, or give it to a travel companion to carry for safekeeping.  This way, if you lose your wallet, you’ll have instant access to another card.  If you have no one to hold your extra card, and you must carry it on you, keep it in your front pocket, separate from other cards and cash.  This is the least likely place for i to get lost or stolen.

What do I do if I lose my credit card?  Call your credit card company as soon as possible to cancel it.  You are not responsible for any unauthorized charges made on your card if lost or stolen.

Should I carry cash if I have credit cards?  Yes.  Always keep some local currency in cash with you when traveling.  You will need it for small expenditures like snacks, taxis, bus, souvenir, etc.

How much cash should I carry?  Carry only as much cash on your person as you will need for the day.  You can decide how much you may need for daily expenses.  If you must carry a fairly large sum of cash on you during the day, make sure you split it up and keep in your front pants pocket for safekeeping.  This is the safest place to avoid loss or theft.  Fold bills, and hold them either loose or with a money clip or rubber band in your front pocket.

I have more cash with me than I need for a day out.  Do I carry all of it with me?  No.  Only carry the amount of cash you need while out during the day.  Keep excess cash in a safe place.  Check for in-room hotel safes that use a code that you set.  If there is no better safe place for your extra cash, keep it locked in your luggage (always carry luggage locks with you when traveling).  This may not sound like a good option, but it is actually safer than carrying large amounts of cash on you.  Cash locked in your luggage is secure if no one knows it’s in there.  And unless you are in a location where your entire luggage is at risk of being stolen while you’re away from your room, it is extremely unlikely that money will be stolen out of locked luggage.

What if I’m in transit, and have large amounts of money?  If you’re traveling by bus, train or public transportation, and do not have a hotel room, keep your money with you.  But, remember to split up plastic and cash in several pockets or between several persons.  If you’re driving yourself in a car, you may keep extra cash and at least one credit card hidden under a floor mat in the rear seat.  This is an unlikely place for anyone to search for money, and is safer than keeping money inside luggage in a car.  Remember to lock the car doors at all times.

How should I get cash when I’m traveling?  Never use money changing booths at airports or other tourist locations.  The best and cheapest way to obtain cash in local currency is to simply use you own bank ATM card.  Find an ATM that is of a well known national bank in your destination.  When you use your ATM card, your bank will usually get you a better rate on cash withdrawn from the ATM than you can get from money changers.  Remember, when withdrawing cash from an ATM, maintain awareness and ensure that you are in a protected location.  If you are traveling with others, have someone keep a look out for any potential crime risk while you are removing cash from an ATM.

The same general rules for carrying money apply to carrying your ID while traveling in foreign locations.  If you are carrying a passport, obtaining a replacement may be a serious hassle if lost while in a foreign location.  Decide if it is safer to keep your passport on your person, or locked safely in your luggage.  Wherever you keep your original ID, make sure to keep a photocopy in your luggage, and another photocopy (miniaturized copies are good) in your wallet or pocket.  This way, you’ll always have access to your ID, and be able to identify yourself to authorities if it becomes necessary.  Some countries may require you to keep your original passport on your person at all times, although this is rare.  Know the rules before you travel.

If you are traveling in high risk areas known for crime and scams, never keep all your cash or credit cards in your wallet.  Always split it up and keep some cash and at least one credit card in your front pocket.  Have travel companions carry some cash and a credit card as well.  The same rule applies to your ID.  If you are concerned with theft while walking or traveling through a city, keep your driver’s license,  and any other important papers you don’t want to lose, in your front pocket.  Don’t carry them in wallets, purses, or any other hanging bags.


How come I did not receive any confirmation emails?

How come I did not receive any confirmation emails? This is a question we recieve often from travelers making reservations on various online booking services. In fact, you may be asking yourself this question even if you’ve purchased a product online from ubiquitous websites like Amazon.com, Ebay.com, 1800flowers.com, etc.

Here are a couple of guidelines to remember when purchasing products or services on the internet:

1) You are entirely responsible for making sure you are able to receive confirmation emails from online services you use.

2) Most free internet email services like Yahoo, Gmail, Aol, Hotmail, etc. will block many important emails and confirmation emails you intend to receive, even if you are not aware they use blocking techniques.

Because of these two basic facts you should never use a free email service, or any email service you cannot totally control, for important purchases or business purposes. If you are using a Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or other free email system, please know that many commercial websites, including Instant World Booking, may be unable to send you email concerning transactions or purchases you have made. This is because these email systems are known to block a large amount of legitimate email, due to their efforts to fight spam. We advise that these free email systems should never be used for authentic business purposes.

But, you don’t have to take our word for it. This problem has been well documented by many authoritative sources. For example, to find hundreds of problems concerning Yahoo rejecting legitimate email, simply perform a Google search for “Yahoo bouncing email”. Here is just one source documenting dozens of problems in which Yahoo rejected desired mail:
http://www.ahfx.net/weblog.php?article=107

One way to ensure that you receive confimation and delivery emails from online services you use, be sure to add the sender’s email to your address book.

Here are instructions for some popular email clients:


Your Hostel’s Information Translated into 14 Languages on the Internet

Want to gain a major boost in traffic and online exposure for your hostel? HostelTraveler.com has introduced a major service level enhancement for it’s hostel partners worldwide. Now, when you list your property with HostelTraveler.com, we translate the information you submit into 14 different languages. We then publish your property on 14 individual multi-lingual webpages, each dedicated to only your property.

This is a major level of service that only Instant World Booking provides for free to hostel partners. In fact, it’s a must-have service for any lodging who wishes to gain serious exposure on the web. As always, HostelTraveler’s services are free for hostels to use.

We invite you to compare services of competing online marketing providers. Some others provide rudimentary translations, others offer none. Then come to HostelTraveler.com, which provides 14 unique and search-optimized (SEO) pages to get your hostel ranked at the top of multi-lingual web searches.

List with HostelTraveler.com today. It’s free:

http://www.hosteltraveler.com/listings/add_listing.php

Read more about Translations on the Instant World Booking Blog:

http://www.instantworldbooking.com/blog_iw/hotel-and-hostel-information-translated-into-14-languages/


Email Tips for Travelers – How to Spot and Avoid Scams

Scams abound on the internet, and scammers usually send mass emails to small businesses, but also to individuals. You may think these emails are intended solely for you. But, here’s how to spot scammers.

The scammer’s goal is to get you to send them money. They will often request your assistance and offer to send you a certified check . They’ll claim that the check was already made out by a vendor or partner of theirs, and they need help cashing it. The scammer will request you to cash the check, then send them a part of the funds to them, usually by Western Union. Scammers are very creative and there are many variations. However, they will always offer to let you keep a large sum in return for your assistance.

Since the funds are drawn on a foreign bank it may take up to three months to learn that it is fraudulent. You will then be short the amount you have sent to the scammer. The scammer cannot be found, since they are operating out of public internet cafes, usually in far away countries.

Signs of a Scammer

Overseas/International: Typically the scammer will be overseas or out of country. They know authorities rarely pursue this kind of international crime.

Urgent: Often the scammer will be acting in an urgent manner and ask you to assist them with short notice.

Large amounts: The check will always be for a large amount, intended to lure you into their fraud.

No interest in location: Scammers will not care about your location. In fact, they will always be from foreign countries, and you may wonder why they decided to contact you.

Will not address you by name in the first e-mail: The first e-mail you receive will likely not address you specifically. This is because it will be a general email sent in mass to many people.

Strange grammar, spelling, and choice of words: The scammer’s grammar, spelling and use of punctuation will be unusual. Often the scammer will present themselves as a doctor. Another frequent ploy is that they indicate they are from a religious organization, are holding meetings in your country, and make specific reference to their “delegates” or “delegation” coming to your country.

Free e-mail account: Often the e-mail will come from a free email service like Yahoo or Hotmail. Legitimate travel agents or businesses rarely use free email accounts.

Send money: They want you to send them cash, usually by wire, and quick.

Advice:
If you get one of these emails or letters, remember that if it is too good to be true, it probably is. Whatever happens, do not send them any funds, regardless of what form.


How to Save Money with Hotel and Hostel Surcharge Fees

Surcharges are those hidden costs that a youth hostel or hotel can charge you for seemingly simple services, like making phone calls or accessing the internet. In the hostelling and hotel industry, surcharges are a huge moneymaker. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, U.S. hotels earned $1.6 billion from miscellaneous surcharges and fees last year, up from $550 million in 2003. This year that

number is likely to be more than $1.75 billion.

As hotels and hostels creatively find more ways to make you pay more, it’s important to be informed before planning your travel.

Here’s how to save on extra surcharges and fees at your hotel or hostel:

Lodging taxes can add a lot to your bill, depending on what region you’re staying in. In New York, for example, you can end up paying 8.75% on top of the nightly rate, plus a 5% hotel tax. This can add $10, $20, $30 to the cost of your stay.

So-called “resort” or “hotel” fees may cover use of facilities like a pool or fitness equipment. However, itemized charges can be tacked on for extras like landscaping and housekeeping, holding your luggage, tipping, or mini-bar restocking. The Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association now encourages its members to impose an energy surcharge. If you stay at a hotel in Canada, you may pay a 3% “destination marketing fee” to promote its tourism industry.

Before you travel, call and ask questions. When booking on the telephone or online, make sure you understand the total cost, including “total fees and taxes” Tell the hotel or hostel representative you want to know the absolute total you will be paying. HostelTraveler.com rates typically include all fees and surcharges, but sometimes taxes will be added on during your stay. Make sure you read the full listing information in advance to know how much your total cost will be.

After your stay, hotel and hostel staff are frequently reluctant to remove charges from your bill. If you’re not planning on using the specific services or facilities, request that they eliminate those expenses before you check in. Check out early, settle your bill in advance, so that you have ample time to review your bill thoroughly. Once you move on to the next city, the chances of obtaining a correction are much lower. And remember, if the hotel representative can’t tell you exactly what costs are included in your bill, make sure you obtain clarification from a manager before you pay. This will avoid disputes later.


Traveling within budget, but in style

Do you love traveling in style but limited budget stops you from doing so? If so, then you need not worry anymore as by choosing hostels accommodation you can travel within your budget and that too in style. The youth hostels and cheap hostels are very popular with the backpackers as these hostels do not charge much and at the same time, provide them with all the basic comforts. The youth hostels allow them to travel in style and enjoy their stay.

You may also opt for these cheap hostels or youth hostels so that you may not have to worry about spending more than you desire. The best option would be to opt for online booking or advance reservation facility so that you don €™t have to face unnecessary problems later. One of the most popular websites that provides you with online booking or reservation facility is www.hosteltraveler.com. It is hugely popular among backpackers and is known to provide information on the best hostels all around the world.

Just log on to the website and select the region or regions you would be traveling to. The website would provide you with a list of cheap hostels or youth hostels and would provide you information related to it. You can select the hostels that fit into your budget and also provide you with good facilities. You may consult the ratings given by the other backpackers and decide accordingly.