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Few circumstances can ruin a vacation like experiencing a security breach of your finances or hacking of electronic devices. Preparing ahead of time and being vigilant while traveling can help you avoid these catastrophes. Utilize our tips and feel 'secure' and confident during your travels.
Tips for avoiding scams and theft while traveling are a staple of the travel writing genre; pretty much every guidebook or travel website dedicates some space to the subject.
But in the 21st century, you are as much at risk of having your identity stolen—or more accurately your financial and digital identity—as you are of getting “mugged,” which almost sounds quaint these days (though I do not intend in any way to underplay the misery and danger of actually getting mugged).
Identity theft is a growing problem worldwide—especially for travelers, who are very vulnerable, forced as they are to use unsecured Internet connections, carry extensive personal documentation with them at all times, and share their credit cards with merchants about whom they know nothing and whom they’ll never see again.
Modern technology hasn’t made it any easier for honest folks to avoid identity theft, either; witness the practice of websites like Facebook and LinkedIn, which often keep you logged in to the site, even after you close your browser or turn off your computer. Someone getting unfettered access to your closest friends on Facebook could definitely shake out some very “helpful” information before you knew it.
As time and technology advance, this problem is only going to affect more travelers. Here are 11 tips to avoid identity theft while traveling, right now.
In the run-up to the wedding of a pair of boho artists I attended recently, the couple sent out a notice that no wedding gifts were necessary, and as such no gift registry was available—but that anyone wishing to give a present could contribute to their travel fund found at TravelersJoy.com.
When you visit the site, you find many of the typical trappings of a wedding registry site: photos of the couple, a greeting and a wedding date. The page also had a short statement of thanks, a description of the trip (to Bangladesh), a map of their destination and, of course, a mind-numbingly easy way to give money. As with a registry, there are options for various budgets (you can contribute $15 for a guidebook, $75 for a spa treatment or $150 for a hotel night).
Having friends and family subsidize one’s travels isn’t a possibility for everyone, but my friends’ honeymoon idea got me thinking about novel ways to fund and save for travel. With money as tight as ever, and travel expenses arguably down but definitely not out, all of us need to think about how to set aside the Benjamins that a big trip requires. Following are nine easy ways to save up money for your own vacation.
Open a Dedicated Savings Account
If you are serious about your effort to fund your travels directly and methodically, rather than out of whatever is in your bank account when your travel date comes around, this is a critical step. In most cases the cost to set up an account is zero, save for a bit of your time.
If you go this route, make sure you do not face any minimum balance penalties when you actually start to spend the money you’ve saved. It may also be useful to have ATM and online access to the account, which will let you draw money directly from the account when booking and while you travel; this keeps you from mingling your regular accounts with your “trip money,” guaranteeing that the money you set aside for the trip is the money you actually spend.
Using a single, dedicated account will also help you keep on budget during your trip, as the easiest way to know how much you are spending is to track the balance of your dedicated travel account. You can keep an eye on your balance as your trip progresses, and track the true cost of your trip without too much effort.
Before you leave for your next trip abroad, take a moment to think dollars and cents — or should we say pounds and pesos? Get the most for your money overseas by doing a little homework first.
The most important step is to know your options. In decades past traveler’s checks were the most popular way to carry money overseas — but today’s travelers are much more likely to rely on credit cards and ATM withdrawals, which usually offer better exchange rates and lower fees.
What’s the best option for you? And how can you avoid those pesky currency conversion fees when making purchases abroad? Read on for answers to these questions and a comprehensive roundup of all your currency conversion options when you’re traveling overseas.
Best for: Large purchases such as airline tickets, hotel bills, car rentals and restaurant meals.
Pros: The biggest advantage to using credit cards while traveling overseas is that credit card purchases are exchanged at the interbank exchange rate, usually the best rate you can get for currency exchange. While most credit card issuers charge currency conversion fees each time you make a purchase in a foreign currency (generally 1 percent from Visa or MasterCard plus an additional 1 – 2 percent for themselves), these fees are typically lower than those you’d pay to convert your own currency at a change bureau. And there are a few cards out there (many from Capital One) that do not charge any foreign transaction fees at all, not even the ones from Visa or MasterCard. Check out CardHub.com for a list.
Cons: Some restaurants, stores and even hotels won’t take credit cards, so you’ll need to have cash on hand at all times. While you can use credit cards to get cash advances at ATMs, bear in mind that they’ll be subject to any finance charges your credit card company imposes — which can add up very quickly. Plus, if you’re not home by the time the bills come in and you haven’t made arrangements to pay them, you’ll be hit with hefty finance charges on these advances.
You’ve probably been there: waiting at the baggage claim carousel, while other folks from your flight grab their bags, the claim area empties, the conveyor stops, and still no bag.
The Airline Lost Your Checked Bag, Now What?
As long as airlines have been checking baggage, they’ve been sending a few somewhere other than where they were supposed to go. Airlines are doing better recently than they did 20 years ago, however, so your chances for a happy, or at least satisfactory, ending have improved:
They’re losing fewer bags, or in airline-ese, “mishandled” bags. The government has been collecting statistics on mishandled bag reports for decades, and the number of mishandled bag reports per 100,000 passengers has dropped, somewhat unevenly, from 5 to 7 in the early 1990s to 3 to 4 since 2009.
They’re getting better at tracking the bags they do lose. With barcoded tags and now, a few RFID-enabled tags, their systems keep excellent track of bags. The last two times I’ve had a bag problem, an agent at the lost-baggage desk was able to tell me, immediately, where my bag was and the flight on which it would arrive.
Although airline performance has improved, what you do when an airline loses a bag remains about as it was in the 1990s.
As a travel professional, we always want to book our clients’ dream vacations. While we can manage all of our clients' travel plans to a T, their actual experiences are not always plannable. Luckily, there are some great travel apps to help with just about any aspect of a trip. Check out these top travel apps to add to your packing lists.
An App for: Speaking the Language
If your traveling to foreign countries, be sure to be prepared with an app that helps speak the common language. Google Translate is a lifesaver for any mono-linguist traveler. Translate from 103 different languages just by typing or drawing the word or phrase. Use your phone’s camera to hold up to street signs or even restaurant menus for instant translations. The best part is that the app works without using a wireless connection so you can explore data-free. Navigate with confidence and even learn a thing or two about the native tongue.
An App for: Maps & Directions
Don’t leave home without a solid navigation app for exploring. Apps like Maps.Me or City Mapper offer downloadable maps with turn-by-turn navigation, traffic updates and can even pinpoint local hotspots to check out. Explore points of interest from restaurants to tourist attractions, all with step-by-step directions. Even create driving, walking and cycle routes to save extra time, or just to take in the scenery.
An App for: Packing
Be certain to never forget a thing for your next trip. With apps like PackPoint, you can type in the destination and select the activities planned to create a customized packing list for the trip. It will even check the weather to make sure you are packing all the essentials. You can also share the list with your fellow travelers so nothing is ever left behind.
An App for: Chatting
Make sure you can always stay in touch with friends and family. WhatsApp provides free voice calls and messaging when connected to wifi. The group chat feature also allows you to share messages, photos and videos for sharing your experiences.
An App for: Time Zones
Never lose track of time again. With an app like Circa, travelling to multiple locations across different time zones has never been easier. Find the best times for connecting flights and send invitations to other travelers in different time zones to meet up. Now you'll never miss a beat no matter how far apart you are.
With these five apps you're certain to be well equipped for your next vacation. Download them ahead of time to begin to become comfortable in their use prior to travel. This will lessen stress and provide ease of use when needed. These tips are just one of the many ways we demonstrate to our clients that we care about every aspect of your trip.
Tipping abroad requires more than cash and generosity; a little research is essential for travelers to know exactly who deserves a tip and how much to give. Generous travelers shouldn’t hand out gratuities like Halloween candy to cover their bases. In some countries — like Japan, where giving someone a wad of cash is often considered rude — tipping can be an insult. On the other side of the coin, traveling tightwads shouldn’t try to save money by stiffing their service person, because millions of waiters, bellhops, tour guides and other workers in the tourist trade rely on tips to feed their families and pay the rent.
The happy medium between spendthrift and scrooge is a well-informed traveler! Below, we’ve listed some solid-gold tips for handling the tricky practice of tipping in a foreign country with often different and sometimes confusing customs and codes of behavior. Take our advice and tip wisely.
Tipping Abroad: Know Before You Go
Here’s the most important tipping tip you need: destination-specific tipping information is vital if you want to avoid an awkward or offensive encounter with a service person during your trip. For help, see A Guide to Tipping Across the Globe, in One Map.
You’ll also want to pore over a good guidebook for more detailed information on local tipping practices; this way you won’t be caught off guard when the colorfully dressed musicians in Marrakesh’s Jemma el-Fna square want a few dirhams for letting you snap their picture, and you’ll know you don’t need to leave a tip at that trendy restaurant in Malaysia.
23 Genius Travel Hacks That’ll Save You Time, Space, & Money
1. Throw the hotel bar soap into your dirty laundry bag so it doesn’t stink up your suitcase for the rest of your trip. Don’t have any bar soap lying around? Use a dryer sheet.
2. Wear a night moisturizer on long flights because it’s extra hydrating and you’ll have plenty of time to let it sink in and do its job (you know, like fighting wrinkles and brightening skin).
3. Pack items like your laptop in smaller bags so you have options when you’re out and about. You don’t want to have to lug your carry-on bag with you everywhere, do you?
4. Store your power cords in an old sunglass case. It’ll keep you from losing your mind. We promise.
5. Ditch the blush, brightener, and lipstick in favor of an all-in-one makeup product (like W3LL People’s Universalist stick). Major space saver, and you now have an excuse to pick up a beauty souvenir while you’re away.
6. Make your own awesome travel beverage. Bring a thermos with lemon, honey, and your own tea bag. Then have the flight attendant fill it with hot water—it makes the flight a tiny bit more relaxing.
7. Use your mascara as an eyeliner—just press the wand as close to your waterline as possible. It won’t approximate a cat eye but it will give you an effortless, smudged look.
8. Infinity scarves give you infinite options. Use one as a blanket when you’re cold, or fold it over your face to block out the light for a nap.
9. Hot tools take up precious suitcase space. Spritz damp hair with sea salt spray, use a towel to tie it up "genie-style," and sleep on it. Unwrap in the morning to reveal beachy waves.
10. If you bring some sort of hot styling tool, tuck it into a potholder to protect the clothes in your suitcase. Or pack a curling iron like this one that comes with a handy heat-resistant carrying case.
11. Leggings are a safe and comfy bet for traveling. Wear them under dresses and skirts, or for a workout (if that’s your thing).
12. Find your product savior. May we suggest a travel-sized Egyptian Magic? It won’t be confiscated by TSA and can be used as a cuticle cream, lip balm, stray brow tamer, flyaway smoother—pretty much everything.
13. Use a pill container to store and sort your jewelry. So tidy!
14. Holiday overindulgence equals dull skin. Mask the effects of that eggnog with a brightening sheet mask, like this one. They’re single-use, take up zero space, and revive skin in less than 20 minutes.
15. Wear your heaviest shoes on the plane (like those cute ankle boots you just bought) as well as your heaviest coat. You’ll save room and that coat doubles as a good pillow, too.
16. Just traveling for the weekend? Put your foundation or powder into contact cases to bring small quantities.
17. Pack clothing items around a color scheme (denim/black/white/gray) so that it's easy to mix and match. Dress up your outfits with scarves or jewelry.
18. Stash your bobby pins in a Tic Tac container to keep from losing them.
19. Bring several pairs of underwear in your carry-on—just in case your luggage winds up lost.
20. Collect travel- and sample-size items (gee, where could you find those?) so you’ll have them when you need them.
21. Pre-pack what you can. Always have a toiletry bag ready, so that you don't need to go crazy the night before you leave.
22. Place a cotton pad in your blush or powder compact to ensure that it won’t break while you’re in transit.
23. Wear something with preferably deep pockets on the plane—it’ll prevent you from having to dig through your bag for your phone, wallet, and boarding pass every five minutes.
by Birchbox Blog
Those overwater bungalows (or as Sandals likes to call them over-the-water bungalows) are spreading like wildfire. Sandals South Coast just welcomed its first guests to 12 new over-the-water bungalows, which opened on Saturday, Dec. 16.
Following its recent multi-million renovation projects, Sandals South Coast introduced the “over-the-water” concept with the addition of bungalows accessible via a heart shaped pier. In addition, Sandals debuted its first dedicated over-the-water bar called Latitudes, where guests can enjoy their cocktails in hammocks suspended above the Caribbean, as well as and an over-the-water wedding chapel with 360-degree, panoramic water views and a glass floor aisle.
According to Sandals, these over-the-water bungalows deliver complete immersion in the “turquoise waters and rich marine life below.” Glass vision floor panels and lit water ensure guests can enjoy undersea views. Couples also can admire the ocean from their private outdoor Tranquility Soaking Tub for two or from their over-water hammocks.
Every bungalow features hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, custom-crafted king-size beds with soft linens and plush pillows. Inside, each bungalow is also equipped with a smart TV and a large ceiling fan to stay cool while enjoying Caribbean breezes. Bathrooms are equipped with his and hers sinks, a large backlit mirror adorned with mosaic tile, and a walk-in rain shower. Outside, the private patio is also equipped with an extended sun deck, outdoor shower, sun loungers, and a bistro set for two.
Beyond the views, guests staying in the newly debuted bungalows will have access to top-notch services and exclusive amenities from 24/7 butler service, trained in accordance to the standards of the Guild of Professional Butlers, exclusive in room dining and room service menu, and direct resort access via a “Royal Duffy” luxury boat. Additional bungalow features include personal airport greeting with expedited immigration; private luxury resort transfers; welcome gift, including a branded towel set; Molton Brown bathroom amenities; and free Wi-Fi.
Other resort renovations at Sandals South Coast include upgrades to the property’s existing five restaurants as well as four new 5-Star Global Gourmet dining options: Sushi on the Sand; Beach Picnic, an option for Butler guests to have a romantic picnic on the beach; Jerk Shack, a dining option with open-air seating that serves authentic jerk dishes; and Schooner’s, which serves Caribbean fare. Rates start at $1,078 per person per night.
By James Shillinglaw
MyFuncations Travel Blog provides timely travel news, latest deals and promotions, travel tips and hacks. Bookmark our page for ease of returning to check out our latest posts.
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