Holiday Tips – How to Survive the Airport

For many people, the airport is the most stressful part of the holiday. Sometimes the process is a dream, but much more commonly it feels like a nightmare. If it isn’t a giant queue at check-in, then it’s frantically checking your million bags for your passport or losing your way in the maze of gates and having to run through the airport to catch your plane. Indeed, airport experiences are never going to be perfect, but here are some tips to make sure yours is as painless as possible:

Before you get there:

– Check and double-check your itineraries
– Make sure any special needs are sorted out before you leave for the airport
– Gather all important documents together and store them in a safe place so you won’t spend ages panicking and searching for your passport
– If possible, use a check-in online option. Maybe airlines offer them these days and they can safe you a lot of time, particularly if you only have carry-on baggage.
– Double-check you have no banned items in your carry-on luggage: be extra careful, as this can be include harmless-looking things like nail files
– Seal any liquids, gels and creams you’ll be taking with you in a clear plastic bag ready for inspection. Check online ahead of time how large the containers are allowed to be – often it is less than 150ml and includes things like makeup and cosmetics.
– Research the airport online to find out how long it usually take to get from checking in to reaching your gate.
– Dress comfortably – dress in layers so you can be comfortable whatever the temperature happens to be.

Getting to the airport:

– Allow yourself plenty of time – two hours ahead of your departure time for international flights and one hour ahead for domestic flights.
– If necessary, plan your transport and route to the airport.
– If driving, make sure you have booked airport parking in advance. If a friend is driving, make sure they are aware where drop-off points or short-term parking are.
– If taking public transport, check beforehand that there are no road works or expected delays that could lengthen your journey time.

On arrival:

– Prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario – bring some snacks and something to read in case of long waits
– Do not leave your baggage unattended (this goes without saying, surely?)
– Watch the display boards announcing your departure gate for any updates.
– Drink plenty of water before the flight to avoid becoming dehydrated.

Holiday Gift Buying Tips

With the holiday just around the corner, it’s now time to think about buying gifts for mom. Most often we always buy gifts that we purchase each year for our moms. Sooner or later the appeal of these gifts wear off, make it a point to choose a different set of gifts this year. Try shopping for holiday gifts online this time.

Instead of giving the same old gifts to your mother you should try to inject new energy and fresh vibes into the gifts you buy this holiday season. Below you will find a few fresh holiday gift ideas. Remember, these ideas are just guidelines so feel free to improvise whenever necessary to fit the needs of the mother in your life or your budget.

Idea no. 1: If you are buying your wife or mother a gift, buy them gold jewelry this holiday season. Jewelry is something that women always need, and stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Idea no. 2: When buying mother’s jewelry always make sure that you purchase from an online jewelry store that only sells jewelry for moms. These stores usually have jewelry that they know that moms really love.

Idea no. 3: When choosing a special gift for mom, make it a diamond gold ring this year. Diamonds are a woman’s all time favorite as women love gold rings with diamonds.

Idea no. 4: Clothes and shoes are something everybody gives and everybody gets, if you want to make a difference this year, buy your mom a gold pendant. A good pendant along with a gold chain is a stellar gift.

Idea no. 5: The simplest gifts for mom can even be a bouquet of roses. Women love flowers and specially roses. This is the cheapest yet most effective gift that you can give your mom.

Idea no. 6: If your mother doesn’t like jewelry with a lot of flash then remember to purchase a holiday gift that is simple. A simple gold ring with your mom’s name engraved will stay on her hand forever.

Buying gifts for the holiday season is not easy, especially if you are buying gifts for a person so close as your own mother. Gifts for mom need to be simple, and communicate the feeling of love for her. Moms want to be loved and your gifts should only be used as a means of showing your love for her and making her feel loved.

Hawaii Travel Tips and Secrets

Check out these Hawaii travel tips and see if you get excited like we did.

Are you a little adventurous? Do you enjoy a bargain when it comes to travel?

This is how we travel and it has always worked out great for us. Try it at your own risk, but if you love travel bargains, you’ll love the way this works.

We like to travel in the off season and see Hawaii when it isn’t so crowded. Off season travel has its benefits and drawbacks.

The weather isn’t always the most ideal, yet, it can be every bit as good as the peak season.

We’ve gone in peak season and had crummy weather and we’ve traveled in the off season and had great weather, it’s always a crap shoot any way so we take the chance.

Normally, we get awesome air travel rates in the off season to start of the trip.

We usually only book the first night or maybe the second and then we hit the streets and the hotel lobbies searching for the booklets, newspapers and coupon guide books.

Last time we did this, it was in January, right after the new year and everything was dead.

Hawaii was like a ghost town and we were able to find some of the most incredible deals you could imagine.

We got a flight to Oahu, with a three night stay in a luxury hotel complete with a rental car for just a little more than the normal price of the inter-island flight.

Another time, while on the island of Maui, we called a hotel on Oahu and asked for the price of a suite we had stayed in on a previous trip.

For the price of a normal room, we got a 2 bedroom penthouse suite overlooking Waikiki Beach and facing Diamond Head. This was a corner room with four 10 foot sliding glass doors so it was like having glass walls and you could see everything. It had every amenity and our kids almost went nuts using Jacuzzi tubs, making meals in the kitchen and sitting on the two verandas overlooking the beach. There was a special elevator that only went from the lobby level to the tenth floor.

These are just some of the Hawaii travel tips that we’ve accumulated. We think you might like traveling by the seat of your pants as much as we do. It gives us braging rights with the relatives also.

Next time you visit Hawaii, throw caution to the wind and give it a try. I’ll bet it will be the most exciting and value packed vacation you’ve ever experienced.

Managing the Holidays – Top 10 Tips

The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of year for many people. It’s a classic example of how we ask too much of ourselves and of others.

November comes around and suddenly we expect to turn into a “Martha Stewart!” We want a beautifully decorated house, delectable homemade treats, perfect, well thought out personalized gifts and well-behaved, eternally grateful children……even after we’ve disrupted their sleep routines and filled them up with cookies and candy. A little unrealistic, perhaps?

So how do you avoid creating a horribly hectic holiday? Here are some tips:

1. Ask each family member what their number one favorite part of the holiday is and only do those. You don’t have to do everything! You might be surprised that there are some things that aren’t as important as you thought.

2. Skip the holiday cards-send New Years cards in January or Valentine cards in February when you have more time. When you send something later, people are more likely to read it. If you send cards and family updates in January or February there’s a better chance they’ll remember what it said.

3. Give theme gifts: magazine subscriptions, donations in their name, gift cards, tickets to a concert, movie, play, etc. Go through a list of magazines and choose one that fits each person on your list. Think about their favorite store, go online and order a gift card for them. Give them tickets to an event you both like and maybe they’ll share the second ticket-the gift that keeps on giving.

4. Take a nap after Thanksgiving Dinner and wake up when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. Thought I’d toss that in for fun.

5. Make a list before heading out the door. Nothing is more time consuming that wandering around the mall waiting for the perfect gift to jump out at you. Go through catalogs or magazines for ideas, decide what you want and buy only what’s on your list.

6. Go shopping with a friend and combine it with a massage, spa treatment, sauna or a soak in a hot tub. How fun would it be to shop for an hour or two and have a great meal or spa date afterwards!

7. Breathe……breathe…….breathe. A deep breath will help you slow down to think and make better decisions. Think about the last minute craziness before guests arrive-mind racing, bouncing from one thing to another. Stop, take a deep breath and your mind and body will automatically slow down.

8. Make the holiday meal a group event: ask guests to bring part of the meal. If you are hosting an event say up front you are providing the main dish and they can choose a side dish to bring. No need for a hostess gift then. How many candles or knick knacks do you need?

9. Schedule FUN things for yourself. While you do lots for your families and friends this time of year, don’t forget to do something for yourself-go to a movie, buy yourself a little gift, hang out with a friend, go skiing or try something you’ve always wanted to do.

10. And finally, do only the things you need to do and the things you love to do. Let go of the rest. What traditions do you love and which ones feel like chores? Going back to Tip #1,only do the number one favorites. And don’t forget your favorites as well! When you do activities you truly enjoy, you will be more energized and happy. Doing activities that feel like chores is draining and can leave you with feelings of emptiness and fatigue. That’s NOT what the holidays are supposed to be like.

The holidays have special meaning for everyone, gratitude, giving and celebration. You can’t honor those when you’re stressed out and exhausted.

Make this Holiday Season the happiest and least hectic one yet!

Internet – The Smart Way of Getting the Cheapest Fares

Airplanes have brought the distant exotic holiday destinations closer to all of us. Today you can reach even the farthest places in just a few hours. So, whether it’s a trip to beautiful Australia or a trip to Dubai, it is all ‘in-reach’. The credit for this goes to Engineering and Technology.

Another face of technology is ‘Internet’. Internet is being used extensively for many different purposes (e.g. online shopping, content research, entertainment etc) and booking air travel is one of them. Though the various conventional ways are in use too, internet is by and large the most popular route for booking air travel. Besides being convenient, internet is the place where you can get the cheapest airfares most of the times.

Let’s take a look at some smart tips that can help you get the cheapest air fares on the net:

1. Book Early: Most airlines offer some ‘hot deals’ on air fares. These are the deals that airlines use to promote/advertise their services too. Generally, the earlier you book your flight, cheaper are the airfares. So, plan well and book your flight 3-4 months in advance (or even earlier, if you can).

2. Good Research Can Make A Difference: Good research is the key to getting cheapest airfares on the net. There are a number of websites through which you can book your air travel online. Some websites are operated by online travel agents while there are others that are operated by airlines themselves. If you shop around, you will find that various travel websites offer different fares for the same dates, times and facilities. However, instead of searching for air fares at various websites, you can use one of the multi-site airfare search engines that automatically get results from various travel websites (including airline websites).

3. Participate In Online Auctions: There are several websites that sell air tickets and travel packages through the auction route. Sometimes you can get the cheapest airfares here. The only condition is that you should be super-flexible in terms of dates, times, airline preference etc. Mostly, you will not know about the airline, hotel name, car rental etc till you have actually won the auction and made the payment. But that is something that you have to bear in order to get the cheapest deals.

4. Book Travel Packages Instead Of Just The Flights: Since most airlines, car rentals and hotels have tie-ups with each other, they offer you a discount if you book everything together. This discount is reflected in the travel package deals that you book over the internet. However, you might like to take a sneaky look at hotel rates that are available through other websites or through phoning the hotel (remember most hotels will give you a discounted rate, if you ask for the ‘best price’). Moreover, booking travel packages is much more convenient too (especially if you are short of time). Some websites will even have the pictures of hotel rooms and details of the hotel amenities, so as to facilitate your decision making process.

5. Be Flexible: The cheapest airfare deals are generally available to those who are flexible on the travel dates, times, airlines etc. This is because airfares and travel package costs are based on the demand; and cheapest airfares are for flights that are the least in demand. Holidays and weekends are the busiest times for airlines; so, the airfares are higher for such days. Similarly, evening flights are costlier than the morning or noon flights. Most travel websites provide you cheaper options if you demonstrate flexibility.

These are the smart tips that can really help you in getting the cheapest airfares.

Where to Get the Money for Vacation – Money for Vacation Tips

Many times in the past we have had a dilemma, where to get the money for vacation. We all work very hard each day and a vacation, in my opinion, is something everyone should take at least every couple years.

Due to various things going on in your personal lives, sometimes it’s hard to find money for vacation so you can do all the things you need and want to do on your trip.

Here we have listed some tips and places to come up with funds for your travel plans. Many of us don’t have the problem of coming up with funds, but for the many that do, this article will help you brainstorm a list of ways to put money into the pot.

**Start saving early. Many times people who know they are going to be going on vacation next year will begin saving now, or if you plan on taking a major trip in the future, why not put a little away here and there. This isn’t always an option, but if you had to skip your vacation this year, why not start now – look for travel deals now, figure out your destination, sign up for blogs and feeds, and begin your planning now.

**Use your tax refund. Many Americans every year have the ability to utilize their income tax refunds for a number of purposes. If you are someone who has overpaid the government and get some of that back, this is always an option.

**Set up a vacation fund. Pay yourself first and put some of that into a vacation pot that you don’t touch until your trip. Each year, my parents will do this by putting loose coins into a bank, and by the time their trip comes they have enough money for gas, food, extra fun stuff they wouldn’t have had.

**Cut back on other daily items. Stop buying that $4 cup of coffee everyday. Cut back on dining out at sit down restaurants. Focus on a budget where you can penny pinch a bit. It’s a small price to pay to enjoy your ultimate vacation when otherwise you may not be able to go.

**Do small weekend trips throughout the year. Instead of a week long vacation in some remote location, why not go somewhere closer for a weekend getaway. Camping is great, lake trips, beach trips, and other spots that you can make a quick drive to and just get away for a few days.

**Moonlight or pick up some extra income. I’m sure the last thing you want to do is work more right? Well, due to my Florida website, I make enough extra money that it pays for extras in our lives like home repairs, dining out, and vacations. It has been a tremendous help.

**Use credit cards, but use them wisely. I hesitate to mention this one because many people will whip out their plastics for much of their trip. This isn’t the best way to find money for vacation, but it can supplement a number of things. Using debt to pay for things like vacation can be a downward cycle you don’t want to start, so be careful.

**Eat intelligently while on vacation. We typically take one meal out per day and eat the rest in. This saves us a fortune and we still get to enjoy the tasty eats around our destination of choice.

**Set up a goal. Somehow when you commit to something and put a plan together, things tend to work in your favor. If you want something to happen you can make it happen. Experts call it the “law of attraction” and it seems to work, so why not!

**Be a smart travel planner. Searching intelligently and using the vast resources of the Internet will ultimately find you better deals. When you add up car rentals, gas, hotels, airfare, things to do, etc. they get expensive quickly. They can also add up a lot of savings if you shop around and find good deals while not sacrificing a great vacation.

Travel lovers, this is just a start. Use your creativity and figure out some ways to find money for vacation if you are on a budget. We all need some time away from time to time so do whatever you need to do to make your trip happen.

Cologne Tips

Traveling to Germany is not complete without a stay in Cologne. Cologne is Germany’s fourth-largest city, and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The city is a beautiful cultured destination with great leisure facilities, pubs, restaurants, shops and history. Many years of restoration work has seen a rebuild to portray the wonderful city it was. Cologne is often called the Cathedral city.

About Cologne

Cologne is an old city, of great importance in Roman History as it is one of four sanctified cities that formed the north corner spot of the Empire. At the beginning of the thirteenth century Cologne was the largest fortified city in the world. However, over 90% of Cologne was destroyed during WWII.

How to get there

Depending on your departure point, flying is usually the best choice of transport. If traveling from Europe, the Köln/Bonn Konrad Adenauer Airport is only 10km from the centre of the city. However, if traveling from outside Europe, Frankfurt Airport is the closest and provides both road and train transfers for the 200km journey.

Where to stay in Cologne

Hotels are the most popular choice of accommodation in Cologne and 2 to 5 star standard hotels are usually available. However, check for the festival dates as this can seriously affect the availability of rooms. Popular festivals include the “Balls ad Fools” Festival (early November), Easter Festivals (March/April,) and Christmas Markets (December)

What to see in Cologne

The Altstadt is worth a visit both during the day to visit Ludwig’s Museum and the evening for dinner where you can enjoy a “Roman dinner”. For relaxation check out Claudius Spa that is found in the Rheinpark area. Visit the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) that was originally established in 1248,

Where to eat

There are over 1,000 restaurants in Cologne. Hence a great range of top quality restaurants that offer all kinds of international food. There are also many attractive cafes and bars as well as all takeaway options.

Where to shop

Cologne has a great range of shops that cater for everybody’s needs. The most popular shopping streets are Schildergasse and Hohe Straße. Other smaller streets that head out of the centre have more unique shops and indoor markets. The shopping areas clearly indicate pedestrian access, making them attractive and well laid out.

There is something for everyone in Cologne. The ancient cathedral city is well worth a visit.

Tips To Choose The Best Hotel Or Resort For Your Celebrations Or Events

Accommodation is important in any kind of travel whether it is for business or leisure. Fortunately, most destinations have plenty of options for you including resorts and hotels. One of the things you want to make sure you do before travelling is having your accommodation plans in check. At least this way you don’t have to get frustrated when you get to the destination only to find you have limited options with your accommodation.

1. Start by choosing the most ideal resort location. The location can have a lot to determine when it comes to the environment or the kind of ambience and atmosphere you enjoy during your stay. For formal or business travel, you should settle for a location that is serene enough for you to run your conferences and meetings without much interruption. If you are travelling for leisure and have a need to enjoy the stay to the maximum then choose a location that offers great views and activities.

2. Check out the facilities available. For instance, if you are travelling with business partners, does the hotel or resort have conference rooms and are they large enough and well equipped to give you a smooth time? Checking such facilities from the beginning will help you make the right decision with the hotel. Same goes for celebrations such as weddings. Does it have grounds you can conveniently use for the wedding and what services can you enjoy related to such? You also want to consider the suites and rooms available to make sure you love the settings and possible arrangements to make your stay most rewarding and calming.

3. Find out what services you can enjoy. Despite the reason for your travel and need for hotel accommodation, there are services you might need to complete the experience. They include housekeeping, laundry, transport and babysitting among others. It is important to evaluate what services are important to you and how possible they are from the hotel. Look for hotels or resorts with impeccable customer service and flexibility so you can have a time of your life free from worries.

4. Consider the room amenities. They will definitely come in handy when packing for the stay or holidays. Do you need a hairdryer and does the hotel provide that or do you have to carry one yourself? Consider the items you need for convenience and match them with what the hotel offers in your room so you can have an easy time deciding what to take with you. The room rates can determine amenities made available to you with higher rates coming with more amenities for your enjoyment.

5. Find out what activities you can enjoy from the hotel. They can make a memorable stay, especially when the activities match your preferences. Swimming, jogging, surfing and golfing are some of the activities most hotels offer. If you love the gym or spa experiences, then you also want to consider whether the resort has a spa or a gym at your disposal.

Driving the Eastern Seaboard

Driving across the USA is a very rewarding experience, but the country is so vast that it’s often a good idea to enjoy a trip in smaller sections so you can enjoy things more and take your time to see everything.

Driving up or down the Eastern Seaboard is one of these exhilarating experiences. You can see all the different cities and states that made up the original thirteen colonies as well as possibly some parts of Canada. The Eastern Seaboard are the states that go up the Atlantic coast of North America.

When you’re driving up the Eastern Seaboard there are many cities, but the following is just a short list of all the exciting places you can see.

The South and the Gulf

A trip up the Eastern Seaboard of the USA could possibly begin in Florida with a couple of weeks relaxation on the beach. Florida has some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world. Miami is a very large city with a population of about 400,000 people. Nearby Pensacola Beach is one of the most famous in the world and the perfect place to spend a week or two before your road trip.

The Deep South and the Civil War

Traveling up the Eastern Seaboard would be incomplete without visiting some of the cities that were heavily involved in the Civil War and going to some of the world famous museums about the history of the area. Cities with such a strong history are Charlotte, Charleston, Norfolk, Raleigh, Richmond, Savannah and Jacksonville. In all of these cities you can find plenty of historical buildings in Civil War style as well as old farms and plantations.

The Intellect of the USA

Also in this area are some of the best universities in the world. Many of the Ivy League Colleges are located on the Eastern Seaboard, such as Harvard, Princeton, MIT and Colombia.

The Founding Fathers

Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh also have a lot of history that dates back to the War of Independence. Washington D. C. is the home of the United States government and is good for a few days at least by itself. There is so much to see in the capital, including all the memorials and special government buildings such as the White House, the Pentagon and Congress. Guided tours are available for all places and it’s worth listening carefully to learn all the history.

New York

New York is an old city as well, being the landing place of most of America’s diverse immigrant background population. Irish, Jewish, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese and many more nationalities have walked the streets of New York together for centuries.

New York has several parts that should be seen on different days. There is the isle of Manhattan where all the world’s greatest shopping centers and shows are. Then there is Central Park and the Statue of Liberty as well as the outlying areas such as Queens and the Bronx.

Outdoor Holiday Lighting Tips

Outdoor holiday lighting is truly exciting. Getting those holiday lights on your outdoor property can really help you get deeper into the Christmas spirit. Installing and using outdoor lights however are far different than with indoor ones. Here are some important tips to take note of to keep your holiday lighting installation and use both safe and enjoyable.

* Never use plain staples or nails for installing your decorative lights. These could cut through the wire and cause fraying. This in turn could endanger you and your property. As much as possible, settle for plastic clips that you can easily use on eaves, gutters and railings. If you really must use staples, make sure that they are the insulated type and that you do not cut through the wire.

* Never use indoor lights outdoors. Use only holiday lights that are specifically meant to be used for the outdoors. You should also strictly stick to manufacturer instructions on how to use your Christmas lights.

* Carefully check your outdoor holiday lighting even if newly bought. You shouldn’t just keep an eye out for busted bulbs. You should also check for frayed wires, exposed wires or broken connecting sockets.

* All lighting sockets should be wrapped with electrical tape. This will ensure that there is no gap in between connections. The electrical tape can also ensure that water cannot get into the connecting points.

* You cannot just connect as many lights as you want. You also have to be careful with using limited extension wires for too many lights. You could cause a circuit overload that could lead to power failure. Light makers usually have safety guidelines on the number of lights that can be connected.

* Be careful with power lines. A tree you are decorating, your ladder or even your body could come in contact with a power line. You could seriously injure yourself and damage your property.

* Do not leave outdoor holiday lighting unattended. Only have them on if you are at home and awake. Make sure they are turned off before you leave home or before you retire for the night.

* Don’t keep the lights attached way after the holidays. You may have had a hard time installing them all over the house. This may make you feel like wanting to enjoy your lights a little more. It isn’t safe though to leave them out for long. The natural elements could gradually damage your lights and make them a hazard.

* Don’t leave light cords and extension cords lying around loosely. People could trip on them. Small animals could also get entangled and choke. Keep the cords neatly to the sides and tie up any extra cord lines.

* You can enjoy your outdoor holiday lighting better if you do not have a big electric bill to pay. Lower your costs by using energy efficient lighting. Use LED bulbs. Aside from being energy efficient, they are also quite sturdy.

Keep your outdoor holiday lighting experience fun. Make sure you get the right kind of lights and materials. Make sure too that safety is always your top priority.