Hotel Deals – Avoid the Current Frauds Around Hotels!

Due to the financial crisis, it is common for people to try to save money. Tourists who are on a budget are likely to search hotel deals, with the hope of finding a nice place where to spend their holidays. However, most of the tourists that go for hotel deals should be aware of some facts to avoid becoming scam victims.

Be extra suspicious if someone claiming to be a travel agent approaches you in the airport to offer you a special discount on a hotel stay. Most likely, you will find that such discounts do not exist, and you will end up paying the highest rates in the market, if you go for the hotel they offer.

In addition, there is a scam going on at airports currently, which you should be aware of. Many times con persons disguised in uniforms will approach you claiming that there is a bomb threat in the airport, and that you will need to stay in a hotel for that night. If you trust them they will lead you to a fleabag hotel, and steal your stuff. Always ask for credentials, and be suspicious if someone approaches you with this kind of claims. Furthermore, airports are like the home of con artists, so you have to keep your eyes wide open, to avoid becoming a victim.

Many times, while at the airport, you will find that someone approaches you claiming that they work with the hotel you chose for your stay. They will say that they are there to drive you, but instead of taking you to your hotel, they will take you to a more expensive one.

This scam also functions in other forms. The con artists may drive you to an isolated place to rob you, or worse, even kidnap you. You can never be too careful when it comes to hotel deals scams. Do not get into anyone's vehicle, unless they can prove somehow that they work with your hotel.

Most times, if a hotel deal looks so good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes you choose to go for a hotel deal and you find yourself in a time share talk. In order to get the special rate, you have to listen to their whole speech, and accept to be chased by sale persons who will try to sell you a time share no matter what.

In addition, if you receive a phone call in which you are told that you are eligible for a special hotel deal, be extra careful. Most times, the person on the other side of the phone will try to get your credit card and personal information, and you will find later that they have been placing charges on your card.

Never give your personal or credit card information over the phone, if you want to avoid scams. It is always better to deal directly with a known travel agency. If they call you to offer you a special rate on a hotel, before you take it, do an Internet search to get more information; most probably you are not their first victim.



Source by Julian Lenox

How Pilots Can Volunteer – Eight Sites to Get Involved

As pilots, we are lucky to see and experience things that few people ever do. We also have a very unique skill set that can do much to help improve the lives of others. In the spirit of giving back, here are seven volunteer pilot organizations that may inspire you to go wheels up for a good cause.

  • Angel Flight is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) volunteer pilot organization that provides free air transport in private aircraft to children and adults in need of life-saving medical care that is not available locally. To volunteer or view a list of upcoming Angel Flight events, visit angelflitsoars.org.
  • The Air Care Alliance is a nationwide association of flying organizations dedicated to humanitarian missions involving health care, patient transport and other missions for public benefit. Visit the ACA site for a list of member organizations, news and events.
  • Brigade Air, Inc. is a Christian youth mentoring program that encourages young people to serve in the arena of missionary aviation. Established in 2000, Brigade Air has educated more than 2,100 campers in a total of 96 summer camp weeks over the last seven years. For more information, visit brigadeair.org.
  • Emergency Volunteer Air Corp (EVAC) organizes general aviation pilots, amateur radio operators and other aviation personnel to supplement existing emergency personnel and organizations during a fire, earthquake, hurricane and other major public emergencies. For more information, visit EVAC online.
  • Fly for the Cure is a non-profit organization located in Westfield, NY that provides pleasure trips to cancer sufferers and survivors across the country. Fly for the Cure is also involved in fund raising and promoting Cancer Awareness with an emphasis on the need for cancer screening and early detection. Visit fly4thecure.org to read more.
  • Pilots and Paws Pet Rescue is a non-profit organization that pairs pet rescue volunteers with pilot plane owners willing to assist with the transportation of the rescued animals. Pilots and Paws helps arrange and schedule rescue flights, overnight foster care, shelter care and other related activities. To learn more, go to pilotsnpaws.org.
  • The Volunteer Pilots Association provides free air transport for qualified patients who are in financial need. Pilots provide free air transport in privately owned, single engine or twin-engine, piston powered aircraft. VPA is not an ambulance service and pilots are either trained nor permitted to provide medical assistance. For more information, visit volunteerpilots.org.
  • Patient Airlift Services (PALS) is a network of volunteer pilots in the Northeast United States who provide free flights for patients and caregivers in need of medical diagnosis, treatment or follow-up. PALS pilots donate their aircraft, time and pay for all expenses related to the flight with no cost to the qualifying patients and caregivers. To learn about volunteering at PALS, or to sign up for the PALS volunteer squadron, visit the PALS volunteer page.



Source by Santo Silvestro

Rolling Laptop Bags

Rolling Laptop bags solve a lot of problems for the modern traveler. They help to speed of the flow of travel for a weary traveler, and they help the shoulders from having to end pain and strain on the back. What rolling laptop bags are, are laptop cases that have wheels either on the bottom of the case, or they have a wheel attachment that can be attached to the case.

The most common type of rolling laptop bags, are the ones that are made out of foam type material on the outside. They will have a retractable handle on the top. All the traveler has to do, is to pull the handle up and then roll the wheeled laptop cases on their wheels. There are rolling laptop bags that also are made out of leather. However, if the traveler is moving with a case that is made out of metal, and that looks like the retro-styled brief cases, then the traveler would have to by a metal rack that has handles on top, and wheels at the bottom. All a traveler has to do, is to attach the laptop bag to the rack, harness it in place, and now they've created rolling bags for themselves.

The advantages of rolling laptop bags, is that it gives the shoulders and the back of the traveler a break. Depending on the weight of the laptop, laptop cases can get quite heavy. A person might be suffering with back issues anyway, and the case can be full of papers, books, and other items that would make the laptop case very heavy. So when the traveler uses wheeled laptop cases, this can save their backs and shoulders for better health.

Also, travelers use rolling laptop bags when they are in a hurry. For a lot of people, wheeling a laptop case is a lot more simple that having to lug it around, and having to carry it along with a lot of other bags on their shoulders. So wheeled laptop cases can increase the speed that a person might need, such as in the case of a traveler racing through an airport.

So as we can see, rolling laptop bags to go a long way to save a person's physical health, and they can increase speed and efficiency. They can also keep the clothes looking more intact. When a person carries too much on their shoulders, the suites and blouses will look frumpy. Using wheeled laptop cases can keep the freshness of the clothes intact, for a neat and professional look. They come in so many colors, shapes and styles. They really are a great investment for the person constantly on the go for work or play.



Source by Nicole Roberts

Car Rental Lowest Rates Vs. A Good Bargain

Many people approach Car Rental as a lowest-price-possible contest rather than to concentrate on the value of the deal that they would ever get, in terms of what type of car, what's included (air conditioning, automatic gear shift etc ') as well as what type of service they are buying.

The thing is, Car Rental market is very competitive one and rates differences for comparable quality and service are relatively small, sometimes as small as $ 10 to $ 20. These minuet price differences are going to leave in the wind when you consider the long lines and lost time at the cheapest renter counter, drop charges for remote destinations, late return fines, and gasoline inflated rates as well as other service charges you did not think about when you shopped for the "best deal".

Do not get us wrong, we do not like to pay higher prices more than you do. We do recommend to shop around and check the various rates available, especially when it's so easy to do it via the Internet at comparison sites.

All we say here you need to consider other things besides the price and when you compare please make sure you compare apples to apples and not apples to pears.

Things to consider when ordering a rented a car

Who is using the car, are you by yourself on a business trip or are you traveling with the whole family? How much luggage are you going to have, does the car you are thinking about is big enough to have you all plus all your luggage and big suitcases? If not, consider to change to a mini van or a car with extra large trunk.

Do you need an infant seat or a child booster? make sure it is mentioned clearly with your order, usually there is a shortage of these seats and they are provided for extra charge. Check the state laws for where you are traveling.
A new law in Denver for instance, requires Booster Seats for all 4 and 5 year olds who are not 55 inches tall.

Do you actually need the car in the town or city at the first few days? If not, consider to take a taxi, a bus, a train or the hotel shuttle into the city and when it's time for you to go out of town and travel around, then, rent the car from the city location and by that save up to 15% on Air-Port charges as well as on city parking fees.

Are you going to a very warm and humid destination? If yes, it's recommended to order a car with air conditioning, usually the price difference is negligible, the problem is that it's not available in all destinations like in some European countries.

Most major rental car companies allow for unlimited mileage in the same state, but it's a good idea to check their policy before confirming. Many smaller local independent companies charge mileage after 100-200 miles per day.

As mentioned before price is not the only factor to consider when choosing a car rental company. If you choose a very small, no-name company, do not expect them to provide you with service across all nation or continent, what would you do if the car is needed to be replaced or serviced for some reason?

Frequent or Preferred Renter Programs and affiliations

Frequent renter programs , Like airlines and hotels, major car rental companies track their customers' rental histories and offer preferential service to loyal customers. Most of the major companies offer frequent renter programs that are similar to airline frequent-flyer programs and hotel frequent-guest programs.

Preferred renter clubs , Most major car rental companies also offer preferred renter programs or clubs (one example is the Hertz # 1 Club). When you belong to one of these clubs, you get preferential treatment, including automatic upgrades when those cars are available. You can join these programs at any time, even if you are a first-time renter with that company.

While basic-level club memberships are often free, higher-level memberships (as in the Hertz # 1 Gold Club, which allows you to bypass the rental counter) generally come with a price tag. What most people do not realize is that it's often possible to avoid the membership fee by simply writing or calling your car rental company and asking them to waive it. They will do it because the car rental industry is very competitive, and they want your business

If you're still faced with a steep rate, try getting discounts based on your affiliations with organizations like AARP, AAA or others. These discounts are usually not great, but they are better than nothing.

In addition, always check for corporates rates if applicable to your situation.

Car Rental Insurance

Some of the Insurance terms seem to be confusing, let's try to clear them out first.

CDW – Collision Damage Waiver.

LDW – Loss Damage Waiver.

PDW – Physical Damage Waiver.

PAI – Personal Accident Insurance.

PEC – Personal Effects Coverage.

ALI – Additional Liability Insurance.

Many of the Credit Cards have most of these coverage, therefore it's not mandatory to purchase excess coverage. It's better to check this issue with your travel agent, insurance agent and your credit card company a head of time. Some Car rental companies require that you show proof of insurance.

Also be aware that your personal insurance probably does not apply to your rental car when traveling overseas. All this is somewhat complicated and at times confusing because there are no industry standards for terminology and policies vary by locations.

Important things to check and do before leaving the Air-Port

After a long flight and the waiting in lines for your luggage and afterwards for your keys at the car rental counter, it is understandable you just want to take the rented car and drive away to your hotel, but wait! Here is a list of things you must first check.

Start by making a careful check around the car, look for any small dents or scratches, in case you find some, do not be lazy, go back to the office and ask a representative of the rental company to write down all of these dents , ask for a copy of that report. Other wise you might be responsible for damages you did not perform.

Open the trunk, make sure you have a spare tire, a jack and set of tools, there is nothing more annoying than to find out in the middle of now that you do not have a jack when you need to replace a flat tire.

Many car companies will provide you with an extra key if you ask for one. This can come in handy for some of us who are absent minded.

It is recommended to spend some time to get acquainted with the cars' features and switches, make sure you know where the lights switches are, how to operate the windshield wipers, the air conditioner and even set your favorite radio stations as well as set your side mirrors. It may be quiet frustrating to fight with the new switches while driving, when all of a sudden it starts raining.

Make sure you have a map and it's better to spend few more minutes and plan your driving route.

Last but certainly not least, if you have a lot of luggage, do not park the car in the parking lot and go for lunch, in many countries, this is an easy target for
the thieves, It's better to buy some sandwiches and beverages in the air-port, or stop somewhere along the way for refreshing but never leave the car unattended.

In case you are involved in a Car Accident

These are the most important pieces of information to collect from the involved parties: full name, mailing address, telephone number, insurance details, and drivers' license number.

Also try to get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. Make a note of the vehicle's make, color, brand and license plate number.

Try to pinpoint the exact time and location of the accident. If the police get involved, ensure that you receive a copy of their report. Do not forget to inform your insurance agent immediately and notify the car rental company.
They will let you know about their accident procedure.

If you purchased insurance through the car rental company, they will have to make the claim. If there is damage to the rental car, there will be much paper work to complete

Make sure any involved parties are ok. Any injuries should be taken care of ASAP.

Call the police and / or ambulance (if necessary), and then call the car rental agency. Be as cooperative as possible. The car rental agency will have its own policies regarding accidents.

Exchange information with the affected parties.
Try to record everything on the scene. Your notes should include details of the accident, identification of the autos and people involved, and the names and badge numbers of all emergency personnel.

Take pictures if possible. If you are on vacation, you will probably have a camera handy already.

File an accident report with the police, and report the claim to your own credit card company or insurance company.

When returning the Car

Make all necessary arrangements to return the car on time, that includes looking the location in the map especially if you return the car in a foreign city.

Late return charges are high and arbitrary, secondly, if you are late, you probably will not have the time to fill the car with gasoline yourself and the rental company will charge you exorbitant inflated gasoline rates.

In case you return the car in a city location on Sunday, it might be that the station will be deserted, it will let you in via automated gate, make sure to take the card and leave it over the dashboard, this is your recorded time of arrival.

In addition, lock the car, take the keys plus your rental contract and insert them into the designated box.



Source by Amit Laufer

Guide for Selecting an Aircraft Charter and Management Specialist

Aircraft Charter and Management is a highly regulated, highly specialized business. The relationship between an aircraft owner and their management company is unique; it is closer to a partnership then a traditional supplier/customer relationship. When it comes to selecting a company for aircraft management, most owners like to hire a company with deep experience, top safety ratings and one which understands and is aligned with the owner’s air travel requirements. In this post, we will discuss key areas that are differentiators when choosing and ACM company.

– Experience is one of the most important factors. When you are looking for an aircraft charter and management specialist, you have to consider their experience. This is extremely vital because it largely determines the kind of services you can expect from them. If required, ask the prospective company to offer references of past customers with similar aircraft and mission profiles.

– Consider their safety ratings. There are well known and respected organizations such as Argus, Wyvern, IS-BAO and the Air Charter Safety Foundation which rate ACM companies based upon their safety record. Ask potential management company for its ratings from these organizations.

– Who are their clients? While many organizations and individual aircraft owners prefer confidentiality, some may be available for use as reference. At a minimum an ACM operator should be able to provide a profile of their clients on a “blind” basis for review.

– What’s their expertise? A prospective management company should be able to provide you a summary of their Operations Specifications, or OPSPECS, so you can better understand their capabilities. This is especially important for owners who plan to travel outside of the U.S.

– How do they measure success? Another way of saying this is what type of reporting will you receive? Most owners of managed aircraft receive a monthly summary detailing every flight, every maintenance transaction, etc. As an owner, you have every right to receive whatever information you want, in whatever format you want it. If you are used to reviewing performance reports a certain way, you should be able to tailor your aircraft activity reporting this way as well. If desired, you can even have an automated data interface set up to electronically transfer this information to you as well.

Finally, you have to understand the value proposition. Not all companies can deal with management requirements efficiently, and it can only add to your overall costs. The whole purpose of hiring an aviation management company is to keep a tight control on the operations and increase efficiency and transparency. Unless the management company can meet your expectations in these areas, it is unlikely that you can expect good returns as far as customer service and delivery of execution are concerned.

Please consider these areas as your diligence aircraft charter and management companies for your potential use. If you would rather use a third part consultant, that can also provide the comfort you are seeking that the potential ACM companies have been properly vetted to meet your needs.



Source by J Smith

What Is the USPS EPacket Service

In January 2013, the USPS will be increasing their rates for First Class International Mail for packages dramatically. In many cases, the rates to ship a package internationally will double. Although this may seem like very bad news to many Amazon and eBay sellers, there is some good news. The USPS is officially launching a new International Service called Commercial ePacket in the United States.

Commercial ePacket is a USPS product offered via the services of a USPS approved Pre-Qualified Wholesaler (PQW). This service seems to be very beneficial to many shippers sending lightweight low value items overseas. Amazon & eBay sellers can now take comfort in the fact that they will no longer have to prepare the documentation and required labels for exporting from the USA. The USPS PQW that you select, will take care of all the necessary documentation. In addition, all eRetailers can now track these packages on USPS.com to the 14 participating countries.

Some key features of the Commercial ePacket Service are as follows:

  • Economical eCommerce postal product with tracking and delivery confirmation
  • Lightweight low value merchandise, < 2 Kilos & < $400 value
  • Dispatched as commercial Letter-Post Packets and utilizes overseas foreign prime post network.
  • Transit time is 4-7 days
  • Postal Customs Clearance (Duties & Taxes paid by recipient)
  • Free returns on undeliverable items
  • Tracking is performed right on USPS.com
  • 14 Participating countries: Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain. Ireland, Finland, France, Portugal, and UK.
  • Delivery scan rates of 90% on average for all countries
  • Pricing provided by a USPS approved PQW
  • Induction sites are New York, Chicago, & Los Angeles
  • Acceptance scan by USPS and delivery scan by foreign post
  • Unique Label and Barcode ID – LX item prefix
  • Electronic manifesting, labeling done by Pre-Qualified Wholesaler, & dropped off in sacks ONLY

How does ePacket work?

Customers would contact a USPS PQW in their region and speak with someone regarding how they can get started. Ideally you would want to select a PQW who has mailing capabilities in all three acceptance cities. This becomes extremely important during inclement weather and natural disasters. Using a PQW with multiple facilities located in all 3 acceptance facilities ensures that your mail can be re-routed to another acceptance center if one becomes closed or has no flights departing as we saw during Hurricane Sandy.

The PQW will walk you throught the process of setting up your labels and data capture features. Once you have all of the data capture features running, you will either send your shipments or the PQW will dispatch a vehicle to your location. Each day you will need to provide the mail you are dispatching and send a manifest electronically outlining all the customs information for each package.

Once your packages arrive at the PQW, the PQW will confirm that they have received your electronic manifest for that particulars days shipment. If the PQW does not receive your manifest they can not process your mail through the Commercial ePacket service. After receipt of your manifest the electronic information will be uploaded into the USPS system and all the labels and necessary customs documentation will be generated. The packages will then have the proper labeling and will be sacked by country of destination and delivered to the USPS designated International Service Center (ISC).

Once accepted at the USPS ISC, the sacks will be opened and every package scanned as evidence of posting and placed on the next available outbound flight for that destination country. After flight arrival, the packages will clear through customs via the Postal Customs Clearance mechanism. This ensures that your packages move quickly through the clearance process and will not be impacted by typical delays incured by the normal airfreight clearance system.

After Clearance, packages will then be entered into the PRIME network and will receive priority processing within the destination country. Customers that are waiting to receive their packages, can have confidence that they will see the tracking information directly on the USPS website. This one feature should eliminate many customer service calls that many Amazon & eBay sellers receive daily from their customers.

Once the packages make it through the postal system of the destination country, the package will be scanned as delivered by the mail carrier once it is delivered.This scanning event will then be uploaded into the USPS site and available to all who wish to monitor the progress of each shipment.

Based on my initial findings, this service seems to be an excellent offering for companies shipping 100 or more packages daily. However, some customers that are shipping less than 100 packages per day, may also be able to benefit from this service if they decide to consolidate one or two days worth of orders before dispatching. Obviously, each customer has their own idiosyncracies that may factor into when a service like Commercial ePacket becomes beneficial. However, depending upon how far you are from JFK Airport, O’hare International Airport, or Los Angeles International Airport it may become feasible to use the service daily even if you have less than 100 packages daily. For specifics regarding the service, I would contact a USPS approved PQW today.



Source by Joseph Amalfitano

Charter Your Way to the Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes is a horse race. That is putting it simply of course, because since it is the third of the 'big races' for three year old thoroughbreds, it can be the site of a Triple Crown winner. The Belmont Stakes is held in New York each June, five weeks after the Kentucky Derby has been run and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes, which are the first two races of the Triple Crown.

The race is named after August Belmont Sr. and is the oldest of the three races that make up horse racing's elite. It was first run back in 1867 but there was not a Triple Crown winner until 1919's Sir Barton became the first horse to win it. In fact, through history there has only been 12 winners, most recently American Pharaoh who won the whole shebang back in 2015. His win was thirty seven years in the making so it is not hard to understand why the Belmont Stakes is nicknamed The Test of the Champion.

Belmont's track is the longest of the three races, with a track measuring 1.5 miles which means the horses are tested in both speed and endurance, and the track was the first to run a race counter clockwise, which happened in 1921. They also implemented the paddock walkabout for the horses which does not happen in Kentucky or the Preakness Stakes.

The Belmont stakes is special because it is the only race that can crown a Triple Crown winner. If a horse has won the first two, all eyes are on him come June at this big race, so why get there commercially when you can charter a jet to get you there in style and on your schedule?

We are all busy so who has time for commercial airlines and busy airports? Would not it be nice to sit back, relax and leave when you wanted to in a spotless state of the art jet which seating plan you can configure to your individual needs? New York's airports are busy places to begin with, but arriving in a jet gives you the leeway to arrive at a smaller airport and without all of the long security lines and check in hassle you expect at the large airports.

As you watch the winner of the Belmont Stakes get his blanket of white carnations and walk past the statement of Secretariat, still the owner of the fastest time in the race, it will not be nice to think of the luxury awaiting you to whisk you home again? You bet it will!



Source by Amanda J Hales

Lonavala: Weekend Getaway

Lonavala is a popular hill station that is located in Pune, in the state of Maharashtra. There are a number of wonderful tourist attractions in town and many tourists visit it often because of the wonderful scenery found here. There are a number of great hotels in Lonavala that offer some wonderful accommodation that fits the budget and finding a room that will not be hard.

Lonavala can be reached easily from most places in the state as it is located on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and is connected to many towns like Khopoli, Karjat and Talegaon. The town is also well connected to other places in the state by railways and there are a number of trains coming here from places like Mumbai and Pune every day. The train journey from Mumbai can take close to 3 hours and the journey from Pune takes about an hour. There is no airport close to the town, except for at the cities of Pune and Mumbai. A number of tourists from the cities of Mumbai and Pune have started buying homes here, which are usually vacation homes and second homes. This has led to a number of wonderful properties coming up in the hill station where people can buy great places to stay.

There are a number of wonderful spots at Lonavala that offer tourists some wonderful experiences. The Rajmachi point offers you some mesmerizing views of the town and the valley. There are a number of bus services in town that offer great transport between the town and places like Rajmachi Point. The Lonavala Lake is a wonderful place where one can relax and enjoy the scenery and Tiger's Leap is another wonderful tourist spot in town that offers you some fantastic views of the town. There is also a wonderful wax museum that is located here, which is a great place to visit and popular among many tourists that come here often. There are also a number of popular dams located in town, like the Valvan Dam, the Bushy Dam and the Tungarli Lake and Dam, which are popular spots among tourists visiting the town.

Lonavala is a wonderful place for a weekend getaway or for a wonderful summer vacation, away from the hustle and bustle found in the big cities like Mumbai and Pune. There are a number of things one can do in town and it gives you an opportunity to see some of the most amazing places in the state.



Source by Himanshu Lal

How to Start Planning a European Trip on a Budget

You can approach the planning of a trip in a number of ways. For me I narrow it down to where I badly want to go and then figure out how much it will cost. From here I can add or subtract locations or side trips. As I'm currently beginning to plan a trip to Europe I thought I might walk through the process and demonstrate at least how I begin to put a trip together. Do be aware that the costs listed below are from internet searches I performed on January 30th 2008 and should be understood to be samples of potential prices only.

Recently my Dad (who has never been to Europe) asked me to go with him and show him around at the end of April. After prodding for specifics his only request was that it be Italy, Spain or Germany. With only about 10 days to spend overseas I decided against Germany. Although Germany is probably my favorite country in Europe, Italy or Spain can really give the first time traveler to Europe a sense of being in Europe in a small amount of time. In Italy you have the normal circuit of Rome, Florence and Venice all within relatively close proximity to each other, making for easy and quick train travel. In Spain, my favorite cites Barcelona, ​​Girona, Granada, Seville and Madrid, are likewise relatively close and inexpensive. Personally, there is so much about Germany I love which is at different ends of the country a quick 7-10 day trip would not be enough time.

With my location dragged down and a trip duration in mind I begin with the most important part of a trip to Europe, the flight. Using kayak.com I start by plugging in the major airports I would like to fly in and out of. Since we want to go to Italy we can start with (for simplicity wounds) New York to Rome with flexible dates during the time frame I can get off work. Of course you will want to plug in the nearest international airport to you. Searching within the last week of April through the first week in May I found the cheapest flight to be: NYC- to – Rome from the 29th through the 9th = $ 756 With this as my working number for ticket prices I look into other possible cities to fly into for cheaper tickets NYC – to – Florence from the 29th through the 13th = $ 956 —- nope NYC- to – Venice from the 26th through the 10th = $ 850 —- nope NYC- to – Milan from the 25th through the 9th = $ 852 —- nope Not finding anything cheaper I then start thinking about flying into one city and flying out of another. This has the benefit of saving the time (which is limited) of backtracking as well as the cost of an extra train ticket back. Since my working plan is to fly into Rome and visit Venice last I check these two cities on the dates of the cheapest flight above. NYC- to – Rome: Venice- to -NYC from the 29th through the 9th = $ 852

For $ 100 more I can eliminate 4-5 hours of travel as well as a train ticket that will cost at least $ 100 one way. So far this looks like a better deal. Just for the sake of argument then, why not check into what it would cost to throw in a wonderful Spanish city, Barcelona. My Dad wanted to see Spain and an over night ferry from Barcelona to a city near Rome is reliably fun and cheap when you will think about the cost you will be paying for accommodation anyways. NYC- to -Barcelona: Venice- to-NYC from the 29th through the 9th = $ 816

Well, we almost saved 40 bucks and get to see Barcelona. If we can get from Barcelona to Rome for around $ 40 we are actually making money (well not really but you get the idea). Sticking with the ferry idea for now a quick check of directferries.co.uk gives me: Barcelona -to – Civitavecchia (near Rome) (20 hours overnight) = $ 65 on Grimaldi Ferries Considering accommodation is going to be anywhere from $ 25- $ 35 in Rome or Barcelona and we saved $ 36 on the flight by going into Spain this sounds reasonable for a quick visit to Barcelona and does not cost us more at all. For even more savings we can try to fly from Barcelona to Rome but we must keep in mind that 1. It will not be an overnight flight so accommodation will be an issue again and 2. Budget airlines do not usually fly out of the major airports, making travel outside the city and issue. None-the-less checking clickair and ryanair for a few samples does not hurt. clickair has Barcelona- to – Rome (Fiumicino) on the 2nd = $ 29 (the 2nd though is a bit late) ryanair has Barcelona (Girona) – to – Rome (Ciampino) on the 1st = $ 20

All in all we now know that stopping in Barcelona is a great idea and getting to Rome will be cheap and easy. With our air plans figured out we can start to look at what this trip is going to cost us in ground transportation. I prefer trains over renting cars in Europe; I just can not relax in a car and the cost of gas and concentrating on the road usually outweighs the freedom. With that in mind it's time to figure out if buying point to point tickets is cheaper than buying a rail pass. My rough plan is to fly into Barcelona head to Rome (fly or sail) then go from Rome to Florence to Venice. Ill check the cost of point to point tickets between these cities as well as a few side trips to get a spread of costs using the worksheets at noambit.com Rome- to -Florence (1-2 hours) = $ 65 Florence- to-Venice (2-3 hours) = $ 58 Rome- to -Pisa (3-4 hours) = $ 47 Pisa- to -Florence (1-2 hours) = $ 19 Florence- to-Rimini (1 hour) = $ 50 Rimini-to-Venice (1-2 hours) = $ 70 With these numbers we can see that our simplest trip, Rome, Florence, Venice, is going to cost roughly $ 123. Our most expensive plan, Rome, Pisa, Florence, Rimini and Venice is going to come in around $ 196. A quick look at rail pass prices shows us that we will only really benefit if we want to do the longer trip and then only barely. A four day rail pass (you can travel for any four days within two months) runs about $ 202. About the same as our long trip but also with an included 20% off discount on the ferry from Barcelona. The problem I see here is that traveling that much, especially since we are adding the city in Spain, is not going to give much time to see anything. At this point I'm going to opt to pay full price on the ferry and buy point to point tickets in Italy. Even adding Pisa on is only going to cost about $ 134 total.

To this point, assuming we throw in Pisa (a day trip) on our way to Florence and pay full price to take the ferry over from Spain we are looking to spend about $ 1015 to spend 10 days and see five cities in two countries in Europe. Its time now to figure in accommodation. A rule of thumb for me is to plan on spending a minimum of $ 50 a day for a bed and food. Sometimes this is high (not very) sometimes this is low (more and more each year). For the sake of demonstration however I looked up budget hotels and hostels for the locations I plan on visiting to get a rough idea of ​​what I will be spending. 30th April – Barcelona = $ 20- $ 35 1st May – Boat to Rome = already figured in 2nd-4th – Rome = $ 20 (camping) $ 30 (hostel) 5th-6th – Florence = $ 15- $ 25 7th-8th – Venice = $ 45

What we end up with is a range of $ 200- $ 265 that I need to budget for accommodation. Adding in food takes a bit of guess work but $ 15 dollars a day is a good workable number. If need be you could eat twice at a Mc Donalds and "live" or grab some bread and cheese from a grocery store and still have some left over for a couple slices of pizza or Doner Kebab. Of course if you are going to Italy for the food or wine you will have to plan on spending more money but $ 15 should get you by. Our final cost is going to be the sight seeing and extras (taking the metro, bottle of wine, train reservations). Since my Dad has never been there I will want to show him the Vatican museum, the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, The statue of David, la Sagrada Familia and a variety of other things. For a trip like we have planned above, in Italy for only 10 days, $ 150- $ 200 should be fine.

When all is said and done I can count on spending around $ 1365 – $ 1480 for the whole trip. This, as we have seen is rather bare bones so there is not a lot that can be cut if this were out of my budget (which it is very close to being). I could of course opt out of going to Pisa but extremely in terms of trains this only saves me $ 10 and that does not seem worth skipping a city I have never seen. What you will decide to cut (sometimes the duration you're overseas or how many cities you can see) will depend on what is important to you on this visit to Europe. What is important is that you find a way to fulfill your dream of traveling to your country of choice and I hope that this article helps you find a way to make it work with a limited budget.



Source by Christopher M Cook

7 Tips for Saving Money on Car Rentals

Renting cars does not have to be as expensive as you'd imagine and sometimes you can a great deal just by working with the car rental companies systems to get the best deal you can without compromising on the service you receive.

Car Rental companies have many complex operations and fees that they need to take into account when setting their rental charges so, if you know what these are and how to avoid them, you can get a car rental, very similar to the one you ideally want , at a greatly reduced price.

Follow these simple tips and use as many of them as you can while still getting the rental you need and you should be able to save a lot of money on your next car rental.

– Picking a Car up at the Airport

Car Rental companies have to pay what's called an "Airport Concession Fee" for all the cars they rent from their airport locations. This is basically a charge made by the Airport to the rental company to allow them to rent cars from the Airport. Obviously the rental companies pass this on to their customers, so if there's a rental location close to the Airport you can use, you could save money by booking there instead.

– Book the Most Popular Car Group

Car Rental companies have to manage a complex stock system to make sure they've got the right cars in the right places at the right time. The more popular the car group, the more difficult it is for them to maintain stock. Generally, if they do not have the car you booked they'll give you a free upgrade. This is because the larger, more expensive cars do not get booked as much as the smaller cheaper cars. If you book the smallest car that is acceptable to you, there's always a good chance of getting a free upgrade if you're picking it up at a busy time.

– Book Well in Advance

Because it's much easier to forecast how many cars they need if they've got all their bookings in advance, the car rental companies will very often have their cheapest rates loaded for rates well in advance, so book your car as soon as you know your travel dates and save more.

– Always Get a Discount Code

Apart from during peak periods (Christmas, Easter and the height of Summer), you should always able to get some kind of discount code, although you might have to hunt around a little to find it. Always check the terms of the offers as often, even though an offer might say it's for a weekend rental, you could still use the offer for other times. It's worth searching a little to find one.

– Watch Your Collection and Return Times

Another trick to watch out for is that most rental companies charge daily rates. That means if you pick up a car at 10am and take it back at 11am the next day you'll get charged for 2 days rental. Wherever possible try and ensure that your return time is always the same, or preferably just before your collection time. This way you'll never get charged the extra day.

– Where Possible, Book When They've Got Too Many Cars

If your travel plans are reasonably open try and book when they've got too many cars and you could land yourself an absolute bargain. Book just after Christmas and you could find that all the cars that have just been returned are very cheap to book. In car rental terms, a car sat in their car park is a huge cost and they'd rather let you have it very cheaply than just have it sitting there.

– Always Ask for More

The one golden rule to bear in mind is to always ask for more, the worst they can do is say no. When you get to the counter always ask if they have any free upgrades. Often, this prompt may be all they need to remember that they can not shift that big Mercedes out the back, and if you had it, they would not have to worry about it anymore!

Each one of these tips should save you some money the next time you rent a car. If you can combine all 7 of them into one rental, you'll be amazed by how little you need to pay to drive a very nice car for your rental!



Source by John Abrahams