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Planning Your Summer Travel

Summer travel season is almost here. Even with our current economic challenges, vacation getaways still rank at the top of our “most wanted” list. But with less discretionary income for vacation travel, most people are looking for ways to cut costs.

Some airlines offer last-minute travel deals when booking 3 to 14 days before departure. These deals can be a great bargain, but you are also risking that no last-minute seats will be available.

Booking at least 21 days in advance of your departure date is one way to save. Usually, the more available seats on the flight the cheaper the ticket will be. Fares increase steadily as you get closer to your departure date.  This is illustrated in the chart below, with data provided by Orbitz.com, for the average airfare price based on advance purchase.

Advance Airfare Purchase Comparison Chart - RushMyPassport.com

You can always save on travel agent commissions by booking the trip yourself. Major airline ticket resellers offer discount fares. Booking and traveling on the right days can make a major difference in the cost of fares.  Here are some details to keep in mind when booking your own travel:

  • Book your flight on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday – the best fares are usually available at the beginning of the week.
  • Be flexible with your travel dates and you will find the cheapest available flights.
  • The cheapest days of the week to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Search for flights three days before and three days after your targeted travel dates and choose the travel dates that offer the best deals.

So if you’re planning a summer vacation, remember to plan ahead and book your air travel well in advance. And if this is your summer for international travel, make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row. More international travelers could mean longer delays in getting your passport and other necessary travel documents.

5 Cyber Monday Travel Deals to Inspire You to Get a Passport

The grand old Internet tradition of “Cyber Monday” turns six years old tomorrow, as online retailers try to get their piece of the holiday shopping pie. At this point, I’m not sure why you would want to camp out in the cold and risk life and limb to shop Black Friday at a bricks-and-mortar store when you can get great deals online for all sorts of products, including travel.

This Cyber Monday, some travel companies are bending over backwards to entice you to get a passport and hit the road. Here are some of the best international travel deals:

Abercrombie and Kent: Want to explore ancient Incan sites in Peru, take a walk on the wild side in Kenya, or tour temples in Thailand? Of course you do…and if you book your trip during Abercrombie and Kent’s “Six Days of Holiday Savings” sale, you could save thousands of dollars! The sale includes 1o different itineraries and ends December 3rd. (Via Gadling.)

St. Kitts Marriott Resort: Need a beach break after the stress of the holidays? I don’t blame you one bit…so go ahead and book 4 nights at the St. Kitts Marriott resort and get 3 nights free! You have to book tomorrow to get the deal, and use the secret code ZJL to book. (Via Fox.)

Viceroy Hotels: Book a stay at select Viceroy hotels around the world during their Cyber Monday promotion tomorrow, and you’ll be able to score rooms at up to 50% off. (via Gadling.)

Yuupon: This oddly-named travel flash sale site has some of the deepest discounts we’ve seen. For example, a four-night stay for two adults at an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica could be yours for just $399.00! (via CNN)

Orbitz.com: Orbitz’ holiday specials all end on Cyber Monday, and include discounts of up to 50-60% off on trips all around the world. (Via CNN.)

If you decide to cash in on any of these offers, don’t forget to get a passport if you don’t already have one! Keep in mind that even at the best of times, it can take up to six weeks for your passport to arrive if you choose regular service. If you pay the additional $60 fee for the Department of State’s expedited service, you should allow at least 3 weeks for your documents to arrive.

To get a passport at the last minute, you can either make an appointment at one of the 24 regional Passport Agency offices located throughout the country, or you can use a private company like RushMyPassport.com. We personally deliver your application directly to the Department of State, for processing in as little as 24 hours.

Last-minute travel plans? Let us help you get a passport quickly!

Get a Passport and Save Big on a Four City Tour in Ireland

If you’ve always wanted to visit Ireland, this fall would be a great time to go. Frommer’s has the scoop on a deal from Sceptre Tours that lets you see four cities in six nights for one low price: $749. The package includes airfare from New York City, Boston, Chicago or Orlando, lodging in designated hotel for six nights and a rental car so you can tool around in the Irish countryside.

On this tour, you’ll visit Kilkenny, home of Kilkenny castle; scenic Killarney; Galway, known as “Ireland’s Cultural Heart,” and of course, Dublin. Purchased separately, airfare alone would run you over $600, so it’s hard to argue with the price. The hotels included in the package all have four stars, and breakfast is included.

The price is valid for departures from November 24 to February 12, so you could take a fall break or even spend Christmas in Ireland. That gives you plenty of time to plan ahead and get a passport, which you’ll need to do before you can leave. Want to stay longer? Extra nights are available for $75 to $99 per person. For more details, check out the Sceptre Tours website.

It’s fine to go ahead and book the trip, but don’t leave it until the last minute to apply for your travel documents. It does take about six weeks to get your passport back in the mail after you apply. If you pay the $60 expedite fee, you’ll get it sooner, but you should still allow at least three weeks for it to arrive.

For faster service, consider using a private expediting company like RushMyPassport to submit your application. We offer VIP treatment during every step of the process; walking you through the paperwork and taking your application directly to the Department of State, for processing in as little as 24 hours.

Need to get a passport? We can help- contact us today!

Get a Passport and Save on Travel With Daily Deal Sites

“Daily deal” sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are the “next big thing.” These sites allow you to purchase vouchers for products and services for deep discounts, usually 50% and often more. These sales only last for brief periods of time, usually for only one day.

You may have used these sites to save money at local restaurants or to finally treat yourself to that long-overdue massage. But did you know that you can also use them to save on trips to Mexico, the Caribbean and beyond?

It’s true-by carefully monitoring these sites and getting deals while the getting is good, you can get a nice vacation without spending a lot of money. For example, LivingSocial recently offered a four-night stay for two at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun for $1,479. You don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to deals posted in your city, either. When purchasing a deal posted in another city, just read the terms and conditions carefully to make sure that redeeming the voucher before it expires is going to be practical for you.

So, how do you find these deals? Clicking on every single city on every single deal site to find travel deals that you can use takes WAY too much time. Your best bet is to use an aggregator like Dealery or YipIt. Selecting your city on Dealery will show you both local deals and nationwide deals, and there’s also a section exclusively for vacations. To use YipIt, you have to subscribe by email, but you can choose the types of deals you want to receive emails about.

There are also daily deal/flash sale sites devoted exclusively to travel. For example, Jetsetter.com features flash sales from luxury hotels around the world, while Groupenture offers discounted adventure travel packages- the more people who buy a package, the cheaper it gets.

Of course, if you’re leaving the country, you’ll need to get a passport first. Currently, according to the Department of State it’s taking at least 6 weeks to get a passport with normal processing, and at least 3 weeks with expedited processing. However, RushMyPassport can help you get your application processed in as little as 24 hours, with no need to make an appointment or wait in line at a passport agency.

Found a “daily deal” you like? Let us help you get a passport today!

Fast Passport and Cheap Tickets from Alitalia

If you’ve been waiting for the Mediterranean to become more affordable, why not get a fast passport and get cheap tickets with Alitalia’s latest sale? SmarterTravel reports that the Italian airline is offering great prices on flights from the US to Mediterranean countries including Italy, Greece, Spain and Turkey.

Flights from Barcelona to Miami are available for as little as $661 per person, round trip. Flights from New York To Rome start at $804, and flights from Boston to Florence are $860. For $920 you can fly from Chicago to Venice, and for $941 you can fly from Los Angeles to Madrid. Flights from Chicago to Thessalonike, Greece are $1,207. However, given the situation in Greece right now, flying may be more expensive than to other destinations but room rates are likely cheaper. Meanwhile, $1,260 will get you to and from Istanbul.

The cool thing about these prices is that they are all-inclusive, including fees and taxes, so what you see is pretty much what you’ll get.

The sale is good for travel in September and October, which is fine if you have a passport. If you don’t have one already, though, you’ll need to apply for fast passport processing. Normal passport processing takes at least 6 weeks, and I don’t recommend that you cut it that close. For fast passport processing, you can request expedited service, which will cut processing time down to approximately 3 weeks.

For even faster service, you can make an appointment at a Regional Passport Agency office if you are traveling in 2 weeks or less. However, a much more convenient option, especially if you don’t have a passport office nearby, is to use a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport. An expediting company will personally deliver your application to the Department of State. Processing times depend on the level of service you select, and they can be as low as 24 hours.

Need a fast passport? Apply with us today!

Get an Expedited Passport for cheap fares at Spirit Airlines!

Have you always fantasized about visiting a tropical Caribbean beach but never thought you’d be able to afford it? What if your plane tickets were only $2?

At first glance, joining Spirit Airlines’ fare club seems like it just might be the ticket to bring your dream vacation within reach. Membership costs $39.95 per year, but it allows you to access sales that aren’t available to non-members. For example, right now club members can fly from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the Bahamas for just $2 round trip, and from Fort Lauderdale to Cancun for $18 round-trip (plus the usual fees and taxes, of course).

Spirit has a members-only sale once every 6 weeks, and as long as you move quickly, you can snag those cheap fares on all the tickets you purchase.

But is it worth it? SmarterTravel.com took a look at the program last year after it was announced and concluded

If you frequently fly between the cities Spirit serves (a heavy emphasis on Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America), membership is worth the cost. If, for example, you can snag a $2 fare, even with the membership cost and taxes and fees, you’ll still be getting a bargain compared to other airlines’ prices. But, you must keep in mind that availability is often very limited. You’ll find that fares are only offered on about a dozen select dates, and even then, you must rush to book early or risk the best deals selling out.

Some deals are also last-minute. For example, many of the cheap flights in the sale I linked to above depart in August, and it’s now late July. So, if you’re thinking of using the Fare Club to try to snag cheap flights to Spirit’s international destinations, you may find yourself needing an expedited passport.

Generally speaking, it takes about 6 weeks to get your passport application processed if you order regular service. If you use the Department of State’s expedited passport service, it could still take up to 3 weeks or longer. A private passport expediting company costs a little more but provides you with much faster service, often providing expedited passport service in as little as 24 hours without requiring you to take additional time off work to visit a passport office.

Apply for your expedited passport today!

Get Your US Passport Renewal Now For Great Summer Travel Deals

It’s already May, and that means it’s time to start shopping around for summer travel deals. Here’s how to end up with an incredible, affordable summer vacation in 3 easy steps:

Step 1- Apply for your US passport renewal

Some of the best travel deals this summer will take you out of the country. Since you now need your passport even for most trips to our neighbors in Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, it makes sense to go ahead and apply for your passport renewal now.

Step 2- Friend/Follow your favorite airlines and hotels

One great way to get the inside scoop on travel deals is to connect with your favorite airlines or hotels on Twitter and/or Facebook. For example, CBS’ “The Early Show” reported that the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort is offering discounts of up to 40% off to travelers who “like” the resort’s Facebook page.

Likewise, many airlines announce specials on Twitter. For example, JetBlue airlines uses the @JetBlueCheeps account to broadcast discounted fares to its followers.

Step 3- Monitor sites for deals

Many discount travel sites will send you updates by email to show you what their latest deals are. For example, Orbitz has a service called “Deal Detector” that lets you name your desired price for a specific itinerary. If the price for the trip drops down below a certain point, Orbitz will notify you by email.

Other travel websites will send you email newsletters with hand-picked travel bargains. If you don’t want these clogging your inbox, consider changing your email settings to have them routed to a special “travel” folder, which you can then review at your leisure.

While it makes sense to book ahead most of the time, last-minute deals do also come up. That’s why it’s so important to have a valid passport. US passport renewal can take 6 weeks if you apply with regular processing, and 3 weeks even if you apply for the government’s expedited processing.

If you need your passport renewal more quickly, there is hope-a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport can get your application processed in as little as 24 hours, without you having to spend a lot of time in a passport office.

Apply for your US passport renewal today!

Get an Express Passport to See Paris in the Spring

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Paris, why not go this spring? Yes, the whole “Paris in the springtime” thing is a bit of a cliche, but it really is one of the nicest seasons to visit.  The weather is mild, not hot like it gets in the summer, and it’s also less crowded. Even better, you’re more likely to be able to find a good price on a hotel room if you go now than you would in the summer.

There are also lots of special events going on in Paris in the spring. For example, the Foire du Trône, which runs from late March to late April, is a fair packed with roller coasters, games and other fun activities for kids or the young at heart. Foire de Paris runs from late April to May and is a decidedly more grown-up affair, with opportunities for visitors to sample a variety of wines and regional delicacies.

If you are in Paris during the middle of May, you can visit many of the city’s famous museums at night for free when the city celebrates “Museum Night.”  And right now, Smarter Travel reports that Air France is having a sale, with flights from Houston  to Paris for $710 round trip and flights from New York to Nice (well worth a visit in and of itself)  for $676.

Of course, you will need a passport to travel to France. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to get an express passport. Even the government’s expedited service typically takes about 3 weeks, but with proof of travel you can can get an express passport much more quickly. The easiest way is to use a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport.com.

We’ll provide you with detailed instructions that make filling out the application and gathering the necessary documents a breeze.  Then, we personally deliver your paperwork to the Department of State for super-fast processing, often in as little as 24 hours! And, there’s no need to make an appointment or take time off work to drive to  a passport agency office.

Ready to fly ? Apply for your express passport today!

Obtaining a Passport for Christmas in London

For most people, there’s no place like home on Christmas. But what if you want to travel, to experience Christmas somewhere new and different?

London is an especially magical place to spend Christmas, and right now, Virgin Atlantic is having a sale on fares  to London.  You can get to London from New York City for just $512 round-trip, while $526 will get you there and back from Washington, DC.  On the West Coast, $642 will get you round-trip tickets from either San Francisco or LA. See more fares and additional details on Smarter Travel.

Once you’re there, you can enjoy traditional activities like ice skating and watching the English National Ballet’s traditional performance of The Nutcracker. Pantomimes are another popular English pastime during the holiday season-these are humorous theater performances where men often play female characters, and vice versa. There’s also the Great Christmas Pudding race, where contestants dress up and compete to see who can run around Covent Garden the fastest while carrying a large Christmas pudding.

It almost goes without saying that London is an excellent place to do some Christmas shopping. Plus, the atmosphere is almost guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit.  An enormous Christmas tree lights up Trafalgar Square, and Christmas carols regale people passing by with traditional Christmas songs to raise money for charity. Plus, there are lights everywhere-see this post on Write On! for some excellent pictures!

Before you take off for London, you will have a final piece of Christmas shopping to take care of in the States-obtaining a passport.  If you don’t have one already, you may have trouble getting one before your plane leaves- Christmas is only 2 weeks away, and the US Department of State advises you t0 allow at least 3 weeks to receive your passport if you choose the government’s expedited processing option.

Your best option at this point for obtaining your passport in time is to use a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport.com. We make obtaining a passport easy by helping you complete the paperwork and gather the necessary documents, and then forwarding your application directly to the Department of State. This puts your application on top of the stack, resulting in processing times as low as 24 hours.

Apply for your passport today!

Get a Passport, Quick for Cheap Flights From Air France

If you’ve ever wanted to celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas in Europe or experience springtime in Paris, now is a great time to book a flight.  Air France is running a special on flights across the pond from several different US cities, and prices start at $47o round-trip. For that price, you can catch a plane from New York City to Lisbon, Portugal. For $574, you can fly from Washington, DC to Geneva, Switzerland, and for $576 you can fly from New York to Nice, France. You can even fly all the way from Los Angeles to Paris and back again for just $758.

Smarter Travel has more details about the special and more sample fares. To get these prices, you have to book by December 3rd, but you can travel anytime through December 16th or from January 6th through March 28, 2010.Some blackout dates do apply, so make sure you read the offer information carefully.

Of course, if you want to travel to Europe soon, you will need to get a passport,  quick! Passport applications can take anywhere from 6 weeks for regular processing to 3 weeks for the government’s expedited processing.  If you need a passport quicker than that, the easiest thing to do is to use a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport.com. With an expediting company, you can get your passport quick, with processing times as fast as 24 hours. Plus, you don’t have to make an appointment or drive down to a regional passport agency office. All you have to do is send your documents to us using the shipping label and information we provide you, and we’ll hand-deliver them to the Department of State. Getting a passport in a hurry has never been easier!

Need to get a passport, quick? Apply with us today!