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Posts Tagged ‘destinations’

Guide to Tipping in Top Destinations for US Travelers

As part of your preparations for traveling internationally, it is always best to learn about the specific tipping customs in your destination countries. Different cultures have different norms. In the U.S., tipping big for exceptional service is a compliment and it is much appreciated by person receiving the tip. But in some countries, over tipping for a service can be a personal insult. A study done at Cornell University shows that U.S. citizens are the best tippers and that they tip for more types of service than citizens in other nations. But what you’ve learned here in the U.S. will not necessarily serve you on your international travels. So do your homework before you travel and learn the local tipping customs. Here are a few guidelines for some top international destinations


2013 Record International Travel Predicted

International travel will hit record highs this year, at least that’s the prediction from Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for leading U.S. airlines. In its annual forecast, A4A predicts that this year U.S. airlines will carry close to 209 million global passengers during the height of summer travel (June through August, 2013). Included in that estimate are 27 million international travelers. If this forecast runs true, summer air travel this year will reach its highest peak in five years. When will airports and airlines be most crowded? The busiest travel days are expected to be Thursdays and Fridays between mid-Jun and the first week of August. Top 25 International Travel Destinations            


Where Do You Need a Passport?

Most people are aware that you need a passport to go to Europe, Africa and Asia. But what if you’re staying closer to home? A decade ago, getting into Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean was as easy as saying “I’m an American citizen,” but not anymore.  After 9-11, The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was enacted making it much harder to get in and out of the US without a passport. Don’t get caught off-guard if you’re heading to one of these destinations:   Canada Visiting Canada? Check your passport, eh? You definitely need one if you're flying in or out of the country, unless you have a NEXUS trusted traveler card and you are flying to a Canadian preclearance airport with a NEXUS kiosk. If you're traveling by land or sea, you need one of the followi


Get a Passport to Be Inspired by Iceland This Winter

Winter is traditionally low season in Iceland, but the "Inspired by Iceland"  campaign aims to fix that. To entice more tourists to visit Iceland during the cold winter months, the campaign encourages Icelanders to open up their homes to tourists eager to have locals show them around the country.  It has received support from no less a public figure than Iceland's prime minister,  Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, who posted a video on the Inspired by Iceland website encouraging others to take part. In the video, Prime Minister Grimsson says, “Now at the beginning of winter, we traditionally see fewer tourists in Iceland. This is a development we want to change...Me and my wife Dorrit will also take part here at our residence at Bessastadir, invite a good group to come here for traditional Ic


Get an Expedited Passport to Visit Paris In September

Fall is already one of the best times of year to visit Paris. The air cool and the summer crowds have begun to die down. Even better, a series of outdoor festivals and events take place in the city and surrounding countryside starting in September. Here's a rundown on why this month is worth making the trip: The Techno Parade On September 17th, thousands of electronic music lovers will gather in Paris for a 3-mile-long parade through the city. Originally organized as an act of defiance against authorities that tried to quash the burgeoning rave scene of the 90's, the Techno Parade is now recognized by the government. This year, the focus is on introducing Parisians to this unique subculture and its signature dances. Tommy Vaudecrane, the co-president of parade organizer Technopol, t


A Passport Into Your Favorite Fiction

Many great novels and short stories involve travel. It's easy to see why; when you leave behind everything that's familiar and step out into the unknown, all the key ingredients of an exciting plot are waiting for you. To quote JRR Tolkien, "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." Do you have a favorite travel story? Why not actually walk in your favorite characters' footsteps? For example, here are four great stories that you could plan a trip based on: The Odyssey Okay, so you probably won't want to be on the road for as long as Odysseus was, but there's no reason you can't plan a trip to Greece that includes some of the more prominent stops on along h


Get a Passport Quick to See Christopher Robin’s Bookstore

In Dartmouth, England, the Harbor Bookshop has long been an important destination for fans of Winnie the Pooh. The bookstore was once owned by the real-life Christopher Robin. Now, unfortunately, it is set to close in September, a victim of rising rental rates and a change in how people buy books these days. Rowland Abram, who currently owns the shop with his wife, explained his reasons for closing to the BBC: "There are various reasons. The book trade has undergone extraordinary changes in 15 years. Rent and rates have also gone up enormously, and we just can't afford to pay them. We've had such fabulous staff who have helped us all these years and wonderful customers in Dartmouth but there's nothing else we can do." Despite the shop's popularity as a tourist destination, the real Ch


Get a Fast Passport to Attend the Salzburg Festival

Here's a gentle reminder for all classical music and drama buffs: the annual Salzburg Festival is coming up next week! The Salzburg Festival is held every summer in Salzburg, Germany, the birthplace of Mozart. The festival has been held annually since 1920, with a break during World War II due to the Nazi occupation. It was founded by poet and playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal, composer Richard Strauss, scenic designer Alfred Roller, conductor Franz Schalk and director Max Reinhardt. It's still one of the top classical music festivals in the world. The highlight is the annual performance of Hofmannsthal's Everyman, but there is also lots of Mozart (naturally) as well as work by other composers and playwrights. This year's festival is even set to include a couple of modern-day takes on


The Best “Secret” Places To Take Your US Passport

You've been to Mexico. You've been to Canada. You have pictures of yourself standing in London with Big Ben in the background and holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. What now? If you want to add some unique stamps to your US passport, consider these 5 undiscovered destinations. While not technically secret, these countries are off the radar for most US travelers but definitely worth visiting. The Maldives: This remote chain of islands in the Indian Ocean is home to some of the most pristine beaches you'll ever see. The weather is warm and the water is the clearest cerulean blue. The Maldives is not easy to get to, and you'll most likely have to fly through London or Dubai. It's also not cheap, as this Gadling post illustrates: a "shoestring" budget over there is about


Want to Visit Cuba Legally? Get Your Passport Application Now!

If you've always wanted to visit Cuba without breaking the law, you'd better get your passport application in now. Under President Obama, the US Treasury Department has begun to issue "people-to-people" licenses to travel companies, allowing them to take ordinary Americans on guided tours of the island. According to the New York Times, the government has been taking its sweet time when it comes to issuing the licenses, but nevertheless, eight tour operators have already been given the go-ahead. Tom Popper, the director of Insight Cuba, one of the travel companies to receive a coveted permit, explained to the New York Times how easy the new permits make it for Americans to visit Cuba: "“All a U.S. citizen has to do is sign up for an authorized program and they can go to Cuba. It’s