5 for Couples Traveling Abroad – Part 1

When planning a romantic getaway you are excited and filled with anticipation of a holiday filled with romance, fun and maybe even a bit of adventure. Before the hugging, cuddling and kissing can begin you need to properly prepare for your trip. Here are the five tips to get your vacation started on the right track.

Tip #1: Every country has a recommendation for immunization. Be sure to check with your state department when traveling abroad. A friend of mine just returned from India with a stomach virus. It was several doctor visits before she got a correct diagnosis of C. Difficile; and now she’s having a hard time getting rid of it. And my co-worker got malaria on his visit to Africa. You don’t want to catch a virus or disease while traveling abroad and bring it back to your home country. Needless to say medical costs can be expensive and there is the danger you could make others sick as well. So, be sure to get your immunization shots even if you hate needles. Bite the bullet and get it done. Staying healthy during and after your trip is the first step to a wonderful vacation.

Tip #2: Check the expiration date on your passport. While packing for my last trip to Mexico with a few friends, I pulled out my passport three days before the trip and was shocked to discover it had expired. Oh my God!

Let me tell you it is possible to get a passport in three days – but it ain’t pretty.

I live in Chicago and the only place I could get a short-notice appointment in a passport office was in Houston. I had to change flights to go to Houston first (an extra $200 cost). I had to leave work two days early (unpaid days off). While waiting in the passport office the computers went down. I waited there all day and they did not come back online. I came back the next day. System was down all day but I waited praying it would come back online. It came back at 4:00pm and the office closed at 4:30pm. Only a fraction of the 100 people waiting for a passport received them that day ($150 cost). My name was the next to last name called.

Despite my deep breathing exercises, my stress level was off the chart. That expired passport was both a time-consuming and expensive delay and it almost didn’t happen. Learn from my mistake. Make sure you check your passport and any necessary visas required for your trip weeks ahead of time.

Tip #3: When traveling abroad purchase medical travel insurance to cover you and your family members. If you’re pregnant make sure you check the policy carefully. There are some travel insurance companies whose policies do not cover pregnant travelers.

Tip #4: Be sure to check the expected weather for your travel destination. While traveling around all summer to hot locals, I forgot to check the weather in Peru, my final destination. It was winter in Peru and the temperature was in the 50’s. A little cool for my shorts and flip-flops. I had to buy sweaters and a jacket. Do not assume the weather will be similar to where you live. This is rarely the case.

Tip #5: Buy trip cancellation insurance. If you have to cancel or delay your trip at the last-minute it can be costly, so you want to be covered.

These tips can help you have a smooth and worry-free vacation. Hopefully, a romantic getaway filled with hugging, cuddling and kissing.

Five Vacation Planning to Save You Time & Money on Your Vacation

Vacation planning is fun and easy so you don’t need to get overwhelmed. The first thing I want you to do is to take a deep breath and don’t panic. If you’ve never done this before, relax. I am here to help you with some simple steps to plan a great vacation.

1. Determine Your Budget.

There are many ways to go about determining your budget, but I usually set a price of how much I want to spend (per person) and then go from there to determine how to find the best travel deals based on where I want to go on a cheap vacation. You need to be reasonable regarding what the budget will be for your vacation or getaway. A very realistic and reasonable budget for a cheap vacation is between $800-$1200 per person including airfare, hotel, car rental, food, tips, and airport parking. I’ve traveled all over the country on business and the average budget for a two-to-three day business trip is about the same amount so it’s a very reasonable for a cheap vacation for an entire week (especially when it involves air travel and a much longer stay).

2. Choose Your Destination.

Here’s a little insider travel secret. I’ve traveled to some amazing vacation destinations at amazing prices, but I don’t usually choose my destination. The destination chooses me. It can get a little frustrating but I can tell you that if destinations did not chose me, I would never have went to Jamaica and seen a live starfish swimming underwater when I was snorkeling off of a beach in Negril, climbed the Great Wall of China, traveled through the Panama Canal or met a baby sloth at a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica just for starters. I went to those vacation destinations not because I had a deep desire to travel to Montego Bay, Beijing, Panama City, or Puerto Limon, but because I was chasing a travel deal. Now, vacation planning via chasing a deal is a great way to get cheap vacations and save a lot of money. I have been on some incredible trips and gone to vacation destinations I never would have had at the top of my travel destinations “bucket list,” but I realize chasing the travel deal has prevented me so far from going to Tahiti’s island paradise of Bora, Bora (my life long travel dream) and I still want to do the “Sound of Music” tour in Salzburg, Austria. So you usually have a choice: chase the best travel deal or choose your travel dream.

3. Book Your Airfare, Hotel, and Car Rental.

When you’re vacation planning, the best way to save hundreds of dollars on your vacation is to book everything together as a complete travel package. I don’t have any technological reason as to why this saves you money, but it does. Feel free to experiment with your own online travel booking engine of choice with this concept by making queries separately and then as a package, but it’s been done before and proven to save you money. I do know that Rovia Travel has the best online price 68% of the time as compared to Travelocity and Expedia according to a recent independent survey by Topaz International so you may want to check them out.

4. Research Your Vacation Destination & Plan Your Travel Itinerary.

Researching my vacation destination and planning great itineraries is one of the things that I sort of excel at in vacation planning because I love researching the hot tourist attractions of the vacation destination I’m visiting. I know some people just like to “wing it,” but that lack of vacation planning can really add hundreds of dollars to your trip. There are two great ways to do your research. First, there are so many online tools at the local tourism offices of the areas your visiting that have all the main information at your fingertips, plus many have coupons or travel deals you may not have been able to find in other ways. The second thing I like to do is pick up a great guide book for the destination I’m going to. Frommer’s Travel Guide Books and Rick Steves’ Travel Guide Books for Europe are very well researched and written and these authors update their books almost yearly so you know you have up-to-date information.

5. Make Two Checklists.

Now you need to make two checklists for your vacation planning. One is a list of things to do before you go on vacation. This includes finding a pet sitter, getting a neighbor to pick up the mail, calling your mobile phone service to arrange for a text/email package while you’re away if you’re traveling internationally, secure a passport or visa (if you need them), get medical vaccinations if necessary, call your credit card companies to let them know you’ll be traveling and what cities or countries to expect charges to come up on, and things like that. The second list for your vacation planning is a list of things to pack.

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you see how simple vacation planning is even for an inexperienced traveler. These are the basics of vacation planning and now that you know how to plan your vacation, we have a lot of extra bonus my travel website (see below) to help you discover a world of ways to see the world. Bon Voyage and have a fabulous vacation.

Phuket : Party Like a Rock Star! And Other Phuket

When it comes to visiting Thailand’s largest and ever-popular island of Phuket, you are almost guaranteed a time full of thrill, excitement and adventure at nearly every corner. With vibrant streets exuding fun times and great memories to be had, your upcoming trip to Phuket will be nothing short of extraordinary and unforgettable. If you are trying to figure out what to fill your days with while there, consider taking part in the following Phuket while exploring the beautiful area…

1. Visit the Beaches

With just one step onto the golden sands of any of the Phuket beaches, you will quickly learn as to why so many people make their way there each year. Depending on the type of beaches you typically enjoy, there is truly one to suit any and all preferences. For a party scene close to all the craziness of the city, spend a day amongst the large crowds at Patong Beach. For those in search of something a bit more peaceful but within close distance to Patong or Phuket Town, try Kata Noi, Freedom Beach or Karon Beach. Of all the Phuket , this is one of the best. Soak up the sun, dig your toes in the sand and take in the beauty that surrounds each one of them.

2. Marvel at the Temples

Thailand as a whole is filled with some of the most spectacular and magnificent Buddhist temples. No matter what religion – if any – you are a part of, simply standing in front or exploring within the walls of these incredible temples is absolutely awe inspiring. The two that are not to be missed while scanning our Phuket : Big Buddha and Wat Chalong. If and when you do visit both of these, come prepared with appropriate clothes and a respectful attitude towards the many orange-robed monks you are very likely to meet while there.

3. Find Treasures at Markets

If it is one thing that the Thai people know how to do well – though there are dozens – it is the way they put on a market. If you are hoping to bring home little Thai trinkets and treasures, the markets will have all of that and so much more. Wander through either the Weekend Market, Indy Market or Sunday Night Market and get ready to be blown away by all of the magnificent and incredibly cheap finds that you are sure to fill up your suitcases and backpacks with. Not only are the handicrafts, clothes and jewelry at the markets fantastic, the food alone is to die for. Head there on an empty stomach and ready and willing to try anything remotely tasty looking that comes your way. Don’t eat get too full, or you may miss out on the other Phuket !

4. Explore the Waters by Boat

If you find that lying on the beach is simply lacking that thrill you were hoping would take place during your time in Phuket, then head out on a fun and exciting boat tour to explore the beautiful waters just off shore. Whether you want to hop on a catamaran, a classic Thai longtail boat, a double capacity sail boat for you and your loved one, a decked out yacht or a zippy speed boat, the options are far from few and guaranteed to have you loving every single minute on board. For all those water lovers, this may be your favorite of all Phuket While out at sea, you will get the chance to take part in some fun activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, island exploring and of course some excellent sun bathing. This is one experience you will undoubtedly not want to miss out on while in Phuket.

5. Enjoy the Vibrant Nightlife

Phuket knows exactly what they are doing when it comes to creating some fantastic places to enjoy a night out on the town. This is especially true if you are staying in or near Patong as the area is home to the famous Bangla Road. Make your way there to see a plethora of extremely interesting, unique and lively bars and clubs that will absolutely have you walking away with some crazy stories to tell for those back home. If you are into a more laid back scene (and not enjoying the other Phuket ), head to a beach bar along the shores to sip on your favorite cocktail while breathing in that salty ocean air and as always, taking the time to soak up all of the magnificent beauty that Phuket has to offer each one of its guests.

All of the Phuket should not be ignored. Just remember to pack your suit and suncscreen… and oh yea, make sure you are well rested before the party starts!

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