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Passports

This idyllic scene could be yours if you plan properly. Photo from ExperiencePhlippines.org

This idyllic scene could be yours if you plan properly. Photo from ExperiencePhlippines.org

Even if you travel a lot, its easy to forget some of the basics of Trip-Taking 101. I know, because I’ve made all the “freshman” mistakes myself over the course of my travel-writing career.

And these days, despite — or because of — all the ever-changing technology and options available to travelers, it sometimes seems like you need a graduate degree in travel logistics just to get ready for a trip.

That’s why I’m glad to run this guest post by Jim McKinley with some simple reminders of what you can do to prepare for your next vacation, whether it’s halfway around the world or the next state over.

Which reminds me, I still need to make a bunch of hotel and train reservations for my trip to Europe next month…

By Jim McKinley

No matter… Continue reading

Getting a passport is now more important than ever.

Getting a passport is now more important than ever.

Today’s guest post is by financial expert Saleh Stevens, with timely reminders of why it’s crucial to obtain or renew a U.S. passport now if you need one — or even if you think you don’t.

By Saleh Stevens

The Early Bird Saves Money

The initial cost of a U.S. passport is $135 for an adult applying for the first time ($110 application fee and $25 execution fee). The cost of an adult passport renewal is $110.

Alternatively, you can opt for a passport card good for land or sea crossings only to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda for $30, but this card is not good for any international air travel. (Cruise passengers take note: if you have to fly to or from your cruise for some unexpected reason, you will probably be denied boarding your plane.)

However, if you… Continue reading

Overpacking can slow you down and limit mobility. Photo by Keith Williamson on flickr.

Overpacking can slow you down and limit mobility. Photo by Keith Williamson on flickr.

Sometimes even experienced travelers make simple mistakes that can get a trip off to a very bad start, or even ruin it altogether.

The folks at by Grand European Travel — which specializes in guided vacations and river cruises in Europe and around the world — have developed a helpful infographic that identifies six common travel mistakes that it would be wise to review before setting  off on your next foreign trip.

I’m not immune to making some of these mistakes (sometimes it’s easier to dish out advice than follow it).

My rookie mistakes have included not properly insuring my trip, not packing light, and not notifying my banking institutions that they can soon expect to see charges appearing from places like St. Lucia, Hungary, or the Falkland Islands.

I’m pretty anal about… Continue reading

Keeping track of your passport can mean the difference between a great trip and a disaster.

Keeping track of your passport can mean the difference between a great trip and a disaster.

The recent news about the two passengers with stolen passports boarding the missing Malaysian Airlines jet has gotten me thinking about how important it is for international travelers to keep track of their passports — and pay attention to possible problems with these vital documents that could severely impede their journeys.

Years ago, when I was traveling in Austria, I thought my passport had been lost or stolen. I spent an entire day trying to retrace my every step since I had arrived in Vienna — restaurants, movie theater, museums — with no luck, then a couple of more days caught in a bureaucratic nightmare: filing a report with the Vienna police, applying for and receiving a temporary passport from the U.S. consulate there, and, in the interim, trying unsuccessfully without my documentation to… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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