Monday, November 30, 2009

International Business Travel Tips

International business travel presents its own, unique set of challenges, so it’s best to always be prepared for the worst-case scenario (and then hope it doesn’t happen!). A few things to consider before traveling abroad:

1. Always carry your laptop onto the plane and keep it near at all times. Contraire to popular myth, airport x-ray machines will not harm your computer. Also remember to back up before you leave – you’re most likely to have your computer crash or worse, have it stolen, while traveling abroad.

2. can help you find a seat on your international flight with a convenient and accessible plug-in, and let you know which type of adapter you’ll need in order to use your laptop, if any. Many airlines offer in-flight wireless internet access for a small fee and using your laptop for work in-flight is a great way to pass the time. It’s better to use the plane’s own power than depleting your laptop battery. Bringing a second battery is also suggested.

3. Make sure you have the correct outlet adapter. If you plan to travel to Australia, you will need a special adapter, which can be purchased at myriad online sites, such as Likewise, Europe and Asia have different outlets as well. Many hotels provide adapters for your convenience, and many don’t so it’s better to be prepared and bring your own regardless. Click here for a handy guide on finding the correct adapter.

4. Check with your cell phone provider to make sure your phone will work overseas. GSM, short for Global System for Mobile Communications, is a digital radio frequency that is accepted in virtually every country on the planet and allows for seamless international travel. Even with a GSM phone, different countries may require a different SIM card. SIM cards are the “brains” of your phone. For example, you will need a European SIM card for travel to Europe, and you will need an Australian SIM card for travel to Australia and New Zealand. Both GSM phones and SIM cards can be purchased online or through your local cell phone retailer. Cell phone coverage is surprisingly good Downunder especially considering its relative population.

5. If you’re traveling internationally for business, chances are good that you’re pretty familiar with the customs and culture associated with your travel destination. However, international business etiquette is constantly evolving. To avoid embarrassing mistakes that may ultimately not only damage your own reputation, but your company’s as well, take a minute to research the latest cultural developments and learn key phrases and pleasantries in the native language as a courtesy, even if you’re doing business in English.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent to book your next trip!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Surviving Thanksgiving Travel

Most people already know that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. According to AAA, an estimated 33.2 million people will be traveling by car this year, and approximately 2.3 million traveling by air. Another 2.9 million people will take other modes of transportation, including trains and buses.

Considering these numbers, if you are one of the many traveling, brace yourself, it might be a rough day.

Here are some travel tips that should help you get home with the least amount of stress and hassle.

1. Check-in for your flight (or train) online. Most airlines will allow you to check in up to 24 hours in advance and print your boarding pass at home, to skip the long lines at airport check in.

2. Charge your cell phone, laptop battery, portable DVD player, etc, the night before you travel.

3. Pack plenty of snacks and entertainment in case of delays or cancelled flights.

4. Try to avoid checking bags by either fitting everything into a carry-on, or shipping your bags ahead of time.

5. Print out maps of departure and connecting airports and study them: if they change gates or terminals on you, this could be a real time-saver.

6. Don't wrap gifts that you're bringing with you.

7. Last but not least, try to avoid traveling on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving all together, and the Sunday after, if possible.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent for assistance booking your next trip!

Friday, November 13, 2009

World's Largest Cruise Ship Arrives in Florida!

Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, the Oasis of the Seas, arrived in Port Everglades, FL from Finland this morning.

Oasis of the Seas is now the biggest cruise ship in the world! This gigantic vessel is nearly 40 percent larger than the industry's next-biggest ship and five times larger than the Titanic. It is 2.4 million square feet and almost 1,200 ft. long!

This luxury cruise ship accommodates 6,300 passengers, 2,100 crew members and has 2,700 cabins, featuring luxury suites and 2-story loft suites. The ship contains 16 decks, 24 restaurants, 37 bars, 13 retail outlets, a zip-line, a casino, four swimming pools, a mini golf course, volleyball and basketball courts, a carousel and theme parks for kids!

The ship is scheduled for several promotional cruises with travel agents, journalists and guests before making its first revenue cruise on Dec. 1st. It will be sailing in the Eastern Caribbean until May 2010, and then it will alternate between Eastern and Western Caribbean.
To book your next cruise, contact a Professional Travel Agent today!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Traveling to Australia? Don't forget Your Visitors Visa.

If you are planning a vacation to Australia, don't forget to get your Australian Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).

For U.S. Passport holders traveling on leisure or to visit family or friends, this is typically a very simple and painless process. Most Travel Agents can process it for you in the same day, for a minimal fee, with some basic information such as your passport number, issue date, expiration date, birth date, and full name.

If you hold a passport issued from another country, are traveling for business, or plan to stay longer than 1 year, make sure to plan extra time for the process as you may need to apply directly through the Australian Government.

ETA's are valid for 12 months with stays of up to 3 months on each visit, and can be used for single or multiple entry travel.

Contact an Australia Travel Specialist today for more information, or for assistance booking your next trip to Australia!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Go Downunder for some Sun this Winter!

If you're aching to get a break from cold weather this winter, Australia or New Zealand are both great options!

Their warmest months are December, January and February, our winter! In Australian cities such as Sydney or Brisbane, the temperatures typically reach into the mid-upper 70's, and in the Tropical North (Cairns), temperatures often reach the upper 80's in their summer months. While New Zealand tends to be a bit cooler, they're still usually seeing sunny skies with highs in the low-mid 70's, while most U.S. cities are buried in snow.

Why not do something different this winter? Go scuba diving at the stunning Great Barrier Reef, get inspired at Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia's great Outback, or drive through peaceful New Zealand in a camper van.

Contact an Australia Specialist today to get started planning your next trip to the Land Downunder!