How to choose a reliable airport transfer

When you’re flying to a new destination, it’s important to learn how to get from the airport to your hotel. Especially when you’re flying back home, it’s important you choose a reliable airport transfer provider in order to catch the flight on time. Every city has its own public transport network, as well as, regulations. Before your arrival, you can make a quick research and get to know the city or make arrangements with an online airport transfer provider.

Larger cities have integrated transportation systems which usually include: metro, tram and bus networks. This means that you can use the same tickets to ride on any of these transportation means. Sometimes the regular daily tickets don’t apply for rides from and to the airport, so you will need to buy a separate ticket.

On their website, you can check which lines run to the airport and their timetable. Usually, there are express trains and busses which will take you to the city’s main train station from where you can easily change to other lines. If there are local public transport lines which run to the airport, check their route in case there are any stops nearby your accommodation.

Airport shuttle service is a more direct airport transfer option. This is a shared airport transfer which usually serves the city hotels. If your hotel is on the route, then this is a cost-effective option. You need to keep in mind that the travel time is longer as it makes multiple stops on the way. The price is charged per passenger with luggage included and the service can be booked online.

Regular taxis are great when you don’t want to bother with maps and the chances to get lost are pretty low. However, this option is the most expensive one and there is a high probability to get overcharged. Usually, there are dedicated taxi ranks at every airport. They can be found outside the Arrivals hall and licensed taxis are waiting there. However, sometimes you may get approached by taxi drivers who will try to overcharge you, so read more how to recognize the official taxis before you arrive.

The downside of using a regular taxi is that you can’t be sure the driver will know English. It’s crucial to find an English-speaking taxi driver in a foreign country in order to able to understand each other and get to your destination without any issues. Also, the regular taxis are metered and the final price will depend on the distance and traffic conditions.

The best direct transport option is the private airport transfer. This is a door-to-door service which can be booked online, while you can choose to pay online or directly to the driver. There are many airport transfer online providers and you can get an instant quote on their website, thus avoid unpleasant surprises regarding the pricing.

They offer personalized service and the airport transfer is arranged according to your schedule. You can choose a sedan car, minivan, minibus or bus, depending on the number of passengers. The cost is charged per vehicle and it’s a fixed price. The luggage is also included in the price.

SIX TIPS TO BREAK IN TO FREELANCE TRAVEL WRITING

Overview

To become a travel content writer, it should be more by passion not by profession. Cause the success won’t happen overnight, it will take some serious efforts and over the time you will develop such skills which will put you into the position that you have always dreamt of. Some of the tips to travel freelance content writing jobs are

1

  • Start Humble – Starting humble simply means start small. Don’t build your empire in a day, have patience and you will reap your prizes in no time. Initially start writing online not for money and almost for anyone given that the publication is credible enough. The priority here is to get published, get known for the starters. It will not only embellish your portfolio but also your confidence. Have a big heart to do the job for no money and for rejection always be prepared.
  • Know your publisher well – Having said that right for almost anyone might contradict to this tip, but what we are trying to imply here is you don’t have to know your publications from cover to the last, but at least have the idea of it. So while it is really exciting to write the ideas and mail them as soon as possible, it is also important to consider the credibility of the publishers.

2

  • Variety in the mix – As a travel content writer one of the most important skill which will not only yield you better travel content writing jobs is to variate your story from different angles to spice up the content. Don’t make it too obvious but just a subtle hint of it is fine enough. Present your ideas in a short, condensed and precise manner. It will not only give a good first impression to the reader but also helps gripping the attention of the audiences.
  • Online presence – Building your extensive social media network is one of the most important craft one should learn in this technological world. Be active online as you can be contacted anytime for the job and your availability will be your USP at that time. As a travel content writer keep your Blogs, Facebook posts updated, as it will give the insight that is needed by your followers, subscribers and recruiters.

3

  • Working with the right editors – This battle has to be fought alone and the result is that you will end up being a refined, renewed and refurbished writer. Finding the right editor is a difficult job. If your writing style is relevant and you are confident enough the right editor will find you and you will reach there where you are meant to.
  • Time to end working free – This would be a big milestone in the life of travel content writers.  After freelancing for sufficient duration, building an advanced portfolio and having a solid writing credibility background you should stop working for free. Once you have amassed enough qualities you have got to learn to say no.

Family vacation Ideas – Get your Kids Involved with Fun Vacation Ideas and Everybody Wins

In most families it’s usually the parents who end up planning a family vacation. And a lot of times the kids don’t approve. And it’s probably not a kid friendly vacation because the parents, for the most part, are choosing placing they want to go.

All too often the kids are just along for the ride. They’re not really interested in the same things as the adults. This can be troublesome throughout the trip and can put a real damper on the festivities.

However, if the kids are old enough they can offer fun vacation ideas – places to go and things to do – and these could be fantastic family vacation ideas that the parents may never have even thought about.

Don’t get me wrong – the kids don’t have the final say where the family goes.

But making them part of the process of planning a family vacation gets them more involved and much happier because they’re helping to choose the best family vacation destinations.

It also usually leads to a more relaxed and fun-filled time because these fun vacation ideas will include activities for everyone.

Finding places to go that offer a choice of activities can be more relaxing because the kids and the adults will be doing things they all think will be fun to do together, so it will be an adult friendly as well as a kid friendly vacation.

There are many wonderful family vacation ideas as well. The family can enjoy anything from sun-drenched beaches where something as simple as playing in the sand can keep younger children occupied to amusement parks which can give adrenalin rushes to kids of all ages.

The best family vacation destinations offer the best of both worlds.

There could be a beach nearby for the adults to sun themselves and relax for one day and a nearby amusement park that’s more up the kids’ alley for the next day.

By the end of the week everybody’s happy.
Adding History To the Mix

Some of the most memorable family vacation ideas come about when you include historical sites in your vacation plans.

You can visit historical Civil War battlefields where the whole family can learn about this part of America’s history.
Or travel to the old west and find the caves the James brothers used to hide out in.
Or pan for gold in a river by an old gold mine out west. Maybe you’ll find a nugget and you’ll get to enjoy the fresh mountain air as well.
When planning a family vacation the trick for getting fun vacation ideas is to look at all the options and get input from everybody in the family. When each person has at least one thing they want to do the whole family will participate in something that’s important to each family member.

Sharing time and making precious memories is what family vacations are all about. When family vacation ideas are chosen by all the family members everyone in the family will end up having a better appreciation of each other and things to talk about for the rest of their lives.

Where do you really want to go on vacation? Take a look at How To make Your Wildest Dreams Come true for some more inspiration. And to see how you can get the lowest possible prices on airfare, car rentals, hotels and cruises, read the review of Save on Airfare and learn how you can do it too.

The importance of Keeping yourself Up to date With Business Travel News

Do you travel for business frequently? If so it is important that you stay current on business travel news. If you miss something important, like a new airline coming into your area and offering great prices on flights, you’ll kick yourself.

There’s a new travel service that can really help with this. You can subscribe to business travel news. If you don’t know what is going on, you may miss a strike starting the day you need to leave. Wouldn’t it have been better to have known ahead of time and book with a different airline?

When you have business travel news you can also know the weather and conditions in your destination area. If you are headed to a tropical country and then suddenly have to travel again, what happens if you are sent somewhere that has frigid conditions.

If you only have light clothing in your suitcase you are going to be uncomfortable. But if you knew ahead of time you might be able to better prepare.

Remember, your destination country may not be an English speaking one. If this is the case, you may have to have a way to get an interpreter. Otherwise you may not find your way around the city.

Be careful if you are going somewhere that has a lot of crime. If you don’t know the safety of your destination you may put yourself in needless risk. For instance, be careful in China as it is common for your credit card information to be fraudulently used. There may also be pickpockets and other criminals in some areas. It is best to know what the rules and regulations for a country are.

For instance, don’t assume you can just drive yourself around China. You can’t get a car in China just because you can drive one in the united states. The law prevents this.

There is no good reason to be ignorant of the conditions and climate of your destination. You can always get current, quickly updated news on the internet.

Overseas Travel insurance Plans – Costs Less and offers More

Everyone craves for vacations to enjoy some quality time with their loved ones and Indians are no exception. The outbound travel sector of India saw a robust growth this year because international travel destinations are highly sought-after among Indians in 2015. Obstacles like inflation, skyrocketing ticket price and depreciation of rupee couldn’t deter the wandering spirit of Indian travelers to travel around the world. Over 60% of Indians remain unmoved by the depreciating rupee and are raring to go to travel. However, the rate of availing travel insurance to safeguard the trip is still dismal among Indian travelers.

Young generations prefer to travel to international destinations once a year at least. According to a survey, 90% of these travelers make use of their own savings for overseas trips and don’t consider travel cover. Quite surprisingly, this is the mindset of young internet savvy generation as ICICI Lombard conducted the survey in the age group of 25-35 among 1049 people across six metro cities in India who had international trips in the previous year.

The survey further reveals that Singapore is the most preferred travel destination among young Indian travelers; the second and third places are held by US and UK.

Let’s take a look at the travel plans available and their prices for those who favor these destinations. Let’s start with Singapore.

Travel insurance plans available for Singapore trips

The following list of top 5 policy quotes in terms of lowest premium are for one 30 years old person looking for a single trip to Singapore. The trip duration is 10 days and the chosen sum insured is US$ 500000.

Universal Sompo – Premium of Rs. 942
HDFC Ergo – Premium of Rs. 1015
Reliance – Premium of Rs. 1129
TATA AIG – Premium of Rs. 1234
Religare – Premium of Rs. 1666
The lowest premium is Rs. 942 for a travel insurance plan for a 10 days trip to any Asian country such as Singapore, Thailand. This means one has to pay less than Rs. 100 per day to make his trip safe and secured. Indian travelers must know that travel plans are not only inexpensive but they also provide coverage for loss of baggage, passport, hijack and even emergency treatment.

Travel Insurance plans available for UK trips

The following list of top 5 policy quotes in terms of lowest premium are for 1 person looking for a single trip to UK. The trip duration is 10 days and the chosen sum insured is US$ 500000.

Universal Sompo – Premium of Rs. 942
Bajaj Allianz – Premium of Rs. 991
HDFC Ergo – Premium of Rs. 1015
Reliance – Premium of Rs. 1129
Bajaj Allianz (Travel Elite Platinum) – Premium of Rs. 1139
Universal Sompo provides the lowest premium. The premium of travel insurance plan is also Rs. 942 for a 10 days trip to UK.

Travel insurance policies for us trips

The following list of top 7 policy quotes in terms of lowest premium are for 1 person looking for a single trip to US. The trip duration is 10 days and the chosen sum insured is US$ 500000.

Universal Sompo – Premium of Rs. 1344
HDFC Ergo – Premium of Rs. 1438
Bajaj Allianz – Premium of Rs. 1441
IFFCO-TOKIO – Premium of Rs. 1456
Bajaj Allianz (Travel Elite Platinum) – Premium of Rs. 1658
TATA AIG – Premium of Rs. 1694
Reliance – Premium of Rs. 1783
The lowest premium is Rs. 1344 for a travel insurance plan for a 10 days trip to US. Just imagine, you are getting all types of risks covered just by paying less than Rs. 140 for each day of your trip.

Best travel insurance plans in India in terms of baggage and medical coverage

The survey also made clear that 79% people buy travel plan to cover medical emergencies. Safety of baggage is the second most vital reason as 60% people behind purchasing travel insurance policy. So let’s find out best travel insurance plans in terms of medical emergency and luggage safety.

From the above list of travel policies for us, two plans by Reliance and Bajaj Allianz look best in terms of baggage cover.

Reliance Travel care platinum provides US$1500 for the loss of checked baggage for a premium of Rs. 1783.

The Travel Elite Premium plan by Bajaj Allianz provides US$ 1000 for a premium of Rs. 1658 for the loss of checked baggage.

To get the best coverage for medical emergencies, the Titanium plan by HDFC ERGO is the best. It primarily covers:

Emergency Medical Expenses
Permanent Disablement/accidental death
Hospital Cash
Loss of Personal Documents
Accidental Death
Loss of Baggage
Financial Emergency Assistance
Personal Liability
What is the cost of international travel policy for a couple?

According to the survey, 52% of travelers prefer to have trips with spouses. So, if these people can avail a travel plan for visiting US or UK or Singapore, how much do they have to pay?

Let’s start with US trip for 10 days for a sum insured of US$ 100000 covering 2 people who are 30 and 28 years old.

Religare offers the best plan which comes at a premium of Rs. 2407.

If you compare travel plans available for couples who wish to visit UK, keeping the same criteria for trip duration, sum insured and age of the traveler, Religare provides the best plan. The premium of the plan is Rs. 1537.

For a trip in countries like Singapore, Thailand within Asia which has been the top travel destination of 2015, a couple has to spend even less for a travel insurance policy. If you compare travel insurance plans that cover Asia, you will get the lowest premium of Rs. 1218 from Explore Asia plan provided by Religare.

The positive part of the survey is the increased awareness among Indian travelers. More than 90% of young generation is aware of the travel insurance which is a significant rise from last year’s 80%. One of the major provider of travel insurance plans in India; ICICI Lombard underwritten a total travel insurance premium of Rs 100 previous year, one can expect the premium to increase by 5-10% in this year. The problem is not with the awareness; it is the lack of understanding about the benefits associated with these travel covers.

27% of the total respondents in the survey choose not to avail a travel insurance plan simply because they were under the wrong conception that such plans cover only accidents, loss of baggage and theft but don’t provide medical coverage. This is far from being the truth as the complete break-up of Titanium plan by HDFC ERGO shows extensive coverage for medical emergencies.

25% surveyed people didn’t buy any travel plan because they thought such plans are costly but it is not so. The price of all plans for person mentioned here are about less than Rs. 100 to less than Rs. 140 for each day of a 10 days trip. Travel insurance policies for couples are even cheaper as they cost in the range of less than Rs. 65 per day per person to less than Rs. 125 per day per person for destinations like US, UK and all countries in Asia including popular destinations like Singapore, Thailand.

Indians love to spend their holidays in international destinations. An international travel insurance plan doesn’t cost much and offers a lot in return. If you are also a travel freak, you should insure the total duration of the trip so that you can enjoy your holiday with complete peace of mind.

Travel insurance For Backpackers And Hikers

If you have a tour in your mind and you want to travel the free way, a good backpacker travel insurance policy is a thing you must consider before tour. Backpacking trips are bit riskier than regular planned travels. So in such case good backpacker travel insurance becomes a mandatory criterion for a hassle free tour.

Most of the insurers don’t know all the benefits of insurance as they are unaware but these insurance policies help a traveler in many ways.

A Backpacker insurance policy is basically for those who are low on budget. You don’t have to pay high for regular insurance policy but you will surely get the essential coverage with backpackers travel insurance policy. It covers you and your luggage at very less cost, as this type of insurance is designed for backpackers who are known for their low budgeted and unplanned travel schedules.

Before going through you must know backpacker insurance policy and its features.

Features provided by backpacker travel insurance

There are some important features and coverage that backpacker travel insurance policy can provide, these are as follows;

In case if you have to extend you trip due to any unexpected reason, backpacker insurance covers it too.
You get all covers round the clock all the year no matter what time or circumstances are there.
If you get sick during you trip, all the medical expenses will be covered by backpacker insurance providers. Most of the time such insurance policies also covers personal incidents that occur during travel (please confirm this before buying insurance policy from you insurance provider).
Many travel insurance firms provide option to opt out which they don’t want to be covered and ask for the things which they want to be covered. This flexibility is an added advantage for insurers.
Many travel insurance firms provide the option to the insurer that what they really want to be covered in their policy. This flexibility is an added advantage for insurers.
Many backpacker tours for winter sports, some travel for scuba diving. Such adventurous sports have high risks involved which can lead you to physical damages. Covers for such sports are also available as an optional measure. You can add such sports covers in your existing insurance for added safety.
You can extend you insurance any time with a single click sitting at your home in front of your computer.
Make sure that insurance policy covers the location in which you are planning to travel. Some travel insurance companies provide insurance policies only for a certain country.
Now the biggest which every travelers generally asks is “Do I really need a backpacker insurance policy? And is it really worth it? ”

Backpacker travel insurance is surely recommended for you if you fell into any of these categories

You travel alone at places which are expected.
Your travel schedule is unexpected and never planned.
You have medical history or you are above 50 years of age.
Backpacking is surely an adventurous trip but it has its own risks too. Backpackers are very prone to injuries, robbery and related issues. There are some possible issues in which backpackers can easily get coverage. These are as follows:

Tour cancellation – Trips are cancelled many times due to many issues. Sometimes due to bad weather and sometimes due to some personal reason, one has to cancel his/her trip.

Emergency medical care – backpackers are very much prone to issue like food poisoning, diarrhea and other infections. Such diseases can lead to serious health issues which can be covered by purchasing insurance.

Accidents – accidents are common and can be occur at any time. Insurance not only covers for your injury but also the person affected by your mistake.

Theft or robbery – backpacker usually travel alone. They also stay at budget hotels. All this makes them prone to things like baggage theft and robbery.

Considering the current global scenario which is quite unsafe, having proper backpacker travel insurance is very necessary.

Best Travel Maps – What to look for When Going on a Holiday

One of the tricky questions that appear when you are looking to organize a trip is to know which kind of maps you should get in order to make it easy to move around through your destination. There are many options out there, but my general recommendation is that simplicity must win. Let’s take a look at how we should select the best travel maps.

First of all, to select the best travel maps you need to know which kind of trip you are planning to do. What I mean is not just the length of the trip or the number of stars your hotel has. What you really need to know if you are going to be staying in a single city, if you are going around a single country, or if you are visiting a whole continent, like it could be the case of a trip to Europe.

The second thing selecting the best travel maps is to know the mean of transport you are going to use in case you are on an intercity trip or visiting many countries.

Once you’ve got this information planned, it is the time to take the decision according to it. If you are planning to visit a single city, the best you can do is to get nothing at all. I’m not speaking about going there with no information but what I really mean is that any city has very good maps you can take for free in any tourism office, hotel or simply at the airport or the railway station where you arrive. These maps are already thought for you, you’ll see the main streets, touristic attractions, etc.

Instead, it is indeed important to look for the best travel maps if you are going to run across many cities. For the cities themselves you can just rely on the maps mentioned before, but when it comes go move from one to the other, it’s a good idea to get small but detailed maps where you can find your route. Of course, if you travel by train, an inter-rail map would be the best. If you go by road, a good idea is to avoid buying any maps and use the Google Earth’s function that allows you to write two cities and the program finds with detail the best route possible. Print out the screen and the indications or copy it in a paper and they’ll be great value.

Finally, if you are going on a trip that includes many countries, you can find the best travel maps by using the system mentioned above for road travel. Instead, for rail travel I would encourage you to get one single map for every country as maps for a whole continent will be far less the detail grade you expect them to be. If you are going to Europe, a good idea is to get also the timetables for all European departures getting the Eurail timetable that gets published every year.

In any case, when you are looking to select one map or another, the best deal will always be the most simple one. A map loaded with data and details of everything is confusing and will get you tired. When looking for the best travel maps you need to find in the map only what is interesting you and nothing else.

What type of Travel Insurance Is best for Canadians?

r loved ones in case your luggage is lost, stolen, or rescheduled. The benefit you can get from baggage insurance ranges from about $500 to $2000 per consumer, relying on your plan.

Your home insurance coverage quite often gives you some protection for your assets while you are traveling, but they in all likelihood will likely not cover baggage delays.

Medical Evacuation

Emergency medical evacuation insurance is especially necessary if you’re going on a cruise or if you happen to be paying a visit to a remote location. If you fall ill aboard a cruise, an emergency medical evacuation by way of a helicopter can easily cost $150, 000.

Emergency health evacuation insurance can pay for transportation to the closest medical facility or alternatively back to your point of departure. Having said that, all insurance policies call for pre-approval by way of qualified medical expert. While medical evacuation is covered in many medical travel insurance policies, you can buy separate medical evacuation insurance cover plan.

Be mindful if you’re considering obtaining insurance plans coming from the cruise company. Many cruise companies do not include medical evacuation insurance cover plan inside their travel insurance policies.

Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have a pre-existing health condition (including diabetes or alternatively heart issues), a policy that allows for coverage when it comes to pre-existing conditions is a must have. A pre-existing condition is a health problem you might already had when trip started, even if you didn’t have the problem at the time you obtained your insurance.

Insurance policies who will allow for pre-existing medical conditions are typically more costly, nonetheless, at the very least, you’ll be covered in the event you have a medical disaster associated with your pre-existing condition. Any condition that in fact appears from the time you acquire your insurance plan to the time period you begin your vacation can be considered to be a pre-existing condition, even if you didn’t know about it at the time you purchased your insurance plan.

Being pregnant will often be viewed as a pre-existing condition by many travel insurers.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment

Accidental death and dismemberment is a worthwhile type of travel insurance, and is generally speaking (though not guaranteed to be) covered in emergency medical travel insurance policies. This type of travel insurance will take care of you for injuries you get while riding as a fare-paying passenger on an airplane, helicopter or common carrier (a bus, boat, or even train). There’s also a death benefit that is paid out (generally between 10, 000 to 25, 000) if you pass away on your voyage.

In keeping with its less than lovely title, an accidental death and dismemberment policy can pay you a set amount if you lose an arm or leg (or other part of your body) while on vacation.

Is a Cruise Vacation on your Bucket List?

When was the last time you took a vacation? Can you remember your last vacation? What is a vacation?

vacation (v-kshn, v-) n. 1. A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee. 2. a. A holiday. b. A fixed period of holidays, especially one during which a school, court, or business suspends activities. The key words in the definition are pleasure, rest and relaxation.

There aren’t many vacation experiences that can deliver all those things. If you have a cruise vacation on your list of things to do before you die, chances are you put it there because you heard that cruises can deliver a true vacation experience. The point of this blog is to help you move a cruise vacation up your bucket list. Helpful tips and links to answers to the most common questions are provided, so let’s get started.

Why Cruise?

So you have been thinking about a cruise vacation or you’ve had it on your “to-do” list for a long time but cannot commit. What are you waiting for? Cruising can be intimidating for first-timers because it seems so completely different than many other vacations. Roughly only 20% of Americans have ever taken a cruise vacation, but over 40% of cruise passengers are repeat cruisers. Here are the top ten reasons why many first time cruisers become cruise enthusiasts:

VALUE. One price buys your cabin, dining, entertainment and more.

ROMANCE. Secluded beaches, en suite dining on a balcony overlooking the ocean and spa services for two are just some of the romantic pursuits available.

CUISINE. Tantalize your taste buds with gourmet fare that showcases exotic ingredients, old standbys like pizza and ice cream or spa cuisine for a healthy alternative. Depending on your mood, dine in a traditional ballroom setting, a small bistro or a casual eatery.

VARIETY. With over 200 distinctive ships, 3000 ports-of-call and an unbelievable array of places to see and things to do, there is a perfect cruise for you. For even more choice, consider a pre- or post-land tour.

ACTIVITIES. Fill your days with sightseeing, sports activities, cultural lectures, educational tours led by naturalists and historians or simply lounge by the pool and relax. At night, enjoy dance extravaganzas, musical revues, gaming or a quiet evening gazing at the stars.

SIMPLICITY. Don’t come back from your vacation needing a vacation. Planning a cruise is simple; your CLIA-affiliated travel agency can handle all of the details. Once you’re on board, nearly all expenses are pre-paid… talk about hassle-free.

NEW HORIZONS. Fall asleep in one destination and awake to a new horizon… and you only have to pack and unpack once!

FAMILY. Families love cruising. Children’s programs, kid-friendly menus and tours of the ship will keep your children happy, while affording you some time alone.

PAMPERING. Regardless of your budget, all cruise lines pamper their guests with first-class service around the clock.

SATISFACTION. It’s a fact that cruises have a higher percentage of satisfied customers than any other vacation experience.
Source: Cruise Line International Association (CLIA)

Where to Cruise? Cruise destinations are one of the top motivating factors for most cruisers. Virtually anywhere there is navigable water, from oceans to rivers, you can find a cruise to fit your desires. According to Marc Mancini, author of Cruising: A Guide to the Cruise Line Industry, geography plays a major role in the decision to take a cruise vacation because:

Cruise passengers often decide which cruise to take according to the destination(s), not the ship or the line. This is especially true of first-time cruisers.

Certain places are best experienced by ship because of access. For instance, to drive or fly from town to town in Alaska is difficult, expensive, or, in some cases, impossible. Cruise ships, however, get around Alaska’s coastal waters easily.

Cruises allow you to visit multiple destinations in one trip. Whether clusters of islands in the Aegean Sea (Greece), Indonesia, and the Caribbean or several European, Middle Eastern or North African destinations in the Mediterranean. Air connections within island groups are often awkward and multiple destinations are prohibitively expensive.

Travelers often prefer to visit underdeveloped countries via a cruise for safety and security reasons. The ship is secure, the food familiar, the transportation dependable, and the lodging reliable.

Individual destinations go up and down in popularity from year to year, but the Caribbean as a whole remains the most popular destination, year after year.
More experienced cruisers develop their brand loyalty based on the experience they had on a particular cruise line or lines early on. Just as there are cars that fit every personality, the same can be said of cruise lines. Cruise lines can be divided into several broad categories such as small, medium and large ships or mainstream, premium and luxury classes. Within each class of ship there are several categories or grades of stateroom so it is possible to have a luxury vacation even on a mainstream ship. Information abounds on cruise review and cruise line websites to help the first-time cruise decide which cruise line to book after deciding on the destination.

Mainstream

Carnival Cruise lines – Carnival’s “Fun Ships” appeal to a wide cross section of passengers of various ages and backgrounds. Carnival’s many itineraries, numerous dining choices and extensive kid’s programs make it a popular family cruise.

Norwegian Cruise Line – Introduced Freestyle Cruising – a more relaxed resort-style experience that has been a very popular draw for NCL; no assigned meal times or tables and choices of 10 or more restaurants on most ships. Launched the Norwegian Epic in 2010 which includes live entertainment by the Blue Man Group, innovative stateroom design and gourmet cuisine.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line – State-of-the-art ships, exciting itineraries, great youth programs and unique on-board activities such as rock climbing wall, Flow Rider surfing and even ice skating. The Oasis of the Seas is one of the world’s largest cruise ships, a destination in and of itself.

Costa Cruises – Europe’s number one cruise line; if you want a European experience, Costa’s Italian crew and theme can deliver; Italian inspired ships.

MSC Cruises – Gracious Italian staff, personalized service, cuisine and unique itineraries make MSC another favorite European-style experience for cruisers.
Premium

Celebrity Cruises – Owned by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity provides a luxurious experience on its consistently high ranked ships. Gourmet cuisine on Celebrity wins frequent awards.

Holland America Line – A leader in worldwide premium cruising, HAL is known for its long (10+ days) cruises and its attention to detail onboard. Gracious attentive service, gourmet cuisine, wide range of itineraries, and great value for price paid make HAL a frequent winner of awards.

Oceania Cruises – One of the highest staff-to-guest ratios in the industry, smaller-sized luxury ships (684 guests) and destination focused itineraries make this an excellent value in high end cruising. Very comprehensive lecture and enrichment program at sea.

Princess Cruises – Worldwide itineraries on the largest and newest ships. Princess’ Personal Choice Cruising provides passengers with a wide variety of options to customize their vacations.

Windstar Cruises – Its motto “180 from Ordinary” says it all. Windstar’s small luxury sailing ships accommodate 148 t0 312 pampered guests. These are highly advanced “sailing ships” that are fully stabilized to offer a comfortable experience.
Luxury

Crystal Cruises – Crystal ships consistently earn top awards. Crystal’s European hotel and dining staff provide a level of service that brings a loyal following of cruisers back year after year. From private verandas to elegantly appointed staterooms, Crystal is frequently recognized for its excellent value and competitive rates.

Cunard Line – Cunard Line has the distinction of its traditional British elegance, superb White Star Service, gourmet cuisine, and regular trans-Atlantic service that sets it apart from all other cruise lines. The name recognition and luxury of its Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 put Cunard in a class all its own.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Exclusive line with among the highest space-to-guest and crew-to-guest ratios; smaller ships (180 to 700 guests); includes the Paul Gauguin which provides an exclusive cruise experience throughout Tahiti and French Polynesia. A great value in luxury cruising that includes all gratuities, wine with dinner, in-stateroom bar, and soft drinks.

Silversea Cruises – With ships built to appeal to the ultra-luxury market, Silversea’s smaller, intimate vessels slip into more off the beaten path, exotic ports. Its ships are designed with an all-suite layout, no steerage class here.
Niche (Specialty) Cruise lines

Disney Cruise Line – Disney has transferred their family vacation expertise from the Magic Kingdom to the High Seas. Their rotation dining, seamless land and sea vacations and age-specific programs for children, teens and adults deliver a whole Disney-style vacation package.

Orient Lines – Destination-intensive including Cruise-Tours that include first-class hotels throughout Europe. Top guest lecturers and distinguished experts for enrichment presentations on topics from politics and science to diplomacy and journalism.

Viking River Cruises – Viking is the world’s largest river cruise line touring Europe, including Russia, and China. Fares included guided shore excursions in each port of call. Its passengers are generally older (55+), well traveled and physically active.

Uniworld River Cruises – Uniworld provides a unique river cruise experience with 500 departures, sailing on 9 rivers in 16 countries throughout Europe, Egypt, and China. Its elegant, boutique hotel-style cruise ships accommodate an average capacity of 134 guests and provide an intimate experience that is frequently recognized by Zagat in the category of Top Cabins and Top Dining.
Cruise Reviews

By far, the most challenging aspect of choosing to move a cruise vacation up your bucket list is deciding which cruise to take for the first time. It can be a daunting experience with all the choices. Fortunately first-time cruisers have many tools to help them. The internet is a wonderful thing when it comes to research, especially when others do the research for you. There are numerous websites that review or provide previous cruiser reviews of cruise lines, destinations, and shore excursions. Beyond cruising in particular, these sites also provide valuable travel tips in general. Some of the popular ones are:

Cruise Critic – As the oldest online cruise review site launched in 1995, Cruise Critic has over 5 million visitors and is ranked the #1 cruise information website by Hitwise. Its site visitors outnumber the visitors on all its competitor sites combined. It rates 275 ships and 60 cruise lines. In addition to its own ratings, cruisers who join the site can provide ratings as well, not only for ships but also ports of call, shopping, tours and many more areas. Their website has message boards with threaded discussions by its members. Truly a collaborative site, Cruise Critic brings the power of customer experience to its cruise reviews.

Cruise Mates – Launched in 1999 by noted cruise authority Anne Campbell, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic on America Online, Cruise Mates offers extensive professional reviews by its staff in addition to those by cruisers. Its focus is more on formal reviews by travel professionals with fewer customer reviews than Cruise Critic. Customer reviews stand alone as separate entries unlike the threaded reviews on Cruise Critic.

Cruise Reviews – Owned by Internet Brands, the same owner of Cruise Mates, Cruise Reviews is much more traveler-review focused than Cruise Mates, so it complements that site nicely.

Fodor’s Cruise Reviews – Long recognized for its printed travel guides, Fodor’s Cruise Reviews provide the same quality of entertaining travel editorials on cruise lines and their ships. Broken into linked sections, each review is easy to navigate and locate the exact information you are looking for.

Making Your Cruise Dream a reality

Making your cruise dream a reality is less difficult than you may think. With the many choices and destinations available, it is natural to have some anxiety about the planning decisions involved in deciding which cruise to take. A good travel counselor can reduce the anxiety that comes with making decisions about a first cruise. They have a variety of resources, including literature and videos from the cruise lines that can help educate you about the cruise experience. Most importantly, a travel counselor can make cruise recommendations based on knowing your likes, desires and personality saving you frustration and money in the long run.

Passport and Travel Requirements

Unless you are planning to cruise only U. S. ports, you will need a passport. Passport requirements vary by destination. In our post-9/11 world a passport provides indisputable identity verification and is acceptable for all types travel. Showing up for a cruise without your passport will be a show-stopper because you will not be allowed on board. The easiest way to apply for a passport is to follow the guidelines found on the U. S. State Department website. Some countries require visas as well and these requirements sometimes change. Your cruise counselor or the cruise line can provide current information. The Cruise Critic website also has a very helpful travel page with information on the latest passport requirements. They also have a handy page with other travel rules and regulations, as well as tips that can answer many of your cruise travel questions.

Business Traveller Flying to London? A London City Guide for getting to the Centre

London. The vibrant, beating heart of the united kingdom. It’s one of the world’s most popular destinations for tourists, and for business travellers too. The amount of commerce that goes through London is staggering, with a financial centre second only to New York, and service industries that cater for both the uk, European and international markets. As the world’s most multicultural city – there are over 300 languages spoken by a population of over eight million people (twelve million if you include the metropolitan area) – the opportunities for business are clear.

With the uk strategically positioned for the business traveller on the western edge of Europe, London is a global hub for air travel, providing easy access to mainland Europe, and a stepping stone to the united states. Primarily served by five airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted and Luton – London is easily reached from anywhere in the world. But with the exception of London City Airport – smallest of the five and located in East London, close to the business district of Canary Wharf – the other four airports are satellites evenly dispersed around the city. The most popular, Heathrow, is located to the west of London; Gatwick is situated to the south; Stansted to the north east; and Luton to the North West. Knowing this before you make your travel plans can be useful. Since the greater metropolitan area of London covers over 1, 000 square miles, your final business destination may not be right in the centre. Researching which airport is closest to your destination can save you time, effort and money.

However, whether you’re a business traveller flying from within the UK or from overseas, your starting destination may often determine the airport you arrive at. Other factors, such as your chosen time of travel, budget and availability will also make a difference. For example, if you’re travelling with a major international carrier from a major city, such as New york, the chances are you’ll arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick (Stansted also receives flights from New york but is the smallest of the three). If you’re travelling locally from within the UK with a budget carrier you’re more likely to arrive at Stansted or Luton (though not exclusively). And if you’re travelling from a major European city, particularly a financial capital, such as Frankfurt, London City Airport is a likely arrival point (the airport was created specifically to cater for short haul business travellers, particularly between financial centres).

Each airport is served by comprehensive rail and road infrastructure, providing business travellers with a variety of options to enter London. All five airports offer direct rail travel into the heart of Central London, coach travel to the main Victoria terminus, and hire car, mini-bus, licensed black cab and taxi services by road. If you’re a VIP business traveller, chauffeur services are also available, and with the exception of London City Airport, each also offer direct helicopter transfer into the heart of the city.

London Heathrow Airport

The busiest of the five airports is London Heathrow. Located less than twenty miles from central London, Heathrow is situated to the west of the city within the M25 motorway metropolitan boundary. The fastest route into London is via the Heathrow Express train service, taking just 15 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3 to Paddington station (located on the western side of Central London). If your flight arrives at either terminal 4 or 5 it’s a further four and six minutes travel time respectively, and you’ll need to transfer on to the main London-bound service at terminals 1, 2 and 3.

The service is excellent, offering comfort and convenience, but does not always suite everyone’s travel budget. The standard ‘Express’ single journey ticket costs £21. 00 (€25. 00 / $35. 00), but business travellers can get better value when purchasing a return ticket, priced at £34. 00 (€40. 00 / $56. 00). The ‘Business First’ ticket is more expensive, with singles costing £29. 00 (€35. 00 / $48. 00) and returns £52. 00 (€62. 00 / $86. 00), but it does afford business travellers considerably more leg room, the privacy of a ‘single seating’ layout, and a fold out table. The experience is akin to that of air travel. All passengers across both pricing structures enjoy access to electrical sockets, USB ports and free Wi-Fi. The overall quality of service and passenger experience generates a ‘wow’ factor, and if your budget can afford it, is certainly the smoothest, quickest and most convenient way to travel into London from Heathrow. Trains run regularly every fifteen minutes in both directions, particularly useful for last minute dashes to the airport.

There are two further rail options available to business travellers, both considerably less expensive, though this is reflected in the quality of service. That’s not to say either is not a good solution for business travellers, just that there is a noticeable difference in convenience and comfort.

With a service typically running every thirty minutes, and a journey duration – depending on the time of day – of between 23 and 27 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3, Heathrow Connect is more than adequate for business travellers who are not in a hurry. Like the rival Express service, Connect also arrives at Paddington station, but unlike its faster rival stops at up to five other stations before reaching its terminus. The ‘inconvenience’ of this less direct journey is compensated for by a considerably less expensive ticket price. Single journey’s cost £9. 90 (€12. 00 / $16. 00) while a return is £19. 80 (€24. 00 / $32. 00). There is no saving to be made from purchasing a return ticket. While the convenience and comfort of the traveller experience cannot match the Express, the Connect business travel solution is an acceptable compromise that suits a greater number of travel budgets.

The third – and least expensive – rail option is the London Underground ‘tube’ network. Despite the network’s name the majority of the journey from Heathrow is overground, until the business traveller nears Central London. Starting on the Piccadilly Line, the service connects all five Heathrow terminals and provides frequent trains into London, stopping at a considerable amount of outlying stations before arriving in the capital’s centre. This continually ‘interrupted’ journey – there are seventeen stops between Heathrow terminals 1, 2 and 3 and Paddington Tube station (the nearest equivalent tube terminus for a fair comparison) – and takes approximately fifty minutes journey time on average, considerably slower than its more direct rivals. This journey comparison also requires the inconvenience of a transfer between lines.

So why would the business traveller consider using the tube from Heathrow to Central London? Simple. The frequency of service, the array of destinations, and the cost. At a cash price of just £5. 70 (€6. 80 / $9. 50) for a single journey in either direction during peak hours (06: 30am to 09: 30am), financially the Underground is an attractive option. At nearly half the price of the Heathrow Connect, and at just over a quarter of the price of the Heathrow Express, this service is comparably good value for money. Further value can be found if the business traveller purchases an ‘Oyster Card’, the ‘cashless’ electronic ticketing system beloved by so many Londoners. Available to purchase at Heathrow London Underground stations, this useful option allows you to get tickets cheaper than for cash – in this case a reduction to just £5. 00 (€6. 00 / $8. 30). Off-peak travel with an Oyster Card offers even greater value, with Heathrow to Paddington in either direction costing just £3. 00 (€3. 60 / $5. 00) per journey. The Oyster Card can also be used for unlimited travel on buses and trains throughout London, with a maximum daily spend capped at £17. 00 (€20. 00 / $28. 00) peak time and just £8. 90 (€10. 60 / $15. 00) off-peak for a six zone ticket (destinations across London are divided into six main zonal rings. Travelling from Heathrow to Central London crosses all six zones).

The Underground is primarily a city-wide mass transit system, rather than a ‘train’ service. As such the level of comfort and convenience is substantially less than that of both the Heathrow Express and Connect services, and at peak hours can be considerably uncomfortable. Having endured a recent flight, business travellers who choose this option run the risk of having to stand up the entire journey if travelling during peak hours. If the carriage is full to squeezing point (as is often the case at peak time) managing your luggage can be a challenge. It should also be noted that the tube network – which, as the world’s first urban mass-transit system is over 150 years old – is often prone to signal failures and delays. If the time between your arrival at Heathrow (don’t forget to factor in clearing immigration control, luggage collection and customs) and your business appointment is tight, particularly during peak hours, it is not unfair to say that you are taking a risk if you choose to use the Underground.

Compared to using rail, travelling by road into Central London is far less convenient. Like every major city around the world, traffic congestion plagues the streets of London. The M4 and A4 route from Heathrow into London is always busy and in parts can be slow moving at times. No matter what your method of road transport, the business traveller is vulnerable to the risk of delays and accidents.

Buses and coaches are plentiful. The dominant carrier is called National Express. They operate services between Heathrow Airport and London Victoria, the main coach terminus in London. From here travellers can travel to many other destinations around the UK. The coaches run from Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station, which is located between terminals 1, 2 and 3. Its well sign posted so easily found. If you’re arriving at terminals 4 or 5 you’ll need to first take the Heathrow Connect train to the central bus station. From Victoria Station you can get to any other part of London with ease, via the Underground, plentiful buses, local trains and licensed black cabs / minicab taxi services.

A single journey tickets start from £6. 00 (€7. 20 / $10. 00), while returns cost £11. 00 (€13. 20 / $18. 00). Although you can purchase your ticket at Heathrow, it is advisable to do so in advance, and online. This will ensure you have a guaranteed, reserved seat on your coach of choice, and also provide you with the opportunity to select a time of departure and/or return that best suits your needs. Typically this service runs three coaches per hour to and from London Victoria coach station. The journey time can vary, dependent on the route taken, the time of day and traffic conditions, but you can typically expect your journey to take between 40 and 90 minutes.

National Express also offers business travellers a Heathrow hotel transfer service to and from the airport, known as the Heathrow Hoppa. With hundreds of services each day running around the clock, it’s a clean, comfortable and affordable way to get about, costing £4. 00 (€4. 80 / $6. 60) for single journey and £7. 00 (€8. 40/ $11. 50) for a return journey. This service is particularly useful if your business appointment is located close to Heathrow and you have no need to travel into Central London.

An alternative to coach travel is taking a bus. This can be particularly useful if you arrive at Heathrow late at night. Depending on the day of the week, the N9 night bus runs approximately every 20 minutes to Trafalgar Square in Central London, from 11. 30pm to 5am. The journey time is approximately 75 minutes, subject to traffic delays. It’s a very affordable service, and as part of the Transport for London infrastructure a single journey can be paid for with an Oyster Card (£1. 40 (€1. 70/ $2. 30) or by cash (£2. 40 (€2. 90/ $4. 00).

If your journey into London requires the freedom to choose to travel whenever you want, to wherever you want, or you simply require privacy, then private hire transport is readily available at Heathrow. If you’re just interested in getting from a to B and back again, without any other journeys in between, taking a licensed black cab or minicab taxi may suit your needs. Travelling in an iconic licensed black cab into Central London will take approximately 45-60 minutes, subject to traffic delays, and can typically cost between £50. 00 (€60. 00/ $83. 00) and £80. 00 (€96. 00/ $132. 00). If you do find yourself delayed in traffic the journey will cost more, since black cab meters also charge for waiting time when not moving. Black cabs are readily available at all hours, and good sign posting at Heathrow means they’re easy to find. At a squeeze up to five business travellers can be accommodated, though if you all have large luggage it will be a problem.

An alternative private hire to black cabs are licensed taxi services. This could be a better option for the business traveller, particularly if a number of people with luggage are travelling together. An array of vehicle types are available, ranging from standard 4/5 seater saloon and 6/7 passenger people carrier cars, up to 15 or 17 seater minibuses and even coach taxis. An added advantage is you can book your vehicle of choice in advance and at a fixed price. With so many different companies offering these services, prices – and quality of service – can vary, but typically for a single journey the business traveller can expect to pay a fixed, advance price of £40. 00 (€48. 00/ $66. 00) for a saloon car; £50. 00 (€60. 00/ $83. 00) for an estate car; £55. 00 (€66. 00/ $90. 00) for an executive car; £55. 00 (€66. 00/ $90. 00) for a people carrier; £65. 00 (€78. 00/ $108. 00) for an 8 seater minibus; £80. 00 (€96. 00/ $132. 00) for an executive people carrier; and £165. 00 (€198. 00/ $272. 00) for a 16 seater minibus. Savings can be made on all tariffs if a return journey is booked in advance.

Travelling by black cab or licensed taxi affords the business traveller the freedom to travel at his or her own pace, and can take the hassle out of a journey. It can be a very relaxing way to commute from the airport into London, particularly after a long flight, and offers the business traveller an opportunity to unwind prior to their business appointment.

If you need to arrange senior executive or VIP transportation, chauffeur driven services are readily available (booked in advance) between Heathrow and London. The vehicle type and the length of time you require it for will dictate the price you’ll pay. Chauffeur driven services are readily available to find online. The same is true of helicopter charter services which can transfer the executive business traveller from Heathrow into Central London (Battersea Heliport) in approximately 15 minutes. Flightline Travel Management is experienced at providing our customers with both modes of transport, and we’re happy to take your enquiry.