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Stop wasting Time in the Airport! Here’s How..

By December 15, 2016 Destinations, For Your Journey, Hacks
wasting-time

Think about your last visit to the airport, and where was the one place you wasted time, and it was annoying? It took extra time that you wish you could avoid.  It probably required a long line. And even if you had kiosk service, you still had to wait….

YES, I’m talking about the check-in counter!

The single largest time waste in the airport is during check-in. To drastically reduce this time requires a multi-pronged approach

  1. Book flights with airlines that allow online check-in. This will keep you out of the lines requiring check-in at the airport. A list of all airlines that provide Online Check-in is here.
  2. Fly with carry-on only. This eliminates any lines prior to the security check.
  3. If checking luggage, invest in the One Bag Tag. This high tech device replaces the luggage tracking tags placed on your luggage every time you check your bags. You will have a permanent bar code, and your flight will be tagged to that code on every flight. No more stickers, waiting for printing, removing tags, and more. It also provides real-time tracking of your luggage in the airport, and if you are separated – such as when the airline misdirects your luggage. There are other great features you can learn about in this video:

 

Implement these 3 items, and you will drastically reduce your time in the airport. To cut down on your time even more, try doing these additional items:

  1. If you travel often, take advantage of TSA’s PreCheck. This is a very short security line, and is fast. You don’t need to remove shoes, belts, liquids, and laptops. All these items make the other security check-ins much slower. Add that it has fewer people participating, and you are moving through the line very quickly.
  2. If you choose not to participate in PreCheck, then as you are in the line, queuing for your turn with the TSA Agent, have all of your items removed and placed in the outside pocket of your carry-on. This would be jewelry, belt, coins, electronic items, wallet, etc. The only items you will need are your ID and airline tickets. The you can quickly place your shoes in a bin, carry-on in a bin, and laptop in a bin, and move over to the imaging line for body screening.
  3. If you have multiple xray/screening lines, your best option is to go to those on the left. its natural for humans to go right. and unless they are savvy travelers, they will gravitate to the right. This means that even if the left line looks just as long, its likely occupied by travelers who are doing the same time saving techniques as you, and those lines will move quicker.
  4. Take advantage of travel lounges when available. Its quieter, and less crowded, so you can make last minute calls, and even find more power outlets if you need to charge devices, or connect to the online world. Often you can get beverage service, and light food – again without losing your terminal seat, and standing in a concession line. some are free, others cost a day charge, however frequent travelers can save money by purchasing an annual membership that allows access to 1000+ airport lounges. Details can be found Here.

Lastly, you can save time with your ticketing, and in the case of cancellations or severe delays, by taking advantage of Travel Insurance, and the services of a Travel Professional.  Both resources can completely eliminate standing in line for re-ticketing and booking. Just return to the lounge, and get your travel professional on the problem. Typically, they will have it solved well before you could get back to the ticketing agent, and you won’t have to leave the security zone to make it happen.

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The Most Clever Way to Save Money at Universal Studios!

By December 13, 2016 Destinations, Family Travel, For Your Journey, Hacks, Products, Travel
Clever Way to Save at Universal Studios Florida

If you are planning to attend Universal Studios, you’ve probably seen some of the pricing, and likely taken a deep breath. I can imagine its more than you first expected! Wouldn’t you like to save money on your trip? Wondering what is the most effective way to save money at Universal Studios?

The Most clever, and effective way to save money going to Universal Studios, is to attend as a GROUP! Seriously, its that easy, and the group does not have to be a large group either! In fact, the larger the group, the better the pricing for park tickets, but group pricing can begin with less than 20 people! With day tickets exceeding $100, group ticketing gets the price under that threshold.

But the savings are not just for group day tickets! In fact, if you have interest in staying for multiple days, you can really save a tremendous amount of money with a group package at Universal Studios Orlando. Here is what to expect in savings exclusively for groups:

  • Savings on Park Tickets
  • Early Park Entry Passes
  • Special discounts on select merchandise
  • Free Discount Savings Booklet worth over $150 in savings
  • Group Leader complimentary meals and services
  • Reduced hotel costs

How to Qualify as a Group

By now, you may be thinking – gee that’s nice, but its only my family, how is that going to help?

This is how easy it is to get group discounts – get a few families together, and commit to travel at the same time, and stay in the same hotel. 10 paid hotel rooms will qualify for the exceptional rates available. That’s 10 couples, and maybe less if  large families are booking 2 adjoining rooms.

A family of 4, could have the families of their children’s friends invited. Now you have 3 rooms booked. They all ask grandparents to come, and you have 9 rooms done. If every family just invited one more family or person, that would be 13 rooms, and the family organizing the trip get extra perks to offset their trip, such as free meals for one adult, and the room for free!

Or perhaps you belong to a youth sports program, club, or church group. Just about any group can qualify.

Next is to contact your Travel Professional, and work with them in arranging your group with Universal Studios. They’ll know the ins and outs of the many benefits to groups at the park, and advantages to the many options that are available. They will know of blackout dates, and when group travel is not the best savings available.

They can also offer additional options and tours to experience while in the Orlando area.

Tips for Extra Savings

One more way to save, is by booking your air travel or ground transportation as a group. It can be done on your own, Shrek 4-Dbut the easiest way is to work with your travel professional. It usually doesn’t cost you anything if this person is booking your entire package,  so you not only save money by group booking, but you’ll save lots of time and frustration too!

Traveling by motorcoach is an excellent way to save money on ground transportation. and can cost less than traveling by auto if the group is 15 or more passengers. And you’ll enjoy less hassle, have better comfort, and how cool is it to not stop every time a little one needs a potty break?! (Motorcoaches have on-board lavatories)

If you decide that you want to book your own ground travel, contact ANGL. Tell them Shawn at East-West Global Traveler sent you, and they will take good care of your needs.

PS

If you book this winter, but wait to go to Universal Studios until after June 2017, your group ticket package will include Volcano Bay – Universal’s newest theme park, That’s 3 parks for the same price as 2! Just more more way to save!

 

 

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Airline Changed Your Seat? Here’s what to Do!

By December 6, 2016 Family Travel, For Your Journey, Hacks, Solo Travel, Travel
airline-aisle

The Problem

We have probably all been there…

Meticulous care is given to book a flight, selecting the best seats for your interests, and at the gate, you get reassigned. OR WORSE, the flight attendants have reassigned you to another seat while you are waiting in the aisle!

You are probably upset, or at the least, irritated. But wait – you paid for that seat right? You booked it, secured it, have the original tickets, so what is going on? What can you do about it?

Causes

Before addressing your options, lets review real scenarios that cause you to get bumped to another seat.

  1. A Federal Air Marshal has been assigned to your flight, and has chosen to be seated in the very seat you purchased. You are going to get reassigned.
  2. A family booked tickets online, but the seats were randomly assigned, and at the gate they presented their concern about having 3 young children scattered around the plane. The gate and flight attendants will group them if at all possible, and if its on your aisle, you are getting reassigned.
  3. A person with disabilities has specific needs, and the seat you booked is one of only 5 on the plane that can accomodate those needs. Even if they booked a different seat, you are getting reassigned
  4. A person with mobility limitations was booked online for a seat near the back of the plane, but for sake of expedient boarding, and safety, that passenger is placed in one of the front rows. If you booked there, you are getting reassigned.
  5. A Customer of Size (some might refer to as obese) booked a ticket, and paid for an adjacent seat, which didn’t correspond with their booked seat. The attendants will vacate the seat next to them, thus, you are getting reassigned.
  6. You board a plane that originated with passengers earlier in the day. Someone was assigned your seat on that flight, and is continuing on to the final destination – but you boarded at the second leg of the flight. The first passenger will be allowed to retain that seat for the duration of the flight, and you will be reassigned.
  7. The flight is full, and was overbooked. You are on the last boarding call. Lucky to even get on the aircraft, to accommodate all of the above scenarios, your were actually reassigned 4 times and didn’t know it. All you know is that the seat you have in your hand is not the seat the flight attendant is giving you.
  8. A different plane then normally assigned to this flight has to be used, due to scheduled maintainence, and its seating configuration is different – including which rows are emergency exit rows. You and many others are getting reassigned.

window-seat

What do you do?

Frankly you have little option, and almost no legal protection. The airline ticket provides you carriage on the flight, but almost all airlines have fine print in the ticket contract that allows them to make seat changes without your consent, and with no compensation. But here are some things that you should be aware, and can do.

  1. The seat they offer you in the reassignment must be of the same category, or Like for Like. Meaning if you booked Business Class and they move you to Coach, they are obligated to pay the difference. They may attempt to offer a credit or air miles, but must pay in cash if you request it. I would choose cash.
  2. If they move you to a seat within your category, they are not obligated to assure its same – as in, you booked a window seat, but reassigned to a aisle. You have no recourse, and can either accept the reassignment, or leave the flight and forfeit your booking without refund.
  3. If the airline makes a fair re-assignment (under the law), you  may not have any official options, but you certainly can tell them that you will comply, but that you do so under protest. Then at the newly assigned seat, ask very politely what accommodations the airline will make for your inconvenience. Flight attendants can make a report to the company about your request, the circumstances behind the changed seating (which you may not be aware) and that you didn’t give them grief, or create a scene, over the change. The better airlines tend to offer extra air miles on their frequent flier programs, a free upgrade, or free drinks on the plane. Remember that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
  4. Some airlines make many more seating changes than others, and people who use those carriers often, can find themselves getting moved regularly. As a regular customer, you can write a letter explaining your frustration, documenting the number of flights you have paid on that airline, and how many times you or your party suffered reassigned seating. Money talks, and they don’t want to lose regular customers. You might be amazed how the letter can affect future flights. People who have done just this effort, have had it all end mysteriously! Gate attendants won’t admit it, but somewhere there is a tag or code that tells them to avoid doing this to certain customers.
  5. If you are a customer of size, and travel with a companion, your ticketing can be quite useful. Be sure to book 3 seats, and leave the aisle seat unused. Airlines sometimes make a RESERVED ticket to place on the seat, as a reminder to flight staff that the seat is paid, and serves a specific purpose. This way you and your companion can be seated together.
  6. Don’t sit in the first 3 rows or the last two rows. These are preferred location or Federal Air Marshals, and also the most likely seats to be reassigned for those with mobility concerns or need extra care. The Bulkhead seats  are notorious for reassignment. if you have long legs and must sit in seats like bulkhead, go ahead and let the gate attendant know that you are a customer of size, and that you have booked your seat specifically to meet your medical needs.
  7. Take advantage of the services of a travel professional. Explain your concerns about being seated in the correct seat, especially if traveling with a companion. They can make the calls to the right people to help make it improbable that you will get reassigned. I say improbable, as its no guarantee.

Lastly, before heading out on your flight, bring along a few thank you cards, and some nice chocolate. If those who make an effort to accommodate you on the flight, know how much you care about the effort, it goes a long way. A thank you note and some chocolate does wonders. You do it to say thank you, and with no other expectation.

airline-seats

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Should you Use a Travel Professional?

By December 5, 2016 For Your Journey, Hacks, Travel
bnk2aep_li4-khurt-williams

 

What a Travel Professional Can Provide You

Expert Guidance

With years of industry experience, a travel professional has both the knowledge and firsthand experience to help you decide which destination or resort is best for you. A travel professional can provide you with a wide variety of travel options from a number of different travel suppliers to countless popular destinations. Plus, travel professional has all the travel information you need – from the best attractions to see, the most exciting activities to do, and the most affordable way to get there…they’ve got it covered!

Value

It’s understandable that you may feel limited by your vacation budget. That’s why a travel professional is dedicated to helping you receive the best possible value. Best of all, you’ll receive all of the professional guidance at no extra cost!

Personalized Service

As your personal travel professional, they can devote time and effort to making sure you’re happy with your travel options. If you need any assistance, a travel professional is just a phone call or e-mail away, so you’ll receive the immediate attention you not only need, but also deserve.

Customer Advocate

In the rare case that something on your trip doesn’t go as planned, a travel professional will be there to resolve the problem, so you can relax and enjoy.

Time Savings

A travel professional know exactly where to go to get the information that you need and can find your travel options within seconds. Planning a vacation with a travel professional will save you both time and money because with some effort and organization, and handle all your travel arrangements.

Unbiased Information

You can be assured that a travel professional will do their best to make your travel experience as wonderful as possible. When you book travel through a travel professional, they work for you – not the travel supplier, so their main concern is always you and your unique needs.

Prior to booking online, you may want to contact a travel professional to utilize their professional advice and firsthand experience with many of the most popular destinations, resorts and cruise lines. A travel professional is dedicated to offering you the best prices and advice, while maintaining an emphasis on customer service, so don’t hesitate to contact a travel professional so they can start planning your next travel adventure!

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