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Save More Money on Purchases in Mexico!

By January 5, 2017 Cities, Countries, Destinations, For Your Journey, Products

Everyone is looking for a deal, and appreciative when it can save some money. It’s Even better when an offer of savings can apply to purchases regardless if they are on sale, discount, or clearance.

In Mexico, foreign tourists can receive a tax refund valued to 8.96% on many purchases, as part of a tourism initiative that was started in 2008. Despite its nearly 10 years of operation, it is still fairly unknown, which translates into millions of pesos left unclaimed as a refund to tourists who had visited Mexico.

Don’t be one of those tourists who leave money behind! Here is what you need to know, so you can take advantage of this promotion.

  1. Only those departing Mexico by Air or Sea can qualify. If you are going by Land, sorry, you can’t participate.
  2. Have a photocopy of your passport, Immigration Document, or Cruise Pass and/or boarding pass to attach to your documentation. Private charter fliers can participate if they can present a flight manifest.
  3. Purchase only from Mexican retailers who display the TAXFREE or MONEYBACK signage. If in doubt, ask before your purchase, if the retailer is a participant.
  4. Current law in Mexico requires retailers to provide an invoice (receipt) to every international visitor with itemized details of your purchase. On the invoice should be the generic tourist code: XEXX010101000
  5. Only tangible purchases, that will be carried home in your luggage can qualify. No services, lodging, dining, online, or shipped purchases are accepted.
  6. Only 3,000 pesos worth of cash purchases can be claimed, but there is no maximum with purchases made on Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards. American Express credit cards are also acceptable.
  7. Retain all your invoices.
  8. Take your documentation, and invoices, to a refund kiosk located at the mall, cruise port, or airport. Additional paperwork will be completed and your refund submitted.

Mexico advertises that the refund will take 45-60 days, but some take over 9 months to process. The good news is that its money that was already calculated in the cost of the products you purchased, so the refund should be a benefit.

This promotion is available for use by retailers across Mexico, but you will likely only find it in destinations with many tourists. You will be able to participate in Cancun, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Taxco, Acapulco, Ixtapa, Merida, Loreto, Costa Maya, Cuernavaca, Queretaro, Puebla, La Paz, Puerto Chiapas, Ensenada, Leon, Mazatlan, Toluca.

I hope that this helps you save a little more money in your travels to Mexico.

If you send me an email, I will send you, at no cost, the brochure and submission document you will need to apply for the refund.

The Brochure is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese.

 

save money in mexico

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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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Excellent Source for Travel Brochures!

By December 7, 2016 Adventure Travel, Cities, Countries, Cruising, Destinations, Family Travel, Fishing, For Your Journey, Products, Solo Travel, Tours, Travel, Wild Places, Wildlife & Safari

If you travel at all, you appreciate the value of good travel brochures that inspire, and educate you about great destinations .

It does get frustrating when I lose them, or want to review one while I am abroad, and don’t have access to them.

Ah, but technology can fix this! If you have internet access, I have found an online source for hundreds of up-to-date travel brochures. They update regularly, and I don’t need to re-order or carry around glossy copies. I can download those that I really like, to keep with me on my laptop, or tablet.

And look, you can even sort them by location and other parameters. I’m always discovering something new in these brochures!

You can see the entire selection by clicking the image or get your Brochures Here.

Enjoy over 100 Travel Brochures provided by East-West Global Travel

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Is Travel Insurance a Gimmick?

By December 3, 2016 For Your Journey, Products, Travel

After reviewing what travel insurance can provide, there’s really no better way to protect your vacation investment than by purchasing travel insurance. With the possibility of cancellations, flight delays, lost luggage or passports, medical emergencies and any other unexpected incident, travel insurance can provide the reassurance and peace of mind that you need.

The leading travel insurance suppliers can offer you numerous benefits that can help your vacation experience stay positive, even if something unexpected occurs. Remember, without the purchase of travel insurance, you could lose up to the full cost of your trip!

Travel insurance can minimize the considerable financial risks of traveling: accidents, illness, missed flights, canceled tours, lost baggage, theft, terrorism, travel-company bankruptcies, emergency evacuation, and getting your body home if you die. Each traveler’s potential loss varies, depending on how much of your trip is prepaid, the refund-ability of the air ticket you purchased, your state of health, the value of your luggage, where you’re traveling, the financial health of your tour company and airline, and what coverage you already have (through your medical insurance, homeowners or renters insurance, and/or credit card).

For some travelers, insurance is a good deal; for others, it’s not. What are the chances you’ll need it? How willing are you to take risks? How much is peace of mind worth to you? Take these considerations into account, understand your options, and make an informed decision for your trip. There’s really no better way to protect your vacation investment than by purchasing travel insurance. We highly advise all travelers to consider purchasing travel insurance. Below are three of the best travel insurance companies in the business:

Best Travel Insurance Providers:

Allianz

Allianz Travel Insurance – With offices in 34 countries, Allianz Global Assistance USA insures 16 million customers annually, providing travel insurance coverage for pre-paid, non-refundable trip expenses, reimbursements for covered trip cancellations and unexpected travel delay expenses, as well as emergency medical and dental treatment, emergency medical transportation, baggage delay, baggage loss and more.
travelsafe

TraveSafe Insurance – Since 1971, TravelSafe has been an industry leader in travel insurance products through innovation, experience and excellent customer service. They market and administer the most comprehensive policies available in the industry and are leading the way in developing new solutions for the insurance needs of individuals and families throughout the United States and Canada. Whether you are traveling close to home or around the world, TravelSafe will provide the security and peace of mind you need to enjoy your trip!

 

TravelInsuredInternational_logo

Travel Insured – Founded in 1994, Travel Insured International is one of the leading travel insurance providers, offering the highest quality worldwide travel insurance protection for over 20 years. Located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, the company offers an array of travel insurance protection benefits including Emergency Assistance and Evacuation, Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Protection, Medical Insurance, Baggage Insurance, Airline Ticket Protection, and more.

Travel Insured maintains relationships with specialty travel providers and tour operators, as well as provides 24/7 insurance assistance that allows you to travel relaxed, travel secure, and travel insured.

Travel Insurance can be secured for each trip, or with a cost effective Annual Protection Plan. Your Travel Professional can give you the best option.

For those of you who like to do your own arrangements online, Alliantz has a web based insurance tool that is very useful. You can View Alliantz here:

What has your experience been with travel insurance?

 

 

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Do you really need a Passport?

By December 2, 2016 For Your Journey, Products, Travel

Knowing which documents you need when traveling internationally is essential to having a stress-free vacation. Prepare yourself by learning about the latest travel requirements and important information you need to know before traveling.

 

What documents are required when traveling internationally?

You are required to have a U.S. Passport Book when traveling by air to any international location.

If you are traveling by land or sea to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or the Caribbean Region (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Turks and Caicos), you are required to have a U.S. Passport Book or Card.

Please note: U.S. citizens who board a cruise ship at a port within the United States, travel only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship may present a government issued photo identification, along with proof of citizenship (an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization). Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the foreign countries your cruise ship is visiting. Additionally, if a problem arises on your cruise, or you are injured, and must be flown back to the US for treatment, a passport is essential, and not having one can delay the process. I suggest you have one whenever leaving the US.

You can no longer get additional pages to add to your passport. Since a passport lasts 10 years, if you plan on traveling abroad at least twice a year, I would opt for the larger 52 page passport. This should be ample for most casual travelers.

What is a U.S. Passport Card?

The U.S. Passport Card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry and is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book. The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air. I recommend just getting a full passport, or opting to have both.

How long does it take to get a passport?

Processing times can vary depending on workload and occasional unforeseen circumstances. During busier times, such as the summer travel season, customers are encouraged to expedite their applications if traveling in less than 10 weeks.

If you need to expedite a passport, I strongly suggest using a service that can make sure all the requisite items are completed, and can push your application through. My preferred service is aptly named Rush My Passport

How long is a passport valid and when should I renew my passport?

  • If you were over age 16 when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 10 years.
  • If you were age 15 or younger when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 5 years.

The Issue Date of your passport can be found on the data page of your Passport Book or on the front of your Passport Card. If possible, you should renew your passport approximately nine (9) months before it expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met. If you passport has already expired, you may still be able to renew your passport by mail.

How do I purchase or renew my passport?

Detailed information about passports and international travel requirements, along with instructions for applying for a passport can be found at travel.state.gov.

*For more information about passport requirements, please contact the U.S. Department of State. 

Visas

Do I need a visa if I am a U.S. citizen?

U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad they may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit. When planning travel abroad, learn about visa requirements by country by visiting the U.S. Department of State’s Country Specific Travel Information.

*Find out more about both the immigrant and non-immigrant visa process at the State Department’s visa main page. U.S. Passports and International Travel.

passport

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The World is Now More Accessible Than Ever – Explore and Enjoy It!

By November 27, 2016 For Your Journey, Products, Travel

The world is now more accessible than ever before. Twenty percent (62 million) of the U.S. population has some form of disability, and the number of these individuals is increasing daily. These people need to, want to, and can travel. If you’re part of that twenty percent, a world of travel awaits you.

Travel professionals such as myself who are accessible travel advocates certified by Special Needs Group, the leading global provider of special needs equipment for the travel industry, have unique, specialized knowledge about how to help individuals with disabilities enjoy a wonderful, hassle-free and memorable trip.

Here are a few tips from Special Needs Group to ensure that when your next travel opportunity arises, you are ready to go.

 

Outline your travel needs

Take time to evaluate the logistics of your trip in relation to your ability to keep pace. What modes of transportation will you be using? Airplane, motor coach, train, ship, transit vans for ground transfers? Make a list, referring to relevant brochures, your trip hotel-alleyorganizer or travel agent to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Now, make a list of your specific requirements. Be honest: what types of special needs equipment do you depend on at home? What do you use or need (or wish you had!) when shopping, sightseeing locally, dining out or going to the movies, attending concerts, the theater, street fairs or sporting events at home?

Can you hear and see clearly without special auditory equipment or visual aides?  How far can you walk without a rest break? Are stairs difficult? Can you get in and out of the tub or shower at home without handgrips or other assistance?

Travel, whether solo or in a group, is no time for roughing it or trying to
“tough it out.” If a wheelchair, scooter or portable oxygen
will make your trip easier, place that item on your list. Many people who do not use wheelchairs or walkers at home feel more comfortable using these mobilscooter-standardity aides for tour and excursions. In fact, most of Special Needs Group’s wheelchair and scooter rentals are to individuals who only use such aides when traveling.

 

Plan Ahead

If you already own a scooter or portable oxygen, it’s important to know the policy and procedures for bringing that equipment onboard all the transport vehicles included in your itinerary, from planes to taxis to ferry boats. Does that transport have a wayairline-seats to stow your scooter or wheelchair? Is oxygen allowed on board? Some airlines prohibit certain types of batteries, such as wet cell batteries, or oxygen cylinders. Airlines operate under strict rules, so there may be packing procedures to follow if they do allow the equipment. Keep in mind, most airlines need at least 48 hours’ notice to make special arrangements, and be prepared to fill out forms.

Overall, cruise ships are more lenient in allowing oxygen, but some disallow certain types of oxygen. All require that the oxygen be delivered to the ship, and that you have enough for the entire voyage. Oxygen may never be brought aboard in your luggage. Requirements vary, so check your cruise line for proper instructions.  Again, documentation and paperwork are required.

Whether you are headed for a cruise ship, hotel or all-inclusive resort, double check for wheelchair access at that venue, plus any venues you will be visiting on the trip.  Confirm that accessible hotel rooms, resort accommodations or ship staterooms are available for your travel dates. The earlier you book, the better your chances of securing fully accessible accommodations. And early booking increases your chances of securing a ground floor hotel room or cruise stateroom near the elevator, if these issues are important.

Check on the o2_cylindersaccess to public rooms, restaurants, bars, toilets, the swimming pool, hot tub, beach area and other amenities. Are there TDD phone devices? How will you get in and out of the shower or bathtub? Are there flashing lights to accommodate hearing? Braille room numbers? Knowing in advance the scope of yo
ur needs gives you time to arrange advance rentals of any necessary equipment, scheduled to arrive when you do. Everything from scooters, lifts, ramps, TDD kits and special mattresses, including special needs cribs, is available for rental.

Will road travel or car excursions be part of the trip? Many car rental companies have vehicles that are modified for drivers or passengers with mobility limitations. Check ahead to makairport-sign-imagee sure a suitable vehicle will be available for your travel dates. If you will be hiring a car or van, make sure the company is aware of your special needs.

When traveling with a limitation or disability, full travel insurance for medical coverage abroad and trip cancellation insurance are even more important and strongly advised.

 

Ask the Right Questions

When making the final bookings, be sure you ask the right questions, even if the accommodations or cruise stateroom are categorized as “accessible.”

For example, are doorways wide enough for the largest wheelchairs? Do the doors open outwards or into the room?

Are all the public areas of the hotel, resort or ship accessible? Do you need to make special arrangements in the dining room to accommodate the wheelchair or scooter?

Will the bathroom facilities truly fit your needs? Is the bathroom large enough for the wheelchair or scooter? Is there a roll-in shower? Grab-bars?

Are there facilities for companion/assistance animals?

Are there shopping and entertainment facilities close by if you are staying at a hotel or resort?

On shore excursions or tours, does the van have a lift and method for transporting wheelchairs and scooters?

Simply stated, don’t take anything for granted. It’s easy to arrange for almost every situation, and the world is wonderfully accessible, once you know what’s needed, what’s available and how to find the necessary equipment.

Then What?

As a life-long learner, I have taken the time to receive certificatiomap-pinsn in special needs. If you have thoughts or concerns about your own travel, or someone with whom you travel, I would be happy to discuss options available to you. Don’t ever think that because you have an impairment or disability, that you are precluded from great travel experiences- because you are not.

 

Leave me your comments, please.

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