Its interesting to see how people travel. Even people with the strongest opinion about environmental and social impacts can be the worst example while traveling. Frankly, we can all do better at reducing our impacts on the places we visit, and people we encounter, while traveling. So here are 7 suggestions on reducing your impact:
We can all get caught off-guard ocassionally, but far too many travelers fail to bring clothing appropriate for the
common possibilities. Sure, the freak Texas snowstorm in July is excusable, but not knowing ahead of time that thunderstorms are likely, and they can cause temperatures below 50F (10C). A perfect scenario for hypothermia and that’s being ill-prepared.
Not having long pants and long sleeve shirts for a vacation in Yellowstone, would also be ill-prepared. Those cooler temps and biting insects can ruin your day!
There are a hundred ways you can miss the boat on preparedness. But here are some things to think about on travel preparations:
It seems hypocritical to be “Green” and also be a traveler, however there are many ways to reduce your impact while traveling. Some of these have to do with environmental impacts, and others address social impacts.
The biggest way to reduce your environmental impacts, is to travel under your own power, or in vehicles that greatly reduce emissions, or maximize their output by their capacity. For example, you and 11 friends want to go on a roadtrip to a game in a distant state. You plan on taking two SUV’s. Do you know that modern motorcoaches have the same efficiency as one SUV, and far less emissions? True, and that efficiency is effectively the same with 6 passengers or 56. Flying on a private jet ok? Not so much, but traveling on an aircraft where you can fill the capacity is much better.
Other environmental impacts to think about: Do you stay on approved walkways, paths and trails? Or do you trample your way to the best vantage point for that world-class photo? (Nor actually being a world class photographer)
Social impacts are the things many of us don’t think about intuitively. We talk loudly in places that its uncouth, or even disrespectful. We stand directly in places that others wait patiently to take a photo with our backsides in the frame. No regard is given to the local customs, and have no clue why they don’t like tourists. I hear Americans constantly complain about Chinese Tourists, yet our actions are equally disturbing in other countries. Don’t be that tourist – be better.
I find it particularly annoying when someone is all political about saving the earth, and stopping greenhouse gasses, then finishes their cigarette and flicks the butt. Do it in a national park, and I’m likely to pick it up, and flick it back – even if you are in your car. Seriously!
While butt flicking smokers are a peeve, we can all do our part to effect change in managing our waste, and where it ends up. The easiest way to think about it, is if you didn’t just harvest it on-sight, and use or consume it – it doesn’t belong in that place. Pick and eat an apple in an orchard, and leave the core, I’m ok with that (although many growers are not – so ask.) Eat an apple anywhere else, it doesn’t belong on the ground, no matter how biodegradable you think it is. Best would be a compost bin, however regular trash may be the only available solution.
Consider the “R’s” of waste – Reduce, ReUse, Recycle. Even if you are visiting a destination where its not commonly practiced is no excuse for you to not be proactive in your personal behavior. Once as a Wilderness Ranger, I was brought to a backcountry campsite by an angry backpacker who wished to show me what the “Boy Scouts” had done to the campsite he had just hiked 6 miles to enjoy. As I assessed the scene, and took inventory of the damage and litter, the liquor bottles, empty canned food, microwave dinners, and tobacco butts and evidence of drug use, was clearly cause for concern – but it wasn’t caused by boy scouts – and I would bet my reputation on it. By reducing your waste, and practicing other sound waste management principles, you too leave it so nobody can accuse you of negative impacts; even if left by others
I’m not thinking of romance in terms of affection, but the romance of being outdoors, traveling abroad, discovering new things. You can rob it by what you leave behind, and what you take.
Look, there is something magical about finding something, you are sure nobody has discovered. Its exciting! It can be personally moving. Yet removing that item destroys any opportunity of someone else having that same
experience. Likewise if it is altered or destroyed from its original state. Nature has a way of gradually doing this without our help, such the iconic hoodoo that collapsed in Bryce Canyon National Park; or with our help like the thoughtless adults in Goblin State Park toppling rock formations.
I have taken thousands of people, small groups at a time, to see some amazing natural things in this world. I get the privilege of reliving my initial experience through their own. Everytime. I’m glad I already had the sense to not pocket the arrowheads, remove the petroglyph, cut down the tree, or kill off the wildlife. Because I, and now thousands of others, have left them for others to discover. So don’t rob the romance from others.
Most of us have at least a passive interest in wild creatures. Some a fascination. Others just lose their minds! The bigger the creature, the more likely it will draw out crazy mindless people willing to die to get a photo, or touch the animal.
Look, wild animals can be habituated to human influence, and it can be dangerous. Despite the warnings at National Parks, people still feed squirrels and other rodents. Its quite obvious when they approach you practically begging. Feed one, then stick out your hand without food to pet it and see what happens; I’d be most interested in how many stitches you receive – as 32 is the record I’m personally familiar (Not me – just saw it happen) Larger animals might seem fine one minute, and then decide they don’t like the situation, and you are wearing horns, teeth, or antlers in a non-fashionable way.
This might seem all terrible to you – but it usually means that animal will get dispatched. That’s polite code for killed. We really don’t want that to happen. And you certainly don’t want to be the cause or on the receiving end of the debacle either.
More importantly, getting too close puts the animal out of its natural state, and the entire reason you probably came to that destination is to see it IN its natural state. If the animal has to stop what it is doing, alter its actions, or move away, you are too close. That even means if you are legally allowed to be that close, you shouldn’t – we are talking about reducing impacts, and ethics – not policies and ever-changing rules.
Travelers have a way of attracting the scorn of locals, and those who prey on them; such as pickpocketers, scammers, etc. If you are the traveler that needs to file a police report, or is getting in confrontations with other travelers and the locals, you have some work to do!
Being a tourist at the All Inclusive Resort is one thing. Its entirely different when truly traveling. You don’t want to stand out, or be targeted. You certainly don’t want the ire of the locals heaped on you, before you have earned it ( and hopefully you won’t.)
The last thing you want is to be running to catch your plane. Don’t underestimate the time you’ll need for connecting flights! With many large airports, you’ll need to consider the time it takes to navigate to your gate. I have written about other great ideas HERE.
Save time when going through security by keeping in mind these important requirements for carry-ons:
Also, be sure to check the maximum carry-on luggage sizes–they vary based on the specific airline!
While no one wants to experience cancellations or delays, with weather conditions and unpredictable mechanical issues, it’s always a good idea to stay-up-to-date. Winter in the United States invariably will affect flights throughout the system, including those in the tropics. Just because you are vacationing near the equator, is no guarantee that you won’t have cancellations or delays. Along with airline specific apps, I also recommend other apps and alerts to help you stay informed about your flight schedule.
Since you don’t know how warm or cold it will be on the plane, be sure to wear layers so you can effortlessly adjust to changing temperatures. A scarf can double as a blanket or even a pillow. Also, be sure to wear comfortable shoes that are easy to remove at security.
Savvy travelers know they can book their own arrangements, but also know the value in having an ally in making those arrangements with a travel professional. When flight schedules, lodging bookings, and other travel related issues arise, its very convenient to call your ally, and have them work some magic in your behalf. They can be fixing your cancelled flight, or getting your hotel room back on track, while you find lunch. Based on your airport and flight times, a travel professional can help you by making suggestions on necessary airport arrival times. Working with a travel professional before your flight, means they can be there for you during your travels if anything goes awry. That peace of mind can really help you have a stress-free flight experience.
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:
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.
One more way to save, is by booking your air travel or ground transportation as a group. It can be done on your own, but 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.
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!
For many years, Tahiti has held the market for Over-the-Water resort stays, but options for other destinations is rapidly expanding!
Sandals recently debuted the Caribbean’s first-ever Over-the-Water Villas at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica on Dec. 1, 2017. These are the first of their kind in the region, and are designed to “convey an intimate connection to the Caribbean Sea.”
With these new Over-the-Water Villas already in high demand, it was no surprise that Sandals Resorts has announced they are creating additional Over-the-Water suites at new locations throughout the Caribbean. These new suites will be unveiled at select “Luxury Included” resorts throughout 2017 and 2018, including 12 additional Over-the-Water Bungalows at Sandals Royal Caribbean slated to open in March 2017.
In a recent press release Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Chairman and Founder of Sandals Resorts said, “I have always said that being out on the water is where I am happiest, and with these suites, guests can experience a direct link to the Caribbean Sea.”
Each of the five villas has a different design, representing the Feng Shui elements: Wood, Water, Fire, Earth and Metal. The interior and exterior spaces are merged through expansive glass doors, facilitating couples’ opportunity to admire the beauty of the ocean from their private infinity pool, on an over-the-water hammock, or through glass floor panels.
Beyond the majestic ocean views, guests staying in the Villas have access to unparalleled services and exclusive resort amenities; from 24/7 butler service, and personalized in-room dining, to private yoga classes and direct resort access via a “Royal Duffy” luxury boat.
Additional villa features will include: “personal airport greeting with expedited immigration; private luxury resort transfers; House of Marley sound system; welcome gift, including a branded beach tote and towel set; Molton Brown bathroom amenities, free Wi-Fi and more.”
These Villas are built along a beautiful wooden boardwalk, and are connected to land at Sandals Royal Caribbean’s offshore private island, Sandals Cay. The island features a signature pool-bar; two restaurants- The Jerk Shack, offering authentic rustic cuisine and Royal Thai, capturing the flavors of the East; and a number of nestled hideaways.
Sandals Cay is a 10 minute transfer from Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport. The hotel features over 200 rooms and suites and in addition to the Over-the-Water Villas and Bungalows, there are also recently renovated “Romeo & Juliet Suites” and “Windsor Beachfront Club Level” rooms. The “Luxury Included” resort also features eight on-property restaurant and bars, with access to 12 additional five-star Global Gourmet dining experiences at Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Inn through Sandals Resorts’ “Stay at One, Play at Three” program.
Rates for the Over-the-Water Villas begin at $2,870 per couple, per night, while the Over-the-Water Bungalows are available for booking ahead of the 2017 debut, will begin at $2,200 per couple, per night.
But it doesn’t end there! Sandals will be developing additional Over-the-Water lodging on its other properties, and we will share those details as they become available, so “Stay Tuned!”
Ready to book? Contact your Travel Professional.
For more information on these villas, visit sandals.com.
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.
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?
Before addressing your options, lets review real scenarios that cause you to get bumped to another seat.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.