Top 20 Safest Airlines in 2019

Let’s be honest, 2018 wasn’t the best year for aviation, but it doesn’t mean that you should stop flying. You will just need to make sure that you are flying on one of these safest airlines ranked by AirlineRatings.com.

AirlineRatings.com compiled an annual list of the safest airlines based on specific criteria that include: “audits from aviation’s governing and industry bodies; government audits; airline’s crash and serious incident record; profitability, industry-leading safety initiatives, and fleet age”.

With no surprise, Qantas leads the way with another straight appearance as the Safest Airlines for 2019. Since 2013, Qantas continues to demonstrate an amazing record of innovative designs and process to improve overall operations and safety. As the world’s oldest air carrier, Qantas continues to lead the way with innovations such as the automatic landings using Global Navigation Satellite System, and real-time monitoring of its engines using satellite communications.

 

THE TOP SAFEST 10 AIRLINES 2019

  • Air New Zealand
  • Alaska Airlines
  • All Nippon Airways
  • American Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Emirates
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • KLM
  • Lufthansa
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Scandinavian Airline System
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Swiss
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin group of airlines (Atlantic and Australia)

 

THE TOP 10 SAFEST LOW-COST AIRLINES IN 2019

  • Flybe
  • Frontier
  • HK Express
  • Jetblue
  • Jetstar Australia / Asia
  • Thomas Cook
  • Volaris,
  • Vueling
  • Westjet
  • Wizz

AirlineRatings.com rates the safety and operation of 405 airlines using their seven-star rating system. Today, it continues to be used as a pillar for recognizing industry standard for safety and product rating in aviation. The AirlineRatings.com team is one of the most experienced and well respected editorial teams with over 50 international and national awards.

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Tips For A Fit Flight

When flying it is important that you maintain healthy habits to avoid catching any unwanted disease or bacteria. Here are a few tips to alleviate the stress of flying.

DRESS COMFORTABLY

Make sure you wear comfy clothing that does not constrict blood flow. Try using stretchy or loose pants. Wear clothes that can be layered in case of temperature changes from aircraft to airport. Invest in compression socks to battle deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

STAY HYDRATED

Drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated. Avoid alcoholic drinks when flying. Lower oxygen levels and increased pressure can cause accelerated effects like light headedness, dysphoria and aggressive behavior. For every hour you are flying, drink at least 250ml of water. Cabin pressure and dry, recirculated air can drain moisture from your skin, but drinking plenty of water will help you look fresh and alive once deplaning.

 TIP: Chop up some carrots, celery, cucumbers and beets and store them in a zip-lock bag for quick snacks. Dried fruit, energy bars and unsalted nuts are great for traveling.

SANITIZE YOUR AREA

The number of people who travel on a plane can reach the hundreds in a short period of time and lots of bacteria can be passed on. Ensuring that your personal area is clean can greatly reduce your risk. Always carry sanitizer or portable wipes to disinfect your tray table, armrests, seat belt and seat.

GET YOUR SLEEP

Flying takes a toll on your body and it is very important that you get enough rest before traveling. Sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system and can make you more prone for diseases. Make sure to pack early and prepare all of your belongings to avoid late night free-for-all.

If your flying through multiple time zones, start readjusting your clock a few days prior to your flight. Slowly incorporating changes in your schedule will help you adjust quicker on arrival.

BYOB – Bring Your Own Blankets
Airlines have made huge improvements to there inflight service by providing free text messaging or access to media platforms to watch movies, tv shows and stream music, however in terms of comfort you’ll need to prepare. Air temperatures can fluctuate from take-off to cruising and it is recommended to bring a blanket to keep yourself comfortable throughout. Avoid bulky and heavy fabrics which can be overbearing. Try a Cocoon CoolMax Blanket for a portable yet warm design.

IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT DVT

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops in a deep vein, usually in a leg. Sometimes these clots can break away and travel through the bloodstream to vital organs and can cause severe injury or death. Possible risk factors include prolonged physical immobility, blood-clotting disorders, family history, cancer, obesity, heart disease, pregnancy, recent major surgery, smoking or age. Many DVTs do not produce any symptoms. But symptoms could include pain or swelling and redness of the affected area.

While preventive measures are still uncertain, passengers can wear loose clothing, regularly change leg positions, occasionally walk the cleared aisle of the plane when allowed by the flight staff, avoid crossing their legs at the ankles or knees, or wear graduated-compression stockings to help reduce risk. Keeping hydrated and performing the exercises below can also help.

How to Prepare for Your Summer Vacation

The sun is out and it’s that time of the year when we all can’t wait to leave the house and stay out all summer. Day trips, outdoor adventures or even an oversea vacation – we all have been pent up through the winter and just can’t wait to be free.

As you make your plans it is important to be prepared to avoid any health and safety risks. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for those long-awaited trips and to keep you and your family safe.

BEING PROACTIVE

Find out details about your destination – Do some research about the places you plan to visit and acquaint yourself with new and important health risks. If you are traveling abroad, make sure to check travel.state.gov or https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel, for vital information about required vaccinations, travel advisories and possible diseases.

Get a check-up– It is always recommended that you pay a visit to your health provider and get a routine check-up before you travel. Make sure you are in tip-top shape and that you are up to date on vaccinations like measles and influenza.

 Prepare a first aid kit – Make sure to pack an emergency travel kit that holds important prescriptions and medicines that you may need while traveling. Pack basic supplies like bandages, alcohol, hot/cold compresses and gauze. Don’t forget to pack a copy of your health insurance card as well.

Be SMART – If you are planning a trip oversees, make sure to register with the US Embassy or Consulate through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to get the latest updates and alerts before and during your trip. This also helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or a family emergency.

Prepare for the unexpected – Make copies of your travel plans and documents with a family member and/or upload them to a cloud-based storage system in case you lose them while traveling. Verify that your health insurance covers medical care abroad – most plans don’t, so be sure to get travel insurance. Travel insurance covers health and medical expenses while offering a wide variety of additional services like travel delay, lost baggage and lost passport service.

 

WHILE TRAVELING

Be careful what you eat and drink – Always make sure you know how your food is handled. Contaminated food or drinks are the easiest way to spread diseases which can cause traveler’s diarrhea.

  1. Always eat food that is cooked through and served hot.
  2. Always drink bottled water, sodas and drinks that are sealed.
  3. Eat fruits and vegetables that are washed with safe water and that you have peeled yourself.
  4. Avoid ice that is made with tap water.

Protect yourself from the sun – Double check that your sunscreen is at least SPF 30 to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. I always recommend Blue Lizard, which is a mineral based sunscreen that uses natural ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Read the label and reapply as needed.

Prevent insect bites – Always use insect repellents especially in developing countries to prevent you from serious diseases. Use an EPA-registered insect repellant with one of the following ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.

Always buckle up and choose safe transportation– Nearly half of medical evacuations back to the United States are the result of a car crash, and a medical evacuation can cost upward of $100,000.

  1. Don’t ride motorcycles. If you must, make sure to wear a helmet.
  2. Avoid overcrowded, overweight, or top-heavy buses or vans
  3. Be alert when crossing the street. Know local traffic laws to avoid collisions.
  4. Always wear a seat belt and lock your doors.

 

AFTER YOU RETURN

 Keep a close eye on your health – Symptoms can arise after you return home, so make sure to watch yourself closely. If you begin to feel ill, see a doctor immediately and inform your doctor where you have been and what you did during your trip. This will help your doctor when giving you a diagnosis of possible infections from other countries.

A Weekend in Hong Kong

Whether you are fortunate to have an extended layover in Hong Kong or are embarking a cruise from its ship port, with its delectable cuisine and massive number of skyscrapers, intertwined with the ancient and modern China, you can cover much of the city in a short period of time and stay within whatever budget you might have. The great thing is that Hong Kong allows visa-free entry from over 150 countries from 7 days to 3 months; check with your local embassy to see if your country is one of these and how long of stay you are allowed. Also, even though the first language is Chinese (Cantonese to be exact), the second official language is English, which makes it very easy to communicate and explore the city. The street signs and directions are also translated to English as well as Chinese character. Unlike mainland China, the internet is not censored so you can stay in touch via social media as you will and use other commonly used applications such as Google Maps to help you get around.

The most important decisions to make when traveling to Hong Kong is hotel accommodations. You can choose from the downtown area (also known as Hong Kong Island) or stay across the Victoria Harbour on the landlocked portion called Kowloon. Staying on the island can be pricey, but you will be in the heart of the city. Hong Kong Island is known for being the historic and economic center of the city.

If you are looking for a more authentic experience, try staying in Kowloon. You will have the best view of the iconic skyline and enjoy the nightly Symphony of Lights show. Kowloon is also known for luxury shopping, parks and hip new neighborhoods. If you are on a budget or in transit to a cruise ship, Kowloon is must!

Getting around Hong Kong is fairly easy with alternate options by taxi, railways, and trams. Regardless of where you stay, Hong Kong’s vast railway system can get you practically anywhere, you can get from the airport to downtown in 30 minutes. You can find discounted tickets online to save some time and money, and send them to your smartphone for boarding. Taxis are readily available, which are all metered, clean, and fairly affordable. NOTE: Hong Kong drivers tend to all drive fast to get you to your destination (which isn’t always a bad thing)! Be careful not to confuse the tram and subway routes because they have similar routes in certain parts of the city.

variety of dim sum in bamboo steam containersAfter you have made your way downtown and worked up an appetite, when in Hong Kong, you dim sum. Not only is it part of ancient Chinese tradition and a great way to excite your palette, it is also fun and an affordable experience. Dim sum restaurants are located throughout the city and will set you back on a few dollars per order (most orders contain 3-5 pieces). Another must have treat can be found on many street corners – fish balls. Small, deep fried or boiled bites of deliciousness, covered usually in a curry sauce. Quick and cheap, this option for on-the-go eating can easily satisfy your hunger while exploring. They are served throughout the day, so you can start your day or end a late night with them. Another staple in Hong Kong cuisine is barbecue. Roasted goose, chicken and pork can be found everywhere from the small local street shops to fancy sit down restaurants. Combined with rice or noodle and some vegetables, it is a complete meal that won’t leave you hungry.

One of the most visited areas is Victoria’s Peak which overlooks Hong Kong from `Peak Tram` in Hong Kongatop a mountain side. Located on Hong Kong Island, you must conquer the 45-degree tram along the mountain side to see spectacular views from above. Check out Tian Tan Buddha (or big Buddha) statue located on Lantau Island, which is easily accessible by train or by ferry. TIP: Opt to take a 25-minute gondola ride to reach the statue aboard the Ngong Ping 360. Touted as one of the top ten amazing cable car rides in the world, you’ll enjoy scenic landscapes on your journey to the town of Tung Chung.

If time permits, you can make your way to Stanley Market, where you can find anything from little hand-made trinkets to top-shelf electronics. A must-see attraction for souvenirs as well as anything else you might be in the market to buy. Finish your day by enjoying a nightly light show on the city’s skyscrapers glamorously lit up at night. Since 2004, the Symphony of Light has become the signature icon for Hong Kong, showcasing the vibrancy and glamour of this international city.

There is never enough time to see all that a city has to offer however if you are tight on time a lot can be accomplished during a quick trip to Hong Kong. Purchase a day tour or half day tour to see some of the city’s iconic sites to maximize your time. If you are flexible and willing to venture out on your own, it is very easy to plan your own itinerary, but keep in mind some of the places are not as close as you think. Save yourself some time and money by booking things in advance but leave some room for spontaneity.

Cathay Pacific Announces Non-Stop Service from Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. has added a new airline to Southeast Asia. Starting September 16, 2018 – Cathay Pacific will begin non-stop service four times a week from Washington Dulles to Hong Kong. This route would be the longest in Cathay Pacific’s network and originating from the Washington Dulles airport.

With the addition of this IAD-HKG route, Filipinos will now have several options to choose from. Options include nonstop from IAD to Seoul (ICN) operated by Korean Airlines; Tokyo (NRT) operated by ANA and United; and Beijing (PEK), operated by Air China.

“Cathay Pacific’s new service between Washington DC and Hong Kong continues to improve the diversity of choice [and] worldwide connectivity at Dulles International Airport,” says Mike Stewart, manager of Dulles airport at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).

This flight will be operated by one of Cathay Pacific’s brand-new Airbus A350-1000s which will feature a three-class cabin comprising of a revamped Business class, a Premium Economy and Economy class seating. The wide body, twin-aisle Airbus A350-1000 delivers a feeling of spaciousness wherever you look, with wider seats, high ceilings and alluring ambient lighting.

Cathay Pacific has created the perfect environment to enjoy flying your long-haul flight to Hong Kong with the highest possible air quality with optimized cabin altitude (6000 ft), temperature and humidity, with the air being renewed every two to three minutes. Passengers can relax knowing that they will arrive feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

The redesigned cabin will feature next level sleeping experiences, the best entertainment and even more controls for passengers to enjoy their flight. Every class will benefit from more space and comfort, panoramic windows and mood lighting contributing to overall experience.

The award-winning Business Class seats will highlight an ergonomic design and generous legroom to maximize comfort while converting into a fully lie flat bed. Premium Economy and Economy class seats will allow passengers to charge their electronics with exclusive power outlets and USB ports. Every passenger will enjoy state of the art entertainment system which is equipped with a larger widescreen monitor and with a more comprehensive user interface. For a nominal fee, passengers will be able to connect to browse the internet, send and receive emails and connect via social media.cx2.jpg

CX861 will depart Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings at 1:15 a.m., arriving in Hong Kong the following day at 5:10 a.m. Arriving early in the morning allows passengers to connect with flights to Manila and Cebu as well as every Cathay Pacific flight across Asia without sacrificing time with a long layover. The return flight, CX860, will depart Hong Kong at 6:35 p.m. (local time) on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving in Washington, D.C. at 10:20 p.m. (same day).

“Dulles International is an ideal destination for our next US gateway,” says Philippe Lacamp, senior vice-president of the Americas at Cathay Pacific, in a statement. “Cathay Pacific is pleased to be the first air carrier offering nonstop flights from Washington DC to Hong Kong.”

Why You Should Consider a Trans-Atlantic Flight to Manila

It’s the start of 2018, and you may find yourself patiently waiting for trans-pacific flights to Manila which typically goes on sale during this time. However, with South Korea currently hosting the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and the demand for trans-pacific flights being high, U.S. travelers may start considering a different airline for their “balikbayan” needs.

Away from the popular Asian route carriers, Emirates Airlines has been gaining major consideration over the past 10 years as one of the world’s premier long-haul carriers. Ranking among the top 5 airlines in the world since 2013 and being awarded the #1 airlines title in 2013 and 2014.

Not only is flying Emirates on the way to Philippines an experience, but Emirates also offers a free stopover for passengers connecting through Dubai International Airport (DXB). At no additional cost, U.S. passport holders can enjoy a 30-day visa free window to explore the city of Dubai, UAE, a 2-for-1 deal that won’t last for long. Emerging as one of the world’s leading international business centers and regional hubs, Dubai has transformed into a buzzing international metropolis full of diversity. With a politically stable environment, visitors can rest assure that the city of Dubai is safe for all. Interpol reports Dubai to be “one of the safest cities in the world” in terms of crime and health. A small Arab village transformed into a global powerhouse with its world-class infrastructure, well-maintained roads, and excellent public transportation.

THINGS TO DO

Gold Souks – A traditional market in Dubai’s commercial business district is home to hundreds of retail shops offering a huge selection of jewelry made from gold, silver and other fine metals; the most famous and visited souk in Dubai. Prices are negotiable and credit cards are accepted, but for better pricing, cash is always king. The Gold Souk is located in Deira, along the Al Ras Metro Station. Open 7 days a week between 10AM to 10PM Saturday -Thursday and on Friday 4PM to 10PM.Arabian Man And Tourist Riding A Camel

Evening Desert Safari – A must-do for anyone visiting Dubai! Highly recommended to all first-timers to experience the majestic Arabian Nights. Tours depart from downtown Dubai in the afternoon, between 2-3PM, and last about 6 hours. Be sure to bring your camera since there will be several epic photo-stops during your dune bashing drive through the desert sand. Included in this tour is the opportunity to ride a camel, go sand boarding and get your hand or feet designed with a henna tattoo. After the adrenaline-pumped activities and you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy Arabian cuisines and traditional shisha (the famous Arabic water pipe) while watching a belly dancer perform under the desert sky. A combination package that completes the desert experience. Most tours will include pick-up & drop-off services from your hotel. TIP: Talk to your travel agents for the best way to coordinate the transfer services.Dubai frame building at sunrise

The Dubai FrameBe the first to get framed. Newly opened on January 1, 2018, this giant golden structure is located next to Zabeel Park and was constructed to give visitors the best view of old Dubai, (Deira, Umm Harare and Karama) and modern (new) Dubai (Emirates Towers and Burj Khalifa) through the frame structure. Standing 150 meters highs and 93 meters wide, visitors can go to the observation deck to get a panoramic view of the city of Dubai and for the daring-types, cross the Dubai frame on the transparent walkway. A museum is also available which tells the story of Dubai’s infrastructure. Tickets are 50AED ($13USD) for adults and 20AED ($5USD). Visitors traveling to Zabeel Park can use the red line and get off at Al Jafiliya metro stop. TIP: If you don’t care to go up the frame, skip the line and purchase a ticket into Zabeel park to take better pictures of the frame without distortion.

Kite Beach Thinking about something more relaxed? This long pristine stretch of white sand beach is great for kite surfers and spectators uniting. Located across from the Al Manara Road Junction. Showers, wi-fi, toilets and changing facilities are available for public use and plenty of food trucks and cafes are within walking distance. For more action-packed adventures, watersport operators are available along the sand, where you can rent equipment and test your skills against the emerald waters of the Arabian Gulf. TIP: Go to Kite Beach at sunset to capture beautiful sunset pictures of the beach and the 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel.Burj Khalifa_sml

Downtown Dubai Here you can see the trifecta of Dubai: The Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountains. If you didn’t already know, Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world by total area. With a plethora of 1,200 retailers/shops this is a shopper’s paradise. Another world breaking record is the Burj Khalifa, which takes home the world’s tallest building award. Standing at 2,722 ft, its been named the tallest structure since 2008. And, what else goes better next to the world’s largest mall and world’s tallest building than the World’s tallest performing fountain system, the Dubai Fountains. At over 900 ft. in length and situated across 30-acres, the fountain performs daily to a selection of different melodies. TIP: The Guinness World Record show “Light Up 2018” is the largest light and sound show, which debuted on New Year’s 2018 has been extended for a limited time. Visitors can see the spectacular phenomenon until March 31, 2018; Tuesday and Wednesday at 8PM and 10PM Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

After an eventful couple of days in Dubai, check-in at the Dubai International Airport (DXB) to join other “kababayans” and travelers to catch your connecting flight to Philippines. And, just like that you can see two great countries at the price of one fare.

MORE FACTS ON DUBAI

Currency UAE dirham (AED/DHS)

Time Zone GMT + 4.

Language The official language is Arabic, and English is widely spoken.

Weather Year-round sunshine. Temperatures range from a nighttime low of around 10°C in winter (Dec-Mar), to a daytime high of 49°C at the height of summer (Jun-Aug). The best time to visit is from October to April, with perfect temperatures for long, comfortable days at the beach and balmy evenings outside.

Vaccinations The UAE has no special vaccination requirements, unless you have recently transited from a cholera-infected area. It’s always best to check with the health authority at the time you book.

Dress code The UAE has a generally relaxed dress code, but out of respect for the local Islamic culture, modest clothing is recommended, and essential if you’re visiting a mosque or place of worship. This generally means clothing that covers shoulders to knees. Beachwear is fine on the beach, at beach clubs and at the pool, and formal wear or national dress is expected at business meetings.

Public behavior Drunkenness and overt displays of affection are offensive to Islamic culture and are also illegal.

Alcohol and tobacco You can drink alcohol in licensed bars and clubs. However, it’s illegal to drink alcohol in public and smoking is not allowed at the airport, in malls and in most restaurants.

How to Judge a Great Travel Bargain

Being a savvy shopper is important to get the best value for your money. But with every “great” deal it is important that you understand what exactly you are buying. There are tons of retailers like Groupon and LivingSocial apps which offer super discounted travel packages for unbelievable prices, but avoid these common pitfalls to avoid being scammed or disappointed.

If you have been offered a great bargain on a cruise or a resort vacation, but you cannot seem to get all the details unless you pay the company first, you may be dealing with a travel scam. Typically, a scam operator won’t give you full and complete information in writing until after you’ve given them a credit card number, certified check or money order. Once you do get further information, there will be restrictions and conditions which make it more expensive, or even impossible, to take your trip.

While getting a refund is sometimes possible, it’s better to avoid paying anything in the first place. While there is the remote chance that you might miss a legitimate deal, chances are you will save yourself some time and money in the long run.

To help you avoid becoming a victim of a travel scam, here are some suggestions when evaluating travel offers:

  • Stay away from travel offers that sound “too good to be true”, particularly if you have been solicited by phone or have received a postcard or certificate in the mail.
  • Never give your credit card number or any information about your bank accounts over the phone to a solicitor unless you initiate the transaction or call. You should feel confident about the company with which you are doing business with.
  • Get the complete details in writing about any trip prior to payment. These details should include the total cost (including taxes, port charges, service fees, and surcharges), terms and conditions, restrictions, cancellation penalties, if any, and specific information about all components of the package.
  • Walk away from high-pressure sales presentations which don’t allow you time to evaluate the offer or which require that you disclose your income.
  • Be cautious with companies which require that you wait at least 60 days to take you trip or require that you select several dates of departure for your trip.


Most Common Travel Scams

Scammers will find ways to contact you through direct mail, social media or enticing emails luring you for an “unbelievable” promotion. In reality, these types of vacations often end up with poorly disclosed fees or fake. Here are the most common travel scams that we hear about.

You just won a “free vacation”, but must pay a fee first

If you can’t remember how you were able to win a prize, most likely this is a scam. Make sure you understand all charges and fees associated with the prize. Often these awards are attached to a variety of fees, participation in a tour/ vacation club or seminars with pressure filled presentations. Find out all the details before you commit.

When the caller wants your credit card number

Scammers will always try to lead the conversation and pressure you to hand over your credit card. Make sure to receive paperwork before you do. TIP: Most scams require you to make rash decisions quickly. Grab their phone number and say you feel comfortable if you can call them back. Most scam artists prefer not to give any information about themselves.

They entice you with general descriptive words — but can’t — give you specifics

They promise a stay at a “five-star” resort or a cruise on a “luxury” ship, however they cannot tell you exactly which property or cruise line. Make sure that you know all the details before anything else happens. Make sure to always get it in writing to protect yourself. TIP: Find out the hotel’s address and check out their website for reviews and photos.

You’re pressured to sign up for a travel club that requires you to sell their memberships

As soon as you hear that you must sign up with monthly dues – run out the door. Travel clubs often have high membership fees and limited choice of destinations or travel dates.

You get an automated call

Automated calls from companies trying to sell you something is a big red flag. Sign up for the national Do Not Call Registry (https://www.donotcall.gov/) to avoid future solicitation.

Catching the Wave Season

Most people do not realize that it’s that time of the year, right after the holidays when the cruise lines unveil the most attractive and exciting deals of the new year. Frequent cruisers and bargain hunters alike take advantage to find the best prices to almost every destination in the world. Cruise lines compete for your money and it’s time that you know why.

What is Wave Season?

From January through March, cruise lines begin the year with huge promotions and deals. Cruise lines and travel agents are busy during this three-month period. These months are basically the Black Friday or Cyber Monday for cruise lines, but lasts for three months.

Why January through March, you ask? Well the holidays are over and most Americans are dealing with the Winter, looking for their next getaway. Plus, its tax return time and this is the time when people often as a little cash to spend on a much needed vacation.

Why Should I Book a Cruise?

Why not? This is the best time to book a cruise because the prices are lower than usual and are combinable with amenities such as free internet, onboard credit and complimentary spa packages. Since every cruise line is different expect the same when comparing each offer. This is the time when you can plan far in advance what type of vacation you will have.

For instance, if you usually have high bar tabs – travelers can search for deals that include a free beverage package and use that extra money to upgrade your room. Or, for families – find early bird savings for connected or family-style rooms.

Plus, when booking early you also have the option of choosing the location of your stateroom – a major bonus since you may not want to be near the restrooms and elevators.

What’s the Current Deals?

  • Royal Caribbean: All guests 30% off + $100 to spend at sea on all sailings departing on or after February 4, 2018. Plus, Free Gratuities for Royal Suite class on Oasis Class + Anthem of the Seas sailings to Bahamas, Bermuda or the Caribbean. Northeast cities – Additional bonus: Upgrade from Oceanview to Balcony on Adventure & Anthem of the Seas, and from Inside to Oceanview on Grandeur of the Seas sailings from May 1, 2018 – September 30, 2018.
  • Celebrity Cruises: For a limited time, book an ocean view or higher stateroom and 1st and 2nd guest choose from two perks to enjoy on your award-winning, modern luxury vacation. Pick from • Classic Beverage Package • Unlimited High-speed Internet Package •Prepaid Gratuities • $150 per person to spend on board. Plus, 50% OFF current 3rd & 4th fares. Offer applies to select 4-night and longer cruises departing February 01, 2018 — April 30, 2019 book by February 28, 2018.
  • Princess Cruises: Up to $600 FREE Onboard Spending Money per stateroom, FREE specialty dining for ALL guests + $100 refundable deposit per guest. For sailings between Summer 2018 and Spring 2019. Must book by February 14, 2018.

The bottom line: If you are in the market and you plan to cruise this year, don’t’ forget to take advantage of these offers. You’ll get a great deal and if you have a travel agent they can keep monitoring your rates to make sure you have the best value for your money. At Travelwise, we always recommend that each traveler purchases travel insurance. In case of any unforeseen circumstances so you don’t have to deal with problems later.

Remember to talk to your travel agent and figure out which cruise line and offers are best for you!

Eight Ways to Save for Travel in 2018

As you count the number of days until 2017 is over and done, some of you might feel as this year blew by so fast. Time is one thing we can never get back and it is important not to let next year pass you by. Here are a few tips to help you make that dream trip possible.

  • Start a Travel Fund
    Save money without thinking about it. Spending less money throughout your normal routine can help, but “out of sight, out of mind” is always better. Set up a separate bank account or talk to a travel agent who can set up automatic payments to help build your travel fund. I have many clients who prefer to pay in small increments to avoid a huge amount at final payment.

 

  • Go Where the Conversions are Best
    Next year will be one of the best time to ever head over across the Atlantic and see all your bucket list countries. Exploiting a situation can make you feel guilty, however with the UK set to depart from the European Union, the currency conversion is in our favor. Both currencies continue to plunge making Europe a hot destination for 2018.

 

  • Price Bonanza
    With the huge expansion by both Norwegian Airlines (Norway) and WOW Air (Iceland), it’s been a frenzy for low cost tickets to Europe. As of today, Norwegian is offering roundtrip airfare from Newark to Barcelona for only $419. WOW Air offers roundtrip airfare from Baltimore to Paris as low as $409 per person. With both airlines rapidly growing look out for more low-cost carriers to follow their paths and open competitive pricing to Asia and beyond.

 

  • Choose your Airline Wisely
    This may not save the most money each time but in the long run you will keep more of your cash and have some added benefits. Knowing your airline hubs is important when understanding the probability of which airline to use. For example, Washington Dulles (IAD) is a major hub for United Airlines which translates to many non-stop flights from the nation’s capital. Travelers who depart or normally connects through here should probably join United’s Mileage Plus program. Free checked bags, priority boarding and even free upgrades can be easily attained if your smart.

 

  • Focus on Point Instead of Miles
    For all those that have collected their miles with airlines such as Delta or Northwest, you may be in for a surprise, but your miles are no longer as valuable. Frequent flyer programs have gone through significant changes that have left members dissatisfied. Stickling to an airline to earn points is no longer the way to go, however credit card programs are far more valuable. Credit cards have enticed travelers with massive incentives such as sign-up bonuses up to 50,000 and more, transferable points and multiple ways to earn points.

 

  • Exercise Regularly
    Some might not understand this one, but keeping yourself busy while losing some pounds will save you a lot of money in the long run. Staying fit is a lifestyle and it helps promote better eating habits, more productivity and decrease health risks. Instead of splurging on dessert, take an afternoon run and sweat your stress away.
  • Be Flexible If you don’t have a specific date in mind, then you might be able to move your dates for the best value. Consider leaving on the first or the last flight out and you can save hundreds of dollars. Traveling during the weekdays can also help save quite a bit of cash.

 

  • Travel During Off-Season
    If we all had large stacks of money laying around, travel would be so easy – however we all have budgets to stick to and planning properly is key. Learn the off-season months to travel to a destination and take advantage of “before tourist season” prices at hotels and tours. TRAVEL TIP: The two very best months to go to Italy is May and September. Mother’s Day signals the beginning of the travel season, while Labor Day is the end. Expect to save 30%-40% when traveling during these months.

Travel Tip: Never Wait in Line for Re-entry into the U.S. Again

After your long international flight back to the U.S., the very next thing you see is another long line as you wait to be processed. Sometimes you can get lucky and if you run fast enough, you can beat the rush and you are out within minutes. The introduction of the Automated Passport Control (APC) has also sped up the process by reducing the wait times by half. And now, we have Global Entry which is another expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States for a small price.

But one of the newest travel hacks is the new app: Mobile Passport, which gets your through immigration within minutes!

Mobile Passport Control enables travelers to submit their passport and customs declaration information via their smartphone instead of the traditional paper form. The “Mobile Passport” app is free to download and free to use. The app is sponsored by the Airports Council International-North America and Boeing and authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Wi-Fi or a cellular network are required to submit information and receive a receipt. U.S. citizens with a valid U.S. passport and Canadian citizens with both a valid Canadian passport and B1 or B2 visa status may use the Mobile Passport App.

Once the traveler downloads the app from the app store, it only takes 4 simple steps and you’re done.

STEP 1: Set up Your Profile
Enter your profile information as it appears on your valid, official passport. You can set up profiles for your entire family. Your information will be encrypted and shared only with CBP.

STEP 2: Answer a Few Questions
Answer CBP’s five brief questions about your trip. Then carefully review ALL of your information for the trip.

STEP 3: Submit to CBP
Once you are at your port of entry (airport or sea port), connect to wireless or wi-fi and submit your data to CBP. Remember: when you submit, you are confirming under penalty of law that your information is correct. Within a few seconds, you will receive a CBP receipt with an encrypted barcode. Your receipt will be valid for 4 hours.

STEP 4: Breeze Through Custom and Save Time!
Follow the Mobile Passport Control signs to the designated Mobile Passport Control line. Show your passport to the CBP officer and scan the barcode on the CBP receipt. And that’s it!

Mobile Passport is available in 24 international airports and on cruise port across the U.S including – Washington, D.C. -Dulles, Baltimore, Boston, New York, Newark, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

For more information, visit their website https://mobilepassport.us