“The goal of a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”– Sam Walton
We Are a Member of ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors)
The American Society of Travel Advisors was established in 1931. It is the world’s largest and most influential travel agency trade association. Travelwise International has proudly been a member of ASTA for over the years and we look forward to many more.
Our Expert Staff
The expert staff here at Travelwise International will make sure all of your needs are met. Our travel advisors have travelled to over 50 countries just so they can share their firsthand knowledge and genuine understanding. Over the past 30+ years of business, our advisors continually develop and educate themselves with up-to-date information on travel, health guidelines and travel restrictions.
You are not just a number in some database. Here at Travelwise International, you are an extremely important client that will receive the utmost care and personalized attention that cannot be replicated online. It all starts with a complimentary consultation with an experienced travel advisor to find out exactly what you’re looking for. They will pay attention to your preferences and interests to make sure the destination you choose is the one that’s right for you. Then the dedicated team here will work with you on perfecting your itinerary until it becomes the dream vacation you imagined.
The support does not end when you book your trip. Travelwise International will continue to be there for you before, during and after travel. Prior to leaving, you will be supplied with detailed travel documents including tips for traveling so you can be prepared for any situation. When you travel outside of the United States, you want someone that you can contact if you encounter any issues. We advocate on your behalf when dealing with airlines, hotels and transfer companies.
The Best Prices
Please know that we will find you the same (or better) pricing as what you may find online, with no hidden fees. Plus you get the bonus of our exceptional customer care service as well as years of travel experience. Booking with an agent can also save customers from making costly mistakes. According to the American Society of Travel Agents, customers saved an average of $482 per trip when they booked with a travel advisor.
Travel Perks & Upgrades
Booking with us has its perks too! By being a client of Travelwise International; you’ll be eligible for possible upgrades, amenities and other VIP bonuses. No matter if you’re planning a quick getaway or a complex multi-stop itinerary, our expertise will save you a ton of time in research and planning. You can sit back and enjoy your trip, with little to no stress!
Here are the most updated arrival procedures for entering the Philippines.
BEFORE YOU FLY AND DURING CHECK-IN
1. As early as 3 days prior to your departure, register and accomplish the Electronic Case Investigation Form and save the confirmation e-mail and QR code at https://bit.ly/MNLPHRedCrosseCIF
2. For land-based OFWs, create/update your account on the OFW Assistance Information System (OASIS) at http://oasis.owwa.gov.ph/
3. Upon check-in, sign the Declaration and Waiver Form presented by our check-in agent, indicating that you are healthy and fit to travel.
DURING THE FLIGHT
4. Accomplish the Health Declaration Form and Arrival Card.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
5. Upon arrival, listen to the briefing conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard.
6. Undergo a temperature check, submit the Health Declaration Form upon deplaning, and proceed to the designated waiting area. For OFWs, fill out the Project Care Slip.
7. Wait for your turn to proceed to the verification and barcoding booth.
8. Present the QR code sent to you after accomplishing the e-CIF.
9. You will be given six (6) barcode stickers. One (1) barcode sticker will be placed on the back of your passport.
10. Proceed to the Swab Test booth and hand the remaining five (5) barcode stickers to the tester. 11. Undergo the COVID-19 RT-PCR Test for free.
12. Help Desks are available at the waiting area for passengers who do not have smart devices/phones. Charging stations are also available.
13. Clear with immigration and submit the Arrival Card.
14. Proceed to your respective desks for your quarantine hotel assignment:
- For non-OFWs proceed to the DOT desk. You will be assigned a quarantine facility for free designated by the Philippine government. Depending on room availability, you may be assigned at the following quarantine facilities/hotels:
o NCR: Nice Hotel Monumento, Chill Hotel Monumento, Nice Hotel Arayat, Nice Hotel Mac Arthur
o Region IV-A: Canyon Woods, Canyon Cove, Chateau Royal, Summit Ridge
o Region 3: Apollonia Hotel
If you do not wish to stay at your assigned hotel, you can choose your own accredited hotel suitable for stringent quarantine and at your own expense, including your transportation from the airport to the hotel. Click here for the list of accredited hotels suitable for stringent quarantine.
After arranging your hotel and transportation, fill out the Affidavit of Undertaking and ensure that this has been signed or stamped by the hotel verifier.
Note: Hotels suitable for stringent quarantine are designated facilities to those travelers coming from high-risk areas or vessels as identified by WHO, and those who exhibit flu-like symptoms as identified by the health officer at the airport. These are different from hotels suitable only for mandatory quarantine.
- For land-based OFWs and your dependents, proceed to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Desk. Present the same QR code from the e-CIF and submit the OWWA Project Care Slip.
- For sea-based OFWs and your dependents, proceed to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Desk.
15. Claim your baggage at the designated carousel and clear with Customs Check.
16. Exit the terminal and wait for your shuttle/bus that will take you to your assigned hotel. If you chose your own hotel, submit the Affidavit of Undertaking before exiting the terminal. You must also arrange for your own transportation.
AT THE QUARANTINE HOTEL
17. Check in at your hotel and wait for the release of your test results. For those who tested negative, it will be sent by the Philippine Red Cross to the e-mail address you have provided when you registered. The timings on release of test results are not definite and may be shortened or extended.
18. Your accommodation and food during your stay will be shouldered by the Philippine government, unless you chose and arranged your own hotel and transportation.
19. If you test positive, the BOQ shall contact and transfer you to a designated facility/hospital for further medical management.
If you test negative, For passengers originating from the listed countries: COMPLETE YOUR 14-DAY MANDATORY HOTEL QUARANTINE before clearance.
Once completed, present your test result together with your medical certificate to the assigned quarantine personnel at your hotel.
For passengers transiting through the listed countries: Present your test result together with your medical certificate to the assigned quarantine personnel at your hotel.
Please complete your 14-day quarantine at home. For a hard copy of your certificate, printing services will be available at your hotel.
Countries with Additional Travel Guidelines:
7.China, including Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions;
20 United Kingdom
Present your test result together with your medical certificate to the assigned quarantine personnel at your hotel. Please complete your 14-day quarantine at home. For a hard copy of your certificate, printing services will be available at your hotel.
20. Once you are cleared, you may contact your relatives to pick you up and bring you home.
- For non-OFWs further transportation to your final point of arrival will be at your own arrangement and expense.
- For Land-Based OFWs, you may coordinate with OWWA or use the OWWA Uwian Na portal for further transportation needs after your final point of arrival.
- For Sea-Based OFWs, you may coordinate with your Local Manning Agency (LMA) for further transportation needs after your final point of arrival.
Want more information?
Fore more information or to keep updated with the most recent travel restrictions and health guidelines, join our community here.
Travelwise International is compromised of an elite team of highly experienced industry insiders who specializes in different aspects of the business – and every area of the globe. Our team of consultants offers high touch, personalized service to ensure that every trip is not only seamless, but exceptional. Amd we have personal relationships with local experts on the ground in every destination that help guide our up-to-the minute recommendations so that every experience is tailored to suit your specific travel style and needs.
Who We Are
Travelwise International has been a leader in the travel industry for over 30+ years. We have been serving clients and organizations through all the changes in travel and in our world, and we will be serving them far into the future. We are travelers. We know that all vacations are not created equal and that the clients that seek us out want exceptional value, but also unrivaled experiences and access to see the world in the way they want to see it, and we can make that happen.
The professional advisors are travelers too! We travel to explore new destinations, to experience new resorts, to enjoy a relaxing cruise, but mostly we travel because we love exploring this wonder-filled world of ours. Travel advisors that travel not only have first-hand experience in many destinations and have walked the halls that you might be looking at, it really makes a difference having an advisor that understands the ins and outs, hassles and exuberance of the whole travel experience.
Buying Power and Access
Travelwise International is a member of the renowned and respected Travel Leaders Network. This is the largest travel organization with over 14,000 professional travel advisors and over $10 Billion in aggregate sales. This not only gives us tremendous buying power and leverage, but it also gives us high-level contacts and access to exceptional travel options unavailable to the traveling public.
Exclusive Cruise Programs
We have a robust cruise program available to all of our clients with Amenities and Benefits on hundreds of sailing per year. Many of these include one or more of the following:
- Exclusive Private Car-and-Driver program – choose from a four or eight-hour private experience for your clients in some of the most spectacular ports. Give them the gift of sightseeing at their speed not “group speed.”
- Prepaid Gratuities
- Private food and wine events
- Hosted Sailings with a Private Welcome Reception
- Shipboard credits
- Onboard and onshore exclusive events
- Group Rates
Destination Specialist Program
We have developed relationships over many years with local travel providers in destinations around the world. We have learned that we cannot be an expert at everything and with how fast the world is changing, we will never be able to keep on top of all the new experiences that cities and countries have to offer. Our relationships allow us to have a local expert, on the ground, in countries all over the world. Need a dinner reservation in a hot new restaurant in Rome? Looking for sold out theater tickets in London? Our local contacts are there to provide all of these amazing contacts and experiences for our clients. Now you can work and build a relationship with your Travelwise travel advisor AND have an expert everywhere you travel.
SELECT Hotel and Villa Program
Explore our SELECT Hotel Program with over 1,100 of the finest Hotels, Resorts, Lodges, and Spas throughout the world. Enjoy exclusive amenities available to all of our clients. These vary by property but provide great value for our clients. Amenities almost always include Daily Breakfast, in addition to a combination of other valuable extras, such as a Resort Credit, Complimentary Transfers, Welcome Bottle of Wine, etc. Clients are also offered upgrades, early check-in or early check-out based upon availability. More importantly for us and our clients is the VIP treatment they receive when staying in one of these beautiful hotels and resorts. Click here to learn more, search through the list of hotels and explore the added amenities.
Te cater our services to acknowledge the new traveler. We find solutions to provide you an experience from the planning to the execution.
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
- EVA Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Scandinavian Airline System
- Singapore Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin group of airlines (Atlantic and Australia)
THE TOP 10 SAFEST LOW-COST AIRLINES IN 2019
- HK Express
- Jetstar Australia / Asia
- Thomas Cook
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Always eat food that is cooked through and served hot.
- Always drink bottled water, sodas and drinks that are sealed.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that are washed with safe water and that you have peeled yourself.
- 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.
- Don’t ride motorcycles. If you must, make sure to wear a helmet.
- Avoid overcrowded, overweight, or top-heavy buses or vans
- Be alert when crossing the street. Know local traffic laws to avoid collisions.
- 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.
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.
After 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 atop 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
The Dubai Frame – Be 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.
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.
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