Showing posts with label how to book your own trips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to book your own trips. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Reflections: How COVID-19 Affected travel

 REFLECTIONS: 

HOW COVID-19 Affected Travel

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This article is my personal opinion based on my personal travel. I currently do not receive any compensation from the travel industry. However, I am an Amazon Associate. I will earn commission, at no extra cost to you, if you shop through our links.

Some CRUISE Information:

Carnival

Norwegian

Royal Caribbean

Princess

MSC

Cunard

Celebrity


Traveling During a Pandemic: 

A NEW NORMAL


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The 2019-2020 COVID-19 worldwide situation united the entire world in way that resembled the World War II allies, the 9/11 NYS attacks or a global economic depression. 








As the virus and its effects circled the entire world, the travel industry virtually came to a standstill. Cruises were suspended, some resumed tentatively only to step back again. Airplanes were empty, flights were cancelled and were reduced. Rush hour for commuters almost ceased to exist for months as the world worked, learned, socialized and played from home. 








Cultural institutions, possible Petri dishes for a virus with close contact for patrons, shut their doors in an unprecedented way. As of this writing New York City’s Broadway district plans to reopen January 2021. Museums, concerts, plays, poetry readings, art galleries and more all shuttered their doors, with some reopening with massive safety procedures and policies in place. 


                                                                            


Sports came to a halt, also, on all levels, which is likely to have a ripple effect. Professional sports recruit from colleges, high schools, traveling teams, tournaments, etc. Like the arts, sports depends on more than just the teams. Vendors, parking attendants, the ticket scanners, custodians, landscapers and maintenance people were all either terminated or laid off. 



                                                                           



All of the above industries affect the travel industry as it is connected with every industry in the world. If you generously include public transportation as part of the travel industry, this means that there was virtually not a single entity that did not affect the travel industry.  


As some states reemerge from a shutdown and as others adopt some quarantine measures, here are some activities you can do while we adjust to, what has become the slogan for 2020: THE NEW NORMAL.


CLICK HERE FOR IDEAS



All photos and text copyright Marcia Crayton, All Rights Reserved 2020

Monday, April 30, 2018

The NYC Traveler: Get TSA-Prechecked

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to provide legal consultation. All links were accurate at the time of publication and will be monitored accordingly. MC Enterprises takes no responsibility for the reader's application. Readers should go to either a TSA Enrollment Center or check with the TSA's website for current regulations and procedures. This article is an introduction to current information only.

Latest COVID-19 Travel News



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Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

 This review is my personal opinion, based on my experiences and research. 
I am an Amazon Associate.



Get TSA-Prechecked

Security checks, part of our lives even before 9/11/2001, is now considered an expected precursor to entering almost public location. Getting through airport security is especially frustrating because of all of the steps involved: have your boarding pass and ID in hand and at the same time take off your shoes, take out your laptop, no items in your pockets, no more than 3 ounces of liquids, creams or oils in bottles that fit into a 1 quart bag while perhaps juggling kids in tow. Whew!







TSA-Prechecked means you can keep your shoes and a light jacket on, your electronics and your clear bag of liquids can stay in your bag and you walk through...all for a fee of course.

The best way to be pre-checked for USA domestic flights is to pay the current fee of $85 for five years. If you fly often or if you don't like the long lines or inconvenience, this may be worth it. 




1. Pre-register online: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck or
https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/programs/precheck
2. Make an appointment at a center: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck/map
3. Bring the necessary documents.
4. Be ready to scan your fingerprint.
5. Pay the fee, currently $85 for five years.
6. After a background check based on your application, you will receive an email and/or a letter with your Known Traveler Number (KTN). Unfortunately, you don’t get any type of card, so hold onto that email/letter. You can also look up your number.




There are new places to go outside of airports now, to make the process easier. These are sponsored by IDEMIA at their IdentoGO centers, which may includes some Staples stores. Check on the Identogo webssite. Also, some corporations are providing the service to apply through them.

Happy Travels!

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Intro to...Traveling to Cuba: Part 2

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Disclaimer:  This article is written as a personal narrative based on personal experiences from the perspective of a US citizen. It is not intended as legal, official or professional information. MC Photo and Travel, dba MC Enterprises does not assume responsibility for any persons using this information as the sole source for planning a trip to Cuba.


Cruise to Cuba, Part 2

Latest COVID-19 Travel News


 This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted). I am an Amazon Associate.


Currently, there are no cruises sailing from USA ports to Cuba. It is our hope this policy is changed soon. It's an amazing experience.

This information is intended for readers who are US citizens and is solely based on the author's personal experience.


Norwegian Sky, docked in Havana, Cuba

There are 15 municipalities in Havana, Cuba. Cruise ships, currently not sailing from the United States, normally dock in Old Havana (Havana Vieja). The area is a curiosity because it seems as if it was abandoned and left to decay after the Revolution of 1959. The numerous old cars from that era add to the mystery. Some buildings are being preserved and the area is a World UNESCO Heritage Site. 

1. When I sailed in 2017, 3 cruise companies were sailing to Cuba: Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean. They departed from Miami, Tampa and Port Canaveral. The port for Cuba will be Havana, which docks in Old Havana. Check the US Department of State website for the latest information regarding cruises to Cuba.




2. You can travel by airplane unless there is a restriction for safety and/or health concerns. Consult with a knowledgeable and reputable travel consultant who will give you truthful advice in your best interest regarding lodging. (When and if cruising resumes, choose an itinerary that has an overnight in Havana, if your main purpose is to visit Cuba. However, there are sailings that have Havana as a one day stop, just like any other port.).




3. 
Travel to Cuba for tourist reasons is not permitted. You must be there for a purpose as per your visa. You must travel under one of the 12 permitted licenses.



4.  Technically, you must have an itinerary to visit Cuba, but it can be self-made. Plan to visit places of interest for the entire time you are in port. Normally, cruise excursions would make this easy. I booked an evening walking tour through the cruise line. Tours are also for sale as you disembark, after you clear customs and exchange money. But, I planned my own activities and I was engaged the entire time I was off the ship.


Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro

5. Activities that I did in order to engage in people-to-people activities included a horse-drawn city tour, visiting a cigar shop, speaking with the locals at the flea market, enjoying the Coche Mambi (the 1910 presidential rail car), a gallery and other spots around Old Havana, including the famous Havana Club.


Coche Mambi rail car

6. Running joke: Ernest Hemingway, who did live in Cuba for about 7 years in the 1930's, apparently ate, slept and visited every location in and around the old Havana area. Every tourist attraction has a plaque that proclaims that ol' Ernie was there. 

Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Ernest Hemingway lived for 7 years

Do your research. If you use a travel consultant, ask if he or she knows the latest information about visas, some of them do not arrange visas. When cruising resumes, make sure you will be able to communicate directly with the cruise line about traveling to Cuba. Buen viaje!

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All photos and text copyright Marcia Crayton, All Rights Reserved, 2020

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Intro to...Paris: Giverny - Monet's House

Latest COVID-19 Travel News

Traveling to New York State


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 This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I am an Amazon Associate. At no extra cost to you, I will receive commission if you shop through our links.

5 TIPS TO KNOW WHEN VISITING GIVERNY, FRANCE: 

The Gardens and House of artist Claude Monet






View of the house from the Gardens (editorial use)

1. Visiting the Gardens is usually tourists' main objective. But try to visit the house. It helps to make the visit to Giverny complete. Buy a combo ticket and plan to stay in Giverny for the day. Finish up with the Musee des Impressionmisme down the street.



2. Visiting the house also makes you feel like you are getting to know Monet personally. Studying the art is one thing (always an insight to an artist's soul). See where he lived makes it intimate.



3. Even if you're not into art, you'll love the architecture and the era of the house. Monet loved Giverny and lived there from 1883 until he died in 1926. It seems as if the past and present are in the house at the same time, even almost 100 years later.



4. You may feel inspired to create. Monet helped to inspire the Giverny Colony of impressionist artists who started living there circa 1887. If you're a beginner, the gift shop will help you get started. You can also take home a little bit of Monet with you in many forms from socks to umbrellas.



5. The house and gardens were declared public in 1980 after extensive renovations and the creation of The Foundation Claude Monet. You can walk around on your own or take a guided tour.


The Gardens from the House: a view to be envied


For more information: The Foundation Claude Monet

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Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.


Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Friday, February 3, 2017

An Intro to...India: Part 2 - Where to Go

Latest COVID-19 Travel News



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 This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted). I am an Amazon Associate.


An Intro to...India: Part 2 - Where to Go

Our "limo" from Delhi to Agra

Note: this article is solely for the first time traveler to India from the perspective of a first-timer (me!). Also, take precautions when you are traveling to another country. Check with the state department for any travel warnings and be very much aware of international news. Use common sense and be flexible. You might actually have to change your destination.

The Taj Mahal, in the haze

1. If you normally wing it on your own, you may decide to go with a guide: arranged transportation throughout the trip, guided tours in all cities and luxury hotels. For certain trips or portions of a trip, being chauffeured and guided can actually be a preferred way to go. 


2. To get a good view of the country, fly into Delhi and travel by van or train to other cities. If you've flown straight from the USA, east coast, you may want to stay over in Delhi and get a fresh start the next day.
Fort Agra

3. In Agra, the top sights are: the Taj Mahal, of course; the Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah, also known as the Baby Taj; Fort Agra; various artisan shops and one of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. 


Jaipur
4. A journey by train to Jaipur, in the recommended first class, is almost 150 miles further east. The top sights were Amer (Amber) Fort; Jaigarh (Victory) Fort, home to Jaivan Cannon; Jantar Mantar, a fascinating collection of astronomical instruments completed in 1734 that is still accurate in telling time within 2 seconds; City Palace, residence of the current Maharaja of Jaipur, and more local artisans.

5. A van is recommended for the 166 mile trip from Jaipur to Delhi. Other options could have been a domestic flight (inexpensive, but one must be careful about the baggage restrictions) or another train ride.

A chance to make it big in Delhi

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Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.




Sunday, January 29, 2017

How to Travel: Part 1 - Make Your Own Plans

Latest COVID-19 Travel News


 This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I am an Amazon Associate. At no extra cost to you, we will earn commission (hopefully).


HOW TO TRAVEL
PART 1: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN PLANS




mcraytontravel
How To Make Your Own Travel Plans

Making your own plans involves the patience and time to explore all options. If you love to shop and browse, you already have this mindset. The more you travel and make your own plans, the quicker the process, even when you start to explore new destinations.

1. How to Get Started

Be able to use the Internet with a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. This is essential and crucial. Create accounts on various sites and to purchase with your debit or credit card online. To minimize hacking and if you're concerned with security issues, you may want to designate one card for purchases. Third, for some alternative lodging (like vacation rentals), you may need a PayPal account.

mcraytontravel

You also should have access to a printer and a scanner. There are some units that are all in one. If you read my article about how to obtain a visa to India, you will see that a scanner was necessary.(http://www.mcraytontravel.com/2017/01/an-intro-toindia-part-1-getting-visa-to.html).



mcraytontravel


2. Where to go? 
That depends on the reason, the time of year and your budget. Talking to people is one way to get ideas; watching travel shows is another; you'll get ideas watching movies, going to an event, following hobbies (your favorite team, performing artist or fan conventions). Still others have a mission: the top roller coasters, every water park, waterfalls, lighthouses, national parks, etc. You may want to golf the most famous courses or you may be a food or wine connoisseur. Finally, there is the wish or bucket list: all the major cities, every continent, all 50 US states, you get the picture. Whatever the reason, all trips have three basic components: how to get there, where to stay and what to do or where to go.






3. Do Your Research

Guidebooks are still a great investment. My favorite series are Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Moon, Frommers, and Fodor's . I buy one of the pocket versions and buy two of the electronic versions either through Apple's iBooks (®), Barnes and Noble or Amazon. You don't have to own a Barnes and Noble Nook (®) or Amazon Kindle (®) specifically. You can order on a desktop computer and then use their apps on your tablet or phone. Many people take guided tours. They do the thinking for you. (The links are paid links)


mcraytontravel
How To Get There
4. How to get there? 
If you are cruising, you can directly to the cruise line of your choice or use a travel agent (recommended). Cruise.com and cruisecritic.com can be good search engines to filter through. Cruising combines the where and how efficiently. It gives you a taste of places by way of boat and a place to stay at the same time. 

If you are flying, there are tons of search engines. These sites will scan all the possibilities for you without you having to go to each individual airline's website. Popular sites are Kayak, Orbitz, Cheapoair, Expedia, Travelocity, Hipmunk, Hotwire and Hopper. Most will let you set notifications so that you can keep track of prices. 

If you are sure of which airline you want, you may get the best price directly at that site. I usually view the prices on a search engine site and then I usually go to the airline and book it. This is because I like to make sure I get any rewards. 

If you are taking a bus, there are also many options. I do not travel by bus but others do. I would only recommend this for short journeys, especially if you do not drive or taking your car is not feasible. Greyhound and Trailways are still around but traveling by budget bus has become very popular: Megabus, BoltBus, etc. Budget Travel's website has some suggestions: 

http://www.budgettravel.com/feature/6-best-budget-bus-companies-in-the-us,7430/

Finally, there is driving by automobile, whether it's your car or a rental. AAA, Map Quest, Google Maps, Maps.Me and every GPS app known to man will give you any type of directions you need. 


mcraytontravel
Resort, Hotel or Apartment?

5. Where to stay?
Resort, hotel or motel or rented apartment: the above-mentioned search engines have lodging information also. There's also Hotels.com, Getaroom.com and Hotel Tonight. 

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Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.


Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.