The best way to get the best deal is to find a cheap place to go to and figure out why you want to go!!!!!

You can travel by plane, car, ship or using all three!   I have found the best way and the first place to look for deals is at Clark Howards Website.

http://clark.com

http://clark.com/todays-national-travel-deals/

Airlines that offer good deals (international)

https://www.norwegian.com

https://primeraair.com

https://www.lacompagnie.com/en   Business Class only

https://wowair.us/

http://www.flylevel.com/

Getting a good seat on that plane

If traveling by plane always check SeatGuru to help pick out a good seat for that long flight

SeatGuru is a website that compares seating accommodations for airlines from all over the world. They describe foot room as “pitch,” which is the distance from the back of your chair to the back of the chair behind you. Width is the distance from armrest to armrest.

Since pitch and width measurements vary based on the size of the plane, the information below is based on an Airbus A320. According to SeatGuru, people consistently rank seats on these planes as the most comfortable.

American Airlines: 31-inch pitch, 18-inch width, no TVs, has Wi-Fi

Delta Air Lines: 31-32-inch pitch, 17.2-inch width, no TVs, has Wi-Fi

Frontier Airlines: 28-29-inch pitch, 18-inch width, no TVs, no Wi-Fi

JetBlue: 34-inch pitch, 17.8-inch width, a TV in every headrest, has Wi-Fi

Spirit Airlines: 28-inch pitch, 17.75-inch width, no TVs, no Wi-Fi

United Airlines: 30-inch pitch, 17.7-inch width, no TVs, has Wi-Fi

Virgin America: 32-inch pitch, 17.7-inch width, a TV in every headrest, has Wi-Fi

Best: Overall, JetBlue provides the most comfortable flying experience for their passengers flying coach. Customers have at least two more inches of foot room, wider seats than most of the competition, and it’s free to watch the TVs on the back of the headrests!

Worst: Frontier and Spirit are consistently ranked low by customers. Not only is there less foot room but their seat cushions do not have as much padding as the competition. However, both of these companies are considered low-cost airlines and they even advertise the fact that cutting comfort is how they are able to keep their prices low.

Although comfort is important, it may not be the most important factor that determines whether or not you purchase a ticket. If you’re simply looking for the best price then read about these Google Flights secrets.

Insurance

How to get travel insurance and also car insurance?

When it comes to renting a car, paying with the right credit card could save you hundreds of dollars. Yet many Americans have no idea which credit cards offer protection or the best one to use.

Rental car coverage is often a perk of membership on rewards cards. In most cases, the benefit means you can decline the rental company’s expensive insurance coverage — Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) — which can cost $10 to $30 a day.

Choosing the right credit card is key. The coverage varies widely, even among cards issued by the same bank. Some cards offer primary coverage, so you don’t have to risk your insurance premiums going up. Others are secondary, meaning they pick up the tab for anything your auto insurance doesn’t cover. Some issuers are more willing to pay fees rental car agencies charge; others are reluctant. And many cards list tricky exclusions in their fine print.

It’s very confusing, and there a lot of horror stories, Different credit cards have different rules and exclusions, so it’s really important to call and ask them to send you a copy of the policy.

Best for U.S. rentals: Cards that offers primary insurance coverage

If there’s one thing travel and auto rental experts agree on, it’s this: Use a card that offers primary coverage if you have one. Then, if you damage or wreck your rental car, you won’t have to file a claim with your auto insurance. “That alone can save you a tremendous amount of money in the long term, because you avoid any chance of your premiums going up from a claim,” Weinberg says.

Fortunately, more cards are offering primary coverage. The following cards, as of October 2015, offer primary coverage, and should be your first choice when renting a car in the U.S.:

 

How to use you credit card to pay your rental car insurance

For your credit card coverage to kick in, you must:

  • Decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver (CDW/LDW).
  • Be the primary renter of the car.
  • Pay for the car in full with the card that provides the protection.

If you have an American Express card, you can purchase primary coverage by enrolling in the company’s premium rental car protection program. Once enrolled, you pay a flat rate of $19.95 to $24.95 ($15.95 to $17.95 for California residents) per rental. The $24.95 program offers slightly more coverage than the $19.95 one.

If you don’t have a card that offers primary insurance, you’ll have to file a claim first with your auto insurer, and your credit card will theoretically pay for anything that’s not covered, including your deductible and fees charged by the rental agency. (If you don’t have auto insurance or you’re traveling overseas, most cards become primary). But there are some fees that may not be covered by either.

Choosing the right card also depends on where you’re going, what type of vehicle you’re renting and how long you plan to keep it. Here are some common “what if” rental car scenarios — and advice on how to get the best coverage from your credit card in each circumstance:

Best cards if renting outside the U.S.

If you’re renting outside the country, even credit cards that offer secondary coverage will step in as your primary insurer. Why? Because most personal auto insurance policies don’t apply once you leave the country.

However, it’s still important to read the fine print, because most issuers have a list of countries where they refuse coverage. The following countries are often excluded: Israel, Ireland, Jamaica, Northern Ireland, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.

The good news? In an attempt to lure high-spending jet setters, some card issuers have dropped country restrictions altogether. The following cards have no exclusions and should be your first choice if you’re renting in one of the countries mentioned above:

  • All Citi cards including Citi ThankYou Preferred and Citi AAdvantage
  • All Chase cards, including Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Most Mastercard World and World Elite cards
  • Discover cards (check to make sure it’s accepted at your destination)
  • Diners Club cards

No matter what card you’re using, call your card company before you go and have them email you a copy of your policy and a letter that says you’re covered in that particular country, then print them out and bring them with you.

“It’s great that they’re providing this coverage, but the challenge is that rental car providers in other countries don’t know that,” she says. “So you’ll end up in a heated conversation at the rental car desk at 11 at night when you’ve just arrived in a foreign country. If you have a printout, you can just hand it to him.”

In some countries, that kind of documentation is required. In others, like Italy, the insurance is included in the cost of your rental so you don’t have to worry about it. And in a few countries, the company may require you to pay no matter how much you insist that you already have coverage.  In Mexico, some companies entice you with a super low teaser rate of just a few dollars a day, then you get down there and they require you to take their insurance for $20 a day or they won’t give you a car. Some companies say you need a letter from the Mexican Board of Insurance in order not to take it, and who has that? And one last piece of advice if you’re renting abroad: Choose a card with no foreign transaction fees.

If you don’t have personal auto insurance

If you have no car insurance at all (like many New York City residents, for example), then any credit card that offers rental car coverage will become your primary collision coverage, says Daraius Dubash, founder of reward travel blog MillionMileSecrets.com. You can decline the rental agency’s collision damage waiver (CDW) or loss damage waiver (LDW), but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.

You still need liability insurance to protect you from claims related to damage caused by your rental car, and no credit cards offer that. Rental companies provide the minimum amount of coverage required in each state, but it’s not much in the event of a serious accident.  If you damage someone’s property or injure someone, your credit card insurance will not protect you. “If you have credit card coverage but no car insurance, that’s a case when I would buy the rental car company’liability insurance

If you rent frequently, you may also want to look into a “nonowner” liability package sold by some insurance companies to those who don’t own a car.

If you’re renting a passenger van, sport-utility truck, pickup truck or luxury car

You may want to pay to enroll in AmEx’s premium protection. Most credit card coverage doesn’t include those types of vehicles and limits coverage to vehicles with a retail value under $50,000. However, AmEx’s program does cover pickup trucks, vans, sport-utility trucks (Chevy Avalanche, GMC Envoy, etc.) and luxury vehicles worth more than $50,000, says AmEx spokeswoman Jane DiLeo. The only exclusions? Automobiles that have been customized or modified; limousines; off-road vehicles; motorcycles, motorbikes or mopeds; recreational vehicles; golf or motorized carts; campers; moving trucks or moving vans; and trailers.

If you need a rental for more than two weeks

Some cards limit their coverage to rentals of less than 15 consecutive days. So if you need a car for longer than that, either go back after two weeks and rent a different car, or use a card that offers extended coverage. The following cards offer a maximum of 31 days of coverage:

  • All American Express cards.
  • All Discover cards
  • Mastercard World and World Elite cards.

Visa extends its coverage for 31 days only if you’re renting outside the U.S. (although some banks that issue Visa-branded cards may offer more generous terms.) If you pay for AmEx premium protection, the maximum length of coverage is 42 days.

If you’re paying for your rental with points or miles

You may be out of luck if you want to use your credit card coverage, says Richard Kerr, who researched rental car protection for The Points Guy blog. Most card protection programs require you to put at least one full day of your rental on your card. So you will either have to rely on your personal auto insurance or purchase the agency’s CDW coverage. However, there is an exception for Chase cardholders, Kerr says: If you book your car with points using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you still qualify for the car rental benefits of your Chase card.

If you want to avoid hassle

Before you turn down the rental agency’s CDW, there’s a trade-off to consider.  Using your credit card insurance will take more time away from your trip if you have an incident. So, for example, you may want to spring for the rental company’s CDW if you’re renting a car for just two days in a foreign country you’ve never visited. “Then, you can just hand over the keys and say, ‘I paid for your insurance. You guys deal with it,’” he says. “But if you’re using credit card insurance, you are going to have to get an accident report, compile documentation and fill out a bunch of paperwork — and that will really cut into your time on your trip.”

 

Some companies that sell insurance

Insuremyrentalcar.com?

Insuremyrentalcar.com offers insurance covering Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) up to $100,000 if the car is damaged or stolen. Daily policies start at $9.75 per day agency. The website will also offer single trip policies starting at $17.50 and annual policies starting at $93.99. Annual policies offer particularly good value for regular users and have the added advantage of covering US residents for vehicles rented outside of the USA.

Insurance options for US residents

US residents who purchase a policy through Insuremyrentalcar.com will receive up to $100,000.00 CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) and LDW (Loss Damage Waiver) insurance for use with car rentals throughout the US. US residents who purchase a policy are also covered by the policy when they rent a car outside of the US.

US residents can select a daily or annual insurance policy. Annual policies offer ultimate flexibility for frequent renters as they can be used for multiple trips throughout the year, including overseas. For shorter trips or one-off use, daily policies offer great value when compared to coverage offered by rental car agencies.

When applying for cover you’ll be asked to confirm your US State of residence in order to proceed with your quote. This is important as individual US State rules mean that different terms of coverage are available depending on the State in which you are resident.

Our policies are currently unavailable to those who reside in Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

US residents can choose to buy either a daily or annual policy depending on their rental requirements.

The daily policy offers up to $100,000 CDW/LDW coverage and is available for as little as $6.00 per day.

The annual policy is designed for year-round use and can be used as many times as necessary within a 12-month period, provided that no single car rental period exceeds 31 days. This policy is designed to offer the maximum flexibility and represents great value with one single premium to pay for the whole year.

Additional coverage options

You may be offered the opportunity to add additional coverages to your policy when obtaining a quote. These options include spouse cover, family cover and breakdown assistance.

The options available to you will differ depending on the type of policy you’re purchasing and your country/state of residence. You’ll be presented with the insurance options available to you upon completing the quote form. Full information outlining these coverage options are available throughout the buying process and you’re not under any obligation to buy them. If you get to this stage and no additional cover options are presented, then they are not available for the product and residency combination you’ve selected.

Trip Insurance

Follow these tips to understand the basics of trip and travel insurance

https://www.squaremouth.com/  Make sure you get travel insurance as your primary and not secondary insurance otherwise you have to go through your insurance first.  Also make sure you purchase the insurance right away so that you do not get caught with pre-existing conditions.

When do you need it?
These policies should always be purchased when you are taking a cruise, a tour or traveling on a trip that requires pre-payment of thousands of dollars.

What kind of coverage does it offer?
Policies are designed to protect consumers by giving them refunds in the event of illness to the traveler or immediate family member, or to provide a refund in the case of company, tour operator or airline default.

How much does it cost?
Policies cost about 5% of total cost of a trip, but it’s worth it. Consumers should always purchase a policy independent of the cruise, tour or vacation planner. Never purchase the trip protection plan from the trip organizer. They are designed to protect only the company and not the consumer. Always pay deposits and final payments by a real credit card and never by debit card or check.

Where should you get it?
You can comparison shop for trip insurance that suits your needs at InsureMyTrip.com.

 

Other good things to remember when traveling

 

Preparation can be easy
When you’re planning a trip, you’ve got to keep track of hotel reservations, car reservations, flight plans, and so much more. Thankfully, there are websites that will do it for you for free.

Remember to keep a cool head 
Flight delays are sometimes an unavoidable fact of life when you’re traveling. Yet so often, they’re more of an annoyance or a nuisance, not a disaster. My advice is to try to keep perspective. Let little hassles roll off your back if you can. If you miss a connection or are delayed with a flight cancellation, do not stand in line at the airport. People will queue up for a tenth of a mile to talk to customer no service and it does no good. Get on the phone or online and see what you can accomplish instead.

 

Know your rights when bumped from a flight
Have you ever been bumped from a flight? There are some things you should know in order to maximize your compensation. Airlines will typically offer a guaranteed seat on any flight to the highest level members of their frequent flyer program. That means they are going to be asking for volunteers willing to give up a seat.

 

The offers vary by airline. If you are a volunteer, it will be free tickets or a voucher for a dollar amount like a gift certificate. But many airlines restrict the way you can redeem those vouchers. So if it’s a choice between a voucher and a certificate for future travel, take the certificate.

If you are involuntarily bumped from a flight, they are required to give you cold, hard cash if you ask. It will be up to 400% of what you paid for your ticket, with a hard cap of $1,200. That’s if you are forced off the flight to accommodate a frequent flier.  That’s when it’s a case of show me the money!

 

Read more about your rights as an airline passenger at the Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the US Department of Transportation.

 

Airline passengers check-in for their flight at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Nov. 23, 2011 in Houston.David J. Phillip / AP file

Under the Trump administration and the current leadership in Congress, “regulation” has become a dirty word. But in reality, these laws and regulations are what give regular people something like a fair shake when dealing with deep-pocketed corporations.

I should know: It was federal regulation that netted me a $10,000 airline voucher when I was bumped from a recent flight.

Airline passengers are, by now, used to the oversold flight drill: When a flight is oversold, a gate agent will usually offer a travel voucher worth a couple of hundred dollars to any volunteer who is willing to give up their seat. But, many of them probably don’t know what happens when no one takes the offer. On a recent United flight out of Washington Dulles, I saw first-hand: The agent began the boarding process, but added the unusual disclaimer that, since there were no volunteers, the lowest fare passenger would be pulled out of the boarding line and could be denied a seat on the plane.

US Airways patrons talk as they stand in line at the ticket counter at Greater Pittsburgh International Airport on March 18, 2007 in Imperial, Pa. Keith Srakocic / AP File

When it was my turn to have my ticket scanned, I heard the dreaded words: “You are the lowest fare passenger. You need to step aside.”

I was “denied boarding involuntarily” and, initially, offered a $2,000 voucher and a seat on the next available flight. But then I was presented with a form to sign, affirming that I had volunteered to give up my seat.

That’s when I paused: I was denied boarding by the airline, so I didn’t understand why I was asked to sign a form saying that I volunteered. When I questioned the gate agents, I was given a pamphlet that explained the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations concerning my rights as a bumped flier. It informed me that that it’s not illegal for airlines to oversell flights and the airline was, in fact, allowed to bump me for being the lowest fare passenger. But it also informed me that I was, by law, eligible for monetary compensation — not just a travel voucher — as a result of the denied boarding and delay in reaching my destination.

A passenger walks past a Delta Airlines 747 aircraft in McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport on Jan. 21, 2010 in Romulus, Mich.

When I decided to ask for the cash option to which I was entitled under federal law (about $650) instead of the $2,000 voucher, an agent offered an increasingly valuable voucher. Eventually, their offer topped out at $10,000. While I’m still not sure why the agent offered the maximum amount allowed under her employer’s policy instead of the much lower cash option, I walked away feeling pretty happy.

Still, the experience left me wondering what I — or anyone — would’ve done without the rules that require airlines to compensate the passenger left behind at the gate when flights are oversold. The current administration has already reversed protections meant to empower airline passengers: Last year, Trump-appointed Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao dropped a proposed rule that would have required airlines to disclose upfront any fees for checked and carry-on bags.

Without strong agency oversight and without laws to protect consumers, airlines and other industries would be free to act with complete impunity when it comes to American consumers and their rights. That’s why it’s key for us to speak out and to vote for lawmakers that believe in and support strong consumer protections that keep us safe — and protect our pocketbooks.

And if you’re wondering how you can score a big-value voucher the next time you’re bumped off a flight: Ask for the cash — and thank the U.S. Department of Transportation.

 

When you’re planning a trip, you’ve got to keep track of hotel reservations, car reservations, flight plans, and so much more. Thankfully, there are websites that will do it for you for free.

I get a lot of questions from people about travel. They’re kind of perplexed as they try to put together all the moving pieces.

Enter a couple of websites like Rome2Rio.comRouteRank.com, and KDS.com. Now, I should say I’ve only tried out Rome2Rio so far. But I like what I’m seeing. This particular one guides you through every phase of a trip.

I think the thing I love most about Rome2Rio is it also lets you search by city and shows hotels by price points in a neighborhood. Everything is color coded so you can see by color what you want to spend.

So the next time you’re planning a getaway, let these travel sites be your trip planner.

 

Great places to travel now before the travel companies start to book trips here.   The best place to visit is in Asia

 

Prices in Asia compared to Europe are at least half the price and it is much safer to travel to Asia right now then Europe.  Example:  J W Marriott in Beijing China under $200 a night and it is one of the most expensive hotels in China!   https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bjsjc-jw-marriott-hotel-beijing-central/  April 1 the hotel is $132.00 per night.

 

 

 

 

Cruises

 

All cruises have on the first night a meeting usually called traveling alone.  This is where you meet new friends and find a lot of people to have fun with.

http://www.vacationstogo.com/

http://www.vacationstogo.com/ticker.cfm?r=0&jpw=107  (single prices)

 

I think that one of the best cruises for traveling alone is NCL ships with a studio room.  All the studio rooms are people traveling alone and you all share the Studio Lounge which has a private bar and all the fancy coffee you can drink.  The lounge also supplies two crew members to arrange dinner and show reservation for the group.   Usually you meet at 5PM when the bar opens and then go to dinner with everyone around 7 PM and then the show after dinner.

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/cabinclass/cabinTypes/cabinType/home.do?cabincls=I&cabinType=UI

 

 

 

MSC is another cruise line that is breaking into the American Market it is an Italian line that been around over 10 years and is building the largest ship at ship right now.

Biggest Cruise Ship in the World Announced by MSC Cruises 6,850 Guests

 

 

 

Finding a hotel room

 

I will use search engines such as kayak or priceline but I found that usually the best deal in booking directly with the hotel (Not always but most times) plus if you book directly with hotel and have an issue they will fix it otherwise they referred you the place you purchase the room from.  In the pictures below The Marriott hotel is $198 at a travel site but at Marriott.com the room is only $151

 

 

Travel sites links

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/the-50-best-travel-websites-8646338.html

https://www.afar.com/

http://www.mydomaine.com/best-travel-sites/slide10

https://www.afar.com/magazine/3-new-online-travel-tools-to-know-now

http://www.vagabondish.com/10-websites-that-make-travel-much-much-easier/

http://www.minube.net/compare/travel-booking-sites/afar

create own travel guide

WOW airlines

Going to Europe

Denmark-based Primera Air will begin service from Boston and Newark to London-Stansted, Birmingham, and Paris in April. Flights will operate daily from Newark; four times a week from Boston. Rates start from $99 one-way, excluding extra fees for seat selection ($45+); a meal ($40-$70 really?) and $45 to check a bag. There’s complimentary Wi-Fi onboard, but no in-flight entertainment.

Norwegian Airline just announced it will begin nonstop flight service from Denver to Paris on April 9, 2018. Service will be offered twice-weekly, year round (Mondays and Fridays). Launch fares in Economy to Paris from Denver start as low as $229 one-way.
Earlier this year, Norwegian announced service between Denver and London, which begins September 16 with twice-weekly flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays during the summer season.
Use Norwegian’s low fare calendar to view the lowest available fares to all of Norwegian’s destinations. View the list of all new Norwegian U.S. to Europe routes.

Norwegian Air will begin serving London Gatwick from Austin and Chicago next spring. The carrier will offer four flights a week from Chicago (starting March 25) and three a week from Austin (starting March 27) with service on Boeing 787 Dreamliners. One-way rates start from $174 from Chicago and $249 from Austin.
Norwegian Air will also launch new service to Rome from three U.S. cities. Service from Newark will launch November 9; November 11 from Los Angeles and from Oakland in February 2018. Introductory rates are now on sale to Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport starting from $189 one way, taxes included.
Norwegian Air is now servicing Ireland with nonstop flights from two east coast airports:
Providence, Rhode Island to Belfast, Cork, Dublin and Shannon
Newburgh/Stewart, New York to Belfast, Dublin and Shannon
One-way rates are as low as $179 to Ireland with higher return fares.

Tips for Norwegian Air deals: This page at Norwegian Air highlights the best deals for travel through May 2018.  Find your departure city in the drop-down menu at the top to reveal to where the best bargains are offered. Next, tweak the month of travel using the right arrow (beneath What’s your budget?). There are more price options to view if you’re willing to take a connecting flight with a layover.  Choose “both direct and transit” from the second drop-down menu. Remember that return flights from Europe can be and are often priced higher.  Tip: You may find the best deal by booking two one-way tickets — one from the U.S. and the second through the European website for Norwegian. Visit Norwegian.com and then choose the country of departure.
And don’t forget the optional charges should you want to check bags, reserve a seat, or have an in-flight meal.

How to Book Flights using Google Flights  There is also now a site for Google hotels

Chances are you’re familiar with Google Flights. The travel search engine does everything you assume it would, like locate flights based on your ideal outbound time, inbound time and number of stops. After all, it’s the same technology that powers both KAYAK and Orbitz.

The site also includes a whole host of features that aren’t so easy to imagine, probably because they’re so unimaginably amazing. In some cases, this online tool can beat out any human travel agent. Don’t believe us? Check out these seven tricks below.

  1. Get alerts when prices are about to skyrocket.

If you’re using Google Flights on your phone, you may see pop-up notifications that tell you when prices are likely to increase for specific flights. The notifications aren’t available on every route, and you can’t control when they appear, but they’re a handy way to predict how much time you have left to book before prices jump. Pay attention when you see them!

  1. Don’t know where to go? Search for a general region, and see a map of specific flight prices.

Just Google “flights to Europe” and click the Flights tab below the search box. A map of the entire continent will pop up, along with prices. You’ll be able to compare how much it would cost to fly to London versus Paris — and you can even filter the options by type of airline, duration of flight and price you’re willing to pay.

  1. Or go with “I’m feeling lucky” to let Google plan your dream trip.

What “I’m feeling lucky” does for search, it also does for flights. Click on a map within Google Flights, pick your departure spot, and click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to let Google choose a destination based on your search history and what’s popular. You’ll also see a bar graph letting you know when flights will be at their cheapest.

  1. Google will tell you which flight is the best bang for your buck.

The “best flights” box tells you which flights are the best combinations of price and speed, so you won’t have to decide whether a layover is a good idea or if a nonstop is worth the extra buck. Google also highlights its top pick in green. It’s like having your very own travel agent say, “If I were you, I’d do this.”

  1. It’ll also show you the lowest price for any given day on the calendar.

You can see prices for your trip on every day of the month, with the cheapest days highlighted in green. A bar graph at the bottom lets you know how prices will likely drop or rise over time.

  1. Automatically see swaps that save you money.

If you search for a flight that has a similar yet less expensive option, the “tip” bar lets you know how much money you’ll save if you’re willing to fly earlier, later or from a different airport. Then you can weigh the cost and decide!

  1. Once you find a potential flight, let Google monitor the price for you.

If you find a flight you like, then hit the “save this itinerary” button and let the Google Now app track its pricing. You can hit the app on your phone to see how prices are changing, and Google will email you if they dip dramatically.

 

Cheap flights: How to score affordable travel deals this August

Aug. 30 was originally set to be the first day for cheaper fall fares, based on average airline pricing, but the industry has revised some prices (not uncommon). Here are new days to watch for price-drops:

Aug. 22: Average prices drop for U.S. domestic flights

Aug. 21: Average prices drop for trans-Atlantic/Europe flights

These particular seasonal price-drop days — which always occur at the end of August though specific dates, and vary year-to-year — are linked to kids returning to school, and the ensuing drop in demand for vacation flights. In other words, according to airline calendars, these August dates are the first days of the cheaper autumn season.

Yes. The first couple of weeks in November are always cheap for domestic flights because demand is low (everyone is waiting to fly during Thanksgiving) and you may find some dirt-cheap fares.  A recent search of Europe fares showed several from cities across the U.S. for less than $400 round-trip. Don’t miss out.

Any cheap days in December?

Yes. Once the Thanksgiving fliers return home, the first couple of weeks in December are another cheap travel period. Again, the big holidays of Christmas/New Year’s will attract a lot of travelers, so early December will likely be slow; airlines lure travelers during slow periods with deep discounts.

Below is a link to google flights from Dallas to USA in August

 

https://www.google.com/flights/#search;f=DFW,DAL;t=r-USA-0x54eab584e432360b%253A0x1c3bb99243deb742;d=2017-08-21;r=2017-08-28;mc=m

Flights from Dallas to Copenhagen one way Oct and Nov The cheapest flights on in green Nov 14 is the cheapest at $496

Below is a link to google hotel search for las vegas

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&q=hotels%20in%20las%20vegas&oq=hotels+in+&gs_l=psy-ab.1.3.35i39k1j0i20i263i264k1j0i20i264k1j0l2j0i67k1j0l4.2330.6577.0.9082.11.10.0.0.0.0.181.1603.0j10.10.0….0…1.1.64.psy-ab..1.10.1601.0..0i131k1j0i46i67k1j46i67k1j0i20i263k1.0.jGwvGSCIFhE&hotel_dates=2017-11-01,2017-11-09&rflfq=1&hotel_ds=1&tbs=lf_hd:-1,lf_ho:2,lrf:!1m4!1u13!2m2!13m1!1b1!1m4!1u10!2m2!11m1!1e6!1m4!1u10!2m2!11m1!1e4!1m4!1u10!2m2!11m1!1e5!1m4!1u10!2m2!11m1!1e9!1m4!1u10!2m2!11m1!1e8!1m4!1u10!2m2!11m1!1e10!1m4!1u10!2m2!11m1!1e2!1m4!1u10!2m2!11m1!1e3!2m1!1e13!2m7!1e17!4m2!17m1!1e3!4m2!17m1!1e8!2m21!1e7!4m4!7m3!1m1!1u75!3sUSD!4m4!7m3!1m1!1u100!3sUSD!4m4!7m3!1m1!1u125!3sUSD!4m4!7m3!1m1!1u250!3sUSD!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e4!2m25!1e10!4m2!11m1!1e6!4m2!11m1!1e4!4m2!11m1!1e5!4m2!11m1!1e9!4m2!11m1!1e8!4m2!11m1!1e10!4m2!11m1!1e2!4m2!11m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:6&rlha=1&tbm=lcl#rlfi=hd:2017-11-01,2017-11-09;si:;mv:!1m3!1d62424.93639868824!2d-115.14927834501952!3d36.14386403000347!3m2!1i946!2i465!4f13.1

 

 

9 money-saving tips airlines and hotels don’t want you to know

Airlines make a lot of money online. So do hotels. After all, customers can book their flights on a whim. They can book a room from their phones while sitting in the hotel’s lobby. Travel companies make billions in revenue, which should make everyone happy, right?

But for hotels and airlines, digital booking services are a double-edged sword. Travelers can also use several tricks to save money on trips, much to these companies’ chagrin. You can skip extra expenses and add-ons that used to be required. You can even decide whether certain services are worth the dough.

Here are several cost-saving measures that the airline and hospitality industry don’t want you to know about.

  1. Use the Secret Formula

Airlines will try to make as much money as they can. It doesn’t matter how much the flight is actually worth; they’re trying to milk you for every penny, especially on busy routes.

So how do you know whether a flight is worth the money? How do you know if you’re about to pay too much? There’s a simple formula for that: Just multiply the round-trip miles (airport to airport) by $.032, and add $230 to get the average price.

Sound too simple? It’s amazingly effective, and there’s another formula you can use for international flights. In an emergency, people will pay whatever they have to, but if your plans are somewhat flexible and you’re worried about getting fleeced, these formulae will keep that from happening.

  1. Book through Google Flights

Google Flights has become the reigning champion of online booking, surpassing a lot of other great services like Kayak (see below). This is partly because Google is the master of global information, incorporating nearly every bit of data in existence and making it searchable, so why wouldn’t flights be part of that database?

But Google Flights is also handy because of all the nifty things you can do with it: You can monitor airfare prices, filter for a number of stops and total hours, and easily find the cheapest days to fly.

  1. Use Kayak Explore

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just say, “Computer, show me all the cheapest flights from my hometown. Doesn’t matter where. Doesn’t matter when. Just show me everything.”

That’s basically what Kayak Explore is: a digital map plastered in locations and prices. You probably never thought to look up flights to Crete or Estonia, but if you have some vacation time coming and you’re really flexible about your dates and destinations, Kayak Explore is an incredible tool for getting the ideas flowing.

Google Flights has a similar service, enabling you to type “Europe” or “Japan” into your search. But Kayak Explore is still fun, easy to use, and offers innumerable great deals.

  1. Hide Your Browser

Many booking whizzes agree: If you browse for flights, you take an hour to think about your options, and then you browse for the same flights again, the price will jump up. Experts believe that the websites remember your IP address, and they amp up the prices because they know you’re interested.

Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t. But there’s no harm in beating the system: You can use “incognito mode” on your Chrome device or use a “private” tab on your Android or Apple device to prevent web-fare companies from knowing who’s booking.

Click here for specific instructions on how to browse privately.

  1. Browse FourSquare for Wi-Fi Passwords

This is borderline inappropriate, but it’s really handy when you’re waiting at an airport and really need to use Wi-Fi, or you’re bumming around a hotel lobby waiting to check in, and the desk clerk refuses to reveal the password. Need to log in? Check out FourSquare.

Most people use Yelp and other services to post reviews, and that’s it. But FourSquare users are notorious for posting Wi-Fi passwords as well. Just find your location, sift through user content, and you’re very likely to find the handy code that will unlock the internet.

  1. TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry

In an era of rampant terrorism, it’s hard to believe that this TSA program exists. But it’s a fact: Low-risk passengers can apply for “Global Entry,” which entitles them to skip regular lines and security checkpoints. In airports where Global Entry is recognized, this expedited clearance usually pushes passengers through the checkpoint in about five minutes.

Why would airlines hate that? Because passengers can arrive later at the airport, meaning less time sitting around the airport mall and buying snacks and bottles of water. There’s an application fee, but if you’re accustomed to flying coach, this small luxury can feel like first class treatment.

  1. Sign Up for Every Free Rewards Program

Airlines and hotels love it when you sign up for their rewards programs. They assume that you will build a relationship with, say, Hilton Hotels or Delta Airlines. When they want to encourage flights to certain destinations, or they want to fill rooms in certain cities, they’ll notify you of an upcoming deal.

What they don’t expect is for travelers to sign up for every rewards program. This way, you’ll receive an endless river of deals from companies around the globe. Every time you fly a certain airline or stay in a certain hotel, check and see whether they have a rewards program.

In order to truly cut this corner, though, you should only sign up for a program that’s free. Also, this doesn’t mean signing up for credit cards, especially cards with annual fees and high APRs. Rewards programs are basically advertisements for specials and discounts, which should cost you no more than a membership card at your local supermarket.

  1. Use Award Wallet App

So what do you do with all those deals? Download the Award Wallet App and collect them into a single database. This app was designed to keep track of different deals, especially the ones that are about to expire. This way, you’ll only receive the information you want, and you can easily take advantage of discounted flights and hotel rooms while they’re still valid.

  1. Use Uber or Lyft

Here’s my favorite example: Pittsburgh International Airport has no train service into the city. The only public transportation is a cumbersome little bus called the 28X, and it takes nearly an hour to reach downtown Pittsburgh. A taxi costs about $50, and there’s no comprehensive shuttle service; each hotel has its own separate vehicles.

But Pittsburgh has set up a special taxi stand for Uber and Lyft drivers. You can step off your plane, grab your luggage, and order a ride. These mobile services drive airports and hotels crazy because it drastically cuts down on their income from specialized taxis and shuttles. But using Uber and Lyft often costs you a fraction of a Yellow Cab fare, and you’re more likely to meet a friendly driver with local flare and recommendations.

 

https://www.msccruisesusa.com/en-us/Discover-MSC/Cruise-Ships/MSC-Seaside.aspx

 

Need consumer help or travel information?

 

 

Here are the best two consumer websites that can you when problems come up.  Both of these websites has advocates that will help you!

Elliott

A site that advocates for you

Elliott

Elliott     A site that advocates for you

 

   Consumer Help & Tools

 

Clark Howard a Radio host  https://clark.com/

Clark Brian Howard is a popular consumer expert and host of the nationally syndicated Clark Howard Show. Wikipedia

 

In 2018, cruise ships may need to clean up their act.

More cruise ships failed health inspections in 2017 than in any year in the past decade, a MarketWatch analysis of reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. Last year, there were 14 instances in which a cruise ship failed a health inspection. One ship, operated by Ferries Del Caribe, failed inspections on two separate occasions. Only half of the ships have been re-inspected following their failing grade and received a passing score thus far, per the CDC’s website.

The violations that can contribute to a failing grade range in severity. They include everything from a seemingly minor citation, such as an improperly stored mop, to conduct that could endanger passengers’ health, including instances where crew worked despite having symptoms of gastrointestinal illness.

Carnival Cruise Lines CCL, +0.10%  operated five of the ships that received failing grades — and three of those grades were handed down in November and December alone. So far in 2018, Carnival has had an additional ship, the Carnival Liberty, fail an inspection. In these instances, inspectors reported fruit flies near a buffet, cleaning solution that didn’t contain chlorine, and cleaned coffee carafes that were stored near soiled items, among other issues. Of the six ships that received failed grades, three have passed subsequent re-inspections, according to Carnival and the CDC.

“We take these inspections very seriously and share lessons learned and best practices with every ship in our fleet,” Carnival said in a statement. “Our most important focus is always the safety and well-being of our guests. We remain confident that our shipboard operations, especially in food handling and preparation, are of the highest quality and we are always committed to delivering an exceptional experience to our guests.”

Don’t miss: The dark side of cruises

Though the number of failed inspections represents just a fraction of the industry’s overall performance — nearly 250 inspections were performed in 2017 — it’s a significant uptick from recent years. In 2016, only two ships received a failing grade in a CDC inspection. The last time the number of inspections resulting in failing grades reached double digits was in 2013 with 10 instances, the only other such occurrence in the past 10 years. In 2011 and 2007, no ships received a failing grade.

The failed health inspections come as more travelers than ever are turning to cruises for their vacations. In 2018, 27.2 million passengers are expected to travel on cruises, up 5% from 2016 and 53% over the past 10 years, according to the Cruise Line Industry Association.

The Cruise Line Industry Association said that cruise lines work voluntarily with the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program “to better understand incidents, effectively address incidents, and continually evolve best practices.” “The cruise industry has a long history of ongoing review and improvement,” the trade organization said in a statement. “We will continue to seek out opportunities to enhance industry best practices.”

 

 

How the inspections work

Periodic inspections are conducted as part of the Vessel Sanitation Program by the U.S. Public Health Service under the auspices of the CDC. The inspections are unannounced and occur while a cruise ship is docked at a U.S. port — each ship under the program’s jurisdiction will receive at least two inspections a year.

Between one and four inspectors will scrutinize a ship to ensure it is in compliance with current operations guidelines, paying particular attention to eight main areas on the vessel: hotel accommodations, swimming pools, dining rooms and kitchens, child activity centers, potable water systems, medical facilities, ventilation systems and other common areas on the ship.

Beyond ensuring maintenance and cleanliness, inspectors look to determine whether ship personnel work within specified protocol, including documenting incidents of gastrointestinal illness.

That’s important on cruise ships, where viruses can quickly spread between passengers in close quarters, leading to incidents such as a recent stomach bug outbreak that sickened nearly 200 people aboard Royal Caribbean Cruises’RCL, -0.19%  Ovation of the Seas.

Also see: How to hurricane-proof a Caribbean or Florida vacation

Based on the inspectors’ findings, ships are scored on a 100-point scale, with scores below 86 considered a failing grade. If major violations are found, the ship will be required to correct them immediately.

Ships that receive failing grades are given a re-inspection “within a reasonable time period,” according to the CDC. Generally, ships remain in service until the reinspection is perform, but the program can advise a ship not to sail if particularly egregious violations are uncovered, such as failure to properly dispose of sewage or an inability to chlorinate drinking water.

The program is funded by the cruise industry through fees collected for each inspection — the fees range from $1,495 to $17,940, with ships paying a larger fee based on their size.

Unlike with restaurants where patrons can sometimes find health inspection grades posted in the windows, cruise ships travelers must seek out cruise ship inspection results via the CDC’s website.

Why the inspection results aren’t necessarily foolproof

The exact reason behind the sudden uptick in failed inspection isn’t clear, said Ross Klein, a professor in the School of Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, who tracks operational incidents involving cruise ships. “The frequency of ships not passing has certainly varied over the years,” Klein said. “I’m not sure if ships are being less vigilant or if the people conducting the inspections are being more vigilant.”

(The CDC did not immediately provide comment regarding potential reasons behind the increase in failed inspections.)

A failed grade’s importance is all the more questionable when one delves into the detailed reports for ships that have actually passed inspections, Klein said. “You can get 100% but there can still be a number of citations for things that were not up to standards,” he said. “So it could be that certain inspectors are being less flexible.”

Read more: Your airline overhead bins may now be reserved

For instance, one ship that received a 100% score was cited for storing boxes of fruit juice near raw egg shells and for one crew member working while showing symptoms of gastroenteritis.

And incidents of illness outbreaks aboard cruise ships aren’t necessarily correlated with failed grades on inspections, as a ship’s crew isn’t always to blame for the spread of an illness among people onboard. The CDC reported 11 outbreaks of gastrointestinal illnesses aboard cruise ships last year — only two of those incidents occurred on ships that had received failing grades at some point in the year. And there were 13 outbreaks in 2016, despite there being far fewer failed inspections.

Perhaps the biggest flaw with the Vessel Sanitation Program is one that it cannot solve alone: The program only has jurisdiction over ships that make port in the U.S. “There are few other countries throughout the world doing similar inspections, so American passengers traveling throughout the world on cruise ships won’t have the same guarantees that they ships will be as clean and safe,” Klein said.

Despite its flaws, Klein was adamant that the Vessel Sanitation Program had value. “The program has forced ships to maintain a certain level of standards,” he said. “It is indispensable.”

 

 

 

Mar.29.2018 / 3:27 AM ET

Airline passengers check-in for their flight at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Nov. 23, 2011 in Houston.David J. Phillip / AP file

Under the Trump administration and the current leadership in Congress, “regulation” has become a dirty word. But in reality, these laws and regulations are what give regular people something like a fair shake when dealing with deep-pocketed corporations.

I should know: It was federal regulation that netted me a $10,000 airline voucher when I was bumped from a recent flight.

Airline passengers are, by now, used to the oversold flight drill: When a flight is oversold, a gate agent will usually offer a travel voucher worth a couple of hundred dollars to any volunteer who is willing to give up their seat. But, many of them probably don’t know what happens when no one takes the offer. On a recent United flight out of Washington Dulles, I saw first-hand: The agent began the boarding process, but added the unusual disclaimer that, since there were no volunteers, the lowest fare passenger would be pulled out of the boarding line and could be denied a seat on the plane.

US Airways patrons talk as they stand in line at the ticket counter at Greater Pittsburgh International Airport on March 18, 2007 in Imperial, Pa. Keith Srakocic / AP File

When it was my turn to have my ticket scanned, I heard the dreaded words: “You are the lowest fare passenger. You need to step aside.”

I was “denied boarding involuntarily” and, initially, offered a $2,000 voucher and a seat on the next available flight. But then I was presented with a form to sign, affirming that I had volunteered to give up my seat.

That’s when I paused: I was denied boarding by the airline, so I didn’t understand why I was asked to sign a form saying that I volunteered. When I questioned the gate agents, I was given a pamphlet that explained the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations concerning my rights as a bumped flier. It informed me that that it’s not illegal for airlines to oversell flights and the airline was, in fact, allowed to bump me for being the lowest fare passenger. But it also informed me that I was, by law, eligible for monetary compensation — not just a travel voucher — as a result of the denied boarding and delay in reaching my destination.

A passenger walks past a Delta Airlines 747 aircraft in McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport on Jan. 21, 2010 in Romulus, Mich. Paul Sancya / AP File

When I decided to ask for the cash option to which I was entitled under federal law (about $650) instead of the $2,000 voucher, an agent offered an increasingly valuable voucher. Eventually, their offer topped out at $10,000. While I’m still not sure why the agent offered the maximum amount allowed under her employer’s policy instead of the much lower cash option, I walked away feeling pretty happy.

Still, the experience left me wondering what I — or anyone — would’ve done without the rules that require airlines to compensate the passenger left behind at the gate when flights are oversold. The current administration has already reversed protections meant to empower airline passengers: Last year, Trump-appointed Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao dropped a proposed rule that would have required airlines to disclose upfront any fees for checked and carry-on bags.

Without strong agency oversight and without laws to protect consumers, airlines and other industries would be free to act with complete impunity when it comes to American consumers and their rights. That’s why it’s key for us to speak out and to vote for lawmakers that believe in and support strong consumer protections that keep us safe — and protect our pocketbooks.

And if you’re wondering how you can score a big-value voucher the next time you’re bumped off a flight: Ask for the cash — and thank the U.S. Department of Transportation.

 

 

Venice restaurant bill outrages Japanese tourists

 

 

 

 

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionFrom mouth-watering steak to eye-watering bill in Venice

The mayor of Venice has voiced outrage over the €1,100 (£970; $1,347) bill that four Japanese tourists say they had to pay for four steaks, a plate of fried fish, water and service.

The four students complained to police after getting the eye-watering bill at a restaurant near St Mark’s Square.

Three women with them chose another restaurant – but even they ended up paying €350 for three plates of seafood pasta, Italian media report.

The mayor has vowed to get justice.

“We will thoroughly examine this episode, we’ll check to see if the complaint was made properly,” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.

“If this disgraceful episode is confirmed, we’ll do all we can to punish those responsible. We are for justice – always!”

The four Japanese men complained to police on returning to Bologna, where they are students. Their case has been taken up by Marco Gasparinetti, spokesman for a Venice residents’ forum called “Gruppo 25 Aprile”.

Image copyrightAFPImage captionSpectacular St Mark’s Square is a highlight of any Venice tour

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Italian media did not name the restaurant, but said it was owned by a Chinese woman and run by an Egyptian.

According to Mr Gasparinetti, only 1.1% of restaurants in that part of Venice are owned by locals, and the figure is 50% in the historic centre as a whole.

He said Gruppo 25 Aprile would post advice for tourists this week on Facebook to help them avoid such a “mockery”. There have been many cases of restaurants overcharging tourists in Venice, he said.

 

 

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/news/symphony-of-the-seas-worlds-largest-cruise-ship0/

 

 

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/news/symphony-of-the-seas-worlds-largest-cruise-ship0/

 

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/how-ryanair-is-taking-over-the-world/

 

 

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/articles/south-pacific-on-a-luxury-cargo-ship/

 

 

 

 

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