Being your travel advisor is more than offering you enchanting vacations to the far reaches of the globe. It also involves offering you personal support and helpful advice to enhance all your travel experiences, whether near or far.
The Travel Tips below are chock-full of important information that will help you travel the world safely and efficiently. Our agency simply wants you to have the best experiences possible, wherever you travel.
Kaleidoscope Travel & Cruise
Tips for getting into airport lounges
Airports can test the nerves of even the most well-balanced traveler. There are places, however, where calm and tranquility reign – where a comfortable seat is always available, fresh coffee and snacks await, and a glass of prosecco can be had a moments’ notice. We are talking, of course, about airport lounges. Rack up several hundred thousand air miles on the same airline, and you’re sure to get an invitation to join the club. For these rest of us, there are other options, and given the benefits, they’re worth exploring.
1. Join a Lounge Network
Depending on how often and where you fly, joining a lounge network such as Priority Pass might be your best option. Priority Pass offers access to over 1,000 worldwide lounges for an annual fee of $99 with a per visit fee of $27 (alternatively, an annual fee of $399 gets you unlimited access).
2. Buy a Day Pass
Have you ever been stuck at an airport for hours on end? Next time, a day pass to a lounge might be your saving grace. Prices vary considerably between airlines, but for around $50 you can have a day’s worth of food and drink, free Wi-Fi, and a quiet little corner to call your own.
3. Use Your Credit Card
Several credit cards, including the American Express Platinum card and the United MileagePlus Explorer card, offer free or reduced-cost lounge access. The drawback is that these cards often come with higher annual fees, but added benefits such as travel insurance, priority boarding and free checked bags might make the upfront payout worthwhile.
4. Upgrade Your Ticket
Buy an international business or a first-class ticket and more than likely you’ll also receive complimentary lounge access. This can be a particularly nice perk on long haul flights, as most international airport lounges have private shower rooms where you can freshen up after your flight.
What information to leave at home“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst” is a mantra to live by when traveling. Natural disasters and civil unrest derail the best of plans, but more often it’s the mundane things that disrupt our travel – a lost wallet, a bottle of prescription medicine left on the bathroom counter, a hotel reservation that can’t be found. Err on the side of caution by leaving vital information with a trustworthy friend, coworker or family member. More than likely you’ll never need it, but if the unexpected should arise, you’ll be thankful you planned ahead.
What information should you leave behind?
- A copy of your passport and visas: If your passport is lost or stolen, a copy can help the local embassy replace your documents faster, saving you time and money.
- Credit card information: Having someone at home who knows how to quickly cancel or replace your credit cards can be invaluable if your wallet should go missing.
- Copies of hotel and car rental reservations, train and plane tickets: Help those who might need to help you, give them the information they need to find you as quickly as possible.
- Copy of prescriptions and contact information for your doctor: Having a prescription filled abroad is not always easy. Should you need an emergency refill, access to this information can save time and confusion.
How to sleep better on an overnight flight
Few among us are lucky enough to sleep well on an overnight flight. But just because you can’t get a full eight-hours of quality shut-eye doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a night of endless sitcom reruns. Arrive at your destination ready to go with these tried-and-true tactics.
Splurge on an Upgrade
Your best chance for a relaxing night’s sleep is by paying for the privilege. Those lie-flat beds may be expensive, but for travelers who can’t afford to arrive groggy, they’re your best bet. If a business class ticket isn’t in the cards, at least shell out for a seat with extra leg room.
Wearing loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabric is obvious, but being comfortable on an overnight flight also requires you to adapt to bewildering swings in temperature. Our expert advice: wear layers.
Keep Your Feet Warm
Nothing inhibits sleep like cold feet, and if you’ve ever flown overnight, you know those under-seat drafts can be brutal. Protect your toes by donning a fresh pair of warm socks, preferably wool, before you settle down for the night.
Turn Off the Screen
Research shows that limiting screen time before bed improves sleep quality. The same rule applies on planes. Give your body a fighting chance by turning off all LED devices and mobile phones.
It’s All About the Accessories
Sometimes it’s the little things that help the most. Conveniently, those little things all fit in a small carry-on. An inflatable neck pillow, sleeping mask, pashmina and ear plugs or noise reduction headphones can make a world of difference.
Eat a Light Meal
Stress, anxiety, excitement…these are only some of the emotions stirred by air travel. Add a heavy meal to the mix and you have a recipe for a long night of disturbed sleep. Help relax your mind and body by eating a healthy well-balanced meal.
How to Become a Better Smartphone Photographer
Want to increase those likes, shares and comments on your vacation photos this year? Instead of packing an expensive camera, grab your smartphone and follow these easy tips and tricks from the pros.
Brighter is better
Natural light is your friend. To get a great photo, put yourself in a position to get the best shot. If you're indoors, set up your shot next to a large window. However, if you're outside in the mid afternoon, direct sunlight can be too harsh on your subject. Look for creative ways to shade your subject to keep your photo balanced. You can also aim to shoot outside during the fabled “golden hour”- during sunrise and sunset.
Avoid too much Zoom
Extreme zooming on any subject can create an unwanted grain to any photo. If you need to zoom, wait until you already have the image you want and then zoom and crop in the editing phase.
Focus is Key
Your camera's autofocus could be doing your photos more harm than good. Luckily, most smart phones allow you to pinpoint your photo's focus directly from your palm. Set up your shot, and then touch and hold the main focal point on your screen until you see the yellow Auto Exposure/Auto Focus Lock appear. Take your photo as normal, and the final image should clearly highlight your subject.
Once you've selected your favorites, it's time to make them shine. There are dozens of options and free apps for your phone that will give your photos a professional edge, here are a few.
VSCO Cam: This app comes with its own filters and allows you to subtly adjust photo elements. For example, if you take a photo that's too dark, this app can help lighten the photo without retaking it.
Snapseed: Auto-correct photos with a tap, or enhance them yourself with this app. This app also offers filters and special effects to polish your photos.
Pic Stitch: Make your own tiny collages with this easy-to-use app. It's as simple as choosing your photos, choosing your layout, and sharing on social media. This is a great way to share several images without overcrowding your followers' feeds.
While filters and special effects offer exciting details to your photos, take care not to go overboard. Sometimes less is more.
Airline Tips from the Pros
There's nothing like a fabulous flight at the right price to kick off your exciting vacation. Here are some tips from our pros to make sure you and your luggage arrive in one piece.
Make Sure Your Luggage Arrives with You
While the overall number of lost bags may be decreasing, it still happens from time to time. To up the chances of your baggage arriving as soon as you do, consider investing in a RFID tracker, such as ReboundTag. These small, portable tags (or microchips) can be clipped onto your bag for an added level of security. If lost, the chip will automatically update you with location information by SMS or email.
There's no surefire way to avoid flight delays, but there are some ways to increase your odds of an on-time departure. If you book a flight earlier in the day, there's a better chance of your flight leaving on time, weather permitting. You can also consult resources like Flightstats.com to help determine which flights are more frequently delayed.
Skip the In-flight Wi-Fi
Pricing can sometimes be complicated with the in-flight Internet and the service is often slow and frequently disrupted. If you have to use it, opt for the cheaper package to cut costs. Important to note, many US airline carriers lose connection as soon as they hit international skies, so keep that in mind before you click buy. If you can, consider enjoying the in-flight entertainment (if offered) or simply disconnect for some moments of peace.
These tips will help you enjoy your next flight without breaking the bank. Happy flying!