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USELFUL LINKS:
State Department Travel Information
FlightAware Flight Tracking
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Important news before you travel:

If you are in the United States you should be aware of certain Travel Advisories which are given to citizens who choose to travel abroad. These advisories can affect you and may even change your travel plans. So before you go to the airport you should always check to see if your destination country is on the List of the United States Government Travel Advisories.

For more information: Check out the link below which will send you to the US Governments official website.


https://travel.state.gov
TIPS ON MAKING HOTEL RESERVATIONS:


When traveling for business or fun, there’s nothing worse than thinking you have a reservation and learning your hotel reservations been lost, your room has one bed and not two bedrooms, or you thought your check-in time was noon, only to find out it is really 3:00pm. To help avoid these things from happening, there are a few helpful hotel reservation tips seasoned travelers recommend:

Always use a credit card when making a hotel reservation. Using a credit card offers the guest some level of protection should the hotel stay go awry. Any disputes a guest may have with the hotel, or with the billing can more easily be rectified through the credit card company. The card company will act as a mediator once their client can show effort to resolve the dispute. Additionally, if a dispute cannot be resolved, the credit card company has the authority to remove the charge from a client’s bill. If cash were paid, a hotel guest would have no recourse. Note: If you don’t use your own credit card to secure a reservation, be aware that the person whose name is on the card will be responsible for showing the card and signing at check in. If the card does not belong to the person staying at the hotel, notify the desk before leaving home (prior to arrival) and ask what their identification procedure is. They may accept a letter from the credit card holder authorizing use, and a copy of both the front and back of the card.

Ask for deals/discounts at each hotel. Many hotels offer corporate, AAA, senior, or even mid-week/off-season discounts. If one is not offered - ask about them. Many hotels now offer ‘rewards’ programs and some hotels reduce rates by $50 or more, for simply signing up for their program. If making reservations online, look for internet-only rates and shop various websites to find the best deals. Travel agents can often secure unadvertised specials or late check-in opportunities which can translate into huge savings.

When making reservations speak clearly and repeat spelling of all names. There have been many reservations lost because of inaccurate spelling and guests have been told they did not have rooms when a hotel or an entire city was booked to capacity. If any special requests are made, verify them and if possible get them in writing. Also make sure to get the name of the employee. Verify everything spell names and verify information/requests etc. Double check reservations prior to leaving for hotel and make sure names of all hotel employees you’ve spoken to are taken.

When reservations are made, changed and cancelled-confirmation numbers are given. Make sure all numbers are kept in a safe place until credit cards are billed and all charges are verified. Cancellation and confirmation numbers are often the difference between being charged for a hotel reservation that was cancelled, the possibility of a free upgrade when the hotel overbooks and you can prove when your reservation was made, and being stranded away from home without a room for the night.
Discuss hotel policies prior to making reservations, and verify them at check-in. Some hotels require credit cards at check in for any hotel charges, such as telephone usage, room service, meals in the hotel, or even take -out arranged through the hotel with area restaurants, etc. If a credit card is not available, a cash/check deposit maybe required for any services/fees that may accrue during the hotel stay. Determine when check-in/check-out times are, when cancellation policies go into affect and verify occupancy limits if staying in a room with multiple occupants.

Remember these hotel reservation tips when scheduling your travel plans. Whether by internet, through a travel agent, or by telephone, it pays to research the hotel and be meticulous when making arrangements. A little pre-planning when making reservations can save major headaches when traveling away from home.
AIRPORT TIPS YOU CAN USE

To make your way to a flight on time and to get throught security as quickly as possible you can try the following tips:

1) Sign up. The TSA's PreCheck, a trusted traveler program, has spread to more cities across the U.S. and is now available at some 40 airports. Members of the program are pre-screened and can then whiz through security, sometimes without having to take off their shoes or remove laptops from cases. The U.S. Customs Department's Global Entry program is another shortcut for frequent international travelers, especially as the federal government contracts and customs lines potentially get longer.

Critical Security Checkpoints:
To make clearing security as easy as possible...
-Review the guidelines for liquids and gels on your Flight carriers Carry-On Baggage page before your flight.
-Have your government-issued photo identification and boarding pass ready for inspection.
-Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, since all footwear must be x-rayed.
-Remember to place all coats and jackets in a bin for x-ray screening.
-Make your laptop easily accessible for inspection.
-Avoid wearing anything metal or place these items in your carry-on baggage for screening

2) Check flight status. Although this is obvious, many people often fail to do this one simple but critical thing.

I recommend doing the same before abandoning your ride or your car just before you head to the terminal; flight status updates change by the minute, so a last-second check is always a good idea.

Most airlines will text you flight status updates if you sign up on their Web sites, and sites like Flightaware.com do the same by text, on the Web and through smartphone apps.

4) Check in online. Especially if you are not checking bags, this can save you a heap of time. I have found that when checking bags, having the pre-printed boarding pass in your hand doesn't help all that much, and check-in agents often reissue another boarding pass when you check in your bags -- but it sure doesn't hurt.

5) Before you leave for the airport, put your ID, credit card and boarding pass (if applicable) in an easily accessible part of your wallet or bag. There are two reasons for this: one, by going through this exercise, you make sure that you don't leave home without these crucial items. Two, you don't waste your (and other people's) time fumbling around for them at the moment you need them.

Check the airport parking situation online. Knowing ahead of time where to park, which lots are open and how far they are from the terminal can save you a lot of anxiety on your drive in, as well as keep you safer as you navigate tortuous and almost always poorly marked airport ring roads. Additionally, during peak travel periods, lots fill up quickly, so you will want an alternate parking plan.

When you are ready to board always take inventory of what you will need to do when you get to the front of the security line. Do a quick mental review of everything you are wearing that you will need to remove (such as shoes, jewelry, watch, jacket), and what you have inside your carry-on bag that might need to be taken out (liquids, electronics). When you get to the front of the line, blast through your mental inventory and make it happen. Done well, you can go from fully clad for winter weather, with laptops and iPads in your bag, to a T-shirt, pants and socks, and all your sensitive electronics in their own bins, in seconds.

Using these tips will get you through the airport, on your flight and towards your destination as quickly as possible.

more traveler informaiton tips available at the TSA website:  https://www.tsa.gov/precheck/faq
GOING TO NEW YORK'S JFK?:

JFK airport has six operating airline terminals, surrounded by a dual ring of peripheral taxiways. More than 125 aircraft gates serve the terminals. The Central Terminal Area also includes a central heating and air-conditioning plant.

JFK airport also has an AIRTRAIN which opened in 2003, the light-rail service AirTrain connects JFK with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and New York City subway and bus lines. 

JFK is one of the world's leading international air cargo centers. The airport offers nearly 4 million square feet of modern, state-of-the-art cargo warehouse and office space. The entire air cargo area is designated as a Foreign-Trade-Zone. JFK serves the world's key air cargo markets though a strong mix of long-haul, direct and nonstop all-cargo aircraft and wide-body passenger aircraft flights....read more
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WHY WHISTLER SKI RESORT IS ONE OF
NORTH AMERICA'S BEST SKI DESTINATIONS




Located in the town of Whistler in British Columbia, Canada - Whistler's Ski resort  has almost 10,000 acres of ski terrain and is one of North America's most popular ski destinations. If you are thinking of going for a ski trip now is the best time to go is betweeen November and April. Although there is skiing available later than April it is not for serious skiers, due to the combination of marginal snow conditions and limited mechanized uplift. Within this time, you should definitely avoid November, as although occasionally there is good snow, more often than not it is too thin on the ground. So your choice is between the months from December to April. What are the main characteristics of each month?

In early December you will find some of the slopes deserted, great deals on accommodation and restaurants and a lottery with respect to snow. If you have come in a great early snow year, this will be a fabulous time to visit. If not, bring your rock skis and plan to spend some time in Whistler's great spas. Later in December, and especially over Christmas and New Year, you will pay the steepest prices of the season, have trouble getting a table in any of the good restaurants and stand in some brutal line-ups on the Harmony Chair. However you will experience the rush which goes with peak season in a top resort: the buzzing nightlife, the parades, the fireworks and the thrill of First Night in the Village.

January often has the best snowfalls of the year and it also offers discounted accommodation (you can safely wait to the last minute to get a great deal on a beautiful chalet or condo), and no lift lines, except on weekend powder days, when the locals will crowd the lifts lines at 8.00 to catch the fresh tracks. But it can be cold, and it gets dark early. January is the best month for hard-core skiers.

February and March are more crowded, but more mellow. Avoid Presidents Week in February and Spring Break in March and you could have the best of all worlds: plenty of time for snowfall accumulation to have built up, plenty of buzz in town but easy access to the best tables.

April is mainly for the British market, who come over in droves during their Easter holidays. The peculiarity of the April snow is that there is more of it at the top of the mountain, but less at the bottom, so don't bother to pay the premium for a ski-in, ski-out condo as it may not be possible. Last minute Whistler accommodation discounts are widely available in April.

In the non-skiing season you can pretty much write off the autumn: too cold to swim in the lakes and too much rain. May and June can be fabulous weather-wise; perfect conditions for white-water rafting in the snow run-off and great golfing weather. But you will probably have to leave it to July and August if you are looking for warm water in Whistler's beautiful lakes.

The Piccolo Express Lift on will run to the Piccolo peak from the bottom of Flute Bowl and will open up more than 1000 acres of the most spectacular high alpine terrain available in North America. This is terrain that has historically been available only to the hardiest of ski-mountaineers, since each vertical metre of descent into this legendary bowl had to be paid for with perhaps half a minute of hard climbing. And given that this lift will be 2112 metres long, with a vertical elevation of 509 metres - well, you can do the math. Flute Bowl will now become a hike-in, ski-out bowl thanks to the Piccolo lift.

The new acreage is a mixture of open bowls, deep snow and gladed sub-alpine terrain. It will appeal to advanced and intermediate skiers alike, since it will have both runs through the trees and wide open groomed areas. The path back to Whistler Village or Creekside will be via the Burnt Stew Trail to the bottom of Harmony Express. It is expected to provide significant relief to the frequent queues at Harmony. Plans call for construction to be completed within the summer of 2006 and for the lift, which will be a high-speed detachable quad, to be ready by November. Locals expect that the Piccolo lift will further extend the preference for Whistler over Blackcomb mountains by expert skiers.

The priciest restaurant in town is the Bear Foot Bistro, which also sports one of the world's most extensive and exclusive wine lists. Fancy sampling the legendary Chateau Cheval Blanc 1947, or a vertical tasting of Chateau Le Pin (the minuscule vineyard which commands a price premium over Pétrus in some years)? The Bear Foot is the place to go. The food is extremely good, but it is not quite up to the standards of the wine list, and it is also exceedingly pricey.

Long-time favourite of well-heeled locals is the Rim Rock Café, a little way out of the centre, where seafood and game top the menu. The ambience here is unmatched, with post and beam construction, a couple of log fires, discreet service and consistently excellent preparation.

If you prefer a more raucous atmosphere and if you love Italian food, the Trattoria di Umberto, or The Trat as it is universally known, is the place to be. The food is good but the warmth of your welcome is better and it is almost always party time in the evening. For a more subdued, formal-dining kind of Italian, go for Quattro where linen tablecloths and a hushed atmosphere accompany the excellent cuisine. The other Italians worth visiting are Il Caminetto di Umberto and La Rua.

If steak is what you are after, Hy's Steakhouse is unquestionably the place to be. Prime grain-fed Alberta beef finds its ideal counterpart in the subtly flavoured sauces conjured up by the Hy's kitchen.

New in town, but by no means happy to acknowledge the superiority of more established Whistler venues, is Fifty Two Eighty (the name refers to the vertical mile of skiing available on Blackcomb Mountain) in the Four Seasons Hotel.


more on Whistler


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