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.
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. A credit cards 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:
WAYS YOU CAN LOWER YOUR CAR INSURANCE PREMIUMS
Many people buy the cheapest car insurance policy without taking into account the reality of what they need. Because of soaring car insurance prices some people just want to be able to drive and can afford only so much insurance, so they settle for the cheapest priced insurance. If you have a business or property or any other assets, they may be in jeopardy if your insurance does not cover the damages you are liable for. So choosing the right amount of auto insurance coverage is crucial to your financial well being.
The best car insurance for you isn't necessarily the cheapest but one that reaches a balance between your coverage needs and budget. But, if you have many assets you should get enough liability coverage to protect them. For example: you have $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage and $100,000 in personal assets. If you're at fault in an accident, attorneys for the other party can go after you for the $50,000 in medical bills that aren't covered by your policy.
General recommendations for liability limits are $50,000 bodily injury liability for one person injured in an accident, $100,000 for all people injured in an accident and $25,000 property damage liability. So If you have no assets that an attorney can seek, don't buy coverage unnecessarily.
Your driving habits can also be a consideration in determining the coverage you need. If your past is filled with crumpled fenders, or if you have had speeding tickets, or if you make a long commute on a hazardous road every day, then you need to get more complete coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage that your car experiences in an accident or damage from hitting an inanimate object (a tree, light post or fence, for example). Comprehensive coverage addresses damage that didn't occur in a collision - such as from fire, theft or flood. It also covers damaged windshields.
A comprehensive insurance policy is the most common type that covers your car and the damage caused to other property. Cheaper third-party property damage is suited for cars typically worth less than about $5000, which covers the damage you cause to others but not your own car.
Ways to reduce your Auto Insurance Premium
-Shop around for insurers and cars if you are undecided. Get quotes on different cars, as premiums differ.
-Buy an affordable, mainstream car. The dearer and faster the car, the more expensive it is to insure.
-Get quotes online and finalise over the phone, if necessary. Most insurers offer a discounted online price and an over-the-phone price.
-Opt to pay your premium in an annual lump sum rather than in instalments that may attract a higher rate.
-For couples, ask if you can base the policy on the female/wife with male/husband listed as a nominated driver. Male drivers statistically are a higher risk.
-Consider increasing the excess to an amount with which you are comfortable and check whether this significantly reduces your premium.
-Multi-policy discounts may be available when a car or house and contents insurance is bundled.
-Disclose where your car is kept overnight (such as a locked garage, carport, secure car park) as this is a large risk factor for theft, consequently affecting your premium.
-Avoid finance, if possible, or inquire which options can affect your premium.
-Combine policies with one carrier. You may save money if you insure all your vehicles, including trailers and recreational vehicles, on a single policy. Your car premium also may go down if you buy homeowners’ or life insurance from the same company.
-Avoid vehicle modifications. This affects the performance and handling characteristics of a car and may also increase its appeal to thieves.
-Request a discount at renewal time. It is a competitive market and insurers want to retain customers.
-List nominated drivers on your policy and/or exclude younger drivers. Statistically, young male drivers are the highest risk and the premium increases accordingly.
-Encourage young drivers to build their own insurance rating by taking out a policy in their own name instead of being a listed driver on their parents' policy. Most insurers don't recognise the latter as insurance history and assume you have never had insurance and charge accordingly. However, many will acknowledge a claim-free history of third-party property cover and honour a rating/no-claim bonus as though you've always had comprehensive cover.
-Request higher deductibles. The deductible is the amount of money you have to fork over before your insurance policy comes to the rescue. By bumping your deductible up from $200 to $500, you could lower the cost of your collision and comprehensive coverage by 15 percent to 30 percent. By increasing it to $1,000, you could decrease that cost by at least 40 percent.
-Forgo coverage you don’t need. Think about dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage on older cars with a low market value. Such coverage often is not worth it because any claim you make probably won’t exceed the cost of the insurance and the deductible amount.
-Avoid duplicating medical coverage. If you already have good health, life and disability insurance, buy only the minimum personal injury protection required by the state where you live.
-Opt for safety gear. You can qualify for a discount on many policies if you have air bags, automatic seat belts, anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights. An approved alarm system or other anti-theft device can give you additional savings.
-Ask about other discounts. You also might be able to pay less if you’re older than 50 or 55 and/or retired; if you’ve had no accidents or moving violations in three years; or if you’re a longtime customer. more on premiums