With last minute travel, or reisen, you’ll find that prices tend to be much higher for cruises, flights, hotels, and car rentals. Fruehbucher (or the early booker) always gets the best deals, right? In many cases, yes! But now, there are some helpful online resources such as last minute or reisen sites that make it easier than ever for you to secure your travel arrangements at great prices, even at the last minute! Here are some tips for using these types of sites to save time and money.
Choose a Dependable Travel Booking Website
Look for a last minute or reisen website that offers “all-in-one” packages to the places you love to visit. A professional travel site should not only offer the best in deals, but also the best in quality. Be sure the hotels, flights (flugs), cruises (Kreuzfahrt), car rentals, and other services are not low-class services with poor quality and customer service. If possible, talk with other travelers who have used their services to find out their experience.
Features Every Last Minute or Reisen Website Should Have
The travel site should offer extensive searches and options to find the destination, pricing, and schedule you need. Some will offer last minute or reisen deals in packages that will save you money on all your major travel expenses. The site should have a charter flight section where you can choose the destination for your flight (flug), how many passengers, your departure and arrival dates, and where you can compare pricing all in one place. Many airlines have realized the benefits of offering last minute airfare deals on the Internet. Last minute or reisen sites can locate these flights for you so you won’t have to spend hours on research.
Some sites will even allow you to secure a car rental for when you arrive at your destination. This is very helpful if traveling to a foreign land where you will not know how to get around. Some car rental services will bring the car to you at the airport when you arrive.
Tip: Be sure to study the country’s “rules of the road” before driving your rental car if traveling to a foreign country.
Another great feature to look for on a last minute or reisen website is hotel booking. Securing your hotel in advance can also save time and money if you use the right travel services. Some even have a hotel voucher system for even more savings. You can choose your destination and type of hotel to compare prices and quality of service. You can also find a hotel that is located in the area you wish to visit for attractions or locate a secluded luxury resort if you want a romantic getaway.
Booking Kreuzfahrt (or Cruises) Online
Whether you want to spend your entire vacation on a cruise (Kreuzfahrt) or take shorter cruise during your vacation, you can also easily book these online at a last minute or reisen website. Whether it’s a cruise in the Caribbean or some other destination, ordering Kreuzfahrt packages in advance online can relieve many stresses. You’ll be able to research the different types of cruises, their schedules, destinations and stops along the way, and compare service and prices – all from your own living room!
Experience New Travel Destinations
A great benefit of making your travel plans online is that travel sites usually offer packages to places around the world. You can experience new destinations you never dreamed of such as Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Egypt, India, and many other places. Find remote luxury resorts for your honeymoon that feature nature at its best. Or, tour historic places if you’re a history buff. Hike the Swiss Alps or swim along the gorgeous beaches of Greece! The possibilities are unlimited when you use online resources to book your travel needs.
Whether seeking last minute or reisen deals or making your travel flight, or flug, plans far in advance, you can now secure all your travel plans without ever leaving your home!
BASIC SAFETY RULES
Research the country of your destination, get as much information as possible about the places you intend to visit. Get yourself familiar with local customs and regulations. Travelmake’s Destination Guides is a good place to start. Our online Travel Store offers a range of safety items for travelers. Here you can also purchase detailed maps, informative guidebooks, first aid kits and other items necessary for making your trip safe.
– Obtain travel insurance, preferably with the plan that provides direct, immediate payment to the medical provider.
– Before you leave, photocopy your documents and tickets so it would be easier to replace them if they are lost or stolen.
– Keep a low profile. Try to blend in with the locals as best you can. Leave expensive jewelry and precious valuables at home.
– Do not discuss your travel plans publicly.
– Stay alert, especially in high-risk countries.
– Do not expose your valuables (money, documents, jewelry, etc.), keep them locked in the hotel safe.
– Carry only small amounts of cash.
– Wear a consealed money belt, keep your essential documents and money in it.
– Each time you use your credit card, keep an eye on it until it is returned to you. Check credit cards when they are returned.
– Never leave your personal items unattended.
– Respect local customs and regulations.
– If you get into trouble, contact the nearest embassy.
– If you are unfamiliar with the local language, write down some key phrases in the local language.
– In case of theft, get a police report immediately if you’ll be making an insurance claim. Thefts of traveler’s checks must be reported within 24 hours.
AIR TRAVEL SAFETY TIPS
Check in as fast as you can and do not delay in the main terminal area. Do not discuss your travel plans with fellow passengers, crew, or even traveling companions. Get yourself familiar with exits and safe areas. Try to stay away from unattended baggage. Verify baggage claim checks before and after flight. Never leave your luggage unattended. Stay calm and alert. Try to occupy a window seat in the coach section. This position is less accessible by hijackers.
HOTEL SAFETY TIPS
Get a card with the hotel’s name and address. You can show it to a cab driver if you get lost. Stay in hotels on well-traveled streets in safer areas of the city of your destination.
Lower level floors are safer in case of fire. Although, avoid the first floor as it is the best location for burglars.
Get yourself familiar with the location of stairways, fire escapes routes, emergency exits and alarms.
Keep your hotel room door locked at all times. Before opening the door to a stranger, verify who it is. Never invite strangers into your hotel room.
Never leave your valuables (a camera, documents, jewelry, etc.) lying around where hotel employees can see them.
Before leaving you room for the day, put the “Do not disturb” sign on your door to give the impression that the room is occupied. When you are ready for the room to be cleaned, call the maid.
Use the hotel safe to store valuables.
Carry the room key with you, do not leave it at front desk.
Do not use your name when answering the phone.
When returning to your hotel at night, use the main entrance. Be observant before entering parking lots.
HOTEL FIRE SAFETY TIPS
If a fire starts take your key before leaving the room, as most hotel doors lock automatically. Do not use elevators during a fire. If you encounter heavy smoke in the stairwell, do not try to run through it, you may not make it. Turn around and walk up to the roof fire exit. If all exits are blocked or if there is heavy smoke in the hallway, you will be better off staying in your room. If there is smoke in your room, open a window and turn on the bathroom vent. If your phone works, call the desk to tell them where you are, or call the fire department to report your location in the building. Hang a bed sheet out the window as a signal. Fill the bathtub with water to use for fire fighting. Bail water onto your door or any hot walls. Stuff wet towels into cracks under and around doors where smoke can enter. Place a wet towel over your mouth and nose to help filter out smoke. If you are above the second floor, you will be better off fighting the fire in your room than jumping.
STREET SAFETY TIPS
Buy a map, familiarize yourself with the city and location of your hotel. With the help of hotel employees locate unsafe areas of the city and avoid visiting them by any means.
Do not stay out on the streets late at night. When walking, remain on wide, well-lit streets. If necessary, arrange for taxi service. Watch your drinks being poured. Never accept a drink from a stranger. Get advice from your hotel workers about reputable restaurants and other entertainment.
Never resist armed robbery, it could lead to violence.
We wish you a successful and safe trip!
Bulgaria offers pleasures for each one’s taste. Thinking of an active holiday? Bulgaria has it – swimming, skiing, riding, climbing, hunting, fishing… Thinking of relaxing – amazing nature, sunny beaches, healing spas, monasteries and churches, hospitable towns and villages… Ancient culture, endless beaches and an emerald sea, high mountains with marvellous gorges and caves, clear lakes and rivers full of fish, wide valleys, healing springs, ancient culture, hospitable people, tempting cuisine and wines, diverse flora and fauna…
All accommodation places in Bulgaria have been categorised according to the 5-star international system. Privatisation has had a favourable impact and today the country is proud of hotels and restaurants that meet the modern world standard.
When you are ready for that once in a lifetime experience of an Bulgarian vacation, consider a private home rental for your source of lodging. Hotels can be nice, but staying in a private home rented for the occasion can give you a chance to see the real Bulgaria. Explore the countryside, walk into the village and visit with the residents, and see what it feels like to actually go home, to a cabin or villa at the end of the day, living as the Bulgarians do. Or, try a beach house if that suits you or an apartment if you prefer a more urban setting. Getting to know the local people by living among them for an extended stay of a few weeks will give you a chance to learn some of the language, or if you already speak Bulgarian to brush up on your skills. It will also give you a chance to learn local history in a very unique way, from the people themselves. You will appreciate all of the similarities of Bulgarian culture with your own, and learn to appreciate the differences as well. The Bulgarians are a wonderful, friendly people with a rich culture and history. Taking the time to live among them, getting to know them as friends and neighbors, is truly an experience you will always remember.
Private homes for rent to vacationers in Bulgaria can be found in various price ranges. If you are looking for luxury, there are villas available. If something more rustic suits your taste and budget, then smaller homes and even old farmhouses are available to appeal to all tastes. Just as an example, one property includes two bedrooms, queen size beds, kitchen, laundry area, bathroom, central eat and the satellite television, telephone and VCR that most tourists are used to having. Imagine though the coziness and comfort of coming back to the house after a day of sight seeing to sit by the fire place, drinking a glass of a local wine, having a light dinner of pasta, and enjoying the peace and quiet of your surroundings. Staying in a hotel in a major city will certainly show you the tourist hot spots, but staying in a private home will show you the real Bulgaria.
There are so many wonderful places to visit in Bulgaria like:
– Nessebar – beautiful small town on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast a few hours south of Varna. Another one of Bulgaria’s many UNESCO world heritage sites.
– Sozopol – together with Nessebar these are the two sea towns with traditional houses and ancient dig sites.
– Bansko – a beautiful old village in the Pirin mountains with refurbished homes, stone wall, and cobblestone streets, but increasingly overtaken by resort hotels. Good place for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. The birthplace of the Bulgarian revival movement. If you want a true mountain village experience, there are a few other villages nearby from which to choose. In the beginning of august an annual Jazz festival is being held in the town. Skiiers and Snowboarders could find BanskoSki useful.
No visa is required for entry for citizens of the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
However, foreigners have to register at the police after 72 hours. If you have booked with a travel agency, this will be taken care of. If not – usually, your hotel will handle the necessary paperwork (ask). If you do not stay in a hotel, you will need to go to the police and take the tedious task of registering on your own. Especially for UK and US citizens, Bulgaria is really cracking down on this. Failure to register might mean a 2000 Leva fine (about $1200 US). Also take care that you have an entry stamp in your passport, otherwise your exit could be quite troublesome.
Bulgaria offers tourist attractions all around the year. Most popular are summer seaside resorts, along the entire Black Sea coastline. In winter numerous ski resorts are there to attract tourists. There are many spa, trekking and historical destinations that offer incredibly rich variety of experiences.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands of mineral water springs around the country, so this is something you’d better taste and drink. Ayrian and boza are two traditional Balkan non-alcoholic beverages.
Start with the basics. Anyone who wants to enjoy a hassle-free trip has to start with the basic concern of any traveler – how to handle travel reservations. Here are a number of tips that may help:
Decide on a travel plan – specific destination, how many days, what activities, etc. The attention given to this first step will ensure smooth sailing in making the travel arrangements.
If the destination is a foreign country, make sure all information that would be needed in making reservations are on hand.
If booking on online, use a reservation site where ticket prices for all airlines are shown so a comparison can be readily seen. If booking for more than one person, check also the ticket price for both a single passenger and multiple passengers. Some airlines quote different prices.
If notification of your reservation is done by e-mail, make sure that the ticket price quoted is the same. Sometimes, some airlines claim the airfare booked earlier is no longer available.
Ask if the rate is a flat rate or per person. Ask how many beds are in the room and what the size is. Make sure to finalize a rate before getting off the phone.
Ask about tax rates that would be added.
Will breakfast be included with the price of the room? What time is it served and what is included.
Are there guarantee and cancellation policies? Most hotels require guarantee for reservation with a credit card. Will they ask a check deposit?
If this is a standard reservation, make sure there is a confirmation number.
Anyone who wants to enjoy a stress-free trip has to start with the basic concern of any traveler – how to effectively handle travel reservations. Below are a number of advice that may help:
– Decide on a travel plan – specific destination, how many days, what activities, routes, and other details. The attention given to this first step will ensure smooth sailing in making the necessary travel arrangements.
– If the destination is a foreign country, make sure all information that would be needed in making reservations are on hand.
How about booking your airline tickets? Below are some airline reservation tips you can use:
– If notification of your reservation is done by e-mail, make sure that the ticket price quoted is the same. Sometimes, some airlines claim the airfare booked earlier is no long available.
– If booking on online, use a reservation site where ticket prices for all airlines are shown so a comparison can be readily seen.
– If booking for more than one person, check also the ticket price for both a single passenger and multiple passengers. Some airlines quote different prices.
When it comes to reserving your hotel rooms, below are some helpful tips:
– Ask if the rate is a flat rate or per person.
– Ask how many beds are in the room and what the size is.
– Make sure to finalize a rate before getting off the phone.
– Ask about tax rates that would be added.
– Will breakfast be included with the price of the room? What time is it served and what is included.
– Are there guarantee and cancellation policies? Most hotels require guarantee for reservation with a credit card. Will they ask a check deposit?
– If this is a standard reservation, make sure there is a confirmation number.
Follow these top tips for a stress-free and enjoyable travel experience!
ARE WE THERE YET?
If I had a dollar for every time my 8 year-old said this in the course of his life, I could probably fill up my car with gasoline for a year. It is a question my son constantly asks, and it is one I asked my parents more times than I’d like to admit. And, while there is a valuable lesson to learn on patience here, teaching that to an 8 year-old when in the midst of a multi-state trip is not the most ideal time to do it. So, distraction tactics are necessary.
So, on a quest to at least curb this question that, when asked, sounds like the proverbial fingernails on a chalkboard, I found a few nuggets of wisdom to use with my son that allow him to enjoy the trip as well as myself.
1. The Alphabet Game – this is, by far, our favorite game. There are multiple variations, but here are a couple of our “standards”. Play the A to Z Animal game where, starting with letter A, everyone tries to name as many animals as they can that begin with that letter. When no more can be named, move on to the next letter. Another variation of this is the A to Z Sign game. Starting with letter A, each person searches for a sign with that letter. Once a sign is found, move on to the next letter.
2. Bury Your Animals – this game works great for long, country road trips.
Each person (or team if everyone is playing) keeps up with the number of animals seen out their side of the car. But, when a cemetery is passed (or a sign indicating a cemetery), all animals counted for that person have to be “buried” and counting starts over at 1 again.
3. I Spy – a timeless classic in the travel game world, there are many variations on this. You can spy by color, by shape, by amount, by clues.
My younger son LOVES this game – it is one we play quite often, no matter how long or short the trip!
4. Map It – State maps can be found relatively inexpensively (or even free at state visitor centers). Acquire one for your young traveler, and have him or her map out their route as you travel. As you pass landmarks on the map (highways and roadside parks), move your “track” from a pencil or pen along the route to indicate your position. This is an awesome visual for seeing exactly how far along on the trip you are.
5. Pull Out The Paper – We are notorious for our mail during trips, so have the kids make cards along the way to send to themselves! They will get a thrill creating their own mail, and imagine their surprise when they receive it in the mailbox after coming back home!
While these ideas haven’t eliminated the “are we there yet” syndrome, they have significantly reduced it. Now I get to hear, “Let’s do that again!” which is a lovely melody compared to the other.
Greece can satisfy even the most demanding of its visitors. It has beautiful scenery and great man made establishments, it has sea but also mountains, it has archaeological sites and night clubs as well, it has crowded areas but it also has nice and quite places. The best of all is that all these are not far away from each other. I don’t think its an overstatement to say that Greece is a traveler’s paradise.
Where can you find such places.
If you want to find fancy restaurants and Hotels and all the comforts a man can get those are the services every known place has and they are actually difficult to miss. Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Corfu, Crete, Athens, Thessaloniki, Samos are among the most visited destinations in Greece. If you need luxurious accommodations, fancy restaurants, loud music, packed cafes, lots of visitors you can find them here.
Places that are not crowded but still have lot to offer are more difficult to find. There are less services and less money to be gained from visitors and therefore are not heavily promoted. If you are looking for those places don’t ask at your local travel agent. Don’t arrange a Cruise hoping to find them. The are usually very close to the crowded centers but not much is mentioned of them.
Lots of smaller islands that are not heavily advertised, and island satellites to famous ones usually fall under this category and would be ideal places for people that want to explore the alternative Greece. For the sake of the discussion I am going to mention Gaudos, Paxoi, Fournoi, Sifnos, Ikaria, Chios but this is not extensive by any means. These places are usually recommended from people that have already gone there. If you have not had such recommendations then I would advise you to prepare your trip to the most favorable location leaving some room in your schedule for visiting places that the locals will undoubtedly suggest. An inquiry to a local Greek travel agent or a Greek Habitant might reveal some hidden treasures around the area. Keeping in mind the pros and cons presented right after, one can easily recognize such places.
With quiet destinations you avoid the mass tourism and the noise and you enjoy more the nature and the hospitality of people simple and not caught up at the great rush of our times. Nature is purer and the food is fresher and atmosphere is unspoiled and healthier. The prices are cheaper too. One great disadvantage is that such places don’t have many means of transportation to and from them and not to many comforts should be expected when looking for accommodation. Some of them don’t even have air connectivity with mainland Greece. They might have boat or bus connection 3-7 times a week from the near by Town.
Travel off high season
Greeks usually take their summer vacation around the 15th of August that is the biggest festivity in the Orthodox Christian world, commemorating the Assumption of Theotokos (Mary the mother of Jesus). Around these days everything gets very busy with boats running full and extra flights being added and all types of accommodation running at full capacity. These period makes for some very tiresome vacation and I would definitely avoid it if I had the choice. Planning either before or after August is probably the smartest thing one can do when traveling to Greece. You do avoid the headaches and prices are a whole lot different.
Almost all destinations in Greece are connected through Athens, so this gives an opportunity to the traveler to explore the Athenian lifestyle and Acropolis if he/she so chooses. Some alternative routes include Italy which has daily direct boat connections to the Ionian islands and Turkey which has daily boat connectivity to the nearby islands of the Aegean.
Arranging your car rental before hand
Small places usually luck the public transportation of the big and famous cities. Buses usually run not very frequently and planning your excursions around them usually is not an easy chore. The more crowded places will probably have cars booked fully for the high season times. So if you are planning on using a car arranging it ahead of time is always good choice.
Alternative accommodations for rent
If you are not interested in the standard services of a hotel (food, everyday cleaning/towels/sheets pools and restaurants) you can rent villas or homes at cheaper prices. Usually the such places provide a high level of service compared to what you pay for them. Plenty of non Hotel accommodations are spread at all possible places and the go by the names of “studios” “apartments” “homes” “rooms to let” “homes”. Some times its even possible to rent such places a monthly rental fee, provided you will stay for at least 1 1/2 months there.