When Considering Luxury Travel Packages, Consider Your Value Definition

“As you write your ‘life-book’, is the main character missing the point?”

Our globe is a large entity, one that I would recommend be discovered in small increments. Picking an exciting adventure to take can be tedious because of so much information available. How are you going to see a sunset from a beach or the rainbow colors generated by a waterfall?

“Luxury travel can only be taken by the rich”, you say, but I beg to differ. You see, luxury is a relative term. Some may equate it to money, but I relate it to ‘value’. By receiving a ‘value return’, even a trip to a location close to your current residence can be considered as luxurious travel.

When thinking of the word ‘value’, how do you define it? At what level would you place your ‘life-experiences’ in the value meter? The ‘value-meter’ is located in your memory and allows the storage of many valuable memories and experiences provided you have a clear understand ‘value’. This is relevant to the quality of life that you live, daily. Value in action determines happiness in activities. Being engaged in a current activity is not always providing personal value but it sure could create it.

Luxury travel is quite similar. It is not always the travel destinations chosen as much as it is the ‘value’ received with the experience that defines success. It is now that in our minds, we can define this experience as a luxurious travel idea. We will be happy for making that choice and fill up the value-meter.

I’m sure that you could picture in your mind several getaway ideas which are intreguing to you that may provide this type of adventure. Once you have determined the long-term value of each travel experience considered, you are able to define for yourself whether or not any one of them can be considered luxurious travel.

Sure you could wander through different online travel sites and hope to find a luxury travel package or deal for a one-time experience. There is no fault in that since people do this every day. Should the overall cost of the trip be more than you wanted to spend or can afford to, however, your focus may not necessarily be on the value you could receive.

Luxury travel or even luxurious travel destinations are relative, ultimately to your own definition of the value of the experience. There are ways to enjoy everything this world has to offer and when you consider long-term value of the experiences, each new adventure increases the value in all your choices.

Would you care to see how?

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It is about understanding what is of value and how it works in your favor. Amazing things can be accomplished when your passion and ‘value’ work together. I challenge you identify how value can work for you allowing your dream to make money while traveling to luxurious destinations happen.

Travel Insurance – Got You Covered

Planning to be traveling soon? Should you buy travel insurance? It’s a tough call whether spending the extra money is worth it. Are you over 50? Travel insurance goes up significantly as you get older. If you’re spending a lot of money on a trip, travel insurance is a must.

Travel Insurance Coverage

Travel insurance covers these basics:

Trip Cancellation Or Interruption
Emergency Evacuation
Flight Delays and Cancellations

Travel Insurance – What Does It Mean For You?

Trip Cancellation refers to canceling prior to your trip whereas trip interruption refers to a problem during your trip. What if you or one of your travel companions gets hurt or sick and you need to cancel your plans. This is where travel insurance comes to the rescue.

What if you have a medical emergency? Think you’re covered by your medical insurance? You might be. But most medical insurance policies don’t cover you outside of the United States. Medicare never covers you when traveling abroad. Find out if you’re covered when traveling to your next destination.

What happens if you do sick and need to be airlifted? Or you need medical care on your flight home. This can be very expensive.

Have you arrived at your destination just to find that you have no luggage? What if you’re ready to board a cruise? Now what? Travel insurance will pay for essential items until your luggage is found and delivered to you. What if it never shows up? Make sure to have a list of items that you packed for your trip. Better yet, keep as many receipts of these items as you can. If your luggage was stolen, make sure to file a police report. This will help in making an insurance claim.

Did you get to the airport just to find out your flight has been delayed? What if the delay causes you to miss your connecting flight? Travel Insurance will reimburse you for hotel stays and meals while waiting to get out on the next flight. But what if your flight leaves on time and you get held up in traffic and miss your flight? You probably won’t be covered.

Travel Insurance – Do I really need it?

Check with your homeowner’s policy. It may already cover such things as lost luggage. Be sure to check the maximum amount of coverage as it may be limited in the payout. Check your medical insurance and find out what is covered when you’re traveling away from home. Verify if you’re covered when traveling abroad. Finally, check your credit card coverage. Some credit cards will provide a limited amount of insurance if the trip was booked with their credit card. If you have an airline’s credit card, check with their coverage. They may have better coverage if you’re traveling with them. But credit cards may not cover you being airlifted back home. Both health insurance and credit cards don’t usually cover travel emergencies.

Once you decide you need travel insurance, read the fine print. Check to see if there are any time limits concerning the purchase of insurance prior to your trip. Find out if the entire length of your trip is covered. Make sure your destination is covered. If the government is warning you not to visit a particular country, you may not be covered if you go there.

What if you get sick? Make sure you list all medications you’re currently taking. Failure to do so could invalidate your policy. What if a family member back home gets sick and you want to cut your trip short. Most travel insurance policies don’t cover this unless it’s a death in the family. There is an option called “cancel for any reason”. If you have older relatives back home, you may want to consider this option for peace of mind. This would allow you to cut your trip short and return home for any reason. Even if you just changed your mind and decided not to go.

10 Things to Look for in Purchasing Discount Travel Club Memberships

As memberships in travel clubs, like Coastal Vacation Club and Prestige Travel Club increase, many are turning to lifetime travel memberships to save up to 74% off their travel for life.

Here is a list of 10 things to look out for if you are considering joining any vacation travel club.

1. Licensed and bonded travel vendors

Make sure your club uses licensed and bonded vendors. These are recognized by the state they do business in, and will make sure you are dealing with real and legit travel agencies who want to see your satisfaction as priority one.

2. No time share gimmicks, sales presentations or tours

Many vacation club vendors are veiled time-share pitch fests. You are required to attend long sales presentations just to use or activate some of the discount portions of your trips. Make sure tours are not required as a pre-requisite for activating a trip or staying in a condo.

3. Years in service

Vacation clubs can crop up in an instant by some “slick willy’s” just to make a fast buck, and they sell you something that is not originally what it seemed and before you realize it and try to get your money back, they are gone, off to the next deal. So make sure you look closely to see if the Club has an established track record of industry credibility and integrity.

4. BBB Reports

Do your due diligence on the travel clubs, looking through scam reports and BBB reports. You’ll find many independent agents represent the “mother” travel club and they can be unscrupulous, while the parent company acts responsibly, so take note that individual resellers might have a bad track record, while the parent company has a spot less record. Stay away from problematic vendors.

5. Terms and conditions of use: Holidays, Singles/married couples, blackout dates

Many travel clubs often limit availability to non-holidays, or have blackout days. One vendor I know of, for example, will not let you travel 7 days before or after a major holiday. Since there are major holidays almost every month, you are missing 14 days a month or around 160 days a year which are off-limits. So make sure you know the terms and conditions, age limits, and if those traveling must be 2 married couples or if the trips apply to singles.

6. One time membership fees

Some travel clubs will dock you a monthly fee, some will dock you a yearly renewal fee. Be careful of those who hit you hard upfront and then bleed your money slowly over time. Good travel clubs offer you a low, one time fee to get started and no further renewals or back end fee.

7. Variety of discount types

Does your travel club only offer 2 night 3 day trips? Or does it offer a lot more like unlimited week long condo stays, Unlimited discount cruises, ski discounts, dining discounts, or golf discounts? Make sure your travel club membership has many varieties of trips and vacation styles to fit all personality and travel types.

8. Location choices

Domestic membership or International. Does your travel club only cater to the USA or does it have benefits far and wide reaching into the best vacation destinations across the planet? Make sure you know the values for local or international experiences.

9. Education on how to consume membership

A good travel company will offer CD’s, videos and literature to help their membership consume their club benefits and get the most out of taking their trips. If your travel club does not offer some training or help in showing you how to use your package, you might want to look else where.

10. Transferability

Will you be allowed to give away some of your trips in your travel club or will your name and address be hard coded into every voucher to only be used by you? Some travel clubs have over 40 trips included, and no one could use that many trips in one year. So make sure your travel club will allow you to transfer trips and packages to family and friends, with no extra costs and simple order fulfillment.

Traveling around the world as an exclusive travel club member can sure have it’s money saving advantages, and for the more pricey clubs out there, like Coastal Vacations Club, for example, some people choose to share one membership among a small group and divide out the trip benefits.

Travel With an Infant or Toddler 101: On an Airplane

If you had told me 2 years ago that I would be an expert at traveling with a baby/ toddler in tow, I would not have believed you. Fast forward to two years later, and my family and I have traveled on various occasions both domestically and internationally with our daughter, now only 19 months old. Truth be told, this is not because we necessarily wanted to, but we had to. Once courtship is over, the traditional sequence of things is that you get married and then you start having kids.

If you are fortunate or plan well, you will get to do some traveling before you start having kids. But, what happens after you have kids? Should you stop traveling all together? My answer is of course not. Short of hiring a traveling nanny, the only viable options some have are:

a) Don’t travel at all (wait until the kids move out and ship out)
b) Make sure all future vacations involve Mickey Mouse or other fictional character
A fortunate few also have this as an option:
c) Call mom, a grandparent or other family member to visit with the kids while the parents (you and spouse) go on a trip.

But what if you don’t have any family around, the next best thing is:

d) Saddle up the little one(s) and take them with you!

Here are some tips that will make your next trip with the baby so much easier (It does not have to be an oxymoron).

Buy the Ticket

If traveling by plane, make sure to tell the airline carrier that you will be traveling with an infant or toddler. Domestic flights to the continental United States will not cost anything extra for children less than 2 years old not using a seat. This is called “infant in arms”. However, if you chose to put your child in a car seat during travel (which would occupy a passenger seat), you have to pay the full adult fare. If traveling internationally, be prepared to pay 10% of the adult fare for the infant/toddler’s seat even though they will be seated in your lap.

If you are uncomfortable about the security of traveling with your little one in your lap during the flight, then ask the flight attendant for a lab belt attachment. Some air line carriers have this seat belt attachment available which connects to the standard adult seat belt.

Bring the Necessary Documents

When traveling with your little one, be sure to pack your child’s birth certificate. It is also a good idea to get the document laminated to keep it clean. If you are traveling internationally, make sure that you have your child’s passport. It does not matter if you are traveling with an infant, as long as you are traveling outside of the United States, all parties involved should have passports.

Pack Early

Even if you have prepared a list it is still possible to forget items if you don’t start packing early. A list is no use if it does not have the items that you need. Travel jitters, fatigue and the overall excitement of the trip can all impede the best intentions to have a well executed list. TWBT (Traveling with a baby or toddler) can make things 10 tens more difficult. But, the easiest thing that you can do is start packing early. Pack the baby’s things first.

Be sure not to forget items such as baby bottles, pacifiers, special toys, or books. Variety is the key. For longer trips consider uploading special children’s shows or programs on personal laptops, tablets or portable viewing devices. Diapers and wipes should be packed first. Figure the number of diapers that you will need for the trip by calculating the number of typical diaper changes in one day, multiplied by the number of days of the trip. If you are checking luggage be sure that you also pack a “carry-on bag” with some diapers, wipes, milk, food, a change of clothes and other essentials. Be sure to do this for both going and returning. When traveling to the domestic US however, you can save on travel space if you opt to pack light and replenish items such as diapers and wipes at local stores throughout your trip.

Pack Light

Big items such as strollers, play yards and car seats may be left at home if you plan well. If your baby is 25 pounds or less, consider leaving the stroller at home. Infant wraps and carriers are quite sophisticated. Many are designed to accommodate kids up to 25 pounds and sometimes even more (depending on the carrier). Less bulky than a stroller, baby carriers are a great alternative to use during travel. If you must bring a stroller along, consider traveling with a light weight alternative such as an umbrella variety.

If you do have to travel with the stroller, be sure to ask the airlines if they have a stroller bag or cover available for passenger use. Although, I have only seen this service available with international airline carriers, you should still ask. An alternative is to purchase your own stroller bag and have it on hand for all your travels. Taking the stroller without a stroller bag may seem tempting but, think of this: When the stroller is unloaded from the plane it can encounter everything from dirt, soot, grease, grime, rain or just a clumsy baggage handler. Do you really want your little prince or princess lying on a dirty stroller?

That goes the same for the car seat. Car seat covers are available for car seats from online merchandisers as well. But, you do not have to travel with a car seat either. Consider renting a car seat from a rent-a-car company if you are renting a car. If you will have access to a driver or chauffer at your final destination, ask if they have a car seat available for client use.

Alternatively, if visiting a destination where you have family and friends that have kids, consider asking your friend(s) to borrow their car seat or stroller if they are not currently in use.
Lastly, play yards, cribs and bassinets do not need to be dragged along on your trip if you are staying at a hotel. Most hotels have cribs and baby cots available for guest use. Make sure to call ahead to verify before you get to your destination.

Lisa is a true learner of life. Although much of her learning came from the scientific arena, she garners her lifestyle management lessons from any setting.

How to Arrange Cruise Travel If You Have a Disability

If you have a disability, are disabled in any way or have some special needs or a special handicap you can still enjoy a great cruise experience and learn all about disable travel. The first step in planning a cruise ship adventure is to consult with a travel agent who specializes in cruise travel for people with disabilities to make sure you have an accessible trip.

Because the cruise lines are all different you need to compare the cruise lines and all they have to offer; this requires a little research on your part. However travel agents who specialize in cruise travel can really shorten your work and prevent a lot of problems and help you gain the best access. I encourage you to seek out their help and not try to go it alone.

There are many differences in the cruise lines. Some cannot accommodate wheelchairs easily. Most cabins are small and you’ll need to get the dimensions of the cabin to know if your wheelchair will fit.

Some of the larger cruise lines have cabins that have wider doorways. These cabins have bathrooms that will fit wheelchairs that can roll around inside. The closets are usually built so you can reach them from a lower vantage point. But make sure to double-check that the cruise line you’ve picked has these special accommodations. This is another reason a special needs travel agent or travel specialist can help.

Most of the cruise lines have elevators that have control panels within easy reach from a wheelchair.

The cruise lines have collapsible wheelchairs available but I would consider taking my own. It may be a concern if it is going to be uncomfortable in any way. Also there is a remote possibility that they might run out of them. If you bring a motorized or power wheelchair make sure to bring your charger along – one that is adaptable to 110 volts.

Make sure to discuss with your travel agent how your visit to the various harbors or ports of call on the cruise, will be handled. This can make or break your trip. Small boats, which are called tenders, are used to take travelers and disabled travelers from the cruise ship to the port of call. These tenders are not always accessible or even safe for people with disabilities, so make sure you travel agent has had experience with these tenders before you book any cruise travel. And it is just as important make sure to find out if once you reach the shore, that they’ll be able to handle your specific special needs.

In general some of the larger cruise lines will have ADA (American Disabilities Association) compliant rooms on their cruise ships. If you’re deaf or hearing impaired, you can request special accommodations, for example tele-typewriters (TTY) or telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD). Some of the cabins may have the ADA approved kits. These kits include visual smoke alarms and alarms that vibrate and door sensors so you know when someone is at the door.
For blind travelers who bring along their guide dogs or other service animals, they’ll have a difficult time finding the best cruise. Each of the ports of call has different rules and regulations regarding guide dogs and service animals. Service animals may not be allowed to leave the cruise ship.

It’s important to work with a travel agent who specializes in disability travel who knows how to do this and may be familiar with your chosen cruise already.

Special diets are usually easily accommodated on most of the cruise lines. Vegans and vegetarians have fresh fruit and vegetable options and special diets are available for those passengers who need a low fat, low salt or low cholesterol diets. People with celiac disease may need to discus this with the cruise lines to see if their chefs are familiar with how to prepare gluten-free foods. Cruise passengers with lung impairments who will need oxygen can cruise but make sure you arrange to have plenty of oxygen on board.

Make sure that you’re not traveling alone and have someone travel with you who knows your specific needs. Don’t take anything for granted. Check everything out and double check with your travel agent. You may want to call the cruise line yourself too. Make sure your travel agent is experienced and ask for references from someone they have arranged travel for with similar needs.

Don’t forget to check with your travel agent about any discounts, free add-ons, or good deals on cruise travel too. The cruise lines want your business whether you are disabled or not.

As soon as your travel agent books your cruise, make sure the cruise line is notified of your special needs and know of your disability. With help from your travel agent for the disabled or cruise line specialist you should be able to have a worry-free and carefree holiday, vacation or adventure and make you an expert on disabled travel.