Shermans Travel » Blog » Archive
Tag Results: Tips & Strategy
We here at ShermansTravel hope you’re spending the long Labor Day weekend somewhere fabulous. But if you want to score the best deals and rewards perks for busy travel times in 2013, here’s a heads-up: Factor in some time over this holiday to start planning your next trip, especially if it falls during peak travel times like Spring Break and Thanksgiving.
If planning (or booking) so far ahead seems a little extreme, consider that scoring affordable airline seats – whether through rewards programs or good deals themselves – will require even more energy, savvy, and patience than ever before. Recent airline mergers have cut capacity and reduced routes; adding to the problem is the explosion of credit-card rewards programs. The bottom line is that there are more travelers scrambling for fewer seats these days.
Fortunately, there are some ways to help travelers score the seats and travel times they want. Here, a few tips that will have you headed for takeoff in 2013, without losing your sanity (or a chunk of your life savings) in the process. Read more
The cream color conjured up memories of the 1980s. It looked like the brassieres that my grandmother wore when I was a kid (unfortunately, I remember seeing them hanging in the bathroom). It fit very snuggly around my torso. When I finally unhooked the clasp, I noticed that I had indentations in my skin from the elastic band and sweat had collected where the belt made the most intimate contact with my body. I’d spent a day in Quito, Ecuador wearing a money belt and felt like I should have complemented it with a pair of control top pantyhose.
Money belts have been around for decades, and travelers have relied on them to thwart pickpockets all around the world. Are these people – and in Quito, I was one of them – being smart or paranoid? Petty crime happens almost everywhere. Certain cities, such as Rome, Paris, and Buenos Aires, have developed reputations for being rife with pickpockets. These thieves prey on tourists, especially those who announce to the world that they’re visitors by carrying large bags, donning souvenir shirts, and taking pictures of famous landmarks. Stop paying attention for just a moment and you could find that your wallet is no longer in your pocket.
Airplanes can be noisy places thanks to the engines, several hundred people sitting around you, and those pesky crying babies. There are plenty of noise-cancelling headphones out there but they have two major drawbacks: price and size. Noise-cancelling headphones typically cost more than $200 and tend to be bulky, over-the-ear models that take up space in your luggage. That’s why I prefer in-ear headphones with in-line volume controls and microphone that I can use at home, on my commute, and when I travel.
The biggest problem with inexpensive headphones is that they have a short lifespan. I’ve gone through dozens of sub-$100 headphones that died within six months. If you have to keep buying new pairs, you’re not saving money. Even when they were covered by a warranty and replaced for free, I was left without headphones for weeks.
Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to find a pair that will drown out the noise on the plane. After plenty of trial and (way too much) error, I can confidently recommend these headphones for both day-to-day and travel use.
The days of complimentary meals on flights have gone the way of the dodo. While you will still get fed on international flights and offered food for purchase on domestic jaunts, it has become significantly more daunting to ensure that you don’t arrive at your destination feeling famished. Not all airplane snacks are created equal. What you eat on the plane says a lot about who you are and what you think of the people around you.
In order to help you select your travel snacks, we’ve created this handy guide. Keep it in mind the next time you’re preparing for a flight.
Both TripAdvisor.com and the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) are among the sponsors of the relatively new reality travel series Getting Away Together – airing on PBS stations nationwide – so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the vacation rental homes featured on each episode are pretty darn sweet.
A Kissimmee, Florida, rental property, which would have been nice enough with an outdoor pool, also has a game room equipped with video arcade machines; an Outer Banks, North Carolina, home is shown with a cavernous entryway, as well as a pool table; and a property in Oceanside, California, is not only tony, but it comfortably accommodates a group of 46 travelers. Read more
If you want to apply for a passport card for cruising and trips across the border, the process just got much easier – if you already have a valid 10-year passport book, anyway. Rather than mailing in your passport and DS-82 form, you can now apply online (via an encrypted and secure application) and keep your passport safe at home. Note: The online option is only available as a pilot program which will last until April 22 or 20,000 applications, whichever comes first.
A passport card (also called a PASS Card) is not a replacement for your passport, as it can only be used for land and sea travel between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda – it cannot be used for air travel. It is, however, ideal for frequent border-crossing commuters and cruisers. The card is wallet-sized and contains an RFID chip to speed up the customs process, and is only $30 if you already have a passport. An added bonus: Having a passport card makes it easier to replace a stolen or lost passport – although we hope you never need it for that, of course.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, cruises, and other travel deals.
If you’re thinking of heading to the Caribbean for a romantic, week-long winter getaway, here’s an idea: Instead of spending all seven nights on one island, why not split your time between two? Island hopping is easier in some destinations than others, so here’s a roundup of five two-island options that are not only easy to combine logistically, but also feature varied landscapes and ambience. Note: Caribbean resorts do command premium rates until mid-April or so, but if you check deal-finder sites, including ShermansTravel.com’s nifty price-comparison tool, you may be able to score some last-minute price breaks. Or, if you want to see multiple islands, you can always take a cruise. Check back next week for details on my favorite ships and itineraries. Read more
After years of helping my kids with their homework I figured it was about time they returned the favor, so last night I sat down with Libby, Maya, and Felix (ages 12, 9, and 5, respectively) and asked them what they thought hotels, restaurants, and airlines ought to be doing differently to satisfy vacationing kids.
What follows is perhaps some food for thought for the travel industry (Bathrobes and omelet chefs just for kids? Pink airplanes?), or, at the very least, inspiration for parents to occasionally ask their kids what they think.
Last week I posted about several gadgets that traveling parents might find handy while on a family vacation, and this week it’s time to turn to some clever products that are geared towards kids – which by association, ought to make their parents a little happier during the trip, too.
Trunki Ride-On Suitcase, $39.99
The UK website for Trunki bills its product as “the world’s first ride-on, pull-along suitcase,” going on to suggest that towing your child around on the case will permit you to “wave goodbye to travelling tears and tantrums.” Well, that’s no doubt a good-natured exaggeration, but one thing’s for certain: A four-wheeled carry-on that a child can pack herself and then ride on at the airport is a darn good idea. Read more
When I first stumbled upon my new favorite haunt in Willemstad, Curacao – a sexy Latino bar called Mundo Bizarro – and parked my ride on the sidewalk with the assurance that I would never have to worry about getting a parking ticket, my vacation officially began.
As the Caribbean’s most populous and largest of the ABC islands, Curacao offers a variety of activities which include shopping along the Breedestraat Punda; photographing the colorful Dutch architecture from the rickety Pontoon Bridge connecting the two sections of Willemstad separated by waterway; diving and snorkeling at over 30 beaches renowned for their coral reefs (both natural and man-made); and lots of bars and restaurants scattered throughout the island.
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals