Making Plans For A Great Luxury Family Vacation

Luxury family travel is getting increasingly popular. Despite the current adverse economic conditions, luxury family travel expenditure is on the rise. A nice, luxurious vacation can be great fun for big and small families alike. It gives people the possibility to relax and enjoy a little piece of paradise.

We will look at a couple pointers for an excellent luxury family vacation in this article. Depending upon the distance you’re traveling, there are a few or a lot of things to pay attention to, so always do your homework before you go!

When traveling abroad, be sure to check if you will be needing any shots before going. Some African, South American and Asian countries require it.

Also, if you’re thinking about a longer luxury vacation and taking pets with you, get this sorted out long in advance. It’s not an easy task, taking animals abroad.

Be sure that your accomodation is big enough and has all the amenities you will need. If you’re not sure about anything at all, call ahead. It’s better to know upfront when you can still make changes.

It’s always a plus to have people around that speak your language. If you’re travelling in the United States, that won’t be a problem. But if you’re squeezing into the silver tube to go to distant lands, you should pick up a little booklet to get the gist of the language.

Don’t let your luxury vacation get ruined because of too little preparation. A little planning ahead goes a long way, especially when you’ve decided to leave the U.S.

7 Terrific Travel Tips to Tour Queensland

As I was born in tropical North Queensland on the Atherton Tablelands, and have worked in and traveled to most parts of Queensland, I feel that I can offer some great travel tips and relevant information for you.

TIP NO 1 VOLTAGE
The nominal mains electrical voltage is 230 Volts in Australia. As plug sockets require the Australian Standard plug pin arrangement, travel adaptors can be purchased within Australia, usually at airports. Many times while working in resorts, motels, backpackers, hotels, and lodges, I saw disappointed tourists when not being able to use their various electrical appliances that they had carried with them. Do not forget about charging your mobile phone and buy a physical jack adapter once you’re in the country.

TIP NO 2 METRIC SYSTEM
In Queensland the metric system is used so all distances are in kilometres (klm’s), and speed is in kilometres per hour. The conversion for our 60 klms per hour which is the average speed in a built up area, is roughly 37 miles per hour. Be aware that in some built up areas, the speed limit may be only 50 klms per hour, and school zones are usually 40 klms per hour, before and after school times. There is a heavy fine and penalties for exceeding the speed limit. The best way is to always check the speed limit signs and your speedometer.

Normal speed limits which generally apply are –
40 kilometres per hour ((klm/hr) in all areas where the present limit is 50/60/70 klms per hour
60 kilometres per hour (klm/hr) in all areas where the present limit is 80 klms per hour
60 or 80 kilometres per hour in areas with the present speed limit is 90 to 100 klms per hour
80 kilometres per hour where the present speed limit is 110 klms per hour

TIP NO 3 DAYLIGHT SAVINGS
Queensland does not operate daylight saving and local time is always 10 hours in front of GMT. Other states of Australia do operate daylight saving times from the first Sunday in October to the first Sunday in April, so be aware of this if you fly into Queensland from other Australian states.

TIP NO 4 DRIVING IN QUEENSLAND
Driving in Queensland, Australia and hiring a vehicle – Most hire companies will ask to see a valid un-restricted driving license and if this is in English this will usually be accepted. However if you have a licence which is not in English, you should first obtain a valid International Driving Permit before you leave your home country. Australia requires a “1949 Convention IDP”. And don’t forget, drive on the left side of the road. And always ask the hire company if you are allowed to drive the hire vehicle on a dirt road or you may have your insurance cancelled.

TIP NO 5 WEATHER
The weather cycle in Queensland is the same throughout Australia with our summer months being December, January and February. Autumn months are March, April and May and winter months are June, July and August. Spring months are September, October and November and are very pleasant.

TIP NO 6 EMERGENCIES
000 is the National emergency number in Australia and this is used for all emergency services including Fire Service, Ambulance Service and the Police. It would be advisable to enter this number into your mobile phone.

TIP NO 7 MOBILE PHONE USE
Australia has a modern telecommunications and mobile telephone network which includes 3G services to most parts of Qld. Check with your mobile company to see if “International Roaming” is available and this service can be activated for you whilst in Australia. Phone companies operating in Qld include Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus.

TRAVEL TIPS and INFORMATION
Queensland is home to about 4 million people and is the second largest state in Australia. Areas of Queensland in the interior are vast and sparsely populated, while coastal areas have a denser population. Tourists love the average summer temperatures of 25 degrees celsius (77F) and the average winter temperatures of 15 degrees celsius(59F). Brisbane is the capital of Queensland with about 2 million people in residence.

Queensland starts from Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and finishes at the northern point of Cape York. The most popular holiday spots range from the Gold Coast to Cairns in North Qld, which is a driving distance of about 1760klms. However, you can fly into the Brisbane airport in South East Qld, Maroochydore airport on the Sunshine Coast, Hamilton Island airport in the Whitsundays, Townsville airport for North Qld, or Cairns international airport for a tropical vacation. There are about 40 airports throughout Queensland, large bus companies and fast trains available, so getting to your destination is easy.

Many of the holiday resorts supply a free courtesy coach to pick you up from the airports or train and bus depots and deliver you stress free to their door for your relaxing or ‘full of adventure activities’ vacation. There are many online places to choose your accommodation from and in all areas of Queensland. Accommodation is divided into several classifications including hotels, apartments, resorts, motels and Boutique accommodation, resort caravan parks and Bed and Breakfasts. As a guide, apartments and cabins tend to have more extensive ‘in room cooking facilities’ for people looking for a self catering holiday.

If you want to explore a part of Outback Queensland, hop on a flight to Longreach from Brisbane using Qantas (2hrs 25mins), jump on a bus tour to Winton and visit Lark Quarry where 93million year-old fossils capture a dinosaur stampede. These dinosaur tracks are under shelter in a museum to preserve and protect them.

If you love your comfort, travel in a luxury air-conditioned tour coach or if wanting to be adventurous and drive yourself, hire an air-conditioned four wheel drive vehicle from Longreach. The 179 klm road from Longreach to Winton is sealed but from Winton to Lark Quarry it is a badly maintained dirt road. I learnt the hard way. My husband and I travelled to Lark Quarry in our old, 1985, non air-conditioned bus and the red dust consumed us. It smothered everything inside including us, which is why I recommend using a modern air-conditioned vehicle. Still, we enjoyed the end result and would not have missed the experience of the Outback.

Winton is known for its water supply which pushes its way to the earth’s crust from three artesian bores, all around 1,200 metres deep gushing at a temperature of 83 degrees Celsius.(195F) The water comes from the Great Artesian Basin which provides water for almost all areas of Australia’s Outback.

Hotel or motel accommodation is available in Longreach and Winton and most of these places will book your tours. Discover attractions like the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Qantas Founders Outback Museum, the Waltzing Matilda Centre and the School of the Air.

You could not visit Queensland without checking out the beautiful Sunshine Coast situated about 104 klms by car from Brisbane. Or you can fly from Brisbane directly into Maroochydore airport where you will have a large choice of accommodation. Again, most resorts offer a courtesy coach pick up.

Travel Insurance To Cover The Whole Family

If you are traveling, alone or with your family, it is essential that you get adequate risk cover for everyone. Travel insurance is a must since it covers you for all exigencies during your trip. Having said that, there are some important things that need your attention.

If you are traveling with your family, you should take a family travel insurance plan that covers your spouse and children. In case you have an extended family, you can go for either the extended family plans or the group travel plans. These work out to be far cheaper than individual coverage plans. However, the actual policy that a travel company offers would depend on the number of members traveling with you.

In case you have missed out on an extended plan, do read the offer document carefully and check if your family members are included in the plan. Since the insurance companies look out for ways and means for offering less for more, it is up to you to ensure that you have adequate insurance and that you have seen and checked the fine print in the offer document, something that most of us miss to do.

To ensure that you are getting value for your money, read the exclusions, restriction clauses carefully. Some of the common exclusions are sporting risks like bungee jumping, mountaineering etc, recurring treatments, particular age groups and specific cases of pregnancies. The standard policies also exclude use of alcohol and drugs, any terminal illness not reported at time of taking the policy, self-inflicted injury, AIDS etc. If you are a sports freak, please have a look at the extreme sports insurance cover. Though the premium will depend on the activities included and the provisos, it will cover you while you enjoy your favorite sport. However, check for the exclusions here also.

If you have read these terms and conditions carefully, it will help you if you need to file a claim. Since the insurance company looks for smallest of the reasons to disqualify your claim, it is in your interest to know what is covered and what is excluded and also the correct procedure for making a claim. Be sure that you send a completed claim form along with all the relevant receipts including medical reports, police reports etc to ensure that your claim is processed in your favor. Since the insurance company will look out specifically for false and misleading information, the exclusions and also the paperwork submitted with the claim, it will help if you have read and understood all the procedures beforehand.

Misfortune can strike anyone. Even a seemingly innocuous activity like camping can turn dangerous since you are staying outdoors and there may be wild creatures in that part of the country! Hence it is better to be safe than to be sorry afterwards. If you are a frequent traveler, you can opt for an annual plan. And if you travel once in a while, you can take the temporary policies that cover you for the duration of your travel. Whatever the case, it is prudent to be insured and wise to know the details of your policy.

5 Travel Tips for the Tongue – How Not to Offend Panamanians

Customs and cultures of foreign countries require research before boarding the airplane. Cultural variances involving acceptable dress, personal space and emotional hand gestures should always be top-of-mind. Just as you refrain from making jokes about carrying a bomb when you are at an airport, equally incendiary verbal assaults should be avoided when traveling abroad. In this article I am presenting my personal list of travel tips for the tongue that should be checked at the airline ticket counter before flying to Panama.

Avoid uttering the phrase, “back home we do (whatever it may be) this way.” There is no easier way to tell the world you are an inexperienced traveler. The phrase punctuates the belief that the manners in which things are done “back home” are superior. You chose to travel to Panama in order to experience a different culture. Why would you expect things to be done in the same manner? This phrase is often accompanied by a condescending attitude and an elevated tone of voice. Others are forced to witness your displeasure which is often recognized as an unattractive way to gain attention, avoid tipping or justify exclusion from an activity. This misguided offense should be avoided like malaria. Experiences gained while visiting Panama are best enjoyed when approached with an open mind and a muted tongue.

Refrain from cursing in the presence of women and children. Public profanity is not only a sign of disrespect but points to your own lack of home training. A month ago my husband and I were on a bus leaving Panama City for El Valle when a group of eight young Americans boarded outside of the City. From the moment they took their seats the air was permeated with foul language. Seated around them were women and school-aged children. Perhaps their ill-founded assumption was that the people did not understand what they were saying. Had they been observant, the subtle looks of displeasure from the moms and the curious stares of the children would have given them a clue they were being understood. You are not expected to be a saint when visiting Panama, but certain courtesies should be extended in order to present yourself in a better light. A civil tongue is one of them.

An unwillingness to learn a few basic words in Spanish is a sign you are not ready to play the travel game. How difficult is it to learn to say, “hola” (hello), “por favor” (please) or “gracias” (thank you)? I often detect no lack of difficulty in learning the word “cerveza” (beer) proving ignorance of the language is selective. Simple phrases can be learned online through translator programs which demonstrate pronunciation techniques. Take the time to learn them. Panamanians don’t expect you to be fluent in Spanish but they will show a great appreciation of your effort at trying to communicate in their language. They will be glad to help you learn some useful phrases and an educated tongue will help make your experience more enjoyable.

Any attempt to bargain artisans down to a ridiculous price is a sign of disrespect. These artistic professionals offer original, handcrafted items and expect to earn an honest living for their efforts. Don’t treat their art as second-hand junk by insulting them with your desire to get the most for least. If an item feeds your interest, understanding how much effort goes into the crafting of the item helps build value. My mother and I visited the Emberá Puru village where woven products with intricate and colorful designs were displayed for sale. A young villager introduced information about the community and its customs as he passed around a sample of an unfinished basket. We learned of the extensive, painstaking efforts involving the use of many threads in a variety of colors. We had a greater appreciation upon learning the cost of each item represented the number of days the artisan worked to complete the task. The price worked out to be $1.00 for each day’s work. The last time I worked for $1.00 per day including the price of materials was…NEVER! Gaining an understanding of the efforts of Panamanian artisans and demonstrating an appreciative tongue shows you value their culture.

This final tip comes from ancient times. The book of wisdom in the Bible says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:19) Every encounter while traveling abroad is your opportunity to be an ambassador for your country. Make the most of it and let your respectful tongue be your guide.

A Business Traveler’s Guide Can Be Your Best Friend

Do you do a lot of traveling? Whether you travel for pleasure or for business this article may be able to benefit you greatly. There are some things you should keep up on if you are an avid traveler. One of the things, which can help you keep up to date on a lot of information, is a business traveler’s guide. In this article we will tell you what the business travelers guide is and why you should never leave home without it.

A business travelers guide will keep you informed on airlines and what is going on with them. This way you are always aware of what is going on in your local airports and destination airports you are traveling to. It will tell you which airline is lowering or raising their prices.

It will also give you traveler’s tips. It may give you some things you should do and those that you should not. It may offer you helpful advice on what to do or not to do when traveling to certain cities. These offer great information and let you know what is going on at your next destination.

There may be a travel blog. It can be on different topics like travel safety for example. It may give you some tips on keeping safe during your travel experience. You can never receive enough tips on safety. There may be something there, which you never thought of.

With the travelers guide you will also be able to easily find topics you want to browse. It can be airlines, airports and/or car rentals. It can tell you about flights out of different airports. It may give you information about car rentals. So you can find the best place to rent a car. There are always helpful and instructive topics to choose from.

There may be different articles to read on different topics concerning traveling. These can be on a wide array of topics. For example there could be one on ‘How to save room when packing’. Or ‘Green Travel Tips’.

There can be videos for you to watch also. One video example might be, ‘How to avoid Jet Lag’. Another one they could have would be, ‘Tips for traveling with a laptop’.

There are many sites, which you can go too and read a traveler’s business guide. If you type it in several options will come up. Places like biz-Journals and WHY Go business travels can easily be found. There is also a business traveler’s guide in places like the newspaper. The New York Times has one and a lot of other papers do as well.

If you are an avid business traveler or even one who travels for pleasure, the business traveler’s guide will be an advantage for you. It will keep you informed about a lot of your traveling needs. It will also help you find some great traveling deals. It can tell you how to earn points while flying. Tell you about the best hotels in the city you are traveling too. The possibilities seem to be endless.

Enjoy Your Vacation At A Cheaper Price With A Cheap Travel Package

Want to go in for a dream vacation with your family, and the problem is shortage of funds? Well, now there is a solution to your problem, thanks to the availability of a cheap travel package, designed specially according to your needs, that is available with almost every travel agency or tour planning company. A cheap travel package ensures that you get the same amount of enjoyment that you would get at regular prices.

Travel agencies all around the world give offers for both group tours organised by them, or personal and private family tours or honeymoon etc. Besides, if you do not want to go in for a group tour by the travel agency, and just need help in booking of tickets, accommodations etc., then they also help you to avail discount air travel, as most travel agencies have tie-ups with various airlines. Basically, the earlier you book your tickets, the better are your chances of getting a bigger benefit of cheap air travel.

If you like to do things yourself, and do not want to be dependent on travel agencies for this work, then you could yourself check out the websites of various airlines, in order to gain information on cheap travel tickets or discount air travel. In case you are a regular customer or user of some airline, then after the completion of a certain number of kilometers traveled with that airlines, you may also get Cheap Travel Tickets for your next trip. This type of customer benefit is followed in most airline companies.

Expenditure on air travel eats up a big portion of your planned budget for your vacation, and that is the reason why you should always go in for a cheap travel package, as it ensures that you get a Cheap Air Travel facility. Besides, you also get other benefits of cheaper accommodations etc.

It is always better to plan off-season trips as there are more chances of a cheap travel package being available at that point of time, because airlines, hotels ,travel agencies etc. all want to attract the customers in order to gain business and make profit at that time. So obviously the benefits in a cheap travel package taken up in off season would be definitely more than the one taken up in the regular or peak season.

10 Travelling Tips to Make the Most of Your Gap Year

Here are some of our top tips for travelling and making the most out of your Gap Year provided by Budget-Backpacking.

1. Keep Your Plans Flexible Planning is all well and good, for instance who wants to turn up to a train station and realise the only ride they could have caught was the day before, and the whole place is closing for a holiday. DO NOT however over plan.

When you leave home you should only have a general idea of where you’re going to go and the flights for them places booked. A good idea is to say ill give myself 3 months to get from Nepal to Singapore. Apart from the flight in and the flight out travel anywhere you want and stay as long as you want.

The best travel guide you can own is from speaking to other backpackers. Most likely within a few days people will have told you the best places to visit and you’ll be getting an idea of the route to take in your head. Planning everyday in advance before you leave your trip will only make you miss the best places, stay longer in places you don’t like and not spend long enough in the places you love.

This is by far the most important travelling tip you can have. Make sure you use it!

2. Money Isn’t Everything Money is not everything. Don’t get me wrong it’s very important to keep within your daily budget and make them coins go as far as possible. All that i’m saying is don’t miss out on an opportunity for the sake of a bit of money.

A gap year is a once in a life experience. Don’t decide to not have these experiences because you can’t afford them at that time. Get yourself into debt, scrounge off your family, work overtime for years to come, just make sure you aren’t looking back on the trip of a lifetime saying I wish I did that.

3. Get to Know Each Other Travelling is a social extravaganza. Think about it. Almost every day you are meeting strangers from countries far and wide. Your gap year is just as much about seeing the country as it is meeting locals and fellow travellers. If your a bit shy getting to know people don’t worry, it’s not as if you haven’t got anything to talk to them about. You will find the same conversation starters always pop up: Where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you going? These 3 questions, as annoying and repetitive as you may find them at the end of your trip, will let you start to know your other travellers. Friendships will shortly follow after and this is what is guaranteed to make your trip fun.

4. Keep an Open Mind Be it with eating some strange exotic food or throwing yourself out of a plane above the glorious beaches of Australia. Managing to keep an open mind and fully enrolling yourself in all the amazing experiences will ensure you never get bored on your gap year. It’ll also give you loads of amazing stories to impress people back home.

5. Guide Books Are Only Guides You’re likely to take one of the Lonely Planet guide books with you on your travels. Although as useful and informative as these are, remember they are only meant as a guide. Don’t treat it like the bible!

Many people get to a place, look in the guide book, and do exactly what it says. Resist the urge to follow it completely and go explore yourselves. Of course i’m not saying don’t do anything that they recommend, actually I’d suggest to do them, just don’t think that’s all there is to see.

6. Make Memories Your gap year trip is going to be a once in a lifetime experience that you will remember forever. Well not necessarily. Within a few months or even weeks of being somewhere you’re likely to forget certain things. To ensure you capture every detail, take a digital camera and go snap happy. I find its better to take lots of pictures with you in them, preferably doing stupid poses, and then when you look back at them in years to come it will bring a smile and remind you of that time. Taking pictures of just a building or view, may be nice but don’t make it your whole collection. These pictures could just have easily been taken by someone else or seen in a magazine. Make it personal, you won’t regret it.

On the same note, don’t just stick to photos for memories. Get souvenirs from every place you go. It doesn’t have to be something big due to the problems associated with carrying it, just some jeweler or even a pebble off the beach. This reminds me of something seen on Saving Private Ryan where he collects sand from all the countries he’s been to.

7. Have Some Alone Time If you’re travelling in a small group say 2 or 3 people for a long time, you will annoy each other. The close proximity, and being with them for the majority of the day, every day will soon take its toll. This is bound to happen however good friends you are. To try an avoid this, once in a while have a day to yourself and do whatever you want without the others. Your friendship will be strengthened and you’ll all be much happier.

8. Beat the Boredom Unfortunately as exciting as travelling is, there is also huge amount of boredom. Waiting around will undoubtedly take up a large portion of your holiday. To beat the boredom take an iPod, book, pack of cards and pen and paper. You’ll be grateful for them.

9. Keep a Diary Try to keep a diary of what you do and how you feel. Although boring and time consuming at the time of writing, you will definitely look back on it when old and wrinkled and make it all worthwhile. As I mentioned in another section of this site Off Exploring do a great online diary that you can also post picture on and let people back home send you messages. These all then get printed out and put in a book for you at the end of your gap year.

Useful Travel Tips To Get Affordable Disney Vacations

Looking for tips and advice on affordable Disney vacations could help to plan a family vacation a lot easier by helping the travelers to find out what activities they would like to do before they ever leave their home. By doing a proper research, visitors are able to see what accommodations are available they can afford, where are the best eating places, and what places of interest will be a must see on their trip. It is really important to be well prepared when going on vacations to Disneyland, to avoid all the hassles that may happen when traveling to an unknown destination.

Disney World seems to be a really magical spot, filled with several of the most beloved characters known in the United States. Yearly hundreds of thousands of families visit Disneyland, making it one of the most popular vacation spots in the United States. It is really a memorable experience, full of atmosphere, sounds of levity, and entertainment not available at any other place around the globe. Because there are so many things to do and see, most families taking advantage of knowing some travel tips before they get started their vacation.

The Walt Disney World website itself is one of the best resources for getting helpful travel advice. This website is full of valuable information about everything Disney World has to offer, from resorts to all kind of entertainment to the places of interest at the parks themselves. It is really easy getting tips for your trip to Disney World on that website, because you can find there whole sections related to what other people favored the best about their visiting. In many cases at that place you will get the most currently updated and most exact information about Disney World.

Disneyland has opened the doors in 1971. Since that time so many information was written about that place. There are a lot of resources including websites targeted traveler reviews. There are also several travel guides that can be found in bookstores, travel agencies, or may be got off by the Disney Company themselves. Most travel guides come with information about hotels, resorts and campgrounds, eating places, theme parks, and points of interest close to Disneyland. On the travel guides you should look at publishing dates to make certain the information they come with is up to date.

Another great resource for getting travel tips when considering to go on affordable Disney vacations are web sites that allow people to express their honest opinions about destinations that they have visited. These websites provide useful information what other tourists did or did not like about their holidays. On the traveler’s review site many things will be unfold, if an establishment is not clean, the service is poor or an eating house systematically over cooks its dishes. Then again, if someone has found an exciting place off the beaten track close the theme parks, she will allow other people to know about this place. No matter if the reviews are either good or bad, travelers get an honest opinion not spun by marketing. If a review site says many times that something is really advisable, there is a good chance it will be even as good as qualified.