Travel Books

2017

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Five Steps to Passport Protection

By

Do you take pride in being a responsible, well-informed traveler?

I certainly do. I read up on local history and customs, take time to learn at least a few words in the local language, never wear white tennis shoes in Europe, and make active decisions about protecting my valuables.

So you can imagine how surprised I was to find myself standing with my husband outside the closed American Embassy in Bratislava with no passport, missing credit cards, an international flight scheduled to leave in 12 hours, and no clear idea about what to do next.

How do you protect yourself from this kind of travel experience? (I refuse to say "disaster", incidentally. Having your passport buried in rubble from an earthquake is a disaster. Losing it IS a nasty shock, however.)

And how do you deal with the loss if it happens?

Here are 4 easy steps to avoiding loss or theft of your passport. And, because no plan is foolproof, the 5th step reviews what to do if it happens.

1. Do not keep your passport, cash and credit cards together.

I thought I was being a wise, careful traveler when I got my husband a shiny new "RFID-blocking" leather passport/wallet combination. No one could steal the data from our chips now. He looked like a spy on a mission, like a traveling diplomat. Everything was together, easy to keep track of.

Huge mistake. Huge. Because when everything's together, then every time you need to pay for anything, you have to get it all out. And, if you're dealing with cash, which you will in many countries, you have to lay everything down, organize packages, separate cash and coins, and get it all put away.

And at some point, you will lay it down and that will be the end of it. Keep your cash separate from your credit cards, and keep your passport separate from everything else.

Thieves don't actually want your passport. In fact, most of them don't even want your credit cards. Credit card theft is easier to trace and the risks are higher. And passports are not easy to sell. Ask the police, and you will discover that passports and credit cards are usually found in a convenient dumpster.

What the thief wants is your cash. So carry cash, but only what you need that day. If you discover it's missing, it's only a little and you can replace it from the stash you left in the hotel safe. But if you discover your passport is missing, the fun stops till it's replaced. And when you start adding up charges for changing flights, extra hotel days, extra meals, transportation and replacement passport charges... losing your passport is not just a scary hassle, it's also very expensive.

2. When you get to your hotel, leave your passport in the safe.

You need your passport at the airport. But once you get to the hotel, leave it.

I know, the State Department says to carry it with you. But virtually every hotel has a safe, and many of my most traveled friends leave their passport there. You can leave your extra cash and extra credit cards there, too.

It works great while you stay in one place. The problem, of course, comes when you move around. We've all left things behind. Which presents a whole new scenario.

You know who you are, and whether the safe is a good idea for you or not. Still, it has to be said-many experienced travelers find the hotel safe to be the smartest, easiest and safest choice for passport protection.

3. If you decide to carry your passport with you at all times, like the State Department says, then carry it close, and in a place you never have to access.

I'm a rule-keeper, so I carry mine. And besides, having my passport seems to present at least some level of protection should things suddenly go bad. But if you carry it with you, it's for official emergencies, not for flashing.

You can wear one of those "inside your clothes" pouches, though for heaven's sake do wear it inside your clothes, not outside. If you hang it around your neck, possibly with your money as well, you might as well put up a flag that says "Steal this!"

And please, be sure the little tie thingie doesn't show. It just looks silly.

You can tell I'm not a fan of inside pouches. Probably because I can't think of any place where I'd really like that kind of a bulge. I wear a small shoulder bag with an inside zip pocket, where my passport goes and never comes out. It's close to my chest, under my arm, and behind two zippers. And any wandering hands encounter my fake wallet first.

The most important thing is not to put your passport where you have to get it out. Ever. Getting it out defeats the purpose of secreting it away, and ups your chances of losing it. That's exactly how my husband lost his.

4. Do not invest in an expensive leather RFID case. For anything.

Get a cheap RFID-blocking paper sleeve, for your passport, or for your credit cards. Office Depot and Staples have them for about $5. They block electronic theft just as effectively as leather, they're lighter, they lie flatter, and they won't tempt you to flash them because they're too cool to hide.

And remember-cash doesn't need electronic protection, and you don't have to call anyone if it's lost.

5. Nothing is foolproof, and we're all fools sometimes.

Before you leave, make two color copies of your passport and your birth certificate. Put one set in your suitcase and one in your carry-on. If you have some extra ID, put that in as well. It all makes getting a new passport much easier. And if the worst happens, file a police report. You can't go to the Embassy till they open anyway, and filing a report makes you look responsible.

So. Wisdom for smart travelers. Having your passport handy may seem like a cool, "world traveler" kind of thing to do. But having it hidden securely away gives you the freedom you need to have the journey you want.

Dr. Deborah Kukal is a licensed psychologist with a broad sense of her home in the world. She is Board Certified in Health Psychology, and she writes on health, sleep, spirituality and meditation, as well as life enrichment, travel and current events.

Discover resources for healthy living, including guided meditation experiences to enrich your own life. They're free and downloadable, at .

The home in your heart. Where mind and body touch one another.


Get the Upgrades and Luxuries You Desire When You Travel

By  

It is easier than you think to set up luxury travel plans with great upgrades. Yet you don't have to pay full price for them. In fact, you can often get those rewards without paying much more than you would for the basics. It all comes down to finding the best deals and putting them in motion. Rather than spending a great deal of time to do this, you can get it done through a provider.

There are luxury travel planners who love looking for specific offers and deals to match the needs of their clients. Once you share with them where you would like to go and what you are interested in, they can spend some time looking around. Once they find options, they can discuss them with you. The final say of what you do and what you pay is always up to you.

Finding a Provider

The key to getting terrific results with luxury travel planners is to find a provider you can trust and that allows you to get exactly what you need. The longer they have been in business and the better reputation they have, the easier it is for you to put the planning into their hands. Ask questions and make sure you know what other customers have to say about their experiences.

Find out about the types of methods and resources the provider uses to find you deals. The best luxury travel planners are efficient and they know where to look and what resources to use to offer you the best outcome. They are interested in offering you overall value, not just saving you money. They want you to become a repeat customer and to refer your friends to them.

One of a Kind Experiences

They are experts and that means they can offer you one of a kind experiences. They can include perks and bonuses you aren't going to be able to get on your own. The connections luxury travel planners have with various entities means they can get you those sold out tickets you wanted or they can get you a dinner reservation where you thought it was all booked up for your timeframe.

They can also provide you with all-inclusive packages. This means everything you will do for activities is included in the price. Often, this comes with some great perks including upgraded seats and even first opportunities for the best time slots. It certainly doesn't hurt to talk to them and see what they can do for you.

Making Memories

With the assistance of luxury travel planners, your travel plans will be above and beyond what you had hoped for. You will be able to make wonderful memories and never have to stress about your travel arrangements. Most can help with last minute travel plans, but it is best to contact them as soon as you know where you want to go and when.

The more time they have to put it all together for you, the more exciting it is going to be. If you travel often, it isn't going to be hard to forge a long term relationship with luxury travel planners. They will learn to identify what you like and prefer, and that helps them to make additional recommendations for you down the road. No more spending lots of time trying to get results on your own. Just contact them and they will do all the legwork for you. Then they can give you results and you can pick and choose what you want to take part in.

Let's Talk Travel is very excited to continue bringing you wonderful ways to save money on the vacation you want. Since 2014, we have been involved with providing information so you can make well informed decisions. Don't spend more on your vacation than you must. We can help you to customize your holiday plans, it doesn't matter how small or how grand they are going to be! Our team will be happy to help you get it all in place with ease. We are also here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us at http://letstalktravel.co.uk/about-us/ and get your dream vacation booked!



MONTH OF MAY 2017

MONTH OF MAY 2017



DAVE KOZ AND FRIENDS AT SEA

Cruise Dates: May 9 – 16, 2017 and May 16 – 23, 2017

Ports-of-Call: Venice, Italy • Dubrovnik, Croatia • Kotor, Montenegro Santorini, Greece • San Marino, Italy
"


THE AMAZING GETAWAY - HOOPZ AND FRIENDS

Date: May 27-June 1, 2017

Place: Turks And Caicos



THE VIBE CRUISE 2017

Date: May 26-29, 2017

Place: Miami, Nassau, Bahamas


MONTH OF JUNE 2017


MONTH OF JULY 2017



THE 2017 SOUTHEAST ASIA LEADERSHIP SUMMIT & MUSIC FESTIVAL AT SEA

Place: Cambodia - Mighty Mekong River - Vietnam

Date: July 25 – August 1, 2017

Cruise Line: SCENIC’S 6-STAR SCENIC SPIRIT


FESTIVAL AT SEA CRUISE 2017

Place: Miami to Half Moon Cay - Bahamas, St Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk.

Date: July 22-29, 2017

MONTH OF AUGUST 2016



THE COOL JAZZ CRUISE

Cruise Dates:?, 2017

Ports-of-Call: Port Canaveral, San Juan,Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic St. Thomas,Virgin Island, Grand Turk



INNKEEPERS and SPA

NEW ORLEANS

Hubbard Mansion
DESCRIPTION: Don Hubbard presents a fabulous Greek Revival house filled with intergenerational wonders and Victorian antiques; beyond the wrought iron gates, the home flaunts a four-column ivory portico preceding seven-foot windows and balconies that overlook the Avenue; magnificent foyer and spiraling staircase, private quarters reveal king-size legacies of perfection, imperial mahogany beds and regal armoires with matching chaise lounges compliment hardwood floors blanketed by oriental rugs; marble whirlpool, carriage house, living and dining areas, fully-furnished kitchen, washer and dryer and 2 1/2 baths are featured as well

BREAKFAST: Deluxe Continental
PRICING: $150-$350 per night, two nights minimum
ADDRESS: 3535 St. Charles Avenue  MAP
PARKING: on premises
TRANSIT: St. Charles Streetcar is in front
PHONE: 504-897-3535
WEBSITE: http://www.hubbardmansion.com

MARTHA’S VINEYARD

Martha's Vineyard Inn
DESCRIPTION: Within walking distance to the center of Vineyard Haven and West Chop; when you enter the 5-room inn with spa, you are greeted by an old trunk in which you leave your old stresses. Wake up for breakfast and then unwind in our relaxing hot tub; find Victorian furnishings, fine paintings, and hardwood floors; our living room is designed for with a high tea server in the afternoon; enjoy natural spa treatments such as massage, yoga, sauna and mineral baths

ADDRESS: Vineyard Haven
PHONE: 800-595-9996 or 508-693-0001
WEBSITE: http://www.marthasvineyardinn.com

East Marion, NY

Quintessentials Bed & Breakfast and Spa
DESCRIPTION: Started in 1994 by Jamaican, Sylvia Daley as the first bed & breakfast and full-service spa on the North Fork, Long Island; a romantic, 1840 Victorian inn, Quintessentials blends Caribbean flavor with European style, featuring deluxe suites and rooms with gas fireplaces, private sundecks and whirlpool baths; a full-service spa, personal image development service in relaxing, elegant surroundings in Long Island Wine Country; indulge for an hour or a day in stress-relieving treatments from a relaxing hot stone massage, reflexology, effective, results-oriented skincare, steam room, Reiki energy balancing, or their signature marine and vino therapies that incorporate wine, grape seed, seaweed, Caribbean herbs and essential oils; many patrons also enjoy the spa parties and wine tours on the East End and Hamptons

PRICES: $250-$300 per night
ADDRESS: 8985 Main Road (Route 25A)  MAP
PHONE: 800-444-9112 or 631-477-9400
WEBSITE: http://www.quintessentialsinc.com

Newport News, VA

Divine Alkhemi Wholistic Skincare Boutique
DESCRIPTION: Malikah Divine first began her natural beauty experience at the age of 21 when introduced to the world of natural skin care by a beautiful West African woman in Harlem by the name of Folasade', the owner of Sade Skin Care; her skincare boutique located in Historic Hilton Village; provides natural skin care to treat and prevent skin disorders and to maintain the skin of men, women and teens; other clients use their service for special occasions such as weddings, fashions shows and photo shoots; spa treatments and packages, catering to pamper parties, bridal parties are available; the retail shop features deluxe, handcrafted skin care products

DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 11a-6p; Sat by appt only
PRICES: begin at $10-20
ADDRESS: 10202 Warwick Blvd  MAP
PARKING: free behind the boutique
PHONE: 757-246-2324
WEBSITE: http://www.divinealkhemi.com

Beverly Hills, CA

Lady Dee's Day Spa & Skincare Studio
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1988, Lady Dee offers a wide range of services and packages to treat clients spirit and physique; the spa feature 11 relaxing parlor rooms in a 3,000 square feet spa and a well-stocked gift shop; her spa specializes in treating all skin types and hyper-pigmentation caused by child birth, sun damage and birth control pills; Lady Dee was mentored by Dr. James Fulton who cleared up her severe acne problem in college; services include chemical peels, waxing, electrolysis, facials, body wraps; the massages will make you a repeat patron – they are really good; Black celebrity clients include Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, Lonette McKee, Nancy Wilson, Nia Long, Toni Braxton, Chris Tucker, Tommy Davidson, Eddie Griffin, Kenny Lattimore and Natalie Cole

DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-9p, Sat 9a-5p
ADDRESS: 155 South Robertson Blvd  MAP
PARKING: street
PHONE: 800-6LADYDEE or 310-659-7082
WEBSITE: http://www.ladydspa.com

New York, NY

Sugar Hill Harlem Inn
DESCRIPTION: Located on Sugar Hill, high on the cliffs overlooking Harlem in a limestone townhouse renovated in 2001; the area known as Sugar Hill is steeped in the history of the Harlem Renaissance; Sugar Hill Inn is focused on this history and all of their terrific non-smoking rooms are dedicated to the many great artists and civil rights leaders who were associated with this area; celebrity-themed rooms were meticulously designed and decorated by Carol Donawa, a graduate of the New York School of Interior Design

PRICES: $125-$275 per night
ADDRESS: 460 West 141st Street  MAP
TRANSIT: near 1, A, B , C & Dsubway lines
PHONE: 917-464-3528
WEBSITE: http://www.sugarhillharleminn.com

Pampered Man Pampered Woman Spa
DESCRIPTION: Walking through the doors is like entering your own private sanctuary filled with relaxing sounds of instrumentals, the gurgle of water flowing over polished stones in a copper-bowl fountain and a gracious smiling staff; offers facials, natural nail care, therapeutic massage and a variety of body treatments while strongly reflecting the flavor of Oakland -- a lobby display features hair and beauty products manufactured in the city;; by spa standards, prices are affordable, particularly combination packages; one excellent value is the 3-hour long Completely Pampered Man or Woman package, which includes a 30-minute massage, a spa pedicure, a pampered manicure and an express facial

DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Wed Noon-7p, Thu-Sat 10a-7p
PARKING: on street
ADDRESS: 458 Perkins Street, Suite 104  MAP
PHONE: 510-418-2252
WEBSITE: none