Cameo Travel Enrichment Center
  Barbara McGhee-Turning Vacations into Donations
  barbara@cameotravelcenter.com
  843-650-4501 U.S.A.
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Below you will find tips to help you plan for your travels.

Cameo Travel Enrichment wishes for you the best travel experience possible!

Travelers' Top Tips to Pack Smart

Pack light to travel light. If you can manage with a carry-on, do it. Try taking half of the things you need and twice the money. You can make buying a few new items a fun part of the adventure.

 

Pack a sleep mask and ear plugs. These can come in handy on a plane, train or in your hotel room.

Capitalize on empty suitcase space. Roll your clothes, instead of folding them. Stuff socks, underwear, and accessories inside of shoes. Leave no space unused.

Keep a sarong in your carry-on. They can be used as a blanket on the plane,

a scarf if it’s cold or a shawl on an evening out.

Bag it. Kitchen sandwich bags can be used to hold your accessories, vacuum pack bags can be space savers, and trash bags have multiple uses (laundry bag, shoe covers).

Skip airport snacks and bring your own. You can save yourself a bit of money and keep your hunger at bay in case you have a delayed flight.

Create compartments. Two words: packing cube. If you are visiting more than one city during your trip, packing cubes will keep your suitcase organized and save you from having to pack and unpack.

Share your packing space. Traveling as a couple? Split your clothes between two suitcases on the off chance one of them gets lost during the flight.

Bring a multi-socket extension cord. Although newer hotels have USB ports in rooms, it’s best to have an extra outlet to charge all of your electronics at once.

Make photocopies before leaving home. If you’re traveling out of the country, make two photocopies of your passport. Use your phone to take pictures of your car in the airport’s parking garage and do the same for your luggage and its contents in case it gets lost.

 

"Wear old t-shirts, pants, underwear, and socks and throw them away on the trip after you wear them. That way your luggage is lighter and you have room to purchase items on your trip"

"Forgot your toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, deodorant? Check with the front desk of your hotel… they’ve always got small samples available"



Don’t lose your trip deposit or miss your trip

 

You have planned on traveling to that country for years and all of a sudden a last minute trip comes up that is half of the usual cost. You rush to pay your non-refundable deposit even though you do not have a passport, or your passport has expired and a travel visa for that country is required.

 

Do not pay for a nonrefundable deposit if you do not have a current passport!

 

Your passport is good for ten years getting it now will save you more than$$$

 

If you travel frequently or plan to, you may request a larger passport book with 52 pages, at no additional cost.  (Lots of additional blank visas pages) Just check the ‘52 page’ box at the top of your passport application.

 

You can renew your passport even if it has not expired. Your passport expiration date needs to be at least six months after your scheduled return date.

 

The requirements for many countries’ visas has changed, you may have to send your original passport with the visa application.

Keep a copy of your passport if you have to mail the original.

Visas may require one personal passport photo to be mailed along with the other visa application documents

 

There is an old expression: “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on mine” That really holds true when applying for a passport

 

Do you know what “add pages to a passport means” and that it is so important that not having enough blank visa pages may keep you from being allowed a visa and going on your trip?

  • Go to your passport look at the passport expiration date then turn the pages until you see pages that have a heading of Visas.

  • Count the blank pages: it is not unusual for a country to require 3 pages just for their stamps.

     

    Boring “Technical Travel Stuff” that will save you more than money

     

    If you need a passport, renew passport, etc.

    www.travel.state.gov on the internet

     

    If you have questions about your passport call 1-877-487-2778

    8:00 a.m.-10 p.m. Eastern Time Monday thru Friday

    Definition of passport photo access the following:

     


    http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/photos/photos.html

     

     

Airline Booking

Purchase Early-Airlines tend to offer the lowest prices on 21-day advance tickets.  Usually costs less if you fly during a weekday and stay over Saturday
 
Not too Early- If you are trying to book months in advance and you can’t find the fare you want, be patient
 
If you make your own flight arrangements, I recommend booking flights arriving at least the day before embarkation. Even when you factor in the cost of airport transportation and a hotel room, you could come out ahead and in the event of a flight delay you will not miss your cruise.

Don’t presume that an airline will not be serving you a meal. Call and find out if they are and when it will be served. Nothing worse than paying a high price for airport food and then 30 minutes into the flight time you are served a better meal.
If you are traveling out of the country many times a second bag can be checked at no cost, check with your airline. You may not have to drag a carry on thru multiple airports and security.
If you are returning home from an international location, do not presume that you should be dropped off at the international terminal, call and find out which terminal you should go to. Remember some countries have terminals several miles apart, you don’t want to miss your flight    

Cruise Booking

Cruises include accommodations, dining, and a variety of entertainment.

Best Prices:  

If booking a cruise either book far in advance (up to a year) or within three months of the sail date to get the best price for the cruise. Groups are usually offered better prices and they receive amenity points if booked and paid for early enough.  Amenities can include a party for the entire group, wine and chocolate, free photographs etc.
 
You can really cut the cost of your cruise if you go in “off season”. I find the best weather January through May in the Caribbean . Christmas, New Years, spring break and summer tend to cost the most.  Thanksgiving week is more affordable as prices and crowds with kids tend to be lower.
 
 

Selecting a Stateroom:

By far, your best value is going to be the least expensive inside cabin, where you pay the least, but a lot of people do not care for inside cabins.  The rule of thumb is if the price difference between types of cabins is under $200, you can rest assured you are NOT paying too much to upgrade. There is NO advantage to booking your cruise directly through the cruise line. Even though agents receive a commission, they are usually able to offer a lower price.  Cruise lines often give agencies a better price, and individual agents can adjust their commissions, often reducing their cut to lower your cost. The higher the deck, the higher the price, a cabin on deck 9 is going to be the same as one on deck 3 but you will pay a lot more for the one on deck 9.

Embarkation:

Don’t let the excitement of boarding your ship get the best of you. Have your cruise documents, ID and paperwork filled out and signed by each passenger before you arrive at the pier. Most cruise lines now require you to fill out embarkation forms online. You’ll need your cruise line specific booking number in order to do so. Going early or late does not seem to shorten the lines. Take a good book, and visit with people around you.

On The Ship:

Most ships begin embarking passengers around 11 am, regardless of what your documents tell you. Once passengers have disembarked the ship from the previous week it’s customary to allow passengers on the ship an hour or two later. Staterooms might be ready, but you can drop off your carry-on luggage and begin exploring the ship. Lunch is usually served around noon.

Extra cruise costs:

Cruise lines no longer accept cash monies including for tips. Instead they have a flat fee added daily, usually about $10 per day. Take a look at port costs & government fees before you book yourself.

Shore Excursions:

The least expensive are bus/van tours of the city. My least favorite they just want you to shop. If your ship spends all day in port, doing your “own thing” is probably the way to go. Most cruise lines furnish a complimentary shuttle service to the nearest town at each port. Attend the programs onboard that tell you about the next port, they will usually have a map available marked with historical sites or the location of a building that has 700 stores.

  •  Advantage to booking shore excursions thru your cruise line is that they will wait in port past the sailing time.  
  • Disadvantage: Costly compared to doing research and going on your own, but make sure that you do not return past to sailing time or you will be paying for transportation to the next port.
  • I have found in Asia that directions in English are clearly marked and have found their customer service stations to be exceptionally helpful.

Essentials to take:

small solar calculator, make up a list of the countries you will be visiting and find out what their money is valued to compared to the American Dollar and the temperature in that country. This will help with your packing and save money when you are tired or you really want to bargain. In one country our dollar may be equal to six of theirs or 127,000 of theirs.    Example:  1 U.S. = 127,000 Taiwan =90 Temperature

1 U.S. = 6 Japan = 50 Temperature


We all say we are not going to bring anything but then we run into that killer deal. Two things that I have found never to buy out of the country are luggage and athletic shoes.  You have not lived until the new (supposed to be) Nike’s you have just bought get a little damp, the pink color runs and the soles fall off. Instead of buying a piece of luggage that may not last long enough to carry home all the stuff that you said you would not buy or stress yourself by carrying multiple bags on a plane.  This is what I have done:

 The Sierra Club has a bag that looks like a duffle bag, but folds up to the size of a dinner plate when empty. I put all clothes that I will not be wearing any longer on the trip in the bag. Clothes weigh a lot and I have never been stopped at a security check or failed to get on a plane because my piece of luggage was too large. Two extra bonuses of the duffel bag, if you ever get stuck in an airport you have your own pillow and multiple changes of clothes.

 Cost Cutting:  

Carry fewer clothes if the ship or hotel has a laundry: If the ship or hotel has a laundry and instead of carrying detergent/softener that may spill in your luggage, the grocery stores now have a laundry sheet known as 3-in-1.  You just put the sheet in the washer and transfer the same sheet with your clothes to dryer, it also has anti-static. This is much better than paying for an extra bag or dragging that carry-on thru multiple airports.  

Jewelry, souvenirs, and extras generally go on SALE the last day of the cruise.

 Here are nine (sometimes unexpected) things the Cruise Critic team has learned about cruise cabins after hundreds of sailings on ships of all types:

1. it’s magnetic, baby. A cruise ship is really just a big, beautified floating piece of metal, and that includes your cabin. So even if the walls don't look or feel metallic, they are -- and that means you can use magnets to help organize the abundance of papers the ship's crew will usually throw your way. For instance, have a cocktail invitation you don't want to lose? Use a magnet to stick it to the wall nearest the door so you can grab it on your way out.

2. What's the smell? With so much hearty food on a cruise, a stomach can't be blamed for a little rebellion. But that's when you realize few cruise ship bathrooms have ventilation fans, and it's not long before more than just the bathroom smells, well, funny. But a little forethought and a scented freshener hanging from your shower curtain can make all the difference. Whether you bring some aromatherapy oils or a hanging car freshener doesn't matter -- they'll all do the trick. Just don't bring anything you need to light with a flame, such as a scented candle or incense.

3. Look under the bed. On my first few cruises, I often found myself complaining that my dresses and skirts couldn't hang nicely in the closet because our big suitcase took up so much space. Then one day, on perhaps our third or fourth cruise, my husband looked under the bed and found lots of empty space there. We didn't have to shove all our bags into the closet. We have since learned that not all cabins are the same, however. On a recent Norwegian Cruise Line cruise, half the space under the bed was taken up by the bedspread during the day. But we were still able to put one suitcase and our case of water under there.


4. Presto-change-o beds.
While it's always best to request the bed configuration you wantbefore your cruise, just because you enter your cruise cabin to find two beds when you're traveling with your spouse, or one bed when you're traveling with a friend, doesn't mean you're in trouble. Beds on most ships can easily be pushed together or separated; just ask your cabin steward to do it while you're out of the cabin. 

5. Any which way. One last note about cruise-ship beds: Not all beds face the same direction. In fact, on many ships, the positioning alternates between cabins or from side to side. Beds can be aft-facing, forward-facing and even port- or starboard-facing. If there's room (and you wouldn't be blocking furniture or a doorway), you could ask your steward to switch the beds or move them yourself. Just keep in mind that the chances you'll feel any movement akin to riding backwards in a train is pretty slim.

6. The furniture stays put. Unless you have a suite, don't plan on lots of dancing around your cabin. That's because beds are the only large items in a cabin that can be easily moved. That center table, for example, may be small, but it's usually pretty heavily weighted so that it doesn't fall over during rougher seas. The same is true for just about every other piece of furniture in the cabin. So get used to moving around the furniture, because you're not going to be able to move it out of your way.

7. Whoosh. Here's a science experiment to try on your next cruise (or not!). What happens when you open both your balcony and cabin doors at the same time? Ever seen the movie Twister? Okay, so a cow isn't going to come swirling into your cabin, but a wind tunnel will whip its way between the two doors, leaving a mess in its wake.

8. Water, water everywhere. No need to lug a case of water with you when you go cruising. The tap water on cruise ships is completely safe and drinkable, having been through rigorous filtration and testing, all of which are overseen by U.S. and European heath agencies. While some cruisers claim that the tap water in restaurants and bars tastes different from what comes out of the cabin bathroom, it is all, in fact, the same water.

9. Humps and Afts.
Not all cabins or cabin balconies are created equal, and we're not just talking about category differences. Just because two cabins are in the same category doesn't mean they're identical. In fact, some of the most desirable cabins aren't in the highest categories. They're the "special" standard balcony cabins that just happen to offer a little something extra, like the "hump" balcony, which is only found on ships that bulge out at the middle, therefore offering a larger balcony and interior space. Likewise, corner aft cabins, priced the same as regular aft cabins, often feature wraparound balconies.

 

Article: by Caroline Costello, Smarter Travel Staff

International security standards and procedures are as varied as the countries to which they apply. The tangled network of shifting rules differs by nation, route, airport, airline, or (as it sometimes seems) the fleeting mood of the screener going through your stuff. What's a traveler to do? We'll say it several times in this article: When journeying abroad, contact your airline or refer to your arrival airport's official website for specific information regarding local laws. But before you do, find out which general airport security rules you should be aware of wherever you're headed.

 

I am not sure if is where you travel, who you travel with or if you run across a rare screener who also thinks he is the emperor of that county as to how they handle security standards.  Flying into China was the most thorough security checks I have ever come across but yet when leaving china and they opened my luggage when I was leaving which held two gift  wrapped packages I was asked if they were birthday presents, I nodded my head and I was then on my way.  Going into Morocco and then leaving our group just past right thru customs.  On our way out of the U.S. one individual in our group had a hip replacement and the body search was as extensive as I have ever seen. Another reason for not taking more luggage than you need even if you are a senior with a walker some airports will not allow you to help them; they must manage their luggage and their walker by themselves.

 

 Improve the odds of surviving a plane crash

Barbara Peterson from the Daily Traveler

Written by; JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom   

While it’s a natural impulse to grab your possessions that can greatly slow down the evacuation process. And every second counts: A plane must be capable of being evacuated within 90 seconds of impact, even with half the exits blocked—since that’s often the case. Fire becomes a serious threat after that all-too-short interlude,

The truth is that most accidents are survivable; while two lives were tragically lost in the crash of Asiana flight 214, remarkably, the other 305 passengers and crew got off the plane.

Evacuations are more common than we suppose—at the time of our 2005 report, an aircraft was being evacuated at U.S. airports every 12 days. But surveys have shown that few fliers pay any attention to the pre-flight safety briefing, either because they’ve heard it all before, or, strangely, because they believe if they crash there’s nothing they can do about it anyway.

But that’s far from the case; the vast majority of passengers involved in U.S. airline accidents over the years have survived. So, here’s some advice from the experts at the FAA as well as dozens of survivor interviews, on what to do:

1. Listen closely to that safety briefing before takeoff and study the seatback safety card; yes, you have heard it before, but a refresher is always a good idea.

2. Count the number of rows between you and the two nearest exits at the start of the flight; in a real evacuation, if one isn’t working, move on quickly to the next.

3. Assume the brace position for impact—head down, arms crossed—even if flight crews don’t issue instructions; they may not have time, as was the case last weekend.

4. Leave all belongings behind; whatever it is, it’s not worth risking your life or your fellow passengers’ lives for. Carry ID, cash, and credit cards in a neck pouch or fanny pack.

5. If there’s smoke, keep your head low and cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief or other article of clothing.

6. Wear low-heeled shoes. Avoid sandals, which don’t protect against burns, and high heels, which must be removed before evacuating via an emergency slide.

7.Jump feet first into the center of the slide, arms folded and legs together; don’t sit down, which will slow the process.

 

Power chargers for the stateroom: adapter or converter?

  One way to tell what your appliances can take: Have a look at the label on the back of the device; if it has a range between 100 and 240v, it has a converter built into it. If it is not labeled the following should help you:

 An adapter is simply that – a plug that allows you to connect a North American appliance to a European (or other country)’s wall socket. These can be used with devices like laptop computers that already have a transformer to convert the current from 110 to 220v.For electrical appliances without a transformer; you will need to purchase a power converter. Usually, these can come in an all-in-one package that combines several different plug types with a built-in converter.

Secure your adapter to your device's plug with electrical or duct tape; otherwise it can easily get left behind in the outlet (hotels or bed and breakfasts sometimes have a box of abandoned adapters — ask). Many sockets in Europe are recessed into the wall; your adapter should be small enough so that the prongs seat properly in the socket. If, for some reason, your adapter doesn't work in your hotel, just ask at the desk for assistance; hotels with unusual sockets will invariably have the right adapter to loan you.











































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Phone 843-650-4501
Myrtle Beach,SC 29575
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