Small Vineyards

Submitted by: Wendy Snider


As we traveled along the scenic Danube River, on our luxury floating hotel, we entered a spectacular countryside filled with century old vineyards. We relaxed on the sundeck, sipping wine, as we entered the Wachau Valley wine country. Our Cruise Director narrated about historic castles and kings as if we were moving through history. Although not renowned entirely for wine, the Danube certainly has a long wine history. The AMA Prima embarked upon a journey through wine.
Nestled around each village, the vineyard remains the livelihood of people. Entire family lives are built around planting, pruning, picking then processing wine, which we were told, can only be sold three weeks out of the year. This current day policy dates back to Joseph II in 1784, when a decree allowed vineyard owners to sell self-produced wine in the Heuriger.
The Heuriger is a small cellar like pub where family and friends gather for conversation and wine! It is the social life for the region. These intimate settings are scattered throughout villages and adorned with the traditional wreath signifying the Heuriger is “open”. Each community anxiously awaits the next vineyard to hang their wreath signifying the new wine is here! Village friends rush to the Heuriger for friendship centered on the vine! We found ourselves seeking the open Heuriger so we too, could experience this fascinating culture of Old World Wine.
We tasted very young wine, which tends to be very crisp and fresh on the palate. They intentionally process the young grapes to appeal to the residents in this community. One family we visited were 5th generation growers. He explained all of their wine is sold within three months as Europeans visit the area to purchase their wine supplies.
This makes for a much laid back way of life. We experienced peace and calm while visiting these regions that you do not see often in the states. A quick, “shhhhh” from our guide answered a compelling part of Wachau Valley life. No noise. No hustle and bustle. Just fresh air surrounding magnificent vineyards jutting out above the Danube River brought a sense of calm. He answered our question of how people survive with just a small vineyard and three weeks to sell their precious goods. He told us that the land, house and entire process has been in the family for sometimes 5 generations. They have no bills, grow their own food and enjoy a simple gathering at the Heurigen. It seemed there was a perfect balance, and it really made us feel at ease and welcomed to their small community. We had a “love of wine” in common.


Large Vineyards

Submitted By: Wendy Snider


We visited large vineyards historically run by Monks. In 1171, the Monks of the Zwettl monastery were granted their first vineyard. Their cultivation of wine became an integral part of regional wine production. The wine mimics simplicity and strictness as an expression of monastic ethos seen throughout the territory. Many large vineyards and productions date back to Monks who produced wine to pay for their monastery. Cellars contain thousands of wine bottles dating over 100 years old. As we strolled through these underground cellars, we developed further understanding of regional wine-making. We started to see the parallel of small and large vineyards influenced by quiet simplicity with meticulously manicured vines…a way of life dating back centuries.

One such vineyard is managed by the Brundlmayer Family in Schloss Gobelsburg, a beautiful Cistercian monastery and castle with several acres of vineyards. It is one of the oldest wineries in Austria. Vineyards are taken care of by hand, each vine treated almost like an individual with thoughtfulness and care originating from the ethos of regional monks. Each vineyard is treated like an individual being nursed to maturity.

One thing we noticed is that the vines are very short …We noticed this before, but now being up close…it caught our attention. The daughter of Heir Brundlmayer explained when they prune back there vineyards; they do it all the way back to the trunk. This process allows young grapes to grow until they are taken rather quickly instead of letting them stay attached and mature. What we see most of the time here in the states, the vines arms, shoots are left on the vine and just the leaves are removed.

The Brundlmayer family produces large amounts of wine annually; utilizing large steel and oak barrels. Did you know they only age wine for a year in the oak barrels? Each barrel is then sold and a new one used for the next batch. We found this fascinating, and also wanted to get on the mailing list for the used barrels…haha!

The wine is very different and tends to be sweet. They produce a few red varieties that were quite enjoyable, but the focus of the region is white. Ice Wine is coveted in the region as the delicate process calls upon an entire community. The village waits for the bells to ring signifying the temperature is perfect for harvest. Everyone joins to hand pick each grape that is placed in plastic containers, whisked away to the cellar (you only have 5 minutes), squeezed by hand and placed in the oak barrel for aging. Now, I understand why Ice Wine is so expensive and popular to purchase while on this river cruise. Oh, the Canadians brought the wallets out when the Ice Wine was introduced. The quote, “wines maturing in our cellars do not hide their personality, but show it with perfect poise,” captures the essence of the Wachau Valley vineyards.

One of the daytime drinks we experienced is a wine spritzer, which is used with the younger wines and mixed with “flower water” and a splash of seltzer. It seemed unnatural to put anything in my wine, but of course there is an explanation. Wine is such a central part of the village that during the day, the wine spritzer is the choice drink. They stated “the spritzer has rehydrating flower water that allows us to drink wine all day long”. We never did get a definition of “flower water”. The “flower water” is the secret ingredient that makes this a refreshing drink. Maybe the next trip we can discover the secret to the wine spritzer.

You will see by the pictures that the amount of wine country in this region goes on and on…it is amazing how they can work these vineyards, some seemed almost unreachable. We saw hundreds the small buildings along the vineyard paths. They serve as a guard house during prime time to harvest the grapes and also as storage sheds so you do not have to carry anything up and down vertical hillsides. We were taken aback that the tiny houses were needed to guard grapes.

One of the memorable experiences was biking from Melk to Krems through spectacular vineyards. The ship Manager Attila guided us off the beaten path on a truly special bike trip where the locals meet. As we were riding through the vineyards I could only think of the peace and lifestyle of those who live in this wine valley. Even though we learned of the hard times endured during their lifetime, there was a generous and graceful way about them. We both are the same in one respect…we are not big shoppers. We spent most of our time, off this beaten path and looking for a way to share the true lifestyle of those that live here.

We went into local pubs and learned about how Europeans live on a daily basis. We absorbed their values. We listened to their stories of how life is changing as a result of the continued growth of River Cruising and tourism. This unique tradition in the Wachau Valley drew similarities to the New World winery where people gather after work or on weekends to celebrate wine. Europeans schedule vacation around the Heuriger featured wines, but purchase of the wine is so limited…and coveted. The significant difference is the generations involved in the intricate choreography of wine. The entire village works to plant, manicure, and harvest wine. So old in tradition, we delighted in our experience of the Heuriger as a facet of daily life.

Going on this river cruise allowed us to experience “off the beaten path” lifestyles of Europe, with no trains, planes or autos. We were able to interact on a more intimate level with locals, beyond tourism. It expanded our depth of human nature and how no matter how far apart we live; we are so much the same. We fell in love with the lifestyle of this region, but desire to return and share this with our family and friends. We can’t wait to bring home a little of that peace and tranquility. Cheers!



Welcome to Prague…Praha! The Golden City of Spires

Submitted by: Wendy Snider


Welcome to Prague…where romance and mystic fairytale Old World charm meets contemporary urban hustle. Prague has become the world’s fastest growing tourism city. The city vibrates with energy as people embrace newly discovered freedom! In a short time since communism ended, the city has transformed to welcome tourism. The people of Prague proudly introduced us to the world’s most intriguing city and the best beer in the world. Offering a sense of exploding entrepreneurial excitement, the city is amust to visit. Around every corner a new adventure began.We arrived on Easter weekend, which simply added to the excitement. Old Town Square was a hustle of excitement filled with the hand painted eggs (“Kraslice”) that girls spend months creating. A giant hand painted egg marked the Easter markets.The intricate details depict the creative talents of an artist, but on an egg? We met a young man with his handmade whip where this strange Easter tradition is quite unique. The boys get to gently “whip” girls who graciously provide their hand-painted Kraslice. The tradition must stop by noon or the girls get to pour a bucket of ice water on the boy. Weird…yes, but all in fun. As we left our hotel at 7:45am, we both looked anxiously around for the boys with a whip. And, yes…we did purchase a few eggs just in case. One need not look far beyond the Easter market to see why Praha is the fastest growing tourism city.Centuries of proven European architecture was built within one city. We learned that throughout history, European rulers built first in Rome, Paris or elsewhere prior to creating massively perfected architecture in Praha. Baroque, Cubism, Gothic and Renaissance display multiple periods of style in a compressed piece of land. The various periods somehow fit together, making Prague a destination to experience the World. The only European city that survived centuries of bombings, to include Nazi and communism terror, Prague has become one of the World’s best preserved cities. As you stroll around this vibrant city, listen to the music. It is everywhere. One minute you may hear Mozart while standing in front of a statue of Don Giovanni and the next a bit of Salsa in front of a stage. Listen for the Astronomical Clock ring bells at the top of every hour as the disciples enter the stage. Relish shopping and stop to grab the most interesting desert…a huge pastry twirled over fire and filled and with chocolate. Yum!Don’t miss the Czech beer while sitting at an outside café and taste a bit of beer cheese presented in a most unusual way.Our day began with a free (of course tips are always appreciated) walking tour from a local university student. He even carried his whip. Our tour guide led us through the struggle too gain freedom. He brought each period of oppression alive through personal family stories, passed through generations. I felt as though I lived each conflict, many of which I remember from TV. Remember the movies of Nazi Germany marching into Wenceslas Square? I recognized it while standing, but this time bustling


Throwback Thursday- Travel Edition

Submitted by: JetSetCD

ContactUsButton Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn’t get that way overnight. Every Thursday, we’re going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that’s decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.

Throwback Thursday: The Incredible Price of a 10-Day Cruise to the Bahamas…in 1960

Posted date: 5/14/15 1960How much was a 10-day Bahamas cruise over 60 years ago? Well, you have your answer in the ad above, placed in Playboy in 1960. It advertises a voyage on a Windjammer sailing ship, departing Miami, with stops at Bimini, the Berry Islands, Nassau, Havana, Abaco, Cay Sal, and Grand Bahama all for $175 per person.

Adjusted for inflation, that cruise should cost about $1,300 in 2015. Alas, the times have been good for cruising and now Caribbean/Bahamas itineraries of 5 days on a megaship  (such as those offered by Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruises) can be had for as little as $299. A modern Windjammer ship represents the appropriate increase in price, with Island Windjammer sailings from $1,200 per person. It is especially fortuitous to run across this ad in 2015, as Miami celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Miami Beach on March 26th. The events to celebrate actually lasted several days, totaling 100 hours of entertainment from March 22-26.


Throwback Thursday: The Awesome Airplane Coach Lounges of the 1970s

Posted date 5/14/15 Coachlngerz_10

Before airlines considered the economy cabin worthy of nothing more than a seat 18″ wide and about 8 peanuts as a complimentary snack, it used to be they would reward any passenger flying one of their newest planes with an in-flight lounge experience.

The onboard First Class lounges of the 1970s are things of legend, of course, but what about coach? On selected aircraft, they too enjoyed a dedicated space for enjoying in-flight diversions like gossiping, having a cocktail, card-playing and, in the case of American Airlines’ 747-100 Coach Lounge, even piano-playing.

Coachlngerz_3TWA 707 Coach Lounge

Coachlngerz_1Continental 147 Coach Lounge


Coachlngerz_2American Airlines 747-100 Coach Lounge

The king of the coach lounge was undoubtedly American Airlines, with their shiny silver 747-100 “Luxury Liner.” Coach meant being able to hop up out of your seat after the seatbelt sign turned off, and join your friends/family/colleagues in the lower-level piano bar. This space offered cocktails, the tunes of a electronic Wurlitzer organ, and—from the scenes in their TV commercials (below)—plenty cheesy pickup lines.

American removed the lounge from their 747s after only a year or two, but you can still view the old piano and a model of the Coach Lounge in AA’s C.R. Smith Museum near Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

It’s no longer economical for an airline to carve out play space for passengers flying on their cheapest fares, although some (like Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Qantas) still maintain onboard lounges for the premium classes.


Throwback Thursday: An In-Flight Snack Attack on Air France in 1958

Posted date 5/21/15 AFpostie1958_2

For all we talk about in-flight meals, you might think that praising (or criticizing) what’s served onboard where is a new concept. A 1958 Air France postcard we acquired proves that obsession with in-flight food is hardly anything new. Written by an American onboard a flight from Rome to Paris during a European “Grand Tour,” the traveler is surprised, in a good way, by the food offered on the flight. On a similar Air France route today, you might be lucky to receive a complimentary beverage and perhaps a croissant.

August 5, 1958 Hi! We’re flying again! This time, Air France. Even as Tourist class, they served us cheese + ham open-faced sandwiches first, ice-cream cookies and coffee at tea-time! We’ve just seen Rome’s Coliseum and catacombs and The Vatican and St Peter’s — and now we’re off for the Champs Elysees and the Folies and the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame– Love, Carey

It’s also nice to note that these postcards would have been available for free, as a form of onboard entertainment. Keep up with your correspondence above the clouds, and mail it once you’ve landed. This card was postmarked with a special Eiffel Tower cancellation, so odds are the traveler waited to post it from an office in Paris’ 7th arrondissement (home to the Eiffel Tower). Very few airlines still offer free postcards onboard these days, including Lufthansa and flyNIKI. AFpostie1958_1


Throwback Thursday: Pan Am’s ‘First Moon Flights Club’

Posted date 5/28/15 1stflightsmoonclub

A tourist trip to space wasn’t just a science fiction fantasy for Pan Am, even though it may have seemed that way after their cameo as an airline-turned-spaceline in Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the late 1960s, the Space Race and the Apollo programs had the United States daydreaming of travel beyond Florida or Paris. Pan Am channeled that enthusiasm for outer space into an alignment with their brand, founding the “First Moon Flights Club.”
Pan Am loved to encourage their passengers to think of a flight as more than transportation, but as a life event to be celebrated. Thus you would maybe receive a certificate for something like flying over the Equator, or a memento for being a part of an inaugural or historic flight. They took a similar approach to what they considered their inevitable future of space tourism, sending membership materials to those who signed up to the Club. According to BackstoryRadio, over 20 years some 93,000+ put their names down as interested in space travel with Pan Am. No price was set for tickets to space, and the Club chiefly existed to gauge interest in space tourism, even sending Pan Am representatives to speak at elementary schools on behalf of the Club. Those children, the original members of the First Moon Flights Club, are now entering their mid-life crises and their children have more processing power in their smartphones than was involved in the first moon missions. The Pan Am “First Moon Flights Club” may be closed, but never has humanity been in a better position to make good on the original hopes, of booking a ticket and heading off on a journey not to another city, but to an entirely new perspective. moonclub


Throwback Thursday: The Very First Air Show Happened in 1909

Posted 6/4/15 tbt first air show 1909

Roll the calendar back to the autumn of 1909, when what was a small aviation display within the Paris Motor Show finally bust out into its own event, the Paris Air Show (Salon de locomotion adrienne). Held within Paris’ Grand Palais (which now most notably hosts Chanel fashion shows), the spectacle attracted approximately 100,000 visitors over the span of three weeks, and put forth the crazy idea that airplane travel wasn’t just for daredevils and tinkerers.
This story even has a happy ending; the Paris Air Show is very much still a big deal. Since it is not an annual event, last year’s only marked the 50th Anniversary. In 1953 the Air Show finally moved to an actual airport (Le Bourget) and it now held every odd year. The 51st Paris Air Show will take place June 15-21, 2015. Add it to your iCal!
air show 1909 paris Care to see more vintage images of the first air show? Head on over to The Retronaut.



Throwback Thursday: What’s in Ansett Australia’s Amenity Kit?

Posted 6/11/15

90s amenity kit


While going through some boxes, we came across a few amenity kits from yesteryear, and one stood out from the rest: a blue travel wallet bearing the name of defunct Aussie airline, Ansett Australia. Like many airlines around the world, the business of this much-loved but weakening carrier was dealt a fatal blow with the September 11 attacks and the resulting depression of the aviation industry.

Although it began as a domestic airline, Ansett grew its substantial network into Asia. In 1999, the airline joined Star Alliance to funnel passengers from Oz to more foreign shores. Ownership changed from News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch’s media company) to Air New Zealand before the demise on September 14, 2001.

Our little amenity kit treasure was courtesy of the airline’s business class service on a 767-300ER from Australia to Kuala Lumpur in the mid-1990s. The wallet is outfitted with plenty of slots for IDs, credit cards, tickets and any other info you might need handy while transiting through the airport. Here’s what’s inside:

· Ansett-branded tissues
· full-sized toothbrush and toothpaste
· eye mask
· cotton socks
· a set of stickers to assert your desire for privacy or to be woken for meal service
· pen (not pictured)

Airlines have come a long way at providing a bit more potions and lotions for in-flight comfort in today’s amenity kits. Even with the limited goodies in the kit, we still deem this one a keeper.

[Photo: Rayme Gorniak/Jaunted]



Throwback Thursday: Air France’s Tummy-Filling Transatlantic Meals on the 707

Posted 6/18/15


We can only imagine what it would have been like in the mid-1960s, planning a trip to France on one of the new Boeing 707s. Dreaming of nibbling croissants on the street, sampling fine French cuisine, and sipping French vintages would be part of the agenda and Air France knew it. That’s why it’s no surprise their advertisements highlighted the elaborate meals onboard their jet service from New York, Chicago and LA.

This poster above exhibits the nine essential parts of the service, about which Air France was so proud. Not only would De Luxe Class (business class) passengers be treated to the reduced flying time and comfort of jet service across the Atlantic, but also onboard meals worthy of the Paris route. Taking consistency into consideration, all of these beautiful meals will be served depending on mileage from origin city.

A second course of pâté de faisan served in the pheasant at 526 miles from take-off and a mysteriously-decorated lobster course at 700 miles out. A few courses of after-dinner treats start at 1,200 miles out, and business class passengers enjoyed a little after dinner liqueur 1,600 miles from the flight’s origin.

And, for those passengers in Economy? A cold meal that is “also French, also delicious” would be served. Obviously little has changed over the past 50 years.

Stock Photo

Travel Etiquette Dos and Don’ts

Submitted By: Travel and Leisure Staff 


Any traveler knows that sinking feeling of boarding a plane only to get stuck with a less-than-desirable seatmate: someone who hogs that narrow, coveted armrest or brings an oversized duffel that encroaches on your legroom.

If you’ve ever resorted to a passive-aggressive nudge or, on the contrary, suffered through hours of transatlantic claustrophobia, you have experienced firsthand what not to do in this scenario.

It’s just one of the possible frustrations that you might encounter when you leave home. But how you react can make all the difference, whether you’re dealing with that seatmate, a reckless taxi driver, or a bad case of food poisoning.

Knowing the dos and don’ts of travel etiquette will help you go from an amateur to a sophisticated globe-trotter. You’ll feel empowered to haggle at a market abroad and be informed about what to do if you get hotel bill shock.

So before you wave your napkin to an inattentive waiter as a white flag of surrender, brush up on your etiquette with these strategic travel tips.

I Scratched My Rental Car



Alert your insurer if the damage is significant. Many require you to report accidents within a certain time frame or the coverage is void.

Document the damage. Photos will keep you from being held accountable for more damage than you inflicted.


Be surprised by ancillary charges. If the car needs repairs, you may be responsible for loss-of-use fees.

Fret over purely cosmetic damage. Most major rental agencies usually don’t bother with (or even notice) minor scratches and dings.

How to Drive on the Left


Mind your left-hand mirror. It’s the one that usually gets clipped.

Yield to oncoming cars when making a right-hand turn. Remember: you’re crossing traffic.


Skip the car insurance. Make sure you’ve got coverage. Most accidents involving foreign drivers arise from the drivers’ unfamiliarity with left-side driving.

Forget to enter roundabouts going clockwise, and give priority to cars approaching from your right.

—Amy Farley

How to Avoid Food Poisoning While Eating Adventurously


Take cues from locals. Long lines are a good sign, and high turnover means that food doesn’t sit out and spoil.

Snoop. Inspect prep stations for cleanliness. Raw foods should be stored separately; cold foods should be on ice.


Leave unprepared. Get a prescription for an antibiotic such as Zithromax, which can help with severe food poisoning.

Forget about the water. Even ice cubes may be suspect. Look for bottled water with the seal intact.

—Melanie Lieberman

What to Do if You Lost Your Phone



Try calling and tracking your device using a GPS-based app such as Apple’s Find My iPhone.

Change the passwords for any accounts saved on your phone, from banking apps to social media.


Rack up a bill. Have your service provider freeze your service, so no one else can make calls or use your data.

Forget to file an official stolen-goods report. Your mobile insurance plan may require it for reimbursement.

—Amy Farley

What to Do if Your Hotel is Overbooked



Plan ahead. Book directly with the hotel and confirm your reservation the night before.

Ask to be comped for your first night (at least) if you are moved to another hotel. You may also get restaurant or spa credits.


Expect much. Hotels usually move guests to properties of equal or lesser value. Your hotel doesn’t want you too happy at the competition.

Be late. If you think your hotel is overbooked, arrive early. The last guest typically loses out.

—Melanie Lieberman

How to Avoid Being Rippped off by a Cab Driver



Know the estimated cost of your trip—and confirm it with the driver before you get in.

Call your hotel or restaurant and ask someone to speak to your driver in his or her native language if it seems like you’re being taken for a ride.


Forget to note the medallion or license number and report the driver to the authorities if you suspect fraud.

Pay with large bills, which invites the “I don’t have change” scam. Better to use small bills and coins in local currency.

—Amy Farley

What to Do if You Missed Your Flight


Be prepared to pay a rebooking fee. For most classes of ticket, you’ll be charged to get on another flight.

Make a run for it, if you’re already checked in and only have a carry-on. At some airports, gates close as late as 15 minutes before departure.


Wait to alert your airline. The sooner you call, the more likely they’ll be able to get you on the next flight—if there’s space.

Expect to be rebooked on a different carrier. For that, you’ll have to purchase an entirely new ticket.

—Melanie Lieberman

How to Cope With Noisy Hotel Neighbors



…call the manager on duty. He can dispatch security. He’ll also know when your rowdy floor mates are checking out.

…ask for earplugs. Most hotels expect some type of noise pollution, be it from tropical birds, traffic, or a wailing toddler.


…take matters into your own hands. You want the hotel to be involved early on in case the culprit is uncooperative.

…demand that other guests move for your sake. If you want a quieter space, expect to switch rooms yourself.

—Amy Farley

What to Do When You Order Wine You Don’t Like

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…speak up. A lot of customers feel intimidated by big wine lists and sommeliers, but it’s okay to trust your palate.

…snap a photo of the label and add it to an album of wines you’ve loved or loathed; use it to guide you on future selections.


…judge too early. As the wine opens up, you might change your mind.

…suffer through a poor choice. The sommelier’s goal is for you to be happy with your selection.

—Amy Farley

How to Cope With an Aggressive Masseuse

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…lay down the law before the lights dim. Share your preferences, and if you’re ticklish or injured.

…use body language. Raising your hand or finger tells your therapist to pause, and is less awkward than breaking the silence.


…leave things to chance. When booking, request a therapist with a lighter touch, or specify a gender.

…be vague. Using a 1–10 scale will ensure the right pressure, e.g., 6 (moderate) rather than 9 (very intense).

—Amy Farley

How to Cope With a Reckless Taxi Driver



…pay the fare. Your receipt may be helpful in reporting the driver. Tipping, however, is optional.

…record the medallion or car number. Local authorities rely on passenger feedback to keep unsafe drivers off the streets.


…yell. Your driver is a professional. Phrase your complaint as a personal preference—not an attack.

…stay in a cab if you feel unsafe. If your driver doesn’t respond to feedback, ask him to pull over and then find another ride.

—Amy Farley

How to Cope With an Overzealous Tour Member



…book trips where multiple guides are present at all times. One is there to handle special situations just like this.

…talk to your guide, not to the traveler in question. Guides are trained to handle a variety of personalities.


…isolate the individual. That will only make him more likely to further monopolize your guide’s attention.

…be too quick to judge. As the group dynamic shakes out, needy travelers tend to settle down.

—Amy Farley

How to Cope With a Space-Hogging Seatmate



…assert your territory early on: claim your overhead and under-seat space, and put the armrests down.

…be sensitive about passengers of size. Alert your flight attendant discreetly; you may be able to switch seats.


…resort to dirty looks, or subtle little pushes. Being passive-aggressive only escalates the problem.

…be greedy. Airplane etiquette says that the middle-seat passenger has rights to both inner armrests.

–Nikki Ekstein

How to Deal with Hotel Bill Shock


…heed the warnings. If the hotel informed you of resort fees and the like, you share some of the blame.

…play up your loyalty. Point out that you are a member of the hotel’s program, or a repeat customer.


…accept responsibility for fees buried in fine print. They should be clearly presented to guests.

…be afraid to stand your ground. If the front desk can’t help, ask for the general manager or guest services director.

—Amy Farley

How to Deal With Food Poisoning While Traveling

Businessman with stomach ache


…ask the local pharmacist for a loperamide-based drug (like Imodium), to prevent dehydration.

…seek medical attention if you experience signs of dehydration, such as dizziness or dry mouth.


…jump back to solid food. Start with electrolyte-fortified liquids (coconut water), then move on to rice and bananas.

…kiss your entire vacation good-bye. Food poisoning usually subsides within two to four days.

—Amy Farley

How to Make a Tight Flight Connection



…ask to be moved closer to the front of the cabin just before landing, so you can make a quick exit.

…run straight to the gate for your connection—even if it’s past your departure time.


…despair. A flight won’t wait for one passenger, but system-wide delays might result in a lucky break.

…book tight connections through large airports. Anything less than a 90-minute window is unrealistic.

—Amy Farley

What to Do When You’ve Accidentally Damaged Your Hotel Room


…assess the mess. One that only requires cleanup costs less than one that calls for replacing broken furniture and fixtures.

…fess up. The hotel will find out regardless—and you’ll want to be there to plead your case.


…fret if the damage is small and unintentional. Hotels will often let you go without penalty.

…assume you can walk away scot-free. If the damage is major, you could be responsible for repairs and lost revenue.

—Amy Farley

How to Photograph Locals Without Offending Them



…ask for permission. If words fail, show your camera and wait for a reaction before shooting.

…strike up a conversation. Compliment the subject’s family, ask a question, or share a laugh.


…push too hard. If the subject says no, find someone else to photograph.

…try to be sneaky. You risk affronting someone who’d rather not be photographed.

—Amy Farley

How to Cope With an Inattentive Waiter



…get the attention of another waiter or waitress and ask for help tracking down your server.

…ask for the manager. If you feel you are being ignored, it’s important to speak up.


…snap your fingers, wave your napkin in the air, or try to draw attention in any flagrant way.

…assume it’s bad service. In some cultures it’s customary for guests to signal to waiters when they are ready for the check.

—Amy Farley

How to Haggle



…determine what you’d like to pay. Ask trusted locals what they’d spend.

…enjoy yourself. A sense of humor and patience are equally important.


…be afraid of lowballing. Make your starting offer at one-third of the price.

…indicate how badly you want an item. Be willing to walk away, and you’ll almost always get a better deal.

—Amy Farley

How to Cope With a Snoring Seatmate



…ask for earplugs—most flight attendants will have them on hand.

…rouse the snorer gently. A subtle trick: open an air vent.


…expect your flight attendant to wake anyone up. Each flier has the same right to rest.

…feel trapped. If another seat is available, you may be able to move to a quieter spot.

—Amy Farley

What to Do When You’ve Been Pickpocketed

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…find the nearest Western Union. You can get cash wired to you within the hour.

…report a stolen passport to police and consular authorities; a replacement may be issued within 24 hours.


…expect a new bank or credit card to arrive immediately. It could take a few days to reach you abroad.

…forget to cancel all cards immediately. Some card providers charge fees for fraudulent use.

—Melanie Lieberman

What To Do If Something Goes Missing From Your Hotel Room


Report any theft immediately. Authorities may still be able to recover lost goods, and a hotel’s insurance may cover the damages.

Check state laws. If a hotel doesn’t provide notice of its limits to liability or offer private safes, you may be entitled to full compensation.


Jump to conclusions. Search your room thoroughly before making accusations.

Be irresponsible. If your room had a safe—and you chose not to use it—the hotel is most likely not responsible for your loss.

—Amy Farley

What to Do if Your Airplane Seat is Broken



Speak up. Even when the problem seems minor. A single loose screw could become a major safety concern.

Prepare for delays. If the seat is deemed unsafe, maintenance must be called and you may be bumped.


Despair. Flight attendants may have a solution (e.g., a portable DVD player to replace a broken seatback system).

Walk away empty-handed. When inconvenienced, ask for compensatory miles—or at least a free drink.

—Amy Farley

What to Do if You Get Seasick, But Still Want to Cruise

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Avoid rough waters (the Bay of Biscay; around South America’s Cape Horn). Instead, try river cruises or tours of the Norwegian fjords.

Book a room at the ship’s center and on a mid-level deck, where you’re less likely to feel movement.


Be deterred. Most new ships have stabilizers for extra steady sailing.

Forget your remedy of choice: ginger; Sea-Bands; Dramamine. When in distress, go to the top deck and look toward the horizon.

—Amy Farley


13 Reasons Why You Should Travel More Often

Submitted by: Storypickers



To travel is to live, they say. Traveling not only teaches us the value of life, but also makes us learners and observers. It compels us to think about everything that is right and wrong with this world. Not to mention, it shows us just how beautiful this world can be, when you think there’s just no hope.

Here are the reasons why you should travel more often.

1. It’s not all about work, work, and work

TLL-1We all start getting comfortable in the bubbles we create for ourselves as we start building our lives, and in the process, we often forget that there is so much more than a busy life in the city-there are majestic, beautiful places in this world that we can see and and enjoy being in. Traveling can change the mindset of having to live a life in a bubble, when you can go out and live every day to the fullest.

2. The world is not an intimidating place

TLL-2When you travel around, especially in places where the culture is different from where you reside, you’ll realize that people are not only nice- most of them are extremely hospitable. So, when you travel, make sure to stay with a local instead of a hotel to get the best experience of the place you are traveling to.

3. Working out of your comfort zone is rewarding

TLL-3aThis one’s for when you travel alone. Though it may seem scary, traveling alone can be a liberating experience. When you’re alone in a new place, you tend to ask for directions, use maps/GPS, and talk to strangers, some of whom might even become friends. This makes you realize that if you want to reach a destination, you may have to get out of your comfort zone, but the results are rewarding.

4. Every place has a story, and that is how it has come to be the way it has

TLL-4-bLearning about the history of a place and how it came to be gets more fascinating as you travel.

5. There is so much food in the world

TLL-5No travel is complete without having tasted the local cuisine. Traveling to different places and tasting the food the people there eat is fun, and it lets you know just how different people enjoy different food.

6. Life is easier without a little baggage

Most of the times, we tend to over pack and take things with us that we end up not using at all. Traveling extensively teaches you how to carry things that matter to you, and nothing else that might be a little ‘extra’. And that applies to life too. :)

7. It gives you purposeTLL-71Travel once, be fascinated. Travel more, and you know just why you want to visit a place, and it gives you a lot more to remember when you do.

8. You learn how to communicate better and be more socialTLL-8Trying to find your way in a crowd filled with strangers teaches you how to communicate with people, and also teaches you how to rely on people when you need help sometimes.

9. It helps you develop new hobbies

Who knows, maybe the beauty of a place is so breathtaking that you want to capture it in the best way possible? That’s how skills like photography, writing, and even food and fashion based hobbies can be developed. :)

10. It makes you more open minded

Exposure to different cultures gives you a better perspective, and makes you question things that your culture entails, and if there are some things you need to change.

11. You get more street smart

The more you travel, the more you learn to negotiate and pick the option that suits you best.

12. And develop a sense of independence and freedom

We often feel like we’re bound to all the things around us- a job, money, society. In reality, we’re the ones keeping ourselves tied down to these things. Traveling opens our eyes to many possibilities, and teaches us that we can get up and leave if something bogs us down, and that nothing can control us if we don’t let it.

13. Finally, it’s important to make memories, because it is memories that make life more meaningful

Pictures, videos, and good company…there is nothing else that reminds us of the good times we had traveling to a place away from home.

So, go on and make some memories. Pack your bags and take that trip you’ve been stalling for so long. The world can wait.


Pack Your Bags For Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Submitted By: Globus



For nature-lovers, a visit to the Great Barrier Reef is a quasi-religious experience. The 1600 mile long organism, which can even be identified from space, is actually a web of 2,900 self-contained reefs that lie between 40 and 100 miles off Australia’s north-east coast. From a plane, the Reef looks like a giant blue rash, but beneath its placid waves lie canyons of brilliant coral, each one a mini-galaxy of sea life, including wildly colored fish and anemones, giant turtles, moray eels, sharks and manta rays so large they can blot out the sun’s light as they pass overhead. The clarity of the water, the intensity of color, even the quality of the antipodean light are like nowhere else on earth. Most visitors fly into the booming tropical city of Cairns, then head north along the verdant Cook Highway to Port Douglas – a former gold rush port that was a virtual ghost town in the 1960s but is now one of Australia’s most glamorous resort destinations. (It lured Bill Clinton while President in 1996, and again in 2001). From here, high-speed catamarans run out to submerged platforms on the Reef, a jumping-off point for snorkelers and tours on glass-bottomed boats. (Companies also offer tanks for certified divers, but snorkeling is just as impressive: In fact, the colors of the Reef are most brilliant in shallow, sun-filled water.) It’s an unforgettable experience: the Pacific pumps back and forth like a giant lung over forests of stag horn coral, whose tips glow like electric Christmas tree lights. Clouds of tropical fish explode off the sandy ocean floor, green sea turtles glide purposefully by. And don’t miss the giant clams – mega-mollusks, each four foot wide, 500 pounds in weight and dressed in lurid velvet, they gabe up invitingly from their beds of soft coral swaying in the current. A kick of your flippers takes you down to admire the vibrant colors shimmering in the slanting sunlight. And when you touch their sensuous lips, the century-old shells close slowly into fixed, happy smiles.

Encounter unforgettable adventures when you plan your trip- Escape to the most exciting reef in the world, The Great Barrier Reef, when booking with Encore Travel today!


Pirates of the Galapagos

Submitted By: Globus


They may not have the same wacky wit as Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, but the pirates of the Galapagos had their share of adventures among the otherwise pristine islands. During the 1500s and 1600s – as Spain was busy collecting the wealth of the Incas and shipping it home – the pirates (or buccaneers, depending on whose side you were on) would attack the Spanish treasure ships and steal riches for their own country… or themselves. The Galapagos became a favorite hangout for these pirates who would retreat onto their private coasts, stock up on water and meat (tortoise meat, that is) and, occasionally, stash their goods among the volcanic caves. The spot just north of James Bay on Santiago, in particular, is still known today as Buccaneer’s Cove. The pirates were also seen as a beneficial part of the economy during ancient times. Settlers could trade and barter goods at a much cheaper rate with the pirates. At “pirate prices,” merchandise could be had more reasonably than what the Spanish charged. As a result, the fledgling communities viewed the pirates as well-endowed trading partners as well as high-spending tourists who would arrive in town with plenty of money to squander and could be counted on for repeat business. In addition, with the pirates around, their ports were temporarily safe from Spanish incursions. So who knows what your next trip to the islands with Encore Travel will unearth! … Arrr!


8 Scientific Hacks To Help You Get Over Jet Lag

Submitted by: Kelly Oakes- BuzzFeed Science Editor


If you’ve ever traveled more than a few time zones in a few hours, you’ll know that jet lag is terrible.


Waking up in the middle of the night and feeling sleepy and hungry at the wrong times can be all sorts of annoying when all you want to do is explore a new city, or have to be on top form during a work trip.
It happens because your body’s internal clock gets all out of sync.

Every cell in your body has its own circadian clock, and they’re all regulated by a central one called the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus region of your brain. When you skip time zones, it sends these little clocks out of whack.
The good news is external signals help regulate your internal clock, and you can use that to your advantage.

Your hypothalamus judges what time it is by the signals your body sends it, which is mostly based on light, but also when you eat.
Here are some things you can do to help your body adjust and get over jet lag as quickly as possible.

1. Start to shift your body clock before you go anywhere.
Professor Richard Wiseman, author of Night School (Macmillan, 2014), recommends making use of the days before you travel.
There’s some evidence that starting to get up earlier in the few days before traveling east can alleviate some of the horrible fuzziness jet lag brings. A study of 28 people in the Journal of Biological Rhythms found that bringing sleep forward an hour a day for three days and exposing participants to bright light in the morning meant they could advance their sleep pattern without losing out on alertness.
If you’re going west instead of east, you need to delay your sleep pattern, to try sleeping in an hour later per day for the three days before you travel.

2. Adjust your watch as soon as you get on the plane.

Adjust your watch as soon as you get on the plane.
And try to do whatever you would at that time. “If it is time to sleep, get your head down. If it is dinner time, eat something,” writes Wiseman.

3. If you need to sleep on the plane, avoid sitting on the sunny side.

 It’s going to be hard to convince yourself to sleep if you have bright daylight streaming in through the window next to you. You can use the website Sun Flight to check where the sun will be during your flight to book the best seat.

4. Know whether to seek out or avoid light when you get to your destination.

Know whether to seek out or avoid light when you get to your destination.
As a general rule, if you’ve travelled east you’ll need to avoid morning light but make the most of it in the afternoon, says Wiseman. If you’ve travelled west, try to expose yourself to light throughout the day.
If you want to get really detailed, the University of Michigan has created an app called Entrain that can take your normal sleep schedule and travel schedule and tell you exactly when you seek out bright light and when to avoid it.

5. Use sunglasses to control your light exposure. In a New York Times article, Steven Lockley from NASA’s fatigue management team, recommends wearing sunglasses during a flight if you need to sleep, and at the airport once you arrive if you need to. For example, on an overnight flight from New York to London, Lockley says you should wear sunglasses for the entire flight and until 11am local time, to help yourself adjust. Don’t seek out bright light right away, because your body thinks it’s the middle of the night and you’ll just exhaust yourself.

6. If you really need to nap when you get there, make sure you time it right.


Between 1 to 2pm in your new timezone is the best time for this, Wiseman told BuzzFeed.

7. Melatonin supplements could help you control your sleeping patterns.

Melatonin supplements could help you control your sleeping patterns.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your body’s sleep and wake cycles. “Research suggests that daily doses of melatonin can help alleviate jet lag, and that short-term usage seems to have few negative side effects,” writes Wiseman. A Cochrane review of the evidence found that melatonin is “remarkably effective” at preventing or reducing jet lag.
Obviously, though, you should consult your doctor before taking any medication.

8. If your trip is short, it might not be worth trying to adjust at all.
“Adjusting to a new local time takes about half a day per time zone if you are flying east to west, and two-thirds of a day per time zone if you are flying west to east,” writes Wiseman.
If your trip is only a few days anyway, you’ll just be getting on local time as you leave to go back home – and have to do it all over again.

Bon voyage and good luck!



The Galapagos Islands- Recognizing an Inconvenient Truth


Submitted by: Globus

The Galapagos ranks as one of the most important sites in the Western Hemisphere in regards to biodiversity and scientific research. As such, the Ecuadorian government is one of the first countries to include environmental legislation in the form of a constitutional amendment. The Special Law for the Galapagos is a landmark piece of legislation which has far-reaching and unprecedented language to protect biodiversity and foster a culture of conservation. The law aims to promote conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development of the Providence of Galapagos. The legislation recognizes not only the biological framework necessary to protect Galapagos, but also the intellectual and sociological aspects. The principal goal of this piece of legislation is to create a harmonious existence between people and the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands. So enjoy the lush scenery, plants and animals that await you because they are heavily treasured and guarded in these pristine Islands! The world is a library. What story might you discover on a Globus vacation in The Galapagos wit Encore Travel ?