Using Your Cell Phone Internationally
One of the questions that we get asked a lot is about using cell phones in other countries. Here are some basics to help you stay in touch when you are overseas:
Know your options for getting service.
* Your provider will likely have a couple of international plans that you could sign up for. Generally, you only need to sign up for the duration of your trip; when you get home, you can go back to your regular plan. When you talk to your provider about your options, make sure you understand which international plans work in the countries you will be in, as well as what the plans include. Evaluate whether the plans will meet your needs (for example, plans may include talk and text but not data).
* You may also be able to replace the SIM card in your phone with one from a local company in your destination country. This gives you access to that provider’s service. In addition to buying the SIM card, you will need to buy pre-paid credits with the provider, and then your phone will function like a local phone. This tends to be a better option if you are going to only one destination. This also requires that your phone be unlocked so that you can replace the SIM card. Make sure you understand how to replace the SIM card before you leave if you intend to do this.
No matter how you plan to use your phone internationally, here are a few tips to help make it more affordable. After all, the less you spend on staying connected, the more you can spend on having fun at your destination!
* Take advantage of wi-fi. Free wi-fi is available in many hotels, cafes, museums, airports, and other locations. When you have access to wi-fi, check your email, post on social media, and do all the other things you need an internet connection to do. Just don’t do something like banking, where you really should use a secure network rather than free wi-fi.
* Use apps to make calls. Instead of paying international rates to use your phone for voice service, try making calls via an app (such as Skype, Google Voice, Facebook Messenger) that lets you place calls over wi-fi rather than using voice service from your cell phone provider.
When I travel internationally for vacation, I want to truly unplug. I don’t return phone calls or text messages. When I have access to free wi-fi, I will check email occasionally. I do sign up for an international calling plan with my cell phone provider—just in case there is an emergency and I need to make calls or send text messages. I generally choose the international plan where I pay less to have the plan and then pay more when I use it. This gives me a safety net if I need to use my phone more—but I try very hard to spend less time on my phone and more time on my vacation!
With a little bit of research before you leave, you can find a solution that will best meet your needs while you are traveling, without costing you a small fortune.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that it is time to plan your next cruise because many cruise lines are running great sales. Have I got a deal for you today! On February 14 ONLY, Princess Cruises is doing $1 deposits for most of its cruises that are 6 days or longer. Yes, that’s right…$1 deposit! They have a huge list of more than 1,300 sailings between May 1, 2019 and January 31, 2021. Sail this year or sail next year. $1 is all you need to reserve your cabin. But only on February 14.
Want to see glaciers in Alaska? Kangaroos in Australia? Rainbows in Hawaii?
Want to soak up some sun in the Caribbean? The Greek Isles? The Mexican Riviera?
Want to cross the Panama Canal? The Atlantic Ocean? The International Date Line?
These destinations and more are all available for a $1 deposit. What could be more romantic than surprising your valentine on February 14 with a cruise!
Give us a call now to find your cruise so we have all the information to make the booking on February 14.
Weddings in Paradise
Planning a wedding? Have you thought of a destination wedding? Gorgeous beaches, picture-perfect sunsets, warm breezes. Island resorts are a perfect venue for a destination wedding that gives you the best of both words: friends and family with you as you celebrate your big day AND a chance to do it all in the most romantic setting. In fact, many resorts offer wedding packages that help you minimize the planning work while still personalizing your special day.
The hard part can be coordinating the travel and on-ground logistics. Globe Travel can help with that! We can coordinate air arrangements for you, your wedding party, and your guests, as well as transfers so that everyone gets to the right place at the right time. We will also work with the resort to block rooms for everyone, help with special dining arrangements, and book excursions and activities that allow you and your guests to make the most of the destination and soak up all the local flavor. We usually have access to exclusive amenities and perks, too, to make your wedding even more memorable.
Whether you’re thinking of the Caribbean, Europe, the South Pacific, Hawaii, or aboard a cruise ship, a destination wedding is a great way to combine romance and travel. Let us plan the travel part. You’ve got enough to worry about!
Plan Your 2019 Cruise
I have exciting news: it’s cruise planning season! Right now you can score some of the very best deals that cruise lines offer all year long. Generally speaking, this is the time when cruise lines are trying to fill their cabins. There are all kinds of great deals out there to entice you to book now, including lots of perks and freebies, as well as fantastic fares.
Here are a few samples of some of the best cruise deals that I found:
* Princess: Free specialty dining and up to $900 to spend onboard. Plus, $200 off airfare for select voyages.
* Oceania: Free pre-paid gratuities on select 2019 sailings
* Regent Seven Seas: Shipboard credit of up to $1,000 per suite on select 2019 Alaska voyages
* Azamara Club Cruises: 50% off cruise fare of second guest for select voyages. Plus free unlimited wifi for one device for the duration of your trip.
* Celebrity: Choose up to 4 perks, including classic beverage package, pre-paid tips, unlimited high speed internet, and $150 to spend onboard. Plus, take 50% off third and fourth fares.
* Royal Caribbean: 60% off second guest and kids sail free. Plus up to $100 to spend at sea.
And don’t forget the sale fares to go along with these specials. If you want to cruise in 2019, now is the time to book. Give us a call at 434-296-0171, and we’ll help you find the perfect cruise at the very best price.
Packing for a Winter Vacation
Do you have a winter vacation planned? That always comes with extra packing challenges because heavier clothes and shoes take up more space. Here are a few tips to help you pack more successfully for your winter vacation:
* If you’re trying to keep your packed bags to a minimum or a small size, wear your winter coat and boots when you travel so you aren’t taking up valuable space with those items. On the other hand, if you plan to bring back more than you came with (i.e., you plan to shop!), then pack that heavy winter coat and boots in your luggage so that you can wear them on your return and use that space in your luggage for your additional items.
* If you do pack boots or heavy shoes, pack small things inside them. The inside of boots are great spaces for fragile items.
* Think layers and pack more of the closer layers. Plan to wear a sweater or sweatshirt with different shirts or turtlenecks underneath on different days. This lets you get away with fewer bulky sweaters in your luggage.
* If you are flying, make sure you take a comfortable lightweight jacket (fleece is my go-to) that will keep you warm on the plane, serve as a pillow if you need one, and also be one of your layers while you are on vacation.
* If you look at all you want to pack, and you decide you absolutely need it all…try compression bags. These are like giant heavy-duty zipper bags that enable you to compress bulky things like sweaters into smaller packages by removing extra air. This doesn’t help you reduce the weight in your luggage, but it will help to give you a little more space.
* Don’t forget all of your winter accessories: gloves, scarf, hat, heavy socks, etc.
* Other items I always seem to need more of in the winter: lotion and tissues. While you will often find these in your hotel room, in the winter I like to pack my own—because mine will always be better than what the hotel provides!
Any tips from your own winter travel experience? Feel free to share some more good ideas in the comments section below.
Does this weekend’s snow forecast have you longing for spring? There is no better way to celebrate spring than to enjoy the tulips of the Netherlands! For a few weeks each spring, the landscape of the Netherlands is transformed into a living work of art with the most beautiful flowers popping up all over.
If you want to experience Tulip Time in the Netherlands, there are 3 key areas for you to see:
1. Keukenhof Gardens. This is the crown jewel of Dutch gardens. Celebrating its 70th year in 2019, Keukenhof features more than 7 million bulbs throughout its gardens, as well as indoor floral pavilions. It is only open for two months of the year (March 21 – May 19 this year).
2. Flower Fields. The flower fields are primarily in North Holland near Harlem and South Holland near Lisse (home of Keukenhof Gardens). These are acres and acres of stripes of different colors when the flowers are in bloom. It is magnificent to see so many flowers in bloom at one time.
3. Aalsmeer Flower Auction. This is the largest trading center for plants and flowers in the world. On your self-guided tour, you can see the warehouse floor where millions of plants and flowers are organized and shipped to buyers all over the world. You can also see the auction rooms where buyers from around the world purchase fresh flowers that are shipped out to them within hours of being sold.
If you haven’t seen Tulip Time in the Netherlands, you haven’t really seen bulbs. This is one of those trips that is as much a cultural experience as it is a sightseeing opportunity. If you’re interested in a last-minute trip to see Tulip Time in all its beauty this spring, contact us. What better way to spend your snowy weekend than dreaming of spring bulbs!
Details and Recommendations
Getting there: Go with an organized tour. It is easier for you to make the most of your time in the Netherlands and see as many flowers as possible. There are land tours, as well as cruise options.
How long: If you have a week, you will have a full cultural experience and get to see lots of flowers. If you only have a couple of days, you can still see plenty of flowers. All of the sites I mentioned above are within about an hour of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, so they are easily accessible if you want to add a couple of days in Amsterdam to a European visit.
Don’t miss: Keukenhof Gardens—the most famous of all the Dutch Gardens. It is fantastic!
Contact: Globe Travel at 434-296-0171 or firstname.lastname@example.org to help you plan your visit to the Netherlands during Tulip Time.
A travel trend that I hope to do more of is sustainable travel: traveling in ways that are environmentally and socially responsible, leaving a positive impact. In general, as we seek to have more authentic travel experiences, we are searching for more “doing” and less “viewing.” In other words, we tend to prefer purposeful travel, wanting to engage with local communities and make a difference in our travel destinations.
Two of the most common areas of sustainable travel are social impact travel and animal conservation. Last year, I took a social impact trip to Cuba. It offered incredible learning opportunities about the people, culture, and economy of the island. We met with people in their local areas, visited community improvement projects, and saw first-hand some social enterprises and the impact they are having socially and economically in their communities. I enjoy spending money in the communities I visit and knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of local people.
If you are interested in combining your passion for travel with your interest in animal conservation, volunteering, or making a difference, consider a sustainable travel vacation. Want to spend an afternoon working with local children? Help to put tracking devices on wildlife? Participate in a community building project? Meet an organic farmer? Purchase unique products from local artisans?
Whether it’s an eco-friendly resort or a vacation spent working side-by-side with locals, there’s an opportunity for you to travel with heart. Let us know your make-a-difference passion, and we’ll help you find a vacation that enables you to experience new places while changing the world.