Good Destinations for Solo Travelers

Despite solo traveling being one of the biggest sectors in the travel industry, it’s still treated like the red-headed stepchild of the vacation world. Often when telling people that I’m traveling on my own, I get a comical mix of shock, fear, disbelief and sometimes a twinge of sympathy, even though it’s my choice to travel sans companion.

Solo_travel

But what may be lost in translation is that solo traveling is quite possibly the best way to travel. You’re on your own itinerary to do as you wish, whether that means reading a good book or hitting up a local event. But trying to convince people that it’s a safe venture is a difficult task. If you’ve been wanting to take the plunge of traveling on your own but don’t know where to start, take a look at these 7 best (and safest) destinations for solo travelers.

What Other Countries Think of Americans

After traveling extensively for over a decade and hosting many families from all over the world, we’ve heard our share of gripes and praise regarding Americans. Whether they are stereotypes or things that truly envelop the culture of the United States, we’ve heard it all.  Sometimes their thoughts have enlightened us and made us behave more consciously while visiting other countries and other times we’ve had to struggle to keep from laughing out loud. We decided to compile a list of some of our favorite things we’ve heard from foreigners over the years and what seems to be a common thread among those views. 

America

Americans are pretty darn popular

When we first started visiting other countries, we were often blown away by how receptive its citizens were to us as Americans. We thought that foreigners hated ‘loud, rude and pretentious Americans.’ But, as a country, we’ve found that we’re generally quite well-loved. The United States offers a plethora of aid during times of crisis all around the world, we boost economies with our tourism and we stand for progressive human rights like marriage and gender equality, and freedom of speech, which makes us pretty admirable among our world peers. As individuals, we also tend to be friendly and generous tippers, adding to our likability.

Three Ways to Accrue Flyer Miles Without Actually Flying

If you read travel blogs or articles, I’m sure you’ve been inundated with pieces on how to travel for free using frequent flyer miles. But, if you’ve never used flyer miles before, it can be a confusing venture. If you don’t fly frequently, you may think it’s not worth your time to sign up for miles. After all, there’s no way you could earn a free flight without jetting all over the world, right? Think again. Flyer miles aren’t a catch-22 like needing money to make money. There happen to be a plethora of ways that you can start earning miles today (with both feet on solid ground) by following our advice below. Points opportunities are just about everywhere. Just don’t blame us if you find yourself suddenly addicted to earning miles! 

Accrue_Flyer_Miles

One quick word of advice: do research to find the best options for your traveling needs and then choose to sign up for just one or two reward programs; it can be difficult, if not impossible, to merge points with different programs for redemption if you sign up for more than a few. 

10 Things Cruise Lines Won’t Tell You

Cruises can be one of the cheapest yet most relaxing types of vacations, but not if you’re uninformed. The whole cruising experience can be a bit of an enigma to the uninitiated. And cruise lines, like most sales-based businesses, have lots of tricks up their sleeves to encourage guests to part with their hard-earned money. If you’re considering a cruise and want to stay within your budget, read our list of ’10 things cruise lines won’t tell you’ before you book your trip. 

cruise_tips

1. ‘All-Inclusive’ packages don’t exist

Although cruising is considered all-inclusive because your room, entertainment, and meals are included, that doesn’t mean you’ll get to partake in everything on the ship for free. Most cruise ships have main dining rooms (and usually a smattering of other venues) where your meals are included, but they also have high-end specialty restaurants that often require reservations and carry an up-charge for their fare. Luckily, there is no secrecy about which is which. Most ships also carry a surcharge for room service delivery. Just do a little research and you can easily avoid having to pay for a meal onboard. Also, research the entertainment and activities while you’re at it. Some activities may cost extra or be a one-time-per-cruise option.



2. People can spend a small fortune on drinks

A lot of cruise lines will allow you to bring up to 2 bottles of your own wine on board, so definitely take advantage of that! Aside from that, the only way to really save a decent amount is to buy in bulk. It costs less overall to buy a bottle of wine over a glass or a bucket of beers over a single bottle. And if you must have specialty drinks, have them served in regular glasses to save money. If you’re a soda drinker, try drinking iced tea for the week you’re onboard for free instead of dropping money on a soda package.

Dealing With Airline Customer Service

As frequent flyers know, things can go wrong with even the most well-planned out travel itineraries. You could get grounded due to a snowstorm or miss a connecting flight. When these things happen, your best advocate will be a competent customer service agent, but those are the rarest breed in the customer service industry. In order to help you navigate the tricky airline customer service world, we’ve put together this guide so that your next flight snafu doesn’t turn into a major meltdown.

APR_Blog_Graphic_11292017 

Before Your Flight

Your customer service experience will hinge entirely on which company employs the agents. Typically, third-party sites (like Expedia or Priceline) are a better bet because they offer another level of customer service. If you book directly through your airline and they can offer no assistance, you’re stuck. But if you book through a 3rd party company, they have a whole other team of customer care reps that can try to fix your problem. Not to mention that since these companies have relationships with the airlines, they have more clout to fix your problem than if you called personally. If you do choose to book directly with the airline, research their customer service satisfaction because there is a noticeable difference between the way you’ll be treated by a company like JetBlue vs. a company such as United.