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. 


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.


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.

Why Don’t Americans Travel Internationally?

As frequent international travelers, we’re often surprised by how few of our fellow Americans travel abroad. We meet travelers from a whole host of other countries, but it’s rare to run into someone else from the good old USA. Why is that? You would think that since America is a first world country that we could afford to globe-trot whenever the urge strikes. And most of the world is taught English in school, so we have the advantage of there being a smaller language barrier than with other countries. So what’s holding us back? We asked around and did some research and found that these are the four main reasons keeping Americans grounded. 


1. It Takes Time 

Among the many wonderful reasons to live in America, flexible vacation time is not one of them. Workers in America aren’t given many vacation days and often can’t take more than one week at a time, which is not conducive to traveling to other countries. Most international trips aren’t worth the hassle if you don’t have at least 2 weeks to mitigate jet lag and spend time exploring a new country. It takes almost a whole day just to travel to some countries! So planning a great international trip doesn’t sound as glorious if you only have one week to spend doing it. Add that to the fact that some overworked Americans don’t even take all of their allotted vacation time and you have a recipe for staying in the United States year after year.

Etiquette Tips When Flying With Kids

Traveling with small children in tow is no picnic in the park. It can be exhausting, messy, back-breaking and can test all of your patience. On the flip side, it’s also so rewarding to see your child’s face light up while taking in a new part of the world. As parents, we know that we should travel with our kids, but we don’t want to burden other travelers that are flying. What if your children misbehave? What if they get out of control or embarrass you? And if you are a passenger without kids, what are the rules when it comes to kids that are out of line? We’re here to tell you that you will experience these things, but follow our etiquette tips below and your flight will be as great as a flight with children can be!


When you’re the parent

As a parent flying with small children, just be forewarned that you will get the evil eye at some point during your trip, no matter how attentive you are to your kids. You’ll have to manage being considerate of others while also thinking of what’s best for you and your kids. In order to keep everyone as happy as possible, try flying during nap time or even taking a red-eye flight. This way you and your kids can get some shut-eye and not spend 3 hours running up and down the cramped aisle of the airplane, driving fellow passengers bonkers. 

Traveling with Anxiety

Living with anxiety can be a difficult process, and some may assume that it’s next to impossible to travel with anxiety. But as someone who suffers from debilitating anxiety attacks and also happens to be an avid traveler, I’m here to tell you that it’s not only possible, it’s life-changing! Please do not let your anxiety keep you from traveling and experiencing this beautiful world. Your anxiety will be there whether you’re at home or 10,000 miles away from it, so you may as well enjoy yourself in some new surroundings! If you suffer from anxiety and want to travel, take a look at these tips to help you suppress your racing thoughts and get moving!


1. When you are planning your trip

I’ve found that one of the best ways to combat anxiety is to be prepared by spending some time researching and planning. This way there is no fear of the unknown. With that said, research, research, research until you’re fully comfortable with your plans. Read everything you can find about your destination, research your hotel and as many reviews as you can handle, look up the excursions you’re planning on taking to get a feel for them, etc. The more prepared you are, the better your anxiety will fare. After you’ve done all of your research, create a detailed itinerary that you can share with your family and friends. Then you can rest easy knowing that someone back home will always know where you’re supposed to be at any given time. Once you have your itinerary, check it over to ensure that you’re not overbooked. You’ll need to schedule in some downtime every day, especially right after anything that may be anxiety-provoking like your flight or a bold expedition. And don’t let the planning stop here. Create a packing list a few weeks before you leave and write down whatever you think you’ll need leading up to your trip. That’ll help keep your anxiety at bay when you’re ready to leave the house knowing that you’ve prepared for everything.