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If you're like us, you may be seeing a lot more of your friends traveling this summer or fall--or maybe you are taking that much anticipated trip that was put off or delayed due to the pandemic. You may have also heard, or experienced, some of the unfortunate interruptions or delays in the travel industry like lost baggage, flight delays or even cancellations. We know the moment a flight goes from 'on time' to 'delayed' to 'canceled' is one we never want to experience, however, like most things in life and travel, we can't always foresee these changes. At Shared Travel, we strive to help our clients feel as prepared and resourced as possible before your upcoming travel plans and we wanted to share a few of our favorite tips as it pertains to flight interruptions or cancellations.
WORKING WITH AIRLINES
There are a lot of reasons flights can become delayed or canceled and it is important to know what your options are. For flights using American companies, the Department of Transportation has just launched an interactive dashboard to help aid in understanding what airlines are responsible for and what to do when compensation has not been provided in a circumstance where it is deserved.
CONTROLLABLE DELAYS OR CANCELLATIONS
When airlines are experiencing strikes or understaffing, you may find that your flights are becoming delayed simply due to a limited amount of workers, pilots and attendants. If this causes you significant delay or a cancellation to your flight, you may be entitled to vouchers, compensation or refunds.
According to the Department of Transportation,
"A controllable flight cancellation or delay is essentially a delay or cancellation caused by the airline. Examples include: maintenance or crew problems; cabin cleaning; baggage loading; and fueling.Airlines are required to adhere to the promises that they make in their customer service plan, including commitments to care for customers in the event of controllable delays or cancellations. The Department will hold airlines accountable if they fail to do so."
UNCONTROLLABLE DELAYS OR CANCELLATIONS
We all know that weather is the most common reason for delays are cancellation and that while flights hope to be scheduled around major weather events, it can still be unpredictable and unavoidable.
Regardless of the cause of delay or cancellation, it can be a good practice to simultaneously get in line with Customer Service as well as get online or on the phone with an airline representative to help aid in the flight changes. Take into consideration that if your flight is significantly delayed or canceled and you are trying to obtain vouchers for meals and/or hotels, these services can only be provided by the airport customer service representative.
Additionally, the Department of Transportation has created a helpful page for Refunds and whether you are entitled to one. Whether or not the cancellation of your flight is weather induced or controllable, airlines are required to issue you a refund if a cancellation or significant delay occurs and you wish to no longer travel. One important thing to note is that each airline has a different definition around 'significant delay' and the Department of Transportation has not issued a definition for airlines to adhere. Check with your airline to know for sure!
WORKING WITH TRAVEL INSURANCE & Travel Apps
Reading through all of the above information can be a bit overwhelming, even for the avid traveler and that's why we always suggest:
1) Booking with a trusted travel advisor
Booking with a trusted travel advisor aids in the assurance of knowing somebody is there for you if issues arise. While we may not be able to keep things from going awry, we have experienced a lot of travel interruptions and may be able to offer you advice or acknowledge your rights are as a consumer. Instead of waiting on hold for hours with a mega-site booking engine, we are available by call or text while you travel!
2) Booking Travel Insurance
Once you've booked your travel package, you can add an extra measure of peace and assurance by booking Trip Insurance. When airlines are not required to make amendments for interruptions or cancelations to your travel, that's when Trip Insurance can help! Whether you are looking for coverage to pay the cost of hotel reservations, missed flights, inclement weather or if you need medical attention before you leave or while you are away, a travel insurance policy can help protect your wallet.
3) Utilizing Travel APPS
If you have ever booked a trip with multiple moving parts--hotels, flights, excursions, transfers, rental car etc.--especially with a variety of companies, you will recognize the desire for a place to put all of your booking information. Even as travel advisors, we love knowing that booking details, confirmation codes and important phone numbers are easily accessible, and that's why we love TripIt. TripIt can help be the document holder for your trip and be with you in an electronic form wherever you go with their easy-to-use app. When upgrade to the Pro Account ($49/year), you can upload documents, arrange for Alternate Flights, receive flight alerts and more!
We hope these tips and information help! If you have other tricks of the trade that have been useful to you, we invite you to share them with us. We love that the travel industry is full of a rich and diverse community of people who share ideas and resources with one another and we hope to continue sharing more in the future!
Ready to plan your next adventure with a trusted travel advisor?
If you've been waiting for those cheaper airfare prices, you may soon be rewarded with the fall prices of travel. Our friends at Centrav and Wall Street Journal are tracking prices and finding that gap between summer travel and fall travel will be wider than usual.
According to the flight and travel tracker app Hopper, the average price for a round-trip domestic flight is around $298, compared the summer highs of over $400. How does this compare? Normally, the difference between summer and fall prices sits between 10%-15%, however this fall we could see price drops of up to 26%. Before we start thinking everything is going back to 'normal,' we also need to remember that these fall prices are still roughly 19% higher than they were back in Fall of 2019, before the COVID19 pandemic began.
If you're looking at International Travel this fall, you'll be please to hear that prices are also dropping at some major hubs like London and Amsterdam. Travel in September and October can be up to 25% price difference than it was earlier this summer, according to flight tracking websites like CheapAir.
GREAT TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND
Track your prices: While summer prices and price tracking were outliers, the fall should bring back some of our usual trends. This means that prices should drop steadily up until 20 days before travel, when prices will start to climb quickly. While waiting can save you money, make sure that you are tracking the prices so you know when to act quickly.
Keep flexibility in mind: If you are able to be flexible with your travel dates, you may be rewarded. Weekdays tend to be at lower cost that weekends, even during the fall. Also, booking flight times earlier in the day may provide a great buffer in the even of those pesky delays and flight cancellations.
WHETHER OR NOT YOU'VE BEEN PATIENTLY WAITING FOR FALL TRAVEL, NOW IS THE TIME TO CONTACT US AND ALLOW US TO BOOK YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE!
Are you preparing for an upcoming trip? Are you a notorious over or under packer? We know that traveling by airplane can be both exciting and a means to an end to get to that idyllic destination. We've done our fair share of accumulating sky miles and wanted to share some of our must-haves for our carry-on luggage. We hope they save you some headaches, and if you think we should add anything, share with us your best tips and essentials in the comments below.
1. Travel documents, passports and copies
While you’ll obviously need boarding passes and passports to make it through security for those international destinations, we suggest copies of your passports and travel documents as well. This is helpful not only as you travel to your destination, but can be very useful when you arrive. We suggest leaving your physical copies behind in the hotel safe (unless you'll need a legal copy for your outing) and taking your copies with you.
2. noise cancelling headphones
Noise cancelling headphones are a must have on flights as you have so many other noises competing for your ears--babies, a snoring neighbor, or even the jet engines. If they are wireless, we suggest making sure they are fully charged before take-off.
3. a change of clothes
This comes in handy in so many ways! Of course we hope that travel will be easy and care-free, but we've been in situations where you spill something on yourself, or your luggage gets delayed and you don't have a change of clothes. We suggest a simple change of clothes in your carry-on in the unfortunate moments that we bump into.
4. jewelry and valuables
Speaking of delayed (or even lost) luggage, we suggest packing valuables in your carry-on, like jewelry and expensive accessories. Having your carry-on with you at all times can help you feel more assured that your valuables are also being kept safe and sound.
With the possibility of unexpected delays, cancellations or luggage mishaps, we want to make sure you are staying healthy with any required medications. Additionally, if you have space, we like to pack a quick, mini first-aid like assortment of medicine like ibuprofen/tylenol, benedryl or allergy medicine, and even some eye drops if your eyes tend to dry out on long flights.
6. Hygeine essentials
In addition to some of the mini-first aid medicine, some quick and accessible hygiene products can be very helpful. We tend to pack things like deodorant, chapstick, feminine products (as needed), and facial tissues. A small bag with these amenities can help you feel refreshed as you travel or arrive at your final destination.
7. tablet/e-reader or reading material
Tablets and e-readers can be a great, space-saving way to bring along shows, movies or reading material. And it's not just for the younger travelers! We can all get a bit bored on the longer flights and having a show or movie to occupy your mind can be very useful. An added bonus--many streaming sites now allow you to pre-download those shows and movies so you don't have to buy the in-flight Wifi. Don't have a tablet? A paper copy of a book can be a great way to pass the time on a flight and doesn't take up that much space.
8. external battery and charging cords
While flights are starting to come equipped with charging ports and electrical outlets on board, it's not always a guarantee. And while you could race to the charging stations with all of your fellow passengers, you can beat the crowds by bringing along your own external battery and charging cords. Then, you can charge your electronics from the convenience of anywhere in the airport or even on the plane.
9. disinfectant wipes
As we have all been living through this pandemic, we know that hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes can be very helpful, especially in high traffic areas. While the airline staff clean the plane between flights, having an extra wipe for disinfecting your own areas can bring you some peace of mind.
10. Neck or body pillow
We couldn't conclude a list of carry-on essentials without including a neck or body pillow. These can help create a bit of comfort as you share tight space with the people around you. There are so many different varieties out there, so find one that suits you! If you can still find it, the 1st Class Sleeper Pillow is a favorite of our team.
These are just some of the things we have decided are perfect for our carry-on luggage. Is there anything else you would add?
When you're ready to pack your carry-on for your next adventure, allow us the privilege of putting together the perfect trip to create those memorable moments with the people you love!
READY TO PACK YOUR cARRY-ON FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE?
We know that preparing for a trip abroad contains many questions about foreign currency and credit card usage. We have gathered some information from top financial companies like NerdWallet as well as some of our own thoughts to help give you five tips for using your credit card abroad . While we may have some favorites that work for us, none of these tips are promotions for companies that we have partnerships with.
1. BRING Cards that are widely accepted
One thing you'll want to keep in mind is the type of credit card you bring abroad. While it may seem that all credit card companies are the same, you're going to have much more luck carrying your Visa or MasterCard abroad than you will a Discover or American Express card. Discover and American Express are working on amending this dilemma, but we advise taking a more widely accepted card and making sure you bring multiples. No one wants to be stranded at a shop with a card that gets declined and this can happen for a multitude of reasons. To put your mind at ease, diversify the types of cards you bring and embrace the unexpected.
2. Bring Some Cash
We may think we're living entirely in the digital age, but we also know the value of having cash on hand. You get to that toll booth, or that restaurant doesn't take credit cards, or that bookstore's credit card machine just went down--but you don't have any cash. The rest of the world is a lot like here, where there isn't a guarantee that every place you go will have a credit card machine or form of contactless payment. We advise bringing some cash along and even pulling out some extra cash when you get to your destination. It's helpful to do a bit of research before as some big companies are starting to buy up the ATMs at airports, making the exchange rates worse with added transaction fees. Going straight to a bank or asking your hotel what their currency exchange rate can be a helpful tip when making a cash withdrawal--just make sure to check with your own credit cards limitations and fees.
3. Call Your card Issuer before LEaving
It's best to call your card company before leaving on a trip to let them know your date of travel. If your card issuer suddenly sees a few purchases across the globe from where you normally purchase your groceries, your card may be frozen. This has become a much easier process with automated options when calling in (look for the number on the back of your cards), or even alerting your card issuer within the applications on your phone.
4. Preload contactless payment options
While the United States were just starting to add contactless payment options and chip readers to their check outs during the pandemic, much of Europe and other parts of the world have been using chip readers and contactless payment for much longer. Double check that at least one or two of your cards are prepared with for the chip readers. Another easy way to make payment is adding your credit cards to your Apple Wallet or Google Pay can help you check out expediently and help you continue on in your adventures for the day.
5. Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees & Dynamic Currency Conversion
One thing you will definitely want to keep in mind are foreign transaction fees. There are a lot of cards on the market that wave these pesky fees and they can add up fast, so we like to make sure we carry those credit cards abroad. And don't mistake a 0% foreign transaction fee as only a high-end luxury card--a lot of companies with no annual fees are now offering this as a travel perk, so take a look around at the market and find something that works for you.
Another thing that may be offered to you abroad is something called a 'dynamic currency conversion,' where the amount being charged will be done in US dollars as opposed to the local currency. This may seem helpful as it can tell you a more accurate representation of the cost, however these instantaneous conversions come with worse exchange rates than your card issuer. It's better to pay in local currency and we will often confirm with the seller before purchase to ensure that the right transaction occurs.
We often get asked what to pack or take when going on a first-time trip to Hawaii. Though you may have taken tropical trips before, there may be a few things added to your list you had not thought of before. (All of the links are simply for your benefit and we do not receive any commission from these products)
Kauai combines the beauty of rolling green landscapes and tropical foliage on the Nāpali Coast with the majestic red rock and secluded waterfalls in the Waimea Canyon. Wherever you travel in Kauai, we know that the Garden Island of Hawaii will welcome you with rich and beautiful landscapes.
It's probably pretty obvious that you will definitely want your sunglasses on a tropical trip like Kauai, but one thing we would add to your packing list are sunglass keepers like these so that you don't lose your sunglasses on boat trips or hikes around the many beautiful waterfalls Kauai has to offer--believe us, we've done it! Like many tropical places, the weather in Kauai can shift from day to day and is prone to having intermittent rainstorms. Because of this, we suggest packing a lightweight rain jacket that is breathable and waterproof for those afternoon showers.
OTHER CLOTHING TO PACK:
One thing we all dread is the low battery signal or the realization that you have forgotten an important charging cord. While of course you can always pick something like this up at a local store, one thing we advise is packing extra charging cords for the rental car alongside a battery pack so that you are not without navigation or your camera while you're out for the day. We also suggest bringing a packable daypack like this one from our local ChicoBag for those great day hikes.
OTHER GEAR TO PACK:
OTHER PERSONAL ITEMS
Spending all of your time on the beach or outside will warrant a purchase of sunscreen and we suggest buying and bringing reef safe sunscreen that is mineral based or without oxybenzone and octinoxate. With all the hiking and tropical foliage also come a fair amount of insects and we suggest these bug wipes that come in both long lasting deet and deet-free options. These are so helpful to have in your purse or bag when you're out for dinner or sitting on your lanai.
OTHER ITEMS TO PACK:
Do you have other things you would add or offer to fellow travelers? We'd love to hear from you! And if you're going on an upcoming trip, don't forget to share some photos with us so that we can celebrate the memories you made with the people you love.
Ready to plan your next adventure?
One thing we can all agree on is that life is never dull! The good news is that the Omicron variant is abating and previously closed countries are opening their borders to international travelers. In celebration of that, we are highlighting the seasons in Australia as well as unique world festivals that are back in 2022! Plus, we are featuring private driver vacations in Ireland, Britain and Iceland; and igniting your curiosity transatlantic cruising, new ways to see the world, Go Local Tours by Oceania Cruises, and exclusive accommodations in The Haven by Norwegian® and Princess Sky Suites. All of which we hope ignites your passion to travel.
Contact us today so we can create an extraordinary vacation specifically for you.
in the know: Travel experiences
CIE TOURS: Private Driver Vacations for Ireland, Britain and Iceland
Picture yourself riding a gentle Icelandic horse amid the magnificence of the island’s rugged landscapes. Or discovering Scottish history by traveling into the Highlands and visiting its finest castles. Or speaking with artisanal and traditional food producers as you sample the cheese, chocolate, and bread at a centuries-old Irish market. And perhaps at the end of an exciting day, relaxing by the fire in a pub, listening to traditional music and chatting with locals.
G Adventures: IMAGINE A NEW WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE WORLD
National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures is a collection of unique tours designed to take you deeper into the cultures and habitats of the places we explore. These aren’t just trips; National Geographic Journeys tours are designed to foster human connections through immersive experiences. Enjoy access to people and projects supported by National Geographic or G Adventures. With upgraded accommodations, private transport, and more inclusions than our other tours, you won’t sacrifice comfort when you’re roaming the planet.
You've waited your whole life to discover the world — just like explorers you've read about in National Geographic magazine. Now's your chance.
OCEANIA CRUISES: Go Local Tours – The Ultimate Destination Experience
Oceania Cruises’ groundbreaking new Go Local excursions are immersive destination tours that invite you to embed yourself in the fabric of the local communities for engaging, one-of-a-kind experiences. On more than 120 tours across Europe, Alaska and South America, you will be welcomed into homes and businesses and immersed in the local way of life. You’ll have the chance to engage with local artisans, craftspeople, religious figures and other individuals. You’ll learn generations-old traditions and become part of a local family. You’ll experience the destination on an entirely new level and leave feeling connected to the place – and changed by it.
CUNARD: A week of pure bliss on a Transatlantic Crossing
From the moment you step on board, you breathe in the sea air, disconnect from the outside world, and fully immerse yourself in a week of self-indulgence. Each day, calm washes over you as you settle into a new state of mind. The only decisions required are what activities to partake in, where/when to savor each meal, and which entertainers will delight you that evening. There is nothing more freeing than knowing there is nowhere else you need to be. Not only is Cunard® a unique experience, Queen Mary 2® is a unique ship: today’s only true ocean liner. Disconnect and indulge yourself with Cunard®.
DID YOU KNOW...
SIX UNIQUE WORLD FESTIVALS
Join us as we explore unique world festivals scheduled for 2022 in Brazil, France, Hungary, India, Japan, and Spain.
SEASONAL TIPS DOWN UNDER
Since Australia has opened its borders to fully-vaccinated international travelers, now is the perfect time to remind you about their seasons:
Let’s start planning your next jaw-dropping travel experience!
As you have been doing your own travel dreaming or research, you may have come across this word: all-inclusive, and it sounds too good to be true! In a world that seems set on nickel-and-diming its consumers, the idea of an all-inclusive sounds completely made-up. Well today, we wanted to share with you what you can expect from an all-inclusive destination.
All-inclusive destinations can deliver surprising luxuries, service and cuisine at an affordable and pre-determined price. In most cases there are no additional fees to participate in activities or entertainment. Once you've booked your vacation, you are able to indulge in delicious meals, unlimited drinks and many activities, all without the worry of running up a huge tab.
UNLIMITED FOOD AND BEVERAGES
While deciding on your next vacation, you might be wondering how much to budget when considering hotel, flights, food and the extras. With an all-inclusive destination, you'll be delighted not just by the reality that food is already included in the cost of your trip, but that there are a variety of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and that late night snack? All included! Do your kids ask for pizza incessantly? Your resort might have a pizza oven going on all day while you're lounging by the pool! When comparing your all-inclusive options, be sure to ask how many dining choices there are and what styles of food are available.
Also included in your all-inclusive pricing, all of your beverages--yes, even adult beverages! All alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included in the all-inclusive package, making it a great time to try new drinks and food, it's all included! One thing that can set different hotels and resorts apart is whether or not premium or top-shelf liquors are included, if that's important to you, another great thing to ask your trusted travel advisor.
Activities and Extras
Depending on your style of vacationing, having extras like water sports or activities planned by the hotel might be something worth asking about--especially when traveling as a family! Many of our all-inclusive options have options for water sports, like kayaking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), snorkeling, of even scuba diving. Looking for other types of inclusions? Many of our resort choices also host a myriad of activities for adults and kids like friendly beach or water volleyball competitions, dance lessons, or water aerobics classes--ensuring there is something for everyone. One thing that can set apart your resort choices? Ask your trusted travel advisor if a round of golf or a trip to the spa is included or offer any discounts to its guests!
We hope that by better understanding what an all-inclusive is, you'll know what to expect at your next all-inclusive destination! Now all you have to do is choose your next all-inclusive destination and allow us the privilege of putting together your next travel itinerary.
Ready to Plan your next All-Inclusive Adventure?
Whether you are planning your travel in peak summer or a later winter, there is a perfect destination for you! Travel agents from all over the world have shared their input and now we want to share the best of the best with you.
Whatever time of year your travel is, know that our agents are here to listen to your desires, questions, and dreams and help you curate the memorable trip that fits you!
Inspired to book a trip to one of these idyllic locations??
Do you want to combine multiple idyllic European cities with gorgeous and scenic transportation? We think it is time for you to check out a River Cruise! We wanted to share some reasons why River Cruising is gaining even more popularity as it includes some extras and amenities that you may not have even thought about. And if you are already convinced and want to see one possible route and ship, check out this video for a beautiful Portugal river cruise we have the option of booking for you.
cruise without a crowd
While your picture of a cruise might be more like the ocean liners with around 3,000 guests on board, you can expect to find around 150 people on the larger river cruises. That's a whole lot less crowds and a whole lot more of the quiet cruising you may be looking for.
take a complimentary bike
Some river boat companies come equipped with complimentary bikes (or even e-bikes) that you can take off the ship to tour the city. Whether your bike takes you to a nearby quiet countryside or to a local biergarten for a bite and brew is up to you!
glimpse a french boulangerie
Have you ever woken up and just wanted the freshest baked goods? Imagine sailing through France and waking up to a port where a quick morning stroll would take you to some delicious croissants or pain au chocolat!
fall asleep to castle ruins
With many romantic castles having a footstool on the rivers of Europe you could easily fall asleep with some of the most breathtaking views of castles that one can only find on a river cruise.
Are you Ready to cruise the rivers of the world?
In the age of the internet, you might be wondering, "Isn't it just easier to book my own trips?"
With the advancement of technology and the world at your fingertips, there are a lot of options out there--but with so many options come an increase in confusion and stress about finding the best deal. Time and time again, the experts will tell you to find yourself a trusted travel agent and we have to agree! We wanted to share a few reasons why we believe using a travel agency is to your benefit and will ultimately help you have a more successful booking and travel experience.
SAVES TIME + LESS STRESS
Average Americans spend 200 days daydreaming about their vacation, but are becoming fatigued after just 40 minutes of research! The internet is full of information and there are an overwhelming amount of options. Have you tried googling 'Tuscan Villa' before? 10.9 million results return with many pages that look the same. We believe planning your dream vacation should be fun! Allow us to handle all the calls, research and booking so you don't have to.
EXPERIEnCE + PASSION
We have spent years traveling, researching and building relations with key companies & destinations! We are your best value since we can gather all your options to create the best experience at the right price for your budget. We design with your budget in mind, ensuring you find that perfect package that fits your needs!
We can suggest enhancements to your dream vacation that you may not have thought of and can handle all the moving parts with ease. Your finished travel plans will have everything you need to fly, drive, and explore your destination. We take care of all of the details so that you can relax and relish in what is important--making new memories!
We're Here for You!
It is no surprise that unexpected travel interruptions happen! Whether it is a weather event, a pandemic, or you need to cancel your own trip, we're here to help you navigate the sudden changes and refund policies. Booking with a trusted travel agency means that instead of waiting on hold for a national call center, you get to speak to someone right away and we will do what we can to rebook your travel or work towards a refund.
Are you Ready to start Planning your next adventure?