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Getting To And Around Eastern Europe

(category: Travel-Tips, Word count: 515)
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Visiting Eastern Europe is an enjoyable step back in time and a top travel destination. Here's the scoop on what you need to consider when trying to get there.

Getting To and Around Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe has been open to travel for roughly 15 years following the fall of the Soviet Union. Much to the delight of travelers, Eastern Europe has proven to be an incredibly beautiful and charming slice of old world Europe. From Prague to Budapest and everywhere in between, Eastern Europe offers much to be admired and prices are cheap.

Catching a plain to the far east of Europe isn't particularly difficult, but it really depends on the exact destination you are trying to reach. Most countries are reached by first stopping in Western Europe, but direct flights can be found depending on your departure location.

The high season is summer, which means prices can be a big concern if you have a tight budget. This may not bother you. If it does, the key to flying on the cheap is to shop across all the online travel sites. They offer dramatically different prices, even for the same flight! Determine a general range of dates you want to leave and come back. Then start hunting. Flights leaving after midnight can be significantly cheaper than flights during normal hours. Since you will be sleeping anyway, it makes sense to save some bucks.

There are two other pricing options that can save you a bundle on high season rates. Consolidators purchase bundles of open seats from airlines for flights that aren't traditionally full. You can save significant money, sometimes as much as fifty percent, buy purchasing from consolidators. The biggest savings occur when you buy from them at the last moment, but you risk all of the seats being sold.

If you are flying during the high season, you can also get a steal by booking a seat on a chartered flight. Chartered flights are small airlines that typically only fly during the high season. They tend to be a bit amateurish, but are definitely cheap. I've paid as low as $450 for a round trip booking to Budapest when an online booking would have run me over $900. If you go charter, try to upgrade to first class while booking in. For $75, I was able to do so on a flight from Paris to Los Angeles. It was the best $75 I ever spent!

Flying domestic in Eastern Europe is not for the faint of heart. The planes are a bit old and, well, they aren't always known for reliability. Most people simply hop on a train. If you must fly domestic, find a local resident to buy the ticket for you. Prices go up significantly when foreigners walk in the door, as much as triple the normal price.

Eastern Europe receives top marks as a travel destination. After 15 years of freedom, jumping a plain to the location of your choice shouldn't be any more difficult than any other location.

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10 Things To Do While In Ireland

(category: Travel-Tips, Word count: 541)
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Ireland has become a secret hide-a-way for vacationers in the past 20 years, and there is plenty to do while in Ireland. In the early 1990's, Ireland took an economic turn upwards, and the country began to establish itself with economic success. Since then immigration has increased from the European countries, Russia, and even Australia and the U.S. The well-hidden secret of the wealth that Ireland has to offer has begun to slip out.

Today, vacationers and those who just want a quick get-a way for a weekend or so, are coming to Ireland to experience the old town charm mixed with what the thriving metropolis has to offer. There is something to do for everyone between the ages of 1 and 101, and there's always more to come back to.

Dublin, with almost 500,000 people, is the capital of Ireland.

Belfast, again close to 500,00 is the capital of Northern Ireland. Both of these huge cities began as shipping ports, through the Irish Sea, way back around 488AD, so they are filled with the charm and character of an old town, while being able to offer you all the comforts of a bustling city.

There are many cultural villages strewn throughout the country that offer experience, culture and very wonderful foods!

Museums, theaters, and sporting events

Plenty of shopping are available as well. And, it is some of the best that you will do anywhere.

With the mass transit system you and your family can easily reach any destination, or tour the town. The system itself is a thing to see and experience.

Restaurants and outdoor pubs spring up everywhere so you can always stop into one of these friendly taverns and get refreshment. Children are welcome almost everywhere and casual attire is accepted.

Of course, if you want to go out to a fine restaurant for dinner, and then go dancing till dawn, there is plenty of nightlife for you as well.

Ireland has the most beautiful beaches of anywhere, and Galway County on Galway Bay is a great place to enjoy some of the surf. Since Ireland is an island, there are a lot of sandy shores to see, but remember that the summer season is only from June to August, and then a light jacket might be necessary as you walk the shoreline. The waves, sun and the sand are enticing though, and the kids will just love to just go and have fun! So be certain to make at least one of your days in Ireland a beach day!

Then at the end of the day, what could be better than a fresh seafood dinner prepared specially for you, in any one of the many oceanside restaurants that line the coastal towns. You could drive from Dublin to Galway City in a matter of a couple of hours, and with the Atlantic ocean on the west side of Ireland, and the Irish Sea bordering the east side, you had better believe that the best in North Atlantic seafood is available for you!

The variety and charm of Ireland makes it the best get-a-way for your whole family, or just for two. Come and enjoy!

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Driving Your Motorhome For The First Time

(category: Travel-Tips, Word count: 721)
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Here you are! You waited with great anticipation for this moment - Holidays are here!

There it is - your motorhome. Fully equipped, beds are made, a breakfast basket on the little table by the window, the tank is full and you are ready to go.

You probably have some questions when you handle a large vehicle for the first time. The change from driving a car to "piloting" a Motorhome requires some special attention and concentration. Always obey rules and regulation and use common sense.

The Motorhome is longer, larger, higher and heavier than cars you are used to driving but they are easy to handle. After the first km's of driving you will find that they respond beautifully and are fun to drive. So don't worry!

Please read the motorhome's instructions carefully before you get behind the wheel. You will avoid mistakes and your travel through our beautiful country will be pleasant and trouble free.

Many of the hazards encountered on the road result from incorrect loading of an otherwise safe Motorhome. Overloading is the most common cause of accidents. A slight over load or poor weight distribution can seriously restrict steering and braking. It can also result in sudden blowouts an breakdowns. You can help control this situation.

To minimize swing and wobble keep the vehicle's center of gravity low. Store heavy items low, forward and between the axles: lightweight items high. Try to balance the load between the vehicle's two sides. Make sure everything is in place and easy to get at when needed. Secure all cargo inside and outside the vehicle or it will shift. Always leave room for the usual ground gear: leveling plank, wedges, water hose, jack and tools.

Avoid carrying spare gasoline; if you must, carry it in the storage container possible, tape the lid shut to prevent spillage and protect it with a shield.

While you are at the gas station check your motor oil, automatic transmission oil, radiator water, battery water and tire pressure. Heat in the desert can affect the tire pressure, over or under pressure can cause problems in steering your Motorhome.

Check your travel route every morning before you start. Plan for a camping place for the night for rest stops and dump stations. Also consider gasoline stops, especially if you travel in the desert.

Reserving a campsite in advance can save a lot of frustration later, especially during high season. When traveling without reservation, the earlier in the day you stop, the better are your chances to get to a good campground.

When driving into the campsite, especially at night, scout around the area of you on foot. A large log, a hydrant or other obstacles can punch through the paneling, tearing pipes or wiring and causing costly repairs.

Make sure you park level at the campsite. A board under one wheel or under one side might be all you need to do this. Check for rocks and jagged outcrops near the entry door. Avoid loose wires or hoses around the Motorhome. Check fuel lines and all connections before you use your appliances. Use a soap and water solution to detect leaks, NOT a match!

Should there be a leak somewhere, (it can happen because your Motorhome is constantly in motion) be sure to air the entire unit thoroughly, before using any matches or open flame. Your Motorhome is equipped with a fire extinguisher. Use it if needed. Dirt and baking soda are also great and effective agents to fight a fire. Do not use water! It can be very dangerous. Water on a gas or oil fire results in a bigger fire. Water on an electric fire can result in death or injury.

When you leave the camping place, it is a good idea to check your packing list for all items. It also helps to check the members of your travel party. You'd be amazed, how many travelers forget wives and kids. Disconnect all wires and pipes, shut off appliances (except the refrigerator). Drive the Motorhome off the boards or other supports and stow away. O around the Motorhome campsite for any articles left there. Always allow a little more time than you think you will need, to get started. Check your planned route and rest stops.

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Vacation Ownership Time Is On Your Side

(category: Travel-Tips, Word count: 381)
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Most people want to go on vacation, at least once, every year. But take a moment to add up everything you've spent on all your vacations. Now think ahead to all the trips you dream of taking and what you know they would cost if you bought them individually-thousands of dollars for every trip, without knowing exactly what you are going to get.

There are other options. With vacation ownership-commonly known as a timeshare-you have the ability to visit a variety of destinations and the ability to choose when you want to travel and the type of accommodations that best fit your needs. You also know that you'll be able to take your whole family with you, with more than enough room for everyone, without the expense of eating out for every meal and with the conve-nience and peace of mind of a home away from home.

Traditional timeshares limit owners to a single property with the option to use their accommodations either for a specific week during the year or for a week during a specific time interval or season. Alternatively, with points-based ownership, instead of purchasing an interest in a specific resort and unit for a certain time every year, you are purchasing points or "currency" that, when redeemed, allow you access to various resort locations in a variety of accommodations, as well as the flexibility to choose when you want to go and your length of stay.

For travelers who want to visit a variety of destinations throughout their lifetime-a tropical retreat one year and perhaps snow skiing the next-they are likely to find a flexible points-based ownership system the best option. For example, Sunterra's vacation ownership program includes nearly 100 properties where members use points for accommodations at Sunterra's properties and 2,000 resorts worldwide through Interval International.

When investigating properties, here are a few things to keep in mind:

(*) Make sure the property is in good shape;

(*) Check out the company's background and see how long it has been in business;

(*) If it's a multidestination company or club, review the locations to make sure they offer you the variety of vacation opportunities you and your family are looking for; and

(*) Check testimonials from existing customers.

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How To Shop In Thailand

(category: Travel-Tips, Word count: 520)
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If you haven't booked transportation ahead of time, your first financial may be with a taxi driver at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Some cabbies will use their meter; others will want a flat rate without using the meter. This will be the first time you will get to use your bargaining skills.

The taxi driver may ask for 500 baht. You counter with 300. He comes back with 400 Baht. You agree providing he pays the tolls and the 50 baht surcharge. If you don't want to go through this, insist he use the meter. I prefer to bargain as it gets me in the mood for the rest of the trip.

Some things can be bargained and others cannot. You will just have to feel your way around. I will try to offer some pointers.

You may be able to bargain a bit for your hotel room if you are planning on an extended stay. A meal in a restaurant cannot be argued.

If you plan to buy some goodies for yourself and your friends the best thing to do is spend a day or two walking around and making mental notes of prices on the streets.

Knowing ballpark prices is the only way to negotiate prices. You have to know the approximate prices on the streets. Otherwise you will be ripped of.

What you want to do is select an item, get the best price possible, and then go in for the kill. Tell the vendor to lower the price and you will buy 10 of them. The price should drop.

Another tactic is the "walk away". You can argue and argue, go back and forth, and when you don't get you price, just walk away. The price should drop or the vendor will hurl some cuss words at you. Either way, no big deal. There are many vendors with the same items.

Being the first customer is always a good deal. The Thai's believe that making a sale to the first customer of the day is good luck. Not making a sale is a disaster. So, hit the vendors when they open and you should get some really good prices.

One other way to get a good deal is to have a Thai girlfriend that you trust. Take her out with you when you are shopping for yourself. Identify items that you want and then send her out a day or two later to buy them. She will get the Thai price as opposed to the foreigner, or farang, price.

Speaking the language helps lower the prices. You don't have to go through all of the back and forth bartering. If you are a foreigner and can speak Thai, you will knock time and prices down quickly.

Last tip is to go to the Thai markets. There are markets in every city in Thailand. Some are weekend markets, some are night markets, and some are daily. These are mainly geared toward the local Thai's but we foreigners can get great deals there too.

Have fun, smile a lot, and shop until you drop.

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Assorted Tips For Business Travelers

(category: Travel-Tips, Word count: 226)
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Our web community of business flight attendants is always thinking of ways to make traveling easier. You have to when your job takes you away from home base for several weeks at a time! The following tips are for business as well as leisure travelers.

1. Ring Around the Collar Dirty neck rings around shirt or blouse collars can be removed by putting shampoo on them. Rub the

shampoo in as if you were washing your hair. Shampoo is specifically made to remove body oils the "ingredient" of neck rings.

2. Removing Gum You can pick up just about anything on the soles of your shoes. Removing gum can seem like one of the most difficult things to do. The solution? Rub ice on the gum to harden it and then use a dull knife to remove the gum. The gum will come right off without damaging your soles.

3. Killing Flies Are there flying insects in your hotel room? Hair spray will kill flies and most other insects.

4. Drying Out Wet Magazines or Books Place paper towels on both sides of a wet page to absorb the moisture and prevent wrinkling.

5. Lingering Onion or Fish Smells on Hands Can't get rid of onion or fish smells on your hands? Wet them, sprinkle them generously with salt, and rinse.

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The Benefits Of Traveling Off Peak

(category: Travel-Tips, Word count: 471)
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The European Environment Information and Observation Network (EIONET) defines traveling off-peak as "traveling outside rush-hours to avoid overcrowding in public means of transport." This sounds all too simple and as we might expect - easier said than done.

For both air and car travel, avoid the crowds by traveling during the week, especially from Tuesday through Thursday. An added bonus is that airfares for travel Tuesday through Thursday are usually cheaper.

Mid-morning and late afternoon flights tend to be less crowded, plus you can really avoid commute traffic during this time. This site also offers the load on late-night flights (also known as red-eye flights for obvious reasons): these flights can help you avoid traffic but it's only effective if you can sleep sitting up-right on a plane!

And did you know that traveling off-peak means traveling during holidays (not before or after) when airfares are lower and there's less road traffic?

Some of the most affordable travel deals of the year can be found in the fall. If you find super off-peak dates that fall between major holidays, strike while the iron is hot. Book immediately with your discount travel broker. Never hesitate!

One great example of saving money by traveling off-peak is flying to the Caribbean during the North American winter months rather than during summer. You might say what's the point in going to the Caribbean in winter when you're going there to savor the beaches? But the fact is, there is hardly such a thing as winter in the Caribbean as it stays warm most of the year. In fact, it's not a good idea to fly there during the peak season (I.e., summer months) as this is the period when the hurricanes usually come.

By traveling off-peak, not only will you get cheaper flights and accommodations. You will also gain a difference perspective on travel - especially the added advantage of enjoying your dream destinations without huddling with the masses of tourists during holidays.

It also helps to subscribe to online newsletters of discount air travel brokers such as Jestgo or WesJet. By having yourself included in these companies' mailing list, you can get your hands on off-peak travel promotions faster than those who didn't. So you see, it's not just the air miles!

Finally, book your flight early to secure the most gains from traveling off-peak. One year's planning can certainly help you reap the reward of the cheapest airfares possible! On the other hand, booking last minute can also have its rewards. If you're the kind who can leave at a moment's notice, you can save a lot from last-minute flights and accommodations. After all, airlines and hotels would rather greatly discount their seats and rooms than leave them empty!

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Cheap Travel To Russia And Some Important Things You Should Know Make A Good Decision

(category: Travel-Tips, Word count: 623)
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Russia might not be a good choice for most travelers who want to visit Europe. With its questionable peace and order situation particularly in the regions of Chechnya, the Communist rule impression still resides to most, and frigid climate throughout the country especially during the winter, Russia should be uninviting for most. But that was before. Now, although there are still shadows of the past Soviet, Russia is a place worth to be visited.

Travelers would not be disappointed with several historical sites that tell how rich Russia's culture is. There are several museums, monuments, and untouched nature.

Cheap travel to Russia

Visiting Russia can be very expensive considering the distance of country. But with several online travel companies, the price tag is significantly lower that it was before.

To get affordable and cheap travel to Russia, all you have to do is to check the websites specializing on cheap tours. There are available travel tours and packages for group and family who decide to make a stop to Russia.

About Russia

While Moscow and St. Petersburg are the primary cities of the country, Russia has several side countries to discover. Be careful though when traveling. Make sure you know very well the places you are planning to visit.

You might have a little trouble communicating with locals especially if you are away on these two cities. But if you can understand the Russian language, you wont be having any problem.

Russia is a big country. In fact, it is the largest country in the world with a size twice as much as the United States. It spans from Europe to Asia and is divided into 11 time zones.

Climate has been the major issue of those who plan to travel Russia- that is if you will go to the Siberian region. Most people visit Russia when winter ends. It is usually for May- September. Unlike the usual impression, summer is perfect during these times.

Safety tips

When you decide to travel to Russia, learn as many things as possible. Know the language, the people, the culture, how to get around, and especially- know where the U.S. Embassy is located.

When you pack, pack light. Avoid carrying too much cash and expensive jewelry. Never show your wallets in public. Use money belt that can be worn around your neck. It is safer than wallet. Be vigilant when in crowded places like public markets, public transport, and tourist sites among others. Be aware of pickpockets at all times.

If you are going from point to point, do not hail on unmarked taxis and cars. Likewise, never share taxi to other people you do not know. If you are planning to travel by bus or train, take extra precaution.

If you are planning to drink on public places, make sure you have someone who remains sober. Any sign of intoxication might attract professional robbers and thieves.

Make sure other people back at home know your itineraries and contact numbers and numbers of your travel document such as your passport before leaving. If something wrong happens, they would know where to find you. Make enough photocopies of your plane tickets, passport, visa, and all your travel documents. Leave a copy at your home or to someone you know.

Check for travel warning and avoid the regions of Ingushetia, North Caucasus of Chechnya, eastern and southern parts of Stavropol Krii, and Dagestan. These places could be dangerous for tourist.

Avoid drinking tap water. Instead drink bottled water. If there is no available bottled water, boil the water first before drinking.

All these could help you make it through your Russian trip safely.

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Holiday Shopping During Your Asian Holiday

(category: Travel-Tips, Word count: 394)
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While there is no foolproof method of eluding thieves, the information below may help reduce the possibility of your becoming a victim:

1. Before leaving the house, think about ways to protect yourself. Think about where you want to carry your money, credit cards and identification. Don't take valuable jewelry and watches with you. Separate valuables - don't put all your money in one place.

2. Reduce the possibility of becoming a victim by securing valuables in a waist belt or pouch covered by a shirt sweater or coat. NEVER FLASH MONEY AROUND.

3. Don't make it easy for the thief - don't carry large amounts of money in easily accessible jacket pockets or purses. Don't use a wallet. Use your front pants pockets and inside shirt pockets for your money and other valuables. Placing valuables in a purse around your neck or shoulder and secured inside a shirt sweater or jacket is a useful habit to get into. Waist packs are better than purses or handbags, but they should also be hidden under a shirt or coat.

4. Never advertise your intention to spend a large amount of money.

5. Avoid shopping alone. Awareness of your surroundings and advanced planning are your best weapons for defending against thieves.

6. Always be aware of your surroundings. Look at people near you and watch for "accidental" nudging and touching.

7. Do not carry anything in your wallet or purse that you are not willing to lose. Most shopping in Asia is done on a cash and carry basis; leave unneeded credit cards and your passport in a safe place. Carry a photocopy of the ID portion of your passport. Your ID card and drivers license is replaceable; family photographs and other personal items may not be as easy to replace. Remember, carry only what you are going to need for your outing.

The precautions listed above can help make you a harder target. Terrorists and criminals look for the easy target - the path of least resistance. By making yourself a difficult target you can help ensure your own safety and that of your family. Please remember that thinking about what to do in an emergency is not as frightening as not knowing what to do when faced with an actual emergency.

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