Top 5 Family Travel Tips

Traveling with kids can present challenges, but with these tips your trip will be smooth sailing!

Traveling with children adds another layer to your travel plans. You have to be prepared for all kinds of situations, so we’ve compiled five tips you can use while traveling with your family:

1. Don’t forget necessities! Make a packing list before you travel to ensure you don’t forget anything. Be sure to add these things to your list:

Medicine – Children’s Tylenol, Benadryl, cough syrup and allergy medicine

Baby wipes – You can use them to clean surfaces, hands and faces. They are also great on a hot day to cool the kids’ hot faces, too.

Snacks –  Nuts, granola bars or oranges are great to have on hand for both road and air travel.

2. Choose the right departure time. If you have little ones, try leaving at night as you might get lucky and have your children sleep the whole way!

3. Be prepared for airplane travel with these tips:

Pre-plan. Check out the airplane seat diagrams and try to plan where you want your family to sit. You can sit across the aisles, near the bathrooms or divide and conquer if fighting siblings is a battle you know you’ll have to fight.

Pre-board. Check with the airline to see if they allow pre-boarding for families with small children. If that is not an option, send in one parent with the luggage first, and have one parent stay behind with a child (or two) so they can move around until the last possible minute.

4. Choose your distractions wisely! Bring along books and toys that are easy to pack, don’t have a lot of loose parts and are entertaining. Forgot to pack the toys or they’ve lost interest already? No problem. Simply find some paper and pens, pencils or markers and ask your children to draw you a picture.

5. Lastly, relax and cut yourself some slack! If you expect there are going to be a problem or two, you won’t be disappointed when they arise. If you get stressed when you can’t find your hotel, your kids will get stressed, too. When you think of it as “exploring the neighborhood,” everyone will feel better. Simply go with the flow and everything will work out!

Share with us – what’s your best family travel tip? Leave a comment below, post on our Facebook wall or Tweet us. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Top 10 Mediterranean Destinations

The Mediterranean is full of vacation spots that can satisfy any traveler’s wish list. It’s such a popular spot, National Geographic has named the top adventures worth exploring in the Mediterranean. Read the list below and tell us which one of these you’d like to add to your travel wish list by leaving a comment below, posting on our Facebook page or Tweeting us. We’d love to here from you!

  1. Cycle the Tour de France

    The world’s premier long-distance cycling event is for pros only—but there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying some of the world’s best bicycle routes by following the Tour de France’s annually changing path from dizzying mountain passes to the charms of France’s sunny Mediterranean coast. Many outfitters provide logistical support for cyclists who want to ride some or even all of the legendary stages of “Le Tour,” and some packages combine rides with VIP spectator access to the real race. Independent cycling options abound thanks to charming communities and welcoming locals all along the French Riviera.

  2. Windsurf in Turkey

    Turkey’s beautiful coastlines and clear waters draw legions of visitors each year, but those looking for reliable winds tend to descend on a scenic, formerly sleepy fishing village called Alacati. Between May and October north winds blow reliably here across a turquoise bay on the Cesme Peninsula. Competitors of the Professional Windsurfers Association hold World Cup events at Alacati, which lend the town a festive flavor, but the area may be best suited to beginners, and the area’s surf schools thrive.

  3. Dive Into Alexandria’s Classical Past

    Few dives can match those to the sunken treasures offered in and around Alexandria, Egypt—a glimpse of ancient civilizations from the pharoahs to the Romans. Sites like the sunken City of Cleopatra, in today’s harbor, allow divers to explore statues, amphorae, columns, and even ancient buildings. Shipwrecks in the region date from ancient times to World War II. While some dives are “experts only” and visibility can be a problem, even beginners can get their feet wet in this watery corner of the ancient world.

  4. Ski the Abruzzo

    Fun in the Mediterranean sun needn’t always include sand and surf—snow sports also thrive not far from the lapping waves. Italy’s Abruzzo region, with its long Adriatic coastline, offers great skiing, surprisingly reliable snow, and picturesque villages stocked with topflight eateries. And visitors to Abruzzo will share slopes like Roccaraso and Campo Felice with far more Italians than tourists, who are typically drawn to the more famous Alpine resorts to the north. In fact most of Abruzzo reflects a quieter corner of Italy—a rustic throwback to an earlier era that’s also evidenced by far lower prices.

  5. Kite Surf Tarifa, Spain

    Europe’s southernmost port town is perched on the Strait of Gibraltar and draws kite surfers to a dozen or so beaches well situated to feast on howling winds funneled through the strait. A wide selection of schools can help even newcomers to the sport get up and running in relatively short order. If the wind dies down travelers can flee Europe via a fast catamaran that reaches Tangier, Morocco, in under an hour.

American Rail System Gains Speed

In 2009, President Obama shared his plan for a high-speed rail across the United States. Whether the rail system will ever get built remains to be seen, but one artist, Alfred Twu, has determined where exactly those speedy rail lines should go.

Twu posted his design on Facebook and since then, the post has gone viral. With the overwhelming response, Twu created a petition to the White House to fund the system, and the petition has over 27,000 signatures after one week.

If the petition works and the government decides to go ahead with the project, the trains would zip across the country at 220 mph. Sound futuristic to you? You’re right, but it might not be as far off as you may think. Advocacy groups have marked potential dates between 2030 and 2050.

Overall, the project is estimated to cost between $1-$2 trillion. If this cost is divided over four decades, the government would be responsible for about $25-$50 billion each year.

To get a closer look at the map, view or download this .PDF file. And tell us, do you think the rail system will bring the United States up to speed with the rest of the developed world? Would you travel on the high-speed rail system? Leave a comment below with your answer.

Your Coverage During Winter Storm Nemo

As the most recent winter storm approach, travel plans for persons traveling through airports along the northeastern seaboard (i.e. New York, Philadelphia, Boston, etc.) may be disrupted for a few days beginning Thursday, February 7th, 2013.  While many travel suppliers and airlines are trying to reroute and/or reprotect travelers on alternate flights, some delays and/or cancellations are inevitable.
We receive many questions regarding what may or may not be covered in weather-related situations.  Following are some general guidelines – subject to the provisions and limits specific to your plan – regarding the various coverages available:

Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption or Missed Connection – Generally, if your flight is delayed or canceled due to inclement weather, and there is a complete cessation of services for the number of hours specified in your plan, you can take a an alternate flight when travel is possible and be reimbursed for the unused land or water arrangements and any of the specified additional transportation expenses, up to the plan limit, or, If this is not feasible, you can cancel your trip.  There is no coverage if you cancel your trip based upon the possibility of a storm striking your home or trip destination, but coverage is available if your home is made uninhabitable by the storm.  Call us at 1-888-885-7233 and we will be happy to review your benefits and plan provisions with you.

Trip/Travel Delay – If your plan includes travel delay benefits, additional meal and accommodation expenses may be reimbursed up to the amount provided by the plan if you have left home and travel is delayed for the number of hours specified in your plan due to flight delays or cancellations.

Again, if you have any questions, you can reach us at 1-888-885-7233.

Safe travels,
Your Friends at TravelSafe

Presidential Getaways

President’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect chance to escape on a quick vacation! In honor of the holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the most Presidential getaways for you:

Mount Vernon Estate
Mount Vernon is located in Alexandria, Virginia, and the estate was home George Washington and his wife, Martha. President’s Day is the perfect time to visit because this historic site is offering free admission and will open one hour early. There are also several events scheduled over the weekend including musical salutes, discussions and a ceremony at Washington’s tomb.

Mount Rushmore
You can take visit four past presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, at this granite sculpture. The unforgettable masterpiece lies in the Black Hills of South Dakota and offer guided tours, the Black Hills National Forest nearby and Crazy Horse Memorial.

Gettysburg National Military Park
This year is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and the military park’s calendar is filled with events to commemorate the Civil War’s bloodiest battle. President Lincoln delivered one of the most famous speeches in American History, the Gettysburg Address, on the property.

Washington D.C.
Last but certainly not least is our capitol city, Washington D.C. The White House, the Capitol and the unbeatable Smithsonian museums are a great place to start for a weekend trip to D.C. If you decide to go back for more, Washington D.C. also boasts world-class restaurants that will please any traveler.

Tell us – what do YOU plan on doing during President’s Day Weekend?

Travel Terms to Add to the Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary is filled with words we use every day and with words we can’t begin to pronounce. With over 600,000 unique words, you’d think there would be enough words to describe anything and everything, but think again. Have you ever had a hard time trying to find the perfect word to describe your travels? You’re in luck because Lonely Planet created a list of 30 useful travel words and phrases that we can’t wait to start using:

afterglobe n.

The warm, fuzzy feeling one gets after a long immensely satisfying trip.

autobanhmi n.

A Vietnamese sandwich eaten while driving at high speed.

automobilogic n.

The state of mind unique to road trips that convinces travelers that gummi bears and fried onion rings count as a daily serving of fruits and vegetables. Studies indicate that this may lead to automobesity.

bangclock n.

The amount of time a weary traveler can tolerate the sounds of sexual intercourse through thin hotel walls before pounding angrily on the wall.

below see level prep.

When you’re seated directly below the drop-down movie screen on an airplane and the other screens are all too far away to view comfortably.

bratpacker n.

Someone who believes they have a revolutionary system for packing luggage and insists on explaining it to anyone who will listen.

carbungle n.

Embarrassment caused by trying and failing to start, find reverse, or otherwise operate an unfamiliar automobile in a foreign country and having to ask someone for help.

comeuppants n.

When an obnoxious person loses their luggage and has no change of clothes.

crankophone n.

Someone who tries to make themselves understood in a foreign country simply by speaking louder in their own tongue.

egotourism n.

An approach to travel that purports to serve the local culture, environment, or further personal growth, but in reality only artificially inflates a traveler’s sense of self importance.

farflunk v.

Intending to take long trips but completely failing to make them happen.

fearenheit n.

Panic felt by Americans when attempting to comprehend temperatures in other countries.

filibluster v.

To cause pointless delay by creating a scene in the airport security line to prove some point about personal privacy rights that no one behind you cares about.

frankophile n.

A traveler obsessed with accumulating passport stamps.

frequent liar program n.

Travelers who will say anything to receive upgrades on flights or hotel rooms, free meals, etc.

fungalavant v.

To travel the world spreading athlete’s foot from one hostel shower to the next.

gap fear n.

Wanting to take a year off to travel, but being too chicken and going straight to university instead.

globetrots n.

Traveler’s diarrhea from one or more countries on a round the world trip.

grabbagger n.

A traveler that clings like a barnacle to the baggage carousel and won’t budge until their bag appears.

ingesticulate v.

To point and mime to order food when you don’t know the local language.

lavatorpor n.

Taking far too long in the airplane toilet.

meddle detector n.

One skilled at predetermining who will hold up the line unnecessarily at a security checkpoint.

overhead din n.

The disturbance caused by people trying to shove too-large bags into too-small compartments.

peripathetic adj.

Miserable due to a lack of upcoming travel plans.

rack rate n.

A discount on a hotel room for having a large bust.

saggamuffin n.

What passes for a pastry in an airplane breakfast.

trambunctious adj.

Overly excited by riding trains, funiculars, and other forms of public transport.

trapscallion n.

A talkative stranger with foul-breath in a situation where escape isn’t possible. (Synonym: palitosis.)

tuk-tuk-tuck n.

The maneuver required to wedge a large tourist into a small motorized tricycle.

xorse’s ass n.

Someone who has just returned from their first trip to Mexico and has decided to pronounce it “Meh-hee-co” to sound cultured.

Tell us – what is your favorite word from this list? Leave a comment below or tell us on Facebook. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Safe travels,

Your Friends at TravelSafe


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