Take Better Photos on Vacation

We all want a perfect photo to remember our vacation. Follow these tips for taking a great travel photo and make your memories last a lifetime.

1. Pay attention to the light. According to most photographers, the light is best when the sun is low in the sky. This means try to capture your photos in the first hour or so after the sun rises and the last hour or so before it sets. If you can’t take your photos during that time, don’t worry, you can still get a great photo. Just make sure the light is not directly behind your subject.

2. Communicate. If you’re taking a picture of a person you don’t know, ask for their permission first – especially if you’re in a foreign country. It can also help to get a sense of the person and capture their spirit in your photo.

3. Take in your scenery. Before you start snapping away, take a step back and get a sense for the scenery around you. It will help you get a sense of your surroundings and find the best shot.

4. Go for bright colors. Our eyes are naturally drawn to bright colors, so if the sky is especially bright or the grass is greener than usual, make sure to include that in your photo.

5. Angle the camera down. When taking a picture of people, it’s important that it’s a flattering picture. This especially rings true for selfies. Hold your phone at a 45 degree angle and snap away!

With these tips, you’ll be taking photos like a pro in no time! We want to see your favorite travel photo! Post it on our Facebook page or Tweet it. We can’t wait to see your vacation photos!

Read also…
8 Travel Photos to Get You Through the Week
Best International Destinations for Solo Travelers
Why Travel Insurance is So Important

Top 5 Labor Day Weekend Events

Labor Day Weekend is here! If you’re still looking for activities to fill your holiday weekend, we’ve got you covered. From hot air balloons festivals to historical walking tours, here are five events that will keep you busy this holiday weekend.

  1. Washington D.C.: On Sunday, Sept. 1, enjoy a free concert by the National Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. local time. The National Symphony Orchestra performs a free Labor Day Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol each year, the Sunday before Labor Day. This year’s theme is Americana with works by John Williams, Mark Isham and other composers with the Wild West as the theme.
  2. Pine Mountain, Georgia: On Sunday, Sept. 1, the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival will fill the skies in Pine Mountain. If the Hot Air Balloon Festival doesn’t do it for you, there’s also a classic car show, disc dog demonstrations, a pyrotechnic skydiving demonstration, and a 5K Race event. See the entire schedule of events here.

  3. Kansas City, Missouri: From Aug. 30 through Sept. 1, Kansas City celebrates Irish Fest. Irish music will be played on seven stages, and there are also workshops, exhibits and food throughout the festival. This year you’ll also be able to visit the Tourism Ireland Virtual Café, where you’ll be able to chat directly with someone in Ireland.
  4. New York City: Spend Monday, Sept. 2, getting some exercise and education at the same time. At the Labor Day Historical Walking Tour, you’ll learn about immigrant and labor history as you explore downtown NYC.
  5. San Fransisco: On Monday, Sept. 2, the Golden Gate Park Band will present a concert in Golden Gate Park. The concert will begin at 1:00pm. Special Labor Day Concert with great American and Patriotic music featuring Hall Goff, Trombone soloist along with music by Sousa, Jenkins, Victor Herbert and more!

Share your suggestion for a Labor Day Weekend activity by leaving a comment below, writing on our Facebook page or Tweeting us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Why Travel Insurance is Important for Your Next Vacation

The Chicago Tribune recently highlighted the pros and cons of travel insurance. While the article raises great points about why travel insurance is important and how it can protect your vacation plans, we do want to provide more information about one part of the article.

The article’s author, Gregory Karp, warns travelers about having duplicate coverage. This means a person would have coverage for the same services under more than one benefit plan. In this case, it would homeowners insurance and travel insurance. While it is true that your homeowners insurance may cover you if you experience a loss while on vacation, your homeowners policy may only cover a portion of your total loss due to coinsurance and deductible requirements.

In the end, it is important to remember travel insurance is designed to protect you in three ways: 1) to reimburse you for your financial investment should a variety of unforeseeable reasons force you to cancel or interrupt your trip or delay you while traveling; 2) most importantly, to protect you against the costs incurred during your trip for medical expenses, a medical evacuation, services to assist you in an emergency situation; and 3) to protect against loss, damage or destruction of your personal belongings.

Tell us, what questions do you have about travel insurance? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We’re happy to answer your questions – even if you’re not buying from us!

Read also…
How to Avoid Making Popular Travel Mistakes
WiFi-Enabled Planes Becoming Popular
15 Questions to Ask Your Travel Insurance Company

Passengers Without Carry-On Bags Will Board First

American Airlines is making changes for passengers traveling light. The airline announced the “new system-wide boarding process that saves overall boarding time by allowing customers who are traveling light to board earlier. Customers traveling with one personal carry-on item that fits under the seat in front of them will be invited to board before Group 2.”

Another change in the airline’s policy will allow passengers to leave their carry-ons at the gate for check-in if they want to (that’s currently a free service).

Rising fees and the subject of overhead baggage have been filling headlines. So we want to hear your opinion on the recent changes. Do you think these changes are fair to passengers? Will you change your packing habits now? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Lost Luggage Tips

 

Did you arrive at your destination, but your luggage did not?  Unfortunately, we hear many stories about lost luggage and the stress it can add to a vacation.  There’s nothing worse than arriving at the resort and not having your swimsuit to enjoy the sun or arriving at the golf course without your golf clubs.  Wherever or whenever your luggage is lost, we have tips to help you know what to do (or not do!) if your bag is lost.

 

  • Stay calm. It is easier said than done, but keeping your cool is important in these situations.  When you are reporting your missing luggage, remember that they are not the person who lost it.  In fact, they are the people that can help you reunite with your precious cargo, so be kind!  Plus, if you’re calm, you’ll be more likely to provide clear and correct information that can help locate your bag.
  • Include details. If you provide details about your luggage and the contents inside including colors and size, there is a better chance it will be located and returned to you. Moreover, a photo can save the day in this type of situation. Snap a quick photo of your luggage (and a picture of the contents packed inside) on your phone so that  you can provide that to the airline as well.One more thing – if you create a packing list, that type of information can be very helpful when filling out airline and travel insurance claim forms.
  • Travel insurance, travel insurance, travel insurance! Travel insurance can provide an important safety net in many situations, but it can be especially helpful when your baggage is delayed. You can receive up to $250.00 if your baggage is delayed for 12 or more hours with our Travel Safe Classic Plus plan.If your worst nightmare comes true and your bag is lost, the same TravelSafe plan provides up to $2,500 for your baggage or personal effects.  In this case, make sure to keep your receipts for the replacement items you purchase and have a copy of the letter or email from the airline confirming that your bag was lost.  To view the complete plan details, click here.
  • Don’t give up! A common mistake many people make is to leave the airport and “deal with the next day”. No matter how tired or jet lagged you may be, it is important to report the bag as lost immediately. The airline will likely require you to file an official report (some airlines within 24 hours), and it will be the most effective if you file it at the airport.It is important to note that you can also file a report if your bag was damaged instead.
  • Leave your valuables at home (or at least in your carry on). Even though travel insurance and the airlines can help you with the cost of replacing your lost luggage, no one can replace your grandmother’s pearl necklace or anything that has sentimental value. If you have items that you would describe as “priceless”, leave them at home. If you must bring them on your trip, pack them in your carry on so that you can be sure they are not lost.
Now it is your turn to tell us, have you lost your luggage on a vacation? What is your tip for dealing with the airlines? Sound off in the comments below, post on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

London Airport Receives Massive Upgrades

London City Airport is aiming to create an “airport of the future.” The airport’s goal is to eliminate the annoyances that come along with flying.

Their lofty goal includes shortening security lines and making missing luggage a thing of the past.

These experiences will be delivered by technology called Internet of Things (IoT). This technology allows a variety of devices and machines to communicate and has proven to be the foundation for ground-breaking technology. For example, the technology has helped create “smart lights” which detect when you’ve woken up to turn on and “smart cars” which are said to avoid collision.

The London City Airport is the first airport to use this technology for commercial aviation. Over the next year, the airport will integrate different technologies to provide a picture of what’s possible.

A few of these possibilities include tracking luggage and passengers and a system that would allow passengers to pre-order food through their smartphones and have it delivered to their departure gate.

Overall, the airport is combining date to create a better customer experience. So now it’s your turn to tell us — would you welcome these types of changes at airports or are you considered about privacy and safety implications of this technology? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Read also…
Travel to Cancun on the Rise
Selling Summer Vacations
Top 5 Family Travel Tips

Travel to Cancun on the Rise

According to the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau, more than 2 million visitors will be visiting Cancun this Spring.

Throughout the past month, families, students and friends are selecting Cancun for their vacation destination. In fact, Easter week saw more than 500 daily flights and an approximate 90 percent occupancy rate. The vibrant city held events like Oasis Dance U brought together a variety of performers from the worlds of electronic music, hip hop and dance, as well as top DJs from around the world that attracted thousands of vacationing college students and other audiences.

Now it is your turn to tell us – is Cancun a popular spot with your clients? Has anyone shared safety concerns about traveling to Mexico? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Read also…
Travel Insurance Available for Canadian Residents
Selling Summer Vacations
TravelSafe Vacation Plan Named Number One for Second Consecutive Year

Get Featured as the Most Social Travel Advisor

Are you a travel agent who connects with their clients on Facebook and Twitter? Do you pin exciting destinations on your Pinterest page? Do you share interesting travel tips and articles on your Google+ page? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be featured as the Most Social Travel Advisor in Travel Agent Central.

The publication is reaching out to travel professionals who are on top of their social media game. If you are using social media to answer your clients’ questions on Facebook or boosting sales through Twitter, they want to hear how social has worked for you.

Make sure to nominate yourself here by April 30, 2013 and share your agency information along with your proudest social media moments and tips for other agents.

Please pass this along to friends and other travel agents who may want to enter as well, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Good luck to all!

Report: FAA to allow Kindle use during takeoff

Reports are circulating that the Federal Aviation Administration may allow travelers to use Amazon Kindle devices during takeoff.

The FAA’s Portable and Electronic Device Advisory and Rulemaking Committee is reviewing current policies and will end those deliberations in July. The committee has more than two dozen members, who include representatives of the FAA, Amazon, airlines, pilot and flight attendant unions, aircraft manufacturers, the FCC and the Consumer Electronics Association.

The current guidance is that travelers have to turn off everything while below 10,000 feet, but that may all change.

Over the past few years, the FAA has been under mounting pressure to either allow passengers more electronic freedom onboard aircraft, or provide solid scientific evidence why they can’t. Critics point out that pilots now employ iPads in the cockpit for navigation purposes.

So tell us what you think — should passengers be allowed to use electronic devices during a flight? Leave a comment below, post on our Facebook wall or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Read also…
TravelSafe Vacation Plan Named Number One for Second Consecutive Year
Spa Travel on the Rise
Top Five Family Travel Tips

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!