Thailand smoking ban goes into effect

The new smoking ban in Thailand bars and restaurants is in effect and from what I have observed the law is being treated like any other law in Thailand. What I mean is, some establishments have already set up smoking areas, others say you have to smoke outside the restaurant or bar, and others are ignoring the law altogether.

The reason for ignoring the ban could be that it will not really be enforced for a couple of months. Instead of stiff fines being issued, there will be warnings and education until the end of May, 2008.

But, then, the fines will be steep. If enforced, smokers can be fined 2,000 Baht (approximately $62 US dollars) and venue owners will be fined up to 20,000 Baht (over $600 US dollars).

This will force the bar and restaurant owners to enforce the law on their property. If the ban just penalized smokers, the establishment owners would completely ignore it.

This is nothing really new. Thailand has banned smoking in hospitals, government buildings, and train stations for a few years now. This is just an extension of an already existing law.

We have a similar law in Hawaii. It is a little more stringent in that we cannot smoke within 50 feet of the door of the establishment. The law also provides fines for smokers and bar and restaurant owners.

As a smoker, I was a bit peeved initially at the law, but as time has gone by, it is really no big deal. If I have to step outside to smoke it is no big deal.

I am currently visiting Khon Kaen, Thailand and go out almost nightly. I haven’t been to any bars but I have visited quite a few restaurants. One of my favorites, La Mai, has set up a smoking area near the restrooms. Smile restaurant allowed me to smoke at the table. And, Bu-Sa-Ba restaurant has a small, covered smoking area in the rear of the restaurant.

So, between now and May 31, ask your waiter or waitress if it is alright to smoke. If they have a smoking area set up, please use it. If you have to go outside to smoke, like at Kit'z Cafй, then just sit at the table and have your cigarette.

I am not sure how the major tourist areas, Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket, are going to respond or what the impact on tourism will be. I would guess that starting on June 1, 2008, there will be a crackdown to show people that the government is serious about the ban.

So, if you are planning to visit the Land of Smiles, and you smoke cigarettes, make sure to ask if it is OK to smoke before you light up. Otherwise, you may have to pay dearly.

Inside london hotels

There are 1000’s of hotels in central London, 9,248 officially classed hotels to be precise, and variety and choice is vast, from the beautiful Abbey Court hotel in Pembridge Gardens, to the vast Cumberland hotel at Marble Arch, cheap and cheerful gems like the Hyde Park Towers to the amazing expensive Charlton Tower hotel, this city has it all.

In London hotels whether it is 2 star, 3 star, 4 star or even 5 star, London hotels have worked very hard to improve and develop their product, some much better than others. To look at highlighting each star grading, best leisure hotels, best business hotels, best niche hotels, unique hotel and also aspects like innovation or unique and interesting product offerings, would be near impossible as London hotels continue to strive for that USP.

There are copious negatives about central London hotels, be warned, however air conditioning is possible the worst, This is due to, in the most parts, the age of a lot of the hotel buildings, and then the vast cost of upgrading. However I do accept that in central London, as in any major city that there are some disappointing hotels, but we also know that any city needs a wide range of choice and that is one thing London provides.

One point that you will always seen when searching for a London hotel is that every hotel in the city will talk about having the best location in the city. Location is such a relative point, because it is only the best location if it is exactly where you want to be, and what is quite sad is that some very disappointing hotels charge a higher rate because they believe they have a great location. However if you are coming to the city for a vacation then just about any central London hotel has a suitable location, it really is that simple. So when picking your hotel please do not be over charged or misled by “location, location, location”.

Another serious is the star ratings, nearly 40% of all London hotels who claim a star rating have either never been judged, or have not had it reviewed for many many years and the system is very seriously flawed. % levels to cover the vast array of different hotels is simply not possible. The 3 star market in London is so populated and the differences between those hotels can be amazing. One London 3 star hotel has a great swimming pool, copious restaurant and food choice, and air-conditioning yet is still judged the same as some hotel that is nothing more than a very good B&B, it simply does not add up, so be careful.

This websites may help, www. central-london-hotel-reviews. com

A quick guide to mallorca

One of the ever-popular Balearic Islands, Mallorca is the perfect location for a quiet romantic holiday or full-on family fun.

Where is it?

Mallorca is the middle, and largest, of a set of islands set in the Mediterranean off the east cost of Spain. It has a varied terrain, which means that although the majority of visitors come for the coast and beaches, there is a growing interest in the island’s fertile plains and mountainous regions.

Where can I stay?

If you want to avoid the over-developed resorts that dominate parts of Mallorca, then choose a boutique hotel. Less stuffy and more intimate than regular hotels, yet with discreet staff and service when you want it, a boutique Mallorcan hotel is the ideal way to truly experience the island. The Palacio Ca Sa Galesa, for example, is set right in the heart of Palma, and boasts the only swimming pool in the Gothic district. No detail has been overlooked, so you immediately feel comfortable in any of its 12 rooms. Alternatively, visit Palma on a day trip from Scott’s Hotel, which is a charming boutique hotel set in a medieval wine-producing village off the main tourist route. Comfort is a key theme here, with goosedown pillows and breakfast until noon.

What can I see?

Visit Palma for a really cosmopolitan view of Mallorca. Half of the island’s population live here so it comes as no surprise that sophisticated bars and classy shops sit easily alongside ancient streets and the astounding Gothic Cathedral. It pays to spend some time exploring the city – whether it’s taking in the amazing view from the waterfront, wandering in and out of the tiny shops in the old Arab Quarter, or taking in the sights from a traditional pony and trap. Further afield, Mallorca boasts a range of interesting towns, secluded bays, and mountain walks that reward with perfect views.

How do I get around?

There are many low cost flights from Europe to Mallorca’s main city, Palma de Mallorca. From there, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to travelling around the island. There is a comprehensive bus network that takes you from town to town, or you can hire a car so that you can be in complete control of your itinerary. Alternatively, you can rent a moped, or work off your meals by cycling. It’s never too far from one town to another, so there’s plenty of time for sight seeing however you choose to travel. Use the local ferry services to visit the other Balearic Islands and make the most of your holiday time.

Shopping in spain

Shopping in Spain is a more relaxed and more economical affair than in the rest of Europe. Bargaining is widespread here and you've got a good chance of finding some real bargains.

Shopping In Barcelona

Here's a city that's reinvented itself in the last decade and a vibrant shopping scene has emerged in the process. You'll find all the big names here - Chanel, Max Mara, Loewe, Benetton, Zara, and Diesel - jostling for your attention and your credit card.

You'll find that boutiques line the avenues along with futuristic malls and beguiling markets. And if you ever get tired of garments, you can head to the throng of antique shops and art galleries.

Te Circuit del Born is the place to go if you want garments and accessories to transform yourself into a Spaniard. You'll find it in the Ciutat Vella’s Ribera district. It is home to many small studio and shops retailing the creations of local craftsmen and artisan. Specialties include silk items, and designer shoes and clothing.

For a richer experience and a glimpse into Catalonia's mercantile past, head for the streets around the Barri Gтtic. These streets are packed with traditional offering from fish, candles and herbs to bullfighter's capes.

Opening times for shops in Barcelona is around 8 am and they tend to close a few hours after sunset.

Shopping In Madrid

Spain's capital is home to an estimated 50000 stores selling everything from the latest fashion clothing, paintings, ceramics and guitars.

Madrid offers the best up-market shopping outlets in Spain. Most of the designer fashion shops lie in the eastern Salamanca district. Here the international temples of fashion such as Prada, Armani, and Louis Vuitton, share space with popular Spanish designers like Sybilla, Amaya Arzuaga, and Victorio & Lucchino.

But if you're weary of grand boutiques, you're in for a treat on Sunday mornings in the form of the El Rastro street market. For this event the Calle de Ribera de Curtidores closes to traffic and is transformed in to this great open-air bazaar offering everything from live chickens to pirated movies, antiques of dubious antiquity and erotic post cards. What's more, it's a truly Spanish event. But keep a close eye on your wallet and camera.

Frequent flyer programs get the most out of your miles

* Does the airline fly where you're likely to want to go?

* Are there tie-ins with other carriers, especially those with international routes? Is some of the airline's service provided by commuter-carrier "partners"? In both cases, can you earn credits and use awards on those other airlines?

* How many miles (or trips) are required for particular awards?

* Is there a minimum award per flight (e. g., you are only flying 200 miles but the airline always awards at least 500)?

* Is there a deadline for using accumulated miles?

* Carefully examine the number and length of any "blackout periods" during which awards cannot be used. On some carriers, the Thanksgiving blackout may last a week.

* If you are planning a big trip and are thinking about joining that airline's frequent-flyer program, enroll before you travel. Airlines usually won't credit mileage that was flown before you became a member.

After you join a program, there are other things that you should know:

* Airlines reserve the right to make changes to their programs, sometimes on short notice. The number of miles required for particular awards might be raised, requiring you to use your old mileage (i. e., your current balance) under the more restrictive new rules. The airline may cease service on a route that you were particularly interested in-or it may drop the city you live in! The carrier may eliminate attractive frequent-flyer tie-ins with particular airlines or hotel chains.

* Cashing in your mileage frequently will limit your losses in case the carrier changes the rules, merges, or goes out of business. (Some private companies sell insurance covering some of these eventualities.) Accumulating a larger mileage balance will entitle you to bigger awards, however.

* Carriers often limit the number of seats on each flight for which frequent-flyer awards can be used. You may not be able to get reservations on your first - or second-choice dates or flights.

* Awards can often be issued in the name of immediate family members. However, if you sell or give an award to someone not named on the award or the travel document and the airline finds out, the recipient could have his or her ticket confiscated, and the carrier may penalize the program member's account balance.

* Ask the airline how mileage is registered; you will probably have to identify yourself as a program member when you book your flight or when you check in.

* Keep your boarding passes and the passenger coupon of your ticket until you receive a statement from the frequent-flyer program reflecting the correct mileage earnings for that trip. If a problem arises, get the names of the people you speak with and keep notes of your conversations.

Useful tips on driving across dubai

Any world class infrastructure will carry its own problems along with the high standards of living it might own. Dubai being one of the busiest cities in the world, does also have its own quota of overcrowding, planning woes, traffic congestion and cultural and sociological matters to take care of. Those traveling from the developed nations might specially find some of these issues very nagging.

Traffic congestion is one such aspect of Dubai's life, that often gets mentioned in all Dubai related chatters. Cars on Dubai's roads could often be found over speeding, evading red signals or skidding on in the wrong lane. Despite having tough regulations in place for dealing with the traffic violations, freak collisions keep on being reported from various parts of Dubai at an alarming rate.

The administration is busy on its own part chalking out plans for new flyovers and highway junctions to deal with the situation. Major revamps are being awaited in the traffic department as well. Five new divisions have been devised to regulate vehicular movement and thus improve upon the traveling scenario in general. This will also help in apprehending the traffic violators more easily.

Overcrowding on Dubai's roads is found to be maximum at a time when schools have just started again after vacationing. One should start early from home during such times to be able to on time at workplace, and similarly be ready to be late after usual working hours. We are enlisting some easy tips for the commuters here for making out a safe and speedy journey across Dubai's overcrowded roads.

1. Linking roads should be made one's first priority, in case one was dreadful of encountering an overcrowded narrow street. The extra few hundred yards would mean almost zilch in terms of the gasoline costs but would help one save plenty of traveling minutes.

2. Do not move on from one to another lane, unless you were certain about acquiring greater speeds. People often end up stranded more in the lanes they to move on to compared to where they had earlier been in.

3. Keep alternative routs well planned before commuting across Dubai. Not all the routs are going to be of help everyday, but some will indeed prove out to be handy on different occasions.

4. Avoiding being trapped inside a lane that might disallow you lateral movement. Always make sure you had enough space around to move out of the lane you were about to enter in.

5. One should avoid making use of very usual routs on times. Make sure the flyover or underpass you were about to pass through did indeed have free flowing traffic. Better face out the red signals at normal junctions than being trapped inside an overtly flooded underpass.

6. Identifying slow or fast moving patches in lanes is very significant. All lanes normally do have sections that will either speed up or slow down with time. One may even find a pattern of various speeds on different routs one normally travels across Dubai. Once you have made an observation of the routs you generally move along, you might easily switch over from one to another lane at different locations.

7. Once gaining optimum speeds in the less crowded lanes, be careful of not being trapped inside the formations of moving vehicles. These formation can hinder your speeds considerably as you move on with them.

Getting used to the above traffic suggestions might take some time, but it will help you in saving a lot of time in the longer run.

What happens if you are arrested overseas

When you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws, and American officials are limited as to how they can assist you. They cannot, for instance, represent you in legal proceedings or pay your legal fees or other expenses. They can, however, perform a variety of vital services, which include providing a list of attorneys, assisting in contacting your family in the U. S. if you wish it, helping you obtain money from family in the U. S., and monitoring your health and welfare and the conditions under which you are being held.

If you are arrested, immediately ask to speak to a consular officer at the nearest U. S. Embassy or Consulate. Under international agreements, the U. S. Government has a right to provide consular assistance to you upon your request. If your request to speak to your consul is turned down, keep asking—politely, but persistently.

Special warning about drug offenses abroad

Every year, several hundred Americans are arrested abroad on drug charges. Persons caught with illegal drugs in a foreign country are subject to the drug laws of that country, not those of the U. S.; as always, ignorance of the law is no excuse. In many countries, the burden of proof is on the accused to show that he or she is innocent of the charges.

Some Americans take advantage of an offer of an all-expenses-paid vacation abroad in exchange for carrying a small package in the luggage. When, to their surprise, they are caught, the fact that they did not know that there were drugs in that package will not reduce the charges against them.

Every aspect of a drug arrest abroad can be different from U. S. practice. For instance:

* few countries provide a jury trial

* many countries do not permit pre-trial release on bail

* pre-trial detention, often in solitary confinement, can last several months

* prisons may lack even minimal comforts, such as beds, toilets, and washbasins

* diets are often inadequate and require supplements from relatives and friends

* officials may not speak English

* physical abuse, confiscation of property, degrading treatment and extortion are


* persons convicted may face sentences ranging from fines and jail time, to years of hard labor, and even the death penalty

* penalties for drug possession and for drug trafficking are often the same abroad, so possession of one ounce of marijuana could result in years in a foreign jail

As with any arrest of a U. S. citizen abroad, consular officers perform a variety of services. But, you will basically be on your own. Don’t be stupid. Stay away from drugs.

Quick guide to thailand

Thailand is possibly the most-visited country in south-east Asia. The irresistible combination of fine beaches, ancient monuments and civilisations and renowned cuisine makes a holiday here an absolute must.

Where is it?

Thailand is in south-east Asia, bordering Malaysia to the south, Myanmar (Burma) to the north, and Cambodia and Laos to the east. It benefits from coastal stretches both in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Thailand.

Where can I stay?

Thailand is a popular country to visit – Bangkok is a 24-hour city with hotels to match whilst smaller cities and coastal resorts have also made the most of the constant tourist trade. Travellers are becoming more sophisticated, however, which has resulted in a number of boutique hotels opening to cater for the discerning guest. For those who love the beach, try the luxury of Aleenta; a small, private beach hotel which houses just 17 suites and 2 private villas. With unspoilt beach on your doorstep, an infinity pool and romantic breakfast and dinner settings, beach-life rarely gets better. Alternatively, go for the lights and sounds of Bangkok, where you could stay at the Ibrik City; a very chic hotel right in the middle of the business district and next to the famous “Blue Elephant” cooking school. With just three rooms, this is a modern yet homely hotel and great transport connections mean that this boutique hotel is the ideal base for days and nights in Bangkok.

What can I see?

Thailand is renowned for its ancient monuments, stupas and temples. From the sheer architectural delight of the Phimai Temple, a Hindu/Buddhist temple, to the ancient stupas in the Sukothai Historical Park, there’s much to learn about civilisations hundreds and thousands of years old and the way they affect the people of Thailand today. Don’t miss the busy and colourful markets either, and make sure that you spend time sampling the fabulous food for which Thailand is so well known. Venture away from the beaches to the rivers and mountains of Thailand’s interior to sample a simpler way of life, or take in the energy of Bangkok with a city visit.

How do I get around?

You can hire a car to get around Thailand, but it may be easier to take the train. Bangkok city is serviced by a Sky train and boat service, so there’s no need for any other transport to get you around. Outside Bangkok and closer to the coast, use the buses and trains to get about. The trains may be slower than you’re used to, but they’re comfortable. On the other hand, the buses are fast and furious, but they are cheap and air-conditioned.

Travel how to make it easier with children

When you have kids, traveling by car can become a difficult part of your holiday. The most often heard "Are we there yet mum?" can drive you mad when asked for the five hundredth time in as many seconds.

The reason they keep asking is because they don't really have a fully developed sense of time. They might be genuinely afraid you are going to keep them in that car bored and tugging at their little sister forever. It might help to explain to them how long the whole trip will take by dividing the trip into sections. Add in that you are 20 minutes away from stopping at that place with the ducks and donkeys. Little milestones will make the journey and the concept of how far they need to go still - easier to digest.

The time in which you choose to drive can be carefully chosen to optimize sleeping time in the car. You can try leaving before sunrise and you will manage several hours of quiet driving time before they wake up and want entertainment. Some folks travel at night because everybody is sleeping. Not only do you get a peice of mind but you also save on the food budget. Plan the trip not to coincide with any major traffic surrounding holiday season at least to minimize time spent in the car. Take your food breaks during work traffic. People go to lunch around noon and get off of work between 4-5 pm. Plan to take your lunch and dinner breaks around this time since spending time in large amounts of traffic will obviously take longer to get to your destination.

There are some things you can do to make the ride a bit smoother and more fun for everyone. It's important to plan ahead when deciding to take a long car journey with your kids. Make sure the car is comfortably packed; keep the backseat clear so they have more space. Here are 5 surefire ways to keep your long car ride fun for kids:

1. Pack a goodie bag for each child filled with simple cheap toys that you think can keep them amused. Depending on their ages there some creative and inexpensive items that will keep them quiet and happy. Browse through the cheaper isle of the toy store.

2. Another good buy, speaking of inexpensive items, is a deck of cards (if you do not already own any). This is a great investment not only for the car ride but for the destination as well.

3. There are all kinds of listening materials available. You could buy some, borrow some from your local library or look around on the internet. Radio-productions and taped books can be a wonderful way to pass the time together in the car and enjoy a book together as a family.

4. The classic car journey activity is singing. And for a good reason too. Try to choose a CD that everyone will enjoy.

5. Coloring books, puzzles, crosswords and sticker books can be included in another goodie bag along with crayons to create hours of fun and more importantly quiet.

There are also all kinds of electronic portable gaming devices which are a fun way to pass the time. If you have a DVD player in your car you can stock up on a new DVD to keep them entertained and quiet. Remember the journey is part of the holiday so make it fun. Stop along the way and appreciate the sights. Use the opportunity to explore new places. Regular breaks will make the long trip easier on everyone. Pack a picnic and let your kids release their pent up energy.

The most important thing is to keep your activities varied. Alternate 30 minutes of card playing with some singing and then some coloring in. With some planning and creativeness you can make you car ride enjoyable for the whole family - and that's what vacations are about after all!

Enjoy a tour of san diego by renting a van

San Diego is one interesting area that should not be missed by visitors when going to California. This second largest city in California is a coastal area with long stretches of beaches and a mild climate. It lies north of the border with Mexico and is home to 16 military facilities such as the U. S. Navy, U. S. Coast Guard and U. S. Marine Corps.

San Diego has so much to offer visitors in terms of exciting tourist spots. Some of the popular places to visit there include the San Diego Zoo, Seaworld and Universal Studios. So what better way to tour this eighth largest U. S. city with the most convenience than to rent a van. Whether you’re a couple, with a group of friends or with the whole family, vans make a perfect vehicle to go around the city. Various van rental agencies abound in San Diego that offer different types of vans ranging from the full size vans, 12-passenger vans and 15-passenger vans.

5 Star Rent-A-Van is a trusted van rental company in the Southern California region covering San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles County. In fact, it is one of the largest rental firms in Southern California. Since 1996, this family owned firm has provided travelers with excellent, friendly and personalized service to meet their needs. High quality vans and service are the trademarks of 5 Star Rent-A-Van. Sales representatives are very friendly while the vehicular staff can readily answer your queries concerning the technical aspect of the vehicles.

This San Diego Van Rental agency has quality vans for local and foreign clients. It has more than 50 vehicles including Ford, Dodge and GMC vans that guarantee a good running condition for travelers wherever they wish to go. Take note also that every vehicle for rent is considered a top of the line model so customers are guaranteed a smooth trip all the time. Most of 5 Star’s vans can accommodate 15 people but the seats are removable if cargo requires more space.

As for its rates, they are actually very competitive because even students and budget travelers can well afford to rent this 5 Star’s vans. Major credit cards are accepted but upon return of the van, renters may opt to pay in cash, check or credit card.

5 Star Rent-A-Van always makes sure that the needs of its customers are met for their full satisfaction. For travelers with driving licenses, they can just rent vans from 5 Star and tour San Diego, Orange County or L. A. by themselves. But for new visitors, they can opt to rent vans with drivers for a more memorable and comfortable trip. They can even avail of airport shuttle service vans upon their arrival should they so desire.

Another good news is that travelers wanting to avail of 5 Star Rent-A-Van vehicles can already book online in the comfort of their home or office. This makes the firm one of the few rental firms to use automated booking for their clients. Just visit www.5StarVans. com to book a van and there’s absolutely no need to call.

So what are you waiting for? Enjoy your most comfortable trip in Southern California using vans from 5 Star Rent-A-Van.

A show of saintly courage in shambles

The Shambles in not an adjective; it is a well preserved street in York, England. Although not as popular as London, York is just as historical. The city of York has been in existence for at least 2,000 years. The core of the city of York is walled, just like in medieval times, and its historical landmarks are well preserved.

The word Shambles refers to open-air slaughterhouses and meat shops. There are streets named Shambles in other parts of England as long as there are animals to kill, dress and sell. The pavements of the streets are elevated on both sides, creating channels or open canals. In those days all the innards are thrown out; the wastes from the slaughtered animals like blood pass through those canals.

The Shambles of York is unique or special; it is the most well preserved street of its kind and thus one of the most visited in the whole of Europe. The Shambles was also home to Saint Margaret Clitherow.

Clitherow married a butcher at the age of 15 and lived along York’s Shambles. She became a Roman Catholic at the age of 18. During those day Roman Catholics were being persecuted and as a Catholic herself, she sympathized with those regarded as fugitives. Her home became a safe house for priests hunted by the authorities. She was a mother of 2 and a school teacher to her children and neighbors’ children.

Although repeatedly arrested, it was not until 1586 that Margaret Clitherow was brought before the criminal courts. One of her students was pressured into providing evidence against the teacher. The authorities were able to find mass related paraphernalia in her home, leading to her arrest.

She refused to enter a plea so the trial could not commence. Margaret Clitherow wanted to prevent a trial to protect her children from being forced to testify against her. As punishment, she had to lay naked beneath a heavy stone. She did not last 15 minutes and met her saintly death. A shrine for her as St. Margaret was erected on the spot thought to be where her old home was. It was later discovered that her old residence was a few houses away from the shrine.

Today the Shambles is clean and lined not with meat shops but with specialty stores. The cobble stones, quaint shops, the shrine of St. Margaret and the old stories handed down from generation to generation keep visitors coming back for more.

Rome is considered to be a large open-air museum

Rome is a cosmopolitan bustling city in continuous evolution. It attracts million of tourists each year and has a lot to offer also to international students in terms of night life, cultural events, courses, exhibitions etc.

Rome is considered to be a large open-air museum. Every corner you look at, Roman temples, ancient streets, fabulous fountains, colourful street markets or simply wonderful open spaces are right there.

Furthermore, its mild windy weather its ideal in any season you wish to be there: speeding scooters, sidewalk cafйs, restaurant terraces, the magnificent Coliseum and S. Peter Cathedral by night and grand piazzas are some of the spots you will enjoy. Although is an international Capital, do not believe it is soo expensive!! There are plenty of accommodation solutions in Rome either for tourists and for travellers on a budget choosing from youth hostels, and B&B. Among the other bookers, it is possible to book easily online with an easy service provided by Flashbooking for example where rooms or bed nights start form 13 euros per person.

Did you know? Read Rome backwards and you’ll get an Italian word: AMOR that means LOVE This will probably be the first impression for this romantic city and probably what you will take home from your trip there.

Among the fantastic treasures you can admire while in Rome, for sure the most classic spots are these ones:

The Capitoline Hill is the citadel of ancient Rome with the Palazzo Nuovo and the Palazzo dei Conservatori, now the site of the Capitoline Museum. The close by Palazzo Venezia with its Resorgimento Museum and the Art gallery at its buttom are a must.

Did you know? The Capitoline Museums are the oldest public collection in the world and include very famous sculptures such as the Galata Morente and the Capitoline Venus. In the Painting Gallery you will have an excursus of master pieces by painters such as Tiziano, Bellini and Caravaggio. (Piazza del Campidoglio, 1; ph: 06-82059127; e-mail: info. [email protected] roma. it; open Tue-Sun 9am-8pm; closed on: Mondays, 1st January, 1st May, 25th December; the ticket-office closes one hour before the closing-time of the Museum )

A visit to the Roman Forum takes the visitor to the remains from various periods of Roman history. They are very interesting by night. In summer they also are a stage for concerts and shows. We suggest you take a guided tour: it will cost a little bit more but for sure it will give you an insight of what it was during the Roman Empire. Some stalls also sell interesting booklets with pop-up pages of the Forums or transparent reconstruction based on the real photos Have a look. Very nice gift for children and fun for adults as well!

Close to the Forums see the Trajan Markets and the Coliseum, the biggest amphitheatre ever build in the antiquity (80 AD): 52 metres high and a capacity of 70 000 spectators! Still used in these days to performs huge concerts of world famous pop. stars: Madonna, Elton Jhon, Mc Cartney performed there!! It is even more breathtaking in the evening, when it is artistically illuminated to show off the beauty of the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns. Nice thing to do: have a shot there with REAL gladiators models!!

(tickets: Ђ 8,00; info/ bookings call : 06 399 67700 Mon-Sat 9am - 1.30pm and from 2.30pm 5pm).

Believer or not a glance to the Vatican is a must Even a visit to St Peter’s Cathedral as it is free, would be a good idea! You can even decide to make your path up to the enormous dome where you can enjoy a fantastic view of Rome.

If you wish to get an accommodation in that area, the best accommodation solution will probably be in some private apartments that are flourishing there. There are not so much B&B in the quarter nor cheap hotels, but try the family apartments that are easily ‘bookable’ online at Flashbooking. com. Some of them really share a fantastic view over San Peter and Castel S. Angelo.

Another thing: you have always heard about Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel haven’t you?? Now, you are there, just a few hours of extenuate queue are separating you from this astonishing miracle of art!! You HAVE TO get your place there and be part of the hundred of visitors’s a good spot to meet people True! The Vatican Museums are in Viale Vaticano, 100) One ticket and you can visit both Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel in the same day. Closed on Sundays and particular Catholic feasts. Tickets: vary from 4Ђ to a maximum of 12 Ђ per person.

Everything you need in berlin from jazz clubs

From sustainable means of transport, to local breweries, from flea markets, to jazz club, this article has been useful to many backpackers heading to Berlin! First of all we start suggesting other very useful tools (magazine) you need to get once in town: the 030 or the Zitty, Tip, Prinz or the main English language paper, the ExBerliner.

A funny way to cherish the urban life, as a citizen would do, is renting a bike. And don’t worry, cycling in this City is a pleasure! For about 15Ђ per day or 50Ђ per week you can rent your bike at Berlin-by-bike in many Fahrradstation centres spreading all over Berlin. Visit the website of Fahrradstation or go to: Hackesche Hofe, Hof 7; Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; Sat and Sun 10 am-4pm; ph +49 (030) 28384848; or in Auguststr. 29A (Mitte) from Mon-Fri 8 am-8pm; Sat and Sun 10 am-4pm; ph +49 (030) 2859 9661; or in Leipziger Str. 56, from Mon - Fri 8 am-8 pm; Sat and Sun from 10am to 4pm; ph:+39 (030) 666 49 180; or at Bergmanstr. 9, Kreuzberg from Mon - Fri 8am-8pm; Sat and Sun from 10 am-4pm; ph +49 (030) 21515 66).

If you like the idea, you can count also on the silver CallBikes (+49/ 0700/ 05 22 55 22) available in different corners of the cities. Basically you can take the bike and leave it in every corner of the city simply using your mobile phone to connect to the central booking system! For as cheap as 0,06Ђ per minute or 15Ђ per day, all you need to do is call the company, give them credit card details and get a code to unlock the padlock. Better if you pre-register one week in advance. Then get cycling maps, information and assistance at Das Radlerzentrum (ADFC: Brunnenstrasse 28; ph: +49 (030) 448 4724; Mon - Fri 1200-8pm and Sat10am-4pm). With your bike now you can really reach every corner of West and East Berlin.

In springtime a good place to be is the Tiergarten Park. Get a beer at Cafй am Neuen See, a Bavarian beer house: it’s the ideal place to cool down with fresh beverages and small appetizers close to the pond. You can also indulge on boat trips, for a romantic afternoon. (Lichtensteinallee, 2; ph. +49 (0) 30 254 4930; all days 10am-1pm). To end the light meal with something sweet, get a special cake at the park Cafй Buchwald, since 1852 an institution! (Bartningallee, 29; ph.+49 (0)30 391 5931; all days Mar-Oct 11am-11pm; Nov-Feb 11am-6.30pm)

For vintage second hand shopping don’t miss the Flohmarkt am Ankonaplatz where you can get anything from 60’s and 70’s. (Prenzlauer Berg: U-Bahn Bernauer Strasse; Sun 11am-6pm) or the Flohmarkt Schцnenberg, right in front of the homonym Municipal hall (U - Bahn Rathaus Schцnenberg; Sat-Sun 8am-4pm).

If USSR still plays a role in your imagination, you’d better go to the small, students-run market at Boxhagener Platz (Friedrichshain; U/S Bahn Warschauer Str.; Sun 9am-4pm).

The evening is best spent in a Jazz club. Have a look at the berlinjazz where you can surely find a list of popular spots. Quasimodo is renowned among jazz lovers for sessions of jazz, blues, folk, funk, soul. You find it in KantstraЯe, 12 in Charlottenburg. Or at Quasimodo. It is open daily from 9pm; live music from 10pm.

If you want to combine dinner and music then you have to try Soultrane, the elegant side house of the A Trane: after dinner, first class jazz is being served. (Stilwerk, KantstraЯe 17, Charlottenburg; ph: +40 (0) 30 315 18 60).

Time for summer here are the top 20 pool tips to ensure all your family and friends safety

* A person must learn to swim and always swim with a buddy, never swim alone.

* Swim in areas accompanied my a lifeguard.

* Be observant and read and obey all pool rules and posted signs.

* Children or beginner swimmers should wear a floatation device in and around the water.

* Set water safety rules for the entire family based on their swimming abilities.

* Become informed of the water environment you are in and its potential hazards. This may include it’s deep and shallow areas, it’s currents, etc..

* Check out the local weather conditions and forecasts prior to swimming.

* When entering the water, use a feet-first method.

* Dive only when the area is clearly marked for diving.

* Do not consume alcohol while swimming, diving or boating.

* Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to all emergencies.

* Never, never, leave children alone next to a pool. Children are very curious individuals and may fall within a fraction of a second.

* Install a phone next the your pool area and post a 9-1-1 sign in clear view.

* Learn how to perform CPR on all individuals and post the instructions in clear view for others to refer see and learn as well.

* Wear sunscreen. Protecting your skin from UV Rays in very important.

* Drink a lot of water even if you don’t feel thirsty. This can prevent heat stroke.

* Always keep basic life saving devices near the pool, such as a rope, a pole, or a personal flotation device.

* Completely remove your pool cover before allowing anybody to enter the pool.

* Don’t leave pool furniture close to your fence, this would enable a child to climb.

* Don’t ever run near a pool, the wet ground can cause an individual to slip and fall.

Vacationing with the kids

You’ve picked out a destination that it seems everyone in the family will enjoy. You’ve planned the trip - how long you’ll be gone, where to stay, what to see while you’re there and maybe some neat places to check out on the way to your intended destination.

Oh, the anticipation! Everyone is so excited! Thirty minutes (maybe an hour) into the trip you hear “Are we there yet?”

If you didn’t plan on ways to keep the kids occupied, as in not bored to tears (literally), this trip is going to be very, very long. As with anything in life, planning is the key to success.

Remember that a child’s world can be pretty small by adult standards. Two hours can seem like an eternity and anything outside the car is of little interest to young children. Watching the trees go by or the traffic on an interstate highway isn’t going to cut it for very long. There just aren’t enough cows, horses, and giraffes to look at.

Take a few minutes to consider your child’s personality as well as his age. Does he play well alone? Or does he require some interaction? Will he sleep during a lot of the drive? Is this really a good thing, or does it mean he will be fully charged when you’re trying to get some needed rest at night. Do you want him on a “sugar high” from snacking on junk food the whole trip, or even worse, with an upset tummy?

So what are your options? Take a look at what interests your child at home. Obviously, simulating the swing set in the backyard may be a little out of reach, but what does he do when he’s indoors? Really young children can generally play with the same toys they would play with at home. You know, all that brightly colored plastic you pick up every day and still manage to trip over when you get up at night.

When they’re a little older, it gets more challenging. Some children will play with crayons and paper as long as the paper doesn’t run out. If your child’s not a budding artist what about video games? These are great for the more energetic kids. You know, the ones who think silence is some form of torture created by adults to make their lives as miserable as possible. Then there are the children with vivid imaginations that can take a single toy and create an entire world in the space surrounding a booster seat. And last but certainly not least, what about the kids who prefer to stay glued to the TV? With today’s portable DVD players, even if you don’t have this nifty feature already built into the family vehicle, these children can watch their favorite videos and forget that they will soon be visiting Yellowstone, Disney World, or Uncle Bob and Aunt Louise’s ranchette in Arizona.

Have a great vacation and Drive Friendly!

San diego beach hikes - cardiff to carlsbad

San Diego offers a bevy of interesting hikes. With the average home price being around $500,000, they better be interesting!

To unwind, I typically stop on my way home from work to hike from Cardiff to Carlsbad on the beach. For picturesque sunsets and “tasty waves”, the beach between Cardiff to Carlsbad can’t be beat.

Cardiff - Starting

I typically start this hike by parking just south of restaurant row in Cardiff. Restaurant row is located to the north of the lagoon between Cardiff and Solana Beach on Highway 101. Parking is located on the side of the road, which is right up against the beach. Give me convenience or give me death!

As you head north, you first pass Charlie’s and other restaurants. Past the restaurants, you will come to the beginning of the bluffs that will line the beach to the end of the hike. San Elijo campground is on top of the initial bluffs and extends for roughly a mile north. The campground is very popular and the temporary home of locals and tourist. You can tell the difference by contrasting tans with sunburns.

Following San Elijo, you will walk through Sea Cliff County Park with bluffs over 100 feet high. An area known affectionately as “Swami’s” quickly follows this park. The name derives from the fact the area above the bluff is the home to the Self Realization Fellowship Center. This area is know as hot surf spot, but is very crowded. If you are a bit winded, you can stop and watch 50 or so surfers maneuver for waves. Yes, traffic jams aren’t exclusively restricted to California freeways.

North of Swami’s, you will cruise along a long strip of sand hemmed in by 50 to 60 foot bluffs in the town of Encinitas. For those with a wicked sense of humor, there is a relatively popular game called, “Watch the house fall.” Yes, the bluffs are giving away slowly. As they erode, the homes first lose plants, then patios and so on. They say real estate is all about location, location, location, but sometimes a beach front home isn’t all that great.

The Encinitas section of the hike is fairly long. With the high bluffs, you will find sections of the beach that are deserted. Yes, even during summer. The only thing breaking up the solitude is Moonlight Beach, a fairly popular beach with locals. Otherwise, it’s just you, shells and joggers until you arrive at the end of the bluffs and South Carlsbad. Time to turn around and find the car.

The Cardiff to South Carlsbad hike is about 5 miles in each direction. The walk is flat and quick. By the end, you will be relaxed and forget that Bert in accounting is a jerk. Enjoy.

10 tips when traveling by car with children

With the rising costs of airfares and the increasing time it takes to get through security at the airports; more and more families are deciding to travel by car for their vacation. Most of us with young children are returning to the days we grew up in where we traveled most places by car with our parents.

We started asking other friends for how they make the trip go easier and how they beat the "Are we there yets?", here's ten tips to help your car vacation go a lot easier:

1. Decide do your kids do better in the early morning or evening hours for traveling? Which ever it is plan your travel to match, for this us our kids don't travel well in the morning they do much better if we leave after 2:00pm and travel into the evening.

2. Stock your car with favorite pre-bagged snacks for everyone, even parents, a cooler with lots of water and favorite drinks, colored pencils, crayons, a few coloring books, sticker books, travel games, and a travel journal for older kids.

3. Take along Gameboys & games, personal CD/cassette players (even for little kids), and you can get books on tape from the library.

4. Do consider a portable DVD player, this makes 5 or 6 hour a day seem like 2 hours. It also cuts a lot of the unnecessary stops as the kids are involved in the movie playing.

5. To avoid the difficulty of hauling in a suitcase for every person into a hotel for the 1 night stops. Pack a 3 day bag into which each person contributes 3 days worth of clothes. This way you take one suitcase of clothes in every three days.

6. Do pack a lightweight table cloth for outdoor lunch stops along the way.

7. Be sure to take the digital camera you'll create lifetime memories.

8. Do get postcards from every major destination along the way.

9. All kids are different but in general don't drive as far as the adults can go in one day, try to keep car travel to a 6 to 8 hour range of time.

10. Don't fill the inside of the car to the brim causing less space for the kids, instead consider a car topper for safe keeping of your belongings.

Have a great family vacation.

Public transportation in germany

Once you arrive in Germany, if you are American, you will notice that the German public transportation system is much more efficient and cost effective than that of America. There are many more options and for the most part, you can get anywhere any time. Keep in mind that you can purchase a train ticket from your current location to your destination and this ticket is valid for the train, bus and street car. ie. Take a train from Darmstadt to Hanau then use the same ticket for a bus from Hanau to Frankfurt.

Taxi Cab: Taxi cabs can be found around any airport or public location. If you walk up to a taxi parking area and there is a row of taxi cabs go to the front vehicle first. The price varies but can be expensive at times. The weekend taxi fees are generally more expensive than the fees on a weekday. If you can avoid using a taxi cab I would recommend it. If you are relatively pleased with the service provided by the cab driver a one or two EUR tip would be sufficient.

Street Cars (Trolley): Street cars were the first mode of public transportation in Germany. Street cars make frequent stops and have a map layout of each stop. Check the route and be sure the stop you want is close enough to your destination, if not you may want to take the U/S Bahn, a bus or a taxi. Street cars are relatively fast, about the same speed as a normal car in the city.

Train: The European rail system is set up to be a very cost effective and efficient means for international European travel. With a vast number of inner-city trains running constantly during the day, the German train system is just as effective. When entering a train station (Bahnhof) you will need to purchase a ticket from the machine. You can only buy a train ticket with EUR but you can use any denomination below 20 including coins or bills. Simply select your destination from the list shown, enter the destination number and push the ‘Einzelfahrt’ button. Your change will fall along with your ticket to the tray. If you are planning to travel by train from Frankfurt to Paris, for example, you may choose to use the ICE train. This train is designed to get you from point A to point B much faster than a normal train. ICE trains are a little more expensive but may be the smart way to travel if you are planning inter-country travel in Europe.

U/S-Bahn: The U or S Bahn would be the equivalent to the subway in the States. The U-Bahn covers city areas where as the S-Bahn covers city areas and up to 60 kilometers outside the city. Normally you will only find U/S Bahns in bigger cities. The U/S Bahn normally makes more stops than trolleys making them the smarter choice for inner city travel.

You can also purchase an all day ticket which is good for trolleys, buses and the U/S-Bahn by pressing the Tageskarte button instead of the Einzelfahrt button. It is possible to board the train or trolley without purchasing a ticket but you will be fined 60 EUR minimum and these checks do occur regularly. You can purchase train tickets online from the official homepage of Deutsche Bahn at http://reiseauskunft. bahn. de/bin/query. exe/en

Top 10 myths about the fsu countries

: There are some myths about these countries such as bears walking on the streets and the lack of running water in the cities. So, if you are curious to know whether it's true or not, this article will answer your questions. Myth # 1 – The FSU women are only interested in foreigners, because of a green card or a ticket out of their country. We don't deny that there are cases of women playing extensive scams to get a visa/green card to leave the country. If you want to determine how sincere she really is - watch for red flags in your communication. If the woman doesn't seem sincere or gives you reasons to question her intentions, we would encourage you to take your time deciding about future steps of your relationship and exercising extra caution. Myth # 2 – All FSU girls are out for money. Definitely, there are some girls who are looking for ways to rip you off. And I am sure, there are plenty of ‘rich-husband-hunters’ everywhere. Besides, Europe and US aren’t an exception. It is practically impossible to read another person’s mind or determine her motives at times and know for a fact “does she” or “doesn’t she.” The only piece of advice we can give you is to follow our basic safety rules and keep an eye out for red flags. Myth # 3 – The FSU people are impolite. Some foreigners have actually left Ukraine with such an impression. Yes, you can meet people, whose manners lay at home covered by a thick layer of dust. But in general, people here don't want to insult or offend anyone. The reason for making an impression of a ‘rude’ nation is simply because they are straightforward, and I mean, VERY straightforward. In comparison to the US, for example, where people are used to hints and consequently remaining diplomatic, the FSU people don't use such methods. They are extremely direct in their behavior and communication. The only way to deal with this is: a) do not take it personally; b) talk to the person to find out what he/she means (a cultural gap often leads to many misunderstandings). Chances are, you will both benefit from the experience and will be laughing over whatever seemed to be a problem after just a few minutes of conversation. Myth # 4 – There are problems with electricity and running water. Unfortunately, there still are some areas where you can come across with such problems. However, they are few and far between. If you are in any big city, you won't notice any differences from your home: hotels and apartments for rent are going Euro style, and you'll have no problems with showers, hot/cold water, electricity and any other commodities. Some people are also interested if it is safe to drink tap water or use it to brush their teeth. I definitely wouldn't recommend you to drink tap water. It's absolutely safe for showers, washing your face and brushing teeth, you won't transform into a monster after using it. However, for your convenience and peace of mind, purified water is sold in stores (bottles from 0,5 liter to 5 liters), which you are free to use for all your necessities. Most cities have Internet cafe's and many other types of services, you will not be left with a feeling of having visited an undeveloped country. Myth # 5 – Beer or vodka? Bear has always been a symbol of Russia. In 2000 bear has been officially named a “live symbol of the Russian forest”, you can look at these magnificent strong creatures in many movies depicting Russian culture. But the reality is much less attractive. Brown bears have been listed as one of the disappearing species back in 1998. Since 1995 World Wildlife Fund has been conducting projects for brown bear preservation in the northern regions of Russia. So, you'd better visit zoo if you're eager to meet at least one. As for vodka – it is plentiful as ever. However, a word of caution here also: many brands are fighting with the problem of being falsified. If you want to buy a quality alcohol drink, look for it in specialty stores or ask one of the natives to help you to find a reliable product. Myth # 6 – All former USSR countries are still ‘Russia’. While former USSR countries may be called that for convenience reasons, you will score extra points with people you meet overseas if you actually show them you know their country as an independent entity. Imagine for a minute if someone said: “Oh, well, you are from the US, I might as well call you all New Yorkers!” Feel the difference? Same with the FSU countries: while they are all closely connected and culturally linked, they take pride in their independence and you have a chance of showing yourself as a culture conscious, well rounded person that you are if you avoid labeling all as ‘Russia.’ Myth # 7 – Russian mafia is everywhere. They may very well be, but it is very likely that you won’t even guess or see them. While levels of corruption and organized crime are still fairly high in the FSU countries, you will not have any trouble if you follow the basic safety rules, keep clear of suspicious friends and places and remember to use common sense. Myth # 8 – People will take advantage of me if they know I am a foreigner. Most likely. Many entrepreneurs will use this fact to their advantage. The key to not getting ripped off is keeping a low profile and making connections with locals, who will be able to tell you if you are getting a good deal or a good scam. Plus, if you are shopping/eating/partying with a local, chances of you getting fair treatment and prices are high. However, you should keep in mind that some places of interest (especially in large cities) have a policy of higher entrance fees for foreigners. Unfortunately, in such cases these are the rules you will have to accept. Myth # 9 – Russia is cheap. In fact, it depends on where you are going. Moscow and St Petersburg have been named among the top expensive cities of the world, shifting some Western capitals and cities further down the list. If you are visiting a capital of an FSU country, it will be definitely more expensive than the regional centers. For example, in Ukraine you can find food and alcohol quite inexpensive, instead you will have to pay up on apartment, appliances and consumer electronics, if you choose to buy any. Also, remember that most handmade souvenirs will not run cheap, but you will pay less if you wait to buy them in smaller cities. Myth # 10 – Russian brides are stunningly beautiful. I am yet to meet a foreigner who have remained indifferent to our girls’ beauty. I don’t know whether this phenomenon is best explained by a complex ethnic mix, which has formed during the 70 years of communism, or by some other factors, but it remains a wide-spread knowledge that Former Soviet girls are beautiful. Many people share an opinion that among the most beautiful ladies of the world, still the best live in the Eastern part of the Ukraine. Besides, Russian brides are also smart. The level of education in the FSU schools has been admittedly recognized as is much more extensive than many other educational systems. Most students know some foreign language, it is common for graduates of high schools to have gone as far as calculus level in maths, and they most likely have read top classical works of world literature. But don’t take our word for it, the ladies will prove to you they have brains to go along with beauty when you begin communicating with them.

What to learn about before you go overseas


The Department of State's Country Specific Information are available for every country of the world. They describe entry requirements, currency regulations, unusual health conditions, the crime and security situation, political disturbances, areas of instability, and special information about driving and road conditions. They also provide addresses and emergency telephone numbers for U. S. embassies and consulates. In general, Country Specific Information do not give advice. Instead, they describe conditions so travelers can make informed decisions about their trips.

For some countries, however, the Department of State issues a Travel Warning in addition to a Country Specific Information. The Travel Warning may recommend that Americans defer travel to that country because of a dangerous situation there.

Travel Alerts are a means to disseminate information about relatively short-term conditions posing significant risk to the security of American travelers. They are issued when there is a perceived threat, even if it does not involve Americans as a particular target group. In the past, Travel Alerts have been issued to deal with coups, pre-election disturbances, and violence by terrorists and anniversary dates of specific terrorist events.

You can access Country Specific Information, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts 24-hours a day in several ways.


The most convenient source of information about travel and consular services is the Consular Affairs home page.


Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a. m. to 8:00 p. m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U. S. Federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, can obtain information and assistance from OCS during these hours by calling 1-202-501-4444.

In Person

Country Specific Information, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts are available at any of the regional passport agencies and U. S. embassies and consulates abroad.

Local Laws and Customs

When you leave the United States, you are subject to the laws of the country you are visiting. Therefore, before you go, learn as much as you can about the local laws and customs of the places you plan to visit. Good resources are your library, your travel agent, and the embassies, consulates or tourist bureaus of the countries you will visit. In addition, keep track of what is being reported in the media about recent developments in those countries.

With all of the information available online there is no excuse for not knowing what is going on in the country you will be visiting. Keep current and keep safe.

Defensive flying tips you can use

When selecting a flight, remember that a departure early in the day is less likely to be delayed than a later flight, due to "ripple" effects throughout the day. If you book the last flight of the day, you could get stuck overnight.

If you have a choice between two connections and the fares and service are equivalent, choose the one with the less-congested connecting airport. This reduces the risk of misconnecting. Also consider potential adverse weather when choosing a connecting city.

Consider paying by credit card, which provides certain protections under Federal credit regulations. For example, in all recent airline bankruptcies passengers who had charged their fare and were not provided service were able to have their credit card company credit their account for the amount of the fare.

If possible, pick up your ticket from a travel agency or from one of the airline’s airport or city ticket offices. Airline procedures for replacing a ticket that you claim was lost in the mail can be inconvenient. Safeguard your ticket after you receive it; it is an accountable document and has value, much like cash. Keep a separate record of the ticket number.

Bring a photo I. D. when you fly. For security reasons, most airlines are requiring such identification at check-in. Also, airlines don’t permit tickets to be sold or given to other persons. Make sure your name on the ticket is exactly the same as it appears on the I. D.

As soon as you receive your ticket, check to make sure all of the information on it is correct, including your name. Have any necessary corrections made immediately.

Keep checking your fare after you buy your ticket. Fares change all the time and if that same fare goes down before you fly, the airline will often refund the difference. But you have to ask.

Call a day or two before your flight to reconfirm your reservation. Flight schedules sometimes change, and while airlines usually call to notify you if this happens, it’s wise to double-check.

Check in early. Airlines rescind specific advance seat assignments 30 minutes before scheduled departure, even if you already have your boarding pass. You can lose your entire reservation if you haven't checked in 10 minutes before scheduled departure time on a domestic flight (longer on international flights). Allow time for traffic and parking problems. If a flight is oversold, the last passengers to check in are the first to be bumped, even if they have met the 10-minute deadline.

Check your ticket immediately after checking in for each flight on your trip. Airline agents accidentally lift two coupons instead of one on occasion.

If you are "bumped" because your flight is overbooked, read the Overbooking Notice in your ticket, and then ask for a copy of the rules mentioned in that notice. This information applies to over sales, where your flight operates and leaves you behind; it does not apply to canceled or delayed flights.

Before agreeing to accept a travel voucher as compensation for being bumped, ask about restrictions. For example, with some vouchers you can't make a reservation until a few days before you want to fly.

Put a tag on the outside of your baggage with your name, home address, and home and work phone numbers. The airlines provide free stick-on tags. Most carriers also have "privacy tags" which conceal this information from passersby.

Put the same information inside each bag, and add an address and telephone number where you can be reached at your destination city.

Verify that the agent checking your bags attaches a destination tag to each one. Check to see that these tags show the three-letter code for your destination airport. Remove tags from previous trips to avoid confusion.

If your bag arrives open or unlocked, check immediately to see if any of the contents are missing or damaged.

Report any baggage problems to your airline before leaving the airport. Insist that the airline fill out a form and give you a copy, even if they say the bag will be in on the next flight. Before leaving the airport, ask the airline if they will deliver the bag without charge when it is found.

Open your suitcase immediately when you get to your destination. Report any damage to contents or pilferage by telephone right away. Make a note of the date and time of the call, and the name and telephone number of the person you spoke with.

Five family friendly vacations ideas and how to make them affordable

Does the cost of travel have you wondering whether or not you can afford to take your family on a vacation this year? Your much needed and well deserved vacation should be a priority in your life and we are providing ways to make your family vacation time more affordable and more enjoyable.

1. Kids and Cruises – Traveling by ship is a way for families to visit several places on one trip without constantly having to pack and unpack which is a big benefit for parents with young children. Additionally most cruise lines offer children's programs and kids will love the freedom of life on board a cruise ship.

Way to save on cruising: Travel agents specializing in cruises and businesses that book blocks of cabins can offer quite a savings on rooms. Cruising prices are also dependent upon the season you choose to cruise. Look for off season specials or cruises that include airfare as part of the deal. Many of the cruise lines offer a kid sail free program.

2. All Inclusive Packages – Look for family friendly locations. Family package destinations will offer activities for both parents and children. Entertainment for everyone plus food, drink and activities are all in one place.

Ways to save on packages: Mid week departure and arrivals will save you money on airfare. Also schedule your travels for off season.

3. Renting a House – Renting a house for your family vacation in the location you want to visit will provide the benefits of learning the local culture plus you get more for your vacation dollar. You can experience life with all its local flavors. If find out all the info about a location before the trip you will experience all the fun and excitement and not miss anything once you get there

Ways to save on rentals: The internet offers huge resources for finding a rental in the location you prefer. Local newspapers for the areas which are often published on line can help you find a great deal also. Look for coupons to save money on food and activities. It’s a great money-saving idea to split the cost of the house rental with another family whether it be family or friends.

4. Adventure Packages – Adventure vacations are designed to teach basic skills and how to respect the environment. Whether you choose white water rafting or hiking in the wilderness, your family’s safety will be a top priority with your nature guide. Most of the time all equipment is provided and often will include all meals for the day.

Ways to save on adventure trips: Book your trip with an adventure travel specialist. You will be sure to get the best price with the most features.

5. Camping Vacations – Outdoor vacations such as camping provide families ways to work together and play together. Campgrounds normally offer plenty of activities to keep children entertained. Camping can be either in a tent or many places even offer cabins. Additionally you can rent an RV to experience RV camping.

Ways to save on camping: Many national campground locations offer membership cards that offer benefits to its regular campers. Cooking your food at camp rather than eating out will help you save money.

Wherever you decide on the family vacation, whether it’s an airline ticket or a hotel room, never take the first price your quoted. Always attempt to negotiate for a better price. Ask about any available discounts. Be a flexible traveler. If you're willing to give up your seats on a flight for someone flying standby, you'll be rewarded with free tickets. Set aside the dates you want to travel and then watch for last minute deals. When on vacation skip the souvenirs and start a postcard or refrigerator magnet collection. If you plan properly you can be assured of your family having a fun and affordable family vacation.

Teaching abroad a guide to the basics

Teaching English as foreign language (or second language) is an excellent option for visiting new parts of the world. Because English is commonly used for diplomacy, higher education, business and technology, English teachers and classes are in high demand around the worldwide.

Knowing how to teach English also provides you with an excellent skill to be used in volunteering. There are opportunities around the world where people would benefit from knowing English, yet they do not have the funds to enroll in classes, or perhaps they don’t have access to any classes at all.

If teaching English isn’t for you, international schools require native English speakers to teach other subjects as well, such as mathematics, science, history, and the arts.

What is TEFL, ESL, EFL, etc.?

There are lots of different abbreviations and acronyms to refer to teaching English. Here is a quick simplifier…

ELT: English Language Teaching or English Language Training

EFL: English as a Foreign Language

ESL: English as a Second Language

ESOL: English for Speakers of Other Languages

EAL: English as an Additional Language

TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language

TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language

TEAL: Teaching English as an Additional Language

TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

All of the above abbreviations are used for essentially the same thing, however, you may notice that generally ESL is used for non-native speakers learning English in an English speaking country, and EFL is for non-native-speaks learning English in a non-English speaking environment, such as their own country. Moreover, Americans tend to use ESL more, and British teachers tend to use EFL. EAL is an attempt to bridge the gap between the two. Oftentimes people learn English not as their second language, but as their third, fourth or more. Also, EAL avoids using the word “foreign”, which is considered by the more politically correct to have an unpleasant inference.

Do I need a certificate to teach English?

There are many opportunities around the world to teach English without a certificate. However, certification does help, especially if there is an application process involved and positions are competitive.

Do I need to speak a foreign language to teach people English?

Theoretically, to teach English you should only need to speak one language. However, if you are teaching in a foreign country, there is no doubt that some knowledge of that country’s culture and language can make your job much easier, and probably allow you to make your lessons more relevant and interesting for your students. If your students are of mixed international backgrounds, then knowing one or two foreign languages may not be of assistance to the entirety of the group.

There is some benefit to your teaching if you do in fact know a foreign language or have learnt one. By having first hand experience of being a student, you are able to have a more complete perspective of the student/teacher relationship and the trials and tribulations of those you teach. Moreover, learning another language provides you with valuable insight about grammar, such as verb conjugations and tenses, which come naturally to a native speaker. Many other languages use similar grammatical formats as English, and by learning a foreign language you might be able to examine your native language more carefully.

Do I need to speak English as my native language to teach English?

You certainly don’t have to speak English as your native tongue; however you must have excellent fluency and writing skills to start a training course for certification. Oftentimes non-native speakers make the best teachers, however. If you’ve been through it yourself then you are able to relate to what your students will be dealing with.

How long will it take to become certified?

Certification is a pretty quick process, usually taking four weeks or considerably less. You can take the course full time, part time, or through distance learning. There are options to suit whichever method or time frame you prefer.

Know before you go on your trip overseas

There is much that you can do to prepare for your trip abroad, depending on where you are going, how long you are staying, and your reasons for traveling.

The following suggestions and sources may be useful:

Do your homework and read as much as possible about the countries in which you plan to travel. Informing yourself about a nation's history, culture, customs and politics will make your stay more meaningful. Such information can be found in most libraries, bookstores and tourist bureaus. Although English is spoken in many countries, it is a good idea to learn what you can of the language of the country in which you will be traveling.

Travel agents can provide brochures and tourist information about the countries that you wish to visit.

Most international airlines can supply you with travel brochures about the countries that they serve. Many countries have tourist information offices in main cities in the United States where you can obtain travel brochures and maps.

Foreign embassies or consulates in the United States can provide up-to-date information on their countries. Addresses and telephone numbers of the embassies of foreign governments are listed in the Congressional Directory, available at most public libraries. In addition to their embassies, some countries also have consulates in major U. S. cities. Look for their addresses in your local telephone directory, or find them in the publication, Foreign Consular Offices in the United States, available in many public libraries, or on the state department travel web site.

The Department of State publishes Background Notes on countries worldwide. These are brief, factual pamphlets with information on each country's culture, history, geography, economy, government, and current political situation. The Background Notes are available for approximately 170 countries. They often include a reading list, travel notes and maps. To purchase copies, you can contact the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 20402, or call (202) 512-1800. Select issues are also available from the Department of State's Bureau of Public Affairs, fax-on-demand, by calling (202) 736-7720 from your fax machine or on the Department of State's home page.

The Consular Information Program provides pertinent information for travelers. The U. S. Department of State issues fact sheets, known as Consular Information Sheets, on every country in the world. You should obtain the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for any country that you will visit. The sheets contain information about crime and security conditions, areas of instability, and other details pertaining to travel in a particular country.

The Department of State also issues Travel Warnings and Public Announcements. Travel Warnings are issued when the Department of State recommends deferral of travel by Americans to a country because of civil unrest, dangerous conditions, and terrorist activity and/or because the United States has no diplomatic relations with the country and cannot assist an American citizen in distress.

Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term and/or transnational conditions, which would pose significant risks to American travelers.

Going to pattaya you must be crazy

What used to be a small, sleepy fishing village is now a tourist destination for millions of single men every year. Married men are also welcome but for some reason forget that they have a wife and family back home. Something about the attitude of the Thai women.

With the new International Airport, Suvarnabhumi, opening in late 2006, getting to Pattaya has never been easier. Most tourists forego Bangkok altogether and head straight for Pattaya regardless of arrival time. After all, it is only 90 minutes away. Why go to Bangkok for the night when you head straight to your final destination.

Located about 50 kilometers south of the old International Airport, Don Muang, Suvarnabhumi is an architectural marvel of steel and glass. The airport is absolutely huge and you will get your first taste of how big it is when you walk from your arrival gate to the Immigration officer to show your passport. It seems like it is miles away.

Fortunately there are numerous Immigration officers to get you through the passport control checkpoint and the luggage carousels are directly behind them. A big electronic board tells your where your luggage is and then you are out the door to a waiting taxi.

Taxi fees from Bangkok can range from 1200 to 4000 Baht so you have to use your best negotiation skills or book a ride online prior to departing. The many Bangkok and Pattaya forums can point you to reliable taxi drivers for a cheaper price than the taxi mafia at the airport. Highly recommend you book your ride ahead of time and your driver will meet you right outside of baggage claim.

Then you just sit back and enjoy the maniacal driving skills of your driver for the 90 minute ride. If you are coming from the USA, then you will be on the “wrong” side of the road the steering wheel will be on the other side of the vehicle. Get used to this and check about 8 times before crossing a road as a pedestrian.

It doesn’t matter what time that you arrive in Pattaya, there will always be something to do. Daytime gives you time for a nap or a walkabout to get the lay of the land. Night time arrival means you head straight out to the nightlife. Even arriving at 3 or 4 in the morning, you will still be able to find some night time activity to occupy your time.

It is also a good idea to book your hotel in advance so you have a room waiting for you – especially during high season. If you are not sure of the quality, book for one or two nights and then shop around upon arrival. You may or may not be able to get a deal just walking in. Or you can just book your entire trip online. It is up to you.

You will have plenty to do in Pattaya during the day and night. There are beaches, boat rides, and outer islands to visit, temples, go karts, bowling, and a whole lot more.

Night time is when Pattaya comes to life. At about 5 PM the beer bars start to come to life and later on at about 8 pm the go-go bars are lit up in neon. Bars abound and you can’t go 10 feet without finding a new one. Walking Street is the primary place to go if you want to see the go go girls. Other bars are all over Pattaya along with massage parlors and other forms of entertainment.

Pattaya is a great place for the single man to go to but be warned – once you go you will never be the same. You will come to understand the terms – Pattaya Blues and Pattaya Addiction. Chok Dee Khrap (Good Luck)

A semester abroad

Are you lucky enough to be taking a semester abroad? Worried about what you'll need to bring along? Let's go through some easy packing tips and advice.

If you are bringing any electrical appliances such as a laptop, cell phone, hair dryer, electric razor, iron, bipod, digital camera, etc., you'll need to check if these are designed for dual voltage (110/220watt). If they are not, you'll need to purchase a converter/adapter set. Remember, that there are different versions of converters. Some are designed only for high voltage appliances, some for low voltage appliances, and some that take both. Check with your cell phone provider that your phone can be used in the country where you'll be staying. Also, remember to purchase a grounded adapter plug for your laptop.

Remember to bring credit cards in your own name. Also, make a duplicate copy of your passport and keep the copy in a separate safe place along with your credit numbers and phone numbers where you can call if there is any problem. Wearing a money belt is a very good idea. They are thin enough not to annoy the wearer, and they are the only item that works against pick - pockets. You can carry extra cash and your passport in the money belt, but keep a wallet for purchases you'll need to make immediately. There are many versions of money belts that can be worn around the waist, neck, shoulder, or leg. American passports are a desirable item, and you don't want to put yourself at risk.

The best way to pack is in rolling duffels that are collapsible. These come in many large sizes and are easier to manage than a large suitcase. Additionally, because the sides fold down it can slide under your bed or in a closet for storage. You'll need the wheels to make it manageable when it's filled. Also, many of them can hook up a second bag where you can pack your books, shoes, and other heavy items. You can also than have that bag available for the many sightseeing trips you'll likely be taking. Another good idea is a foldable tote that can be packed. That way you'll have a bag to bring back your many purchases.

If you do not speak the language of the country you will be at a disadvantage. You will need a book of phrases or one of those hand held electronic translators. You'll be able to pick up bits and pieces of the language, and the phrase book or translator will make your stay more enjoyable. It's extremely important to keep a journal. You'll be seeing so much and learning so much that writing everything down will make it easier to recall all of your wonderful memories.


Surviving the security checkpoint at the airport

Here are some tips to get through the security checkpoint at the airport. Follow these and you will get through security and to your plane on time.

* Arrive on time. Arrival time recommendations vary by airline and day of travel, so check with your carrier. A boarding pass and valid government photo ID are required to enter the security checkpoint. Remember to give yourself adequate time to check your baggage and move through security. For international flights, you should arrive approximately three hours before your flight.

* Do not wrap gifts. If security needs to inspect a package, he may un-wrap your gift. Please wait to wrap gifts until you're at your destination.

* Pets. Please remove all animals from their carrying cases and send the case through the X-ray machine. Hold your pet in your arms and proceed through the metal detector.

* Children. Please take your infants and children out of baby carriers and strollers and take them through the metal detector with you. Strollers and baby carriers go through the X-ray machine with your bags. If possible, collapse your stroller before you get to the metal detector.

* Dress the part. Metal in your clothing may set off the screening machines. Pack coins, keys, jewelry, belt buckles and other metal items in your carry-on bag. Remember that all shoes must be removed and placed in bins. Passengers also need to remove winter coats, blazers, suit coats and bulky sweaters.

* Film. Undeveloped film should go in your carry-on bag. Declare film that is faster than 800 speed to a security officer for physical inspection to avoid being x-rayed.

* When in doubt, leave it out. Bringing prohibited items to the airport will delay the screening process for you and other passengers. If you're not sure which items are allowed, check The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) web site for a complete list of permitted and prohibited items.

* Think before you speak. Belligerent behavior, inappropriate jokes and threats will not be tolerated. They will result in delays and possibly missing your flight. Local law enforcement may be called as necessary.

Make sure you stop by the TSA web site to get the most current information. The list of prohibited and permitted items changes periodically and what may have been legal yesterday may be forbidden today. Also, check to see what is allowed in your carry-on and what is permitted in your checked baggage. Some items are allowed in one but not the other.

The security guards are there to protect you and the other passengers and anything you can do to make their job easier and speed up the process will be appreciated by everyone. Here are some tips to get through the security checkpoint at the airport. Follow these and you will get through security and to your plane on time.

* Arrive on time. Arrival time recommendations vary by airline and day of travel, so check with your carrier. A boarding pass and valid government photo ID are required to enter the security checkpoint. Remember to give yourself adequate time to check your baggage and move through security. For international flights, you should arrive approximately three hours before your flight.

* Do not wrap gifts. If security needs to inspect a package, he may un-wrap your gift. Please wait to wrap gifts until you're at your destination.

* Pets. Please remove all animals from their carrying cases and send the case through the X-ray machine. Hold your pet in your arms and proceed through the metal detector.

* Children. Please take your infants and children out of baby carriers and strollers and take them through the metal detector with you. Strollers and baby carriers go through the X-ray machine with your bags. If possible, collapse your stroller before you get to the metal detector.

* Dress the part. Metal in your clothing may set off the screening machines. Pack coins, keys, jewelry, belt buckles and other metal items in your carry-on bag. Remember that all shoes must be removed and placed in bins. Passengers also need to remove winter coats, blazers, suit coats and bulky sweaters.

* Film. Undeveloped film should go in your carry-on bag. Declare film that is faster than 800 speed to a security officer for physical inspection to avoid being x-rayed.

* When in doubt, leave it out. Bringing prohibited items to the airport will delay the screening process for you and other passengers. If you're not sure which items are allowed, check The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) web site for a complete list of permitted and prohibited items.

* Think before you speak. Belligerent behavior, inappropriate jokes and threats will not be tolerated. They will result in delays and possibly missing your flight. Local law enforcement may be called as necessary.

Make sure you stop by the TSA web site to get the most current information. The list of prohibited and permitted items changes periodically and what may have been legal yesterday may be forbidden today. Also, check to see what is allowed in your carry-on and what is permitted in your checked baggage. Some items are allowed in one but not the other.

The security guards are there to protect you and the other passengers and anything you can do to make their job easier and speed up the process will be appreciated by everyone.

New low cost airline to offer cheap flights to malta

The announcement was made after Norwegian AS -- one of Europe's leading low-cost airlines -- successfully concluded negotiations with Malta International Airport (MIA) and the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), opening the doors for Norwegian AS to operate the route offering cheap flights to Malta.

Norwegian Air Shuttle will operate two flights to Malta a week, every Tuesday and Saturday, and is expected to move tourism to Malta in Norway, providing the Mediterranean island with a new influx in tourism. Joining the likes of Ryanair, who have been operating direct routes to Malta for over a year with relative success.

The addition of yet another low cost airline is expected to further boost tourist numbers visiting Malta and Norwegian Air Shuttle opens a window of opportunity to attract more Scandinavian tourists to visit the Maltese islands. Malta’s economy heavily depends on tourism and the introduction of low cost airlines to offer cheap flights to Malta is seen as a positive move by the authorities who had been protective of national airline Air Malta initially.

Norwegian AS commenced operations in September 2002 with four domestic routes and six B737-300 aircraft but has grown considerably since then and nowadays has 31 aircrafts and an additional 53 new B737-800's on order from early next year. The low-cost airline offers a flight network of 128 routes to 76 destinations from Norway, Sweden and Poland.

"We are very proud to include Malta in our already extensive European network" said Daniel Skjeldam, Chief Commercial Officer of Norwegian AS.

"Malta has always been a favourite destination for Scandinavians and we realised that there is a great demand, judging from the numerous enquiries we receive from our customers. We believe that with low prices and a direct flight, it will be a success". Mr Skjeldam added.

He went on to say that the airline is collaborating with the MTA and MIA to promote the route in Norway, offering cheap flights to Malta, and he expressed his appreciation for the support that both entities have shown throughout.

Advantages and disadvantages of traveling with travel agency and by your own

When you decide to go somewhere on vacations the first question you are faced with is how to organize your trip. At least, you need tickets and accommodation. However, if you are going abroad, the situation becomes more complicated. You will need visa, foreign passport and a little bit of information about a country you are coming to. The citizens, living and traveling inside European Union borders are in better position. They are free to visit any EU country without any additional document and visas. But let’s imagine you have chosen a country where you need visa. Well, now it’s time to make some preparations for your trip. At first, whether you trust organizing your trip to a travel agency, or organize it by your own. If you choose the first variant:


1) Convenience. You don’t have to besiege embassy and wait in long queues. You don’t need to worry about buying tickets and booking hotels.

2) Price. Sometimes travel agencies have special agreements with hotels and the price becomes cheaper. The same thing can be said about avia and train tickets.

3) Comfort in the country of destination – you are mostly provided with transfer to hotel and the representative of the agency can solve any of your problems.

4) Your vacation is organized. You have a choice of excursions; you’ll be shown the best shops and the most interesting attractions.


1) Unfortunately, not all the agencies can be relied on, some of them disappear with the client’s money.

2) Some people don’t like to be limited - by excursions, by return tickets or by the necessity of staying in the hotel they’ve chosen.

3) It’s not always cheap – often the excursions, offered by the agency representatives are more expensive than in other places in the city.

If you choose the second variant, you should be prepared to some problems, but of course, this variant has its light sides too.


1) You are free to choose there and when to go. You are free to change you hotel of your return ticket.

2) You are most likely to see the places, not shown to usual tourists.

3) It’s a kind of challenge. Can’t imagine your holyday without risk and adrenaline? So, this variant is for you!

4) You can seek and find a cheaper variant and not just accept what the agency offers.


1) Once again – risk. You are not quite safe when traveling alone in the foreign country. Nowadays you are not quite safe anywhere, but still…

2) It causes some problems in the stage of organization – getting a visa can be a trouble. Interview, invitation and a lot of documents – all this can be inevitable. So, prepare to waste some time and nerves.

Anyway, the choice is yours.

Travel to italy

Known for its food, wine, people, culture, music, countryside - Italy Trip happens to be one of the most required after holiday destinations in the world.

Italy Tour is where culture, history and traditions mix together beautifully with modernity and fashion. What is attractive about Italy is that you will never find a single Italian flag, but they are still very particular about their culture and traditions – and of course soccer.

Whether you’re vacationing to Spain, Kenya, Greece or Egypt your stay will be well worth the flight. Italy boasts several 5 star resort hotels that accommodate to every need you could imagine. Italians are measured to be one of the best-looking people in the world. They are very proud of their history, their culture and for them it is all about family. Italians are very friendly. They are friendly and will talk to anyone, what’s most attractive about them is their sense of good humor and humor. In Italy Trip you will hear the various kinds of dialects and accents of Italian, which sound so melodious to the ear.

Italians have an ongoing love affair with food and fashion. The Italian Food is well-known worldwide and is a gastronomical to all the senses. Fashion is a very important part of the Italian culture, after all Milan is the fashion capital of the world, where haute couture is the word most heard. Italian food finds it roots back to different regions and is influenced by a variety of factors. If you are looking for healthy and cheaper food, then you must venture into South Italy. The world famous and supremely popular Pizza.

Enjoy the hidden beauty of the Italian Riviera while discovering a land of quaint harbors and trendy seaside resorts, where the tranquil Ligurian Sea beckons visitors. Experience the mystic allure of the famous Cinque Terre, where the Mediterranean landscape is at its very best.

So ask us! We want your trip to Italy to be the travel memory of a lifetime. Office Hours: Monday - Friday 09:00 AM - 06:00 PM, Saturday - Sunday 10:00 AM - 03:00 PM; T: (973) 636-6660; F: (973) 636-6668

Read more at: - http://www. right-travel. com

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