Where in the World is Airbnb Cheaper than Hotels?

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Travel Tips
airbnb

Travelers have so many choices these days when booking lodging. Airbnb, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, even couch surfing.

We all like to save money while traveling, but with so many options the time it takes to find a great deal may not be worth it in the end. Or is it?

Here is a quick guide to places around the world where it may be cheaper to book through Airbnb than traditional hotels. The prices are based on a one night stay at an Airbnb and the average price for a hotel room according to Hotel.com’s Hotel Price Index Report.

This is information does not necessarily take into account for off-season pricing and special deals. It is just an average.

Where is Airbnb Cheaper than Hotels in the US?

In general, Airbnb is cheaper in the northern US. This applies to cities like:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • New York
  • Portland, OR
  • Seattle
  • Toronto
  • Washington, DC

Hotels typically offer better rates in the southern part of the US. This is true in cities such as:

  • Austin, TX
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Orleans
  • San Francisco

airbnb

How about Airbnb prices in the rest of the world?

Popular tourist destinations around the word that have more affordable Airbnb options include:

  • Amsterdam
  • Berlin
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Paris
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Venice
  • Vienna

Did you know that the majority of Airbnb properties are in Europe? This explains the competitive pricing–there is a lot to choose from.

How to get even lower rates

Airbnb accommodations vary in type. You are going to pay more for a private room or dwelling. You can rent an entire apartment, beach house, condo, etc. To save money you can also book a room in a house with a shared bathroom or other cost saving situations like a shared kitchen, shared room, etc.

The best bargains on shared rooms are in Berlin, Sydney, and Vienna.

What has been your experience staying in an Airbnb versus a hotel? We want to hear your thoughts?

For more information click here.



The #1 Way People Get Sick on Vacation

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Travel Health
sick on vacation

Planning for a trip or vacation requires a lot of preparation. One thing most of us don’t think about is getting sick on vacation.

Traveling can also be extremely stressful, even though the destination is hopefully relaxing.

Germs hide in all sorts of places. It’s likely that you have come across an article or two about the dirtiest places in a hotel room. The phone and the TV remote are likely culprits.

Have you ever thought about the dirtiest places on an airplane?

Keep reading to find out why and how airplane travel is one of the easiest ways to get sick on vacation. Grab the hand sanitizer and start scrolling.

If you don’t pick up any germs dashing through the airport, going through security, checking your bags and waiting for your flight, (it would be a miracle) you are guaranteed to attract those buggers on the plane. Besides the circulating air carrying airborne illnesses, there are certain places on planes that can harbor germs.

The following places usually don’t get cleaned between flights.

  • Airplane seats. The aisle seats are more contaminated then the window seats. The armrests in particular. The tops of the seats collect germs from everyone walking by.
  • Bathroom locks. Just like any public bathroom, you should never assume everyone washes their hands.
  • Bathroom flush mechanisms. It’s pretty hard to flush an airplane toilette with your shoe.
  • Blankets and pillows. You would want to use unwashed pillows and blankets in a hotel room, but that is no different than on an airplane. Bring your own travel pillow and blanket.
  • In-Flight Magazines. Every person who has touched and read it before you has left germs on it. Bring your own reading material. The seatback pocket they slide in is also suspect.
  • Over Head Bin Latches. The things you have to touch when storing your carryon. Everyone else has to touch them too.
  •   Overhead Air Vents. Yep, everyone touches those too!
  • Seatbelt buckle. You have to touch them to use them and you are required by law to buckle it. It can’t be avoided.
  • Tray tables. Bring sanitized wipes and clean this yourself before you use. In fact, wipe down all the things on this list before you touch them.
  • TV remote. Just like in a hotel room.
  • Window shade. While the window seats might not be as dirty as the aisle, the window shade poses a threat.

Still want to fly? Of course you do. It’s still a safe and efficient way to travel. Just bring hand sanitizer and wipes and clean your area and your own hands when flying. Try not to touch your face and mouth while flying.

What to do if you get sick or injured while traveling

Don’t Forget Your Emergency Medical Plan

We encourage you to ensure you will be properly taken care of in the event of an injury or illness. For less than the cost of a plane ticket, your whole family can be covered for a year. You will be medically airlifted home to be treated by your own doctors in the event of an emergency.

Don’t have a plan? GET A PLAN



How to Make Flying More Affordable (and enjoyable)

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Travel Tips
flying more affordable

Can we find a way to make flying more affordable? Yes, we can!

In these modern times, we take for granted that we can fall asleep in New York and wake up a few short hours later in Paris. We are usually too focused on the hustle and hassle of the airport and trip preparations that we lose sight of what a miracle flight really is.

The most frequent flyers know how to get the best deals and most affordable flights.

Here is the inside scoop on how to make flying more affordable, and enjoyable!

Related: How to Save Time at the Airport

How to Make Flying More Affordable

Use Credit Cards that Give You Points

Here are some of the best deals out there for racking up and redeeming points:

Finding Free (or Discounted) Fares for Children

  • Children fly free deals. Scandinavian Airlines offers an annual deal where children fly free (not including taxes and fees) to certain Nordic countries with just one paid adult ticket.
  • Traveling with an infant you will hold.  Many airlines charge you a % of an adult ticket even if you plan on holding your infant. However, some loyalty programs allow you to use miles for your infant’s fare if the adult is also using miles for the trip.
  • Register your child to earn travel points. Children can earn frequent flier miles too!
  • Pool your family points. Some airlines (including JetBlue, Lufthansa, and Etihad) allow families to pool their miles and score award tickets faster.

Don’t Forget Your Emergency Medical Plan

We encourage you to ensure you will be properly taken care of in the event of an injury or illness. For less than the cost of a plane ticket, your whole family can be covered for a year. You will be medically airlifted home to be treated by your own doctors in the event of an emergency.

Don’t have a plan? GET A PLAN

Delays, Layovers, and Other Hassles

  • Annual Fee Credit Cards. Does your card have trip delay coverage, reimbursement for hotel rooms, meals, and misplaced bags? Many of them do and a lot of people never take advantage of this. Check it out!
  • Book your own hotel room. If your flight is delayed or canceled you have a better chance of staying in a hotel that you actually like (rather than letting the airport choose for you). Don’t forget to look into getting reimbursed–you will have to show proof of your delayed or canceled flight.
  • Book your own alternative flights. Sometimes when you are told there is “nothing available” is just means that there are no regular flights with easy scheduled. You may find a better alternative if you look yourself.

Purchasing Food While Traveling

  • When you are running late. Some airports have food apps where you can order food ahead of time and have it delivered to your departure gate. Wow, how handy! American Airlines offers this.
  • AtYourGate and Airport Sherpa are other apps that allow you (at participating airports) to request food, souvenirs and other items (like that phone charger you forgot) to be delivered to your gate.

Skip the Lines

There are a few pre-screening programs you can sign up for that allow you to skip the miserable lines. This is especially handy when traveling with small children–or crabby teenagers.

  • TSA Pre-Check. This allows you to go through specially designated lines at U.S. airports where you can skip removing your shoes, belts and light jackets. You will also NOT be asked to remove your laptop or liquids from your bags.
  • Global Entry. This security program allows members to scan their fingerprints and passports at automatic kiosks instead of waiting in lines. A background check with fingerprinting is required for enrollment.

Note: Some credit cards will offer statement credits to customers who charge the application fee for the above services. Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and certain American Express cards are among them. Check into that!

  • Mobile Passport Control. This is a free app that is accepted at several airports and some cruise ports. It allows users to save time by bypassing the paper declaration form. No background check is required.
  • Clear is another expedited security program. There is an annual fee of $179 but it allows you to skip the identification checkpoint. Instead, you go directly to a kiosk where your iris or fingerprints are scanned (oooh, fancy!)

Access to Nicer Lounges

Common areas and public lounges keep getting better and better at airports.

Related: The World’s Best Airports

However, if you can get access to a private lounge they are generally less crowded and have better service. So, how does one score this elite access?

Keep the Kids Busy

As every parent knows, there are key moments when it is important to keep children entertained. Traveling and flying is definitely one of them. A handheld tablet or device is often preferred. Books, iPods, drawing and coloring, and snacks are also great to have along.

Related: Flying with Kids

The Take Away on How to Make Flying More Affordable (and enjoyable)

Do your homework ahead of time and discover the many perks, credit cards, memberships and ways to save time and money. We’ve given you a few here to check out but there are even more. Join some online groups and listen to some podcasts about traveling.

Happy Travels!



Safety and Travel Tips for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Travel Tips
Tokyo Olympics

It’s 2018, just about the time to start planning your trip to the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics in Japan.  If you loved the games in Rio 2016, then the time is right to plan that trip, in advance so you can know what to expect when traveling abroad.  We want to help you have a great time and arrive safely, so here’s our guide to organizing the perfect vacation around the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games!

Mark the Date for the Tokyo Olympics

Before traipsing off in a foreign country, it’s mindful to know what and when the important dates of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games occur.  The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo breakdown is as follows:

Tokyo Olympics run from July 24th to August 9th, 2020

There is a two week break and then the Paralympics begin on August 25th through September 6th, 2020

This is a high peak season for traveling, so be sure to plan accordingly and budget ahead.  Traveling abroad can be expensive and safety is always an issue consider the following when planning your trip:

Purchase Your Tokyo Olympics Tickets Early

toyko olympicsPurchasing a ticket could be very overwhelming.  But rest assured we are here to ease the confusion and help aid in the buying process.  Consider that at the moment 10 Japanese Yen (JPY) equals about .09 cents U.S. Dollars. According to Tokyo2020.org:

“Residents of Japan from today also have their first chance to register on Tokyo 2020’s online platform in order to receive information about ticketing and, from the spring of 2019, to be able to apply for tickets. The platform can be accessed at https://id.tokyo2020.jp/. Additional details of the ticket ordering and purchasing process for residents of Japan will be announced on the Tokyo 2020 website in due course. The basic outline of ticket prices for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be as follows (applicable to tickets purchased in Japan):

  • A range of prices from JPY 12,000 up to JPY 300,000 for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
  • A range of prices for tickets to sports events from JPY 2,500 up to JPY 130,000
  • half of all tickets to be priced at JPY 8,000 or less.
  • A symbolic ticket price of JPY 2,020 for families and groups resident in Japan whose members include children, senior citizens or individuals with impairments; this price will also be available in conjunction with a school program targeting over one million students across Japan.
  • Concessionary tickets for wheelchair-dedicated areas.”

Book Your Flight Now for the Tokyo Olympics

Flying from the U.S. to Japan is a long and lengthy trip.  Be sure you pack accordingly and check what restrictions there are at customs before leaving the terminal.  The best Airport to fly into for anyone visiting the Games is the Narita National Airport which is about 40 miles from the center of Tokyo.

toyko olympics

Accommodations for Tokyo Olympics

This is where you can get creative.  Japan is a completely different culture, so sure, you can stay in a fabulous hotel, but if you are trying to save a buck or two consider Housesitting.  You can look up places at Mind My House, and cook for yourselves and enjoy a little bit more bang for your buck.  Enjoy all the comforts being in your own “home”. There is so much to do, honestly, having a big fancy hotel room you just might regret, because you will never be there to enjoy it.

Traveling Around town

It’s easy to get around Japan, just purchase a Rail Pass!  Japan Rail Pass is a multi-use discounted ticket, valid for travels on all JR national trains in Japan, including Shinkansen bullet trains and Narita Express. You can select 7, 14 or 21 consecutive validity days. Choose between Standard and Green Pass (first class).

Order your JR Pass online. You will receive an Exchange Order (delivery in Japan available), which then needs to be exchanged and activated in Japan for the actual JR Pass. All foreign nationals who visit Japan for tourist reasons can purchase it.

Safety

Japan is a very safe city, ranked 26th on the world’s safest cities.  Despite Japan’s ranking as the world’s safest nation, crime happens. Women have the most to fear, but everyone can benefit from learning safety measures and taking extra precaution. The following strategies can get pretty heavy and might leave you feeling paranoid. My intent is not to instill a sense of fear but a sense of preparation, understanding, and even confidence. We are not helpless and being proactive can reduce the chances of falling victim in Japan, or anywhere.

According to Safearound.com Japan has a safety index of 83%.  This is how to be and stay safe in an emergency in Japan:

If you caused or are in an accident

Put safety first. If there are injured people or broken cars, please move to a safe space to avoid causing a second accident. If the police are called, they will ask for details on the accident, such as time and how it occurred. CALL 119 EMERGENCY! Get your English Pamphlet about 119 emergency here.

After calling 119, contact insurance companies

After you’ve contacted emergency services, the next step is to contact the insurance companies. The insurance company will guide you through the necessary procedures, so please follow those. The formula to dialing outside of the country is 010 + country code + area code + phone number. If you’re calling a cell phone, then it’s 010 + country code + cell phone number. If the area code or the cell phone number starts with a 0, please leave that out when dialing.

Here is a list of country codes:

www.countrycode.org

You’ve been robbed

If you’ve been robbed or lost something, contact an employee if it was in a train station or an officer at a police box if it was in town. The police boxes will be easy to find, and there is always an officer there. They have the word KOBAN written in front, and are often in places filled with people, such as by train stations.

You’ve fallen ill

The best way to protect yourself from a problem with injury or illness is to obtain an emergency medical plan. For a low fee you will be guaranteed medical transportation to your home country. You will want to be treated by your own doctors surrounded by your family.

If you’ve fallen seriously ill, call an ambulance.  Follow the English Pamphlet about 119 Emergency.

If the illness isn’t too severe go to the clinic if possible with a person fluent in Japanese.  If not, take this link to English-speaking clinics in Tokyo.



Labor Day Vacations: Summer’s Last Hurrah!

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Vacation
labor day vacations

It’s hard to believe Labor Day will be upon us in just a few short weeks. Summer is officially more than half over. The best way to combat the depression of summer’s end is to start planning an amazing Labor Day weekend getaway.

Here are some great suggestions that are a bit off the beaten path or may not be a crowded or popular as some other options. A great way to unwind and gear up for Fall.

Let us know which one is your favorite!

Happy travels!

Saratoga Springs — New York

Key West — Florida

Montreal — Canada

Yosemite National Park — California

Seaside Heights — New Jersey

Las Vegas — Nevada

Washington, D.C.

Riviera Maya — Mexico

Vail — Colorado

Poconos — Pennsylvania

Nassau — Bahamas

Depoe Bay — Oregon

Portsmouth — New Hampshire

Red Mountain Resort — Utah

Santa Cruz, California

White Sands, New Mexico

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Portland, Maine 

Seattle, Washington

Columbus, Ohio

Don’t Forget Your Emergency Medical Plan

In addition to finding the perfect Labor Day vacation, we encourage you to ensure you will be properly taken care of in the event of an injury or illness. For less than the cost of a place ticket, your whole family can be covered for a year. You will be medically airlifted home to be treated by your own doctors in the event of an emergency.

Don’t have a plan?

GET A PLAN



Where do the most wildfires occur?

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Travel Safety
wildfires

Wildfires are not something that most people think to worry about when they are planing a vacation. Unless there is one currently happening where you are going.

However, wildfires can spring up just about anywhere there are trees and forests. This year there has been considerable drought and other factors that may play into why wildfires occur.

If you are traveling and a wildfire occurs near you, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is obtaining a medical emergency plan. This will ensure that you will be evacuated in a timely manner and it will cover you if you are injured in anyway.

Where do the most wildfires occur?

Wildfires can pop up unannounced all over the world. However, there are some places that are more prone to them than others. Here is a list:

Wildfires in the Unites States

California, Colorado and Texas are at the biggest risk in the US. They are also the states that tend to occur the most damage to homes and businesses at an estimated  $36 billion.

Here are the top 10 places in the US:

  • 10: Houston/The Woodlands/Sugar Land, Texas
  • 9: Truckee/Grass Valley, Calif.
  • 8: Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • 7: Chico, Calif.
  • 6: Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim
  • 5: San Antonio/New Braunfels, Texas
  • 4: Denver/Aurora/Lakewood, Colo.
  • 3: Austin/Round Rock, Texas
  • 2: Sacramento/Roseville/Arden/Arcade, Calif.
  • 1: Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario, Calif.

Wildfires Around the World

Cities and tourist areas such as Catalonia, Madrid and Valencia are among those most at risk of catastrophic damage from wildfires in Europe, according to research led by the University of Leicester.

Portugal is also a country prone to forest fires.

What to do if you become trapped by wildfires

While in your vehicle:

  • Stay calm.
  • Park your vehicle in an area clear of vegetation.
  • Close all vehicle windows and vents.
  • Cover yourself with wool blanket or jacket.
  • Lie on vehicle floor.
  • Use your cell phone to advise officials—call 911.

While on foot:

  • Stay calm.
  • Go to an area clear of vegetation, a ditch or depression on level ground if possible.
  • Lie face down, cover up your body.
  • Use your cell phone to advise officials—call 911.

While in your home:

  • Stay calm, keep your family together.
  • Call 911 and inform authorities of your location.
  • Fill sinks and tubs with cold water.
  • Keep doors and windows closed, but unlocked.
  • Stay inside your house.
  • Stay away from outside walls and windows.

We want to hear your stories of wildfires in your area? How bad was the damage? What did you do to stay safe?

wildfires in the forest



Self Piloting Airplanes: Would You Buy a Ticket?

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Travel Safety
Self Piloting Airplanes

Are self piloting airplanes coming in the near future? Would you fly on one?

We were just (sort of) getting use to the idea of self driving cars and then one hit and killed a woman.

Airplanes already have a lot of auto-pilot features, including landing a plane. So, are complete self piloting planes a possibility?

Mixed Feelings on Self Piloting Airplanes

According to an article in The New York Times, the airline industry is worried about a shortage of pilots, but most experts believe that the technology, the industry and the passengers are not quite ready for fully autonomous flying.

Technological advances have made flying safer than ever before, but still doesn’t mean people will be willing to board a pilot-less plane.

There is much more to being a pilot that just flying the plane. Self piloting airplanes  would also have to interact with all the complex parts of the air transportation network.

The industry agrees that it will probably never happen, even though the technology, in some ways, already exists.

The world just isn’t ready for that much automation.

 

 

 

 



How Bad has 2018 been for Cybersecurity Breaches?

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Travel Safety
cybersecurity breaches

Do you want the good news or the bad news first on cybersecurity breaches?

Good news: The first half of 2018 saw less government leaks and global ransomware attacks than this time last year. That is reassuring.

Bad news: Online security, corporate online systems, and infrastructure hasn’t really improved much. AND…hackers are getting smarter and bolder. Not so reassuring.

Major Cybersecurity Breaches in 2018 (so far)

Well, the year is only half over, so there are bound to be more. Here is a list of the major cybersecurity breaches in 2018 to date:

Russian Grid Hacking

US Universities

Rampant Data Exposures

Under Armour

One to Watch: VPNFilter

What can you do about cybersecurity breaches?

Global Guardian (Air Ambulance Card’s parent company) provides multiple services that encompass international safety–including cybersecurity.

Global Guardian’s cyber team provides both traditional protective cybersecurity solutions and reactive emergency response capabilities to address known or suspected cybersecurity breaches.

Services include:

  • PENETRATION TESTING
  • OPERATIONAL SECURITY
  • VULNERABILITY MANAGEMENT
  • DEVICE HARDENING

Click here to learn more.



New Carry-on Restrictions for Powders

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Travel Tips
new carry on restrictions

Airplane travelers to and from the United Kingdom will now experience carry-on restrictions such as powers, make-up, coffee, spices, etc.  The UK is following the example of other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the US, which adopted these new rules last month.

New Carry-on Restrictions May Cause Longer Lines

Passengers around the world have been cautioned to treat powders similarly to the liquid rule.

Pack all powders in Ziploc bags so they can be checked separately.

For now, it seems that you can carry up to 12 ounces of powders before you are subjected to an extra screening. Good news for make-up users–this should cover pressed powers and other beauty products.

However, the TSA has seen longer lines because of the new rule. Not all passengers are aware of the changes and some have missed flights due to inspections. Don’t let this be you!

What is the cause for the new carry-on restrictions?

The new rule has been enacted in response to an attempted terrorist attack last July. An Isis member tried to carry an explosive on board an Etihad flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi. The suspect was stopped at check-in.

How to Get Through TSA Checkpoints Faster

There are many things you can do to get through airport security faster, but the most important one is to stay updated on the rules and follow them.

Related: TSA Checkpoints: Get through Airport Security Faster

You can also sign up for TSA Pre® and Global Entry.

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports.TSA Pre® is an expedited security screening program connecting travelers departing from the United States with smarter security and a better air travel experience.

Passengers considered low-risk who qualify for the program can receive expedited screening either as a member of the program or another specific trusted traveler group.

Good luck and Happy Travels!

 



Cybersecurity and the World Cup: Be careful!

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Travel Warnings
cybersecurity and the world cup

The FBI is warning about hackers and cybersecurity, particular as it relates to traveling for the World Cup.

Anytime there is a major world event, people will use it as an excuse to take advantage of others-often in an illegal way.

Your phone, laptop and other electronic devices are at risk of getting hacked if you’re planning to attend the games.

According to the FBI these are tips and precautions you should take to avoid cybersecurity issues at the World Cup:

  • Bring a “burner” phone instead: This is a cheap, pay-by-the-minute phone that you’ll use only while you’re there.
  • If you must bring a smartphone, make sure it’s up-to-date with the latest software.
  • Use all of your phone’s security features—like pass codes, fingerprint and facial recognition—and keep it locked when not in use.
  • Set up a “find my device” service so you can track, lock and erase your phone remotely if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Don’t use open or public wireless (WiFi) networks.
  • Turn off lock-screen notifications which could give thieves a peak into your personal data even if they can’t open your phone.
  • Turn off all the auto-logins for your accounts and apps, even though it’s a chore to retype your passwords every time.

Get an Emergency Medical Plan

In addition to safeguarding against cybersecurity, we encourage you to ensure you will be properly taken care of in the event of an injury or illness. For less than the cost of a place ticket, your whole family can be covered for a year. You will be medically airlifted home to be treated by your own doctors in the event of an emergency.

Don’t have a plan?

GET A PLAN



Sign Up For Our Newsletter!

Travel Tips

Ski Safety

3 tips for ski safety Read More

Categories

Past Posts

Testimonials

Slippery Slopes in Utah

"It was the last day of our trip, the last run down the mountain. I had two or three tibial fractures. With such a delicate surgery, I didn´t want to be put in a hospital with unknown doctors." Read More

Dr. Robin Benton New Orleans, LA

Membership Booklet