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Holiday travel by Amtrak train in the USA

September 15, 2018 in Blog

More and more people are turning to Amtrak as a reliable way to travel for the holidays. After the terrorist attacks of 09/11, airport security has become increasingly difficult to get through. As a result most airports have long lines and delays taking place around the holidays because they don’t want to become lax even when it is busy.

Traveling with children for the holidays can be stressful, especially if you are traveling with them alone. Keeping them entertained in a car for the trip is often a two person job so one can drive and one can play games or offer snacks to keep everyone in the vehicle happy for the duration of the trip.

Airplanes are very cramped and most people don’t do well with children roaming the isles or crying during the flight. For younger children, the amount of pressure that can build in their ears on an airplane is very painful. Being stuck on a runway for hours will definitely make children uncomfortable and these delays often happen around the holidays. If you have ever tried to change diapers in the small airplane bathrooms you will know that it isn’t an easy feat to accomplish.

Amtrak is very family oriented so this may be the best mode of transportation for your holiday travel. The cars are roomy and you are able to get up and walk around freely. There is plenty of scenery along the railway routes too for you to enjoy.

If you are be going on a long trip for the holidays, Amtrak offers sleeping cars of various sizes. This is a great way for your children to have the room they need to take a nap and to play. Most of the family sleeping cars offer enough space for two adults and two children comfortably.

You will find great holiday travel deals on Amtrak when you reserve a sleep car as well. Many times you will get coupons for free meals offered in the dining car. This is an expense you will have to cover on your own otherwise so it helps offset the cost of the sleep car.

Make sure you make reservations for Amtrak early though. The tickets often sell out quickly for holiday travel and they have a limited number of sleeping cars. You don’t want to be stuck without one or have to accept one that is too small for comfort because you waited too long to make your reservation.

Most train stations are very well set up and you can even leave your car there when you board the Amtrak for free. Most airports charge you by the day to leave your vehicle behind and that is an expense that quickly adds up. You can either have your family or friends pick you up at the train station for your destination or choose alternate modes of transportation. There will likely be rental cars at the terminal or you can take a taxi cab.

You can go online to find out the various destinations that Amtrak travels to. If they don’t go to your exact location but within 100 miles you may want to consider having someone pick you up there or to rent a car to go the rest of the way. Amtrak is affordable and much more comfortable than taking an airplane or traveling all that way in a car.

Bus Travel

September 13, 2018 in Blog

Bus travel is one of the most underrated ways to get somewhere. Although a lot of people prefer to travel by plane, I have always liked traveling by bus. When you traveled by bus, you get a chance to take it slow. You see the scenes and sites around the country, talk to the people around you, and relax and let the driver do the work. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of airport security, and you certainly don’t have to pay airport prices.

I like to travel by bus because I like to not worry about getting there quickly. Sometimes, you miss the connection or your bus breaks down and you have to take a little bit longer. It doesn’t matter, however, because there are always people to talk to and the prices are low enough that you can afford to be a little bit late. Anyway, bus travel is a lot more reliable than it used to be. Out of a good 50 bus trips in the past two years, I have only run into two breakdowns that cost a serious amount of time.

One of the things that you have to keep in mind about bus travel is that your bags are your responsibility. It isn’t like the airlines at all. When you buy airline tickets, you check your bags at the gate and pick them up when you leave. The airline make sure that they get there safely with a reasonably high rate of success. With bus travel, however, you might want to keep an eye on your bags when you change buses. When there is a change, the bus drivers will load and unload bags that are scheduled to be moved. It is easy for them to miss yours if you don’t keep an eye open. I’ve had it happen to me more than once, and it can be a big hassle. Nonetheless, it is easy to avoid as long as you make sure to get out of the bus and watch what the driver is doing.

Greyhound bus travel is by far the most popular kind. In most of the country, they run the majority of the buses. Part of it is quality and part of it is brand name recognition. When people think about cross-country bus travel, they automatically picture a Greyhound bus. I’ve been in more of their buses than American Coachways or any of the other companies

Australia shopping and travel tips

September 10, 2018 in Blog

A traveler to Australia might need a brief respite after arrival due to the distance it has taken to travel to the continent. Some travelers might be groggy and feel out of sorts for a day or two because of the time differences involved, and the traveler might not be clear on what they are allowed to bring into the country and what is strictly prohibited. Plants and plant by-products require a quarantine period which might slow travelers down considerably.

Visitors to Australia have free sightseeing trips that they can enjoy. There is a variety of transportation modes available throughout Australia. A traveler can get great bargains on bus or train tickets if they participate in discount card programs. There are terrific discounts for travelers with this type of membership because the discounts extend to tours at public buildings, amusement parks and arcades and many fine dining opportunities.

The shopping hours throughout Australia are generally 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday and Sundays and public holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. While shopping in Australia for many items, there are some tipping rules that will make the shopping go smoother. Even though in many respects tipping is relatively new in Australia. While dining with friends at lunch or dinner, and if you have enjoyed your meal and your waiter was lovely, then you can tip your waiter for upto 10 percent of the final bill. You can also tip the people who help along the shopping path such as porters at hotels and taxi drivers who speed travelers to their next shopping destination.

Taking advantage of many travel discounts will be high on every travelers list. A visitor to Australia will have to be mindful of the time changes throughout the continent that could have a direct effect on scheduling a vacation or a daily shopping excursion to other parts of the continent that have not been visited yet. The time changes, in conjunction with the air travel fatigue, might overcome older travelers. It is always a good idea to keep the time factor, and time schedules for transportation and retail locations handy at all times.

When planning vacation trips to any foreign countries, there are many entry rules that will apply. In order to enter the continent of Australia, travelers are required to have a valid passport on them at the point of entry, and some people run into difficulties because they do not have valid visitor visa or student visa. The only exceptions to the two-document rule apply to those that hold passports from New Zealand.

Duty-free shopping is encouraged at all major airports throughout the world. For travelers that plan to visit Australia, there are rules that apply to duty-free items that arrive with the passenger at the point of entry. Travelers must declare any foreign currencies that they enter Australia with, as well as any plant or animal by-products, and also to declare tobacco products, because there is a certain limit allowed for each person that travels. Age limits will apply to travelers who bring duty-free items into Australia too.