Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, May 2020 Issue
Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 877
Logan OH 43138
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright 2020
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff
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We hope you stay healthy during this challenging time. As our new normal is "Social Distancing" we will feature relevant travel advice from past issues and travel ideas for virtual escapes or future escapes. Please share our "Social Distancing" issues with anyone you think may need it. We will continue "Social Distancing" issues until the travel, tourism and leisure industries return to normal.
Ik Kil Cenote, Chichen Itza, Mexico
1. Red Roof Day Rate
|Red Roof, a provider of upscale economy lodging, understands the difficulty of this uncertain time, especially for workers trying to keep business continuity at home. In response to the interruption of working environments, for the first time, Red Roof offers day rates to help remote workers find quiet and comfortable spaces to allow them to focus. With closures of non-essential businesses across the nation, including coffee shops, co-working spaces and libraries, many households are trying to find dedicated space at home to work as a result of tighter living quarters due to home schooling mandates and social distancing. Red Roof gives workers across the country an alternative option through its Work Under Our Roof program that provides safe, convenient and comfortable "workspaces." Rooms are available at select properties Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with same day check-in and check-out with reduced rates from $29.
Rooms have fast, free Verified WiFi and a communication package that includes free local and long-distance calls, fax, flat-screen TVs and a workstation, and free in-room coffee in most rooms. Red Roof's Work Under Our Roof Day Rate provides an affordable, comfortable alternative to "work from home". One well-behaved domestic pet - cat or dog - is welcome to tag along as a co-worker for the day free of charge. No more than two guests are allowed to check in to any one room when checking in under the day rate offer. The day rate cannot be used to host meetings.
You can book through May 15 for a "workspaces" through May 31, 2020. RediRewards members and non-members are eligible for the offer. Use code OFFICE to get the day rate.
Third Party Bookings are not eligible. May not be combined with other discounts or offers. Subject to availability. Book direct at participating properties.
In addition to the Work Under Our Roof day rate, Red Roof launched the Student Support Program. This dedicated program provides displaced students in search of alternative housing with a 30 percent discount and weekly stay incentive including a $25 Amazon gift card to help purchase essential goods. Rooms include WiFi to stay connected.
Red Roof or 800/RED-ROOF.
2. 10 Sleep Tips for Traveling with Tots
|Dr. Rebecca Kempton, M.D., Family Sleep Institute Graduate and founder of Baby Sleep Pro, is a certified infant and toddler sleep consultant who helps parents develop sleep training skills to get their family's sleep on the right path. Here is her expert advice on sleep tips while traveling with babies and toddlers.
- 1. Plan travel time around sleep time. Children are naturally excited or stimulated by travel plans. It is often hard for them to sleep on the road or on an airplane. Plan your departure and arrival times around naps as much as possible. If your child naps in the morning, plan to leave after the morning nap, not before. The first nap is usually the most restorative and helps curb over-tiredness for the rest of the day. Transit naps are not as restful. Plan to be at your destination by the usual bedtime.
- 2. Think ahead about sleeping conditions. Going from having their own bedrooms to crowding everyone into one bedroom can spell disaster. If you plan to stay in a hotel, look for a suite inn for extra living space with a pull out or a crib. Finding a condo or private home is easier with sites such as vrbo.com and airbnb. Extra sleeping space makes for a more relaxed time for everyone.
- 3. Buy, rent or reserve the beds you need. If you stay with family on a regular basis, buy, or ask family members to borrow or rent, a portable crib. If you stay in a hotel, call in advance, so the cribs or extra pull-out bed will be ready when you check in. If you travel by car, bring your own bed; a pack 'n' play or travel bed or sleeping bags are great portable options.
- 4. Do practice runs. Trips cause disruption to familiar routines. You do not want to arrive and have your child go into meltdown mode. If you take your own travel bed, allow your child to sleep in it a few nights before you leave, to get used to it. Also, talk with toddlers about the plans, including new sleeping arrangements, prior to take-off.
- 5. Take along helpful sleep accessories. Here are some lightweight options:
Download to your smart phone a white noise app, such as "Relax Melodies" which allows you to customize the sound.
Take a favorite stuffed animal or lovey: Choose one or two items your child wonʼt sleep without.
Sheets: Even when traveling without the crib, take your own crib sheets. The familiar patterns, feel, and smell can help a child transition to a new sleeping environment. Tip: hotels (or even family) may not have appropriately-sized sheets, so take along your own.
Black plastic bags and some painters' tape won’t win design awards, but garbage bags make great black out "curtains" if you need them.
Strollers: Expect travel delays. Even toddlers old enough to walk benefit from rest on wheels. Pushing a stroller is a lot easier than giving shoulder rides through the airport or amusement parks.
- 6. Recreate bedtime routines. Despite changes of schedules and scenery, try to keep bedtime routines constant. If bath, books, and song are part of your normal routine, stick to them. Let Grandma or Uncle Bob participate if they want.
- 7. Squeeze in naps as much as possible. Whether walking through Disney World or spending time with family, don’t skip nap routines. If your schedule means a skipped nap one day, plan a lighter schedule the next day to allow for crucial day time rest. If you miss a nap, compensate with an earlier bedtime. The more the sleep deficit accumulates, the more you are heading for meltdowns. Be flexible, but accommodate the day time sleep needs as much as possible even if it is limited to napping in the stroller or car or at the beach.
- 8. Anticipate time differences. When traveling across time zones, allow a few days to get sleep back on track both arriving or returning home. Move your schedules to the new time zone as soon as possible. If you are traveling for a few days across one or two time zones, it is sometimes easiest to stay on your home time zone. This may require earlier bedtimes or waking later or vice versa.
- 9. Break some rules and have fun. Don’t stress out about strict sleep habits on vacation. Kids are surprisingly resilient. If they miss a few naps and go to bed too late a few nights, they will survive. Let the kids have fun doing something they donʼt usually do. If you disturb a few passengers or hotel visitors along the way, don’t worry, you wonʼt see them again.
- 10. Get back on track as soon as you get home. Sometimes the hardest part of a trip is to resume normal routines when you return. Staying up late eating popcorn at Grandmaʼs is more fun than hitting the hay at 7 p.m. Donʼt bring vacation habits home with you. Get back to nap and bedtime routines as soon as possible as it may take a few days and cause a few tears.
Baby Sleep Pro, Family Sleep Institute
3. Avoid Rental Car ‘Gimmicks’
|Shrewd and some say deceptive rental car practices can leave a big hole in your pocket.
When you book, that initial low rate quickly ramps up with added charges. So what appears on your bill when you pick up your ride can be far more than your initial booking price.
Here are a few rental car “gimmicks” to watch out for:
Airport rentals – You pay a hefty premium when you rent a car from an airport location. If possible, forgo the rental car and take a taxi or public transportation to your destination or a rental car location. This takes pre-planning but can save you on those convenience surcharges. If you must rent at the airport, make reservations before your trip to get the best rate.
Mileage limitations – Save a few bucks on your rental with a limited mileage arrangement. You will be charged a flat fee if you don’t exceed a specified number of miles in a single day or for the duration of your rental. If your plans change, brace yourself for the additional fees. Ask about territorial restrictions as your contract may allow only in-state travel.
Penalties and extra fees - - When you hand the rental car agent your reservation, chances are you will not drive away with the exact car your reserved at the quoted price. You are tempted with an upgraded car, an extra day, bringing back the car early, using a debit card or returning the car to an alternate destination.
Here’s how to avoid these added fees:
- Decline the upgrade unless it is offered as a courtesy.
- Do not extend the reservation unless it is an emergency. The rate for the extra day will likely be more.
- Avoid returning the rental car to an alternate location as that may result in a penalty.
- Search for a rental car company that accepts cash or does not require a deposit for debit card transactions. With a debit card transaction, a $200 to $500 hold maybe put on your account.
- Don’t smoke inside the vehicle, you may be accessed a cleaning fee.
Insurance - Most rental car companies offer the following coverage options:
- Loss-damage waiver ($9 to $19 per day).
- Liability coverage ($7 to $14 per day).
- Personal accident coverage ($1 to $5 per day).
- Personal effects coverage ($1 to $4 per day).
You may not need them. Before you rent a car, call your car insurance company and your credit card company to see if they offer coverage for rental cars and under which circumstances it applies.
Incidentals - The sales rep at the counter may tell you not to worry about the gas because they can fill the car for you if you’re short on time. Think again. The rate per gallon is typically more expensive than at a gas station. Also, pass on the toll pass, GPS system, satellite radio, roadside protection, car seat or other service because you pay dearly for those amenities.
Underage drivers - Are you under the age of 25? The prices you see online don’t apply as you may pay almost double that amount.
Inspections - Even if you are in a hurry, do not leave until the sales rep thoroughly inspects the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Failure to do so can result in that scratch on the bumper or coffee stain in the rear seat becoming your problem. Cover yourself by taking photos during the inspection.
4. Assistance in Mexico
|Problems while on vacation can be stressful even at the best of times. While traveling in Mexico, experiencing these problems can be worse due to a lack of familiarity with the language.
TravelCare Mexico includes unlimited, bilingual real time assistance help for roadside, medical and legal issues through toll free phone access to at their CareCenter 24/7.
Traveling in Mexico is generally safe, but as with all travel unexpected things can happen. Having a bilingual team of advisors a phone call away can offer immediate support and alleviate worry while in Mexico.
Medical Assistance includes:
- Assistance for medical injury, emergency, questions, including allergies, drug reactions, stomach ailments, stings, insect bites, infections, or most any medical or dental incident.
- One free emergency conference call to anyone in the USA or Canada per covered person.
- One free house call by a doctor per covered person.
- One free ambulance per covered person.
- Referrals to specialists, clinics, labs and pharmacies with discounted rates.
- Professional translators act as your advocate to help ensure a positive outcome to a medical incident.
Roadside Assistance includes:
- Assistance with roadside incidents including a flat tire, dead battery, being out of gas or towing service.
- One free emergency conference call to anyone in the USA or Canada per covered person.
- Assistance with alternate transportation if your vehicle can no longer operate. Taxi or Limo at local rates.
- Information regarding toll roads and road closures.
- Information regarding current weather conditions and locations of nearest police stations.
Legal Assistance includes:
- Assistance for legal questions or emergencies including theft, crime, arrest, detainment, loss of passport or credit card.
- One Free emergency conference call to anyone in the USA or Canada per covered person.
- Assistance with local police or government officials.
- Easy Access to the American or Canadian Embassy.
- Referrals to local lawyers for in person consultation at discounted rates.
Concierge Assistance includes:
- Information and guide service in Mexico
- Information about theaters, concerts, shows
- Consular support information
- Direct call transfers to relatives in the U.S.
A team of bilingual professional translators act as your advocate and support service in the above situations to ensure a positive outcome to any incident.
Travelcare Mexico includes a discount coupon program, Ahorra Más (Save More). After purchasing your TravelCare Mexico certificate you receive a link to the Ahorra Más site where you provide your location in Mexico. The coupons for your Mexico location offer discounts from 10 to 50 percent for restaurants, entertainment attractions, health and beauty related stores, and other shops in your area. The directions are simple and coupons are easily printed from a computer. There is no limit to the amount of coupons you may print and use.
5. Take Five Minutes To Check Your Tires
|Discount Tire and the Rubber Manufacturers Association want to educate drivers about four essential areas of tire maintenance: Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread (PART).
While there are many ways to maintain tires, checking tire pressure is one of the most critical things you can do to improve safety. Improperly inflated tires lead to decreased steering and braking control, excessive tire wear and increased fuel consumption.
Five Tips for Tire Care:
- Get Pressure Right – Low tire pressure can decrease fuel economy. Tires may lose up to one pound per square inch of air pressure per month. The specific inflation pressure number may be found inside the driver's door. Don't forget trailer tires. Checking the tire pressure for boat, travel and utility trailers is as important as your car or truck.
- Don't Overload Vehicle – Overloading your vehicle or trailer decreases fuel economy due to increased cargo weight. Handling, control and braking are also negatively impacted.
- Rotate Before You Go – Regular rotation helps achieve uniform tire wear and improves performance. Tires rotated every 5,000 miles have longer life and will help maximize your investment.
- Straighten Up – Proper wheel alignment provides safe, predictable vehicle control and helps tires wear evenly and last longer. If your tires squeal when you turn or if you notice your steering wheel veers to one side while driving straight, it's time to get your wheels re-aligned.
- Bald Isn't Beautiful – Lack of tread affects the tire's ability to grip the road, especially in wet conditions. Make sure tires don't have uneven wear, which indicates something is wrong with the tire. High or low spots or unusually smooth areas may decrease traction and increase the risk of road accidents.
6. Postponed 2020 Olympic Games
|The 2020 Summer Olympic Games, scheduled to open in Tokyo on July 24, 2020, have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s the first time in the 124-year modern history of the Olympics that the games have been moved or delayed during peacetime. According to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be rescheduled to 2021. The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated July 23 to Aug . 8, 2021 and the Paralympic Games from Aug. 24 to Sep. 5, 2021.
If you purchased tickets through the Tokyo 2020 Official Ticket website, those tickets will be valid for a new date. Your tickets will be refunded if you will not be able to visit on the new date and want a refund. If your space is not available on the new date due to the change in venue, your tickets will be refunded.
The Summer Olympics have been canceled three times before — in 1916, 1940 and 1944 — and the Winter Games have been canceled in 1940 and 1944, during the world wars. The 1920 Summer Olympics were held in Antwerp, Belgium, from April to September at the tail end of the 1918 influenza pandemic. The 2016 Summer Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, despite the outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Unlike the Zika virus, however, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can be easily transmitted between humans.
2020 Tokyo Olympics.
7. Travel Recommendations by Country
|The Center for Disease Control (CDC) posted a four level graphic detailing the level of spread of COVID-19. In addition to the four level color-coded graphic, you can search by destination.
At the time of writing this article, the Level 3 Travel Health Notice shows the widespread, ongoing transmission with restrictions on entry to the United States. The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran most European countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Most foreign nationals who have been in one of these countries during the previous 14 days will not be allowed to enter the United States.
The graphic will be updated as the situation changes.
In addition, the Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory that advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
Travel Recommendations by Country.
8. BOGO European Cruise Collection
|Cruise and Maritime Voyages offers a Buy One Get One Free promotion on their 2021 European Cruise Collection. The BOGO price is based on the full fare per person brochure price. At the time of writing this review, there was no book by date.
The 2021 European Cruise Collection includes cruises to the British Isles and Ireland, Norway and Iceland, with the inaugural season of the Amy Johnson, the newest ship in the fleet. There are also Northern Lights cruises via Canada and Greenland, Baltic Cities, Black Sea and Mediterranean cruises, and Fleet Parade and Regatta cruises, where all ships in the fleet meet for the first time in Rotterdam before convoying up the Maas River.
Prices include goods and service tax (GST) and are cruise-only, per person based on two adults sharing a twin cabin. The 'buy one get one free' promotion cannot be combined with other cruise offer discounts and savings. Some cruises offer 50 percent savings on single cabins accommodations.
Cruise and Maritime Voyages.
9. Travel Safety Tips from National Crime Prevention Council
|The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), home of McGruff the Crime Dog, suggests following these safety tips to avoid problems during your travels:
Personal Travel Plan: Think Before You Go
- File a travel plan. Let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, when you plan to arrive and how to contact you. If you deviate from that plan, let someone know.
- Travel with friends. There is safety in numbers. Make sure your house appears “lived-in” when you are away. Lock all doors and windows, set household lights (inside and out) on timers.
- Trim your hedges and bushes so thieves cannot have a place to hide out.
- Have a neighbor park a car in your driveway to make it appear as if someone is home.
- Have a neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers while you are away or have them held at the post office.
- Invest in an alarm. An alarm system controls access points to your home and lets you know if someone has invaded your space.
Driving: On the Road Again
- Always lock your car doors. Keep valuables out of sight, preferably in the trunk of your car.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- Park in well-lighted areas and close to the building.
- Do not stop alongside the road if possible. If your car is bumped from behind or if someone indicates there is something wrong with your car, go to a service station or a well-lighted, populated area and call for help.
- Fill the gas tank before dark; lock your car doors and roll up your windows if you step away from the car for any reason.
Travel Destination: Checking In
- Use all hotel locks and other security devices, even when you’re in your room.
- Store valuables in the room safe or in the facility’s main safe.
- Don’t tell strangers the name of your hotel, your room number, or other personal information.
- Guard your room key cards. Don’t leave them unattended or visible at restaurants, the pool, or clubs.
- Don’t prop open your door or open your door to strangers. Use the peep hole before opening the door.
- Don’t leave your purse or bags unattended at hotel buffets or lounges.
Personal Safety: On the Town
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Take only the cash you need in your purse or wallet.
- Limit the number of credit cards you carry. Bring only the necessary credit card(s) with you and carry money separately from credit cards.
- Women should keep purses closed and snuggled tightly against the body.
- Men should keep wallets in a front pants pocket or coat pocket.
- Know your route and stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets.
- If you feel threatened, get away and call for help, or try to go to a crowded place.
- Always let someone know where you are going, who you are with, and when you will return.
- Avoid going off with strangers, and always use the buddy system.
- Avoid using alcohol and other drugs. Impaired judgment can put you in potentially dangerous situations.
- Select ATM machines in visible, well-lighted locations.
The National Crime Prevention Council.
10. Truck Driver Safety Tips for Travelers
|A group of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles offer advice on how to navigate through highway traffic and arrive at your destination safely.
Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance before you leave your home can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road.
Plan ahead: Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can't see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can't see you.
Check your emergency kit: Contents should include: battery powered radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit and flares.
Be aware of changes in weather: Weather conditions across the U.S. continually change - especially during early mornings and evenings with the cold. Watch for ice, snow and other weather related obstacles.
Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won't be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
Avoid extreme weather conditions: Ice, hail and snow make roads difficult to travel. Try to avoid driving through extreme weather conditions, and travel during daylight.
Remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of snow to insure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Don't allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.
Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front so you can avoid snow and ice blowing onto your windshield or maneuver around patches of ice.
Slow Down: With highway congestion speeding becomes more dangerous. Allow plenty of a space cushion and reduce your speed.
Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.
American Trucking Association.
11. Tips for Cruisers
|With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extending no-sail orders for all cruise ships, Travel Guard, a provider of travel insurance, wants to help you prepare for the time cruise ships may be sailing again and unexpected events as you plan for your next cruise. Here are a few tips:
Keep an eye on the weather: While it may be 85 degrees and sunny in the port of your destination, winter weather back home can easily disrupt your travel plans. Travel during hurricane season can also present problems, as evidenced during Superstorm Sandy, which affected more than 50 cruise sailings over 10 days.
If you are unable to reach your destination in time to catch your cruise due to flight delays or cancellations, a travel insurance policy may help reimburse for unused prepaid expenses and cover the cost of any additional transportation expenses required to get you to your destination or next port.
Plan for adequate time between your flight and your cruise: Whether you're traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Santorini or any points in between, allow adequate time between your flight and your ship's departure, perhaps planning to arrive a night or two in advance. In the event that weather delays or cancellations result in missing the cruise's departure, travel insurance may help cover the cost of and arrange flights so that you can catch up with your ship.
Carry on the necessities: Pack a carry-on bag with the necessities you don't want to be without (change of clothes, swimsuit, essential toiletries and medications) in case your luggage doesn't make it to your destination before your cruise departs. Even with the carry-on bag, inconveniences can still occur. Your travel insurance may assist by helping fill emergency prescriptions for medications and helping find your luggage if it has been displaced. Travel insurance may help cover the cost of necessities if your luggage is delayed.
Secure important documents: Since a cruise typically involves visiting multiple destinations or countries, bring your passport and keep it safe. If you plan to use your driver's license or photo I.D. as your main form of identification while in port, lock your passport in the safe in your cabin. If you prefer to use your passport at all times, consider purchasing a money pouch that you can wear underneath your clothes. It's also a good idea to bring a copy of your passport and multiple credit cards. If at any point during your trip your passport or credit cards are lost or stolen, your travel insurance provider may help obtain emergency cash and a replacement passport.
Wash up: Falling ill on a vacation is never fun, especially if you are at sea. So it's important to take precautions to keep from getting sick. One of the most basic and effective means of preventing illness is washing your hands regularly, both on and off the ship. Hand washing is effective in helping to avoid the flu, common cold, Norovirus and other airborne bugs.
Don't go overboard (with food, drink or sun): While it's easy to go back for seconds and even thirds at the midnight buffet, it's just as easy to get sick to your stomach. Eating until the point of fullness and limiting the intake of rich foods are good ways to prevent spending your vacation regretting overindulgence. The same goes with alcohol, which, in addition to physical sickness, can often be involved in other accidents that could require medical attention. Too much sun can also hamper your cruise. Be sure to wear sunscreen, a hat and stay hydrated. If things do get to the point where you need help, your travel insurance provider may work with your on-board physician to assist with your case, including connecting you with a local doctor, if necessary.
Listen to your body: If you feel sick before leaving for your cruise or while sailing, don't ignore your symptoms. See a doctor for the best advice and course of action for travel. If you get seriously ill or injured on board or in port and require emergency services off of the ship, a comprehensive travel insurance policy may include emergency assistance services such as making arrangements for evaluation with a local English-speaking doctor and transport you back home when medically necessary, even if this includes an emergency evacuation.
Travel Guard or 800/826-1300.
12. Up to 50% at Hard Rock Hotels
|Gas prices are low. So when you fill up your tank, take the following precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses:
When driving into a gas station, select a pump located at the end to minimize close contact with others filling their tank.
Use disinfecting wipes to wipe down the gas pump, screen and touchpad.
Use gloves, or if you don’t have them, a plastic bag when touching the pump.
After filling-up, use wipes and hand sanitizer to wipe down your hands and credit card.
If shelter in place orders and working from home keeps your vehicle sitting idle for extended periods of time, here are some tip to keep gasoline fresh.
Gasoline that sits for too long, especially if it is not stored in a sealed container, can go bad. AAA offers the following advice to keep gas “fresh.”
Keep the gas tank filled at three-fourths or full. Gasoline cans and fuel tanks can produce condensation with temperature changes, placing water droplets into the fuel. By keeping the tank or can full, there is less space for air and therefore it will minimize the possibility of condensation. If storing gasoline, use a Department of Transportation-approved can.
Consider a fuel stabilizer. If gasoline will be sitting in the tank of a vehicle for more than a few months, particularly if it contains ethanol, AAA recommends using a fuel stabilizer such as STA-BIL®. This can be done by anyone and is as simple as fueling up a vehicle. After adding a stabilizer, drive the car for five to ten miles to ensure that the stabilized fuel circulates throughout the fuel system.
Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance.
13. Dream Now Travel Later
|Francis Ford Coppola’s Family Coppola Hideaways in Belize and Guatemala (Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn in Belize and La Lancha in Guatemala) offer the “Dream Now, Travel Later” deal. The deal includes a $100 resort credit, which can be used on food and beverage, tours, and spa for stays of four nights or more.
The offer also includes 20 percent off the published rates and free upgrade at the time of booking (subject to availability).
The booking policy requires one night’s deposit at the time of booking. Any cancellation 14 days prior to check in date is fully refundable.
The “Dream Now, Travel Later” deal is available for new, future bookings (not including festive dates 2020 and 2021). Bookings must be made by June 2020.
Family Coppola Hideaways.
14. Caille Blanc Villa Newlywed Giveaway
|Even COVID-19 doesn’t stop love. Caille Blanc Villa & Hotel in Soufriere, St. Lucia salutes couples who have gone on with their wedding plans virtually or otherwise. In a celebration of love and hope for the future, Caille Blanc Villa & Hotel is giving away packages from the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia. Couples who marry by June 30, 2020 may enter the giveaway for a free honeymoon package at Caille Blanc Villa & Hotel. The Newlywed Giveaway includes a two night stay and a champagne celebration dinner at The Pavilion restaurant overlooking St. Lucia's Pitons.
Newlyweds may apply here.
Caille Blanc Villa & Hotel will randomly chose five qualified couples for the Newlywed Giveway which can be used through 2021.
Caille Blanc Villa & Hotel is near Soufriere’s restaurants and beaches, Snorkeling and scuba is a short walk or drive from the property as are the volcano, sulfur baths, waterfalls and a hike to the top of the Pitons.
The six suite Caille Blanc Villa & Hotel is a privately owned boutique hotel where each suite is appointed with decorations and artifacts from around the world, four poster canopied beds, and air conditioning. Spa services are on site as well as a 65' infinity pool with the reflection of the Pitons. The hotel has the Pavilion restaurant serving local and American style cuisine.
Caille Blanc Villa & Hotel.
15. 20% Savings Regent Seven Seas Cruises
|For people dreaming of the destinations that intrigue them, Regent Seven Seas Cruises features a 20 percent savings on select cruises when you book before May 31, 2020. Mention “20% SAVINGS 2020” at time of booking.
The 20 percent savings offer is capacity-controlled, may be withdrawn at any time and applies to new bookings only. On select voyages, guests in veranda suites through penthouse suites will receive 20 percent savings on the cruise-only fares.
The 20 percent savings include air travel, pre-paid gratuities, specialty restaurants and free unlimited shore excursions in every port of call. With the Regent Reassurance program, you may cancel your voyage up to 48 hours prior to your departure date and receive a 100 percent future cruise credit.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
16. Purchase Airline Tickets on Weekends
|"There's been this industry folk wisdom that says Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to purchase airline tickets," says Steven Puller, associate professor of economics at Texas A&M, who specializes in industrial organization. "But we couldn't find any systematic analysis to back that up."
Rather, he says, the weekend is the best time to book airline tickets because airlines are more likely to discount fares on Saturday and Sunday.
In the study "Price Discrimination By Day-Of-Week Of Purchase: Evidence From The U.S. Airline Industry," published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Puller and co-author Lisa Taylor, a former Texas A&M graduate student, found that tickets purchased on the weekend were, on average, five percent cheaper than similar tickets purchased on weekdays.
"We find that when you control for a large set of factors – the day-of-week of travel, whether the ticket was refundable, the number of days in advance that the ticket was purchased, how full the flights were, and other factors – that tickets purchased on the weekends were sold, on average, for a five percent discount," Puller explains.
The study further finds this weekend purchase discount is greatest on routes with a mix of both business and leisure customers. There is not much of this type of discount for leisure destinations such as Orlando or Las Vegas, Puller notes.
The researchers suggest, although do not definitively conclude, that this weekend purchase effect reflects a common practice known as "price discrimination."
This happens when the same service is sold at different prices to different buyers, in this case, based on the day of the week that an airline ticket is purchased.
Puller says the airlines try to play the odds when deciding how to price flights.
"Take a route that serves both business and leisure travelers," he explains. "If the business travelers primarily purchase tickets on weekdays, then the typical traveler buying on the weekend is more likely to be a price-sensitive leisure traveler than a business traveler. There is an incentive for the airlines to lower fares on the weekends to try to entice the price-sensitive leisure traveler to buy a ticket."
But how do the airlines know if a particular buyer is traveling for leisure or business? "They don't," Puller contends. "They're playing the odds."
The researchers conducted the study by looking at a historical archive of actual tickets purchased on all major airlines. Puller says the study compared tickets with similar characteristics rather than simply looking at the cheapest fare available.
"If you're a traveler who just wants to get from point A to point B for the cheapest price possible, then these findings may not apply to you," he notes. "But many people do care about these factors."
The researchers only studied roundtrip flights with nonstop service. The study did not examine first-class airfare or the holiday travel periods around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.
Puller says these results could have implications for other industries that have the ability to change prices daily based on the types of customers who purchase on a specific day. "The software systems that are used in airline pricing are used in other industries such as cruises, hotels, car rentals," he explains. "We've only analyzed airline pricing, but I wouldn't be surprised if similar pricing practices are used in these other industries as well."
Texas A&M University.
17. Packing Tips
|If you’re like most travelers, deciding ahead of time what to wear for a getaway is nerve-racking. You wish that you had a crystal ball to show you what activities are in your future and the clothes you’ll need. Since crystal balls don’t exist, you over-pack and possibly pay a fee at the airport.
“Even though packing doesn’t seem like much work in theory, it is!” says Marla Tomazin, an image consultant for 20 years. “Fortunately, there are ways to make packing for a trip easier and less stressful. If you plan ahead and think about what you really need, your suitcase can be neatly filled with fabulous outfits.
If you sit on your suitcase to get it zipped, read Tomazin’s eight tips on how to take the stress out of packing by choosing the right outfits:
Tell a color story. As you daydream about lounging on the beach or seeing Broadway shows, decide the base tone of all your outfits. Whether it’s beige, gray, black, or blue, make this decision first. Your color story is a base color that will be consistent throughout your outfits whenever possible. If you’re going to a warmer climate, beige can be a good color story. If it’s a business trip, it may be black or chocolate. As long as you don’t mind wearing the same pair of pants a few times, your color story can decrease the amount of clothes you bring. Being able to mix and match items will broaden the amount of outfits you can put together.
Decide on shoes. Footwear is the heaviest and most difficult thing to pack. Make sure that each pair of shoes is unique in terms of color and style. Depending on where you are going and the size of your suitcase, consider taking a metallic or camel-colored shoe, a sandal, and something with a heel. That way all bases are covered. When packing, put microfiber fillers in your shoes so they don’t get smashed in your suitcase. Put each pair in a shoe bag so they stay organized.
Set the scene. Once you pick out your pants, tops, and shoes, lay them out on your bed to make sure everything goes together. Ideally, each top goes with each pair of pants, and shoes can be worn with several outfits. Planning outfits ahead of time will save you stress at your destination. If you think you will forget what goes with what, take photos or write down your daily plan.
Add accents. Once you have your foundation in place, choose one or two accent colors. A few scarves, a bright cardigan, or a statement necklace, can add spice to your outfits. In addition to choosing bright accents, chose what jewelry, hose, socks, belts, underthings, and toiletries you might need.
Prepare for rain. Check the weather before leaving for your destination. Regardless of what the Weather Channel says, prepare for a downpour. A lightweight raincoat that’s dressy enough for an evening out can work double duty.
Take one outfit out. Now that you’ve decided on all your outfits, take one out. This ensures that you haven’t over-packed and frees up room in your bag for anything you may want to bring back.
Use plastic bags. When packing, lay the long plastic bags from the dry cleaners in the bottom of the suitcase. Then as you put clothes in the suitcase, weave the plastic back and forth through each layer. It helps everything stay neat and organized. If you’re staying at a hotel, the plastic bag can double as a drawer liner. On the way home, use one of the bags for dirty clothes so they stay separate. Keep a small Ziploc bag in your suitcase to put your three-ounce liquids aside, so you can get through airport security quickly and with less hassle.
Wear your heaviest clothes on the plane. Don’t stuff jackets or boots into your suitcase. If you get too warm, put these items in the overhead compartment or hold them on your lap. This may prevent you from checking a bag.
Marla Tomazin, Certified Image Consultant.
18. Seabourn Sweepstakes
|Seabourn Cruise Line's Cruise Sweepstakes gives you the chance to win a seven day cruise of your choice for you and one guest departing in 2020 or 2021, worth about $10,600. Transportation to and from the port of departure is not included in the prize.
There is no purchase necessary to enter but you must be 18 years or older and be a resident of the United States or Canada. The sweepstakes ends on May 31, 2020 (the "Entry Period").
To enter online, access https://seabournsweepstakes.com. You can also enter by mail by hand-printing your name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address and date of birth on a 3"x 5" card, deposit the card in a standard business-sized envelope with sufficient postage affixed, and mail the card to: 2019 Seabourn Cruise Sweepstakes, Seabourn, 450 Third Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119.
There is a limit of one sweepstakes entry per person and per e-mail address, regardless of method of entry.
The winner will be determined in a random drawing on or around Aug. 31, 2020. The winner will be notified by email on or about Sep. 7, 2020.
19. How to file a credit card dispute for your canceled vacation — and win – by Christopher Elliott
|It’s time to talk about the nuclear option.
If a travel company isn’t refunding payment for your canceled vacation, maybe it’s time for a credit card dispute.
Asking a bank to force a merchant to return your money is typically a last resort. But that’s where we are now.
Some travel companies have quietly changed their refund rules in the past few weeks, demanding that consumers accept a credit voucher that expires after a year or two. They’ve violated federal laws or the terms of their contracts, citing extraordinary circumstances.
“Since the pandemic, there’s been an explosion in credit card disputes,” says Monica Eaton-Cardone, co-founder of Chargebacks911, a company that specializes in credit card disputes. “The major problem is, people are filing disputes the wrong way. It’s adding additional hardships on businesses that are already struggling with disruptions, loss of income and sick employees.”
In a 2016 column on credit card disputes, I noted that more travelers were turning to chargebacks to resolve their problems. But the coronavirus crisis could make a credit card dispute the first option, as opposed to the last, in some cases. And that might be a mistake.
So when do you reach for those nuclear launch codes? When the company disregards its own contract or federal laws. For example, if an airline cancels your flight, the Transportation Department says it must offer a refund within seven days if you paid by credit card. You need to meet some requirements, but if you can’t negotiate a refund, your bank can help.
Christopher Keaton is one of thousands of travelers mulling over a credit card dispute. Sandals, a resorts company, recently canceled his five-night stay at the Royal Caribbean, an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Instead of refunding his $11,515, Sandals offered him a voucher for a future stay. He says company representatives phoned him repeatedly, pressuring him to accept the voucher.
“I have no idea when I will be able to travel again,” says Keaton, a police officer from Boston, “and, personally, after dealing with Sandals, I have no desire to go there.”
The Sandals contract permits refunds requested 30 days before check-in, but Keaton’s agreement doesn’t address a Sandals-initiated cancellation. A Sandals representative said the company is offering guests like Keaton an extended credit for 18 months, in line with other hospitality companies.
“To date, the feedback from our guests has been overwhelmingly positive about the revisions to our policies and the lengths we are going to accommodate their future travel plans,” says Maggie Rivera, a spokeswoman for Sandals.
So how would a credit card dispute work? Keaton could ask the bank that issued the card to take action on his behalf. This is allowed under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), which protects consumers against charges for goods and services they didn’t accept or that weren’t delivered. He’d tell the bank that Sandals sold him a resort stay in April, then canceled it and kept his money.
The bank would contact Sandals and ask it to produce documentation of the charge. If Sandals was unable to prove that Keaton agreed to terms that allowed the company to offer a voucher instead of a refund, he should get his money back.
How much time do you have to file a credit card dispute? Although the FCBA says you have 60 days to dispute a charge, banks are sometimes more flexible when dealing with travel that’s booked in advance. In other words, don’t let a travel merchant talk you out of a dispute just because it’s been more than two months since your purchase.
Before you file a credit card dispute, make sure the travel company failed to live up to its promises.
"When you book travel, you’re likely to be presented with the terms of your purchase, much the same way retail stores have a return policy published at the checkout and on the receipt,” says Greg Mahnken, an analyst for Credit Card Insider. “Read the terms.”
Don’t call your bank immediately. Try to negotiate a refund first, advises Zaky Prabowo, the co-founder of WeTravel, a San Francisco-based payment and booking platform for group and multiday tour operators. Under the FCBA, you’re not required to contact a merchant first about a billing error, but you may be able to resolve the problem without a dispute.
“The owners of these companies value their reputation and their customers above anything else,” Prabowo says. “They want to refund you or find a solution that satisfies you, but due to the crisis and their cash flow situation, they might not be able to do that as fast as you’d expect.”
There are limits to what a credit card dispute can do for you. First, don’t expect too much from your bank in a post-coronavirus world. “The truth is that in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, a flood of these credit card disputes are going to come in, and issuers may not be as generous as they’ve been in the past,” says Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst for CompareCards, a credit card site.
And even if you’re successful, a travel company might try to send a collection agency after you or blacklist you, although that is illegal. Car rental companies are notorious for adding customers to “do not rent” lists if they file successful chargebacks.
Finally, there’s the danger that your chargeback may hit the wrong target and destroy it. That would be the small travel agency you used to make the reservation. If it took your money, it could be on the line for the full amount. A few chargebacks like that are enough to put a small travel agency out of business. And haven’t we already seen enough destruction?
This column originally appeared in the Washington Post. © 2020 Christopher Elliott.
20. TSA Flying Tips During Coronavirus
|The number of travelers flying has plummeted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However, if you must fly, here are some tips from the Transportation Security Administration for traveling during the pandemic.
Tip 1: Bring hand sanitizer with you. TSA currently allows one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags until further notice. Since these containers exceed the standard 3.4-ounce allowance typically permitted through a checkpoint, they will need to be screened separately. This will add some time to the checkpoint screening experience. Please remember that all other liquids, gels and aerosols brought to a checkpoint continue to be limited to 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters carried in a one quart-size bag.
Tip 2: Bring wipes along with you too. Travelers are permitted to bring individually-packaged alcohol or anti-bacterial wipes in carry-on or checked luggage. Jumbo containers of hand wipes are also allowed in carry-on or checked luggage.
Tip 3: Wear a mask if you like. Travelers are allowed to wear masks during the security screening process, however a TSA officer may ask the traveler to adjust the mask to visually confirm their identity during the travel document checking process.
Tip 4: If your license expired on or after Mar. 1, 2020, don’t panic. If your driver's license or state-issued ID expired on or after Mar. 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration or 60 days after the duration of the emergency, whichever is longer. The Department of Homeland Security announced an extension of time to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. The new deadline is Oct. 1, 2021.
Tip 5: Place items from your pockets into your carry-on bag. Prior to going through the security checkpoint, take the items from your pockets and place them into your carry-on bag so that you don’t have to place them in a bin. Remove the keys, tissues, lip balm, loose change, breath mints, mobile phone and anything else from your pockets and place them right into your carry-on bag.
Tip 6: Wash your hands. It’s good practice to wash your hands before and after going through the security screening process.
Helpful information about TSA’s security screening process during the pandemic..
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