Hotel And Shopping Tips To Enhance Your Luxury Travel Experience In Italy

Italy is consistently in the top five luxury travel destinations for American Express Vacation clients.  Italy is full of history, beginning with the ancient Roman Empire, to the rise of the Vatican, to the Italian renaissance.  Traveling to Italy requires certain tips to make your luxury travel vacation.

Hotel Tips

Though traveling to Italy is quite safe. However, it’s advisable and useful to gather some basic Italy travel tips.  There are hundreds of small luxury hotels of the world and the cities of Italy have plenty to choose from.  Some Italian hotels, and nearly all hotels in Rome, have at least one staff member who speaks English.  Search out this person to ask for additional tips, such as great dining spots, local sights, public transportation and shopping areas.  Staying in touch with family and friends can be expensive in Italy, especially if you call from your hotel.  Keep in mind that American cell phones will not work without special international services or devices.  And since hotels tend to overcharge for long-distance and international calls, it is best to make such calls from public phones, using international calling cards.  Staying in a luxury hotel is quite fun, but if you have already been there and done that, it’s never too late to consider booking one of the many available luxury world cruises throughout the world.

Shopping Tips

One big draw for Italian tourists on a luxury travel trip is the shopping tour.  Consider booking one of these guided tours, instead of charging off on your own.  These shopping tours offer travelers a more comfortable way to “shop ‘til you drop.”  Most of these tours include transportation to several different shopping districts and stores.  Your guide will speak both English and Italian, in order to mediate your shopping experience.  Yes, your major credit cards, such as American Express, Visa and Master Card, will work.  But keep in mind that most American credit cards will charge a hefty currency fee, and use the most unattractive exchange rates.  The best way to be safe and save money would be to use a combination of Euro Travelers Checks, Euros in cash and a credit card.  Pick Pocketing can be an unfortunate reality of modern travel, so spreading the type of money you carry is the best choice.

Most stores and shops in Italy have operating hours that can be considered different, at least in comparison to what is expected in the United States.  Normally, most Italian shops are open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stores are usually closed between 1 and 3:30 p.m., to allow employees a chance to have a family lunch.  Stores usually reopen around 3:30 or 4 p.m., and finally close around 7:30 to 8 p.m.  In large cities and tourist areas, there is a tendency to stay open from 9.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., with possible variations from town to town. Keep in mind that shopping etiquette in Italy is much different than in the United States.  When shopping for clothing, take note that many stores will not allow shoppers to try on shirts and blouses.  Also, there is a size discrepancy, so make sure that an attendant measures your body before you purchase.  It is also customary to tip attendants if they are personally assisting you with fittings and selection.  Whether shopping or relaxing in a small luxury hotel, a customary tip can go a long way!

Your accommodations are often considered one of the most important parts of your http://www.amtvacations.com/american-express-vacations.html, so use these tips to make the most of your upscale hotel stay.  When you use these American Express Tour tips to experience the best of small luxury hotels and high class shopping, you can enjoy yourself with no strings attached!

7 Tips For Couples Before Travelling

In a life that is dictated by routines, vacations and travelling is a thing that helps keep us sane. The idea of taking annual leaves regularly makes a lot of sense. The last thing any of us want, on his or her travel, is a non-compatible travel partner. If you are on your own, traveling with a friend or looking for a travel companion, a few tips might help you from having a trip to hell. Here are seven tips for traveling as a couple:

• Decide upfront why you are going and what you want to get out of the trip.

• Money has the potential of destroying the best of friendships, let alone create problems if your travel companion is a mere acquaintance. Its best to decide what, where, and how much you will be spending on mutual expenses.

• Prepare a tentative itinerary; places you want to visit, things to do and time to be spent at each location.

• Travelling with some one has benefits, but even then, you should get sometime to yourself. Make allowance for time that each will be spending on their own.

• Every one enjoys different aspects of travel. It’s good to figure out each others preferences before getting stuck together on a rather costly trip. Some of us are night people while others can’t keep their eyes open after dark. Some like everything decided and planned, others are more spontaneous. Some like to indulge in the culture while others prefer to immerse in the sights only. Make sure you and your companion share some views, if not all, regarding travelling.

• Unless you are a 100% sure about the person you are travelling with, pack some earplugs, they can be a life line during an otherwise sleepless night.

• Have an open mind & a generous heart. Give the other person some space & make the most of your solo time as well. Have fun and keep it enjoyable for both.

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Tricks To Get Cheaper Airline Tickets

The prices of airline tickets vary and change in as little as an hour or a day. The cheap ticket or the discount seat you are hankering about might be gone by the time you call. Of course, there is a chance that tickets for the flight you want are cheaper when you call later. But experience had taught us that the first possibility is more likely. However, there are ways, or tricks to increase your chances of finding a good deal. Just keep the prices of your airline tickets to yourself because your plane neighbor is likely to murder you if he finds out that you only paid half of the amount he did.

Whether you intend to use the internet or travel agency, start your search early. By early, I don’t mean a week or an hour before. A month before your desired date is ideal to find better prices of airline tickets. Don’t buy just yet, just search. It’ll give you an idea of how much and when the rates are likely to fluctuate or inflate at later dates. Keep in mind that airline rates depend on three factors: competition, demand, and inventory. Depending on how their competition is holding up, your choice airline might lower or increase its rates. For example, if Northwest decides to give 10% discounts on airfare, it won’t be long before American and United announce similar discounts or travel promos to lower Northwest’s competitive advantage. So start searching early and keep yourself updated about the changes in airline trends.

Do not give definite dates when you call the airline. Just ask for the lowest rates for your destination and say that your travel date and time are flexible. This is especially good if airfare price is more important than your dates like if you’re only considering a vacation or personal trip. It is easier to change travel dates than to pay for expensive airline tickets. To clue you in, winter is the cheapest season to fly except for the days before the Christmas holidays and Thanksgiving. If you can afford it, arrange for vacation trips during the winter. Another trick to save a lot on tickets is to adjust your flight schedules. Ask the airline for the late flights rather than peak hours. The two a.m. flights are generally half-priced compared to morning and mid-morning flights.

Don’t get too excited about discounts; most come with restrictions so research and ask before you purchase your airline tickets. Discounts only work for you if you purchase tickets within the restriction rules. These rules are easy like advance purchase or Saturday night reservation. Advance purchase requires you to buy your tickets a week or three in advance. This guarantees that you have discount seats. Stays or trips that include a Saturday night fall under excursion trips which are cheaper than business trips. Learn about discounts and restrictions so you can use them to your advantage. Also, get round trip tickets instead of using another airline for your return – they are priced the same.

If you’re old like senior citizen old, flaunt your age when buying airline tickets. There are air fare discounts which fall under the age category like senior citizen discounts. As a senior citizen, you are more likely to be given wider berth (read: more perks). Students can use Student Advantage to get discounts. For a hardworking professional, other alternatives are using an alternative airport and smaller airlines. You can save 50% on your ticket just for enduring a two-hour drive.

Lastly, buy airline tickets and use them at the appointed time. Cancellation of flights and rescheduling often have stiff penalties. The $100 you saved from your discounted ticket may not be enough to cover penalties. Enjoy your trip; after all, the cheap airline tickets you have are not really good deals if you didn’t enjoy.

Honeymoon In The Maldives, On The North Ari Atoll

If you want to Honeymoon in the Maldives, or go diving in the Maldives, then the North Ari Atoll could be the perfect spot for you.. Some of the best Maldives Holiday Packages are to be found here, and some of the best hotels in the Maldives are to be found here. You ought to be able to find a really good Maldives holiday package here if you are prepared to do some research.

The North Ari Atoll is about 45 km west of Male atoll, and it has around 18 inhabited islands, and it was the second area of the Maldives to develop for tourists, and it is now the most developed tourist area in the Maldives.

The North Ari Atoll is famed for its diving, and is one of the largest atolls in that the whole Ari Atoll is 80Kms long and 30 Kms wide. It is best reached by seaplane if for no better reason than the views of the islands from the air, but if you can’t stand flying then speedboat is the other real option..

Some of the hotels worth researching for your honeymoon in the Maldives in the North Ari Atoll are as follows.

Bathala Island Resort is a 3 star hotel with 45 rooms, some 34 Kms from the airport, with a sea-plane transfer of 20 minutes.

Dhoni Migili is a 5 star deluxe hotel with only six rooms, and is 63 Kms from the airport. Transfer by speed boat takes 2 hours, by seaplane only 30 minutes.

Ellaidhoo Tourist Resort is a 3 star hotel with 78 rooms, and is situated 42 Kms from the airport. Access by speedboat is 1 hour and thirty minutes, and by sea plane 20 minutes halaveli

Halaveli Holiday Village is a 4 star hotel with 50 rooms, and it is situated 62 Kms from the airport, and sea plane transfer takes 20 minutes

Kuramathi Blue Lagoon is a 4 star hotel with 56 rooms, situated 70 Kms from the airport, and a speedboat transfer takes 90 minutes, and 20 minutes by seaplane.

Kuramathi Cottage & Spa is a 4 star hotel with 81 rooms, situated 70 Kms from the airport, and a speedboat transfer takes 90 minutes, and 20 minutes by seaplane.

Kuramathi Village is a 4 star hotel with 151 rooms, situated 70 Kms from the airport, and a speedboat transfer takes 90 minutes, and 20 minutes by seaplane.

The three Kuramathi Hotels are the only hotels which share an island, as it is more than a kilometre in length.

Nika Island Resort is a 4 star exclusive hotel with 36 rooms, and is 74 Kms from the airport. Transfer by seaplane takes 30 minutes.

Velidhu Island Resort is a 4 star hotel with 100 rooms, and is 100 Kms from the airport. Transfers by speedboat takes 2 hours, and by seaplane 20 minutes.

Veligandu Island Resort is a 4 star hotel with 73 rooms , and is 50 Km from the airport. Transfers by seaplane take around 15 minutes.

W Retreat & Spa – Maldives is a 5 star de luxe hotel, with 78 rooms, and is 72 Km from the airport, and a 25 minute transfer by sea plane.

There’s sure to one of these hotels or islands that are just right for your honeymoon in the Maldives on the North Ari Atoll, where the diving reigns supreme. Some of the best resorts in Maldives are here, and you ought to be able to put together a perfect Maldives holiday package.

Cheap Holidays To Japan

Cheap holidays to Japan at Christmas have become quite popular. Although Japan never recognized Christmas as a national holiday, it is catching on more as many people travel to the area to see the beautiful Christmas trees and the stores that go all out with Christmas lights and decorations. In Japan ladies, the traditional Christmas gift for buying is diamonds and other superb pieces of jewelry. In Japan, Christmas has become an event that was never celebrated as we do, but with the overwhelming attendance of Americans for Christmas holidays, the area has taken hold of the holiday excitement and now you will see many celebrations of Christmas, not only at the stores, but all around the area.

Although Christmas is through the New Year, Japan removes Christmas decoration on the 26th and start preparing for the Japanese New Year, which you must stay and enjoy. It is something that you can only see on television, but being there and feeling the excitement can only enhance your thrill of celebrating a new year. Since you are going to want to see different areas of Japan leading up the New Year, you should invest in a rail pass to take you to other areas of Japan. This is just another way to accommodate your cheap holidays to Japan.

Something you never think about doing in Japan is camping. They have some nice campgrounds and the weather is perfect for that night out under the stars. You can do this for one night or two and then move on to another area of Japan. You are going to fine the flea markets fun to shop at as well as the restaurants with all their different cuisine. They have more than just Japanese food, you can find a fast food restaurant that the kids will enjoy called McDonald’s.

New Year’s is a great time to visit the ski resorts and treat the family to a New Year’s weekend with ski and warm, crackling fires at night by the fireplace. Make sure you enjoy a warm Japanese drink before bed to warm you and help you have a peaceful sleep. You will not forget this Christmas and New Year’s adventure, but you may want to try another experience next year. With all the available travel options and cheap holiday packages, you can enjoy a week or two weeks visiting the area and experience how other cultures celebrate the holidays.

When you book your cheap holidays to Japan, ask for other specials such as rail passes,cheap hostel in Okinawa ,meal passes, ryokan in Tokyo, day passes and do not forget about the special ski packages. You will enjoy your travels and when you plan early or even find a late deal, you will have even more savings than you could have expected. When you arrive in Japan, find your hotel and take a day to explore the area before heading out on your Christmas and New Year’s tours of the areas. Do not miss the fun that Japan has to offer during the holidays.

Travel Guide – UK Airports – London Heathrow

Travel guide – UK airports – London Heathrow

In the second of our UK airport travel guides, we will focus on the world’s busiest airport. London Heathrow.

Around 90 airlines use Heathrow as their hub, operating flights to over 180 destinations in 90 countries. Heathrow consists of four terminals, with a fifth currently under construction.

Terminal 1

All of Heathrow’s UK and Ireland flights operate from this terminal as well as some flights to long haul destinations and Europe.
Terminal 2

This terminal caters for European destinations as well as some long haul destinations.

Terminal 3

Long haul operators are the bulk users of this terminal, although some flights to Europe also operate from here.

Terminal 4

This terminal is used almost exclusively by British Airways and KLM.

Getting there

Although London by name, Heathrow is not actually situated in the Capital. London Heathrow is approximately 20 miles from the centre of London and this needs to be taken into account when getting to the airport.

Getting to the hotels near airport is relatively easy by all means of transport. London Underground (Tube) trains on the Piccadilly line go direct to the airport, taking about an hour and costing approximately £5.

Heathrow Express offer a great direct rail link from London Paddington, with a journey time of about 15 minutes. Heathrow Express operate trains every 15 minutes from Paddington and from Heathrow with a single ticket costing £14 and a return for £26.

Railair operate good coach links from principal areas, including Reading, Woking and Watford.

If you intend to travel by car to Heathrow Airport, sufficient time should be allotted as it is served by the busy M4 and M25 motorways. Sufficient car parking is available at all terminals, but we recommend booking parking in advance. This could also save you money on car parking costs.

If you had planned to stay in a hotel the night before your flight, a Hotel Hoppa bus service operates from most of the major hotels surrounding the airport, priced at £3 each way. Services run every 15 minutes through most of the day.

London Heathrow is truly an International airport and the millions of passengers who use this airport each and every year, represent nationalities from all corners of the globe.

Travel To Bali, Indonesia

Traveling to Indonesia is definitely a trip you will never forget.Plan for a long ride to get there, as it is a 31 hour flight from New York. Bali is a wonderful area with an array of fun filled activities to choose from. It is the main tourist area of Indonesia.

The people of Bali are very friendly, and enjoy having visitors come to their area. Many speak English to interact with tourists. They have chosen to preserve their culture for all to see rather than change it to become like other countries. The beaches are a main attraction with surfing being one of the most popular activities. Others enjoy renting a boat for the day to relax on the open waters.

Lodging in Bali ranges from small Bali bungalows to huge fancy hotels, all with basic accommodations to meet the needs of tourists. The view from your hotel will be wonderful because of the rich beauty of the area regardless of where you choose to stay.

The people of Bali are very artistic. They enjoy painting, weaving, carving, basket making, and other arts. Children are taught art from a very early age. They often display their makings to sell to the tourists.

Temples are a main attraction in Bali. They are called Pura. The temples provide an opportunity to explore religion and art of the culture. The people of Bali are still very religious, and it is very important that those visiting the Temples show respect for their religious beliefs.

Art galleries exhibit creative and attractive art work to view. Wildlife and nature reserves are popular in Bali. Many people go to get a glimpse of the very dangerous Komodo Dragon, a large lizard that is found only in the area and is extinct. The rare Java tiger is also displayed.

There are more than 400 volcanoes in Indonesia, 128 are still active. They offer a historical view of this natural creation to observe. Botanic Gardens are also a very popular attraction. Displaying flora and fauna as well as promoting conservation, people are drawn to the beauty of such attractions.

While Indonesia is a beautiful and serene place to visit, it is strongly advised at this time to be cautious with such visits due to the possibility of terrorist attacks. If you do choose to travel to the area do not travel alone and make sure you have registered with the US Embassy.

Romantic European Getaways – Famous Hotels In Europe

romantic-europeean-vacation-germany

Europe has a rich and romantic culture. You can find many museums there as well as palaces, great churches, cathedrals, chateaux, parks, and art galleries. As you can see, the places are indeed very historical and yet many modern people prefer to explore them rather than enjoying the modern attractions of other places. Because of the richness in culture and history of Europe, it provides a romantic atmosphere suitable for couples and lovers. When you’re in European countries, you will feel vibrant and alive once more. So why not arrange for a romantic vacation there?

Here are excellent places where you can have a very romantic vacation ever:

1.    Hotel Splendido – it is perched in exotic gardens and glamorous Portofino. This is a place for the rich couples and tourists where they can enjoy the beautiful sceneries such as cypress-dotted landscapes and colorful harbors. You will be able to see fishing boats and yachts jostling each other. If you’re after refinement and elegance, this is the hotel for you. It boasts of excellent service and hospitality that only a few hotels offer. The hotel overlooks a ravishing seascape and verdant woodlands. The hotel is truly unique and at the same time, it offers comfort and beauty.

2.    Hotel Cipriani – this hotel was created to let tourists experience the Venetian hospitality together with luxurious accommodations. It offers the finest cuisine and attentive service in the whole of Europe. If you want to enjoy seclusion and a very calm atmosphere, make your reservations at Cipriani.

3.    La Residencia – this is located in Deia Mallorca and is very popular for its spa resorts and luxury hotel. It is situated at the foot of the hill of Sierra Tramuntana at the northwest coast of the island. You will be able to get a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea from the hotel since it is very near the shore.

4.    Orient Express (Venice Simplon)- if you choose to stay in the Orient Express, you will have a very unique experience on wheels. This exciting ride explores the many alluring cities of Europe. You can take pleasure in the exciting rides and not only that, you will also have the grandest adventure of your life while having a romantic time with your love one.

5.    Villa San Michele – this used to be a monastery and is located at the hilltop. It is surrounded by terraced gardens and trees. It also overlooks Florence. The renaissance building of the villa in Europe will allow you to experience the unique culture of Italy and the solitude of galleries and cathedrals. When you’re a guest, you will have the privilege to explore the famous Italian gardens which boasts of beautiful roses and lemon trees; you will also have the chance to savor their Tuscan cuisine.  You can be accommodated in the private home-like alfresco loggia.

6.    Lapa Palace Hotel – this can be found in Lisbon. It is located at a hilltop and many artists, politicians, and international aristocracy often spend their time there. Room rates are reasonable and you will get inclusive breakfasts for the rest of your stay in the hotel.

These are the prominent hotels found in Europe. As you may have noticed, almost all hotels offer a romantic atmosphere which is a very unique characteristic of Europe. You can’t find that same romantic atmosphere in other countries.  Romantic European getaways are truly popular, so why spend your vacation elsewhere?

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China Transit Visa (G)

Chinese Transit visas are for persons who are staying for a short period while in transit between two other countries different from China visa service. You must have residency in the destination country or have a valid visa for it (if required).  The fee appears to be the same as for a tourist L, so check whether you might as well get a tourist L instead.

Some airports do not have an international transfer area and you might have to collect your baggage and exit into the main area so you would expect to need a visa. When you make bookings that look like you will not be checked straight through to your final destination, you are advised to ask the airline or the agent, or contact the embassy or consulate to check if a transit visa is required.
Requirements

1. Applicant’s valid passport must have at least six months of remaining validity with at least one blank visa page in it.
2. One accurately and truthfully completed Application Form.
3. One color passport standard photo (2X2 square inch) glued or stapled on the application form.
4. A valid visa to the country of destination if required.
5. An air/train/ship ticket to the final destination with confirmed departure date and seats.
How to Apply

1. You can personally submit the application to the consular office of the Chinese Embassies, Consulates and other Chinese diplomatic missions which hold consular jurisdiction over your residence.
2. Or you can entrust someone else, a travel agency or a visa agency to act on your behalf if you can’t come in person. Power of attorney is not required.
3. Mailed applications are not accepted by most of Chinese embassies or consulates in overseas.
4. No appointment is required.

Adventure Travel On Horseback

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When you think of “adventure travel,” what crosses your mind?

• Hiking?
• White water rafting?
• Scuba diving?
• Something as sedentary as a cruise ship or land rover safari?

Those ideas lose their “adventure” status when you compare them to galloping on a horse in Africa with a zebra and wildebeest racing along side you, or quietly observing the elephant and giraffe.

How can a traveler visit the remote parts of the world’s most beautiful and interesting places while…

• Practicing a fascinating sport
• Avoiding polluting
• Keeping in harmony with history and nature
• Being free to explore exotic locations
• Making friends in remote places, and
• Sharing the experience with a willing animal?

Have you ever considered the tremendous advantages of adventure travel on horseback? A horse can take you to beautiful and remote places which are difficult to reach in any other way. At the same time, you can practice a challenging sport which has been a favorite of mankind for millennia.

Destinations like Africa, Asia, Europe and South America offer a wonderful variety of adventure tours on horseback. Though comparatively little known to Americans, the British and particularly the French have highly developed the riding tour concept in many parts of the world. In many locations in the United States rights-of-way for horses have been lost, but many still exist in other countries.

Horses and horseback riding are deeply woven into the culture and history of most cultures from Argentina to Ireland. This is how our ancestors traveled and for those with a sense of history there is no more appropriate way to go. If you arrive in a foreign place on horseback, you will most likely be enthusiastically greeted by locals with waves and smiles which greatly facilitate meaningful contacts. Those who arrive by bus, on foot or on a bicycle are usually ignored. Horses are a great introduction and ice breaker almost anywhere.

If you seek a wilderness adventure, then horses are the way to go unless you want to walk and carry your equipment. Riding tours can take you from inn to inn, castle to castle, palace to palace or from one comfortable camp to another. Costs are very reasonably compared to biking or bus trips.

Horseback riding adventures vary widely in the skill and experience required to handle them safely. Most of these tours move out at all paces and include some good gallops so that one can cover 15 to 35 miles in a day. Beginners need several days of instruction before attempting even an easy trip, but those who are reasonably fit, not too overweight and have open minds can catch on very quickly. A week of intensive riding with good instruction can easily prepare most people for the less demanding adventures.

One of the enormous advantages of travel on horseback is that you are sharing the adventure with a willing animal who is also interested in the sights and sounds and who loves a brisk gallop on a beach or open plain as much as you do. A day in the saddle is also great exercise and riding is an excellent way to keep fit while having fun. It is far more interesting and satisfying than sitting confined in a bus or land rover all day which really isn’t adventure travel at all. Another dividend is the keen appetite you develop after a day in the saddle for the delicious food you will be served.

On an African ride, a good horse can outdistance an irate Cape buffalo or elephant and keep you safe. Comfortable camps are set up for you each night, the food is excellent and the service superb. Or try a horseback tour visiting the castles of the Loire Valley and ride into the courtyards on your horse like a knight of old. You can gallop along forest tracks where the French aristocracy once chased the wild stag. There is a broad spectrum of possibilities available for horseback riding vacations.

If it appeals to you to travel in harmony with nature without using polluting, noisy machines or an unresponsive bicycle, then you should look into horseback riding tours.