My drop-down menu contains by no means a comprehensive list of helpful travel links. But with your help, maybe it will. Someday. Feel free to suggest a few sites by using the “comment” form below.
Here are a few of the sites I have relied upon during the planning of my “around the world” adventure. For example, I have a link in the menu for The United State Custom Service’s Global Entry Program. If you do a lot of traveling overseas, you probably know about it.
Global Entry is like Homeland Security’s Pre✓ program on steroids. Global Entry offers you the domestic pre-flight TSA security conveniences of Pre✓, but it’s main job is letting you virtually glide through Customs upon your return to the States after traveling abroad. Simply walk up to a handy U.S. Custom’s kiosk, scan your passport and your fingerprints, submit an electronic declaration on the screen and…go! No steely-eyed glares from bored, burned-out Customs officers. No fumbling for your declaration form.
TSA’s Pre✓ costs $85. Global Entry is $100 and includes all of the same domestic “known traveler” benefits as Pre✓. And for both, enrollment is good for five years
Now, I’ve heard rumors, all unsubstantiated, that having Global Entry privileges can help smooth the Customs experience in places like the U.K. But don’t hold me to that. None of what I’ve been told would hold up in court. But I’m assuming that, in this day and age, having a “known traveler” number probably wouldn’t hurt.
I also have included a link to LuggageForward, a brilliant concept and a godsend. For example…part of my trip includes a seven-week “farewell” cruise on the Ryndam. Prior to the cruise, I’m spending a week in the U.K., specifically Dublin and London. I certainly don’t want to be dragging around a monster suitcase with everything I’ll need on my cruise and beyond. So, LuggageForward will come to my house in Tampa a week before I leave, pick up my bag, and then magically have it sitting in my stateroom on the ship when I arrive in Harwich. But wait…there’s more. If I was also going skiing in the Alps or playing a few rounds in Scotland, LuggageForward would handle the safe transport of my skis and clubs.
LuggageForward is not just limited to getting your stuff from Point A to Point B. They’ll also move it from Point B to Point C, D and E. When I (finally) get off the Ryndam in Singapore, I’m heading off to Bali, Australia and Hawaii. Meanwhile, LuggageForward will pick up that 50 pounder at my Singapore hotel, The Royal Plaza, and have it waiting for me at the Wyndham in San Diego when I check in three weeks later. Then, all I have to do is drag it across the street to the Celebrity Infinity for the cruise back to Florida.
With all of the fees for checking baggage these days, and the hassle of wrestling with a 50 lbs. bag, the cost is worth every penny.
If you’re already a seasoned cruiser, I don’t need to tell you about Vacations To Go. But if you’re new to this form of travel and curious how to get the best deals, VTG is the place to go. If you’re not sure where you want to go, where you want to leave from, what cruise line you want to use, when you want to leave and how long you want to travel, VTG is an amazing resource. I recently did a search on their website for ships leaving Tampa in 2016 that are heading to Europe on what they call a “repositioning cruise.” I found a 14-day sailing to Copenhagen on Norwegian. Only two ports of call — Bermuda and the Azores. A balcony stateroom with drink package: $1200, double occupancy.
You can’t stay at a Holiday Express – and feed yourself – anywhere near that price. Oh, and if you flew? You could probably shop around and find a cheaper fare, but flying out of JFK on American would cost you $3000.
Per person. One-way. Food and drinks not included.
Yes. I put a deposit on the cruise.
Anyway, I’m hoping this section of Magellanitis becomes a living, breathing entity with suggestions offered by you and the legions of travelistas who stumble across this site.