Caribbean Sailing Chapter One

 

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This time of year my thoughts turn to the Caribbean. Enough of the cold wind, snow, ice, and winter misery. I have decided it’s time to take a trip south and I’m taking you with me! So, get your sunglasses, swim suit, and suntan lotion and let’s go. 

First stop – www.travelguy.info for the latest travel advice, money-saving tips, and purchase our airline tickets, check our passports, obtain travel insurance, and make our hotel reservations.

 

We will be visiting St. Thomas, USVI, Tortola, BVI, Virgin Gorda BVI, Jost Van Dyke, BVI, Norman Island, BVI, Peter Island, BVI and Saba Rock, BVI. These islands are east of Puerto Rico, the red dot on the map below.

Caribe

We will start on the island of Virgin Gorda (the Fat Virgin) in the British West Indies (BVI). We purchase our airline tickets for St. Thomas in the USVI and, from there, we buy airline tickets aboard a single engine prop plane to Virgin Gorda, that’s where the adventure gets exciting!

 The airport in Virgin Gorda is right on the water and as we begin our descent, over the water, there isn’t any land below us, but you see the water coming closer and closer. Then, at the last moment, we feel the impact and we see a dirt runway as the tires hit the ground. Welcome to Virgin Gorda.

 

Saba Rock and Virgin Gorda 2The customs and immigration area consist of a small building that will accommodate, maybe, ten to twelve people at a time. Once our passports are stamped we proceed outside to obtain transportation to the dock at Baker’s Bay, Gun Creek Landing. If we are lucky, there will be a pickup or two waiting for passengers, if not, we wait until a local needing some cash arrives in his car or pickup. As far as I know, there aren’t any “real” taxis. Keep telling yourselves “this is an adventure”.

We then proceed to Gun Creek Landing (about 20-30 minutes from the airport) down a winding, bumpy road. Once arriving at the landing we phone Saba Rock, our first destination, and request the ferry. Saba Rock is a tiny island off the coast of Virgin Gorda and has only one hotel. The island is only large enough our hotel.

Free shuttle boat from Gun Creek to Saba Rock - Picture of Saba Rock, Virgin GordaPhotos of Saba Rock Resort, Virgin Gorda

We will spend a day or two here. Saba Rock is a quaint little hotel used mostly by small yacht owners who want to get off the boat awhile before sailing off to another exotic location. We have dinner there our first evening and the next morning we have coffee and watch the boats as they prepare for another excursion in the Caribbean. After coffee, we catch the ferry to the Bitter End Yacht Club (just across the channel from Saba Rock, 5 min.) to enjoy a day of relaxing and soaking up the warm Caribbean sun.

 

After returning to Saba Rock and getting dressed for the evening (long pants and a casual shirt) we once again catch the ferry bound for Biras Creek Resort (pronounced “beer us”). We arrive before sundown and have a drink on their large outdoor patio overlooking the bay. There are hundreds of small sailing yachts in the bay with their bright white masts standing tall in the late afternoon sun. As the sun begins its descent into the sea, we witness the bay turning many shades of red, gold, purple and orange, beautiful)…then a 5 star dinner and return to Saba Rock for a nightcap, hammock, and the glorious Caribbean moon overhead. It is a gorgeous full moon (more on the “full moon” later in the trip!)

 

The next day our captain arrives with his 40′ Beneteau sailing yacht. This yacht is equipped with two queen size staterooms with their own head (bathroom to the landlubbers), galley, and two dining areas! Our captain is with his First Mate (his wife) who will, over the next several days, prepare the most delicious, eye-pleasing gourmet meals!

We load our gear, mostly swimsuit, t-shirts, flip-flops, and a toothbrush and off we sail on our Caribbean adventure. An adventure that will take us to unoccupied, warm, white sand beaches, beach bars made from driftwood, water activities, and a nightlife you might not expect!

Check back next week for Chapter Two of our adventure.

 

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Airlines and airports look to take the pain out of boarding planes

indexDo you hear “mooing” when you get in the boarding line?  Do you look for the guy with the cattle prod?  FINALLY, a chance to feel less “bovine” and more “human!  The airlines are looking to board passengers more efficiently.  This CNN article explains the current research being done to solve that problem.  What’s the most efficient way to board a plane? Rear to front, randomly or by adapting scientifically calculated methods?

Over the years airlines have experimented with ways to get passengers seated as quickly as possible, but only with recent technology have some real alternatives been made possible.

Research by Boeing showed that the pace at which passengers board a plane has slowed by 50% since 1970. Reasons might include a longer list of priority boarders and more carry-on baggage blocking the aisles.

Quicker boarding time means airlines save money; $30 for every minute saved, according to studies.

images“Planes make money in the air, not on the ground,” Jan van Helden, project leader for KLM’s “Smarter Boarding” program told CNN.

So, is there an ultimate boarding method? Not yet, but here are some of the efforts that have been made by airports, airlines and even one astrophysicist.

Read the complete article here.

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Why you really get sick on planes – and how to prevent it

imagesbIf you’re about to fly somewhere for Christmas, you’re probably dreading the possibility that you’ll catch a bug along the way. And with good reason: Many people come down with something nasty in the days following an airplane flight. Why does this happen, and how can you keep yourself from getting sick?

A couple I met on a plane flight prompted me to find out. I met Tom and Nancy some years back on a trip from Boston to Phoenix. The two of them were on their way to San Francisco to visit with Tom’s sister for the week. A few seconds after we’d introduced ourselves, the smell of antiseptic drew my attention away from the baggage handlers on the tarmac loading luggage into the belly of the plane; each of my row-mates was armed with a disinfectant wipe. Tom was busy wiping down his tray table, and Nancy had already moved on to dabbing purposefully at her seat’s headrest. I asked if she brought cleaning supplies on all her plane flights.

“Our doctor recommended it to us a few years ago,” she said as she reached for her clutch bag, withdrew a powder-blue face mask and began looping its elastic straps over her ears. “We’ve been bringing wipes on all our plane flights ever since.”

And the mask, I ask her. What is that for? “It’s to help filter the air,” she explained from behind the mask, its pleats expanding slightly as she mouthed-out her word. “The air you’re breathing is being recirculated through the cabin — we’re all breathing one another’s air.

“It’s disgusting,” she concluded as she reached back into her bag and pulled out two more masks. She handed one to Tom and presented the other to me. “Would you like one?”

Do we have to turn into Nancy and Tom to stay healthy on a plane flight? Yes and no.

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Click here to find out!

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Avoid jet lag: Getting a workout at the airport

exercise02c

There are many ways to avoid jet lag, from setting your watch to the destination time before you leave, giving you time to adjust healthy eating prior to  your trip, avoid alcohol during the trip.  I think the best way is exercise.  If you get your heart beating you can beat jet lag.  Here is an article focused on the subject:

It’s far too easy to become a slug when you’re on the road. But staying active offers business travelers an edge: the benefits of working out while traveling include stress reduction and an increased ability to combat jet lag.

Travelers passing through Canada’s largest airport, Toronto Pearson International, now have an extra advantage: an airport health club.

GoodLife Fitness, which has over 300 locations across Canada, has opened a branch in the Terminal 1 Arrivals area (presecurity), offering a 10,000-square-foot workout area, changing rooms with showers, towel service and luggage storage. No workout clothing? No excuse: Workout clothing and sneakers are available for rent. A daily pass is CND $15, or US $14.58. Hours: 4:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

“From personal experience I know what a tremendous difference it makes to my travel experience when I workout before I get on the plane, as well as my productivity and alertness when I land,” GoodLife founder and CEO David “Patch” Patchell-Evans said in a statement. “We want to make it easier for all travelers, coming in and out of Toronto Pearson, to be able to experience the same great benefits as I have.”

Click here to read the full article.

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Ask in Advance to Have Hotel Safe and Parking Fees Taken Off Your Bill

I’ve had this happen to me before and it can add up!  This article, from Lifehacker, helps to bring items to mind for traveling.Hotel fees

We’ve railed against outrageous hotel fees before, but if you don’t have the luxury of switching hotels, ask the desk a couple of questions as soon as you check in to make sure you’re not charged for service you won’t use, like an in-room safe, or hotel parking if you’ve flown in, for example.

Staying in a hotel comes with its own array of fees and taxes, some of which make sense, but others can be tacked on with no thought to whether or not you’re actually using the service you’re paying for. More than once I’ve seen people review their folio well after they’ve returned home from vacation only to find that a hotel they flew in and took a cab to had then charged them a daily parking fee. Ask the desk when you check in if parking is automatically added to your bill, and ask them to remove it if you’re not using it.

Similarly, many hotels charge fees for the in-room safe, regardless of whether you actually use the safe or not. You can debate this one after the fact with or without success (since after you’ve checked out, there’s no way to prove you’ll use the safe), but it’s better dealt with up front.Hotel safe According to Wise Bread:

In most modern hotel rooms you’ll probably find a safe bolted to the floor in the closet or near the entryway. This safe is available to guests if they notice it, if they have something to put in it, and if they choose to use it. For most guests, I assume the safe becomes just part of the visual landscape in the room — like the dressers that no one really uses or the tiny coffee makers that make really bad coffee. But the safe is quite different from all of those other objects. Why? Because you’re being charged for it every single day of your stay. Typically, the in-room safe fee runs about $1–$3 per day, and it’s added to your bill whether you use the safe or not.

Avoiding getting hit with the safe charge is relatively simple if you act promptly. Upon check-in, scout around quickly for a safe. If you find one, but don’t plan on using it to stash your pearls, call the front desk. Tell them you won’t be using the safe and request that they deduct the fee from your bill (and then make sure they’ve actually done it when it’s time to check out).

 

Click here to read the entire article.

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Top 10 travel mistakes and how not to make them

I just ran across an article from NBC News Travel that spoke directly to me.  I have made most of the mistakes listed in this article!  I wanted to post their article here so you can prevent the same from happening to you.

Top 10 travel mistakes and how not to make them

 

July 18, 2013 at 9:31 AM ET

 

Stefano Rellandini / Reuters
A classic travel mistake is to stick to the beaten path. When in Venice, for example, sneak away from the popular squares and get lost among unforgettable neighborhoods most Americans never set foot in.

Even the dreamiest of trips can go off the rails when you fall into one of these all-too-common travel traps. We’ve been there—and we’ve brought back advice on foolproof booking, smart sightseeing, and making the most of every minute.

Even the most meticulously planned trip is subject to snafus, but with a little insider know-how, you can avoid making the common mistakes that can derail a vacation. Stick to the guidelines below, and you’re more likely to have a trip that’s memorable not for lost luggage and rushed sightseeing, but for the thrill of discovering a new place and savoring it.

Not booking enough connection time between flights
Leaving a window of at least an hour and a half between connecting flights will significantly drop your chances of missing your flight or having your luggage lost, says Sally Watkins, travel agent at Century Travel and Cruises in Austin, Texas. Having only 45 minutes to connect between flights might seem doable — not to mention the siren call of less lag time spent hanging out at a dismal food court — but it’s often not enough, especially in large airports where the gates could be far apart. Don’t rely on airlines to do the math for you, either: “Flights can’t be booked unless it is a legitimate change time according to that airport, and usually if it’s the minimum change time and airlines let you book that, they will make it work,” Watkins says.

Not applying for your passport early enough
Routine passport processing takes about four to six weeks, so as soon as you start planning for your trip, apply for a passport if you need one, or make sure the one you already have hasn’t expired. Plus, in certain countries you need at least six months’ worth of validity remaining to enter, says Elizabeth Finan, spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. (Go to travel.state.gov for more information.) If your trip is coming up quicker than that, you can shell out $60 to cut the processing time to two to three weeks, but if you’re planning to board a plane in less than two weeks, make an appointment at your local passport agency by calling 877/487-2778. The $60 fee still applies. If you’ve traveled so much you’ve practically worn out your passport, flip through it as a precaution: “Frequent travelers should make sure that they have enough pages in their passports,” says Finan. “For example, South African law requires travelers to have one fully blank visa page in the passport; without the requisite number of pages, you may be refused entry.” No one wants that.

 

Read more   CLICK HERE to go to the article.

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Cheap Airfare

How to Get Cheap FlightsCheap-Airline-Tickets

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Airline ticket prices vary considerably day-to-day, from airline to airline. Where and when you purchase your ticket also affects the price you pay. Ticket prices sometimes vary so much that some people claim no two seats on the flight cost the same amount unless they are purchased together by the same person. Save money on airline tickets and find cheap flights by being a smart consumer.

Steps

  1. Look for deals online. Some will be offered through online auction sites, others through the sites for airlines themselves. It is a good idea to sign up to email alerts for deals that are happening.
  • Search online travel sites like travelocity.com, cheapflights.com, expedia.com, hotwire.com, farecast.com, kayak.com, and bestfares.com, etc. (there are also many more, new ones appear regularly online). Check at least three before making your selection, since fares can vary by hundreds of dollars.
  • Check the airline’s website. Before making a purchase on a travel site, head to the actual airline’s website. Sometimes, booking through the airline itself can snag you a cheaper seat.
  • Look closely at online auction deals. Some of these will offer very cheap flights because people can’t take a trip they’ve paid for and cannot get a refund. Just be sure to check that it is possible to change the ticket from their name to yours before purchasing though (there is usually a fee involved for doing this).
  • If you have them, use frequent flier miles when you can. Try not to be boxed into one airline, but take advantage of miles when you can.

Compare Rates Among Airlines

  1. Check out airlines known for offering cheap flight deals. They will often outdo their competitors but be careful to read the fine print. Many cheap flights mean no cargo baggage and lots of conditions on missing the flight (usually meaning you lose the flight if you miss it, and you have to pay again). Sometimes really cheap flights aren’t worth the hassles incorporated into them, so be very careful.
  2. Call the airlines directly as soon as you know your travel frame to find their cheapest rate.
    • Most airlines only offer a limited number of seats on each flight at their lowest rates and those seats usually sell out quickly.
    • Time frames and rate terms vary for each airline, but many advance booking discounts and offers are good until a week or two before the flight.
  3. Look to travel at the lowest class possible. This means no first class, business class, or economy premium class travel. You bargain-hunter, are stuck at the back in economy “fifth class”. But hey, if you still get there in one piece, a bargain is a bargain!
  4. Stay flexible on your departure days and times to take advantage of the cheapest flights. If your trip is less than a week, you may need to travel mid-week to mid-week. Many ticket deals require a Saturday stay.
  5. Book your flight well in advance of your travel time, after getting quotes from multiple airlines, if you find a cheap flight through a lowest-rate offer.
  6. Find a better price before booking your flight if the initial quotes are too high. Consider flying out of or into a different airport, as ticket rates may vary widely depending on where you depart and arrive. When comparing savings, be sure to factor in costs you will incur if you change airports.
    • Sometimes taking a bus or train for part of the trip and then taking a flight for the remainder of the journey is the cheapest way to travel.
    • If your plans include a car rental, rates at the alternate airport could provide a savings or an expense increase. You can usually find rental rates online by going to the airport’s website and following its links to local rental companies.
  7. In the United States, call the airline’s 800 number and ask for their lowest fare—without giving specific travel dates. Service representatives often don’t tell you about lower fares that are just a day or two before or after your target date.
    • When calling airlines, always be polite and friendly. Studies show service people will go the extra mile for you if you’re nice to them.

Find Last-Minute Cheap Flights

  1. Check the airline’s websites to see what deals they are offering.
    • When advance booking of a plane doesn’t lead to expected capacity, airlines often discount the remaining seats.
    • Last-minute discount rates might be available up to 10 days in advance of flights. However, the cheapest rates are often days before a flight is scheduled to depart.
  2. Look in the classified section of your local newspaper. Many airlines run ads that give prices on cheap flights out of local airports available that week.
  3. Call surrounding airports to inquire whether cancellations have made cheap tickets available. Ask to put your name on a stand-by list for future cancellations if the price is cheap but no seats are open.

Video

Tips

  • Explore various flight options. Sometimes taking connecting flights where you have to change planes, or one-stop flights where the plane make a stop along the way can be cheaper than a nonstop flight.
  • Cheap flights may be available if you redeem frequent flier point or participate in other promotional programs airlines offer.
  • Travel during slow seasons when airlines are offering cheap flights trying to fill seats on planes that are taking off under capacity. Cheap flight deals are commonly available in the fall and right after the first of the year.
  • Discount carriers like Southwest and JetBlue don’t always show up on travel sites, so search their websites directly.
  • For the UK, check out RyanAir and EasyJet. For Australia check out Tiger Airlines.
  • For New Zealand, Air New Zealand has regular deals such as “grab-a-seat” online; you can sign up to regular email alerts.

Warnings

  • If you have to be at your destination by a particular time, be careful about waiting too close to your departure time before purchasing your ticket. If you do not have your seat reserved a week before, you need to be there you run the risk of not being able to get a flight. This is especially true of flights to popular destinations and during peak travel season.
  • Always factor in the cost of getting to the airport and to your destination sites from the airport. Suddenly a cheap fare becomes very expensive when a very long taxi or train fare is added in some places!
  • Never forget taxes, departure taxes, GSTs/VATs and incidentals. And always read the fine print.
  • Be careful of midnight tick-overs when booking. If you wait too long to book your flight, prices can change as soon as midnight in your region or in the airline’s region ticks over. Bear this in mind when hesitating; nasty surprises in price increases are not unusual when delaying making a decision!

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Get Cheap Flights. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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Good Travel Sites

virtual-tourist

If you are looking for information about a particular hotel, country, whatever, try Virtual tourist.   You can ask questions and people who follow here will provide  answers.  Like, “what areas of town do I want to avoid?”  Learn from the experiences of others.  These are people, just like you and me, who travel a lot and are willing to help fellow travelers and make their trip more exciting, informative, and, well, fun.  Avoid doing all the hard work yourself and take advantage of others experiences.  Try  Virtual Tourist  

 

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