Viking Ocean Cruises’ award-winning performance

FAVOURITE CRUISE PORTS I love Australia. I was on board Rhapsody of the Seas in 2007 – the first Royal Caribbean ship to be deployed to Australia – and I am very much looking forward to returning to Sydney Harbour with Ovation of the Seas on December 15.

INSIDER TIP Travel with an open mind, learn from other cultures and enjoy every moment.

TIP

Millions of pieces of luggage go missing every year on international flights. While most are found and returned to owners, it’s helpful to keep tabs on your own bags, using a remote tracker such as LugLoc. See lugloc.com

Read more: http://www.traveller.com.au/the-cruise-director-gqasii#ixzz4JOhRL0ES

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Luggage can be funny

No, really, there are lots of humorous stories involving luggage out there. Discovering things we thought were lost; having to lug a large bag around awkwardly; getting stopped at security for a strange, unexpected reason… these things happen. And if you have the right attitude, after you get over the frustration, it’s helpful to laugh about it and be happy you have a story to tell at parties.

NJS Kaye, author of “Items May Have Shifted: How to Travel With Your Baby or Toddler,” shares a fun story about something that usually isn’t funny—losing your luggage. In 2000, Kaye lost her luggage while traveling to Morocco.

“I wasn’t an optimal packer at that time, so the most useful thing in my carry-on bag was a sweater—which, in August, was not very helpful in North Africa,” she says. After several calls to the airline turned up nothing, she bought some extra underwear and lived with “very, very little” for a few weeks, until she was at the airport in Casablanca.

“I passed through the baggage area on my way to departures,” she says. “There, in a corner, in a sea of other luggage, was my bag, with all the tags torn off but the lock still in place. I ran for it and made a flying leap to land on top of it, yelling, ‘That’s mine!’

“Nobody even blinked an eye at me heaving it up and dashing to make my flight home—this was pre-9/11. When I got home, I unpacked my perfectly packed bag.”

Since then, she tries to make due with carry-on luggage, but that can backfire.

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“On one international trip, my 5-year-old twin boys stuffed Star Wars Nerf blasters in their backpacks without my knowledge. (They) look remarkably like sawed-off semi-automatic rifles. That did not go over well at security.”

Sophia Dembling, author of “100 Places in the USA Every Woman Should Go” once had her checked luggage searched, and the officials used a plastic-pull-through locking tab to close it. That led to a tricky situation.

“Since I couldn’t carry anything sharp on board, when I got to my hotel late at night and realized what had happened, I also had nothing to cut the tab off with,” Dembling says. “I finally found a book of matches in my carry-on and managed to melt it off.”

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Candace Johnson, of Change it Up Editing and Writing Services, has a cute, and touching, memory about her grandmother’s engagement ring. After Johnson’s grandmother moved into a nursing home, her engagement ring went missing. A dutiful search of her room, including her suitcase, didn’t result in the ring, and an insurance claim for the 55-year-old ring was made.

“A decade later and after both grandparents had passed away, my brother was sorting through their few remaining personal items in preparation for donating them to charity, and he decided to search through my grandmother’s suitcase one more time,” Johnson says. “Between the fabric lining and the suitcase, he found her engagement ring; apparently, it had been tucked away in a fabric pocket for safe keeping but had slipped through a small hole in the lining. Today, the diamond sits on the hand of his own bride of 22 years; I think that would have made my grandparents so happy.”

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What do you do when you need to go to the bathroom, but can’t get your bag through the door to the bathroom?

This recently happened to Megan Stetzel, who blogs about travel at ForksAndFootprints.com, when she was at a bus station in a town on the Mexican border.

“I was traveling solo, which meant I needed to bring my luggage with me to the bathroom like I had done many times before,” she says. “At the time my luggage was a 40-pound backpacking backpack and a small day bag. I got to the restroom and there was a fee to use it, which is not uncommon in Mexico. However, the challenging aspect was the gate to get into the bathroom was a rotating, revolving door that I could not fit into holding my bag.

“After a failed attempt, or five, I wound up having to throw my large bag over the top of the 10-plus-foot metal gate and then run to hurry through it with my small bag before someone could swipe it. There was no air conditioning in the station and by the time I finished with the bathroom and made it back through the gate, I was completely soaked in sweat from the exertion of it all and had to sit down because I was laughing so hard at the outrageousness of the situation. It made for a hilarious snapchat!

But let’s face it, losing your luggage is rarely funny. Keep track of your bags with the LugLoc luggage locator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free musically hearts lacking in downloading apps

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Traveling With Kids Is Possible and Suggested

 

Car seats, stroller, diaper bags, the joy of plane traveling with children. Let’s face it: if your destination requires a flight and you have young kids, then you better do some planning in advance. Don’t get me wrong, traveling with kids isn’t always a nightmare. In fact, lots of people really enjoy those moments that today may seem impossible to imagine. Whether you are taking your kids with you because you can’t even consider a vacation without them and your chest hurts just by picturing it, or because you can’t seem to find the most responsible and perfect babysitter. Let’s take a look at these tips that can help you know more about how to travel with your children and enjoy your free days from the first moment.

Take Your Time: You Both Need It

Forget about those years and experiences when everything you did was last minute. With children, you always need extra time. Kids sometimes just want to explore, while other times they are sleepy or cranky and need a moment or two to feel better. When properly managed kids can be made to feel comfortable and excited about the journey they are about to take. There are days when they need a quick nap or simply play and do something they really enjoy instead of walking from A to B or going from one museum to another attraction nonstop. Keep the activities coming and, depending on the age of your kids, take with you a small collection of toys to be handed out, puzzles, stickers or coloring books. And no more long days without stopping, for everyone’s sake. Downtime is not a waste.

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Don’t Bring More Stuff Than You Can Carry

There’s no doubt: your packing list with essentials is longer than it used to be. Since you are a parent, sometimes you will need to do everything with just one hand as the other one has to be free for your child. It’s a fine line between carrying everything you need in case of an emergency (when you have kids, cold weather can be considered an emergency if you don’t have enough winter coats), and something you can carry easily. Backpacks are an awesome choice. Clothes, snacks, a blanket and a pillow, a box of wipes and the list goes on and on. Welcome to minimalism!

Stick to One Hotel And Be Flexible with Routines

Perhaps it’s a better idea to just stay at one hotel the first time and analyze how the journey with your kids goes. You’ll have plenty of moments to trip around and move from one place to another. If you have the possibility, it’s always a plus to book a hotel with amenities: a pool, playground or game room will give them a place to expel a little energy. And, not less important, if your kid sleeps in a crib, you can bring your own (if space allows for it and it’s not the heaviest) instead of asking for one and facing the fact that not all the cribs are as clean as yours. True, it’s a new place to sleep so try to be so flexible with a sleep schedule and you’ll be less frustrated.

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Traveling with kids is the best possible way for parents and children to bond with each other. Trip after trip, you will realize that it gets easier and easier. Don’t be surprised that kids are very good at adapting to new environments. What’s more, the younger you start traveling with your children, the quicker they become excellent travel companions.

Tell us more about your experiences traveling with kids!

 

 

 

 

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Luggage That’s Special

Some people look at a piece of luggage and see little more than a bag to put things in when they take a trip, but for others, their luggage is special.

It might be that luggage is more than a place to keep your clothes and essentials, as it holds memories of trips taken around the world. Or maybe it was a gift from someone special, or it’s something you’re comfortable with and traveling without it wouldn’t be right.

Whatever the reason, if you’re sentimental about your luggage, don’t fret, because you aren’t alone. That’s why we asked people to tell us the stories behind their luggage.

Yuchun Cheng is a San Francisco-based jewelry designer and the founder of S for Sparkle. She was born in Taiwan, where her father made combination locks for luggage and suitcases. The story behind her bag is truly inspirational.

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“My father gave me a suitcase with his combination locks on it after I got a green card in 2014,” Cheng says. Since opening her business last year, she has attended many craft shows and always brings that suitcase with her.

“Every time I pack with all my show booth setup in this suitcase, I think of the day I decided to move 6,000 miles away from home so I can give myself a chance to build my own future in my own terms,” Cheng says. “Every time I drag this suitcase to a craft show, I think of my family, and hope one day I would make them feel proud. When I unpack, I would put my guard down and cry a little telling myself it’s going to be worthwhile. After 15 plus craft shows, this suitcase is still in good shape but all scratched up. It’s more than just a suitcase, it’s a reminder of my own promise.”

Zondra Wilson is an actress and model and president and CEO of Blu Skin Care, her own line of organic skin products. With a career devoted to glamor and beauty, it’s an old Cleveland Indians tote bag, given to her by her mother, that holds a special place in her heart.

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“I’ve had it at least 15 years,” Wilson says. “My mom passed on Sunday, May 26, 2013. I still carry it to this day. I love it because it represents my hometown and it’s something my mom gave me before she passed.”

Joy Donnell is an entrepreneur, sustainable luxury advocate and Editor-in-Chief of Vanichi Magazine. Her special bag is a Cole Haan cordovan leather suitcase that she’s had for nearly 20 years.

“The bag still exudes simple sophistication with gently rounded edges, a gorgeous brass combination lock and pinstripe lining that is its own work of art,” Donnell says. “The moment I saw it on the shelf, I knew it would be mine. It held a certain dream and promise for me about the woman I am and the woman I would become.”

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What makes it special is that it’s the first piece of luggage she purchased with her own money, just as she had finished college and was about to start her career. She still uses it for weekend getaways and short business trips.

“Sometimes I even find excuses to use it,” she says. “Back then, it was a bit of a splurge item but it was worth it to me because the bag symbolized the beginning of the rest of my adult life: independence, elegance and travel.”

Sarah Lisovich is the senior editor and content strategist at CIA Medical. A regular traveler, she says that regardless of who she travels with, it’s her luggage that’s her partner in crime.

“I first got my luggage as a gift from my family at age 18, when I went on my first trip out of the country to Italy,” she says. “It served me well, and ever since then, I have accumulated stickers from every country I have visited. In this way, my luggage has become personalized and recognizable, making it a testament to my travels, like a passport filled with stamps.”

Losing any of these special bags would be terrible for their owners. The LugLoc luggage locator app can help you make sure that your luggage, and its contents, are safe and secure.

 

 

 

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The Era of the Ecotourism

Over the last couple of years, travelers have been looking for more ways to get involved and give back. In case you’ve never heard about this trend, it’s called ecotourism, a more responsible and sustainable way of traveling is possible. With all the wonder that comes with discovery, there is no better education than travel. Why? It’s the most wonderful way to open your eyes to different cultures and ways of living and, fortunately, we can protect those places we visit in simple but effective steps.

We can all enjoy a “greener” trip. Ecotourism is defined by the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) as, “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”. This concept talks about visiting a place as a tourist and trying to make only a positive impact on the environment, society and economy. A little respect for those who call the location their home, you know?

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Conservation of an area’s resources, such as energy and water, and preservation of the land and wildlife are important aspects of ecotourism. Taking into account that this industry is one of the world’s fastest-growing one it’s essential for itself to reduce the sustainable consequences to make a real impact. Obviously, the hard work needs to be shared both ways and travelers should do their part. Although many people adopt green habits at home (by recycling or turning off the faucet when they brush their teeth), the challenge is to encourage environmentally-friendly manners when they’re on holiday too.

Eco has become a buzzword, because people are starting to realize that a new way of living and traveling is necessary. It’s simply a new form of enriching your travel experience and, at the same time, contributing to make the world a better place.

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Here are some tips you can start today to embrace this concept:

  1. A green hotel stay: choose to reuse your sheets and towels, take short showers, turn off the air conditioner and use less electricity. If you want to find a hotel that has sustainable practices, check the Green Hotels Association.
  1. Local tour cities on foot: if you have the option, walk. There’s no better way than understanding the place you’re visiting than doing it with a local. They tend to know the area best, of course. TourPal is a smartphone travel guide application that provide users with multilingual audio tours, created by professional tour guides, another great option. Are you prepared for the adventure?

  1. Take care of the place: leave it as you found it or even better.
  1. Spread the word: you green habits need to be passed on to others so that they can enjoy this new way of traveling and help making a positive impact for all.

Have you tried this new way of traveling abroad? Can you share some other tips with the community?

 

 

 

 

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