Look at these specials just announced today….by Princess Cruises
1. 13 Day New Zealand at $1199……….2. 16 Day Andes and South America at $1699……..3. 10 Day SE Asia at $949
4. 10 Day Eastern Caribbean at $849………5. 10 Day Southern Caribbean at $899.…….6. 15 Day Panama Canal at $1399.
These are excellent prices….and Princess is one of the Best…so e-mail me for details, options, etc email@example.com
Chapter 4 What’s On Your List
In Chapter 3 we talked about Making a List, or Lists…and this chapter will cover what you may want to include on that “list”….for the items on this list can “make or break” your travels. In addition to the “list”….there are some basics to include in your carry on, and I got the following from a travel blogger, Jamie.
When you think of the best parts travel, immersing yourself in new cultures and eating authentic food probably sound more appealing than flying to your destination. But, when you have the right things with you, your flight can be the ideal time to relax and dream of all the discovery to come! To make your time in the sky even more enjoyable, we reached out to Go Ahead staff to hear which products they always pack in their carry-on bags. Here are ten of their favorites to have with you the next time you take to the skies.
One thing is for sure: Digging for your passport and other travel documents isn’t nearly as fun as digging into culture. That’s why having a functional travel wallet on hand is a must—and why we love the colorful selection made by Zoppen. With well-organized pockets for your boarding pass, money, cell phone, and more, you’re guaranteed to have everything you need at the ready. Plus, the wallet’s RFID-blocking material prevents anyone from electronically nabbing ID info and credit card numbers, so you can stroll through busy terminals at ease (and in style!).
If you’ve ever arrived at an airport’s security line just in time to remember you’ll need to toss the full water bottle in your bag, this tip’s for you. Next time you pack up your carry-on essentials, bring along an empty water bottle. You can fill it once you’re through security instead of paying high airport prices for a bottle while waiting to board your flight. Then, you’ll be able to refill it during your adventure (as long as it’s safe to drink tap water at your destination). We love the Hydro Flask bottles, which are insulated to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot, making it easier to stay hydrated while quenching your thirst for adventure.
A good read
Far-off places spring to life from the pages of a good book, and bringing a travel-centric tale along during your flight is sure to get you dreaming of all the adventure to come. The Go Ahead team is full of top travel book recommendations, but one of our staff favorites is The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. In it, Weiner says there’s a link between inspiring destinations and overall happiness… and we can’t argue with that!
If you’d rather catch up on a good flick while coasting through the sky, noise-canceling headphones are the way to go. While quite reprieves may be hard to come by on busy flights, these headphones help keep any outside noise (think: crying babies) at bay while you tune into your movie or music. Want an option that won’t break the bank? Check out Sony’s over-the-ear headphones, which are comfortable enough for long trips and fold up when you’re ready to pack them away.
Enjoy passing the time on flights by watching movies on your tablet? A portable charger is the thing to bring. One of our top picks is the Jackery Bolt, a small-but-reliable external battery charger with built-in cords. It can provide a medium-sized smartphone with up to two full charges and give tablets and other electronics with USB ports more life. Simply plug the charger in overnight to give it some juice before you take off, and all you’ll need to think about is filling up your wine glass on tour instead of running out of battery in the air.
Like a good travel wallet, a roomy toiletry bag is a must for wrangling all of your in-flight essentials, and one of our favorites is the Herschel Supply Co. Chapter Travel Kit. The good-looking material is sturdy, the interior is roomy, and you can simply pop your plastic gallon baggie full of 3-oz liquids inside. That way, you won’t need to go rooting around in the bottom of your tote for lotion when your parched hands need some love mid-flight.
While meeting new people is one of the best parts of travel, picking up any germs (or sharing your own) undoubtedly dampen the adventure. That’s why using antibacterial wipes is always a good idea, and Purell’s travel packs are a good go-to. You can clean your hands, tray tables, and armrests in flight for a germ-free journey, and then tuck the package in a convenient place—the wipes aren’t considered a liquid so you don’t need to worry about keeping them in your gallon baggie.
An airplane cabin’s dry, recycled air can do a number to your skin, so it’s key to have a good moisturizing cream on hand (get it?). We love L’Occitane en Provence’s creams, which hydrate without feeling greasy—and call to mind bright fragrances in the South of France. If you’re hoping to sleep as you coast through the sky, opt for the lavender scent for an extra splash of relaxation.
A refreshing wake-up may be just what you need after snoozing mid-flight, and a minty lip balm should do the trick. One of our favorites is Smith’s Rosebud Perfume Co. Minted Rose Lip Balm. It hydrates while providing an invigorating kick and a light tint, all in a compact, pretty tin.
For the trip itself, let’s start with the obvious…your camera or camera phone, and the charger. Your IPad, if you use it for photos, and its charger. If you use your IPad for Kindle, then be sure you have the books you want to read downloaded while you have an internet service available. Sun glasses are always needed, and you might think about a case to keep them from breaking. If you like to take notes of things you see, or memorable things that happen on the trip, take along a writing tablet or note pad, and a couple of pens that work. Maybe for you it is your daily Diary. Binoculars always come in handy, but get a good one. REI is where I got mine…very pleased and only $100. A small umbrella is always good to take, for even though you may be in an area where it is not suppose to rain, be prepared in case weather turns bad. Just keep it small. Sunscreen may be needed, so stick in a tube, but it has to be the right size. For the flight, air sickness or Jet Lag pills may work, and the same for sea sickness. Slippers for the long flights are often well used, as well as a neck brace and eye covers and ear plugs. Always good if you plan on sleeping on the flight. And, if you take medications, be sure you have them with you on the flight, not in your checked luggage.
We covered the correct clothes, coats, and hats previously….but also think about personal security. If you have a fanny pack or a pouch, be sure it is RFID, which protects valuables for potential theft of private information. If you carry a purse, be sure it is RFID and has a way to strap it to your body. Men’s wallets should be kept in the front pocket of pants, not in the back pocket. If you use a back pack, they are great but can be accessed from the back, and you might want to look at one that you can carry in front of you, as well as on your back. If you are in a big crowded area, keep the pack in front of you with your arms around it. Speaking of personal security.…let’s think about the credit card and cash that you carry. First, be sure and notify your credit card company that you will be traveling outside the US, and they will probably ask what countries, and the dates, so have this handy. And, be sure and mention that you may be using both a credit and debit card. Regarding US dollars, in cash, for the most part will not be accepted in stores. Use a credit or debit card. However, dollars can be used for hotel tips, etc. but again, not widely accepted. Local cash, which you can get at ATM’s, which are very accessible, is the way to go. I do not recommend keeping much cash on you (maybe $100 converted to local currency) as you can use your debit card for almost all purchases. This process is much more common outside the US than in the US. We will talk more about getting local currency once you arrive at the in-country airport.
Now that you have done your pre trip planning, your pre-trip packing, and have your list of items to take, you are ready to depart and head to the airport. Chapter 5 will deal with “The Airport”….from getting there to taking off….stay tuned.
Chapter 3 Make A List
Make a List. I started making a list when I started traveling in 1960, while on a UCLA project to India. We did not have a lot of choice, as our Faculty Leader said, ” you can take 1 suitcase, and it has to be small”. Well, for a 20 year old college student that grew up with a Mom that said “wear clean clothes every day”, this was not going to be an easy task. But, I made it…and I made it because of My List.
Then for 10 years, while I was with World Vision and traveled someplace every week, the list was critical, and to this day, I make a list for every trip. In fact, now I make a couple of lists. One is for the trip, and one is to prepare for the trip, and let’s start with this one. From stopping the paper, (and yes, some people still get a newspaper), to stopping the mail, to planning out how the dogs and cats will be cared for, make that list for your departure. I even put on there adjust the heating and cooling system, depending on the time of year, and I list turn off the water if it is winter and may freeze. And so it goes. One word of caution though, that just came to me by a reader on Active Rain, only tell people that you know that you are leaving…don’t put it out there for the world to see on Facebook, etc….we are in a different world these days, and it is best that not everyone know that you are going to be traveling for 3 weeks, or whatever. But, do tell the neighbors that you know that you are leaving…could they keep an eye on the house, etc. They are always willing and you may want to return the favor…part of being a good neighbor. Put “check with the neighbors” on your list.
Plan for the trip. I like to think through the days, and what will I be doing each day. If you are walking a lot, will 1 pair of shoes work, or will you need two. What about the weather? Will you need a coat or jacket, and what attire do you want if you go to a concert, or to a fancy restaurant in Rome? Then, I will actually make a list of day to day clothes. This may sound ridiculous, but this way I can determine how many shirts, pants, etc I will need before I will have to do the laundry. This also helps to point out that you really will not need 8 changes for an 8 day trip…or that you may need that many changes. Then my list will start to list the activities that I am anticipating, such as climbing up a mountain, swimming in the hotel pool, or going on a photo safari. Do I have the batteries needed, as well as the tripod if I am using one, etc. Will I need my binoculars if i am looking at birds, or at a sporting event. Am I going to keep a diary, or will I use my IPad, and if so, do I have the charger(s). If I want to do some serious reading, do I have a book or is it on Kindle, and if so, have I downloaded the books I want to read. If you want to go to the hotel gym, what do I wear? What about a hair dryer, or clippers if you have a trimmed beard or need an haircut? Well, this is the process, and smart travelers go through this at least a week in advance of departure, which gives you time to pick something up at Walmart or the local drug store.
In the next section, I am going to list some items to put on your List, in preparation for the flight, and then arrival at the airport or port….so stay tuned…Chapter 4 What’s On Your List?
Chapter 1. Passport and Plan in Advance
First, think Passport. If you do not have a valid and current passport, this is a first step as soon as you decide you are going to travel overseas, internationally, or whatever you want to call traveling outside the United States. You can get a passport application at the US Postal Service near you, and in many counties, there is a passport office as part of the County Clerk,or equivalent. And, there must be at least 6 months remaining on an existing passport, or you may be stopped at customs, both in the US and upon arrival in another country. This is a black and white issue…no 6 months, no travel outside the US. As part of the application, you must get passport photos, and these are available at various drug stores in your community, and at some of the US Postal Offices. The cost will be in the $125 range….and their is the passport book and the passport card…get the standard passport. Renewal will be about $100. And, at the Passport planning time, also think about vaccinations. Depending on the country, vaccinations may be required. Your local county health department will usually have these guidelines, and they can assist here, and in some counties, will actually administer the vaccination. Do this as you start your Passport planning, as shots may have to be given over a period of time, such as 4 weeks. Don’t wait until you are ready to go.
Second, think Plan in Advance. Time flies and I am recommending plan a year in advance of when you would like to travel. In this planning process, think through Where Do You Want To Go?, When Do You Want To Go?, Why Do You Want To Go to This Place?, and How Do You Want To Get There? The When is really important, and this may take some research on your destination. Everything from a National Holiday to a Special Event in that location can complicate your travel plans. Easter Week at the Vatican in Rome can be a nightmare if you do not like big crowds, for example. Boxing Day is the Day After Christmas in England, and many stores and attractions are CLOSED, including public transport. Local celebration days can bring extra crowds to attractions, and lines to get into museums can be long and slow. All of these kinds of events and happenings can now be found on the internet, and Google will become your “good friend”. The final past of this Plan in Advance section is to think about how long do you want to be in a place, city, or country? Some years ago one might think 2 days in Paris is plenty….not so now. Reasons are simple and revolve around (1) more people are traveling now than any time in history. And, (2) more travelers are coming from Asia To Europe….and many that were traveling to the Middle East are (3) now going to Europe and Asia…all complicating the crowd factor. So, think in terms of a day with crowds and lines and delays, and maybe another day or two in that special place will be in order.
In order to Plan in Advance, you have to have a good idea of where you want to go. Enter the Internet, and Chapter 1 will continue with using the Internet to get the information that you need to make some good plans and decisions. All for now.
So far Holland America has been very impressive. Here are some of the highlights
- The food is very good quality and a lot of variety is offered from the Lido dining both inside and out including eating by the pool area or on the back deck number 9.The sit down dinner’s in Vista dining on decks two and three is excellent and the service is out of this world good.
- The room is spacious with a lot of storage and a large veranda and very comfortable and quiet.
- The entertainment offerings are very good and a lot of choice from the rock and roll band to the piano to the Lincoln center stage a very nice variety.
- Scheduling of the events and the excursions is fine …..again with a lot of choice and variety
- Holland America does not use the speaker program and the descriptions of the upcoming ports probably is the weakest part of their ship so far. There seems to be a bit of a breakdown on the organization of the excursions and the tenders and this need work. They do not give port updates the day before you arrive such as what Viking does and this leaves passengers a bit up in the air and confused…. at least this is the impression from those that I talked with.
- On these longer trips which I much prefer there seems to be an older group almost all retired and it has to do with the length of the trip which is about 3 weeks from beginning to end for most. But your audience is very receptive and wants to be entertained so it is a good audience for speakers and entertainers and does not seem to be expecting much more than what Holland America offers.
In comparing cruise lines I think it goes back to what the passengers are looking for in that Viking includes the excursions and does a very good job. Holland America does not include excursions, but offers good excursions. And the age of your passengers will be a factor especially for families. 2 weeks is a long time to be on the ship but I think will work best for me as it’s a more relaxed schedule or so it seems. As far as the facilities are concerned…. a good fitness area; a very nice library area…a smaller casino but seems to be very nice…. and large lounge areas. The Crows Nest area and then the open observation areas are well done.
We have had 3 days in New Zealand and it has been very impressive. The Fjords were magnificent especially as the weather cleared and we were able to appreciate the beauty of the second and third Fjords..Port Chalmers and Dunedin were equally as impressive with Dunedin showing its Presbyterian and Scottish background and traditions. Not only are the communities of Port Chalmers and Dunedin impressive but the port of Port Chalmers is a very active and attractive small town. Dunedin is a very beautiful area downtown with the railroad station and the Cathedral being the two focal points. But there is a lot of shopping and a lot of tourist attractions so well worth 3 or 4 hours.
The day in Christchurch so far has been a major attraction in that you see first hand evidence of what a massive earthquake can do and how a city can recover. But the other part of the Christchurch excursion is the drive over and back where you get to see the real beauty of the South island. Just magnificent.
The Ship tender from the ship into Akaroa is about 15 minutes. You then go directly to the bus and there were about 10 buses waiting at that time. You drive about 10 minutes through the little town of a Akaroa then start the trip to Christchurch ..initially you go through some hills but then follow the bay around and great photo shots and then up the mountain. Really impressive.
For many years I have heard that Christchurch and the South Island was the most beautiful area of New Zealand, Certainly this trip over to Christchurch verified that. It is a slow trip over the mountain but then when you start down you start seeing the beautiful fields filled with sheep and cows and trees
Christchurch was the epicenter of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in 2011 followed by some major aftershocks. The earthquake lasted 45 seconds and has cost billions of dollars to rebuild the downtown area. The area that was most damaged was in the center of town where the Cathedral was located. Immediately after the earthquake rebuilding and rehabilitation and reconstruction of the downtown area began. Except for the Cathedral which got caught up in a political battle between the church and the city and probably the state of Canterbury. The result is that it remains fenced and in the same condition as when it was damaged. The part of the Cathedral that collapsed was the main bell tower or alter tower as some of the building, maybe one half of it, is still standing. There are various memorials for the 180 that were killed around the downtown area and those killed were primarily in one building, as it happened midday so many workers were downtown.
The two shuttle buses drop off passengers right at either the art museum which is very very modern, or the Christchurch Museum which is in one of the buildings of the original Canterbury University that moved to another location in 1974.The old University buildings were damaged and evidence of the repair and renovation work is very obvious.When the university moved to another location various other organizations took over the building mainly for government use. Some of these buildings are behind the fence and others are being used as the Information Center. The city tram is adjacent to the bus stop and is a good 20 minute round trip but you can get on and off as at the stops.
When speaking about Christchurch, prepare travelers for the 90 minute bus ride to and from. Prepare them for the new construction and the new modern building. Prepare them to see how they have repaired the old Canterbury University prepare them for the fences and the board fences that’s around the mini damage buildings.There are many cafes and bars especially along Victoria Street which is a tram stop and there are small cafes near the bus stohoff but also the red double decker bus.
Akaroa is the port city from which we boarded the buses for Christchurch. We tendered in and it took about 15 minutes and then got on the buses for the 90 minute ride over the mountains into Christchurch. Akaroa is a small French village- town very picturesque and a quaint little town. There is virtually no time in town before you board the buses but there is some time when you get back to look at the shops and do some souvenir shopping.
The day to Christchurch started off with a tender into the small port town of Akaroa where we caught the bus for the one in a half hour drive to Christchurch. Before the 2011 earthquake the cruise ship would come into a port about 20 minutes from the city center of Christchurch. Since the earthquake all of the cruise ships come into the port and are then bussed the 75 kilometers into Christchurch. The road goes along the water and then immediately heads up over the mountains on a very dramatic trip with magnificent views coming over the mountains and down into valleys and the flat plains that are extremely rich with Agriculture sheep cattle and orchards. As we started to approach Christchurch the driver started giving us more detail has to the earthquake and what transpired immediately after and then in the 7 years since.. initially the town look very normal and as we approach the downtown area we found that the epicenter of the quake was nearby and follow this straight line into the downtown Cathedral area. Then as we got downtown from started to see the buildings that have been ruined and it was very evident that the quick get some of the major buildings in the downtown area. What was done immediately was $0.02 off the entire downtown area that had been affected by the quake. They then started a process of the evaluating the damage putting all building that were in the destroyed area into three categories yellow amber and red. Today there is a great deal of construction reconstruction repair and rehabilitation going on all over the downtown area. Much has been done in these 7 years almost to an amazing degree especially with Canterbury University buildings. The Cathedral itself is there is still about 1/ 3 totally destroyed but they have not been able to repair the balance due to issues with the church and the city. We took the tram around the downtown area and it is a hop on hop off arrangement for about $20 a person and well worth it as it gives you a ride around the town. We had both coffee and lunch and buildings that have been hit and then repaired and are fine now. After the tram ride we walked around the key Cathedral grounds and then back down to the museum and the museum was exceptional and definitely a must see. The Botanic Garden is adjacent and very beautiful and well maintained and in full-bloom today. The photos show that destruction and the work this thing done to repair but also shows the construction on the new library as well as other downtown going areas that were hit by the earthquake. We met back at the bus at 3 for the 90 minutes ride back over the mountain into the port and into the tenders.
Christchurch should be a must see on any New Zealand trip and the drive is well worth it over the mountains as you get to see the real New Zealand farms, sheep,and cattle as well as the magnificent fields and varied agricultural programs going on in this part of the country.
This part of the world is unknown to many but in reflecting back this is one of the most beautiful areas we have ever seen. The people are very friendly and they have a great outlook on life are hard working and they’re very very proud to be a New Zealander. I think my talk on this part of New Zealand should be very practical on what you should you do and see in the time that you have using a lot of photos.
Dunedin is a remarkable little city in that it is about 100000 people and then there are about $25,000 in the university. We went in in the morning for a walk around and got to see the railroad station and the beautiful church octagon square and it was worthwhile and our morning included going to Cadbury. The railroad station is one of the most famous photo spots definitely a requirement when you’re in Dunedin. We came back to the ship for lunch then. On our tour bus took is to the Olveston house which is an old 1850 home built by a Jewish businessman that came here and it is a remarkable house and gardens and of course the Fiat 1921antique auto, so well worth it to go through the house. It is one of a number of excursions that are offered but this is one of the oldest houses and tour is great. We then came back by the Dunedin Botanic Garden and if it were in bloom would be spectacular but according to one of the workers the heat that they have recently had almost killed a lot of the flowers and they’re just now coming back for their second blooming … and should last through early April. We concluded the tour buy another drive thru Dunedin to see the downtown area and back to the ship. The Scottish history of Dunedin is significant ….and the railroad trip from the station for about 90 minutes is well with it to see the surrounding areas.