Getting Back to the USARead Now
By Elizabeth Stoddard
Having just returned this afternoon from our whirlwind trip through Croatia, we want to let you know the covid test required by the US is really not a big deal. We discovered at the Zagreb airport when we were heading home that we could have had the 15 minute rapid antigen test there for about $15. So don't worry about bringing a kit with you and dealing with the online video confirmation. We'll be checking on the other airports to be sure they offer the same service as the Zagreb airport and will report back to you weeks before departure on the latest requirements as well since everything is changing so rapidly.
Tourists, Rejoice!Read Now
Tourists, Rejoice! Italy, Greece Relax COVID-19 Restrictions
For travelers going to southern Europe, summer vacations just got a whole lot easier.
By Associated Press May 1, 2022, at 3:06 p.m. By NICOLE WINFIELD and DEMETRIS NELLAS, Associated Press
ROME (AP) —
Italy and Greece relaxed some COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday before Europe's peak summer tourist season, in a sign that life was increasingly returning to normal.
Greece’s civil aviation authority announced that it was lifting all COVID-19 rules for international and domestic flights except for the wearing of face masks during flights and at airports. Previously, air travelers were required to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or a recent recovery from the disease.
As of Sunday, visitors to Italy no longer have to fill out the EU passenger locator form, a complicated online ordeal required at airport check-in.
Italy also did away with the health pass that had been required to enter restaurants, cinemas, gyms and other venues. The green pass, which showed proof of vaccination, recovery from the virus or a recent negative test, is still required to access hospitals and nursing homes.
Some indoor mask mandates in Italy also ended, including inside supermarkets, workplaces and stores. Masks are still required on public transport, in cinemas and in all health care facilities and nursing homes.
“It was needed,” said Claudio Civitelli, a Rome resident having his morning coffee at a bar near the Trevi Fountain. Until Sunday, patrons had to wear a mask to enter bars and restaurants, though they could remove them to eat and drink. “We have waited more than two years.”
At a nearby table, Andrea Bichler, an Italian tourist from Trentino Alto-Adige, sat with friends, all without masks.
“It’s much better,” Bichler said. “Let’s say it’s a return to life, a free life.”
In Greece, where tourism accounts for about 20% of its GNP, enforcing the rules had already fallen off prior to Sunday. On the tourist island of Mykonos, revelers flooded beaches, bars and restaurant the previous weekend for the Orthodox Easter holiday. Some owners said business was the best they had seen in years and expected that to continue for the long May Day weekend.
Vaccination certificates in Greece were abolished, not permanently, but from May 1 to August 31 and it will be determined in August whether to bring them back. Also suspended were restrictions on the number of customers in indoor spaces. But masks are still required indoors and in vehicles in Greece, and experts recommend using them outdoors in crowded situations like concerts.
Business owners said many unvaccinated people were among those enjoying the end of COVID-19 restrictions.
“We saw again old customers whom we hadn’t seen since November,” when vaccination certificates first became mandatory, Michalis Epitropidis, general secretary of the association of restaurant, cafe and bar owners in Thessaloniki, told the Associated Press. “By punishing the unvaccinated, the state was punishing us.”
Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, was a hotbed of militant vaccine denialism and protests against COVID-19 restrictions.
Like Italy, Greece saw tourism revenues plunge in 2020 and only partially rebound in 2021. Greece is now hoping for a record tourism year in 2022 — and so does neighboring Albania, where restrictions were also lifted Sunday.
Public health officials say masks still remain highly recommended in Italy for all indoor activities, and private companies can still require them.
Given that the virus is still circulating, “we should keep up the vaccine campaign, including boosters, and keep up behavior inspired by prudence: wearing masks indoors or in crowded places or wherever there’s a risk of contagion,” said Dr. Giovanni Rezza, in charge of prevention at the health ministry.
NOTE: on Montenegro
Daily information about the COVID-19 situation in Montenegro can be found at https://www.covidodgovor.me/ and the current Montenegro government measures can be found at: https://www.gov.me/en/article/covid-19-measures-and-recommendations.
With limited exceptions (see the Croatian Government’s Ministry of Interior Webpage), travelers must present one of the following (not all):
1. a PCR or a rapid antigen test not older than 72 hours (counting from the time of taking the test to arriving at the border crossing point)
2. OR a certificate of vaccination (any vaccine) whose final dose was more than 14 days prior to entry
3. OR a medical certificate confirming that the traveler has recovered from COVID-19 at least 12 days but no more than 180 days from the first positive test result to date of entry.
Plane HacksRead Now
We found a great list of 46 things that can make traveling by plane more comfortable. The photos and ads are available in the link to the original article included here.
46 Plane Hacks That Will Make Any Flight Experience More Comfortable
By Ruby M August 17, 2021 https://morehackz.com/planehacks/
While some people absolutely love flying, others are tremendously terrified of it. No matter which category you fall into, you probably hope and wish your flight be as peaceful and comfortable as possible every time. From finding ways to block out unwanted noise from your fellow passengers to nifty and handy travel hacks, these travel hints, tricks and tips will help you to not only have a more pleasant flying experience, but you might take away an extra trick or two about general travel from this article that you didn’t know before. So buckle up and get ready for an awesome and insightful ride with us as your friendly and knowledgeable pilot! Here are 45 travel hacks to make your flights more comfortable.
1. Charger Hack
Oh no! You forgot to charge your phone, and you’ve still have a good few hours to wait until your flight. Without your Candy Crush Saga and Sim City games, Spotify playlist, and Netflix lineup, you’re sure to go crazy from boredom.
Worry no more because we have got just the solution for you. Most Airports do have charging centers like the one in this picture, but they also have televisions, and most televisions nowadays have USB ports that you can use to charge up your cell phone battery! You’re welcome.
2. Pack Hack
When planning a trip, most people will always tell you to pack light, but the truth is about packing smart to the avid traveler. With this nifty packing trick, you’re bound to save yourself loads of space in your suitcases.
The trick is to lay out the heavier, larger items such as towels or sweatshirts at the bottom of your suitcase before you start packing anything else. Roll up everything else like your shirts and pants to save space, except for items that are likely to wrinkle – you’ll want to fold those.
3. Layer Up
When flying, the atmosphere can become warmer or colder depending on where you are, the altitude, and how many of your fellow passengers have turned on – or off the air conditioning. So, to stay comfy, it’s best to dress for the trip and wear layers.
If it warms up while you’re in the air, you can always take your layers off until you feel comfortable, and likewise, if it cools down. This way, you can at least feel a little more comfortable, especially on longer flights.
4. Middle Seat Cheat
Not even the cuddlers like the middle seat – it’s squishy and less comfortable than a standard aisle or window seat. It’s especially not nice when traveling alone and having to sit next to two strangers for your flight.
Here’s something you can try to avoid that seat – head over to Expertflyer.com and create a seat alert. If somebody on your flight changes or cancels their flight, they’ll notify you, and you can switch your seat for theirs!
5. Avoid the Queue!
Especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, many flights are being rearranged and even canceled. And we bet your bottom dollar if you’ve already arrived at the airport that the line to rebook flights is pretty long. Goodness, you’re never going to get the next flight in with a line like this!
Well, here’s a handy trick for a moment just like this. Instead of waiting for hours on end only to very likely be disappointed by the fact that the next few flights are already fully booked – just call customer service instead! They’ll book the flight for you, and you won’t need to wait in that awful queue all day long.
6. Skip the Ice
We know we told you to avoid fizzy drinks and drink water instead. And whilst anyone will agree that there is nothing quite like a nice tall glass of ice-cold water to quench your thirst, we must warn you that ordering ice in your drink when on a plane is a big no-no, but not for the reason we’ve all thought.
It is a misconception the ice that is served on most flights comes from the plane’s water tank. The ice is actually brought on board and is ordered from a caterer. But the food carts where the ice is stored might be unsanitary, and this is why we caution against taking the ice on your flights.
7. Keep the Air On
If you’d like to protect yourself from germs as much as possible during your flight, then it’s best to keep the aircon above you on full blast – even if it does get a little bit chilly. The air actually helps to keep germs away. The air from the vent creates a sort of invisible layer of air around you that basically prevents any germs or viruses from hanging around and making you sick – and no one wants to get sick when traveling, so it’s best to keep the air on and warm up with a sweater!
8. Disinfectant Wipes
Whether your trip is for business or pleasure, or even a little bit of both, no one wants to get sick when they’re traveling, and the best way to avoid this is to try to be as sanitary as possible. Sometimes, you catch a bug in the air – and other times, it’s from touching something.
Just like you’ll use the air conditioning in the plane to protect you from germs, always remember to pack some disinfectant wipes to clean your seat and surfaces you’re going to be touching during your flight to make sure you’re always protected.
9. Dress for the Occasion
For most people, sitting in the airport and on a plane can get rather cramped, stuffy, and overall uncomfortable – so it’s best to dress for the occasion by wearing what you feel comfortable in, not what you feel most fashionable in.
Sure, if you’re on a one-hour flight and planning on rushing from the airport straight to a meeting or a party, then you might want to dress up a little. For longer flights, wearing your favorite heels and tank-top or your best suit just won’t cut it comfort-wise – and you’ll be in for a long and und uncomfortable ride.
10. No Soda
Carbonated drinks like fizzy water or sodas are not a great combination with high air altitudes and can cause your intestinal tract to swell – causing discomfort and unwanted gas, and burping! That’s pretty embarrassing, especially if you’re seated next to strangers.
Instead of indulging in a glass of Coke, try drinking water or juice for the duration of your flight and save the fizzy drinks for when your feet are on the ground. That way, you’ll have less discomfort and embarrassment if your body needs to “break wind.”
11. Extra Seat Hack
There is nothing greater than noticing that the middle seat next to you is empty when it’s time for liftoff! And here’s how to get that for free. This one is not a guarantee, but still worth a try if you are riding in economy and want to score some extra room.
If you are traveling as a pair, book the aisle and window seat. If your flight happens to be under-booked, it is improbable that someone will pick a seat between two people that they don’t know – so your chances of having some extra space are at least a little bit higher!
12. Sleep After Takeoff
Rather than sleeping before or after takeoff, take this time to look after your ears. They are susceptible to air pressure and are not able to regulate with rapid changes such as the drastic change in air pressure after takeoff.
So, chew some gum, take an antihistamine, and make use of some earplugs to protect your ears. Once you’re safely in the air, you can relax and take that long-awaited nap that you and your body have been waiting for.
13. Turbulence Tip
Some people love it. Most people hate it – emphasis on hate if you’re already an anxious flyer. Turbulence can cause stress, dizziness, nausea, and even vomiting – hence the complimentary barf bags that can be found on most airlines.
If you’re someone who doesn’t cope too well with turbulence, remember to pick your seat with this in mind. Choose a seat above the wing of the plane, and avoid the back as that’s where you’ll feel it the most.
14. Flight Stretches
Flying tends to affect our bodies’ circulation and can cause our feet and legs to swell – particularly on longer flights. But, there are some techniques that you can use on the plane to try to prevent this swelling from happening.
Doing in-seat stretches and making sure that you are getting up and walking around the plane when you have a chance will help your blood flow a little more and help you avoid the swelling.
15. Block It Out
When it comes to flying, nobody wants to suffer from the loud chatter coming from other passengers, weeping babies, or noisy sneezes when they’re just trying to relax, maybe take a nap, or read a book to try and stay focused on arriving at their destination.
We recommend avoiding the frustration and ruckus by remembering to pack some noise-canceling headphones and silicone earplugs – even the reusable ones – to block out the noise and try to enjoy your time in the air as much as possible.
16, Extra Intimates
For longer flights, a great way to make sure your flight is as comfy as possible is to pack some spare socks and undies in your carry-on. That way, if you feel a little gross and sweaty, you can change your intimates and feel a little more refreshed.
There are no showers on the plane, so your best bet to feel a little bit fresher is by being able to change your clothes, especially your undies. If you really want to feel brand new, pack some deodorant (if you’re allowed to) and a spare change of clothes, too.
17. Dryer Sheets
Especially if you’re spending a lot of time traveling and not so much time at the dry cleaners and your dirty clothes are piling up, your suitcase might start to get a little bit smelly. But there’s actually a simple trick to keep the smell as fresh as possible.
It’s simple! All you need to do is pop a few dryer sheets into your bag. The sheets will absorb those nasty stinky feet, and faint dirty sock smells and help keep your clothes smelling a lot cleaner and fresher.
18. Tour Guides
Why spend all that extra dough on a tour guide who’s likely to take you to some very basic, touristy locations when you can spend the cash on some more traveling treats and be your own tour guide? Doesn’t that sound more fun?
With the help of technology, apps have made traveling so much easier and more accessible to everyone. Just do some research before you leave your hotel – and explore your travel destination! If you get lost, you can always consult your phone or ask a friendly local for help.
Rechargeable batteries can really come in handy when traveling – especially if you’re in a location that doesn’t really have many luxuries. It’s best to pack a battery charger, too, so that you don’t have to keep stocking up on new batteries.
Batteries come in handy for many things, including portable little fan systems for a hot night in a hostel with no air conditioning. Or perhaps you’d like to do some night-time exploring and need a torch – remember to take some spares with you, so you don’t wind up lost in the dark!
20. Travel Kit Tips
Going back to the topic of feeling refreshed, the best way to do feel this when using an airplane bathroom with no access to a nice hot shower is to pack some cleansing essentials in your carry-on luggage so you can clean yourself up a bit when you’re feeling icky.
Packing some face wipes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and spare clothes can make a huge difference to your overall mood, let alone appearance and smell. If you really want to go above and beyond, ladies, pack a little make-up, too. But nothing heavy like foundation – stick to the basics like some lipstick and mascara.
21. Download Offline Maps
After a long flight, all you want to do is get to your hotel and freshen up. But if you’re in a new city or country, it might be a little bit difficult to navigate – and there might not be an available Wi-Fi connection to help you when you need it the most.
Don’t worry, dear traveler – Google’s got your back for this one. Before you leave home, open up Google Maps on your phone and download offline maps for your destination. That way, you’ll have easy and internet-free access to maps, and you’ll be able to find your way around far more easily.
22. Bye Bye Blanket
If you’re a germaphobe or someone likely to catch an infection, it’s best to avoid using the blankets you receive at the start of your flight. Aside from when they come in a sealed bag, it’s highly likely that they aren’t perfectly clean.
If you’re somebody that feels the cold easily, rather than using the blankets from the airline, pack your own in your carry-on, or better yet, as we said before, dress a little warmer and layer up to avoid shivering during your flight.
23. Plan Ahead
There’s nothing worse than being bored with nothing to do when you’re sitting on a plane 30,000 feet in the air. That’s why we suggest planning ahead and preparing some things for you to do while you’re on the way to your destination.
The longer your flight, the more entertainment you’ll need to prepare to keep yourself busy. Download movies, bring a book or two, and if you enjoy journaling, that’s also a great way to pass the time and not go stir-crazy.
24. Portable Fragrance
Some of us enjoy the finer things in life, like taking your favorite perfume with you on your trip so that you can truly feel refreshed and ready for the day. But fragrance bottles are often bulky and likely to break if jostled around too much.
The solution? Portable fragrance bottles. They are smaller, easier to carry around, and far less likely to break. Most pharmacies should sell them at a reasonable price. So next time you are packing, don’t forget to transfer some of your Chanel to a portable fragrance bottle instead of schlepping the whole thing in your bag!
25. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
So many people find themselves stressed out about the security checkpoint – and the line that goes with it. But there really is nothing to worry about. Just be sure to plan your day properly and get to the airport well in advance so that you have plenty of time to wait.
Airport security should actually comfort you – they’re so strict because they need to protect all of their passengers and staff in the airport from any threats – that includes you! So really, this should be the least of your worries when traveling.
26. Skipping the Line
If you hate waiting in lines as much as we do, here’s a way to avoid waiting in the security line at the airport as long as you usually would. When you’re entering the security line, always turn left. Why? We’re glad you asked.
People tend to turn towards their dominant hand – and because the majority of people are right-handed, the queue on the right will likely be longer. So save yourself some time and turn left – you might just skip most of that line.
27. Cover it Up
If you’re like the majority of the global population, you’ve probably lost or forgotten the plastic cover that comes with your razor blade. Here’s a little hack to protect yourself from accidentally slicing your fingers when rummaging through your toiletry bag.
Do yourself – and your fingers – huge favor and get yourself some binder clips. They’re a great substitute for the plastic cover, and it’s a much better investment than buying a new razor every time you lose the cover!
28. Scan the Important Things
Even when you’re in your home city, dealing with losing your passport, ID, or driver’s license can be pretty stressful – especially if you don’t have any copies. But when you’re in a new city or need to catch a flight, not having your passport with you can be pretty problematic.
We suggest scanning your passport, ID, and any other important documentation and emailing it to yourself or saving it on your device – that way, if you do become the unlucky victim of theft or loss, you at least have some proof of identification at the airport.
29. Buddy Up!
If you’re not planning a romantic trip with your beloved or a trip with family or friends and would rather travel on your own, a wonderful way to create memories is to meet people from all around the world on your trip.
However, approaching a group of strangers on your own might be a little bit daunting – but technology has got your back! Travel Buddies or Backpackr will connect you with other travelers in the same city as you – and you can meet up with them and start your adventures!
30. Keep Hydrated
Did you know that due to there being less moisture way up in the air, your body tends to dehydrate faster than it would on the ground? That’s why it’s super important to keep hydrated, especially on a long, international flight.
Even if you end up frustrating yourself and other passengers by frequenting the bathroom, your skin and body will stay hydrated and healthy like nothing ever happened. It is recommended to drink at least one cup of water every hour of your flight.
31. Think Drink
Another great way to avoid the overpriced beverages at the airport is to utilize this practical little hack that not many people know about. Whilst liquids are not permitted before entering security, frozen water, tea or coffee is. How many of you knew this?
Make sure that the liquid is completely frozen when you pass through security, or you’ll have to leave it behind. It should also go without saying that your flight should be long enough for your beverage to defrost. Otherwise, you’re carrying a frozen bottle for nothing!
32. Escape Your Comfort Zone
If you really want to get to know a city and all of its marvelous culture, then you’re going to want to hang out with some of the locals – and get them to show you all of the hidden gems that most tourists won’t know about.
33. Meet The Locals
All you need to do is download the Party with the Locals App onto your smart device and start connecting with tons of locals keen to meet you and show you around town! It’s a great way to make new friends too.
34. Save Some Dough
We all know how overpriced things can be at an airport – but because you’re not allowed to take any liquids with you through security, you might get a little bit thirsty while you wait to board your flight and even when you’re on the plane.
So, instead of spending a lot of extra cash on some water or tea, just pack an empty travel mug or flask and some teabags. Then all you need to do is ask one of the employees in a cafe or the air hostess for some hot water, and you’ll have a much more affordable beverage. Save that cash for your trip!
35. Pack Snacks
Even worse than the boredom we spoke about earlier is the feeling of your stomach eating away at itself as you feel hunger pangs. Now, you’ll probably be fed on the flight – but let’s be honest, most airline food sucks the same way hospital food does. So, you might be thankful that you packed yourself some pretzels.
Plus, packing some of your favorite snacks from home means you’ll save all the cash you would have spent on those same snacks at the airport – snacks that are likely going to be three to four times the price.
36. On The Go
Maybe you’re a bit of an on-the-go sort of person, and you’re wanting to explore some more new places while you’re already traveling instead of planning your entire trip beforehand- what’s more fun and exhilarating than that? You have to be spontaneous.
Well, if you are feeling a little adventurous, then download the Skyscanner app for all the latest and greatest deals for your chosen destination in a few simple steps. You’ll be sitting on a flight to your new travel location in no time!
37. Portable Power Bank
To some, this handy device might be one of the first things on your list of items to pack for a trip – but it sure does come in handy when your phone battery is about to die. A power bank is a portable charger that you can use to charge your phone, tablet, and other devices.
It’s a great thing to have, especially when you know you’re in for a long trip and may not have access to a plug point anytime soon. So, if you don’t have one on hand and you’re planning a long trip – we highly recommend the investment.
There are many frustrating elements when it comes to traveling, like making sure you don’t miss your flight. Keeping an eye on the flight’s departures and arrivals board can get a little tedious – especially if there is nowhere near them to sit.
So, instead of having to check for an update on your flight constantly, just download the Flightboard App into your smart device and keep an eye on all of the arrivals/departures without having to leave your seat every few minutes!
39. The Sacrifice Might Be Worth It
So, you’ve found yourself on an overbooked flight, and the airline is calling for volunteers to give up their seats. You think about missing your flight and maybe a day’s worth of travel and are hesitant to be the one to make the sacrifice.
But take our advice and give up your seat! The airline will be grateful for it and will likely treat you to free meals, drinks, and accommodation nearby – they might even upgrade you when they rebook you onto the next available flight.
40. Backpacker Tips
This one is for all the backpackers traveling across the globe and likely staying in one hostel for too long. Instead of unpacking all of your belongings every time you enter your new home for the next few days, unpack strategically.
Try only to unpack what you know you’re going to need for those few nights of stay. That way, you won’t be fumbling to repack and stressed about leaving things behind or losing your belongings. Another tip is to pack strategically before you leave – with the things you’re most likely to need on top.
41. Go Incognito
Here’s a brilliant little trick to help you avoid all of those more expensive flights when looking to book your next trip. Most airline and flight booking websites track your cookies on your browser and note how many times you have searched for a particular flight in the past.
Image courtesy of Reddit/blek_blekIf they see you’ve searched for a particular flight before, they might just hike the prices up simply because they know you want to book your trip. So, to make sure you aren’t paying more than you should – search your flights in an incognito window that doesn’t track your cookies.
42. Jogging Off The Jetlag
No one likes jetlag – it makes you tired and irritable and can last several days and sometimes even up to a week! And if you’re traveling, you want to be alert and awake so that you can take in and enjoy all the new surroundings.
So, instead of filling up on coffee and dozing off in the middle of the day, get up in the morning and go for a nice jog in the sun. The sun will set your internal clock to know that it’s time to start the day, and the exercise will make you feel replenished and revitalized, too.
43. Waterproof That Case
We’re sure you can relate to those feelings of stress and frustration when you get caught in the rain with your luggage and have to worry about the water seeping through and damaging your belongings. But fear not – if you don’t have a waterproof suitcase, we have another solution for you!
All you need to do is line the inside of your bag with bin liners, that way, you’ll avoid the misfortune of all of your things getting wet – and all you’ll need to do is let your suitcase dry out in the sun when the sun comes back out to play.
44. TV Charger
Remember we mentioned how most airports have TVs that you can use to charge your phone in a desperate situation? Well, most hotels have them too. If you’ve arrived at your hotel only to realize that you’ve either forgotten your charging port or it’s not the right one for your destination, we have a solution for you.
Just like you would at the airport, check if the TV in your hotel has a USB port – most of them do. You can use the TV to charge your device until you’re able to get to a store to replace your charging port. Or just don’t bother! If the TV is working for you, use that extra cash on a nice meal or activity.
45. Fragile Luggage
If you’re traveling with fragile or important items that could get bumped around in the cargo hold, risking damage to your loved goods, even your bag – we have a game-changing trick to ensure that your luggage is handled with care.
When checking in, mark your luggage as fragile – not only will this ensure that your property is taken care of, it will also mean that your luggage will be placed on the top of the pile – meaning you’ll also be one of the first to get your things from the carousel!
46. Hate Turbulence?
This One’s For You! If you’re someone who suffers immensely from turbulence – then you probably try everything in your power to avoid it as best you can. We’ve already mentioned the right place to sit, but this one’s about the right time to fly.
Morning flights tend to have less turbulence as the heat of the day has not yet risen – the heat, which causes storms and wind, ultimately causes turbulence on planes. So, if you want to avoid turbulence, your best bet is to book an early morning flight.
a nightmareRead Now
by Elizabeth Stoddard
Traveling internationally can be a nightmare these days. Covid has thrown so many curves to travelers - curves that can change on a dime. So unexpected restrictions, requirements and changes have become the norm. And perhaps that is one reason to travel with a small group now more than ever before - particularly with us, as I will explain.
We recently traveled to the Caribbean for a family vacation with Mark's ninety-nine year-old mother. Five of us left from Salt Lake City to New York on a flight that was delayed three hours so we arrived in the early morning hours. By that time, most baggage handlers had gone home so it took more than an hour to get our luggage and then we discovered we had to take a train to a station where the hotel could pick us up.
With a wheelchair and lots of luggage we managed to get halfway there when we finally realized that if we continued to the hotel we were likely to get one hour of sleep and then had to be back for our morning flight to St. Maartins. So we decided to turn around and go back to American Airlines where we could get an early start and be well ahead of the game for our next flight.
Or so we thought.
When we arrived at the AA departure terminal four hours before our flight and started the check in process we were informed that besides the covid test results, our vaccination record and airline tickets, St. Maartins required an online form that was to be filled out 12 hours before departure. To our shocked reaction, we were told we should have researched the destination and then we would have known about this form.
The cruise line we were traveling with and the airline had neglected to inform us of this additional hoop to jump through, so as a result, we had a tortured beginning to a wonderful trip. We missed two flights, the first day of the cruise and had to be re-routed through Miami with an unexpected night in a hotel there. In addition, we were required to purchase trip insurance. Then, since we were rerouted to St. Kitts, there was another totally different online form to be navigated (and both required uploaded photos of our test results and our vaccination records).
Then when we arrived in St. Kitts, Mark, mom and I were almost unable to enter as we had received spit pcr tests and St. Kitts requires nasal pcr test. Mark finally convinced the young man that we were going directly to the cruise ship and would not contaminate the islanders. And we finally joined the cruise.
So, the point to this long tortured diatribe is that we, your tour directors know what a pain international travel can be and we are here to remove the roadblocks ... as much as humanly possible. We are grateful to be aware that yes, there is a form to fill out to go to Croatia and there will be other forms and changing requirements. We are spending hours each day researching, planning and finding those who can be there to assist us in making your trip like traveling used to be.
So please don't worry. Be mindful and read all that we send you - we'll keep updates coming as needed, and you are welcome to call. Just know we are seasoned travelers who have recently experienced the horror of traveling and are determined to give you the information you will need to safely and serenely navigate this trip. Perhaps now more than ever it is good to go with a group and let us do the groundwork for you.
Besides, we are taking you to the best cruise you've never heard of - really, it has been on the bucket list for us and for the Proctors ever since we were there last time. It's a country rich in history, culture and beauty. And we're planning some additional activities you've never done before on an international trip - guaranteed.
Why Airlines Are NOT IncludedRead Now
By Mark Stoddard
Simply put, it will cost you less.
Some people want to use their Frequent Flyer numbers.
Others want to stop off in another country before or after our cruise.
Some want upgrades to better seat assignments.
If we include it in the cruise fare, we must take the price the airline is quoting now and add even more to cover the fare their quote at a later date. In addition, we'll have to use a route that may not appeal to you or fit your needs. Those routes change constantly and we can't control any of it.
Instead, we utilize our friends at Expedia Cruises, Lehi, who have large blocks of great fares with most major airlines. They work on commission and their fares are less than you could do on your own, so you save money doing it that way. And if anything goes wrong, Expedia is always available to find alternatives for you.
But, you may ask, other cruise lines offer FREE air.
Yes, they say that. That means they've increased their fares to cover the free air offer or, they offer a credit or discount amount (as we do) from your cruise fare to help offset the air. The language they use matters but if they're paying for something, you are as well.