How to get through Airport Security Faster

Getting through airport security can be one of the most unpleasant parts of traveling. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in line behind unprepared passengers as they unlace shoes, search frantically for boarding passes, and rummage through bags for liquids. Having a game plan can make the airport security line a breeze. Here are five tips for making sure you aren’t the person holding up the line.

Tip One: Be Organized
Before you leave for the airport put your ID, credit card, and boarding pass in an easily accessible part of your wallet or bag. There are two reasons for this: one, by going through this exercise, you make sure you don’t leave home without these crucial items and two, you won’t hold up the security line looking for them.

Tip Two: Take it Off
The Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) has particular rules about what you can and cannot wear through the security checkpoint. You must remove your belt, watch, shoes (slip-ons make this process easier) and any jewelry containing metal. Also, be sure to take off jackets, coats, and sweaters. Place all these items in a bin for x-ray screening.

Tip Three: Know the 3-1-1
Follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule for how much liquid you can take with you in your carry-on luggage.

3-1-1 Rule:

*Each liquid container must be 3.4 ounces or less. That’s the “3”
*All liquid containers must be placed in a clear, one quart-sized plastic bag. That’s the first “1”
*Each passenger is allowed only one clear bag. What fits in the clear plastic bag limits the total amount of liquid you can bring on the plane. That’s the second “1”.

Liquid medications, baby formula, breast milk, baby food and over-the counter medical products such as eye drops, are not part of the 3-1-1 rule and should not be placed in your plastic bag. These items must, however, be declared at the security checkpoint for screening.

Tip Four: Remove Electronics
All of your electronics need to be placed in a bin for screening. This includes laptops, DVD players, CPAP machines, video games, and cell phones. Laptops must be placed in a separate bin and removed from their carrying case (unless the case is TSA approved).

Tip Five: Pack Neatly
Finally, pack neatly so that TSA agents can search your bag quickly in the event an additional screening is needed. Pack in layers so that the contents are easy to identify.

Keeping these five tips in mind will not only improve your traveling experience, but will create a much less stressful environment for those around you. Being prepared is key and having a game plan can make all the difference. Happy Travels!

Cindy Baldwin’s love for travel has taken her all over the globe.  Some of her favorite destinations include:Sancerre, France, Kusadasi, Turkey, Kona, Hawaii, and anywhere in Italy. Baldwin Travel, Cindy’s Londonderry based travel agency utilizes her combination of personal experiences and vacation planning skills to make your dreams come true one vacation at a time. Cindy lives in Londonderry with her husband, Mark and has three daughters. Visit Baldwin Travel for more information on how Cindy can handcraft the perfect travel itinerary for you!

Plan the Destination Wedding of Your Dreams by Cindy Baldwin

Plan the Destination Wedding of Your Dreams

By Cindy Baldwin

Imagine exchanging vows in a coconut grove with tropical flowers under a native Ohia wedding arch while a classical violinist serenades your guests.

Next, picture you and your fiancée saying, “I do” on an alabaster beach next to sparkling turquoise waters with warm Caribbean breezes and the sound of the surf in the distance.

Thousands of couples each year choose to have a destination wedding that they will treasure forever.  With so many choices and details to consider, making your destination wedding picture-perfect is much more difficult than it may seem.

That’s why using the services of a travel consultant can be invaluable.  Instead of spending your time pouring over brochures and doing endless and confusing research online, use the services of a travel consultant to make your destination planning seamless—at no additional cost to you.

A travel consultant can help you:

  1. Select the perfect wedding package at your dream destination based on your interests and budget.
  2. Secure group rates and handle all travel arrangements for your guests, making the weeks prior to your wedding much less stressful.Secure group rates and handle all travel arrangements for your guests, making the weeks prior to your wedding much less stressful.
  3. Keep you updated on all documentation that is necessary before getting married at your destination, such as translation fees, number of witnesses required, and minimum days a couple must be in a country prior to their ceremony.

When you have a destination wedding, you will be able to spend a few days in paradise among your closest friends and family.  These memories will last a life time.

 

 

Five Reasons a European River Cruise Should be on Your Bucket List by Cindy Baldwin

Imagine relaxing on the top deck of a luxurious floating hotel as you sail along one of Europe’s historical rivers through castle-dotted hillsides, charming towns, and amazing architecture. River cruising is one of the most intriguing ways to experience the romance, variety, and true character of Europe.

Ocean cruises tend to stick to coastal routes and visit large ports like Barcelona and Civitavecchia. River cruises visit culturally-rich European cities, such as Vienna, Budapest, and Lyon, which are too small for large vessels, like ocean cruises, to dock in.

You will never experience motion sickness or rough water; only smooth and peaceful sailings throughout your journey. Land is always in sight.
If traveling with thousands of other passengers isn’t appealing to you, river cruising is a much more intimate experience than ocean cruising, with an average of 140 fellow passengers.
Ports are in the heart of the town, steps away from picturesque squares, bustling markets, and magnificent sightseeing. There is no tendering or lines; just walk off the ship to some of the most fascinating ports of call.
River cruises are more inclusive. Meals, shore excursions, transfers, entertainment, bicycles, and wine with dinner are all included in the fare.
Gourmet meals are prepared with local ingredients from each port and paired with wines from the region. There are no formal nights; dress is country club casual.
Last October, I took a river cruise along the Danube from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary. The experience was unforgettable and like no other trip to Europe I’ve been on. Being immersed in the history and culture of this region was fascinating, and it was one of my favorite vacations of all time. River cruising is an experience no bucket list should be without!

How to Tip Like a Local in Europe by Cindy Baldwin

Figuring out how much to tip when traveling abroad can be stressful. Tipping too much is a common mistake many travelers from the United States make when visiting foreign countries. Tipping etiquette varies from country to country, but here are some general guidelines:

Restaurants:

Being a table server is considered a career in most European countries. Unlike the United States, European servers are paid fair wages and consider tips a bonus for good service.

When the bill arrives there may be a “service charge” of 15% included in the bill, especially in Mediterranean countries. Don’t assume this service fee is your waiter’s tip; the charge goes directly to management to help pay salaries, restaurant upkeep, etc.

In Italy, there may be a “pane e coperto” charge on your bill. This charge means “bread and cover.” It is a per person charge for the bread- whether or not it is consumed.

A good reference for tipping is: for good service leave an additional 10 %, if the service has been exceptional, leave 15%, and if the service has been unsatisfactory, don’t leave anything.

If a service charge is not included in the bill, a 10-15% tip is appropriate.

Hand the tip directly to the waiter in cash. If the gratuity is added to the credit card bill, your server may not get it. If paying in cash and the bill is 35 euros, hand the waiter a 50 euros and say, “40 euros” and you will be handed back 10 euros.

Taxis:

Rounding up the fare is considered the norm in most European countries. For example if the fare is 18 euros, give the cabbie 20 euros. If he does some extra service like carrying your bags or gives you an interesting narrative on the way to the hotel, you may want to tip a little more.

Porters:

One euro per bag is a sufficient gratuity for hotel porters.

Tour Guides:

If the tour guide was engaging and pleasant, a tip of two euros is sufficient.

It’s hard for Americans to get out of the 20% tip mindset. Remember that European waiters don’t expect to receive a gratuity of that magnitude. When in doubt ask a local.

A Tale of Two Airline Tickets by Cindy Baldwin

Today is your lucky day! After faithfully tracking flights from Boston to Jamaica, your friend tells you about the deal of the century: he just bought a round trip ticket for only $259. Every other fare has been over $400.
You should book it, right?

That depends on a few factors: the fees for baggage and seat assignments, how many stops the plane makes, and flight schedules. These components not only affect the ticket price, but the passenger’s vacation experience.

What a Deal Airline has a fantastic ticket price at $259. However, there are a plethora of fees:

Reservation booking fee $10.00
Advance seat assignment $40.00
Baggage:
Checked up to 40 pounds $86.00/43.00 per bag each way
Carry-on bag $80.00/40.00 per bag each way

Total ticket price including fees $475.00
Old Faithful Air has a seemingly higher ticket price of – $435. This airline doesn’t have as many fees:

Reservation booking fee free
Advance seat assignment free
Baggage:
1 bag up to 50 pounds $50.00/25.00 per bag each way
Carry-on bag free

Total ticket price including fees $485.00

Before clicking “book it!” on the less expensive ticket, there are a few more things to consider: how long will it take to get there, how many times there will be a plane change, and the airlines’ reviews for being on schedule, the quality of the equipment, and the service.

Old Faithful’s flight schedule is shorter with only one stop each way and afternoon departure on the return flight. The longest layover is one hour and you arrive back in to Boston at 10:00 pm. The reviews are consistently good and passengers get a free bag of pretzels.

What a Deal Air’s flight schedule has two stops each way; one stop has a five-hour layover. It also leaves Jamaica earlier than the flight on Old Faithful and gets back to Boston after midnight. Passengers will also have to pay for tap water and a bag of pretzels.

For a mere ten-dollar price difference, a savvy traveler would stick with Old Faithful. A passenger on this airline can enjoy their morning in Jamaica catching a few more rays on the beach while the What a Deal Air passenger drags their luggage across the sand to make their early flight. Old Faithful’s passenger’s flight not only leaves later in the day, but also arrives back in Boston earlier than What Deal Air’s flight. Old Faithful’s passenger will be asleep in their own bed, before What a Deal’s flight has even touched the ground.

It might be the best ten dollars ever spent!

Disclaimer: The names of the airlines are made up, but the information provided is factual based on rates 2/16/2012.