Breeze through Airport Security This Summer Across Canada

CATSA reminds travelers of the Canada airport rules.

CATSA reminds travelers of the Canada airport rules.

If you’re among the millions of people traveling by air this summer, you can probably benefit from some helpful advice to get through airport security smoothly. Follow these expert tips from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to make your time at the airport more pleasant and enjoyable.

Before you leave home: Don’t wait till you’re at the airport to find out what’s allowed in your carry-on bag. Do your homework using the online tools available on CATSA’s website to help you finalize your packing and get ready for the checkpoint. Consult the “What Can I Bring” page to confirm if an item is permitted in your carry-on or checked bag. Pro tip: if you’re unsure about an item, ask CATSA on Twitter (@catsa_gc). 

On your way to the airport: Find information on wait times and tips for families, seniors and passengers with special needs by using CATSA’s mobile app.

Before checking your bags: Liquids, gels and aerosols can be packed in your carry-on as long as they respect the 100 mL rule. Larger containers must go in your checked baggage. Parents with children under age two can bring baby food and beverages on the plane as they are exempt from the 100 mL limit. 

At the checkpoint: Have your boarding pass ready to present to the screening officer.  Leave keys, coins, electronic items and other metallic objects in your carry-on bag. Place your containers with liquids, gels and aerosols in a one-liter clear, resealable plastic bag, and place it the bin for screening. Other items to place in the bin include hats, belts and jackets. If you’re traveling with a laptop, remove it from its carrying case and place it in a bin. 

Find more information to help you breeze through security at Catsa.gc.ca.

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Langkawi Malaysia: Choosing Where to Stay in Paradise

Three towers signify how Malaysia is three cultures blended into one: Chinese, Indian and Malay.

Three towers signify how Malaysia is three cultures blended into one: Chinese, Indian and Malay.

In a place like Langkawi, Malaysia, where the islands’s views are picturesque, you are not going to go wrong staying at any of the archipelago’s hotels. There are many options on the two main islands of the total 103 islands, so pinpointing what you want out of your vacation can be helpful for a trip to Langkawi.

Is this a lavish getaway to escape the woes of work, or an exotic exploration on a budget? Or is this a family trip to sightsee with the kids?   You can save on a trip there by Book Langkawi hotels on Traveloka–no booking fee, various ways to pay, and a totally easy interface.

Luxury Trip

The Andaman, surrounded by a 10 million-year old rainforest, is located on a private tropical beach. Nearby landmarks include the Air Terjun Temurun Waterfall, the Pasir Tengkorak Beach and the Langkawi Crocodile Farm.

Robbie from Gloucestershire, England said, in a TripAdvisor review,  “If you like peace, nature, beauty, sea, good food, golf, walks on beach, sunbathing and last but not least monkeys a plenty then look no further. This is the place to stay.”

Budget Trip

Tubotel Hotel not only will help save dollars in your wallet but also will give you a unique way to experience the island. With tube-shaped rooms that overlook the ocean in a communal setting, the hotel boasts its simplicity like its shared bathroom facilities. The hotel has three pools.

Whitdeewhit from Madrid, Spain, emphasized that you do not have to compromise the island’s beauty for your budget. She said,”The ocean view rooms are the only way to go. I can’t express how happy my heart was to wake up to the sunrise!”

Ulrika J added in her review, “It is quirky and different and a beautiful spot.”

Family-friendly Trip

The upscale Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa can meet the needs of all family members. With a kid’s club and swim-up bars for adults, both parents and children can enjoy the resort’s pools. The “Family Fiesta” special package the resort offers allows for a gadget-free getaway in the family room suites.

The resort is surrounded by a white sand beach, but at the hotel, visitors can choose from the spa’s massage therapies, fitness center, and lush gardens. The hotel won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2014.

Shaun A described the views as being the best in his 15 years of travel across the globe. Additionally, he said this hotel “is the perfect place for families and couples and for mine is in the best part of Langkawi with an abundance of restaurants and bars along the road the hotel lies on.”

No matter where you go in Langkawi, Malaysia, you will be faced with spectacular scenic views and an incomparable serenity. Considered a magical place by travelers, Langkawi is a hidden paradise that will surely be a trip to remember.

 

 

Shopping is Big Business for Overseas Visitors to the US

Chinese shoppers at a Paris shopping mall.

Chinese shoppers at a Paris shopping mall.

I’m just back from the IPW Travel Conference, where 6000 travel professionals gathered in New Orleans to talk about the industry and to network with more than 400 travel writers and thousands of buyers from all over the world. The visitors were there to find great places, activities and services for travel in the United States.

One of the most prominent aspects of the experience, along with big pavilions for major hotel chains and car rental companies, were for shopping malls and department stores who wanted to reach rich Chinese and other Asian travelers who have one prime objective when they visit the US.

I got a chance to visit with a friend and customer, who has a son studying Mandarin and who lives in Beijing. She told me some interesting stories about how different the Chinese tourists who come to the US are than other travelers. For instance, she said most of the Chinese prefer to eat Chinese food in local American Chinese restaurants, rather than eat American foods or even fancy French foods that we offer in the high end neighborhoods.  Many times, she said, even the most well-heeled of the Chinese tourists will visit a local Asian market, pick up some familiar foods like the ones they’d eat at home and they will cook in their hotel rooms. Anything to get a taste of their beloved hot peppers, Asian vegetables, and sauces that they love and are used to eating in Beijing!

Another interesting aspect about Chinese tourists is how important status is to them. Some rich businessmen will come to the US, buy expensive colognes, women’s perfumes, and other luxury goods, and NEVER USE THEM. They bring them home all wrapped up still in the fancy packaging, so that they can show their friends what they got, and they might sit on the shelf unopened for years.  The same with high quality spirits, often it’s more important to show off the bottles than actually drink what’s inside.

Many Chinese visitors to the US are very interested in shopping for high end brands.

Many Chinese visitors to the US are very interested in shopping for high end brands.

Shopping in top of the line stores is a big part of the Chinese visitors’ United States experience. They come armed with many dollars and are interested in finding prestigious brands that convey success. I never thought of shopping as a big part of travel, but it is clear that I am in the minority.  To many of the richest people from around the world who visit our country, the most important thing is what they can find in the stores and which designer brands they can obtain.

If you also enjoy shopping but are on a tight budget, we suggest you go for online coupons. Experts recommend Frugaa.com for that purpose as which provides a huge discounts and money saving deals. This does not just stop on products, you can also opt for various offers on services like flight and hotel bookings provided by Barcelo Hotels and Resorts, Extended Stay America and FlightHub.com.

Civil War Sites to Discover on the Fourth of July

Civil War cemetary in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Civil War cemetary in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

This Independence Day marks our nation’s 240th birthday. To celebrate the occasion, the Civil War Trust recommends 10 sites to visit that interpret our nation’s military history: the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Celebrate our country’s independence with one of these special events or commemorations.

July 1-4: July 4th in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Celebrate America’s 240th in the city where it all began. The weekend includes live music, fireworks shows, the Historic Philadelphia Block Party, parades and patriotic ceremonies. More information: visitphilly.com

July 2: Salute to Independence at Antietam, Sharpsburg, Maryland
Join the Maryland Symphony Orchestra for a special Independence Day commemoration.  The two-hour concert begins at 7:30 p.m. with fireworks display to follow. More information: nps.gov/anti

July 2: Celebrate Independence at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland
Come to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on July 2 at 2:00 p.m. for a musical and colorful afternoon military ceremony. The free program features patriotic music, military pageantry and living history. Dressed in the uniforms of Washington’s Continental Army, the U.S Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps will play stirring fife and drum music. The Fort McHenry Guard, dressed as the 1814 Defenders of Baltimore, will also conduct musket drills. More information: nps.gov/fomc

July 2: Independence Day Artillery Programs at Chickamauga & Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
Celebrate Independence Day with a special artillery program at Point Park on Lookout Mountain. More information: nps.gov/chch

July 2-3: Fourth of July Encampment at Kings Mountain, Blacksburg, South Carolina
Backcountry Militia will be encamped this weekend at Kings Mountain National Military Park, demonstrating a variety of skills from the eighteenth century. More information: nps.gov/kimo

July 4: Independence Day Celebration at Fort McAllister, Richmond Hill, Georgia
Join Fort McAllister as they celebrate our country’s birthday and our right to be free. Watch Civil War drilling, rifle and cannon firings. Also join in sack races, egg toss, wheel barrow races and other games. You can even join in a Civil War-era baseball game! More information: gastateparks.org

July 4: Parade at Balls Bluff, Leesburg, Virginia
The Friends of Ball’s Bluff will participate in Leesburg’s 4th of July parade with a decorated float symbolizing the battle and the organization, beginning at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg. The centerpiece of the float will be one of the Ball’s Bluff cannons. Volunteers are welcome to walk along the route and help hand out candy and information. Civil War period attire is welcome. More information: novaparks.com

July 4: Independence Day Colonial Faire at Fort Morris, Midway, Georgia
Celebrate the 4th with colonial games, contests of skill, colonial music, musket firings, cannon firings and activities. Prizes will be awarded to all participants. Sponsored by the City of Flemington, Friends of Fort Morris and Liberty County Convention and Visitors Bureau. More information: gastateparks.org

July 4: Declaring Independence at Minute Man, Concord, Massachusetts
The fighting at North Bridge, on April 19, 1775, set the 13 British Colonies in North America on a path toward independence, which became a reality 14 months later when the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. Join park rangers and volunteers to mark the occasion with a reading of the Declaration of Independence. More information: nps.gov/mima

July 9: 152nd Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens, Washington, D.C.
Learn about the only Civil War battle to take place in the nation’s capital. See live history demonstrations, period music, historical talks and 19th-century games and crafts. More information: dccivilwarforts.org

For more events, check the events calendar of National Park Service centennial commemorations at findyourpark.com, visit your state park website or search for museums and historic sites near you.

The Civil War Trust is the largest and most effective nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America’s hallowed battlegrounds.  Although primarily focused on the protection of Civil War battlefields, through its Campaign 1776 initiative, the Trust also seeks to save the battlefields connected to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.  To date, the Trust has preserved close to 43,000 acres of battlefield land in 23 states.  Learn more at Civilwar.org.

Six Smart Packing Tips for your Summer Travel

Summer is a time when millions of people around the country travel for pleasure purposes. In fact, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that over 650 million long distance summer trips are made between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, with at least 50 miles being considered long distance. They also report that 90 percent of those trips are done by personal vehicle. As people travel, they often pack too much, and could do a lot better job being organized, which will help the trip be more enjoyable.

Ziplock bags are a great item to bring in your suitcase.

Ziplock bags are a great item to bring in your suitcase.

“People often find it a challenge to pack smart. Instead, they pack way too much, the wrong things, and end up finding the luggage process exhausting,” explains Dr. Bruno Sharp, a fourth-generation dentist who created a line of products called Dr. Sharp Dentistry, and is celebrating his 10th year as a Natural Oral Care provider. “The key to enjoying your trip more is to pack smart, which is easy if you know where to start.”

Here are 6 smart packing tips for summer travel:

  1. Carry essentials. If you have essential documents or valuables, you will want to avoid packing them where it will be difficult for you to get to them. Keep these items in a separate bag that is easily accessible and can be used as a carry-on if you will be flying. This will help you save time and avoid becoming frustrated.
  2. Go travel size. Forget what the hotel offers, as it is usually not what you want to use and you won’t enjoy your stay as much. TSA allows up to 3.4 ounces or less for carry-ons per item so opt for brands that you like to use that come in sizes you can carry along. For example, if you use natural oral care products you do not have to compromise on that when traveling. Just opt for the natural care products you purchase in smaller travel size containers. Toothpaste such as the ones by Dr. Sharp Natural Oral Care are all airline compliant, so they won’t slow you down.
  3. Pack right. A lot of room can be saved in your bag or suitcase if you roll your clothing, rather than folding and stacking them. Take your items and individually fold them in half, then roll it up like a burrito.
  4. Separate shoes. Keep shoes to a minimum so you don’t pack more than you will actually wear. The shoes you do decide to take should be put into a separate plastic bag, before adding them in with the rest of your belongings. This will help keep your clothes from getting dirty or smelly from the shoes.
  5. Be prepared. If you are traveling and there’s an issue that comes up, you may spend a lot of time trying to find a remedy. Be prepared by taking a small bag of things like lip balm, antacids, and bandages. Pick up some individually wrapped antiperspirant wipes, antibacterial wipes, and mouth freshening wipes, like the ones from Savvy Travelers, so you are always prepared. Add a small stash of these items to a Ziploc bag and toss it in the suitcase.

    Giving sandals a bath in the hotel tub, a suggestion from Kelly Nystrom.

    Giving sandals a bath in the hotel tub, a suggestion from Kelly Nystrom.

  6. Have backup. For smart packing, add a few large Ziploc bags to your suitcase. These will come in handy for staying organized and can be used for things like dirty clothes, souvenirs, and keeping things separated.

“You don’t have to compromise when you travel, we have shown that even with our oral hygiene products by offering them in travel size,” added Dr. Sharp. “You just need to think ahead and plan wisely. Doing this will help ensure that you enjoy the trip even more and won’t be bogged down by the little things.”

Read more tips on packing on GoNOMAD.com Travel.

 

The Black Forest Bursts with Green Vacations, Action-Packed Packages and Carbon-free Cars 

Solingen, Germany.

Solingen, Germany.

From the north to the south, the Black Forest in Germany offers scenic beauty, top notch packages, tours and carbon-free transportation with the Konus Card!
SouthWest Germany’s Black Forest is a global epicenter for great nature conservation and green energy. The region is bursting with beautiful countryside and life and its residents enjoy spending their time outside in the fresh air and protecting that same future for their children.  A visitor to the Black Forest can spend their days outside hiking, biking and eating fresh organic food but also exploring beautiful country-side and charming villages with traditional craft-making. Farms with solar panels and towns fueled by manure or hydro or wind energy dot the landscape amidst historic castles and towns.
The Black Forest offers a genuinely exceptional and green vacation via the KONUS-card: a free bus and train ticket for all Black Forest visitors. When you arrive, you will be given the free KONUS card at one of the 11,000 vacation spots and hotels and can plan your entire vacation on public transportation – great for the environment and your wallet. E-bike lovers will be thrilled with the Black Forest’s more than 200 free charging stations and over 100 docking stations.
The northern gateway to the Black Forest is Karlsruhe, nicknamed the “fan city,” for the city streets which fan out in straight lines from the palace in an elegant urban organization. It has abundant gardens and a wonderful zoo so nature always seems close by.  The State Natural History Museum is an exciting way for all ages to learn more about Earth. This one-of-a-kind museum boasts many interactive exhibitions such as an Earthquake Simulator. Everything from minerals, gems, fossils, to animals, bugs and reptiles can be seen here. For additional fascinating animals and to learn more about the importance of biodiversity, head to the Karlsruhe Zooto see the elephants, polar bears and red pandas and where they just opened their newest Exotic House in 2015.
Not far from Karlsruhe, in the middle of the Black Forest, is the red-roofed town of Freudenstadt. Situated on three well-known tourist routes – The Black Forest Mountain Route, Black Forest Valley Route and the Black Forest Spa Route – Freudenstadt is an ideal base to discover wild romantic valleys, mountain passes and spectacular views. Several hundred kilometers worth of biking paths, either begin here in Freudenstadt or pass through the city. There are cross-regional easy paths, tours that last all day or half day tours with train access for your return trip. Whether you are looking for a challenging mountain biking experience or a gentler cruise, there are a plenty of paths for you.  Freudenstadt residents enjoy their bike adventures and have laid out easy-to-follow plans for each skill level. An example of a magnificent tour is the Tour de Murg that follows the Murg River sometimes canyon-like valley ending in Gernsbach. The tour takes you past many rest stops and gourmet restaurants and is an easy path that will have you back to Freudenstadt by the evening. Other tours, such as the Kinzig Valley Tour, are mostly on forest paths.  It is a longer distance, but there is a train that will take you and your bicycle back to Freudenstadt main station afterwards.
Close to Freudenstadt in the middle of the Black Forest is the tiny town of Baiersbronn, not only famous for its gourmet dining and eight Michelin stars but also for its vast array of hiking and mountain biking trails. There are over 400 kilometers of biking trails and some are dedicated to mountain biking only. The trails are between thirteen and eighty-one kilometers long and vary in difficulty. Both experienced and beginner mountain bikers can enjoy their time as the trails are marked with blue, red and black signs to display the level of difficulty.  In addition to its network of trails, Baiersbronn worked under the motto “Respectful Togetherness” and created new parallel trails so hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy the same scenery without trampling over each other. It is ideal for families who would all like to spend an active holiday together hiking and walking.   They can enjoy both and still meet at the same rest stops and destinations. Gourmet hikes and picnics are also available and can be organized for individuals and groups.