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Archive for October, 2009

Krazy Kustomers Oct 29

Sorry about the spelling, but it seems appropriate, considering the subject matter.

One of the travel agents was in a conversation in my hearing, and told about her most remarkable customer:

The lady wanted to travel to Bermuda, but she was afraid to fly. So, okay, they can fix her up with a nice boat ride on a cruise ship. No dice, she wanted to take a train. She had heard that Bermuda was close to Florida, and wanted to travel by train. All attempts to assure her that trains didn’t go to Bermuda were to no avail, and the lady finally left in a huff.

I’m sure the astute readers of this blog know that Bermuda is just over 550 miles due east of South Carolina, not all that far from Florida, (ahem) as the crow flies.

Bermuda is on the right

Bermuda is on the right

Another agent told of meeting a customer who had heard they were building a bridge to Hawaii. Comment below and ask for me to tell you the joke about a bridge to Hawaii, if you don’t already know it.

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Comment from a member Oct 27

Sort of. This isn’t a quote.

The gentleman stopped in the office where I slave away work when I’m here and the official occupant is out, and had a few things to share with me. He said specifically that I had permission to share what he said on this blog. (ahem. He also said he had a few comments about the blog itself, but didn’t have time. He’d be back. I think I’m eager to hear what he has to say.)

Here’s the quick summary:

  • Customer service here has been particularly helpful.
  • Serenity (through DVI) soundly beat the price from a major exchange program for a cruise he is planning.
  • He did some research about the company, and found that all complaints were adequately resolved.

He seems to be a pretty satisfied member. Now to find out what he thinks about the blog.

What do you have to say? Add a comment below.

Category: Plug  | Tags: , , ,  | 7 Comments
Hidden cost of travel Oct 26

Here’s a little item that no travel club will cover for you—your passport. They aren’t cheap, but passports last ten years, so if you spread the expense over a decade, it’s not so bad.

Not having a passport when you need one is really inconvenient, so if you might possibly maybe perhaps travel out of the country in the next ten years, get a passport. You have to bring them an original birth certificate and a copy of it, two passport photos (about $10 at the local camera store), and a credit card, check, money order, or cash.

  • Getting a passport for the first time? Bring a hundred bucks.
  • Replacing an expired passport costs $75.
  • Processing takes 4–6 weeks. Want to have it expedited? That takes only 2–3 weeks, and it’ll set you back another $60.
  • Some large cities have government buildings where you can make an appointment, bring your stuff, and get your passport on the spot. It’s for people leaving in less than two weeks (for example, you have a funeral in Europe) and I don’t know how much extra it costs to go that route.
  • They have a passport card, which costs only $20 if you already have a passport. It’s not good for air travel, but if you’re going by land to Canada, Mexico, or on a cruise it’s all you need.

The Department of State has other fees, and you can pay a service to handle it for you. Here’s a link to the schedule of fees on the State Department’s site. Look around—there’s a lot of information on their site.

Did you experience any glitches when you got your passport? Give us a heads up in the comments section.

Have you been everywhere? (road trips part 3) Oct 23

The world has, let’s say, 50 million places to visit. (Earth’s area is rather more than 200 million square miles, maybe 25% is land area. We could, in theory, say each square mile is a place to visit. Give or take.) You’re not likely to see them all. (Lessee—a one minute visit to each “place” would take you more than 90 years to visit every place. That’s 24 hours a day, too.) This blog’s sister site, What’s your destination? mentions a few of them. (Don’t be too critical–it’s just getting started). You can also Google about any place name you like and get more information than you’re likely to need.

So let’s not try to cover destinations here.

How about no destination? They say (It’s a Zen saying, by the way) the journey is the destination. This kind of road trip can be relaxing, unless you’re one of those goal-oriented types who just has to be headed somewhere. The trick is to have more time available than you need to get someplace (or get back), and try to take that whole time. If you can convince yourself that you have PLENTY of time, you will go slower, watch what’s going on more, meander more (turn off on side roads), maybe stop and check things out more. You’ll arrive (or return) more relaxed and refreshed than you would believe. Give it a try, then comment below. No hurry.

(Did you catch the allusion to the song in the title of this post?)

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On the road again—Part 2 Oct 22

A couple posts down you can find something about vehicles for road trips. This time we think about passengers.

Solo—Freedom! Nobody to negotiate with about breaks or exact route, speed, meals, or choice of radio station. You go where you want, when you want and how you want. This freedom can be liberating, and a lot of motorcyclists prefer to travel this way. But beware the tendency to fall asleep when you’re alone, and be sure your solitude doesn’t turn into loneliness.

Adult companion—If you are okay with sharing the timing of meal and potty breaks, agree on a route, and have similar preferences for side trips,  adult conversation is nice, a competent navigator is nice, and just plain companionship is nice. My wife and I have a system we like: She drives and I read to her.

Kids—The key to this travel technique is: The shorter the better. Reconcile yourself to dealing with the squabbles and short attention spans. I remember dad fixing the back seat into a bed, and we actually did sleep a little. New toys help, renting a large vehicle helps, traveling games help (watch for out of state license plates, find objects that start with each letter of the alphabet, that sort of thing), and frequent breaks help. Reconcile yourself to a slower trip.

How do you like to travel? (I didn’t mention pets…) Add your adventures and opinions in the comments link below.

Category: Adventure  | Tags: ,  | Leave a Comment