There's an APP for that

We hear this all the time and the travel industry is right onboard with apps.

Google maps and other map services come standard with most smartphones but there is so much more available.

For the cruisers there is Shipmate available for both Android and iPhone. It’s a wonderful tool that allows you to search for cruises, their itineraries and excursions. But keep in mind you have to download an app for each of the cruise lines that use it which include but are not limited to, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess, Disney and Celebrity. In addition this one is free.

Airlines such as Delta have their own apps for tracking flights even getting your boarding pass on your phone. Ticket & Flight Airlines is a free app that connects to many of the major air carriers like, American Airlines, Jet Blue, United, KLM, Japan, US Airways and more.

Once you arrive at your destination you often are looking for specific places or just things to do. Try Movie Night Out for planning an evening including dinner.

If you are a movie buff or fan of memorable events check out It Happened Here. It’s not a free app but it offers fun spots to visit; the Corleone Mansion from the Godfather, where George Washington took his oath, a scene from Julie and Julia, just a few from the New York version. This app is only available for a few cities and you need to buy each one individually.

Theme parks like Disney, Universal and Hershey have free apps to download making it easier to plan your day.

Whatever city you are traveling in probably offers an app for public transportation and is a good idea to have at your fingertips.

Wherever you are check out museum apps, most are free and can save you time by knowing hours and exhibits.

Some basic apps for any traveler should be a currency conversion app, time converter, tip chart. Frommer’s offers a good app with all of these features, but there are many others.

Many of us who travel have smartphones and can really take advantage of free and inexpensive tools that will make the trip more exciting and less stressful.

For the luxury and exotic destination traveler The World of A&K is a good choice learning about your options.

 

 

Unique Travel Events is a full SERVICE travel agency. Contact us for your travel needs whether its across the state or across the sea.

 

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What is river cruising?

As I have begun to promote river cruises I realize that because they are a relatively unknown way of seeing the world it is time to give folks a good explanation of what river cruising is and isn’t.

Although you are cruising a river when sitting on the deck of a ship that spends the afternoon floating down the Potomac or Hudson, or spending an evening dining and dancing while sailing down the river this is not the type of river cruising offered by travel agents.

 

River CruisesFor this purpose river cruising is spending anywhere from 4-15 days sailing one of the world’s scenic rivers, but most are 7-10 days. As with an ocean cruise your meals and lodging are part of the experience, unpack once and take in some amazing sites and cities. One of the added benefits of a river cruise, wine and beer is usually included. The staterooms are becoming more luxurious as river cruising grows in popularity. Avalon is adding suites to their newest ships.

Unlike ocean cruises the ships are much smaller carrying 100-150 passengers vs 1,000-5,000 passengers.

In addition on many river cruises shore excursions are often included. A distinct advantage of river cruising is the proximity to the places you really want to visit. Since the ships are small enough to sail the rivers they pull up to docks that are often right at the heartbeat of a city. Instead of a half hour or longer trip to visit a museum or market it can be a 5 minute walk.

River cruises are offered in Europe, Egypt and China. If you are looking for an exotic experience but want the comfort and security of being in same place every night a river cruise is perfect for you.

Even here in the USA river cruises are catching on. From Maine to the Potomac to the Columbia and Snake rivers cruising is a great option for getting up close and personal to American cities. Next year there will be TWO new river cruise ships on the Mississippi, the Mississippi Queen which has already booked passengers and the American Queen being refurbished now.

For those who can’t take an ocean cruise because the waves are too rough the river cruise is another plus.

A couple of things to keep in mind with river cruises:

The staff on the ships speak English.

They are not designed for children. Taking your mature 12 year old may be okay but I wouldn’t recommend it for most children.

You probably won’t find Las Vegas or Broadway style shows onboard, take advantage of those in the cities. There will often be lecturers, local entertainment and piano or jazz bars.

The food is often shopped for by the chefs in the city you are visiting, which means you will dine on authentic cuisine, but as with the larger cruise ships your dietary needs will be met, just ask.

Some of the major river cruise lines outside the US areĀ AMA Waterways, Avalon, Uniworld and Viking

In the US, American Cruise Line offers many options.

Unique Travel Events is a full SERVICE travel agency working to make their clients travel and vacation dreams as seamless as possible.

 

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Pawsengers- Pet Travel Tips

 

Abbott, one of our rescue dogs enjoying an afternoon lying in the snow.

Americans spent over $47 billion on their pets last year, so its no surprise that a wide variety of services have cropped up to accommodate pet owners wants and needs, from vets that make house calls to an airline just for pets.

While our furry friends Possum and Abbot are not much on road trips we know lots of people whose pets love going everywhere with them. An article by gives pet owners a good education about how to plan and prepare for traveling with your pet.

If you want to bring your pet to a hotel here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are you pet friendly?
  • Do you accept all types of pets? (Some only take dogs or cats but not both)
  • What is the maximum size pet allowed?
  • Can I leave my pet unattended in my room? (If they say no, ask if they will allow it if the pet is crated)
  • If you cannot leave them alone in the room check for local pet sitting and kennel services

A super pet friendly hotel chain is Loew’s This is especially good if you are traveling to Orlando and plan on bringing the pooch.

When traveling space is always a consideration. Check out items like collapsible dog bowls, soft-sided crates, etc.

The airlines have their rules regarding pet travel. PetTravel.com has very useful information but you should check with the individual airlines before arriving at the airport.

Do you want to really letĀ  your pet fly in style? Try PetAirways They have a limited number of cities they fly between but its still an interesting option.

Amtrak is not pet friendly, the only animals allowed are service dogs and the same goes for Greyhound.

A good resource for information on pet travel and care is Petswelcome.com

Our other rescue dog, Possum the Princess, or so she believes.

Unique Travel Events is a full service travel agency. We understand that travel is not one size fits all, whether its budget or accommodations. SERVICE is what we offer to make your travel as seamless and pleasant as possible.

Call us at 703-986-0934 or email uniquetravelevents@gmail.com.

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