Air Travel: What You Need to Know About Your Checked Baggage

When it comes to air travel, many travelers are more concerned with their carryon luggage than they are with their bags that will be handed over to airport staff. These bags, commonly referred to as checked baggage, are just as important, if not more important, than your carryon luggage. For this reason, there are a number of different factors that you should take into consideration, when packing your bags for your next flight.

One mistake that many travelers make, when it comes to checked baggage, is including prohibited items in their bag. In addition to prohibited items, there have also been instances of travelers trying to hide illegal items in their checked luggage. Although it may seem like a good idea at the time, it isn’t. In fact, with today’s airport security screening, it is virtually impossible for you to get away with storing prohibited or illegal items inside your checked baggage. This is mostly due to the fact that the screening process has dramatically changed from what it was in the past, say ten years ago.

In the past, certain airlines only randomly searched checked baggage. Many times, these searches were only implemented if airline officials or airport security had probable cause. Today, all bags are checked, including your checked luggage. Most checks will quickly be done, but, in some cases, more extensive searches may be conducted. A quick check of your luggage may include rummaging through all of your belongings, looking for anything out of the ordinary. An extensive search could include searching all of your clothing pockets and baggage compartments. In the event that you are subject to one of those checks, it is likely that you will be caught if you are trying to conceal a cigarette lighter or other prohibited items.

Since your bags will be checked, all of them, you are advised against locking your baggage before heading to the airport. After your bags have been properly screened, some airlines will allow you to replace the locks on your checked baggage, but not all will. For this reason, you may want to reconsider storing expensive items, such as electronic equipment, in your bags. In addition to the possibility of theft, you will find that items packed inside your checked luggage are at a higher risk for being damaged then those that are in your carryon bags.

When packing your bags, which will be checked at the airport, it is also advised that you carefully pack them. There are a number of items, including sharp objects, which are prohibited from being stored in your carryon luggage, but those items can be placed in your checked baggage. As previously mentioned, airport security will likely examine those bags. Even during a quick examination, they will rummage through your belongings. For that reason, you are advised to properly package and secure all items that can be considered dangerous, such as those with sharp edges, baby strollers or points. This extra precaution may not only affect your safety, when you to go unpack your bags, but the safety of all airport security officials, especially those screening your luggage.

By taking the time to famialrize yourself with all travel rules, including the airport screening process, you should be able to pack your bags for your next flight, the right way. The wrong way, although you may not necessarily think about it at the time, could have serious consequences.

Tips For A Great Budget Vacation!

Money seems to get even harder to acquire these days. Prices are going up, too much bills to pay and economic blunders keep on happening nowadays. This is why sometimes getting a vacation seems more of a luxury nowadays. However, you should understand that getting a vacation is not a luxury at all!

No, of course not! There are ways on how you can have a good vacation even on a budget. If you want to have one, here are some tips on how you can do so.

Take Advantage Of Timing

Timing is essential if you really want to save up on a vacation. Interestingly, airline price wars typically start during Fridays, which is who fares are to be lowest during late Tuesday nights or early Wednesday mornings, thus you should make have hotel reservations by 4 p.m. during Sundays. If you do this, you would likely find a desk clerk that may give you a discount when you ask for one, rather than talk to those that typically set up room prices, thus saving you up more money. You should also rent cars during Saturday afternoons, since this is when dealerships begin worrying for no-shows.

Off-season Travel

If you’ll be travelling during off-season, this is the time that you can find and get great discounts. In fact, at times you can even get up to 50%, if you would be travelling to the Caribbean and the South. You can also get discounts for usual ski destinations such as Vermont and Colorado during summer months, when they have down peak in tourists.

However, you should just make sure that they’re not having a low season due to a reason, such as a disease outbreak and the like. Thus, you should look for a place that you can visit during its off season that could still give you the same amount of fun, excitement and activities as it would give you during its regular season.

Do Your Research

It would also be helpful if you do your research. You can try searching the Internet on ticket offers or jacuzzi hot tub that can give you loads of discounts. Try using your destination as your research’s focus point to have more viable search results. After doing research, see and deliberate on which of the offers can give you the most savings and which can fit your budget.

A lot of people underestimate what the Internet can do. However, you shouldn’t be one of them. Go ahead and take advantage of the online world, for sure there are a lot budget vacation offerings out there, just one click away!

Get A Home

Are you travelling with friends or kids? If so, you might want to consider getting a vacation condo or a time-share condo. Doing so can give you a whole lot of convenience. Plus, this is pretty efficient in saving money. It typically costs about two hotel rooms, yet you would get more space and plus a full kitchen. This means a lot since you get to save more and you’re not obliged to eat out for all your meals.

Thus the money you save with your meals could be utilized for other things such as buying souvenirs and going to other sights that you want to see. You can also use it for gas money and the likes.

Air Travel With Better Circulation

The human body is not made to sit still for long periods of time. Proper physical function relies on movement and blood circulation. However on an extended flight, you may feel like you do not have a choice in the matter. You are stuffed into a cramped seat with little opportunity for movement. Hours in this position can lead to stiffness, cramping, and decreased blood flow. It is important to learn how to master the art of long flights without suffering the physical consequences.

To keep your lymph system working at peak levels despite your extended flight, try to engage in movement as much as possible. Keep the fluids flowing through your body by periodically walking down the plane aisle (if the fasten seatbelt light is off). You can perform stretches, even yoga positions, in this narrow space. In your seat itself you can do small exercises that will keep your blood flowing harmoniously through your body. Try pressing your palms together, exerting pressure on them so your arm muscles flex. You can lift your arms over your head. You can flex your abdominal muscles, straightening your back. You can tense your thigh muscles in repetitions. If you take a big book to read on your flight, you can perform bicep curls with it. Do you have carryon luggage? If so, you can stand in the aisle and lift it with your legs, or hold it in front of you at a ninety-degree angle. In addition to increasing blood flow, exercise also helps prevent jet lag. You get the best of both worlds.

When flying for long periods of time, be sure to drink lots of fluids. This will help your body on its circulation task. Water makes everything go more smoothly. Smoking a cigarette will only make your body’s task harder. Nicotine makes it harder for blood to reach your extremities and taxes your whole system. If you are a smoker, try not to smoke in advance of your flight. In addition, avoid caffeine, alcohol, and salty foods. These always complicate your body’s work.

Dress appropriately for your flight. As much as you want to look like a movie star when you arrive at your destination, resist the urge to wear high heels or tight,hard floor scrubber, fancy shoes. Dress comfortably in loose clothes and practical shoes. For especially long flights, don’t be afraid to pack pajamas and slippers. Just make sure that you are not too exposed, as not to discomfort your fellow passengers. Any tight item of clothing will compromise your circulation during the trip. Many people have the habit of crossing their legs when they sit. This position can cut off blood flow to your legs and also lead to misalignment of your back. No matter how uncomfortable your plane seat is, try to avoid crossing your legs. If you follow all these rules, you will arrive in your destination with excellent circulation and will be ready to begin your travels on foot. Long flights do not have to take a severe toll on your body, especially its circulation system.

 

Online Hotel Bookings Service

Online Hotel Bookings Service

The internet has seen a revolution for hotel booking services. Online hotel bookings can make planning your business trip, vacation or weekend away both easier and more affordable. Online hotel bookings make it easy to select a suitable hotel, and are ideal for both the customer and the hotel management. While it once required effort to locate and select a hotel far away from home, the internet has dramatically simplified that process with online hotel bookings. Online hotel bookings enable you to choose a hotel with the features you desire, whether you need a simple and affordable place to stay or a luxurious retreat from day to day life.

It is now possible to find a hotel and book within minutes any time of the day – from anywhere in the world. Convenience is one of the most significant benefits of online hotel bookings. Browse hotels in the area you require at your leisure, comparing features and rates easily. When you have chosen the hotel you prefer, simply complete your hotel booking online at a time convenient to you. Many hotels even allow same day online hotel bookings, great for that last minute weekend away, for example taking in a show in the West End of London.

Pricing is very competitive as it’s so easy to compare one hotel to another. Some services even allow you to conveniently compare multiple hotels when choosing your online hotel bookings. If pricing is your first priority, you may find one of the larger online hotel bookings services ideal. While some such services do not allow you to choose your hotel, but rather to only select location and quality of the hotel, substantial discounts on hotels may be available. If you are willing to allow the online hotel bookings service to select your flight or hotel, the discounts are typically much greater.

Customers may find that online hotel bookings can also offer savings on airline flights, car services, and even entertainment. By packaging your vacation needs, you may save a substantial amount and have additional funds to enjoy on your weekend away or longer vacation.  When planning a trip, take advantage of online booking services to find the best prices on hotels, airfares and more.  These services are ideal for both short and long trips, and may even be a convenient option if you need to book a hotel for visiting guests.

It’s great for hotels as there is so little admin involved and the booking software can be linked usually via aggregators. To remain competitive in today’s travel market, it is critical that hotels offer online hotel bookings. Customers at all levels expect to be able to easily and conveniently book their hotel online. Hotels can choose to manage their own online booking software, and will find that they can affordably purchase such options, or can arrange online hotel bookings through a larger service. Whichever option is chosen, offering online hotel bookings will benefit all hotels, both small and large.

Online hotel bookings are ideal for customers and best hostels. Hotels will find that rooms are more consistently filled if they offer online hotel bookings. Online hotel bookings can also reduce expenses and employee time for the hotel. Customers enjoy the convenience and ease of online hotel bookings, as well as the ability to compare prices and features of various hotels. Planning a weekend away has never been easier, or more affordable than it is now with the accessibility of online hotel bookings.  Convenience, competitive pricing, and easy comparison shopping make online hotel bookings popular with nearly every customer, from those planning a long vacation to those in need of an affordable weekend away.

Health and Leisure in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a sunshine haven for fresh, mountain or sea air, open spaces and mineral spa treatments. For many, it is ideal location for a relaxed and healthy lifestyle.

It is no wonder that Bulgaria’s tourism figures are increasing at a level never seen before (50% in the past 4 years). Bulgaria’s recent government initiatives have invested heavily in its leisure industries and in turn they are creating some highly desirable tourist resorts.

Black Sea Resorts

Bulgaria is best known for its budget holiday resorts on the Black Sea. Here you can enjoy great health and leisure activities at a fraction of the cost of most other tourist destinations.

Warm sunshine with pleasant temperatures (around 26°C in summer) comfortable hotels, white, non-tidal beaches, water sports are but some of the attractions to the area. There is also plenty of entertainment laid on by the hotels, including night life at all the resorts. In addition, within minutes you can find yourself in picturesque mountains, ski resorts and golf courses.

The major seaside resorts are located at: Albena, Golden Sands (the largest seaside resort where 22 brand new hotels are currently under construction), St. Konstantin, Varna (known as the sea capital and Bulgaria’s third largest city), Elenite, Sunny Beach (the third largest resort) and Bourgas.
For extra entertainment, modern aqua parks can be found in Golden Sands and Sunny Beach.

There are several nudist beaches in Bulgaria. They are located

– between Albena and Kranevo – after Gergana Hotel in Albena
– Golden Sands resort – past the yacht port, in front of Glarus Hotel
– Kamchia – the widest nudist beach on the Bulgarian Black sea coast and a famous nudist
– Destination.
– Bourgass – north of the town after the Burgas Hotel, direction Nessebur (new town) near the saltpans of Bourgas.
– Sozopol – south of Harmanite beach

Skiing

Today Bulgaria is a highly desirable ski location, with some of the best value skiing and après-ski available in Europe.

The main ski centres are at: Bansko, the most developed of all the resorts but also retaining a rich history and culture, Borovets, the largest, with 40 km of piste, Pomparovo, the highest point is 1,926 m), Chepelare, picturesque and near to the longest Bulgarian ski run, “Mechi Chal (5,200 m) and Vitosha, set in a National Park and overlooking the capital city of Sofia.

The rugged heights of the Rila and Pirin mountains form a spectacular setting for the ski resorts.
The highest peak is Rila with its Musala peak(2925m).

The season is from mid-December, extending through to April in many locations.

The average temperatures in the main ski resorts are:
Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
oC -1 1 5 9 15 19 22 23 16 12 6 1
oF 30 33 41 48 59 65 71 74 61 54 42 33

Trekking and Local Culture

To truly experience the character of Bulgaria, you must venture away from the resorts to where the locals live.

The Balkan Range, a 435-mile (700km) chain, crosses the entire country and offers some of the best hiking in Europe.

Rodopi for easy trekking amid green forests

Jeravna or Kotel for more strenuous trekking in the Eastern Balkan mountains

National Parks for various levels of trekking, at Pirin, Central Balkan or Rila

The six very different mountain ranges vary from high, snow-covered peaks to gentle green slopes and forests. They harbour thermal springs and mineral spas. The valleys are rich with Balkan flora and fauna.

The mountain dwellers have their own distinctive customs, crafts, colourful folklore, religious beliefs and speech. They welcome guests with typical Bulgarian warm-hearted hospitality, and are delighted to share age-old traditions and cooking.

Rural Bulgaria is particularly poor and many people here live under the poverty line. The villagers mainly live off self-sufficiency and preserve almost everything they produce, even meat.

Mineral Spas & treatments

People travel from far and wide to discover the health benefits to be gained from the Balkan mountain mineral spas. The main ones are located at:

– Hissarya – 22 mineral springs for the treatment of urological and liver diseases

– Touzlate – for bone diseases

– Sandanski – for bronchial asthma

– Velingrad – for conditions of the respiratory tract and disturbances of the locomotory system, neurological disorders, gynaecological complaints, mild forms of diabetes and obesity

– Kystendil – for conditions of the bones, joints and tendons, disorders of the nervous system, cardiovascular diseases, disturbances of the reproductive system and sterility

Healing Mud

The Black Sea resorts at Sveti Constantine, Pomorie and Albena are famous for their mud treatments.
The best known Black-Sea spa centers are at:
Dobroudja Hotel at Albena resort, Ambassador Hotel at Golden Sand resort, Riviera Holiday Club, Sunny Day and Grand Hotel Varna at St.Constantine resort and Pomorie Hotel in the coastal town of Pomorie.

The boost in tourist amenities has led to many of the luxury 4 and 5 star hotels offering spa centres, including pools, saunas, jacuzzis, solariums and fitness centres. Some of the best can be found in: Castle Hrankov Hotel in Sofia, Grand Hotel Veliko in Lovech, Plovdiv Novotel in Plovdiv and Kempinski Hotel in Zografski, Sofia.

Golf

Despite the abundance of open space, golf is in its early stages of development in Bulgaria. It is developing at a steady pace to create world-class facilities that will not only support the growth of golf in Bulgaria but act as a focus for tourism.

However at the moment there are only three golf courses in Bulgaria. Today’s courses are located at Ihtiman, opened in 2000, 40km from Sofia, and at Sliven, opened in 2004, 90km from the Black Sea.

Due to a huge increase in tourism and foreign interest in Bulgaria, several more golf courses are underway. One of these will be located at Razgrad, in the north-east, about 90km from the Black Sea. More are scheduled to open within the next few years: two at Kavarna and one at Primorsko, near Sozopol. Another course is near completion in the ski town of Bansko.

A large golf complex at Dolna Banya, between Kostenets and Borovets, near Ihtiman, now the country’s foremost ski resort is near completion. Its timely opening is scheduled for 2007, the year of Bulgaria’s entry into the European Union. The complex will include 220 apartments around a comprehensive sports complex, with access to the golf course by a short footpath.

Additional outdoor facilities will include: tennis, volleyball, squash, badminton, lawn bowls, boules (boccia), shooting, archery, croquet, mountain biking, and fishing nearby.

Indoor facilities will include: 140-seat main restaurant and cabaret stage,fingerless gloves for arthritis, blood pressure kit, a huge main bar (perhaps the largest in Bulgaria), a sports bar with projection TV, snooker, pool, table football, table tennis, a Chinese restaurant, Indian restaurant, fast food cafeteria, pizzeria, gymnasium, sauna, massage parlour, clinic, chemist, sports shop and mini market.

Real estate prices in all golf resorts are set to rise substantially with increased public recognition and media coverage. Ian Woosnam, the 2006 Ryder Cup Captain, has increased international awareness whilst becoming heavily involved in the development of two of the new golf complexes at Bansko and Balchik, with their accompanying leisure centres and hotels.

 

China Work Visa (Z)

A work visa is required for persons wanting to work in China for pay.  It is also issued to aliens who come to China for commercial entertainment performance. It is only granted if you and the employer meet certain requirements.  First, the organisation must be accredited to employ foreigners. You must meet the requirements as a ‘foreign expert’ and the employer must obtain a certificate stating that you comply. The most common employment is teaching English for which the minimum qualifications are stated as having English as a first language and having at least a Bachelors degree and two year teaching experience. The age limit for male applicants is 18 – 60, and 18 – 55 for female applicants. However, there is some flexibility in these requirements so if you can find a willing employer they still have a chance of obtaining approvals for you.

The employer will send you a government issued Employment Permit and Visa Notification Letter which you must submit with a photocopies with your application. Accompanying family members should apply for new S1 or S2 visa submitting invitation letter from the relative with work Z in China and a ‘proof of relationship’  i.e. their marriage certificate for a spouse, or birth certificate for a child.

This Z is valid for only 30 days from the date of arrival during which time you and your employer must seek a Temporary Residence Permit for the duration of your contract, to the minimum of 90 days and the maximum of 5 years.

Requirements
1. Applicant’s valid actual passport with at least six months validity left before expiration and at least one blank page left in it.
2. One accurately and truthfully completed Visa Application Form.
3. One recent passport standard photo affixed on the Application Form.
4. Invitation Letter issued by duly authorized entity or Confirmation Letter of Invitation issued by relevant Chinese entities.
5. Work Permit (one of the following work permits):
a. Foreigners Employment Permit issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the PRC.
b. Permit for Foreign Experts (Foreign Experts Certificate) issued by the State Bureau of Foreign Experts of the PRC.
c. Registration Certificate of Resident Representative Offices of enterprises of foreign countries(regions) issued by Chinese authorities of industrial and commercial administration.
d. An approval document for commercial performances issued by the Chinese government authorities for cultural affairs.
e. Invitation Letter to Foreigners for Offshore Petroleum Operations issued by National Offshore Oil Corporation.

How to Apply
You can go to the Chinese embassy, consulates or other diplomatic missions in person for application. You can also entrust your friends, a travel agency or visa agency to act on your behalf. There is no need to make an appointment. Mailed applications are not acceptable.

Processing Time
It usually takes 4 working days for processing. For example, you submit application on Monday and then you can pick up your visa on Thursday. Additional US$ 30 is charged for 1 working day processing, and US$ 20 for 2-3 working day processing.

Visa Fees
The fee is as same as the fee for other types of Chinese visa. Generally speaking, Chinese embassy or consulate only issue single entry Z to aliens. If you apply for it in the United States of America, US$140 for American citizens, US$30 for other citizens.