TRAVEL GUARD OFFERS TRAVEL TIPS TO THOSE TRAVELING DURING THE BUSY HOLIDAY SEASON

24-Hour Travel Assistance is Available for All Policyholders

The holiday travel season is just around the corner, and as many Americans plan trips to visit friends and family, they are also preparing for the hectic nature of holiday travel. According to the Airport Council International, nine of the 10 busiest U.S. airports saw an increase in passengers in 2012 from the previous year, raising the likelihood that holiday travel might again be a frenzied activity. Add to that the chance of possible weather-related delays, missed connections and lost luggage, and even the best laid travel plans can turn chaotic.

Whether just now booking or finalizing plans, there is still time to take the following into consideration:

  • Book Early, Save Money
    “The early bird gets the worm” when it comes to flight booking. It’s wise to book at least a month or more in advance of your expected departure date if you want to get the best deals. A great way to simultaneously compare airfare for the best price is to use an airfare aggregator site.
  • When You Travel Matters
    Experts often note the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after are the busiest travel days of the year. Travelers would be wise to book a flight Thanksgiving Day and return the following Tuesday if possible.
  • Carry On for Smooth Travel
    Travel can go more smoothly when only one carry-on is packed for each member of the family. Carry-on luggage allows travelers to arrive at their departure gate quickly and avoid the hassle of waiting for checked luggage upon arrival. Plus, carry-on luggage often costs nothing as compared to checked luggage, which can cost more than $25 per bag.
  • Shop Online & Ship
    Avoid airport security scrutinizing and unwrapping each gift you packed in your suitcase. Don’t travel with gifts. Instead, shop online and have each item shipped to your final destination. Ship home gifts you receive as well.
  • Avoid Airport Parking Lots
    Avoid mayhem in airport parking lots during the holidays. If possible, have a friend drop you off at the airport to avoid congestion and delays getting to your departure gate.
  • Keep an Eye on the Weather
    Watch daily weather forecasts and monitor your flight status. Don’t forget to leave for the airport early to avoid long lines and a rush to your terminal.

“The holiday travel season can be stressful, and experiencing travel mishaps or unexpected delays only amplifies traveler frustrations,” said Lori Whitt, Vice President, Marketing Communications, Travel Guard Americas. “We encourage all travelers to plan ahead and consider travel insurance for the many travel disruptions that can happen, especially during holiday travel. Time spent with family and friends is far more important than time spent worrying about fixing travel interruptions. That’s where we can help.”

Travel insurance may be better known for trip cancellation and medical coverage and less known for lost luggage or flight delay coverage, which are the more common causes of disruptions during the busy holiday travel season. A travel insurance plan that includes travel assistance services can provide relief in the form of one-stop access to flight rebookings, hotel arrangements, baggage tracking and more.

For more information about a travel insurance plan with 24/7 assistance services, or for more travel tips contact your travel agent, visit www.TravelGuard.com or call Travel Guard’s 24/7 World Service Center at 1.800.826.1300.

About Travel Guard
Travel Guard is the marketing name for Travel Guard Worldwide, Inc., and Travel Guard Group, Inc. Travel Guard is a worldwide leader in travel insurance solutions and assistance services, which provides products and services to millions of travelers around the globe, including a wide range of emergency services through a network of assistance centers located in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Travel Guard helps leisure and business travelers alike solve travel related problems and manage travel related risks. Travel Guard’s global reach, service quality and proven operational capabilities allow travelers to receive best-in-class care. Travel Guard’s suite of technology platforms enables seamless integration with all major travel distribution systems and supplier channels. For additional information, please visit our websites at www.travelguardworldwide.com and www.travelguard.com.

Travel insurance products offered by Travel Guard Group, Inc., (“Travel Guard”), a licensed insurance producer. Products or services may not be available in all countries or states, and coverage is subject to actual policy language. Non-insurance products and services may be provided by Travel Guard or independent third parties. Insurance products are underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., a Pennsylvania insurance company, with its principal place of business at 175 Water Street, New York, NY 10038. It is currently authorized to transact business in all states and the District of Columbia. NAIC No. 19445.

This is only a brief description of the coverage(s) available. The Policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. Insurance underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, a Pennsylvania insurance company, with its principal place of business at 175 Water Street, New York, NY 10038 It is currently authorized to transact business in all states and the District of Columbia, NAIC No. 19445. Coverage may not be available in all states. For costs and complete details of the coverage(s) contact Travel Guard Group, Inc. at http://www.travelguard.com.

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Culinary Travel Destinations

Some people travel to see white sand beaches. Other people travel to experience little-known cultures. Still others travel to experience the culinary delight of a destination. Whether it’s an exotic marketplace, a tucked away restaurant or a quiet vineyard to sip exquisite wine, these people travel to savor the food an area has to offer. You might call them foodies, gluttons or connoissuers of the world’s best edible delicacies. Whatever food you desire, there’s no denying a good place to eat when you see one. Here are five culinary destinations to seek out.

Belgium
It’s all about being “Brusselicious.” Really? Yep. That’s the name of the year-long food festival in the city of Brussels, Belgium. If the name doesn’t “get” you, this will: foodie events take place everywhere in the city from gourmet tram rides to delicacies served in a restaurant suspended above the city. So what type of food is Belgium famous for? Chocolate, waffles, moules-frites (mussels with fries), waterzooi (thickened stew), paté, and Belgium fry. Check out the gourmet agenda in Brussels here.  

Great Britain
Great Britain wasn’t always known as a foodie destination. But, all that has changed. For starters, farmers’ markets at Borough Market in London, England rolls out artisan breads and cheeses, fine meats, fruits, vegetables and other global delicacies.1 Local produce and meats of great quality can also be found in Castle Douglas, Scotland. In general, Great Britain’s famous food includes beef wellington, black pudding, dumplings, and yorkshire pudding.

Morocco
Morocco may just be an up-and-coming foodie destination. The country is becoming quite popular for its hearty dishes and exotic flavors. Many of the country’s restaurants use recipes that have been passed down for generations with modern twists. An unexpected pleasantry is that Morocco is also becoming a place known for its excellent wine.2  Famous Moroccan dishes include tajine (an exotic, warm stew), lentil soup, zaalouk (cooked salad of eggplant and tomatoes).

Malaysia
While Malaysia might not be the first place you think about when it comes to foodie travel, it certainly is a force to be reckoned with. The food in this country boasts influences from Malay, Indian, Arabic and Chinese traditions. For starters, there is a wide availability of fresh ingredients for food dishes due to the country’s warm location – just head on over to Chowrasta Market in Penang. In Kuala Lumpur, curries, stewed and pickled vegetables and rice eaten with a rigid banana leaf are common foods. The use of chili and spices in food comes from many cultural and religious influences.3 Popular food includes asam laksa (noodles in tangy fish gravy), gado-gado (boiled vegetables with peanut sauce) and ayam goreng (chicken deep-fried in coconut oil).

Spain
Spain has long been a foodie travel destination. One look at what’s on the menu and you’ll know why. One famous flavor of the Salamanca region of Spain is Iberico ham, which is distinguishable by its nutty flavor (from pigs who are fed acorns from mountain pastures).4 This area of Spain is also called “Espana del Asado” (capital of roasts). Here you will find plenty of roasted meats like suckling pig, lamb, and chorizo, a local spicy sausage. Surprisingly, the area’s desserts have an Arab and Jewish influence, as can be seen in the cinnamon and almond flavored baked goods. Foodie travelers to the area must enjoy one of the many tapas restaurants, paella (a rice dish), and gazpacho (tomato-based vegetable soup).

What is your favorite foodie destination? Share it with us and tell us why it’s the place to be for a traveling foodie.

 

1 http://www.lonelyplanet.com/england/travel-tips-and-articles/69199
2
http://www.fodors.com/news/top-food-and-wine-experiences-in-morocco-6320.html
3
http://travel.cnn.com/gallery-ireport-malaysia-food-908711
4
http://traveltips.usatoday.com/food-salamanca-spain-11396.html

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Travel to these Spooktacular Places Around the World

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, it’s easy to let our minds wonder towards the many festivities of fall. This is a time of year when thoughts of the past can reign supreme and join with the present to make some spectacular cool-season memories with friends and family. During this spectacularly spooky time of year, we thought you’d enjoy a good read about how the past and present come together at these supposedly haunted places around the world.

Paris Catacombs
It was a time when Christianity flourished in France’s history and the practice of burying the dead came to halt when the city’s most popular burying grounds couldn’t hold any more bodies. So, what was the city to do? Exhume the dead, of course, and place them in underground tunnels which are known today as the Paris Catacombs. In all, 6 million Parisians were buried in the catacombs in the late 1700’s. Angered by the disturbance of their bodies, hostile spirits are said to roam the tunnels. Visitors who tour the catacombs sometimes report supernatural cold spots, seeing shadowy figures and the feeling of being followed.1

The Tower of London
It was once home to Great Britain’s Royal family – and many of them were hung or beheaded on the grounds. You may have heard of one of them: Anne Boleyn. She met her ill fate by King Henry VII after she failed to produce a male heir. Many visitors to the Tower of London (commonly referred to as the Bloody Tower after Anne’s death) report seeing a headless ghost. The Salt Tower where the grizzly deed occurred is the only area of the castle where no dog will ever enter. 2

Landi Castle
The ghost story of Italy’s Landi Castle sounds a lot like the story of Romeo and Juliet. The couple was Moroello, captain of the knights, and Soleste, daughter of the castle Lord. Moroello went away to fight in battle and Soleste waited for her love’s return, sitting on the edge of the fortress. One day she saw horses with men atop, galloping back from battle, but the men were wearing enemy colors. Thinking that Moroello had died, she threw herself off the castle’s edge. Sadly, it was Moroello and his men who were approaching the castle. They had put on the enemy’s clothing to boast of victory. Moroello was overcome with grief upon learning of Soleste’s death and killed himself. To this day, the ghost of Moroello is said to haunt the castle. 3

Houska Castle
In a time where castles were built to keep evil out, this castle was built to keep something IN. Located just north of Prague, the Houska Castle was built in the 13th century atop a fabled bottomless pit from which, it was said, winged creatures and beasts exited. Legend has it that nearby prisoners were granted pardons to help seal off this bottomless pit but the first prisoner to be lowered into the pit let out a yell and when raised up was said to have appeared aged over 30 years and died just days later.3 Fast forward a few centuries and the Nazis were said to use this location to conduct occult experiments. Years later several Nazi remains were found at the location. Ghosts said to haunt the premises include that of a headless black horse and a woman in dress who peeks out of the window on the top floor.

Do you know of additional haunted places around the world? Share them with us.

1 http://matadornetwork.com/nights/7-of-the-most-haunted-places-in-the-world-pics/
2http://travel.ca.msn.com/10-real-life-haunted-houses-around-the-world#image=8
3http://www.gadling.com/2012/06/04/the-worlds-10-scariest-haunted-castles/#!slide=953578

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Unusual Fall Travel Destinations

Perhaps when you think of fall travel, places in the U.S. more often associated with autumn colors, like the East Coast or the Midwest, come to mind. While both of these areas offer the bright red, yellow and orange of a magical fall, there are other surprising locations around the world that can make your travel this season even more spectacular.

Cinque Terre, Italy
If you want to see color, you can find it places other than nature if you visit Cinque Terre, Italy. The city, which is actually made up of a string of five towns, sits on Liguria’s very rugged coastline.1 While the natural habitat in the surrounding hills is nothing short of amazing, perhaps it is the bright colors of the stacked adobe buildings that will grab your attention. In order to experience the city, you’ll want to don your walking shoes as there are no cars allowed. Each village is said to have its own personality so be sure to explore carefully and experience each moment.

Hokkaido, Japan
Did you know northern Japan is known for its rugged landscape and untouched nature? While that may comes as a surprise to some, this secluded area is perfect for peak koyo (fall foliage) season in mid-September.2 With its abundant wildlife, thick forests and mountain ranges complete with volcanic lakes, this area makes the perfect autumn getaway.

Livingstone, Zambia
When you think of fall, chances are you don’t think of heading to Zambia. But, if you head on over to the exotic country during the fall months, you’ll have the opportunity to swim in the highest and most dramatic natural pool on earth.2 Devil’s Pool is located on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River. During these months, the low water allows for swimmers to dive in and swim over to a natural retaining wall and safely look over the edge of the connected waterfall.

Northeastern Poland
What could possibly be worth the journey to Northern Poland? According to National Geographic Travel, the Great Masurian Lakes make it well worth the trek. This sparsely populated area of is home to 2,000 lakes and boasts thick forests on many islands. The area, which is 170 miles from Warsaw, has been made accessible through a network of rivers and canals via kayak or small boat and includes several walking and biking trails to take in the foliage.2

Morovia, Czech Republic
Ah, the trappings of fall. All the traditions of the season of color can be found in Morovia. Enjoy the area by taking in harvest festivals and bike rides through rolling vineyards. This area is low-key compared to nearby Prague and Bohemia and boasts robust red wines and late-ripening white wine – the perfect way to unwind after a day of touring the colorful countryside.1

Do you know of any other great fall destinations? Share them with us below.

 

1 http://www.lonelyplanet.com/europe/travel-tips-and-articles/77757
2 http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-fall-2012/#/hagoromo-waterfall-daisetsuzan-national-park_57139_600x450.jpg

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Bizarre Carnival Food Across the U.S.

Battered, fried and on a stick – that’s how our country’s fair food is served. But gone are the days of just traditional fair food like funnel cakes, cotton candy and corndogs. If you’ve traveled to any fair across the country, you’ve likely seen those old favorites replaced or served in conjunction with the likes of deep-fried Kool-aid, chocolate-covered bacon and even hot beef sundaes. Oh how times have changed. Read on to discover the latest bizarre fair foods and at which fairs in the U.S. they will be served up later this year.

Deep-fried Butter Balls: Deep in the heart of Texas at the Texas State Fair is where many a traveler may find deep fried butter balls. These golf ball sized scoops of whipped butter are rolled in sweetened dough and put in a deep fryer, then served and eaten while they are hot. 2013 Fair dates: September 27 – October 20

Spaghetti and Meatballs on a Stick: It’s a manageable mess on a stick. Yes, apparently it’s possible to eat this normally sloppy meal in a few bites. Cooked spaghetti is mashed with meatballs, rolled into a ball and gets garlic batter slathered all over it before it’s dropped into the deep fryer. The ball of Italian goodness is then served with a side of marinara sauce. Get a taste of this Italian treat at the Minnesota State Fair from August 22 – September 2.

Scorpions, Crickets and Grubs – Oh My:  This fair food isn’t for the faint of heart. If you think the fair rides get your stomach churning, what might you think of chocolate covered grubs, scorpions and crickets? Each of these morsels have been deep-fried, smothered in chocolate and served on a stick (with a smile from the chef, I’m sure). If you are feeling daring, these delicacies can be found at the Arizona State Fair which goes from October 11– November 3.

Ice Cream Cheeseburger: Here’s fair food that is a little tamer – an ice cream cheeseburger. Found at the Florida State Fair, this big burger comes topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato and a generous scoop of deep-fried ice cream that is battered in corn flakes and cinnamon. Fair dates: February 7 – 18.

Fried Jelly Beans: Ever have a craving for a funnel cake and jelly beans at the same time? If so, deep fried jelly beans may hit the spot. The recipe is simple… just dip a jelly bean into batter before tossing it in the deep fryer. Get this sweet, breaded treat at the Massachusetts State Fair which runs September 13 -29.

Just when you’ve thought you’ve heard it all, a new deep fried fair food shows up. What’s your favorite bizarre fair food and where can you find it?

 

Sources:
http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/americas-wacky-fair-foods/1
http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/photos/8-carnival-foods-we-dare-you-to-try/deep-fried-butter-balls
http://www.policymic.com/articles/49919/2013-state-fairs-dates-schedule-for-all-50-states

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Girlfriends Travel

They see us at our best. They see us at our worst. “They” are our girlfriends, and at times a lot of women must certainly wonder where they would be without their gal pals. In fact, medical studies show that the bond between women is critical to emotional and physical health.1 So, what better way to become rejuvenated than to take a vacation with some of your closest friends? Not sure if a girl’s getaway would benefit you? Click here to learn how a getaway with your girlfriends can be good for the mind, body and spirit.

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Tips to Plan Honeymoon Travel

Tahiti. Italy. Mexico. The Bahamas. After your wedding is done, it’s time to enjoy all the trappings of the perfect honeymoon. Whether you are planning a getaway to enjoy white sand beaches and sun or tour ancient ruins and learn about a different culture, make heed some of these important honeymoon travel tips that may make planning and enjoying your trip a bit easier.

Honeymoon Registry
Have you heard of the latest craze? Have your wedding guests pay for part of, or your entire honeymoon. Honeymoon registries allow wedding guests to contribute funds to your special trip and even sponsor specific activities you wish to enjoy while you are there!

Say “I do” to your differences
Do you like adventure travel while your significant other would much rather be sunbathing on a beach all day? So that you don’t create riffs in planning your trip of a lifetime, make sure you communicate before you begin to plan so that both of you can get maximum enjoyment out of your vacation.

Honeymoon, under wraps
When you plan your honeymoon, refrain from sharing the type of trip you are planning. Some entities will charge you extra because they know that couples are willing to splurge on their special getaway. However, after your travel planning is complete, when making your reservations it may pay to share that you’re arriving for your honeymoon – some places will give you free upgrades or complimentary items.

Details, details…
Planning a honeymoon is like planning an excursion like no other. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pull out all the stops, upgrade from average to amazing, and enjoy special splurges. Some ideas? How about planning a private helicopter tour or a luxury spa together? Have a chef prepare a custom meal just for you, or arrange to take a private tour of the nearest escape.

Refrain from over planning
While you want your honeymoon to be perfect, heed wise advice and don’t overdo it with the planning. Cut down on the stress and enjoy yourself, by limiting the amount of physical activity you will participate in each day. Or, allow a specific amount of time between activities on your itinerary so you are not rushing from one thing to another.

Copies of Documentation

After you’ve created your itinerary be sure to make copies of it to share with family and friends. Keep an additional copy for yourself. That way, your family will know where you are in case problems arise back home, and you will have an extra copy in case you lose the original. Additionally, you may want to register your travel plan with the U.S. State Department. Registration allows the Department of State to assist you and contact family or friends in case of an emergency. To find out more click here.

Get access to 24/7 concierge services
Be sure you have 24/7 access to travel assistance services. Many travel insurance plans include 24/7 concierge services to assist you with spur of the moment planning to like restaurant referrals and reservations, floral services, private charter assistance, find, wrap and deliver one-of-a-kind gifts and local and event ticketing. Keep the assistance hotline number with you at all times to reach trained travel counselors that can help you in almost any emergency situation and also help rebook hotels and flights, coordinate medical emergencies. 

Do you have additional honeymoon advice? Share it with us below.

 

 

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