A Credit Card that Offers Great Benefits

The biggest trend among credit card companies today is in the realm of travel related rewards. People want to travel more and more and they are looking to credit cards to assist them with their frequent flier miles and the travel rewards that come with them. The Qantas American Express Premium credit card is one of the most highly sought after travel credit cards and it is making such a big impact not just because of its travel rewards. The Qantas Premium card gives full benefits and bonuses that enhance its appeal. Whether you want the Qantas card for travel purposes only or for its low interest rates or the convenience of online banking you can benefit highly from having it in your wallet. Let’s take a closer look into the card’s popular bonus features:

One aspect of the Premium card that many people like is the Qantas Club invitations that are available each year when you first spend with your card on select Qantas services. These two tickets you get are your invitation to using the travel rewards that the card offers and they are available each year.

Insurance is another great bonus feature that the Qantas Premium card comes with that many other credit cards leave out. As a traveling credit card holder you can have a greater piece of mind knowing that you will always be protected. Insurance is available domestically (health and auto) as well as overseas. Check with customer service with your individual case to see what plans are available.

The Qantas Premium American Express credit card comes equipped with great features such as 55 days of interest free purchasing, low balance transfer rates and the ability to do your banking online. Because you have 55 days to spend without paying a dime of interest the Premium card is the perfect fit for someone wanting to try it out risk- free. The low balance transfer rates allow you to transfer money that is tied up in higher interest cards, which is sure to save you a good amount of money. And since you can do your banking online you can pay your bills from your computer. It doesn’t matter if you are in Australia or not because banking can be convenient and easy.

The Premium credit card by Qantas and American Express is the perfect companion for traveler’s and non-traveler’s who are just looking for a quality credit card to accompany them.

10 Travel Adventures That Won’t Break The Bank

Dreaming of taking a Big Trip in 2007? Finances a bit tight? Well, take a look at the following destinations.

Magic, thrills and adventure, yes. But for the budget-conscious globe-trotter, what’s equally important is that these are places where your dollars will stretch a long, long way. As a travel writer, I’m lucky enough to have experienced all 10--but I’d love to revisit every single one as a vacationer.

Vietnam

Vietnam packs a lot into its borders. Highlights include misty Halong Bay with its fairytale seascapes of limestone outcrops and islands; the Mekong delta with its floating markets; the old Vietcong tunnels at Cu-Chi near Saigon--now officially known as Ho Chi Minh City. (Don’t worry about getting stuck: one tunnel has been specially widened for westerners.) Backpacker beds are exceptionally cheap, but decent hotels often cost less than $40. A filling bowl of pho bo beef noodle soup or six seafood spring rolls is less than a dollar. In local hangouts, Saigon Export beer costs 40 cents a bottle.

For the ultimate traffic tale to tell the folks back home, head for Hanoi’s old quarter. Any attempt to cross the road turns into a heart-racing adventure. Not only are you contending with psycho-cyclos (rickshaw bicycles), there are thousands of motorbikes and scooters whose riders regard a red traffic signal as a suggestion rather than an instruction. Best place to experience the utter chaos is from within a cyclo rickshaw.

Lithuania, Eastern Europe

The southernmost of the Baltic States, visitors usually couple Lithuania together with Latvia and Estonia. However, you can easily spend a week in Lithuania alone. Quirky cities like Vilnius and Kaunas are steeped in art, music and historical curiosities...mushroom-scented woods and farmers riding on haycarts...mysterious sites steeped in pagan traditions…the windswept sands of the Curonian Spit where you can beach-comb for amber.

Mid-June would be a great time to go. A national holiday in Lithuania, the old pagan festival of Rasos marks the summer solstice. It’s an all-night affair with singing, dancing, bonfire-leaping, hunting for "magic" ferns, and floating garlands down rivers. Despite some serious alcoholic partying, most people manage to stay awake to greet the sunrise. As for prices, how about $2.54 for three potato pancakes with smoked salmon and sour cream and $1 for a glass of Svyturnys beer?

Granada, Nicaragua

From the laid-back colonial city of Granada, you can do a lot in a week in Nicaragua: tackle volcanoes...take Spanish lessons...visit Masaya craft market and also the villages where rocking chairs, hammocks, and pottery are made...explore the Selva Negra’s cloud forests and coffee plantations...chat with expats in the beach surfing town of San Juan del Sur...go to colonial Leon, where you might get to meet indigenous Indians.
Settling into a rocking chair with a cold Victoria beer is a pleasure that generally costs under $1 and spending more than $7 on a meal is difficult. The Alhambra Hotel on Granada’s main square costs a mere $30 a night.

Goa, Southern India

India is beyond fascinating, beyond anything you’ll ever experience elsewhere. The easiest introduction to this teeming country is the seaside state of Goa. Baking below a tropical canopy of banana, coconut and mango trees, this drowsy world of Arabian Sea beaches, backwaters, and spice-laden breezes is stamped with more than a few reminders of Old Portugal. You’ll find sunrise yoga on the beach, full massages for $8, dolphin trips for about $6, and colorful hippie markets.

Including four beers, two people can eat in a beach shack for under $10. And if you want to cut your expenses to the bone, there’s accommodation in simple beach chalets for as little as $8 a night.

Porto and Northern Portugal

Famed for its port wine lodges (yes, they do offer free samples), Porto is Portugal’s second city. An historic Atlantic trading port, its warren of laundry-hung alleys plunges down to a waterfront of boats, nets and fish restaurants. Sheets of cod (bacalhau) hang outside grocery stores with original art nouveau tiled facades; the church of Sao Francisco has a gold leaf interior that would make King Midas salivate. Don’t miss the Bolhau food market or the Torre dos Clerigos, Portugal’s highest belfry tower. From the top, you’ll get great views over the jumbled cityscape of churches, bridges and red-roofed houses.

By EU standards, the price of dining, accommodation, and public transport throughout the region is astounding. Trains and buses are an affordable way to make exploratory day-trips along the coast and into the interior of terraced vineyards and green river valleys. Don’t miss Braga and the thousand-stepped stairway of Bom Jesus church. On holy days, some pilgrims tackle these steps on their knees.

Montenegro

After its split from Serbia, Montenegro is Europe’s latest holiday hot spot--and also the world’s newest independent nation. Along with three-course meals for $7 and rooms in private houses for $10, you’ll find a land of craggy mountains with a switch-backed Adriatic coastline of bays, beaches and villages of pale gray stone. The sea sparkles like blue topaz and medieval walled towns with crumbling fortresses and palaces are often emblazoned with the winged lion emblem of the Venetian Republic.

Now paint in monasteries slotted into mountain crevices and fishing villages of red-tiled roofs and deep-green shutters. Roman mosaics...olive groves...water-lilied lakes...deep canyons and the mighty Boka Kotorska, Europe’s southernmost fjord...the border town of Ulcinj with its minarets and tales of pirate slave-trading.

Austria

The Alps? There’s no denying that Switzerland is one of the most scenically gorgeous countries on earth. But unless you’re armed with an expense account, I can promise you that exploring its mountains, lakes and medieval towns will wreak havoc on your finances.

Winter or summer, neighboring Austria has just as much of the alpine wow factor...plus the city splendors of Vienna and Salzburg. And it’s a lot less expensive than you may think. For example, in the Tyrolean village of Fendels, you could rent a furnished apartment for two in a chalet next spring for as little as 175 euro ($230) per week. Surrounded by hiking trails, Fendels village makes an excellent base--the Tyrolean Oberland is close to the borders of Switzerland and Italy. (Go to the Austrian Tourist Board’s web site at http://www.tiscover.at and you’ll find plenty more self-catering accommodation at similar prices.)

Penang, Malaysia

A melting-pot of Malay, Chinese and Indian culture, Malaysia offers up powder white beaches and virgin rainforest teeming with wildlife; the bustling capital of Kuala Lumpur and the historic port city of Malacca; inexpensive seafood and inexpensive spa pampering; sailing, snorkeling, diving, fishing, golf and island-hopping.

With a distinct Chinese flavor, one of Malaysia’s star turns is Georgetown, capital of Penang island. You come across snake temples, arcaded shophouses and tiny workshops specializing in mahjong tiles and dice; kong-teik craftsmen who make funerary paper artifacts; fish getting dried like laundry in the open air. On the Weld Quay waterfront, around 2,000 fishing families live in rickety wooden dwellings on the Clan Quay jetties.

Chania, Crete

On the Greek island of Crete, Chania is one town that it would be criminal to miss. Crete’s former capital, its history goes back 5,000 years. In the Old Town’s skinny alleyways you’ll find icon workshops...lyres hanging in dusty musical instrument repair-shops...bursts of white jasmine cascading from archways...cats snoozing on balconies...the unlikely sights of a pencil-thin minaret above church towers and a mosque squatting on the waterfront.

Strung with garlands of colored light-bulbs, Chania’s old Venetian harbor at dusk truly is the stuff of romance. The water shimmers in waves of crimson, sapphire and emerald, the Venetian lighthouse sends out its beady wink, and stalls do a steady trade in pistachio nuts. Alleys that were afternoon-silent become thronged with locals taking the volta--the evening stroll. Even in July and August, you’ll find studio apartments here for under $40 a night...plus you can eat well for $10.

Bohemia, the Czech Republic

Prague teems with tourists but few people realize what the rest of the Czech Republic offers. One of its regions is Bohemia, blessed with a spellbinding mosaic of castles, frescoed houses and Rapunzel-style turrets straight from a sword-and-sorcery tale. At Cesky Krumlov you can peer into a medieval bear pit complete with bears. Sedlec, a suburb of Kutna Hora has a chapel entirely decorated with human bones, right down to its chandelier.

Many towns have stoupas...lofty "plague pillars" adorned with chained devils. They commemorate deliverance from the plagues, which swept Europe during the Middle Ages. Then there’s Karlovy Vary, the oldest of Bohemia’s grand spa towns. With spa water bubbling up all over town which visitors can collect for free, it’s a gorgeous place of baroque buildings in sugar-plum colors, flowery parks, and shops glittering with Bohemian crystal.

10 Things Travelers Need When Visiting Cape Town

Cape Town is a beautiful city with rich cultural events and the top 5 attractions in all of South Africa. When you visit Cape Town, South Africa, you will need to make sure you are prepared, so your trip will be more enjoyable.  The more preparation you do before you leave, the less you have to worry about once you get there.  Then you will be free to relax and enjoy your visit.

1. Sun Protection
The sun in South Africa can be harsh, so you’ll need to wear sun protective lotion, as well as protective clothing like hats or visors to keep the sun out of your eyes and face.

2. Copies of Passport and Travel Documents
You always want to make sure you have more than one copy of your passport and travel documents in case you are to lose them or have them stolen. These are the only means by which you can return to your country, so protect them well.

3. Proper Clothing
Light cotton clothing is advised in the summer.  The evenings get cooler so pack warmer clothing as well. Dress is typically casual in Cape Town even for evenings at the theater or restaurants.

4. Good Accommodations
My favorite place to stay in Cape Town South Africa is the Commodore Hotel.  This is a 5-star hotel on the waterfront near the center of Cape Town. While, the room rate is a bit pricey, a hot breakfast buffet and world class service certainly makes up for it.

5. Money for Tipping
South African currency is called the Rand (R).  The Rand is split into 100 cents, similar to the US Dollar and cents. You will need to carry money with you to tip people for service such as wait staff, taxi drivers, hotel staff, etc.  10% is a fair tip in Cape Town.

6. Safety Precautions
Never walk unpopulated streets of South Africa alone.  Do not wear excessive jewelry or watches and keep the amount of cash you carry to a minimum. The Police emergency number is 10111.

7. Immunizations
While there are no international immunizations needed to enter South Africa, you should be aware that Malaria is a risk throughout the year. So protect yourself from diseases as you feel necessary.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

8. Local Driving Rules
In Cape Town everyone drives on the left side of the road.  Many of the National roadways have tolls so always bring money with you if you are planning on traveling by car. Seat belts are required and if you have a young child with you, you should reserve a car set in advance.

9. Local Prices
You should have some understanding of the local prices, so you don’t get surprised or taken advantage of while on holiday in Cape Town.  The average McDonalds meal is R23.00, bottled water is R5.00, a ticket to the movies is R30.00 and dinner out is about R100.00 each person.

10. Travel Insurance
Medical services are available at private hospitals and doctors in private practice.  You should have some form of travel insurance that covers medical expenses. Again, it’s better to be safe than sorry in case something does happen during the trip away.

8-Tips for Packing and Traveling Lite

In this day & age of travelling cephalalgia, there's a few packing tactics to employ. To cut out an extra thirty to forty minutes at the arriving airport, start with packing small luggage. Since carry-ons can not exceed a linear dimension of 45 inches, you can escape the fiasco of the baggage terminal by basically packing & travelling light. To learn how to pack all your needs into two suitcase, read more.

How-to Pack & Travel Lite

Make a list. Compose a pack list. Be sure to coordinate shirts & blouses with bottoms. To maximize your travelling wardrobe fashion savoir faire, stick with solids & versatile basics. Rule-out any clothes that do not match other items. 

Use the following pithy packing tips to make your travel light:

Gear up. How to make an awe-inspiring impression out of a basic or mundane outfit? For the most glam appeal, accessorize with a vibrant tie (for him) or a florid scarf (for her). Multihued accessories can liven up just about any attire.

Roll 'em up please. The best way to fit all your clothes is by rolling pants & shirts. First fold each item in half. Then basically roll. To try to maintain any creases, start on the bulkiest end of the news story of clothing.

Employ shoe smarts. For men, any leather rubber-soled shoes can make the day & night transition, easy. For woman, a pair of flip-flops, strappy sandals & comfy wedges can serve all casual - chic dressing needs. 

Minimize bulk. After you check for space, edit outfits - ruthlessly. Try to pack microfibers with wrinkle & stain free comfort. With most of your attire, stay in the same color scheme - in case you have to layer up for warmth. 

Put under garments on the top. To reduce the embarrassment of under garments becoming the side show attraction of the open luggage scan, place all panties in a plastic bag free of any clippers, lighters or other questionable paraphernalia. For expedient security review, place the transparent bag on top of your other items so security can access the bag without ruining your efficient packing method. 

Lose Extra Baggage. Leave the heavy travel guide at home. Duplicate important resources to keep your luggage free of extra pounds. Since most hotels & resorts provide irons & blow-dryers --leave yours at home for light travel. 

Leave restricted items at home. If you want to make it through security extra speedy, avoid any firearms, weapons, box-cutters, scissors, razors, lighters & any other item that may be used in a terrorist situation.

8 Tips For Traveling With Your Dog

Just because you have a dog doesn’t mean you have to stay home all the time.  If you plan ahead and take a little care, it is easy and fun to travel with your dog.

Here are some tips to make the trip easier on both you and your pet:

1.	Get your dog used to riding in the car by taking him on short trips.  Go to fun places like the dog park, the fast food drive through (where you can feed him bits of meat from your burger), or to visit friends.  You want him to think that trips in the car are fun.  You don’t want your dog to think that all car trips end up at the vet’s office.

2.	If your dog tends to get carsick, don’t feed him the morning of the trip.  Having your dog travel with an empty stomach will help to prevent any car sickness.

3.	Bring plenty of water and a water dish along.  You will need to give your dog periodic drinks of water when you stop for a rest.  It will be easier to get your dog to drink if it is familiar water from home.  Water in different places often smells or tastes differently, and your dog may not want to drink it.

4.	Be sure to pack your dog’s food, treats, favorite bed, toys, and leash.   

5.	If your dog uses a crate, bring that along too.  If you don’t have a large vehicle, you can buy crates that fold up.  When you get to your destination, you can put your dog in his crate while you go somewhere that you can’t bring him along.

6.	How should your dog travel in the car?  Some dogs like to sit or lay on the seat, so bring a blanket to protect the upholstery.  Other dogs may need to be kept in a crate in the car.  Be sure the crate can’t slide around and scare the dog while you’re driving.   You can also purchase dog seat belts to keep your dog safe while sitting in the car.

7.	Make a stop every few hours to walk your dog and give him some water.  Some dogs are frightened by the noisy trucks driving by, so try to walk in a quiet area.  Be a good citizen and bring plastic bags along to pick up the mess.

8.	If your dog is anxious about staying in a hotel or strange house at your destination, he might not eat or drink.  You don’t want him to get dehydrated, so be sure to get him to drink, at least.  You can mix chicken broth or gravy into the dog’s water.  That will usually get him to lap it right up.  You can mix chicken broth or gravy into the food too.

The first trip will be the hardest, because your dog will not realize that you are coming back.  With the first trip behind you, if you have taken the time to make sure it is pleasant for your dog, future traveling with your dog should be a breeze.

5 Reasons to Use a Full Service Online Travel Agent

When it comes to planning your vacation, it's tempting to go the do-it-yourself route. After all, it's easy enough to book an airline flight reservation. Why shouldn't you also do your own booking for a car rental, hotel, or even a cruise? Here are five reasons why you should leave your vacation planning to a professional, full service online travel agent:

1. Terrific Deals

You can do your own booking, but you won't necessarily get a low far or the best deal. Airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and cruise ships count on people to make their own reservations and charge higher rates to those who do. Yet they don't really make a profit until they're completely booked. 

Think of hotel rooms, airplane seats, and cruise ship cabins as perishable commodities. Just like an expired carton of milk has to be pulled off the grocery store shelf, on any given night, an empty hotel room is lost revenue that will never be regained. Similarly, an airplane is going to fly and a cruise ship will embark whether or not the seats and cabins are full. It's in the best interest of hotels, airlines, and cruise ships to be fully booked. That's why they offer discounted fares to an online travel agent, who can then pass along the savings to you.  

2. Full Packages

A full service online travel agent can put together package vacations to destinations and hotel properties to which you might not otherwise have access. Perhaps you're a golfer, and want a dream golf vacation. Maybe a Caribbean vacation is on the horizon. Or maybe you are looking for the perfect cruise package. Although it's sometimes possible to book travel packages with the destination, you often don't get the options that best meet your needs. An online travel agent can put together packages that work best for you and your family.

3. Great Service

When you go the do-it-yourself route, it's often difficult to coordinate all aspects of your travel. Making sure that your flights depart and arrive at optimal times, that your hotel reservation is in order, that your car rental will be available, and that you'll have everything in order to board a cruise ship is no walk in the park. An online travel agent can do all the legwork for you so you can concentrate on preparing for your trip. And, if you have a change in plans, the great service that an online travel agent provides can make the transition a smooth one.

4. Group Travel

Extended families often travel together, and businesses have group travel requirements from time to time. In either case, a full service online travel agent can easily book trips for people who have the same destination but who are traveling from different places. Having a group travel coordinator gives everyone peace of mind and ensures that the group's needs are met.

5. Honeymoon Registry

If you're planning your honeymoon, an online travel agent can provide you with the latest trend in wedding gifts: the honeymoon registry. When you register with a full service online travel agent, your guests can contribute funds to your honeymoon, or they can buy specific services (such as a spa treatment or a romantic breakfast in bed) that you have on your wish list. 

While it's possible to book travel yourself, why would you want to? After all, the advantages in using a full service online travel agent are limitless.

3 Little Known Tips To Saving Money On Beach Vacation Travel





Here’s a really simple way to save on beach vacation travel. We are going to show you 3 ways to save you some bucks when booking your next beach vacation. The beach is an incredible experience. No matter whether you’ve traveled to far western Australia or taken a quick weekend trip to the Jersey Shore, barring rain, the beach is usually a really enjoyable experience. We’ve taken trips all over the world we’ve missed giant opportunities of money savings that were seemingly all around us if we had just taken the time to do a little extra research. Well, you are in luck. The travel research has been done for you, all you have to do is be willing to keep reading. Before you know it, you’ll be taking the beach vacation of your life, for a steeply discounted price. Here we go: 

1) Buy it used. Well, not really used: more like discounted (or unused actually). Sometimes, people can put their vacation opportunities up at real discounts. Did you know that there are all sorts of people out there who own time shares but can’t use them for various reasons? Maybe the season isn’t right, or they can’t seem to get the flight that they need. Ebay has a thriving market for timeshare opportunities. A lot of the listings are permanent (e.g. people looking for others to buy their times shares out completely), but sometimes people are just looking to monetize a weeks worth of timeshare that they can’t seem to use themselves. Their loss can be your opportunity. Ebay is an auction, and the highest price wins usually. 

2) Compare everything. Guess what? Expedia and Orbitz seem like they are juggernauts of internet travel and they control a lot of the market. BUT, they don’t have every vendor available. A lot of the discount airlines like SouthWest and JetBlue don’t use either of these massive companies and you can only get their deals by going directly to their website. Don’t’ tell anyone, but from what we’ve heard JetBlue is supposed to have really nice seats and monitors on new planes with really good prices. We haven’t used JetBlue ourselves yet, but it’s supposed be really good (especially at delivering good value on Northeast to Florida routes). That tip alone could save you some bucks while getting you a really nice flight. 

3) The first 2 points are perfectly valid in any trip planning but almost worthless when you consider that you might have to shell out a lot more bucks for destinations abroad. There is a beautiful beach state located not too far from anyone East of the Mississippi. That’s right. Florida. Florida is back and it’s beaches are still fantastic. Florida is still beautiful. There has been a lot of development of Florida during the last 50 years, but Florida is still a massive state with plenty of undiscovered beaches. The state of Florida can be great if you know where to look. It’s pretty nice. Trust us….the undiscovered spots of Florida can really be something else. However, they are becoming more and more difficult to find as thousands of people move to Florida every month.