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Archive for January, 2010

Registration Required for Visa-Free Travel to U.S.

By Linda Tancs

Tourists from countries participating in the visa waiver program may be unaware of a little program passed by Congress in 2007  (arising from the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007) known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), previously reported on this blog.  However, that little program could take a big bite out of your travel plans if you fail to comply with its requirements.  Simply put, ESTA requires that travelers from those 30+ countries participating in the visa waiver program obtain an electronic authorization of their right to enter the U.S.  The authorization is obtained by completing an online application.  If approved for travel, the authorization will be granted in a matter of seconds.  Otherwise, prospective visitors may get a “pending” message, in which event the site must be re-checked for authorization within 72 hours.  Those denied authorization must contact the State Department for advice on obtaining a visa.  The effects of noncompliance with the program, as of 20 January this year, could include denial of boarding or denial of entry into the U.S. at point of entry.  And if the Travel Promotion Act becomes law, there’s likely to be a $10 fee attached to your application.  You should also note that the right of authorization is independent of any other requirements for entry, such as a valid passport and length of stay limitations.  Any questions?  Read the Department of Homeland Security’s FAQs.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

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Something for Nothing

By Linda Tancs

Deep in the desert of Arizona expect to find the usual denizens:  snakes, fire ants, birds of prey and assorted mammals like prairie dogs and porcupines.  So don’t say there’s nothing–that is, “no thing.”  And here’s something else to ponder:  there’s no longer no thing in Nothing, for Nothing now has something (I’m beginning to feel like Dr. Seuss here).  That would be a pizza parlor.  That’s right, the little desert bowl of a town in the middle of nothing has a pizza joint that’s got the locals talking.  Consider a visit the next time you’re on US 93 between mile markers 148 and 149, and send your reviews here.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Canadian Rule Means Smart Packing for U.S.-Bound Travelers

By Linda Tancs

Getting ready to ski in Québec?  Or perhaps a visit to Vancouver for the Winter Olympics is in your future.  If you’re returning to the U.S., be advised that Transport Canada has put into place a strictly enforced rule of one carry-on bag per passenger.  According to the agency’s fact sheet, this article must not exceed the dimensions of a small gym bag–measuring 9 inches, 16 inches and 22 inches. Exempt items include purses, medical equipment, camera bags, baby gear and laptops. Now don’t get tricky with those exemptions. If you pack your life into your laptop bag, then, voilà, you now have your carry-on. Also, you can have either a purse, laptop or camera bag–not all three–as an extra. Save yourself the worries and pack only what you need. Given the enhanced security requirements (to include body imaging as a result of the recent threats at Christmas), your fellow travelers will thank you.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Magic Returns to Barcelona

By Linda Tancs

For the first time, Carnival Cruises will homeport in Barcelona with the return of the 130,000-ton vessel Magic in 2011.  The ship will offer 7-, 9- and 12-day Mediterranean cruises from its adopted port, May through October.   As reported in 2008 for Carnival’s Dream liner, Magic will keep the kids happy.  Adults may find their inner Zulu at the Serenity spa.  Today marks the last day for previous Carnival guests to cash in on pre-sale pricing as part of the line’s celebrated return to Europe.  Newbies can view the full fare menu beginning on 26 January.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

The Soul of Seoul

By Linda Tancs

Seoul has been the capital of South Korea for 600 years, but this city is far from antiquated.  In fact, among its many tributes to royalty and tradition lies a cultural renaissance in the making.  Find out more at Travelrific® Radio.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services related to Korean tourism.

Sleep On It

By Linda Tancs

Longer security lines and increased check-in requirements mean headaches for early morning travelers.  Worried about missing your flight?  If you’re prone to misjudge the time it will take from breakfast table to tarmac, then maybe you need a sleepover.  At many airports, you can get a deal on a nearby hotel–and a headstart on that check-in line.  Sweet dreams.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Imelda’s Paradise

By Linda Tancs

Last summer the famously opulent Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette opened a shoe department. Big deal, you say? Well, how many shoe departments have you seen that span almost 35,000 square feet? As you would imagine, there’s something for every budget, from flip-flops to Ferragamos. Imelda Marcos, the shoe-happy former First Lady of the Philippines, would no doubt find it heavenly.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

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