By the 1990s family businesses and small-scale industries were being replaced by professional and service industry-propelling Amsterdam on the trade map of the world. Trade and tourism go hand-in-hand, and today Amsterdam is the fourth-most-popular tourism destination behind London, Paris and Rome. The NH Schiphol Airport is a busy airport with hotels in the near vicinity and providing full service to the business and leisure traveler alike.For someone on a short business trip with the majority time being spent in boardrooms or conferences, staying at one of Amsterdams airport hotels works out to your advantage. Most hotels have excellent to reasonable rooms with basic amenities such as refrigerator, TV, Internet access on hourly or 24-hour packages, telephone with ISD services and voice mail, mini bar, and car parking services at no extra charge. While checking in to the hotel, the priority should be minimum distance from the airport. If shuttle service is provided or has direct access to arrival and departure halls, that is a plus. The airport has a train station underneath it, so there is no hassle in exploring the city after work and returning to the comfort of your room.The airport hotels cater to different budgets providing facilities depending on the status of the hotel. Most 5- or 4-star hotels have state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a wide selection of restaurants offering buffets or la carte menus, and stylized rooms. Some hotels do not include breakfast and charge for car parking by the hour. Few hotels offer discounts if booking is done through Internet in advance, favoring the busy traveler using Amsterdam as a transit point for a few days. The disadvantage of staying in an airport hotel is felt by visitors wanting accessibility to different areas. Though the Amsterdam airport is well connected to Central Station through an underground railway system, buses, and private transport, the feeling of city centrality is best experienced at an in-town hotel.
Everyone wants to see the world, but few people have got the money to go everywhere theyd like to. Whats the solution? Do it on the cheap! Discount travel is an industry that is rapidly growing: it seems like every few years some entrepreneur comes up with another new way to get to nice places and stay there without hurting your bank balance.The most important advance in discount travel has probably been the widespread availability of cheap flights, from companies like Americas Southwest Airlines and Europes Easyjet and Ryanair. They use a so-called yield management system that allows prices to vary wildly depending on when you book your flight meaning that if you book far in advance, you can fly for pennies. Booking online makes it possible to look through all the dates available for months in advance and choose the one that will be cheapest for you. Third-party price comparison websites allow you to then compare the fares from different airlines that fly on the route youre looking for, meaning that you can fly with the cheapest airline on the cheapest day with very little effort.Once youre there, you can stay in some kind of no-frills accommodation, like a youth hostel or a cheap hotel. Companies are starting to realise that many people want nothing more than a bed when they travel, and budget hotels are exploding in popularity all around the world, making it cheaper to stay abroad today than it has ever been before in history.If youd like to travel for longer than just a one or two week holiday, there are plenty of ways to do that at a very steep discount in fact, if you work part-time when youre abroad, you might be able to travel around and come out having made a profit. More and more students especially are opting for programs where agencies arrange jobs for them in lots of countries over the course of a few years, allowing them to see the world and work at the same time.
SecurityThe Department of State's Country Specific Information are available for every country of the world. They describe entry requirements, currency regulations, unusual health conditions, the crime and security situation, political disturbances, areas of instability, and special information about driving and road conditions. They also provide addresses and emergency telephone numbers for U.S. embassies and consulates. In general, Country Specific Information do not give advice. Instead, they describe conditions so travelers can make informed decisions about their trips.For some countries, however, the Department of State issues a Travel Warning in addition to a Country Specific Information. The Travel Warning may recommend that Americans defer travel to that country because of a dangerous situation there. Travel Alerts are a means to disseminate information about relatively short-term conditions posing significant risk to the security of American travelers. They are issued when there is a perceived threat, even if it does not involve Americans as a particular target group. In the past, Travel Alerts have been issued to deal with coups, pre-election disturbances, and violence by terrorists and anniversary dates of specific terrorist events.You can access Country Specific Information, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts 24-hours a day in several ways.InternetThe most convenient source of information about travel and consular services is the Consular Affairs home page. TelephoneOverseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. Federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, can obtain information and assistance from OCS during these hours by calling 1-202-501-4444.In PersonCountry Specific Information, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts are available at any of the regional passport agencies and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.Local Laws and CustomsWhen you leave the United States, you are subject to the laws of the country you are visiting. Therefore, before you go, learn as much as you can about the local laws and customs of the places you plan to visit. Good resources are your library, your travel agent, and the embassies, consulates or tourist bureaus of the countries you will visit. In addition, keep track of what is being reported in the media about recent developments in those countries.With all of the information available online there is no excuse for not knowing what is going on in the country you will be visiting. Keep current and keep safe.
The big day has arrived a holiday in a far away foreign country. You are all packed and ready to go. You have your passport, plane ticket, and some way to pay for your next few weeks. You are nervous an anxious and ready to go. Here are a few pointers to make your long flight a little more pleasant.Before you go.Pack as light as possible. You should have no more than two suitcases and one carry-on. If you are going to a tropical climate it will be even easier packing shorts and T-shirts. And, you can always pick up some new clothes at your destination.Ensure that you have all of your medications and copies of your prescriptions. Check on the latest rules for carrying liquids in your carry-on. The rules and regulations change with the weather so keep current.Re-confirm your flight. My last trip was almost delayed by a day or two as a typhoon hit Taiwan and my flight from Hawaii was going through Taipei. I scrambled and got my flight changed to one that went through Tokyo, Japan and managed to get to Thailand as scheduled. I didnt check ahead of time and fortunately was able to get on a different flight. I learned my lesson. While re-confirming, get your seat assignment. I prefer exit rows for more legroom.Double check that you have everything. I use a checklist and check it 2 or 3 times before I go. Really make sure that you have your passport, tickets and some way to pay cash, ATM card, credit card or travelers checks. A combination is a good way to make sure that you have alternative means of paying. If you are going to a country that has its own currency, plan to exchange a day or twos worth at the destination airport. Dont change money in your home country you will get a terrible rate.At your home airportPlan to get to your airport about 3 hours ahead of your flight departure. Check-in and security lines can be long and slow. Have your travel documents ready to show wherever you go. Again, check on the rules for what you can bring with your on the flight especially in your carry-on.I always eat at the airport before I fly. Things have gotten better and cheaper at airports and I prefer to have a meal in me and not rely on the airline food. I also bring some trail mix with me to munch on during the flight.Take advantage of the duty free shops. Get your booze, cigarettes and other goodies for tax-free prices. Check the limitations at your destination country before you buy 6 bottles of whiskey and find out you are only allowed to bring in one. Also check to see if you can carry liquids on flights that have a layover or two. You may have to make your purchase at the layover before your last leg.You can kill time playing with any electronic toys you own. Wireless access is usually available in the airports so you can check email and surf. You can also listen to some music if you have an Ipod of something similar. Wireless can be found in most airports right outside the Airline lounges. You dont have to be a member to sit outside and tap into their unsecured network.On the flightTry to relax and sleep as much as possible. The time zone changes and jet lag will be lessened. Avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water, especially on longer flights. Dehydration comes easily on long flights in dry cabin air. You can drink booze when you arrive.Read and watch a movie to kill time. Do some of the puzzles in the on-board magazines. Keep busy as much as possible. Have some mints and gum to alleviate the air pressure during take-off and landing.I usually avoid the main course of the "airline food" . I do eat the salad, bread and dessert. The main meal is rarely edible. This is why I eat before I go and eat my own snacks.You will have to fill out a customs declaration form on the plane to turn in to the Customs officer. Do this on the plane and stick it with your passport.ArrivalHead out of the plane as quickly as possible. You and everyone else will have to go through Immigration/Customs so the race is on. Hopefully, you were given instructions before deplaning. If not, just follow the signs. Dont stop to smoke or use the bathroom. Get in the shortest line and have your passport ready. Keep a copy of your boarding pass with you, just in case.Be pleasant and polite to the Customs officer, get your passport stamped, turn in your "customs declaration" , and head for the luggage carousels. Make sure you have your own luggage and find the currency exchange.Change enough money to last you a day or two. ATMs are conveniently located around the world, so a debit card is the easiest way to get local currency. It can be a little more risky using a credit card. Get your money and head for the exit.Find the taxi or bus line and head to your hotel. You made it! Now, enjoy your vacation.
Like clothing, luggage comes in many styles, sizes, and shapes. Most styles of luggage now come equipped with wheels. There are wheeled carry-on bags. Duffel bags also are equipped with wheels.There are full sized garment bags with wheels. Travel bags, tote carry on bags, shoulder carry on bags, and travel totes also are available. There are expandable cargo bags as well. Expandable bags are usually smaller than is typical and expand when you pack your belongings.Luggage also comes in sets of the same design and color. The material and frames are generally the same. Sets can include small carry on bags, travel kits, multiple sizes of upright luggage. Leather luggage is also available. There are leather suit bags, garment bags, duffel bags and cabin bags. There are weekender bags and the old fashioned carpet bags. Styles also include the design of the bags. There could be designs such as flowers, cartoon characters for kids, camouflage designs, or animals. Virtually any design is possible. Color is also a consideration as is the type of material the bags are made of. There are soft, canvas types of materials as well as soft leather, polyester materials. There are hard materials that protect your belongings and stand up to the rough handling they can receive while being loaded or removed from planes, trains, and buses. The hard luggage is used mostly by frequent travelers because of their durability. The style you choose will depend on your needs and possibly your frequency of travel.