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Fly non-stop to Europe from Boston, New York City, Washington, Tampa, Chicago, Denver, Seattle from $249 Round-Trip

Travel January 8 through March 20, 2018 on Icelandair. This is non-stop to Reykjavik. Other destinations are not non-stop.

This fare is for what the airline calls Economy Light, their cheapest. Every airline’s cheapest fare differs in what you get for the price. The nice thing about Icelandair’s Economy Light fares is that the price includes a carry-on bag and you can select your seat.

Since I live in Colorado, I searched Denver to Paris Tuesday March 6 through Tuesday March 13, 2018 and came up with a roundtrip price of $355 USD. If I want a checked bag, meals, etc. I can pay more. But what you don’t pay extra for is the ability to stopover in Iceland for up to seven days for no extra charge.

Since I don’t like winter, I would use this fare to Paris as a stepping stone to someplace warmer, such as Spain or Malta. As an example of the cheap fares available in Europe, I found a non-stop Air Malta flight from Paris for $109 USD. So, for a little over $500 USD, I can enjoy a sunny destination. As a comparison, the cheapest flight to Malta from Denver is more than $800 USD and that flight is a total travel time of 25 hours to Malta and 34 hours back to Denver. No thanks!

Get all the details here.

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Medellin, Colombia. Photos And Video.

My trip to Medellin was a whirlwind. I found a last minute fare on Spirit, and my brother-in-law was in Medellin on business, meaning I had a free place to stay. Unfortunately, I only had a couple of days, so I didn’t see everything I wanted.

I loved the city. Everything seems to be uphill or downhill, but the oldest part of the city and the more touristy areas are pretty easy to get around. The food is excellent and quite cheap, and the people are warm and wonderful. My awful Spanish got me around, but you won’t find as many English speakers as you will in Europe. The traffic, like most old, cramped cities, can be chaotic, so give yourself plenty of time to get around. There is limited commuter train service in Medellin, but it’s really only a couple of routes. I didn’t attempt the bus system because my brother-in-law’s co-worker had a car to get help us get around.

Here are my photos from my trip. They are disorganized, and all were taken with a phone camera.

This is the New York Times video called 36 Hours in Medellin.

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Caribbean Travel Update

First, the good news. Nearly 70 percent of the islands in the Caribbean were not affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The bad news is that 30 percent were, some very badly, and tourism is way down in the entire region.

The object of this post is twofold. To encourage you to make a donation to help these islands recover, because for many of them, tourism fuels their entire economies. Aid is always too slow, and they need help now. If you have a favorite destination, you can help by donating directly to that place. There is a link below to a page that will help you do that. And, obviously, to encourage you to choose the Caribbean as a destination.

This site, Caribbean Travel Update, curates the latest news and ways to help if you want to.

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Destinations That Are Better (And Cheaper!) To Visit In The Fall

 

A country road near Aspen, Colorado

They call it the shoulder season. Prices usually decrease as you approach winter and start to increase as spring and summer arrive. My favorite season to travel is autumn. It didn’t use to be. I was like so many sun starved northerners who made the annual migration to someplace warm with a beach. I still like the beach, but only for a day or two. Now, I choose autumn because of the decreasing prices and crowds.

Really, just about any place is still worth a visit in the fall. This piece in Readers Digest highlights some that may surprise you. TIP: Click on View As List right above the first photo so that you don’t have to click through each page.

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Things you shouldn’t do on an airplane.

Here are a few of my personal peeves.

  • Don’t recline your seat back. We have little enough space, so don’t rob the person behind you.
  • Don’t kick the seat in front of you. Because that’s me in front of you, and I don’t appreciate it, especially if I’m trying to sleep. Same goes for slamming your tray table closed. Gently, please.
  • Don’t stick your feet between the seats. Do I have to explain that I don’t want your smelly feet on my armrest?
  • Talk quietly.
  • If you have a cold, please use Kleenex when you sneeze in my direction. If you have a cough, please use cough drops or some narcotic that will stop you from coughing through the entire flight.
  • Once I put on my headphones, it’s time to stop talking to me.

Leave a comment with your travel pet peeves.

Reader’s Digest has even more right here.

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Helpful Tips For Traveling With Seniors

It’s pretty obvious that I love to travel. It’s also becoming more apparent to me that my advancing age means changes in my abilities. It takes me longer to unkink after a long flight. It’s harder for me to toss my carry-on into the luggage bin. I can’t walk as far as I used to. Aging affects all of us differently, and those changes may not be apparent to our families and friends. I know I don’t like to talk about my limitations, but they are increasing. It is inevitable.

So, if you’re planning a vacation with a senior, or you are a senior yourself, you may find these tips helpful.

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Want a free trip to Sweden?

Yes, you can get a free trip to Sweden. There’s just one small catch.

You have to buy a Volvo. You knew this had to be too good to be true, right?

But wait! There’s more!

Volvo says you will actually save money on the purchase price of your new Volvo. They take care of all the details – customs paperwork, shipping, etc. You get a trip to Sweden, pick up your car, drive it around Europe, and when you’re ready to go home, Volvo ships it to you. I think it’s a brilliant marketing idea. But I’m not quite ready for a new car yet.

Click here to find out more.

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Denver to Mazatlan, Mexico new non-stop service

Sun Country Airlines has announced a non-stop service to the beautiful city of Mazatlan, Mexico.

The flights leave Denver each Wednesday and return to Denver on Wednesdays, so you will have to spend at least a week soaking up the sun on beautiful Pacific Ocean beaches. Previously, it has required at least one stop to get to Mazatlan from Denver, and at a higher price.

I searched Sun Country’s site for a flight departing Denver on Wednesday February 21 returning Wednesday February 28. The cost was $451 USD roundtrip and takes only two hours 45 minutes.

Wednesday service runs January 24 – March 7, 2018, and will also connect to flights to/from Minneapolis/St. Paul, offering Minneapolis/St. Paul-area residents even more options for flights to the ever-favorite destination of Mazatlan.

I highly recommend Casa Lucila if you want a small, boutique hotel with excellent food and service.

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Canada Guide: Vancouver

Canada turns 150 years old this year, and the country is celebrating coast to coast. The American dollar is worth about $1.30 at the time of writing, so your travel buck will go a long way.

Passport 2017 is a great place to start planning your visit to Canada.

I think Vancouver is the most beautiful city in North America. When I hear people rave about Seattle, I always ask them if they’ve ever been to Vancouver. There aren’t many places where you can go from sitting on a beach to skiing some great runs in about an hour. It’s cosmopolitan, world class, and yet it has a west coast laid back vibe that I love. If Vancouver sounds interesting, check out this city guide from Afar.

 

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8 Things I Love About Colorado

Hikers in Unaweep Canyon.

Redcloud Peak near Lake City.

1. Sunshine. It seems like the sun always shines here. While that’s not actually true, we do get a lot of sun.
Annual days of sunshine:
Colorado Springs 247
Denver 245
Grand Junction 242
Pueblo 258
Read more

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Breeze Through US Customs

You spend enough time in lines at the airport. Anything that helps to speed up that tortuous process is a winner in my books.

It’s called Mobile Passport. It’s a free app that you install on your smartphone that takes less than 5 minutes to do. Right now, it’s only available to US and Canadian citizens.

The Mobile Passport app speeds you through U.S. Customs when entering the USA at 1 cruise port and 21 airports. Officially authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mobile Passport allows travelers to submit their passport control and customs declaration information via their Android or Apple device and bypass the regular line to enter the United States. This app effectively replaces the traditional blue-and-white paper declaration form required of all travelers entering the U.S. by air or sea.
Read more

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What baby boomers want: to travel in comfort

Photo courtesy Holiday Extras

I love Paul Marshman and his blog called The Travelling Boomer. Since I am a travelling boomer, his writing always hits home for me, and his pieces are well thought out and informative without any of the annoying stuff, like click next ten times to see the whole story.

This piece really resonated with me. I recently took a solo trip to Panama and Peru. When I travel solo, I do it on the cheap because I’m not picky about where I stay, as long as it’s safe, has a roof, and a bed. But I’m at the point in my life where, even though I’m staying in a cheap hostel, I need a private room with a private bathroom. The love of travel is there, but age dictates some concessions. And that’s the point of this article.

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Personal Item vs. Carry-On: What’s the Difference?

The big push by US based airlines to become more like European budget airlines makes air travel even more confusing.

Depending on the type of ticket you purchase, you may not be able to bring a carry-on to put in the overhead bins at all, unless you are willing to pay extra. So far, every airline still allows you to bring what they call a personal item to stow beneath the seat without charge.

However, each airline has different size limitations. This piece from Smarter Travel has some good information. TIP: If you don’t want to have to click the next button 10 times, look for “View As One Page” beneath the first graphic.

It’s always a good idea to go to the airline’s web page and look at their baggage policies. European airlines generally require smaller carry-on luggage than North American airlines, so If you are looking for new carry-on luggage, look for a suitcase that meets international requirements.

 

 

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Baby Boomer Travel Trends

As a confirmed baby boomer and traveler, I found this article to be very informative, and a little surprising.

I always thought that I was a maverick by selecting autumn as my favorite travel time because there are fewer people on vacation, the weather is still good, and prices can be lower. But I was wrong. Fall travel is only slightly behind spring and summer travel.

Read more in US News & World Report.

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How to Protect Your Computer from Airlines and Hotels That Snoop on You

I’ve been booking and researching travel for a long time, and I learned something from this piece today. I just booked a hotel on Booking.com and saved about $500. Here’s how I did it. I switched my VPN to show my location in Canada, used an incognito page on Chrome to search hotels, found what I wanted, and clicked on reserve. Only then did I sign in. By that time, Booking.com was committed to giving me the room in Canadian funds, which means I saved 30% on the exchange rate. If I had signed in with my account and not hidden my location, Booking would have know where I was and quoted the price in US funds instead of Canadian.

Thanks to Frommer’s for some great advice!

Read more on Frommer’s.

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VIDEO: Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has a special place in my heart. I always suggest this beautiful province as a vacation destination whenever I can.

I hope this video will tempt you to visit Nova Scotia this year.

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Europe: Plane vs Train vs Car vs Ship

It’s always a challenge to get around in a place that you don’t know well. I prefer trains for their comfort and speed, but negotiating the various train lines in various countries where I don’t speak the language can be very frustrating. I use Rick Steves’ train site whenever I take a European trip.

There are pros and cons to every method of travel in Europe, and this article really explains them well.

Interior of first class carriage, Eurail train, Switzerland.

Read more on Traveler.

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