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5 fascinating facts about Tibet

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Contributed by David Castello

tibet

Few countries in the world evoke the mystique of Tibet. Nicknamed the “Roof of the World” (it shares Mount Everest with Nepal), most people simply know it as the former home of the Dalai Lama. For centuries, Tibet heavily restricted outsiders and it wasn’t until 1924 that the first European woman, Belgian–French explorer Alexandra David-Néel, visited the capital, Lhasa. Let’s start with the basics:

1. The Size of Tibet – Many believe that Tibet is a small country like neighboring Nepal or Bhutan. Actually, Tibet is huge. The Traditional Tibet (U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo provinces) is 965,000 square miles. This is over four times larger than France and a whopping 25% of the land mass of China, which is a good reason why the Communist Chinese invaded Tibet on October 6, 1950 only ten months after winning the Chinese Civil War and declaring the People’s Republic of China. Since 1965, China recognizes only the much smaller Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) which comprises U-Tsang and the western area of Kham (474,300 sq. mi). This Tibet is autonomous in name only because it is strictly governed by the Chinese Communist Party. Continue reading →

“Did you know…5 surefire ways to save on holiday travel?”

holiday travel

Aside from merry-making and reconnecting with friends and family, the holidays often signal crushing expenses, especially for travelers.  In a recent Forbes post, Grant Martin offers solid strategies to ease the financial burden for holiday travelers.

“With supply not able to keep up with the increased demand, airlines can raise prices with little ill effect. Compound that with one less legacy carrier [US Airways] in competition and the current atmosphere is ripe for high holiday airfares,” says Richard Kerr, Senior Points and Miles contributor at The Points Guy.

Here are Grant’s five tactics to ensure you’re doing everything possible to minimize your travel costs this holiday season:

1. Book early

2. Monitor the hottest sale fares

3. Use points

4. Use Creative routings

5. Use a low-cost carrier

For the full article and tips on implementing these tactics, click here.

Press life’s reset button with a retreat vacation

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

In our never-ending quest to seek out new and unique vacation options, we’re kicking off a series on personal enrichment retreat vacations.  While retreats still seem to attract more women than men, you’d be surprised at the niche options that are out there — from the spiritually oriented to wellness and outdoor adventure. In this first segment, we talked to Cierra King, co-founder of Reset Retreat, based in Austin, TX and Belize, to learn some of the life-changing take-aways that her guests experience.

WATCH our interview with Cierra King, co-founder, Reset Retreat

 

Tell us a little about your company, Reset Retreat and how you got started.

We combine personal growth, yoga, and adventure to help guests deepen their relationship with themselves, reset their patterns, break personal boundaries and find purpose. We create the inspirational space, trusting communities, and strategically planned programming that allows guests to maximize their potential and reset their perspective.

We got started because we needed this experience for ourselves! We needed that place to connect with other like-minded and supportive people to help us better our lives. Serendipitously, I met my partners while on vacation and, without even realizing it, created our own “mini retreat.” We saw the effects it quickly had on our personal lives and career. We knew we had to create this for other women. And so two weeks later, we met again and formed Reset Retreat. Continue reading →

What Airlines Won’t Tell You

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

ExpertFlyer co-founder and president, Christ Lopinto, was recently interviewed by FOX News anchor, Ernie Anastos, on little-known facts and tips that the airlines won’t tell you.  Watch the segment and read the Q & A.

 

Ernie Anastos: Listen, we just heard a lot about what the airlines are doing and so forth. You’ve got to be kind of like your own travel agent these days, don’t you? Really, all the details.

Chris Lopinto: Unfortunately, yes. Our motto is information is empowering, and that’s why we like to give as much as possible. Really, with a little bit of research, you can do quite well these days.

EA: Okay, let’s talk about how you get the best seats, because that’s what a lot of people are concerned about. How do you do that?

CL: Absolutely. Unfortunately nowadays, airlines reserve the best seats for their elite customers or those who are willing to pay for them. However, what they don’t tell you is that within about four or five days before departure, the airlines upgrade their best customers into business or first class. That means that a lot of good seats open up in economy class just waiting for someone to grab them.

EA: What do we do?

CL: What we do is we log into the airline website or whatever website you used to buy the ticket from and check the seat map again to see if you can get a better seat assignment within a few days of departure. By that time more economy seats will be available.

EA: A lot of people are concerned about frequent flyer programs. Is there a real payoff with that?

CL: There can be, but you have to be careful. Think of frequent flyer points as money in a bank account. However, unlike a real bank account, you don’t earn interest and the bank can basically devalue that money at any time.

EA: What do we do?

CL: There’s a term in the industry called, “Burn as you earn,” which means don’t save up a lot of frequent flyer miles thinking you’re going to have some big vacation somewhere down the line. If you have enough to use and you can use them, use them now because frequent flyer miles will never be as valuable tomorrow as they are today.

EA: Any other quick suggestions if you’re traveling alone or with other people? Your family and so forth?

CL: Well, one suggestion is that if you’re trying to buy a trip with multiple people, say a family of four. What the airlines do is, they’ll price the ticket for the amount that is the same for everyone. Let’s say there’s one cheap fair available. What they won’t do is they won’t give you one cheap fair then three of the more expensive fairs. In order to figure that out, you price it twice. One at the quantity you want, say four, and one with just one ticket, and if the price per ticket is different, you know that there’s some cheaper fairs available, but just not four. What you do is, you buy a few of the cheaper and then a few of the more expensive and you get an overall lower cost for your trip.

 

4 Air Travel Tips to Survive a Long Flight

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Contributed by Cathy Trainor, Tripping.com

long flight

Congratulations! You’ve done the work on figuring out where to go, getting all the logistics in place, buying your plane tickets, and booking the perfect vacation rental. Now it’s time to fly. Here are four useful air travel tips for your long haul flight across continents. Whether it’s your first long-distance flight or your hundredth, these ideas work for everyone.

Try the No-Jet-Lag Diet

This diet was developed by scientists to help combat the effects of jet lag on the body when you travel across many time zones. The theory is to start preparing your body to reset its internal clock several days before flying by following a special diet. By alternating fasting and feasting meal days, and limiting caffeine intake to certain hours of the day, you will be more alert when you reach your destination.

In our experience, this diet didn’t completely eliminate jet lag, but it helped a lot. You can also try taking some herbal supplements, like no-jet-lag homeopathic pills every few hours during flight and melatonin to help you sleep – but make sure to check with your doctor first.

Drink Lots of Water

Airlines don’t typically offer you more than a glass of water at a time, so buy a big liter-sized bottle after you get through security, and take it with you on the plane. Try to finish at least one of these during the flight, even if it means that you have to get up to go to the bathroom more frequently.

Flight attendants can also help you refill the entire bottle for round two if you ask nicely. Also, if you’re a nervous flier, you might feel inclined to have a glass or two of wine at meal time. Try to skip alcohol if you can, because it will dehydrate you, and try these eight tips for relaxation instead.

Stretch and Walk Around

Don’t worry about looking like a weirdo when you get up to stretch on the flight: it will help you stay comfortable during and after the trip. You can follow these airplane yoga exercises without even getting out of your seat.

Try to get up as much as you possibly can to walk to prevent swelling in your body.

Bring a Toothbrush and Face Wipes

Brushing your teeth before bedtime on the airplane can help you stay fresh, and there is no better feeling than brushing your teeth when you get off the plane and still feel groggy.

Bring face wash and a washcloth, or your favorite face wipes to keep your skin fresh – you’ll be amazed at how much it helps you to stay awake.


Bonus Tip: Take Your Music With You

Here’s a bonus air travel tip: bring your music collection! Rocking out to your favorite songs can make a long flight or road trip fly by (see what I did there?) Unfortunately, you can’t stream music without Wi-Fi and in-flight Wi-Fi can be pricey (if it’s even available). There are new apps available that let you circumvent this inconvenience, like younity.  This app lets you access all of the music from your computer on your mobile phone or tablet, no matter where you are. In order to listen to music on the plane, you can download your music collection for offline use. younity is the go-to travel app you never knew you needed!