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  • bgailwunderlich

    The Corliss Group Review: 5 Key Tips for Southeast Asia Travel

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    From Myanmar to Vietnam, Southeast Asia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for experienced travelers and those looking for a more adventurous experience( http://thecorlisstravelgroup.blogspot.nl.. ). No matter your reason for wanting to explore these culturally significant destinations, here are a few key tips( huffingtonpost.com/go-ahead-tours/5-key-.. ) worth keeping in mind.

    1. Learn how to layer

    It can get very hot in Southeast Asia. Steamy daytime temps mean you'll want a fresh change of clothes quite often, but nights can be much cooler. Lots of light layers help with the transition between hot days and cool nights, and luckily, clothing tends to be inexpensive if you need to pick up a few more things along the way. Don't forget: sizing tends to be much smaller than in the U.S.

    2. Pay attention to local customs

    Etiquette in Southeast Asia is extremely important. For example, shoes must be removed when entering a temple and arms and legs need to be covered. Look to the locals for outfit inspiration; in Myanmar, a traditional longyi can be a great way to keep cool (and covered) as you explore various temples. Night markets in any of the major cities or towns are a great place to find this traditional garb, as well as food, handicrafts and other inexpensive goods. It's also worth taking advantage of the local transportation: Tuk-tuks are a quick and inexpensive way to get around at the end of a long day of sightseeing -- just make sure to have your hotel's name on hand!

    3. Practice your bartering skills

    Don't be afraid of bargaining with local shopkeepers -- it's a fun way to interact with locals and get a glimpse into their culture. Keep a number of small bills on hand for shopping, buying bottled water and tipping the locals.

    4. Don't be afraid to try the food

    For the most authentic experience, you'll want to get a taste of the local cuisine. Ask your Tour Director or hotel concierge for their top recommendations or, if you're brave enough, sample some of the street food. Make sure you're looking for street vendors that have cooked or fried food and long lines, as busy stands mean higher food turnover and better quality assurance.

    5. Above all, stay comfortable

    We can't stress SPF enough! Bring plenty of sunscreen, a big floppy hat and sunglasses. A small pack of wet wipes is also handy for wiping off sweat and dust and for using local restrooms. But the ultimate in comfort and relaxation? A soothing massage -- they're inexpensive and incredibly gratifying after walking around all day in the heat.

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  • bgailwunderlich

    The Corliss Group Review

    Save yourself from summer identity theft

    Ruth to the Rescue has simple steps to protect yourself
    During the summer you would like to focus on rest and relaxation, but you can't let your guard down when it comes to identity theft.

    Identity thieves do not take the summer off, and they know your summer activities could give them the opening they need to get your personal information.

    For example, when you pack your bags for your family vacation, you could be carrying too many personal documents. Consumer Reports recommends you leave things like your Social Security card at home.

    It's advice one local mother tells Ruth to the Rescue she's already following. "I only bring one major credit card and my driver's license. Usually American Express so that I know I can have fraud protection. And I always make sure that there's a safe," said Kristin Saracevic of Troy.

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  • bgailwunderlich

    The Corliss Group review: Travel money tips

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    Credit and debit cards

    Using your credit or debit card overseas is one of the most convenient options for accessing money on the go and you can feel secure knowing that your card provider is keeping an eye out for suspicious, potentially fraudulent activity, and that you'll be reimbursed if the worst does happen and your card is stolen (so long as you've abided by your card provider's conditions of use; for example, kept your PIN secret and reported the theft of your card immediately).

    The major downside of using credit and debit cards overseas is fees. Most credit and debit cards will charge foreign-transaction fees (generally a percentage of the total) when you make purchases overseas, although some card providers waive these on certain card types (Bankwest's platinum- level cards, for example). Debit cards are generally subject to a foreign ATM fee when you withdraw cash overseas - this is often a flat figure, so taking out larger amounts less frequently can be a good idea. And, just as at home, withdrawing cash from a credit card will attract a hefty cash-advance fee so avoid this unless it's an emergency.

    If you're a frequent traveler( http://corlisstravel.livejournal.com/ ), you may want to seek out credit and debit cards designed for travellers. GE Money's 28 Degrees MasterCard, for example, has no international transaction fees on purchases, no currency conversion fees and no annual fee (as of the beginning of this year, it does attract a fee of 3 per cent or $4 - whichever is greater - for cash advances). In terms of debit cards, the Citibank Plus transaction account, which comes with a Visa debit card, is popular with travellers. Billed as Australia's only fee-free bank account, cardholders can make free withdrawals at all of Citibank's more than 20,000 ATMs in about 40 countries worldwide and the account does not attract foreign- transaction fees.

    Regardless of which card you take, check its expiry date well in advance of setting off. If you're taking a credit card, consider whether your current credit limit is sufficient. Going over your limit can attract fees and it's no good planning to pay for accommodation at a cost of $3000 if your card limit is only $2000. Also check the daily limit on your debit card - often you're not allowed to withdraw more than $1000 per day.

    Notify your card provider that you're heading overseas to avoid inadvertently raising a red flag with their fraud detection department and having your card frozen, and ensure they have a phone number to contact you on in case they want to query any transactions while you're away. You should also make note of your card provider's overseas contact number - if your card is stolen or compromised, you should let them know as soon as possible.

    For more advice on using credit and debit cards overseas, consult your financial institution - many offer brochures and information online about accessing your money while you're away.

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  • bgailwunderlich

    The Corliss Group Review: Madrid, Spain

    BARCELONA may have the glamour as far as Spanish cities go but there's more to Madrid than meets the eye, discovers WILL METCALFE

    THERE is an expectation among many that a capital city will be the most invigorating, most exciting part of a country with the biggest, brashest attractions – but that is not always the case.

    For London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam this could be said to ring true but in Spain all eyes are on Catalonia, leaving the capital Madrid, in the heart of the desert, often overlooked.

    That’s a shame, because with its gentle hills and meandering streets it makes a great location for a chilled break.

    Best known for its football teams, Madrid is as much a city of food and drink as it is sport.

    Visually it is a stunning city, the Gran Via – the cities main artery – is lined with multi-story architecture that points to a different Europe.

    Where it’s southern European counterparts are packed with hustlers and tourist traps there is something about Madrid, stranded in the middle of the Spanish peninsula, that remains hassle free.

    Even in its busiest squares, and in the packed shopping streets, you can wander worry free.

    In terms of sights, sport vies with culture for centre stage.

    North of the city sits the stunning Bernabeu – home to Real Madrid, the most successful football team in European club history – while their rivals and Spanish league champions Athletico Madrid play across the city at the Vicente Calderon with a somewhat more chequered history.

    But really, it’s the culture that should draw you. With three of the best respected galleries in Spain within spitting distance of each other you are almost guaranteed to be wowed at every turn.

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  • bgailwunderlich

    The Corliss Group World Travelers: Making Your Device Your Best Travel Companion

    The Corliss Group World Travelers: Making Your Device Your Best Travel Companion

    RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

    Spring break is not far away. So, it's time to start planning that trip, if you haven't booked it already. This is when those smartphones and tablets come in handy, right? I mean, they are supposed to help us be more organized. It's not really working for me. On this week's Wingin' It, though, we're going to attempt to help you make best use of your digital devices when traveling.

    (SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

    MARTIN: Here to help us out is Tom Samiljan. He is the tech correspondent for Travel and Leisure magazine. (buzznet.com/groups/thecorlissgroupluxury.. asked him to help us sort through some of the many travel apps on the market - some apps that could make your trip planning a little less stressful - we hope. Tom joins us from our studios in New York. Hey, Tom.

    TOM SAMILJAN: Hi.

    MARTIN: So, I'm just going to start off with, like, the million-dollar question. What is the most used travel app on your portable device right now?

    SAMILJAN: Kayak.com I like the most because not only can you search for plane tickets, but you can also get hotels, car rentals. You can manage all of your travel information (pinterest.com/alexanderwaggon/the-corlis.. there. So, it'll send you updates if a flight is delayed. Another place to check out is Yapta. Yapta is...

    MARTIN: Yapta? Can you spell that for me?

    SAMILJAN: Yes. It's Y-A-P-T-A. And Yapta lets you set an alert. So, say you'll search a specific itinerary on a specific airline at a specific time. Yapta will send you an alert any time that price of that particular flight goes up or down.

    MARTIN: What about accommodation?

    SAMILJAN: Lately, I've been using Booking.com, which is dedicated to hotels. And one of the reasons I really like Booking.com is in many cases it will let me book my hotel and cancel my reservation up to 24 hours before without charging my card. A lot of other places will charge the amount of the entire stay, like, the minute you book it. You can also use a search engine. There's one called Tango - this is less of an app, more of a website, but you can access from your mobile phone. And if you buy through them, they'll automatically upgrade you to a better room, if that becomes available, for the same price, or if a cheaper room becomes available and the price goes down, they'll rebook your reservation to a less-expensive room. I mean, of course, it's the same room but less-expensive rate.

    MARTIN: What about travel guides? (http://imgfave.com/collection/326164) More and more of these are now moving online - no more do we lug around these well-loved travel guides dog-eared and underlined. There's an app called Triposo. What can you tell us about that?

    SAMILJAN: Well, Triposo is a really interesting app/service. Basically, it's sort of automatically ingests information from places like Wiki Travel, a lot of online sites that have information about various travel destinations (ign.com/boards/threads/the-corliss-group.. and sticks them sort of automatically into these, like, online guides that very much look like your traditional travel guide except it's a compilation of the best of what the Web has to offer. And what's really nice about those is that you can just download them onto your phone and access them online. You don't have to worry about racking up any roaming fees.

    MARTIN: What about navigating public transport? This is something that's always kind of intimidating, right, when you land, especially if you're traveling internationally. You land in a new country, you don't speak the language, you're traveling on a budget and you just kind of want the experience of using the local transportation system. Has anyone developed an app that can help you navigate those systems?

    SAMILJAN: Yes. There are a few apps. Probably my favorite is Hopstop, which has a bunch of different cities. So, in one app you can get automatic directions to how to get from one subway stop to another. You can also use Google Maps. Google Maps has a public transportation feature, so you can put the address where you're leaving from or your location and then where you want to go and then press the public transportation button and it'll give you the public transportation directions.

    MARTIN: And that works internationally?

    SAMILJAN: That works internationally but it will use data. So, if you're in another country, you're going to want to use the Wi-Fi zone or you're going to want to make sure that you've bought a roaming plan so data roaming is included in your plan.

    MARTIN: And I imagine it's somewhat limited to major European capitals or if you're in some tiny village in Morocco and there's a bus, it's not going to help you out.




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