The Blog

12 Airport and Airline Etiquette Tips

For the benefit of your flight experience and for those around you, follow these 12 etiquette tips:

Step away from the baggage carousel: By stepping a foot back, you avoid getting bumped with someone else’s luggage or bumping someone with your own.

Not moving? Stay to the side: Don’t you hate it when you are trying to get somewhere and people are blocking your way?  Whether on the moving belt or in the hallway, if you are not moving somewhere, stand to the side.

Don’t cut in line: Each person has places to go and things to do. Be patient and wait your turn in line.

Wait for your zone: If your zone has not been called, there is no need to crowd the boarding area. This blocks people who have been called to board from getting on the plane.

What to wear: As cozy as sweats or pajamas are, the airport is not the best place for them. Always wear something that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in by someone you know.

Phone charging: If your electronic device doesn’t need charging, avoid sitting at or near a charging station. Allow space for those who need to charge their devices. If you are charging a device, try plugging in only one at a time, even if the station is not crowded.

Carry-on luggage: When you are getting on the plane, carry-on luggage, including your back pack, should be in your hand. This ensures that the people already sitting down won’t get smacked as you walk by to your assigned seat.

All about your feet: Trays, arm rests, cabin walls, and the seat in front of you were not made to be foot rests.  If you are adamant about taking off your shoes, at the very least, bring shoe scents and be mindful of those around you.

Middle seat person: The person in the middle seat doesn’t have an aisle to stretch out their legs every once in a while and doesn’t have the cabin wall to rest their head. So in all fairness, the middle person should get both armrests.

Bringing food on the plane: No matter how awesome your food tastes or what wonderful smell it produces, when it is trapped in an enclosed space, it can be too much for those around you. If you can, eat your food before boarding and not on the plane. Smells impact people, so let’s be courteous.

Touch screen: The touch screen is not your punching bag. If it doesn’t seem to be responding to your touch, ask a flight attendant to restart your screen. The person in front of you will be grateful to you for not poking them in the back.

Reclining your seat: Out of respect, check behind you before reclining your seat. You will be invading someone’s space, so be conscientious about when your seat is tilted back, especially during meals.

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Top FREE Travel Apps

Take a look at these FREE apps to assist you on your next vacation:

TripIt: All of your trip details such as flights, accommodations, or dinner reservations are all organized into one spot. You can create your own itinerary or have TripIt create one for you. If you decide to upgrade the app to TripIt Pro, be prepared to pay for it.

PackPoint: Tired of coming up with a new packing checklist every time you travel? PackPoint will generate a checklist for you. All you have to do is tell the app where you are going, for how long, and if it is a vacation or business trip.

Airline Apps: Depending on which airline you fly on (Delta, Southwest, Alaska Airlines, etc), download their app to check-in or see your flight status.

GateGuru: If you are stuck in an airport for a few hours or even just a half hour, you will need GateGuru. Not only will you have access to restaurant reviews in your airport, but you will know where to go by using a map specific for the terminals.

Smart Traveler: The US State Department has issued country information and advisories (including alerts and warnings) for your safety. Get all the information in this app.

Duo Lingo: Traveling the world is quite exhilarating, but not being fluent in other languages can make getting around a bit difficult. With this app, you can practice important phrases to assist you and help you avoid ordering something you don’t want to eat. This is also a great resource for children!

XE Currency: If you are going abroad, then you need this app! It is the perfect resource to look up currency conversion. Once you look up a currency rate, all the information is stored so you can access it offline at a later time.

Splitwise: Split your bills evenly and keep track of your IOUs and payments with this app.

Goby: Whether you want to visit a museum, watch a play, or find a local restaurant, you will have access to the popular happenings. Goby lets you know when and where the popular events are happening near you.

Sit or Squat: If you are pregnant, have little kids, or just have a small bladder, Sit or Squat is going to locate the nearest free restroom.

Visitor Info Hawaii: There is so much to do and see in Hawaii and you don’t want to miss a thing! The Visitor Info Hawaii apps are available to make sure you experience what Hawaii has to offer. Plus, get coupons, contact links, and maps.

Disney: Disneyland, Disney World, and Wait times for Disneyland are your go-to guide apps for Disney parks. Locate your favorite Disney characters and check out ride wait times.



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Europe is on your bucket to visit and re-visit. Follow my Europe planning suggestions and you will save time, save money, and enhance your vacation experience.

When? When will you be traveling? Prices and availability of places to visit and attractions vary by season.

What? What do you want to see? The first thing you have to accept is that you cannot see it all in one trip. Avoid the temptation to over schedule your itinerary. You may find yourself running from place to place and see Europe from inside a rental car or train with little time to really enjoy yourself and “experience” Europe rather than just “visiting” Europe. You may want to see major cities, such as London, Paris, and Rome. Or, decide on a regional visit, such as Tuscany, Great Britain, Bavaria, Provence, or Scandinavia. Remember, you can’t see it all.

Budget? Is your budget a “target” or a “straight jacket”? Your budget will help you determine when you travel and what you can see.

How? Will I see Europe on a land tour staying in hotels along the way? Or, maybe a Europe ocean cruise visiting the Mediterranean, Great Britain, or the Baltics and Scandinavia? Or, will it be a Europe river cruise along the Rhine, Danube, or Seine rivers? Each has advantages. As you consider each option consult with your Columbus Travel agent for professional input and advice.

Best advice? Take a piece of paper. Draw three columns. Label the first column A, the second B, and the third C. Talk with all persons in your family or party that is traveling and make a list of what you want to see and visit on your trip. Column A is “This is what I absolutely, positively, must see or I will die!” Column B is “We really, really want to see this, but if we don’t somehow life will go on.” Column C is “I would like to see this, but if it doesn’t work out it’s okay.” You are prioritizing what is important for you to make your Europe trip the best ever. And remember, there is no right or wrong to your list. Your interests and list will be different from mine. It’s what is important to you.

Daily Schedule. After you have determined how long you will be gone, what have identified you’re a, B, and C lists, take another piece of paper and number each day. For example, if I am planning to be gone 10 days, I write 1, 2, 3, 4…to 10. Now fill in what you are planning for each day. You will be surprised how fast your time fills up. Don’t over schedule your trip. Allow yourself time to just relax, stroll cobble stone alleys, visit street markets, and see major attractions.

Documents? You will need a valid passport. Some countries will require a tourist visa to enter their country. Go to This site is maintained by the U.S. State Department and provides a wealth of travel information. In the middle of the home page look for “Learn about your destination”. Enter each country you plan to visit. Look for entry visa requirements, travel alerts/warnings, and other useful information. Take a color photocopy of your passport information page, leave one at home with family/friends, and take one copy with you. In the unlikely event your passport is lost or stolen, you can get it replaced quickly at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate office.

Now, go and enjoy Europe…and email me some photos!

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15 Awesome Facts about Disney Parks

The next time you visit Disneyland or Disneyworld, keep in mind these fun facts:

  1. At the back of the Haunted Mansion, you will find a pet cemetery. Don’t worry though, it isn’t actually real.
  2. On the summit of the Matterhorn, employees can play basketball.
  3. Disneyland’s fire station has a hidden apartment. Park visitors would always know when Walt was there because the lamp in the window would be turned on. Today, the lamp continues to stay bright in memory of his spirit.
  4. In order to keep all the rodents away, 200 or so nocturnal cats live in Disneyland.
  5. Within Matterhorn, the abominable snowman’s name is Harold.
  6. There are undercover cops dressed as civilians to protect and help visitors.
  7. In ToonTown, jump on a manhole cover and you will find that it plays music.
  8. Underneath Disney World, there is a complete tunnel system.
  9. Walt Disney World is about the size of San Francisco or approximately 40 sq miles.
  10. In the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, It’s A Small World and Carousel of Progress made their first appearance.
  11. By invitation only, you can stay a night in the suite at Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World or Walt Disney’s Dream Suite above Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland.
  12. When obtaining property for Disney World, Walt created fake companies to buy pieces of the land.
  13. Gum is not sold in any of the shops.
  14. Fourteen of the original eighteen Disneyland attractions are still being used today.
  15. Steve Martin and Michelle Pfeiffer used to work at Disneyland.Carrosel_Kids
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Going Away for the Holidays

There are almost 3 months until Thanksgiving and you can almost smell the roast turkey and Thanksgiving trimmings. Halt- Thanksgiving?! Already? Well, if you want to travel for the holidays- whether that is Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Year’s- not only is it the right time to think about it now, but it’s time to talk to a travel agent about booking your holiday vacation.

Home away from home:  The holiday season is by far the busiest time for airlines, hotels, and cruise lines. Hotels are running at premium prices and the airlines rack up costs during this busy time, but people left and right are booking like crazy in order to book their holiday vacation. And it is easy to see why! The stress of preparing and cleaning up dinner, getting the house ready for guests and relatives, and kids running around the house all goes away when you are on vacation. This is also an opportune time because kids are out of school and many jobs give their employees time off. The holiday celebrations during vacation are longer than the one day holiday you would be spending at home, giving your family more time to bond over the holiday break. It’s a win-win situation all the way around.

When to book: More often than not, the longer you wait to book a vacation for the holiday period, the more expensive it can become and the less chance there will be availability.  After August, your chances of going to your number one choice destination decreases, especially for popular vacation spots such as Hawaii or Cancun. While you may still find great deals and prices up to a month before, remember that space on board a flight or cruise may already be full. In reality, the later you wait, your pickings will be slim and you may not like the leftovers.

Where to go: Popular destinations to head to during the holiday vacation are just about anywhere that is warm and sunny. These places include Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta, Thailand, Jamaica, Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Florida. But Christmas away from home doesn’t have to be so tropical. If you can’t stand not to have snow on Christmas day and you would cry without having a traditional Christmas tree, then head to Quebec City, Canada; Manhattan, New York; Reykjavik, Iceland; or Barcelona.

Make this year’s holiday season unforgettable. It is a perfect time to start new traditions or enhance the old ones. The memories you create walking through the streets of Italy, sunbathing on the shores of Cancun, or riding Splash Mountain at Disneyland won’t get hidden behind the buffet of past traditional Thanksgiving dinners. This time, it’s going to be a memory your family will talk about for years to come!

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Traveling with Children 101


Traveling as a family creates many memories. Sometimes though, travel can be so stressful that many parents will forego travel altogether. As opportunities arise for you to travel as a family, you may question whether it’s really worth the trouble to leave the comforts of your own home and take your kids along. Here are things you can do that will make traveling with your kids much easier.

Buy an extra ticket

Although children under 2 don’t have to buy a seat on the plane and many parents just put their children on their laps, if you can afford it buy an extra ticket and bring your own car seat. This comes in handy in cases of turbulence and you also end up gaining extra space to take a nap or read a book. For those who don’t want to lug around a car seat, invest in an FAA-approved CARES airplane safety harness.

Invest in a backpack

It is much easier to carry the necessities for your baby or little one in a backpack rather than a shoulder bag that can easily slip off. A backpack can free up your hands in order to hold a car seat or your little ones who may want to run around everywhere.

Download apps

Download applications for toddlers on your phone or tablet to give your kids an activity to do while waiting in the airport or on the plane. These resources are great specifically for kids who are not old enough to read yet.

Things for wandering children

To help you keep a close eye on your children, purchase a leash backpack or a child locator (this allows you to set off a transmitter alarm and follow the sound until you find your child). If you don’t like those options, have one of your adult family members traveling with you to watch your little ones. Above all, create a family plan of what your family will do if someone gets lost.

Get their input

When your children get involved in the planning and they know that there is something of interest for them on the outing, they will be more willing to go and with a better attitude!

Pack extras

Often, there are many tips to bring extra snacks, clothes for the baby, wet wipes, etc. But one thing I definitely recommend is bringing an extra outfit for YOU. Having an extra shirt in your carry on allows you the flexibility to change in case of accidents.

Go early and take your time

Parents, give yourself and your family enough time to get through the airport. Rushing through to get to your terminal before your flight leaves adds too much stress for everyone. It’s better to be too early than too late.

While kids will do what they want to do no matter how well you prepare yourself, there are always things you can do to make traveling a little easier.


What tips have worked for you?

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8 Unique Bucket List Must-Haves

Your bucket list probably contains London, Maui, Costa Rica, or Paris. But how about the Israel, Ecuador, or Scandinavia? Check out our unique bucket list items below to add to yours.

Cambodia: ◊Angkor Wat ◊ Angkor Thom ◊ Siem Reap Night Market ◊ Tonle Sap ◊ New Hope restaurant ◊ Ride a tuk-tuk ◊ Ta Prohm ◊ Phnom Penh ◊ Sihanoukville ◊ Bayon Temple ◊ Banteay Srei ◊ The Killing Fields ◊ Bokor Hill Station ◊ Kratie ◊ Kohker ◊ Silver Pagoda ◊ Preah Vihear ◊

Kenya: ◊National Wildlife Reserves and Parks ◊ Safaris ◊ Malindi ◊ Mt Kenya ◊ Lamu Island ◊ Lake Naivasha ◊ Mawanga Cave ◊ Ride a camel ◊ Lake Nakuru ◊ Lake Victoria ◊ Hell’s Gate National Park ◊ Nairobi ◊ Mombasa ◊

Israel: ◊Tel Aviv ◊ The Dead Sea ◊ Jerusalem ◊ Haifa ◊ Nazareth ◊ Jaffa ◊ Bethlehem ◊ Timna Park ◊ Sea of Galilee ◊ Masada ◊ Mar Saba Monastery ◊ Beit Shean ◊ Akko ◊

Galapagos Islands: ◊ Tortuga Bay ◊ Santa Cruz Island ◊ Wall of Tears ◊ Sierra Negra Volcano ◊ Las Loberias ◊ Los Gemelos ◊ El Chato Tortoise Reserve ◊ Puerto Ayora ◊Charles Darwin Research Station ◊

Chile: ◊ Atacama Desert ◊ Easter Island ◊ Pucon ◊ Valparaiso ◊ Chiloe Churches ◊ San Rafael Glacier ◊ Torres del Paine ◊ Los Pinguinos Natural Monument ◊ Cerro San Cristobal ◊ Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) ◊ Lauca National Park ◊ Valparaiso ◊ Santiago ◊

Russia: ◊ Saint Petersburg ◊ Sochi ◊ Moscow Kremlin ◊ Red Square ◊ St Sophia ◊St Basil’s Cathedral ◊ Trans-Siberian Railway ◊ Kizhi Island ◊ Lake Baikal ◊ Mount Elbrus ◊ Valley of Geysers ◊ Suzdal ◊ Hermitage Museum ◊

Scandinavia: ◊ Iceland’s Blue Lagoon ◊ Northern Lights in Norway ◊ Castles in Denmark ◊ Stockholm ◊ Danish Royal Gardens ◊ Geiranger Fjord, Norway ◊ Vatnajokull Glacier Cave, Iceland ◊ Mons Klint, Denmark ◊ Smögen Village, Sweden ◊ Lofoten, Norway ◊ Alesund, Norway ◊

Argentina: ◊ Iglesia San Francisco  Cerro Catedral ◊ Mar del Plata Beaches ◊ Cueva de las Manos ◊ Ibera Wetlands ◊ Ushuaia ◊ Mendoza Wine Regions ◊ Monte Fitz Roy ◊ Estancia ◊ Perito Moreno Glacier ◊ Iguazu Falls ◊

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3 Ways to Purchase Shore Excursions

If you have ever gone on a cruise or are currently thinking about one, you should know that shore excursions are just as much a part of the cruise experience as being on the ship itself. While shore excursions are optional, we highly recommend it! It’s as simple as choosing something you are interested in, booking the excursion, and letting the guides take it from there. When purchasing an excursion, there are three options- from the cruise line, from an outside company, and from locals right off the dock. So, which one is the best choice? Here is some information to assist you in the decision making process:

1. Cruise Line


  • High-quality excursions
  • The ship will not leave without you if your excursion is delayed
  • This may be the easiest and most guaranteed option



  • Often the most expensive option
  • Placed in a large group that doesn’t give you much room for a personal experience
  • Less room for personalization


2. Outside Companies


  • Usually has excellent quality
  • Less expensive than purchasing from the cruise line
  • More room for personal attention
  • If you don’t make it back to the ship before it leaves port, the company will fly you to the next port guaranteed



  • Options can be limited
  • Some excursions may be pretty expensive


 3. Right off the dock


  • You can usually count on saving the most amount of money
  • You may experience a little more adventure and spontaneity
  • You have the opportunity to make new friends with the local people



  • Uncertainty of quality
  • Guides may be little more than a taxi driver who can’t speak English very well
  • You can guarantee that you will be left behind watching the ship float into the sunset if you don’t make it back on time
  • May not accept credit cards


Now it’s up to you to decide how you will purchase your shore excursions. Of course, don’t think you have to do it all on your own if you don’t want to. Travel agents, like those at Columbus Travel, want to help you make the most out of your cruise experience.


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Zika Virus Q & A

Q: What is the Zika Virus?

A: A mosquito-borne virus that falls under the same category as the yellow fever and West Nile.  The medical community has been aware of Zika since 1947 and research is continuing to be done in order to learn more about it. Unfortunately, there is no medicine or vaccine to treat this spreading virus.

Q: How is the virus spread?

A: The mosquito becomes a carrier of the virus when it bites a person who already has Zika in their blood system. Anyone can then get the virus by getting bit by an infected mosquito. It can also be passed on from an infected man to his partner through sexual contact, to a fetus through the body of an infected pregnant woman, or through a blood transfusion.

Q: What are the symptoms?

A: Symptoms may include red eyes, rash, fever, joint or muscle pain, or other flu-like reactions. After infection, it is common for symptoms to last a few days to a week. However, 4 out of 5 people won’t have any signs of sickness. Most people are not hospitalized and death by virus is rare.

Q: Is there a cure?

A: No.

 Q: How can I treat the symptoms?

A: If you catch the virus, get a sufficient amount of sleep and drink fluids to stay hydrated. Talk to a health care professional for further advice on how to treat your current condition.

Q: Do mosquitoes in the United States, specifically Utah, carry the Zika virus?

A: No, although the Zika virus has entered the United States through infected people who have come back from Zika infested areas. To find out where the virus is carried, visit and click on “Areas with Zika.”

 Q: What are the effects of the Zika Virus?

A: Research is still going on in order to further detect how the virus is passed on and what effects it has on people. We know that there is a strong correlation between the Zika virus and microcephaly- a condition in which a baby may have an abnormally small head and possible brain damage. Though uncommon, Zika has also been correlated with the Guillain-Barré syndrome which can cause limb paralysis.

 Q: How do I avoid getting the Zika Virus?

A: The best thing to do is to stay away from areas where Zika is circulating. If you decide to travel to a country where the Zika has been spread, protect yourself by wearing clothing that covers your legs and arms and use mosquito repellant. For sleeping conditions, hang up a mosquito net and try to get an air conditioned room. Concerning sexual transmission, avoid sex or have protected sex with those who have recently returned from a Zika infested area.  If you think you have the Zika virus, get checked by a professional doctor.

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What to See in South America

Hola! Olá! Raphi! Laphi! South America’s culture is vibrant in color, spice, music and ah yes, food. It is where you can find the best mouth watering steak and fresh fruit even the pickiest eater will be tempted to eat. Traveling to South America is a treat, but with 12 countries, it may be hard to know what to do or see, especially in some of the lesser-known countries. Each country has phenomenal things to offer. From jungles to glaciers and beaches to large cities, you have many opportunities to experience the various cultures and landscapes of South America. Among many activities you can choose from, we hope these are on your list. So get your bags packed and go visit these colorful destinations in style!

  1. Argentina: Visit the gigantic Moreno Glacier, feel water coming from the famous Iguazu Falls, or get your dancing shoes on and go Tango.
  2. Brazil: Hit the city life of Rio de Janeiro or relax on the beaches in Florianopolis. On another day, travel to Fernando de Noronha or take pictures with Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain.
  3. Paraguay: Stay a few nights in Asuncion, the capital. For a different feel, spend a day riding with ranchers or float down the Paraguay River on a cruise. Watch a football game with your whole family and feel the excitement of the crowd.
  4. Uruguay: Go to the small fishing town of La Barra, get artsy in Artigas Square, walk through the old town of Colonia del Sacramento, or go to Los Dedos Playa Brava and see the massive hand sculpture.
  5. Chile: See the glaciers in Torres del Pine National Park, the stone heads on Easter Island, or the beautiful village of Valparaiso. If you dare, get a taste of the driest place on Earth by heading over to the Atacama Desert.
  6. Bolivia: Head to the country’s largest city La Paz, sit by the water of Lake Titicaca or the Laguna Verde, or visit the city of Potosi.
  7. Peru: Visit the well-known Machu Picchu, stop by Huacachina, or head to Lima.
  8. Ecuador: Be among the jungles of the Amazon, find diverse animals in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, buy a treat in the Otavalo Market, or go to Nariz del Diablo.
  9. Colombia: See the cathedral of Santuario de las Lajas or stay in the romantic city of Cartagena.
  10. Venezuela: Snorkel in Los Roques or see the amazing Angel Falls.
  11. Guyana: See the Kaieteur Falls, St. George’s Cathedral, Stabroek Market, Promenade Gardens, Georgetown Lighthouse, and so much more!
  12. Suriname: Visit the old sugar factory Mariënburghike or watch nesting sea-turtles in Matapica or Galibi. You can walk through the Parbo market, see Fort Zeelandia, or go to Commewijne.
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