How to Order an Expedited Passport

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How to Order an Expedited Passport

Regular passport processing takes about 6 weeks. However, no matter how conscientious you try to be, accidents do happen and you may find yourself needing your passport sooner. Fortunately, there are several different ways to speed up this process so you can be on your way. Whether you have to leave the country at the last minute or just procrastinated, this guide will help you choose the expediting method that’s right for you.

Ordering Expedited Processing

If you have a little bit of time before your trip, one option is simply to order expedited service from the government when you apply for your passport. This costs an additional $60, plus the Department of State recommends you pay extra for overnight delivery both to and from the passport office.

If you are applying in person, simply pay the extra fee and let the acceptance agent know you need expedited service. If you are applying by mail for a passport renewal, make sure you write “expedite” on the envelope.

The government’s expedited passport service generally takes about 3 weeks to process.

Making an Appointment at a Regional Passport Agency Office

If you are leaving in the next 2 weeks, you can get expedited passport processing by making an appointment at Regional Passport Agency office. This option is also available if you are traveling within 4 weeks and you need a visa. To make an appointment, call 1-877-487-2778. Once you go in for your appointment, as long as you have your paperwork in order you should get your passport the same day.

Using an Expediting Company

Not everyone is located near a Regional Passport Agency office-there are only 19 of them, scattered throughout the country. A private expediting company can expedite your passport for you if you can’t or don’t want to visit a passport agency office.

If you are applying in person, simply tell the acceptance agent that you will be using an expediting company, and they will “seal” your documents. Then, send the documents to them via a carrier like FedEx or UPS, along with a letter authorizing the expediting company to handle your expedited passport application for you. They will handle dealing with the passport agency office for you and send your passport back to you once it’s issued, using overnight shipping if necessary. The downside of using this method is that the fees can be pretty hefty.

Lost Your Wallet Travelling

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Lost Your Wallet Travelling?

Do you know what you carry in your wallet?

If you are like me, then you keep your most documents in your wallet such as money, drivers licence, credit cards, ID cards etc. So, if you loose or have your wallet/bag stolen, then the impact of such a loss is tremendous. Although we don’t like to think of the possibility things do happen which are out our control so it is best to adopt strategies that will minimise the impact of such loss.

The first obvious strategy is to keep the contents of your wallet/bag to the bare minimum. Only carry the amount of money that you plan to use that day with a little extra. If you are travelling in a developing country such as Bolivia where they mainly deal in cash leave your credit cards with your passport. If you do need a credit card then carry one with you and leave the others back at the hotel safe or where ever your passports are being kept.

I am not a believer of having multiple credit cards but for travel it is a good strategy. I strongly recommend you have two different credit cards which allow you draw money out. That way, if you do loose one, then you will still have the other one safe and sound at the hotel. Make sure that for travel purposes that your partners card has a different number that way if one need to cancel one the other is still active.

Please take photocopies (front and back) of all important cards e.g. credit cards, ID cards and any other official documents. Photocopies will provide you with immediate access to those crucial phone numbers on the back of your card as you won’t always be able to find a phonebook.  Further, photocopies of your ID cards will you enable you to exchange money i.e. traveller cheques and get your ID card replaced easier.

Avoid centralising your funds i.e. have a combination of cash and travellers cheques available for emergencies. If you are only taking credit cards then you need to make sure that you have enough money to get you by for approximately two weeks. The reason for such a long period is that in some parts of the world it may take anything up to six weeks for your replacement card to arrive by either the post.  We had ours delivered by courier and that took over two weeks.

Have a phone card or Skype credits available to call overseas so you can get your cards cancelled and re-issued. Although, most of the financial institutions do have a reverse charge number the problem we found was that the telephone operators either did not provide reverse call services or the queues were so long that the line kept dropping out which cost us more money.

Finally and perhaps the most obvious, carry your wallet on the front of our person. I was carrying mine in my back pocket. I think it became dislodged when I was leaning with my posterior on top of a horizontal metal bar while crouching in a crowded bus.

So enjoy your trip and please safe guard yourself from a possible financial disaster when you travel.

Travel Tips

  • Clean out your bag or wallet and only keep the essential.
  • Carry on the money that you require for that day plus a bit extra
  • Only carry your credit card when you need it
  • Have at least two different types of credit cards or credit cards with different numbers
  • Only carry one credit card at a time and leave the other back with your passport (safe)
  • Take photocopies of your cards and documents
  • Have cash and/or travellers cheques for emergencies – you should have at least 2 weeks worth.
  • Have a phone card or Skype credits to make those important calls back home

Best Coastal Walks

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Best Coastal Walks

Are you stuck for something to do this summer, to break the monotony of the beach break? Have you exhausted Europe? Try going further afield, and get a chance to take a coastal walk and see some of the world’s most fantastic scenery.

  • The Great Ocean Walk, Australia

Stretching along Victoria’s coast, this entire walk will take 4 days, but you can jump in and out if you please. Offering spectacular views and glimpses of koalas and kangaroos, you will walk some beautiful deserted beaches.

  • Pico Bonito National Park, Honduras

Taking in stunning views of the Caribbean shoreline and the tropical rainforest, this walk ends at the Zacate waterfall, a true picture of nature’s beauty.

  • Fundy National Park, Canada

A four hour walk, this takes you from the Big Salmon River Suspension Bridge, and you will learn a lot about Canadian history from your guide on the way.

  • The Skeleton Coast, Namibia

See shipwrecks off the coast, where hazards such as underwater sandbanks and fog made hundreds of ships wreck. Here you can see elephants and giraffe in their natural habitat.

  • Coffee Bay, South Africa

No trip to SA would be complete without walking Coffee Bay; a landscape that has remained vastly unchanged over previous centuries.

  • Masoala National Park, Madagascar

Buried in the rainforest, this is a great walk if you want to see a lot of wildlife. The tomato frog and stump tailed chameleon reside here, and lemurs are often spied sitting in the trees. The walk drops down to the bay where hum backed whales are regularly spotted.

If you are going to be taking a trip out of England, make sure that you have Travel Insurance. Cheap policies can be obtained on the internet, but it is very expensive to stay in a hospital abroad, should something happen. Take extra care when walking, as there can be spiders and other venomous creepy crawlies hiding in the scrub.

Benefits Of Serviced Apartments

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Benefits Of Serviced Apartments

Previously hotels were considered as the first choice of stay for the visitors and travellers who wished to spend their time at a particular location away from home. But in last few years, this has changed drastically and now visitors look for something more warm and homely to spend their time. This specific need of the oncoming visitors is carefully and considerably met by offering them serviced apartments.

Although staying in a hotel can be the common option selected by many business professionals visiting London but over the years this has channged a lot. Hotels can be a very expensive option if the stay needs to be for a lengthy period of time, such as more than one month. This point is particularly taken care in Serviced apartments. Serviced apartment is the right term for a temporary but a bit longer stay. Serviced apartments are especially designed for temporary stays, but for periods of time longer than merely a few days.

Within the corporate sector serviced apartments are recognised as a cost effective alternative to hotels especially when accommodating employees on extended stay visits in London. The main reason for their popularity is that they represent huge cost savings for companies, and in some cases can provide up to 40% reduction in accomodation costs. But still many businesses with UK headquarters, the serviced apartments continue to remain unknown. This article focusses on the questions like what is a serviced apartment, where can I find serviced apartments in London and most importantly how much do serviced apartments cost, to give you a better idea of how serviced apartments can benefit your visit.

A serviced apartment is a regular style apartment, which gives you the comfortable environment, fully furnished and equipped apartment that receives a housekeeping service, sometimes daily but most often on a weekly basis. In terms of size they are typically twice the size of a hotel room, and provide a living space, separate bedroom and fully equipped kitchen. Each apartment is comfortably furnished keeping in mind your needs,and most are connected with broadband more often than not included in the rate as is satellite TV.

So if you are coming to London for business purposes and expecting to stay for a relatively long period of time, a great option for you would be to stay in a short stay serviced apartment rather than a Hotel. For short stays of 5 nights up to 1 year, Clarendon’s short stay serviced accommodation in London is an ideal cost effective alternative to hotel accommodation.

Canary Wharf is expected to act as a main hub during the Olympic Games, especially given the convenience of arriving into City Airport, easy access to the DLR which connects with the Wharf in 15 minutes and its close proximity to the Olympic Park. So with more space, more freedom and choice, what’s the cost? Typically today in serviced apartments canary wharf a 1 bedroom apartment will cost in the region of ?800 per week + VAT. This is based on a 7 night stay includes all utilities, council tax, TV licence and housekeeping service once a week. Now compare this to the average cost of a hotel room plus the added costs to eat out ‘v’ self cater and you start to see substantial cost savings.

As with any other service, always make sure that you are given the best possible solution, and the company has the best staff to fullfill your needs. Always choose a company which has the reputation of providing you with the consistent high standards of service, and capture all the details of your requirements from the choice of location, to apartment and to furnishings and guest care.

Escape city life take a few days off in Pokolbin Hunter Valley

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Escape city life take a few days off in Pokolbin Hunter Valley

Pokolbin can be found in Australia, in its state of New South Wales. The center of the famed Lower Hunter Valley wine lands, this is actually the name of a rural area instead of a town, though the towns of Branxton and Cessnock are nearby. The vineyards, wineries and cellars are the area’s principal draw though holidays can also consist of day spas, resorts and the viewings of local arts and crafts.
Wine is the life of the Hunter Valley and is what brings the majority of its visitors. Shiraz and Semillion, Chardonay and Cabernet, all are grown, made and sampled here. International companies, home crafting legacy vintners and all others live and work here.
At 455 Wine Country Drive you can stop at the Vintage Hunter Wine and Visitors Centre for directions to all that the Valley offers. They are trained to direct you to all of the wineries, vintners and cellars in the area and will arrange visits to the likes of Blueberry Hill Vineyard, Morgan Family Wine Growers, Vinden Estate Wines, Thalgora Estate and Tyrrell’s Wines.
Pokolbin Village is the center of the Valley. It is considered to be the best base from which to conduct tours of the country as it is in walking distance of the cellars and vintners. Constructed to resemble a village its suites are set amidst landscaped grounds. One can arrange a more private, home-like stay in the bedroom villas and homesteads on offer. The staff will assist you in touring the wineries and in finding attractions of interest.
The Hunter Valley Gardens offer another kind of stay. There is a set of accommodations, the Mercure Resort, and all manner of events and festivals are put on here. But the attraction and heart are the twelve gardens that give the place its names. Over twenty-five hectares of landscaped acreage sits here as a testament to the talents of famed landscape gardeners Bill and Imelda Roche.
To indicate the imagination on display in the designs of all the gardens, a few will be described. In the rose garden over a hundred varieties of roses grow in the thousands on a garden designed in the shape of a corkscrew. Sunk beneath a lush waterfall to give the feeling of being in a sunken grotto, the Sunken Garden features evergreen and deciduous trees housing a pond the size of several Olympic pools. Two of the Asian themed gardens, The Chinese and Oriental Gardens, are entered through traditional moon gates and the blend of rocks, gravel gardens, bamboo and gingko trees, pagodas and lily-adorned lakes are the product of a blend of several east Asian cultures.
Barrington Tops is divided into a State Forest and a National Park, but both are situated within this World Heritage site. A plateau that runs the twenty-five kilometers between a pair of extinct volcanoes, here visitors can partake of bushwalks, kayaking, mountain biking, camping, trail hiking and canoeing amidst basalt cliffs, rain forests, trout streams and moss swamps.
In sum, the pleasures of nature under cultivation, and nature left wild are the heritage of Pokolbin.

Make plan for India trip during commonwealth games

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Make plan for India trip during commonwealth games

India is known from history for its exotic locations and diverse nature all over the world. Be it the ever lasting beauty of Taj Mahal or the magnifying aspects of Ajanta Ellora Caves; India trips have always been in the wish list of tourists around the globe. If you have been to most part of the world and you have not been to India till now then introducing to yourself the diverse yet united culture of India during commonwealth games. Commonwealth games are round the corner and no opportunity can be better than visiting India at the time of games enjoying both the beauties of places around and excitement of games at a single go.

Commonwealth games are happening at the heart of India in its national Capital, New Delhi. Delhi is known for its vibrant festivals, vivid culture and splendid archaeological monuments. While planning for Indian trip while commonwealth games, Delhi becomes the most important and obvious place to visit. If magnificent history is what a tourist is looking for then he can found answers to his quests by visiting spectacular monuments like Red Fort, Qutub Minar, India Gate, Humayun Tomb, Jama Masjid and many more places of historical significance.

Not everytime tourists visiting India trips get to see the colorful festivities in India, but the sports event coinciding with Indian festival can give the real feel of Indian culture to visitors. Real taste of India comes only during Festivities and Celebration; it is because we get to diverse culture of India during such activities. Tourist can easily witness significant part of Indian culture by visiting during this time.

Not only Delhi but if you want to go to any other part near Delhi, and then visiting Taj Mahal will not be a bad idea. Being in the list of world wonders, Taj Mahal is the most preferred place in the tourist must visit lists and most advantageous fact remain that it is hardly four hours journey from National Capital of India. Delhi is major hub for transport facilities all the way to different parts of India and major cities including Jaipur, Amritsar, Shimla, Kolkata, Mumbai and many more.

Since Commonwealth games are happening in the month of October, fortunately it is the best time for India trip. In North India, from Delhi you can explore many historical places in Pink city of Jaipur. Jaipur is known for its exclusive Archeological places and pretty landscapes around lakes. Moving little southern you will visit Maharashtra. Maharashtra on one hand has beaches in Mumbai on the other hand you can find elephanta caves which can take you back into the Indian history. There are some beautiful temples in Mahabaleshwar which can make you spellbound with their beauty.

Moving from Maharashtra in the southern India trip you will find many famous places including metropolis Chennai and Bangalore where you can spend splendid weekend with many exhilarating options. In the eastern part of country one can experience the real India with the much crowded and narrow roads at Kolkata while some hilly experiences in places like Darjeeling and Arunachal Pradesh.

Trip in India offers great variety of places to visit and experience its vast culture. Make sure you plan out in a way that you make the best out of the planned journey.