Thursday, September 27, 2007

New air routes to China

China has become one of the hottest travel destinations for Americans. The upcoming Olympic games in the country have only fueled the demand. Travel to China just got easier as several U.S. airlines received approval to fly new routes to the country.

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines received the go-ahead from U.S. regulators to begin new routes to China . By the end of March 2008, Delta will fly nonstop between Atlanta and Shanghai , and United will fly nonstop between San Francisco and Beijing . Meanwhile, four other carriers have received tentative approval for new China service in 2009, pending further regulatory reviews and public comment periods: American (Chicago/O’Hare-Beijing), Continental (Newark-Shanghai), Northwest (Detroit-Shanghai), and US Airways (Philadelphia-Beijing).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More Portugal preparations

Thank goodness for Google maps. I spent a few minutes online today and was able to locate the airport in Lisbon and its proximity to the train station (about 2 miles). Once we land in Lisbon, we need to get to the train station for a 3-hour ride to Porto where we'll spend our first three nights.

In Porto, the station is only about 1 mile from our hotel - either very walkable or a short, inexpensive taxi ride.

When we get back to Lisbon, our hotel is about 8 miles from the train station - and it's right on the river, should be pretty. It's also only about 8 miles from the airport - good to know for the morning of our departure back to the States.

Portugal preparations

I have to admit I started a travel business because I love to travel and I love to research the way to make a trip the best it can be. Of course, I also have to admit that it's a bit more fun when you're planning a trip for yourself - but that also serves as a good reminder of all of the little details that need to be taken care of for any vacation.

My wife and I are heading to Portugal in a few weeks, so the planning and preparing has started in earnest. The airline tickets were booked a few weeks ago - one for cash and one with frequent flyer miles. (BTW, Continental's website is very easy to use to check on the availability of award seats). The hotel has also been arranged.

Now onto some of the other details. First, I called my bank and credit card providers to let them know that we'll be out of the country. This way they won't be surprised when we try to charge something over there and decline it. Second, I called to inquire about the fees they charge for foreign transactions. Our bank charges $1.50 per transaction at ATM machines, so we'll plan to take some cash with us to exchange when we get there, and then we'll try to use our ATM card for more cash only once if necessary.

I also called our credit card companies. One of them charges a 3% conversion fee while the other only charges 2%. Guess which one we'll be using.