How Long Does it Take to Get a Passport to Go on Vacation?

Because of new passport laws, many new people are applying for passports. One of the most common questions people ask is, ‘how long to get a passport?’ This is a complicated question and there is no definite answer. The following article will try to explain the passport process and inform a new applicant what they can expect in terms of a passport time frame.

First, it is important to note that passport applications have skyrocketed in recent years. This is not due to a spike in international travel, but is instead due to a new law that requires passports for land travel to border countries. The law, which went into effect on June 1st, 2009, made passports mandatory for travel between the U.S. and Mexico or Canada. Word of this law caused a spike in passport applications as early as 2006.

The applicant is responsible for the first step of the application process. The applicant must obtain passport photos, a government issued ID card, and a proof of citizenship. The faster this part of the application is completed, the faster the whole process will go.

When everything is together, it is time to head to a pass port office to start the application process. In the United States, local post offices are the primary sources to get a passport application. While not every post office processes passport applications, many of them have this ability. It is best to check the USPS website for exact locations that offer this service.

Once the application has been approved by the application center, it is sent off for processing. This is the longest part of the application process. This is also the part of the application that worries most new applicants, as this part of the application has been known to take a great deal of time.

Today, the whole process is more efficient and worry free. Anyone that wants to go through normal channels can expect to get their passport in about two months. If that seems excessive, compare it to waiting over six months before these new laws went into effect. The entire process is much more efficient now.

The State Department also offers a passport-expedited service. Currently the waiting period for expedited passports is two to three weeks. The cost of an expedited passport is $60 plus the cost of overnight delivery. The State Department also offers various types of super-rush passports for dire emergencies. Obviously, it is best to try to plan ahead to avoid this kind of hassle. Applicants can also save significant money by obtaining the passport through standard channels.



How To Get Paid To Go On Vacation

Recently I became aware of a way to get extra cash back every time I book a hotel, rent a car or shop at my favorite online sites. Getting cash rewards is nothing new, many credit card companies give about 1.5% back just for using the card. However there are shopping portals which offer significantly more cash in your pocket, and you don’t have to change your buying habits.

There are over 4000 merchants in these portal sites, including industry stalwarts like Priceline, Hertz, Walmart, Macy’s and even Apple. Merchants pay fees to the cash back portal sites to drive business to their stores. The sites then share that cash with its members. It’s no different from the principal of store coupons. Think about cash back portals as shopping with a coupon even when no coupon is available.

I recently booked a hotel for my  vacation  like I always do using hotels.com, and am getting 11.8% cash back on my total price. The important thing to remember here, is that I did not have to change any of my booking habits. I booked the hotel I was going to anyway, at the website I was going to use anyway, for the price I was going to pay anyway. Now for the first time and subsequently every time here after I’m getting spending cash back.

To be successful, cash back companies must effectively address several hurdles. Many of these business can fail for one of three reasons:

1. Not enough cash back

2. Have to use specific fly by night companies.

3. Users forget to log in to their membership account.

If the business model is sound, the portal can give back more than the standard cash back vs. many credit card companies. As I mentioned before I’ve received 11.8% cash back for hotel bookings.

You must not be forced to use little known companies like “Buffalo Bob’s Corner Travel Agency”. The portal’s network should include the huge corporations you are already using like Priceline, Expedia and HotWire in addition to department stores at like Macy’s and Target. Customers like to stick with their favorite sites and don’t want to change their purchasing habits.

A really cool feature to implement is a browser tool integrated with Google searches. Let’s say you forget to sign into your account. If you go to Google and search “Hotels in Cancun” or “Samsung TVs”. The merchants that are a part of the cash back portal’s network like Priceline and Best Buy display the discounts from these vendors in the search results page. You can quickly scan the page and see the best deals.

Alternatively, let’s say you are already regularly booking at Priceline.com or Expedia. When you go directly to the booking website, a panel should appear at the top of the page saying “As a member, you are entitled up to 11% cash back”. This brilliant browser tool concept is what can really separate a winner from the rest. You may forget about your membership, but your membership doesn’t forget you.

As an aside note, I recently needed to purchase accessories for my Apple laptop. I ordered the items online, then went down to the Apple store to pick them up. Of course I could have had my items delivered. Once again, I bought the items I would have bought anyway, at the store I was going to anyway for the price I was going to pay anyway. Except that I am getting 7% cash back on my purchases. If you are an Apple user, you know that Apple does not give discounts to individuals or has Christmas specials. As a cash back member however, I can get a discount each time I shop the Apple store. Imagine how significant that 7% will be when I upgrade to a new $2500 MacBook pro.

If you have any existing coupons or are getting a special  vacation  package when booking online, you still get cash back in addition to what the merchant offers. That’s because the transaction is independent of your booking. You book your hotel or  vacation  package like you always do and pay the price minus the discounts just like you are already doing. Then the shopping portal will pay you additional cash back on the balance.

You would not get the additional discount off right away. As long as you do not cancel your trip, you will be pleasantly surprised to see cash in your account after enjoying your  vacation . This may take the form of a prepaid card on which they will deposit your cash, or set up direct deposit to your bank account.



Find Out Where to Go for Your Vacation

Are you looking to the upcoming year and planning out your  vacations ? There are a lot of places you could go and a lot of things you could do in the next year, but staying in a Bali villa should be at the top of your list. Here are just five reasons to add Bali to your list of  vacation  destinations in the upcoming year:

1. Stunning Views

The views will always top the list when you’re discussing reasons to stay in a Bali villa. You can see some of the most amazing beach and sunset scenes while in Bali and you will have the opportunity to take spectacular pictures to bring the beauty of the island home with you.

If your idea of a great  vacation  includes photography or just relaxing and taking in breathtaking landscape and scenery, then Bali should be number one on your list of  vacation  destinations for the upcoming year.

2. Serene Relaxation

If you get nothing else from a  vacation , you should get complete relaxation in surroundings that are conducive to deep thought or just spacing out and not thinking at all. You can get that in a Bali villa, especially if it is situated directly on the beach. There are many villas located in extremely quiet environments where you can enjoy the natural surroundings and the warm climate and completely relax.

3. Exciting Activities

While lying on the beach is completely relaxing, there is a lot to do in Bali for those who find exciting activities to be relaxing. You can get out in the sand for sports or hit the water for snorkeling and other wet and wild adventures. There are even lagoons and other unique landscape features to get out there and enjoy.

You can be extremely active in Bali one day and extremely lazy and relaxed the next. Whatever your idea of a great  vacation  may be, you can find it in Bali.

4. Delicious Cuisine

Are you a complete foodie? Food lovers are particularly welcome in Bali because they appreciate the creativity and culture that goes into the unique cuisine of the island. You will taste things that you never imagined tasting before but will also find your all time favorites here and there.

When staying in a Bali villa you may be given access to a butler or assistant to help you order food. Some butlers will even bring the food to you, so you can dine in while exploring the different flavors of the island. Life doesn’t get any better than that for a genuine food lover!

5. Sandy Shores & Foamy Waves

Finally, you have to keep the many beaches of Bali in mind when you consider adding a Bali villa onto your  vacation  list for the next year. Not all villas will sit directly on the beach, but those that do are among the most in-demand villas ever. The beaches are spectacular for viewing at all times of the day and night plus they offer all the fun of building sand castles and running in the waves which is expected from beachfront accommodation.

Open your door and step out onto the whitest, sandiest beaches you have ever seen. Get in the foamy green water and feel the waves splash around you. Then go back to your Bali villa and relax in complete comfort with the best food in the world.



Where to Go on Vacation?

There is no better way to unwind than  going  for a  vacation  to a splendid venue. Well, the dilemma faced by most people in this respect involves deciding upon the most appropriate  vacation  spot that not only serves the aspects of enjoyment and relaxation but also fits the budget. There is absolutely no dearth of fabulous places in the world but where to go could depend upon a large number of aspects.

Firstly, one needs to decide whether the  vacation  is to be restricted within the country or would one want to cross political boundaries. Once this aspect is settled, thereafter look for a place that suits your budget and caters to your specific needs which could signify recreation, romance or relaxation. Lastly, remember to plan your holiday in the months when the weather of the place selected is most conducive for holidaying.

Greece is one  vacation  venue that could suit the requirements of most people, be it indulging in exciting activities like swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving or just taking a romantic walk beside the crystalline clear beaches. If you are the kind who prefers activities such as horse riding, mountain biking, surfing, and hiking; then Ireland may be the ideal  vacation  spot for you.

Another place that could gel with adults and children alike is Tuscany in Italy. A visit to this place could also help you explore certain other areas of Italy like Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Livorno and Arezzo. For nature lovers, holidaying in Fiji Island may be promising while for those with creative instincts Barcelona in Spain may be a better option. Whether you like to be alone or with loved ones, one of the best spots for a  vacation  in Europe is London.

Plan a trip during the first 3 months of the year to make the most of your stay. Some of the other exciting options for holidaying include Peru, Alaska, and India.



Where To Go On A Colombia Vacation: 3 Places You Must Not Miss

Whether you’re looking to visit a bustling city full of action or relaxing on the beach is more your speed, a  vacation  to Colombia can be an experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life. If you’re planning on an upcoming trip to this South American country, or you’re just dreaming of visiting, here are some places that should be on your itinerary.

Don’t Miss The Beaches Of Cartagena

Cartagena, Colombia is located on the northern coast and here visitors can experience the Caribbean Sea. Some of the most popular beaches are just a few meters outside the Walled City, while others require a bus or even a boat ride to access. While many people come here to visit the beaches, that’s not the only thing there is to do in Cartagena. History buffs enjoy Palacio de la Inquisicion, a museum that’s dedicated to the Spanish Inquisition and the role that the people of Cartagena played. The museum isn’t for the faint of heart though — here you’ll find ancient torture devices. Take care to plan your trip because the museum isn’t opened on Mondays. The cost is $11.000 Colombian Pesos for adults and $8.000 for children (roughly $6 and $4.50 accordingly).

Visit Bogota, The Largest City In Colombia

Bogota is the capital city of Colombia and is formed by an extensive network of districts. Although the city received negative press in the 1980s and 1990s for being unsafe for tourists, the truth is that the city is safe and tourism has rebounded in the early 2000s. If you’re looking to experience some of the city’s finest food, take a visit to the G Zone, the T Zone and La Macarena. Here, you’ll find local cuisine, as well as restaurants that feature international foods. Locals are extremely helpful so don’t be afraid to ask around for some local favorites that you might not otherwise find.

Aside from the food, Bogota has a number of other things to do for travelers. Sports, especially soccer, are popular here and there are three professional teams that play within the city. It’s possible to go to the stadium and buy a ticket right before the match, but realize that seating choices could be limited.

Explore National Parks

If you’re looking to experience the natural side of the country, consider a visit to one of its 58 national parks. If you’re visiting one of the national parks, it’s a good idea to hire a guide or go with a group. While it’s safe for tourists, these areas are protected against encroaching development. Couple that with the large size of some of the parks and you could find yourself lost within the park very easily.

Colombia is one of South America’s hidden treasures. If you’re interested in experiencing a once in a lifetime  vacation , consider a trip to Colombia. With so many different things to do and places to see, you can ensure that you’re taking a  vacation  unlike any other.



Vacations Rentals Deals – Pros, Cons, and Budgeting

Vacations, rentals, deals are all important things when it comes to going on holiday. And let’s face it – we all want to go on vacation, but we don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. After all, we all know that there is a certain point where we need to do both – save and relax. So how do you pull off both?

Vacations rentals deals aren’t nearly as hard to come by as you might think. And let’s face it–they have LOADS of pros!

Do you really like getting up early to eat breakfast on your vacation? Most people don’t – but hey, free breakfast! However, when it comes to renting your own house for a week or two while on vacation, not only do you spend less than you would if you were at a hotel, buying every meal at the nearest restaurants, but you also get a chance to cook your homemade favorites-maybe there are a few dishes that you haven’t cooked in a while that you’re all craving!

And, seriously? Would you rather go halfsies on a hotel room, where there is no privacy at all, or would you rather have a big house to share instead? The answer is quite obvious!

Last but not least, do you really want to get stuck next to a bunch of crazy kids who are intent on staying up until four am, without any sign of stopping, and without any idea of decency and consideration?

But there are a few cons.

I mean, maybe you like being woken up rather early. Or perhaps the continental breakfast is what really makes your vacation.

Or maybe the price is a bit much. However, whether you realize it or not, there’s a way to get around this one particular problem.

You see, if you budget and play your cards right, you can do one of two things-the first being getting a discount. The second being saved up before you start to look.

When you budget, you need to first have an idea how much you can spend and how long you plan to save. Let’s face it-the more that you save, the better that your chances are of getting a hold of really, really nice vacations rentals deals!

Start by finding out about discounts. If you can get any money off at all-even if it’s just because you booked it a year in advance, GO FOR IT! Going on vacations off-season could also be an opportunity for you to get discounts!

Then, start saving. Sure, you have a deal, but you still need money for everything else. Make sure that you have everything in order and estimated-and start to put up your disposable income. This means that any extra that you do absolutely nothing with needs to go straight into that account.

Then, look at where you can cut corners just a wee bit. You may not realize it, but the more that you save on little things, the easier it is to get the big things! Keep on like this until you have reached your goal. Pull a few hours of overtime if you can. Remember-vacations rentals deals can help you, but you have to mainly help yourself!



How To Go On Vacation On A Budget

In a bad economy, sometimes things like  vacations  have to be cut back on. You have the choice of taking less  vacations  or trying to save some money while still  going  on them. If you have children at home that still want to experience things like  vacation , you just need to be creative and find a few ways of saving money. In this article we will discuss what you can do to achieve this goal.

If you are traveling by car, you might normally choose to sleep in a hotel along the way. This can get quite expensive especially if you are having a long trip with multiple stops. Even staying at medium priced hotels for 2 or 3 nights can easily set you back several hundred dollars. One way of making this extremely cheap is to camp along the way. You can stop at a local camp ground and get a highly discounted rate for the night. Make an evening of it camping out and enjoying nature before packing back up in the morning and hitting the road. Doing this a few nights on your  vacation  will save significant amount of money and give your whole family a unique experience.

Pack food in advance and use a cooler in your car while traveling instead of going to restaurants. Restaurants tend to be fairly expensive compared to the food that you would get at a grocery store. Buy food and store it in the cooler making simple meals like sandwiches while you are traveling. You will save quite a bit of money this way.

Try to find good deals. When in a bad economy there is also opportunity. You can find good deals at locations that are lowering prices to try to attract customers. Many tourist attractions are offering package deals. Do your research so that you can find the deals that will save you money.

Go at off-peak times. This is cheaper than going when it is busy. If your schedule is flexible, do what you can  to   go  on  vacation  when everyone else is not. You will save more money this way and still enjoy a great  vacation .

Plan in advance when booking your flights and hotel rooms. Many times have a few months in advance will make things much cheaper for you. Go online and find out what savings you could make by booking well in advance.



Where to Go on Vacation With Your Pet?

People with pets may sometimes have a tough time finding the right vacationing spot. Some hotels have strict rules thus pets are only allowed to stay in kennels or in special carriers. So what are we to do with our four legged friends when we go on holiday?

Before you start planning anything you should decide whether you want to take your pet with you when you go on holiday. When choosing a place where to spend your vacation, make sure that the hotel that you are going to stay in allows pets. So in order to avoid any problems, the hotels have built these special kennels where you can leave your dog. However, you might find it hard to visit your dog only between some hours.

So why not plan a holiday in the countryside for instance? There are some great resorts that actually rent chalets all during the summer season so surely you will find something that will fit your needs. Spending your summer holiday in the countryside can prove to be a great choice as you will be together with your family, friends and pets.

More and more people are attracted to go to the countryside because they have realized it is one of the best ways to spend the torrid summer season. There are various activities that can raise your interest when you are in the countryside like: going horseback riding, hiking, bird watching or even something more adventurous like rappel or bungee jumping.

The summer vacation is the time of the year when we should focus on relaxing and enjoying ourselves. This is why it is very important to make the best of the situation. Spending some quality time with your friends and family may be the best thing for your summer vacation. So plan carefully and enjoy your holiday.



London – An Ideal Place to Go on Vacations

Blessed with fascinating natural beauty, a rich history and world-famous architectural monuments, the city of London welcomes numerous tourists all round the year. Although staying in the city can turn out to be a costly affair for the travellers but with the availability of plenty of budget hotels they can be assured of a comfortable yet affordable staying experience in the city.

Planning a trip to the amazing city of London? If yes, then you are surely going to regale the magic of this iconic and royal city and be enthralled with a lifetime experience. Being the capital of the UK and England, this city is located on the River Thames. With its prominence in the fields of art, dance, entertainment, music, media, technology, research, healthcare and tourism and transportation, London is renowned as a leading global city.

Being one of the desirable places to go on vacations, the city of London fascinates numerous tourists every year. The city boasts of a rich historical past, ground-breaking architectural monuments, diverse culture and modern lifestyle that would surely make you go head over heels for this amazing place.

For people seeking different getaway options to take a break from their busy lifestyles, London is the perfect choice. Whether you are with your friends, family or partner, it is an ideal place to spend some quality time with your dear ones. With so much to see and do, the city offers multiple opportunities to get entertained and have a wonderful time in this fascinating city.

What really attracts visitors is the excellent combination of distinct lifestyles that add up to the vibrancy of this incredible city. You can either enjoy the sparkling night-life of the city or feel the pleasure of viewing its outstanding arts. There are plenty of options to enjoy in the city.

Along with this, you can always go out for shopping in London. Home to a plethora of shopping destinations and malls, you can get some of the best designer outfits and accessories to suit your distinct style and fashion sense. Besides shopping destinations, the city is also packed with multiple restaurants or eating outlets as well. Being a hub of big malls, local shops, vibrant markets, leisure centres and different entertaining activities, the city of London is undoubtedly a true delight for travellers.

With its world-famous cathedrals and churches, London is a city with a spiritual touch. And if you are someone with spiritual interest, the city is an ideal destination to experience the beauty of such classic and royal masterpieces from the ancient times. Southwark Cathedral, St Barotholmew the Great, and Brompton Oratory and St Paul’s Cathedral are some of the must visit cathedrals and churches in the city of London.

Apart from the spectacular architectural framework of the churches and cathedrals in the city, the city is also renowned for its stunning tourist attractions as well. Some of the popular tourist attractions include the Tower of London, London Eye, Kensington Palace, British Museum, Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussauds, London Dungeon, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. Undoubtedly, you would love visiting such unusual spots in the city.

As the influx of tourists in London remains high all round the year, the city is well equipped with various accommodation options catering to the diverse needs and requirements of the visitors. Ranging from luxurious hotels to budget hotels, there are multiple options to choose from.

If you are a budget traveller and looking for hotels near Kings College Hospital, there are many cheap hotels to serve you with their warm hospitality and comfortable accommodation services in your budget prices. All you need to do is search the websites of cheap hotels in London and compare them in terms of their facilities, types of rooms available and prices.



All Inclusive Vacations Are the Way to Go

When you are thinking about taking your next  vacation , you might really want to consider  going  to an all inclusive resort. If you do not know what an all inclusive resort is, its very simple and well worth the money. Basically, an all inclusive  vacation  is usually at a resort or on a cruise and whenever you are at the resort any of the food or drinks that you may want are already paid for by you. You pay a certain price for your  vacation  package and it usually looks pretty expensive compared to non all inclusive packages, however it does not necessarily mean that your  vacation  will be more expensive.

When you pay for an all inclusive  vacation  it allows you to know how much you have spent on food and drinks and you don’t have to bother with it for the rest of your trip. Also, going the all inclusive route could allow you to enjoy more food and drinks than you would have if you had to pay for each of your meals and drinks individually. It is a great way to relax and not have to worry about pinching your pennies while you are supposed to be relaxing. You will want to make sure to bring a little bit of tip money however, as that is the courteous thing to do when you are being served by waiters, waitresses and bartenders. But other than that and any gifts you would like to purchase or excursions you would like to take, the rest of your relaxing  vacation  is paid for.

I have been to three different all inclusive resorts, all of which have been in Mexico (Puerta Vallarta, Cozumel and Cancun). All of these  vacations  have been such a fun experience and well worth every penny that was spent. We never had to worry about finding a decent restaurant and more importantly we never had to worry about having an empty drink if you know what i mean.

One important thing to note if you are planning your  vacation , an all inclusive  vacation  not be the way  to   go  if you are looking to take a  vacation  where you are out and about doing a lot of site seeing and taking a lot of excursions. But if you are  going  on a  vacation  to settle into a resort and just relax, don’t pass up the all inclusive option, it is well worth it. Do your research and I’m sure you can find the perfect package for your next  vacation .