Tips, deals, and advice on traveling the continent on a budget.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The American Dream?

By Josielyn Wilton

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts…in a few moments we will be landing at…..” “Mommy, mommy, mommy…GISING (WAKE UP)! Andito na tayo sa (We are now in) America!”…Maria, tired and cold from the long journey, slowly opened her eyes… the warm, bright and elated face of her son greeted her…she smiled back and hugged him and looked out of the window… She pinched herself to make sure she is not just dreaming. “Oh, my God… andito na nga kami (We are here indeed). Thank you, Lord!”

Maria is just one of the millions of Filipinos who wishes to go to America. The U.S.A is almost every Filipino child’s, student’s, traveler’s, worker’s, adult’s dream…even for those who want to avail of U. S. medical/surgical management/treatment/rehabilitation. It is the desire of every US Citizen fiancé(e) and spouse/family and vice versa to be together in the U.S. as soon as possible. Lawful Permanent Residents also want their families to join them: spouses, children, parents, siblings. But it is not that easy. How to be able to go or be able to bring loved ones to the U.S. is multi-factorial: it depends on intentions, eligibility, capability/capacity and truthfulness. .

Different kinds of visas are available if applications are approved (based on documents submitted and validation during the interview) at the U.S. Embassy in Manila: Non-immigrant and immigrant visas (

Non-Immigrant Visas: (

1. Visitor Visa for business purposes (B-1) or for tourism/visit relatives and friends (B-2)
2. Representatives of Foreign Governments (A & G)
3. In Transit (C)
4. Crewmen (C-1/D)
5. Treaty Traders and Investors (E)
6. Students in Academic Language or Programs (F)
7. Temporary Workers and Trainees (H)
8. Journalists (I)
9. Exchange Visitors (J)
10. Fiancé(e)/Spouse of U.S. Citizens (K)
11. Intra-Company Transferees (L)
12. Students in Vocational or other Non-Academic Programs (M)
13. Temporary Workers of Extraordinary Ability (O)
14. Athletes and Entertainers (P)
15. Cultural Exchange Visitors (Q)
16. Religious Workers (R)
17. NAFTA Derivative (TD)

Immigrant Visas: (

1. Under the Family-Sponsored (IR or F) categories
2. Under the Employment-Based (E) category
3. Special Immigrant Visa category
4. Investors
5. K (Filipino spouse and fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen) and V (spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident or “green card holder”) visas are non-immigrant visas that allow beneficiaries to join their petitioners sooner. Upon entry to the U.S., they must apply to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) for change in status from non-immigrant to Lawful Permanent Resident.

As a visa applicant, the Embassy expects you to:

• Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible;
• Complete your application fully and accurately;
• Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans;
• Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe you intentions.

Once you have that visa, you are privileged. Every one must strictly adhere to the visa terms and conditions (visa validity and length of stay), especially that of the non-immigrant visa, because violations of such will have serious implications in future U.S. visit or adjustment of status.

Maria knows as soon as she comes out from the plane….she has to do what is best for her and her son…she doesn’t want to jeopardize their future. She is now just a few steps away from living her dreams. helps Filipinos discover information about traveling and immigrating to the U.S., schools for Continuing Education Programs, Specialty Clinics for further medical and surgical management/treatment/rehabilitation, Exchange Students Program and much more. Find out more at!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New York Night Life: Deliriously Delicious

By Ron Zvagelsky

Despite its reputation for being one of the most dangerous places to be in at night, New York still does not fail to seduce tourists from all over the world to celebrate and party all night in the myriad of bars and hubs to choose New York Night Lifefrom.

New York has everything any tourist would wish to see in a place. People with varied interests will find themselves able to meet halfway with the night haunts that are available for the New York traveler.

For starters, one could visit the famous McSorley's Ale House, a city landmark that is known for its quaint features and for serving its own ale. Their own beer has only two types: light or dark. While the rest of New York City evolved into cutting edge technology and neon designs, McSorley's was able to preserve the very same look it had since it opened in 1854. Historical and homey in nature, this is definitely one place you would not want to miss visiting while you're there.

If you wish to party with Latin beat, Copacabana is the way to go. This is miniature Havana in the midst of the multi-cultural and sinfully delicious New York nightlife. This is one of the best places to meet the most exciting people in New York. Salsa aficionados will find this to be a little paradise, with live bands and music to boot. If you're lucky, there are even professional dancers who will offer you their services to learn the hottest salsa moves.

Most movies that shoot on New York feature the Brooklyn Bridge and with good reason. At night, this can be one of the best places for relaxation and bonding sessions with your friends. An evening walk is most perfect, especially if you have your trusty digital camera to capture those precious moments.

If you are not too claustrophobic and intend to maximize your adventure in New York, Cafe Wha is also one nightspot you may want to visit. Here is where various types of people and music go together. The atmosphere is friendly, and it is impossible for you not to meet new and interesting people when you go there. Best of all, you could come as you are because there is no dress code to keep you from dancing there all night.

Ron Zvagelsky has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. Use PlanJam to find fun things to do and other date ideas.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Looking For The Best Honeymoon Locations?

By Vernon Wells

People are always asking me which are the best honeymoon locations as if I could narrow it down to a list of the top 10. just because I run several vacations websites, everyone assumes that I will know what fits their taste the best. The fact is that there are romantic destinations all over the world. Almost every country on earth has some of the best honeymoon vacation spots somewhere. It is simply a matter of taste.

For example, if you are a fan of luxury, the best honeymoon locations are the ones with the best hotels. There are bed and breakfasts, five-star hotel packages, cruise ships – the list goes on and on. Some people even think that the best honeymoon location is a luxury spa. A lot of the time, when my clients are looking for luxury, I simply recommend a hot spring. Many of these places will pamper you and spoil your rotten. They will provide massages, free gourmet meals each day, and the opportunity to sit around and soak up the mineral water for hours and hours. Some of them even have classes in yoga on the premises.

Of course, the best honeymoon locations for the adventurous sort are quite different. Do you wants to climb a mountain? Do you want to sail on the ocean? If you plan it out right, you might even be able to take a trip to the Arctic. I do not understand this mindset, but I certainly do cater to it. For the adventurous, athletic, young couple, the best honeymoon locations are places far outside the comforts of the modern world. More and more people take their honeymoons in places where survival is by no means certain. I guess it just goes to show you, different people have different tastes.

By far the most common choices for the best honeymoon locations are the romantic cities of the world. People want to take their honeymoons in Paris, in Rome, or on the Spanish Riviera. These cities are all among the best honeymoon destinations. They offer everything. They have luxury accommodations, great sightseeing, the opportunity to experience a foreign culture, and a touch of adventure. I think all around, they are the best honeymoon locations that there are. Most people do not get to take trips around the world very often, so when they do do they want to do it right. Traveling around Europe is just the thing to start a marriage off on the right foot.

Vernon Wells runs his own online travel business as well as running several shopping based websites. Visit his website which is full of Honeymoon Vacations ideas.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Vacation of a Lifetime – Wish It Never Ended!

By Steve Madigan

Have you ever taken a vacation and had the time of your life?

If you have not, you still can take a magnificent vacation that is beyond your imagination. I have been lucky enough to take one of these vacations and I can tell you that it is a shocking experience.

I took a vacation to San Diego, California, for the Junior World Golf Championship. At that time I had never been to California but I had the feeling that I would have the time of my life. My parents would go with me to watch me when the championship was being played.

The day before the tournament, there was a parade of flags for all the contestants of the tournament. There were young men and women from everywhere in the world. As we would walk, the announcer would tell the audience where we were from. I met a lot of young adults from all over the world and I felt a level of comfort with them beyond belief. I was even able to meet some of their parents and I introduced them to my parents as well.

From that point on, I had no tension in my body whatsoever. I felt so relaxed, as if I was in a dream.

I happened to find myself in the top 10 as the second round came to a close on Tuesday. As the days of the tournament went on, my parents and I would get calls from my relatives who were keeping track of me online telling me that they were so proud of me.

That warmed me up inside my body to know that people do care about what I do in life. I ended up finishing in a tie for seventh out of 186 young men from all around the world. My parents would not be quiet of how proud of me they were (which not a bad thing) but we came together on an emotional level that I never experienced before.

I was hoping that this vacation would never end and I could always feel this way.

This was my dream vacation and I could not think of a better way to have it.

Vacation Ideas

I am a high school senior, and will be attending NMSU in the fall of 2007. I have co-authored an e-book with my dad “Putt Lights Out”. This is the first article that I have written for my site. I have traveled all over the USA each year in the summer for golf, and really enjoy that.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Tips To Find the Ideal Hotel in New York

By Vicky Seale

You’ve finally got the vacation you deserve after slaving on in your day job for half a decade. You saw fit to reward yourself with a trip to the Big Apple; New York, New York, here you come…you’ve got the brochures ready, the traveling checks are in your hand bag and you’re wearing your best Gucci shades to keep you from the harsh glare of the sun. But haven’t you forgotten something? Like..maybe knowing what New York hotel you’re going to stay?

Touring New York would no doubt be something akin to paradise with all of the tourist spots it can boast of but no doubt at first glance, New York prices would make your eyebrows raise and possibly, gulp at the exorbitance of it. But remember, everything comes with a price and rent or living space is usually the hardest to tackle when it comes to New York. When choosing a hotel to stay in New York then, it’s imperative that you ask yourself the following questions so you can determine what place is ideal.

1.) What part of New York do you plan to stay in? New York can divided into several districts and these districts usually determine the range of hotel fees you’re going to encounter. Do you want your hotel to be situated in Manhattan, where most New York attractions can be found? If you want, however, to stay in a funky upbeat district then the hotels in Soho and Greenwich and the likes are probably what you’re looking for.

2.) How much can you afford? Now that we’ve got a specific location in mind, the next step to take is to count our available dollars. Hotels in New York range from the exorbitant to the wonderfully cheap. Naturally, the features are somewhat dependent on the price.

3.) Who are you with? If you’re bringing kids, then not all hotels in New York can of course, open their doors to welcome you. With children in tow, we can suggest hotels like the Doubletree Guest Suites and the Hilton Time Square, hotels that are both famous for reliable, warm and efficient service. And then there are the pets. If you’re the type to bring around your Dalmatian or Siamese with you wherever you go then the lists of prospective hotels in New York that you can stay on would narrow further. For travelers accompanied by their furry friends, try checking out hotels like 70 Park Avenue Hotel and Carlyle Hotel, which even offers dog-walking services just in case you find yourself busy touring New York City.

4.) What features / services do you need? If you’re on some sort of business trip, then definitely you’d prefer a hotel with Internet access. If you’re planning to host some sort of gathering then you’ll also be interested to check out hotel facilities and see what best suits the event you have in mind. Also, not all hotels in New York come with Olympic sized pools, Grade A spas and fitness centers so you must take all these things in consideration as you try hit upon the best place to stay in New York.

If and when you do find a hotel to stay in New York then we will leave you with just one more tip: be wary of pickpockets, have fun and don’t forget to take a picture of the Empire State Building!

Read more at my New York Site

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Things That Amaze Me

By Charley Hwang

To watch a Hindu devotee carry a ‘kavadi’ is something that amazes me. It is incredible how he can walk around without any apparent harm while his body is skewered with dozen of needles and his cheeks pierced completely through by an iron rod six feet long. What manner of magic or physical phenomenon is this? Modern science and medicine certainly cannot explain this, but that which defines explanation happens before my eyes. I am amazed.

Perhaps modern science and medicine just turn a blind eye to the whole thing and pretend it does not happen, or say it is sheer trickery. I do not know, but I am certainly amazed.

Another thing that amazes me is the night sky. On a clear, moonless night, the night sky is something else to behold. Sparkling stars by the millions fill the black sky above. How in heaven did these stars get to be there? What are they made of and would it not be wonderful if I could travel among them? These are all statements of my wonder with the magnificent universe. Actually, many modern people do not even get a glimpse at the great wonder outside their house at night. They are too busy watching television or doing something else. I never miss a chance to gaze at the natural wonder and feel the amazement within me.

The next thing in my list of amazing things must be the beauty of nature that is around me. How beautiful the birds are that sing outside my window every morning. How warm the sunlight is when it hits my face as I step outside the house. How cool and soothing the rain that falls to make the plants grow and for us to drink. These are amazing things to me. I am not sure how amazing they are to the average person, but as far as I am concerned, their wonders never cease.

The last but not least amazing thing I shall describe here is the human body. I have a human body and it does amazing things. I once tried to balance a doll on its feet and I could not succeed. It suddenly dawned on me at that instant how incredibly sophisticated my body was. I had no trouble standing. In fact, I have no trouble walking, running, jumping and doing all those physical things that I do everyday and pay not even a second thought to. I am amazed by the abilities of my body and the abilities of the other bodies that I see around me. They are fantastic machines.

So it would appear that amazing things are all around us, are us. The fact that we have life and can perceive the things of existence with such clarity is amazing. It is amazing that I am alive at all on this glorious planet which unfortunately is getting into a bad shape because of people who are not amazed by it, who are polluting it and killing it. Ah well, it is not for me to judge them. Perhaps one day, they will see their won amazement with life and desist from destroying our amazing earth.

Fear of Flying Questions

By Paul Tizzard

Anyone with a fear of flying will dread going to airports. There are some practical things that you can do to help prepare yourself for this.

These are just a few tips to get you going. At the end of the article are some other ideas to help your fear of flying.

1. Get everything ready well before hand. Do not leave anything to the last minute. Check passport dates are in date. Let your airline Special Assistance department know that you are a nervous passenger so they can tell the crew onboard.

2. Get to the airport really really early as Security is so much tougher now. I would even suggest staying at a hotel the day before so you are nearby and don't have to rush to the airport. When you get to the airport, you can choose whether to join the shouting, rushing frustrated family who don't know where they are going or take your time.

By the way, someone once told me that worked for the British Airport Authorities that all their research into passenger behaviour proved that people don't or can't read airport signs. Passengers become sensory overloaded with all the neon suspended signs everywhere so they blank them out. In a state of panic, this becomes even worse. Like I say, you can join the mad masses or get their early, learn the layout, get a coffee and relax into the environment.

3. Wear comfortable clothes. Airports and aircraft are multi temperature zones. Where what can easily be added to or removed. Isn't a shame that shell suits went out of fashion? Sorry UK joke.

4. Drink water and lots of it. Air conditioned environments drain you of moisture. When you are in the air, this increases the effects of alcohol by two or three times. The crew are told to drink two litres of water on a flight to counter this.

5. When onboard, move your legs around. Get up and walk around during the flight. When you are not moving around, fasten your seat belt. In Turbulence the aircraft is not bothered by it and you will be safe if you are strapped in.

6. Look out of the window so that you can keep your sense of perspective. Closing your eyes and clenching strips you of some of your primary human senses that help with balance.

Hope that helps you?

Other things that people we have helped with their fear of flying or claustrophobia is to work on the mental side too. For instance, there are many approaches out there that can help you.

For example, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy really helps with the thinking side of fear. A lot of people with fear of flying or other phobias often have unhelpful thinking patterns. Cogntive approaches give you some help and things to think about whilst you are queuing.

Other approaches that work for nervous passengers are Relaxation techniques so that you can practice visualising good things happening instead of disaster!!! We use this on our courses plus another technique which I am about to mention which is NLP - Neuro Linguistic Programming.

This is a technique to help people to deal with the unhelpful thought patterns they are using.

Another technique I have come across which people have found very useful is TFT - Thought Field Therapy.

Good luck!

Paul Tizzard is Co-Director of Virgin's Fear Of Flying Programme. This has been running with a success rate of 98% since November 1997. For the top ten questions our nervous flyers ask, go to

Monday, January 15, 2007

Don't Be An Ugly American

By Burton Jones

Given our relative isolation geographically, it is fairly amazing that so many American travel abroad. Unfortunately, this brings us to the issue of the Ugly American.

Don’t Be An Ugly American

Never heard of the Ugly American? It is a term used by locals in other countries for many American tourists. It refers to the fact that we have a tendency to whine. This usually occurs when something is different from what we are used to.

Being an Ugly American is not a good thing. First, it is incredibly rude, which you should keep in mind since we don’t exactly have the best reputation at the moment around the world. Second, complaining about this and that is not going to make things better. Instead, it is more likely to result in more problems and worse treatment. Nobody likes to deal with a complainer, so don’t expect to make any friends.

When traveling abroad, you need to use your common sense. Things are going to be different. Different countries have different cultures, standards and ways of doing things. If you aren’t comfortable with this concept, maybe you should think twice about going somewhere. If the cliché “when in Rome…” sounds horrifying to you, a trip abroad may not be your cup of tea.

So, what are some of the common Ugly American situations that come up? The first is the food. Every culture has different ideas regarding what is tasty and what is not. In France, you can order steak tartare, which is rare steak. In Italy, you will probably be stunned to find out real Italian pizzas are nothing like the Americanized version. This doesn’t make them “wrong.” They came up with the idea, not us. If you get over whelmed by food issues, you can usually find an American fast food joint in just about every city. McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken are the most common.

Culturally, you are also going to run into some things that will surprise you. Many countries have more relaxed views on everything from drinking to prostitution to marijuana and so on. You may disagree with their standards, but you should respect them. After all, you are in their country!

Once you decide to go abroad, keep in mind that you will be experiencing new and interesting things. Assume everything will be different from what you are used to. By taking this approach, you will have a good time, become friends with the locals and avoid being an Ugly American.

Burton Jones is with - your online travel information source.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

An Alaskan Trip to See Animals

By Michael Russell

If you are planning a trip to Alaska, you can expect to see plenty of animals once you get there. They are everywhere, but if you want to increase your chances of seeing one, go to any river or stream. Moose visit these areas to get a drink of water during the day, so you will probably see a few there. The best chance to see moose is at around 5:00 am near a stream, if you go there during this time, you are guaranteed to see one. Besides moose, you will also find other animals such as a foxes, which may be across the street, a black bear catching fish and even reindeer. Some reindeer and moose stand near busy intersections in Alaska, so you cannot miss a chance to see an animal during your trip. Be sure to bring some insect spray, because you will not see the mosquitoes, but you will feel them.

If you would like a chance to see as many animals as possible, you can visit the Alaska zoo. You will get to see many types of animals including the ones that are currently in the wild. After you have seen the zoo, you can either use your own car to see more animals or take a tour bus. If you take your own car, you should visit Montana Creek and Little Sue River because during salmon season, you will get a chance to spot some black bears. You should be very careful when you see a bear because bears are dangerous animals and you should approach them with care. A tour bus is completely different and it has some advantages and disadvantages. The tour bus guide will tell you a bit more about the animals that show up during the ride, so it is a great way to relax and learn. The problem is that sometimes a loud tour bus with 50 or more tourists can scare the animals and you will not get a chance to see them up close.

You should consider the shuttle bus tour that goes to Fish Creek or Wonder Lake because this trip is longer and the cost is cheaper. This bus goes 85 miles instead of 53 and the cost is reasonable at $30.00 for each person. It is going to be a long ride, so be sure to bring something to eat like a few sandwiches or something that will stay fresh. You will see many animals from a distance and without a pair of binoculars, you will not get a good view. The most important thing you need to bring during this bus ride is a camera, a digital camera in particular for a few reasons. Firstly, you will not run out of film so you can take as many photos as you want and delete the others. Secondly, you can see your photo in the viewer after you take it, so you will know what the actual print will look like. Finally, you do not have to wait for your photos to return to you after developing.

Alaska has plenty animals everywhere, so keeping watching in the wild and you will find one. They can be found in the park, near the river and stream and during a tour bus trip.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Alaska

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Deals on business-class flights to Europe


If you'd like to travel to Europe in the front of the plane, we have money-saving opportunities for you.

British Airways is offering a business-class sale to London. Sample round-trip fares include $2,252 from New York, $2,432 from Houston and $3,168 from Dallas. (Taxes and fees are additional.) Tickets must be purchased by Feb. 1 for departure July 1 through Sept. 2. Fares are $30 higher each way for travel Thursday through Sunday.

Other carriers are matching fares, and American is offering 50-day advance business-class fares that don't have a seasonal restriction. American's fares include London plus other European destinations. Sample round-trip fares from Dallas include $3,038 to London, $2,478 to Frankfurt and $2,648 to Amsterdam. Add taxes and fees.

We don't see as many business-class sales out of Dallas as we do from other cities, such as New York, Chicago or Houston. Look into buying a separate domestic round trip to one of these alternate cities and flying to Europe from there. While American's fares from Houston to many European cities were similar to those from Dallas, the flights to London were $2,308 round trip. A savings of more than $700 per ticket might make it well worth the drive or a quick flight from Dallas to Houston for either the American or British Airways offer.

These fares still aren't that cheap when you compare them to what you'd pay in coach. Since summer fares to Europe are notoriously high, you'd get the most for your buck for travel then. They're a great buy compared to the no-advance business-class fares, which we priced at $8,000 round trip from Dallas to London.

Another option for saving money on business-class flights is to buy a coach-class ticket and upgrade using miles. Some deeply discounted tickets aren't eligible for these upgrades; be sure to verify before buying tickets.

Some carriers charge a "co-pay" fee when you use miles to upgrade discounted coach-class tickets. If you redeem AAdvantage miles, one-way upgrades to Europe cost 25,000 miles, plus a $250 fee. On March 1, the fee increases to $300 one-way for flights to Europe. Book upgrades by Feb. 28 to save $100.

Another option for redeeming miles is to use them for a domestic coach-class ticket to a cheaper gateway city such as New York and to buy a round-trip business ticket for your transatlantic travel from New York.

We're seeing all-premium-class carriers popping up for travel from New York to London. Eos, MAXjet and Silverjet began flights in late December. L'Avion, formerly Elysair, began business service from Newark to Paris, and MAXjet also has flights from Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., to London. These airlines have been offering promotional fares, so they're definitely worth a look. MAXjet and L'Avion, for example, recently offered intro fares from $999 round trip.

If you buy an Eos round trip from New York to London by Jan. 21, you can earn 100 JetBlue TrueBlue points, which are enough for a free domestic round-trip ticket.

Contact: American, 1-800-433-7300,; British Airways, 1-800-247-9297, www; Eos, 1-800-458-1277,; L'Avion, 1-866-692-6759, www; MAXjet:, 1-888-435-9629,; and Silverjet, 1-877-359-7458,

Tom Parsons is publisher of Contact him at

Monday, January 01, 2007

American Express forecasts higher travel costs for 2007

Frankfurt ­ The credit card company American Express has estimated travelling for business people will becoming more expensive in the coming 12 months.

Costs will increase by between 3 and 7 per cent, according to the company's Global Business Travel Forecast. Hotel charges in most parts of the world are on course to increase by up to 8 per cent, according American Express' calculations.

In India, hotel charges are expected to grow by as much as 25 per cent due to strong demand that is out-stripping supply.

Hotel costs in Germany will likely rise by between 3 and 6 per cent while across Europe, the increase is expected to be between 2 and 3 per cent.

American Express puts the faster growth in charges in Germany down to the introduction of a higher rate of value-added tax due in January.