Figuring out what a decent price for a rental car is versus a complete rip-off is not nearly as easy to determine as one might think. Rates vary depending on company, city, and what day it is. Strangely enough, it is not unheard of to get four different quotes on how much it would cost to rent a car on four consecutive days. One of the things that kill car renters’ wallets is not doing the research to learn what the local fees and taxes on car rentals are.
In fact, local and state taxes make up an extremely high amount of the total car rental cost. In the 100 most heavily trafficked U.S. airports, the airport itself, and demanded rent was often a problem. Such add-ons averaged nearly 26 percent of the entire cost, compared with a 14 percent average for off-airport locations. In some cities, the gap between on-airport and off-airport costs is nearly unbelievable. In Dallas, for example, 61.4 percent of the total cost of renting a car at the airport came from taxes, while taxes at nearby neighborhood locations only made up 17 percent of the total. Like most taxes, these just continue to grow.
The most expensive cities in the United States to rent a car are Boston, New York, and Houston. Taxes are so high that it is an absurd idea for most people to think even about renting a vehicle. In all three cities, rates can easily almost double over what is advertised. At Houston’s Intercontinental Airport, if you rent a car for two days at $50 per day, you’d expect your bill to be about $100.
Once taxes and fees are added in, watch out, because you will owe a minimum of $171. Aside from the big three, some of the other worst rental rates from airports include Austin, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth and New Orleans. No matter what city you are in, it is often a good idea to rent from centers away from the airport. They will always be cheaper.
Taxes and fees (which are often much higher in cities that need funds for construction of convention centers or stadiums) can increase your final bill by up to 70 percent. Watch out for these cities and the taxes. While it may be unavoidable, weigh your options. Is it really worth this much to rent a car instead of using public transportation?
At the very least, find a rental center away from the airport. It might be a little inconvenient, but at least you save yourself something, which in high-tax cities, might end up being more than just a few pennies; it might be a small bundle.
Safety on the Street
Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home. Be especially cautious in (or avoid) areas where you may easily victimize. These include crowded subways, train stations, elevators, tourist sites, market places, festivals and crime-ridden neighborhoods.
Don’t use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly lit streets.
Try not to travel alone at night.
Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments.
Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.
Avoid scam artists by being wary of strangers who approach you and offer t be your guide or sell you something at bargain prices.
Beware of pickpockets. They often have an accomplice who will:
* jostle you,
* ask you for directions or the time,
* point to something spilled on your clothing,
* or distract you by creating a disturbance.
Beware of groups of vagrant children who create a distraction while picking your pocket.
Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse-snatchers.
Try to seem purposeful when you move through the city. Even if you are lost, always act as if you know where you are going. Try to ask for directions only from individuals in authority.
Learn a few phrases in the local language or have them handy in written form so that you can signal your need for police or medical help.
Make a note of emergency telephone numbers you may need: police, fire, your hotel, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Some countries have tourist police that speak multiple languages giving them the ability to speak with tourists.
If confronted, don’t fight back — give up your valuables. Nothing is worth getting hurt over.
Be aware of scam artists. They exist in every country in the world. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are many reports online of gem scam artists that may have accomplices from your home country. Don’t try to make a fast buck; you will wind up losing many, many dollars.
Do not even think of getting involved in drugs or drug trafficking. You do not want to spend the rest of your life rotting in a foreign prison. Remember, you have to follow the laws of your host country, and you may not get the luxuries that criminals back home receive.
Be smart, use common sense, and have a great vacation.
Africa is called the “Dark Continent” for its supposed mystery, but there is nothing mysterious about a destination site like this. You should consider an Africa vacation.
Africa is probably the most diverse continent on the planet, and a vacation there can hold just as much variety. No matter what you are looking for, an Africa vacation can fulfill all your trip desires.
We think of Africa first as a land of jungles and wild animals, and that is certainly true. For an Africa vacation, you may want to consider some of the amazing safari adventures, which will take you to places that most people have only dreamed about. Imagine elephants and lions in the wild; that can be part of an Africa vacation. Although primitive in its beauty and feel, being on a safari does not mean living like an “animal”. Throughout the numerous game preserves and national parks, where you will see nature at its best, are also some of the finest accommodations in the world.
On your vacation, you can stay in guest lodges that rival anything in the cosmopolitan areas for luxury and service. Most of these venues will make you feel like you are a king or queen of all you survey, with excellent amenities you would not necessarily expect on an Africa vacation.
However, the jungles and savannas of Africa is only part of the picture. In South Africa, you can find hotels and resorts that rival any in Las Vegas or other showplace resorts. How about an Africa vacation that includes top line entertainment, casino gambling, unsurpassed beaches? All these are available for both singles and families, accommodating all types of budgets.
In the north, beautiful beach resorts dot the Mediterranean coast as well as the Red Sea. Here a vacation turns into a desert odyssey, not unlike Palm Springs, California, except with miles of white sand beaches.
Africa is countless island resorts on the Indian Ocean too. An Africa vacation here could be a private bungalow at a small resort where fresh fish is caught for lunch outside the windows of your room. The waters in these areas are pristine and unspoiled, perfect for diving and sailing.
In the north west, Morocco and the Canary Islands beckon with a completely different atmosphere and style. In addition, an Africa vacation here on the Atlantic coast has a completely different environment and culture to experience. You might feel that you are in Monte Carlo or Cannes but with much less expense and a more relaxing atmosphere.
An Africa vacation can be just about what you want it to be, with a variety that you will not find anywhere else.
The majestic Rocky Mountains are a major tourist location in the western United States. Road trippers can participate in many outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking. The Rockies are home to several campgrounds, ghost towns, gold prospecting sites, and plenty of national parks for all the nature lovers. The biggest tourist attractions in the Rockies are Pike’s Peak and Royal Gorge. There are several world famous national parks in the Rockies, including Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, and Glacier.
The legendary Rocky Mountains stretch from old Mexico up through the United States and into Canada. The Rocky Mountains are over 3000 miles long, spanning parts of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming before continuing into Canada. Stories of early adventurers like Lewis & Clark exploring the Rocky Mountains are legendary.
Just about everyone will find something to enjoy on a Rocky Mountain holiday. Aside from all of the great outdoor activities, the Rockies have a quantity of other attractions as well. The Telluride Film Festival is a prestigious yearly event that attracts a quantity of the biggest stars in Hollywood to a small Colorado town. plenty of Smoky Mountain resorts offer spa treatments & other relaxing diversions.
The Rockies are a tourist attraction all year round. The summer months are warm, with the average temperature reaching 82 degrees Fahrenheit. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 7 degrees Fahrenheit. The year-round average temperature is a brisk 43 degrees, a perfect temperature for plenty of outdoor activities.
There is a plethora of lodging options in the Rocky Mountains. Travelers can camp, visit RV parks, stay in hotels or ski resorts, or lodge in distinctive cabins and chalets. Visitors on any type of budget will be able to find an affordable place to stay.
These days most of us are traveling more than our parents or grandparents did. We travel all over the world and only think of the jet lag, and not the vast distances we cover. Our world has become smaller and more reachable thanks to all the modern technology and advancements in travel. This is a good thing. Traveling helps us to understand different cultures, different people with different ways of living and different ways of work working. Most of all it allows us to connect and make lasting friendships all over the world.
But there are a few essentials you should always check before setting off.
1. Take time to find out the obvious. It may seem silly, but many people don’t bother to find out the most basic things about their destination. You should do this to avoid surprise or disappointment.
2. Check on the weather. If you live in Arizona and travel to northern Greenland, you will be in for a shock unless you know that much colder weather is normal there. This will also help you with deciding on what to pack for your trip. You don’t want to take 4 pairs of shorts when you really need jeans.
3. Medical insurance. Get it. You would be surprised to know how many people actually travel without medical traveler’s insurance. Being covered by a plan through your employer isn’t always enough. Many have a clause regarding treatment in other countries. Be sure that the medical and general insurance coverage you have is adequate for your destination.
4. All those documents. Do you have all the paperwork and documentation required for your trip? If not, get it! This includes things like passwords, access to wills and things of that nature. You never know what could happen. This also includes any documents required for traveling such as immunization records and birth certificates if that country requires it.
Don’t forget a list of personal information such as addresses, person to contact, and a list of phone numbers in case you lose your phone or something should happen to you.
5. Speaking of immunization – Are there any diseases you will need immunization against where you are going? Check and find out before getting exposed. There are some countries that won’t let you through the airport gates if you are not immunized.
6. Drivers license. If you plan on driving in the place you intend to travel to, check that you have an acceptable licence. While most countries allow for a U.S.A. license, some won’t. You may be required to get a temporary international drivers licence. Are you familiar with the local driving laws where you are going? If not, become familiar, fast.
7. Finally, the most obvious one of all: is your passport up to date? And if not, do you have enough time to renew it before you set off? If not, you may be forced to pay for rushed processing to get it updated and sent back in time. You’d be surprised, amazed even, at how many people get this one wrong.
When it comes to “getting away from it all,” many Americans are skipping the pricey trips abroad and opting to enjoy the many amazing, closer-to-home sights from the comfort of their vehicles.
If you’re planning a getaway, remember that road trips can be tough on cars, and few things turn a vacation into a nightmare quicker than breaking down in the middle of nowhere. So, before you load the car and take off, make sure that your vehicle is in tip-top condition.
A pre-trip inspection as part of an overall maintenance program can give you peace of mind and help prevent costly repairs.
Inspect and repair, if needed, the following:
- Radiator and cooling system, including water pump, fan, and thermostat
- Brakes, brake pads, and brake linings
- Battery and cables
- Belts and hoses
- Engine oil and oil filter
- Wiper blades and washer fluid
- Tire pressure and overall tire condition (including the spare).
- Most importantly, don’t leave on a long trip with your car’s “Check Engine” light on.
The Check Engine light appears when your vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) computer detects a problem. According to several state Air Pollution Control Districts, the Check Engine light is designed to limit air pollution, as well as alert drivers to a condition that can waste fuel, shorten engine life and result in potentially expensive repairs.
If the light does come on, a quick check of your vehicle’s service manual can often identify the problem and a course of action.
Those who take their car to a mechanic often find that technicians use a diagnostic tool to scan their vehicle and access trouble codes at a cost of $55 to $100.
A new automotive tool, with a Web site, lets consumers run their own diagnosis, enabling them to verify the mechanic’s assessment.
Called CarMD, the tool provides a basic overview of probable problems with the car’s electronic and emissions-related systems. It incorporates the same basic technology as tools used by mechanics, but is said to cost less and can be operated by anyone. A green light indicates that all systems are “go,” a yellow light signals a possible problem and a red light means there is a current problem and service is required.
For more in-depth information, simply plug the tool into your personal computer and turn it on. It will connect to the company’s Web site and provide a comprehensive report on your vehicle’s health, including possible problems, estimated fixes and repair costs.
– See more at: http://info4travel.com/road-trip-ready/#sthash.L6aoTQDA.dpuf