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How to Plan for a Long Flight

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When booking a flight, there are three things to pay close attention to: trip duration, connections, and layovers.

Trip duration is the full length of your combined flights plus any layovers. So, a 4 hour flight plus a 2 hour layover plus a second, 8.5 hour flight equates to a 14.5 hour total trip duration. Be careful, because you may see a flight plan for a lot cheaper price but a lot longer trip duration. For example, the itinerary may have an overnight layover or there may be multiple flights and connections. It’s often worth it to pay a little more for a shorter trip and fewer connections.

Speaking of connections, pay close attention to these when booking flights. Once while browsing flights, I selected the flight plan that was cheapest and shortest, thinking it was a great deal. However, on the itinerary I would arrive in the New York-La Guardia airport and then my connection, which left only 1 hour later, would depart from the New York-JFK airport. Be wary of these tricks. Check and double-check everything before you book.

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Lastly, avoid a long layover if you can. However, this is not always possible. If your airline and your level of ticket purchased allow you access to an airport lounge, take advantage of these. An airport lounge usually boasts free food and drinks, showers, lounge chairs, quiet areas, work spaces, and more.

If your ticket doesn’t come with a lounge or the airport you are stopping at doesn’t feature one for your airline, there are helpful sites like loungebuddy.com, which sells voucher access to lounges. These are sold based on airport (as in where your layover would be), not whether or not you are flying on a particular airline.

Final tip for booking a long flight: pick an aisle seat. This way it’s easier to stretch your legs out. Plus, whenever you need to get up, you don’t have to bother someone else or, even worse, wake them up.

Packing for the Flight

Long flights lead to restlessness and anxiousness. One good thing to pack is some snacks like chips or pretzels, as snacking can help keep you occupied. Like any flight, you’ll also want to pack items for entertainment such as a iPad or tablet, Kindle, book, or crossword puzzles.

For these longer flights, it’s also a good idea to invest in a portable charger as well. You can find one for $5-10 at a home goods store, or spend a bit more money for better power and charging capacity.

Many people also choose to pack sleep aids to pass the time and to combat any forthcoming jet lag from a significant time change. Check with your doctor first before taking anything, of course. Over-the-counter sleep aids like Advil PM or even a high (10 mg) dose of melatonin will cause drowsiness and help lull you to sleep.

Lastly, for the flight-day outfit, wear loose fitting clothes. Air travel is dehydrating, and loose clothes allow your skin to breathe easier. Also, they’re just more comfortable. Layer this outfit with a light jacket as well, as the inside of planes can get chilly.

Once Onboard

Once you’re onboard, don’t forget to hydrate. The low humidity of the cabin pressure is excessively dehydrating, so be sure to drink more water than normal. Many people (myself included) don’t want to drink too much because they want to avoid the airplane’s restrooms. But staying hydrated helps you fight fatigue, illness, and headaches, among other things.

Also, remember to move around the cabin as well. Don’t worry about bothering other people. It is more important to avoid blood clots accumulating in your legs and joints, and chances are you won’t be the only one doing it.

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AIR TRAVEL

Cruise Advice: Singapore Wheelchair Access Tips

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Singapore is considered the most accessible destination in Asia. The country has a very thorough set of policies regarding accessibility, providing barrier-free access to its citizens as well as visitors from around the world. The policies have been in place for more than 20 years, so it is not surprising to find Singapore being rated as one of the best accessible travel destinations in the world.

The country also has a lot to offer. Whether you love a nice day at the park or an exciting night playing casino games, there is a long list of excitements waiting for you on your next visit to the country.

Getting Around Singapore

Photo: Flickr/Bernard Spragg. NZ

Singapore is basically one big city with a very reliable public transportation system. The city’s MRT system is what you will be using the most to get around. All MRT stations have barrier-free facilities that make accessible travel a breeze. You will always find a ramp and lifts, no matter which station you visit. There are also an ample number of wheelchair-friendly toilets and supporting facilities to use.

What’s interesting is the way the MRT system is designed. As a traveler, you will be able to access popular tourist destinations and some of the hottest spots in Singapore without a problem. A friend of mine who is doing social work in the country as part of his online masters in social work course from Rutgers Online also found the MRT system to be very accessible.

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Even when you can’t reach a destination by MRT, there are plenty of buses and taxis from MRT stations, as well as other spots across the country. Having spent almost a year in Singapore, the MSW online student I talked about earlier suggests a London taxi or the all-in-one SPACE taxi, since both are big enough to accommodate a wheelchair.

Places to Visit in Singapore

Universal Studio Singapore is one of the best destinations to visit if you’re in the country. It is a theme park on Sentosa Island, which is part of the Resorts World Sentosa. You can spend a few days on the island and have plenty of time to enjoy all the rides in the Universal Studio.

Gardens by the Bay is another spectacular attraction to visit. It is a staggering 101 hectares of reclaimed land that was transformed into this gorgeous garden. All of the gardens are situated on a bay, offering spectacular views and breathtaking landscape.

Of course, you can’t visit Singapore without visiting the Singapore Zoo. Be sure to book the Night Safari before your trip so you get to experience the world’s first nocturnal zoo while you are there.

More Tips and Tricks

There are a few things you can prepare before your trip to Singapore to make it more enjoyable. For starters, you can get a complete list of Wheelchair Accessible Bus and Support Facilities from the official Visit Singapore website.

There are also services designed to make traveling to Singapore more convenient. You can, for instance, have a personal assistant with you throughout the trip. This is a handy service to use if you’re traveling alone.

You really have nothing to worry about if you’re visiting Singapore on a holiday. The country is truly wheelchair-accessible and you will have a great time exploring its beauty.

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AIR TRAVEL

Program Eases Exploring for Passengers in Seattle

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Delta has partnered with the Port of Seattle for a new program at the T91 cruise terminal.  The program will allow cruise guests to drop off their bags, and explore the city without the burden of luggage before catching their flight home.

Cruise ships arrive back in port early in the morning, and many guests don’t fly home until late afternoon.  Through the new program, guests traveling with Delta can check in, and check their baggage with an onsite Delta facility as soon as they disembark, allowing them to explore a little bit before heading to the airport.  Of course, guests leaving in the morning can bypass this new amenity, and just head straight to the airport as usual.

The program launched in late July, with a small team checking almost 200 bags, all before signage was even in place yet.  Since then, Delta has checked in over 6,500 guests and 6,000 bags, and has been receiving positive feedback from customers.  The program will continue through October 1.

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Passengers find out about the service through the cruise lines during booking, onboard the ship, and by signs in the terminal once they disembark.  So far, Delta is the only airline doing this, and if the program continues to be successful, they will continue to offer it for the full cruise season in 2017.

What do you think of this new program? Would you like to see it expand to other cruise ports in the future?

Information: Delta

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AIR TRAVEL

Cruise Line Buys Jet

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For most cruisers who aren’t homeporting, getting to the ship can be highly stressful. Maybe you’re driving to the port and have to figure out where to park for a week without paying an arm and a leg. If you’re flying, you have to choose between arriving the same day and hoping there are no delays or coming in a day early and spending the night in a hotel.

Now, close your eyes for a moment and imagine being whisked to your port in a private jet, surrounded by such luxuries as a three-person divan that opens into a large bed, a lounge, XM radio with surround sound, in-flight phone service and, of course, a high-temp oven. Hey, you never know when you might wanna bake some cookies while jetting off to the yacht of your dreams!

Did We Mention The Bathroom?

Turns out that you, too, can jet off to your cruise in luxury… for a price, of course. This month, Crystal Cruises raised the bar with the launch of Crystal Luxury Air, which the company’s president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez, said would “open tremendous possibilities for luxury travelers seeking the next level of ease and exclusivity during their journeys.”

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We’re talking major, high-end luxury here, folks. How high-end? Well, here’s how a writer for Travel Weekly described a certain feature found aboard the Bombardier Global Express XRS jet: “I have to admit, we were especially wowed by the back bathroom,” wrote Jeri Clausing. “Complete with a square leather seat covering the toilet, it’s large and plush enough to serve as the proverbial office.”

Have special requests? Never fear! Rodriguez assures clients that, “in the spirit of all things Crystal, and ensuring we offer customization to our guests, Crystal Luxury Air allows our travel agent partners and guests the ability to truly customize their vacation experiences to privately fly to combine our cruise, yacht, river, residence and air experiences.”

The jet is the first entry in Crystal’s soon-to-expand fleet, which will see them adding a Boeing 777 in 2017 and a 787 Dreamliner in 2018. For more on all things Crystal, click here.

Featured photo: Crystal Cruises

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