Travelling from New York to Washington DC

Every day we are asked for advice about travelling in foreign countries. As experienced travel agents we often know the answers to our customers question. If we don’t know the answer we make it our job to find out. This is a question we were asked today.

Question

I’ve booked a holiday to the USA with you. Can you tell me what’s the best way to get from New York City to Washington ?

Answer

There are several options that you might want to consider. This route is one of the most popular because, of course, these are two very important cities. The distance between the two cities is 206 miles.

Flying between New York and Washington DC

Flying is an option and it takes about 1hr 10 mins and costs on average $60, although it is possible to get promotional fares of around $49 each way. There are frequent flights between these two cities and flights operate roughly every hour.You can fly from JFK, La Guardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR) and you could fly to Washington National (DCA), Dulles International (IAD) or Baltimore-Washington International (BWI).

Trains between New York City and Washington DC

There are frequent trains in both directions between New York and Washington. Trains run hourly. The journey takes about 3 hours 30 minutes although there is an express train that takes just less than 3 hours. The cost of a train ticket from New York to Washington is about $75 each way and over double this for the express train.

Buses between New York and Washington DC

National Greyhound Lines is the best known service between the two cities and takes at least 4 hours 30 minutes. Buses run every hour. It’s cheaper to buy your ticket on the internet. The cost of a ticket online is $24 and about $40 if you buy your ticket at the bus station.

Driving between New York City and Washington DC

A few years ago I picked up a car in New York City and drove out to the end of Long Island. I can claim that I have driven a car in New York City and I bet many people can’t claim to have done that !

The problem with driving from New York to Washington is that there are lots of tolls so in addition to your fuel costs you can expect to pay about $30 in tolls. Also, the drive is very boring as there is not much to look at. Once you reach your destination parking is a problem so in my opinion the driving option should be your last choice.

A note about Grand Central Station in New York

Grand Central Terminal (GCT) — often incorrectly called Grand Central Station, or shortened to simply Grand Central — is a train station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States. Built by and named for the New York Central Railroad in the heyday of American long-distance passenger trains, it is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms. Even if you don’t intend to catch a train from Grand Central it is worth a visit just for the architecture and the famous “Oyster Bar”.

Where is the Best Honeymoon Destination ?

One of the most common questions we get asked here at Global Holidays is “Where is the best place for a honeymoon” ? Despite the recession newly married couples are determined to start married life off in style and go on an exotic honeymoon. Many say to us that that they want somewhere special, luxurious and different as they think that they may not get another opportunity to go on a luxury holiday for many years. It is not for me to say whether a newly married couple just starting off life together and maybe for the first time having all the expense that life throws at you, but there is no doubt that getting married is a great reason to have a luxury honeymoon holiday.

Things are a lot different now to when I got married (quite a few years ago !). All I could afford was a few days in Whitby, North Yorkshire. Not that there is anything wrong with Whitby but back then not many people had exotic luxury honeymoons. In some ways I have missed out on the fashion of spending loads of money on a luxury honeymoon but I have since been on many luxury holidays to make up for it !If I got married again I would definitely go on a luxury honeymoon holiday and I think it is a fantastic way to start married life. So, presuming you can afford it or have plenty of spare capacity on your credit card where are the best places to go on a honeymoon?It is not easy to answer the question, because it all depends on your budget, but in this article I will try and give you some ideas on where you get the best value for money when it comes to a luxury holiday destination.

Best honeymoon Destination for Relaxation

Our most popular honeymoon destination is The Maldives. For relaxation, luxury, diving and snorkeling, quality of the hotels and romantic atmosphere The Maldives takes some beating. Over the last few years many of the islands in The Maldives have been upgraded and whilst prices have increased the luxury holiday experience has also improved. Our most popular destination in The Maldives is Kuramathi.

The quality of Kuramathi is excellent and it has the added benefit of being an “All Inclusive” holiday island. As drinks on The Maldives can be expensive it is worthwhile considering an island where everything is included in the price.One week All Inclusive on Kuramathi in The Maldives costs from £1125 per person for departures in June.Also perfect for honeymooners is the island of Baros in The Maldives. A member of the small luxury hotels of the world, Baros is where style meets simplicity. One week on Baros in a Deluxe Villa on a room and breakfast basis costs from £1359 in June. Upgrading to a Water Villa on Baros is good value for money as one week in a Water Villa will cost from only£1689 per person.

Best Honeymoon Destination for Culture

If you are interested in culture then choosing the perfect honeymoon destination is difficult as there are so many interesting places to see. You might want to consider India or Italy but we recommend Morocco. Close enough to Europe but at the same time far enough away to feel like a different world Morocco has much to offer. From the buzzing city of Marrakesh, the ancient city of Fez or the stunning Atlas Mountains you will in Morocco something different to anywhere else in the world.

If you want to stay in Marrakesh then there are plenty of excellent hotels to choose. We would recommend, however, staying in a traditional Riad. These small hotels can be luxurious but they offer  a style of hotel that you won’t find anywhere else. For unrivalled luxury at a reasonable price you should consider Richard Bransons Kasbah Tamadot hotel in the Atlas Mountains. 4 nights including flights and transfers will cost from £859 per person. 4 nights at the Angsana Riad Lydines in Marrakesh will cost from £494 per person.

Best Honeymoon Destination for Safari & Wildlife 

Kenya is difficult to beat as a safari honeymoon destination. You can combine a safari with a beach holiday as well if you want. Kenya has no fewer than 40 national parks and game reserves supporting a wide range of unique habitats. From the great wilderness of Tsavo National Park to Amboseli National Park situated at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro to the vast plains of the Masai Mara; bird and beast roam free in their natural habitat. For years adventurers, travellers and photographers alike have been drawn to Kenya’s natural beauty to sample what to many is the ‘Real Africa’.In our opinion the most cost effective way of booking a safari holiday is to book 7 nights or more on a beach near Mombasa and then to tack on a short safari. For example, a 3 night safari will cost from £239 per person.

Best Honeymoon Destination for Adventure

Where do we start! The world is your oyster so they say, so choosing the best honeymoon destination for adventure is difficult and it depends on your budget. If money is not so much an issue we would have to say that Sydney and Australia is a great honeymoon destination. Explore the wonderful city of Sydney, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and explore the Blue Mountains and the coast north of Sydney. Nearer to home you could try a cycling or walking holiday in France.If you fancy an adventure cruise how about cruising from Vancouver, Canada to Alaska?

Best Budget Honeymoon Destination

A honeymoon, of course, is all about what you want from a holiday. Some honeymooners want a romantic relaxing holiday destination but equally, others want adventure and sightseeing. If you are on a budget you can still have a great honeymoon. After all, its all about who you are with rather than the destination! Nevertheless, it is still important to go somewhere special and you don’t have to break the bank to do that.You don’t have to stay in a 5 star luxury hotel to enjoy your honeymoon.

There are plenty of very good 2 and 3 star hotel and apartments which are clean and in great locations. It’s no hardship missing out on all the facilities at a 5 star such as spa and sports facilities. Give me a great view anytime! As the saying goes, all the best things in life are free.The Greek Islands are a good low budget honeymoon destination. Choose one of the quieter Greek islands like Skiathos or Kefalonia for a romantic honeymoon destination where you get great beaches or romantic restaurants along the waterfront. If you like culture then Italy might be an option.

There are plenty of cheap flight to Pisa where you can take the 1 hour long train journey to Florence or you could hire a car and explore the magnificent scenery which is Tuscany.If you are short of cash to spend on a honeymoon why not go on a short break? The bets cities for romance are Paris, Rome and Amsterdam but you might want to consider easily accessible cities such as Stockholm, Berlin  and Dublin. If you want a short break on a beach the best places for flight prices are Malaga for the Costa del Sol or Palma for Majorca. With a vast choice of accommodation here you will find low prices.

CALL GLOBAL HOLIDAYS FREE ON 0800 433 2300 FOR ADVICE AND HELP BOOKING YOUR HONEYMOON DESTINATION

Kiss Flights – Advice for affected customers

Do you need advice on your rights if you are affected by the collapse of Kiss Flights? If so this article may help you.Firstly, if you are stranded abroad you will be able to catch your flight home as normal.If you haven’t travelled yet then you will need to contact your travel agent and ask them to re-book your flights. You may need to pay again if you have booked just a flight only.

Your travel agent will then need to complete an ATOL claim form and send it to the CAA with various documents.If you have booked a package holiday which is using Kiss Flights then your travel agent should re-book your flights for you. You should not be asked to pay again as this is your tour operators responsibility but some travel agents may well ask you to pay again so that they can book another flight for you.

This is where the whole area of consumer protection is a bit suspect because many travel agents will have used a Kiss flight and booked separate accommodation. This is not a traditional package holiday even though customers may not know the difference or indeed they may not have been told of the difference. This type of holiday can leave you exposed to a financial risk.Anyone who has booked with Kiss Flights will get their money back as they were a company offering charter flights that are ATOL protected by the CAA. If you are unable to reach your accommodation because this has been booked separately then you may lose money.

Our advice for the future

Please use a trusted travel agent like Global Holidays whose services are free and who will give you expert help and advice. Global Holidays did not have any bookings with Goldtrail or Kiss. We refused to use these companies as we thought that they were suspect.Our advice would be for you in future  to book with a travel agent that offers fully protected package holidays like Global Holidays as they will cover the whole of the holiday.

If you want to re-book your Kiss flight then you can call Global Holidays on 0845 299 4450.

Please note that we are not connected in any way to Global Late Deals, The Holiday Collection Group or Sunmaster and you should contact these companies direct.

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Cheap Flights Are going for a Song!

We have always sold cheap flights but in the last few years it has become increasingly difficult to advertise the fact that we really do have cheap flights.

It’s not that we just sell cheap flights, but that we sell flights for every airline and flight company that you can think of and that’s something that we often try to shout about.The problem though is that whilst the price we give our customers does NOT include any hidden extras many airlines advertise the prices of their flights before those “extras” are added. And those “extras” can cost quite a bit of money.

For example, there is the cost of luggage, online check-in fees, booking fees, exorbitant credit card charges and charges for travel insurance and so on that you need to make sure are un-ticked on the booking screen.These practices make it difficult for us travel agents to make our prices look attractive even though we offer very competitive flight prices. It’s not, of course, just about price because we also pride ourselves on our good customer service.

We are always here to take our customers phone calls without big queues and we always do our best to sort any queries or problems with the minimum of fuss.The airline industry seems to have got itself a bad reputation for these pricing practices and when I came across this video about cheap flights I thought that I would share it with you!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAg0lUYHHFc&w=640&h=385]

How to Save Money on Mobile Phone Charges on Holiday

We all use our mobile phones on holiday and we have all probably in the past come home to find a large bill for all those hours we have spent calling home. In this age of instant communications by mobile phone or mobile internet and email many of us have become addicted to keeping in touch with our friends or relatives and we also feel the need to check our email inbox on a daily basis or even keep our Facebook status updated.Personally, I think it is good to be “off grid” for a while when on holiday.

It’s amazing how stress free not having to worry about keeping in touch can be.  Once you have weened yourself off the urge to check your email whilst on holiday you realise how much you don’t actually need to stay in touch as much as you thought!

Mobile phone charges  abroad are very expensive so the first way you can avoid a large bill is by not using your phone apart from an emergency. This will also mean that you will have a more relaxing holiday. If you don’t use your mobile phone, it won’t cost you.If you have to use your mobile phone whilst you are on holiday you need to be aware of the charges. It costs upto £1 a minute to make a call from abroad back home.

You don’t need to be a maths expert to realise that the costs will soon mount up.If you have to use your mobile phone whilst you are on holiday here are a few ways you can keep costs to a minimum:1. If you have internet access get yourself a Skype account and use that to call another Skype account user.2. If someone calls you from the UK on your mobile then it will cost you the call from the UK to wherever you are abroad. The caller only pays a UK to UK rate, so don’t think that if someone calls you that they are paying for the call !3. Many mobile phone networks offer a cheap rate package for calls from abroad so check with your network provider to see if they do special deals.

Also, make sure your phone is set up to work abroad – many phones won’t work abroad.4. Sending text messages is equally as expensive and charges vary but can be up to 50 pence per text message. However, receiving a text from the UK is free so try not to get into long “text conversations”.5. If you need to receive an incoming call from the UK, get the caller to ring the hotel and have them put the call through to your room. It’s much cheaper than a call to a mobile.6. If you are going to be staying in an EU country it may be worth buying a Sim card for that country. This will mean that calls within that country will be cheaper than using a UK network.For more information about using a mobile phone abroad and the charges involved there is a very good article here.

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Footnote

New EU rules have come into place from 1 July 2010 in a bit to prevent mobile phone users running up huge bills whilst abroad. The rules apply to data roaming or in other words using your mobile phone to access the Internet. Many people have run up huge bills for downloading films and music. It is reported that someone who downloaded a film ran up a bill of £37,000 !The new rules mean that Internet users who use their mobile phone will be automatically cut off when their monthly bill reaches 50 Euros or about £41. You can contact your service provider if you want to increase this limit.

Is Finding the Right Holiday Harder than it used to be?

It seems that many travel agents don’t want to carry out holiday searches for customers any more. These travel agents want your booking but don’t want the hard work involved in looking for the perfect holiday for the customer. They expect you to know which holiday you want before they receive your phone call so that all they need to do is give you a quote.

If you are not quite sure where you want to go on holiday then some travel agents don’t want to know you.In years gone by when teletext holidays had their excellent TV service you could get an idea from there where the best deals were, and also get some ideas of the best holiday destinations to suit you.

The teletext holidays service is nowhere near as good as it used to be, mainly due to cheap holiday hunters trawling through similar Internet travel websites and spending hours trying to find a holiday.

There is a skill to finding the right holiday and that is where a good independent travel agent, like Global Holidays, is worth its weight in gold.Global Holidays will spend time searching for the right holiday.

Whether it’s a cheap last minute holiday, a luxury holiday or even if you are not sure where you want to go they will spend time searching their vast database of holidays and give you the benefit of their extensive travel knowledge. It’s also good to remember that cheapest is not always best. Even if the holiday appears to be the same you need to be happy that you will get good service before and after you have returned from holiday.

Again, many travel agents are only interested in the sale and their after sales service is appalling.Our advice is to call a travel agent like Global Holidays if you need help deciding where to go on holiday. One phone call may mean that you end up finding not just a great bargain but the right holiday destination as well !

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Volcanic Ash Causes Cancelled Flights – Your Rights

My daughter was due to fly from Leeds/Bradford airport this morning to Pisa with Ryanair and at 6.30am this morning I checked the airport website to find out if the flight was on time. The flight to Pisa was cancelled along with all the other flights. There was no sign of any fog, which is often why Leeds/Bradford is closed and it was then that I noticed that there was an announcement saying that all flights were cancelled due to volcanic dust! I thought this was a bit strange as I had never heard of this event before. It then turned out of course that most flights from UK airports were affected.

As I live only 10 minutes drive from the airport we decided to drive up to see what the situation was and when we got there the airport was full of people wandering around trying to decide what to do. We went to the Ryanair desk at Leeds/Bradford and were given a slip of paper giving us details about a refund.

I feel really sorry for those thousands of people who have had their travel plans disrupted or holidays cancelled. Some passengers will have been going on holiday for a short break and there may not be another flight for a few days which effectively means the holiday is cancelled. I just hope that the people responsible for making this decision have not been too over cautious about the dangers of the volcanic ash cloud but I suppose that we have to respect their decision.

Your rights when a flight is cancelled

This event is yet another example why you should always look to book at ATOL protected package holiday rather than booking flights and accommodation separately. ATOL protected holidays will give give you a full refund for the whole holiday so you will not lose any money.If you have booked a flight only and seperate accommodation you will get a refund for your flight but you may not get a refund for the accommodation that you have booked. A further complication is that some travel insurance policies do not cover this type of event as it is classed as an “Act of God” exclusion. This could leave thousands of people with booked and paid for hotels and other accommodation with no way of receiving a refund.

Can you claim on Travel Insurance?

As mentioned above you may have a problem claiming for a volcanic ash event on your travel insurance. You need to check the small print in your policy to look at the exclusions.

Booking a Holiday Online – Is it the Best Way?

Online Holiday Booking Trends

Online shopping in the UK has taken off in the last few years and most of us now purchase items on the Internet. The most popular items to buy online are probably books and CD’s as they are fairly cheap, easy to browse online, and can easily be posted. Holidays and flights are things that also can be bought easily online but just how easy is it and is it safe to use your credit card for probably what is a high value  purchase ?

Global Holidays set up its website way back in 1997 and we were probably one of the first travel agents to see the opportunity that the Internet could bring. We could see that the web offered us the opportunity to display to the world what we had on offer and we could also see that it offered us a chance to advertise our services at a lower cost. Since 1996 we had been a Teletext TV advertiser but we could see that its days were numbered because it wasn’t interactive enough and travel agents were killing it by offering holidays where prices were often out of date or even possibly deliberately under-priced.

What Independent Travel Agents can Offer

Independent travel agents have much to offer the purchaser of a holiday. They have access to a wider number of travel services. For example, we can use the services of hundreds of niche and general tour operators. More importantly, good independent travel agents are passionate about what they do and genuinely do want to find you the best holiday to suit your needs and at the best price. By not using a travel agent you may well miss out on the best deals as they have the technology to help you match your holiday requirements and in a fraction of the time it will take most other people.

What the Large Online Companies Can’t Offer

Whilst the large companies have a big online presence they don’t offer the same range of holidays and they are large impersonal organisations that struggle to offer good customer service. These companies might be ok to deal with if all you want is a simple cheap holiday and you know where you want to go, but if you want some personal advice then you will need to speak to a good travel agent.

What’s Best for Complicated Holiday Itineraries

As more of us want to travel to evermore exotic destinations and have a holiday in 2 or 3 destinations at the same time then this is where booking a holiday online become virtually impossible. This is when a good travel agent can save you hours of time and offer advice on exactly where to stay. Bear in mind that travel agents often know where the best place to stay is and have been using these same hotels for years. They are tried and tested and it beats taking a punt yourself based on any unreliable online reviews you may have read.

Package Holiday Versus DIY Packages

Surveys have suggested that 30% of people still feel safer booking a package holiday online rather than booking a flight and separate accommodation. With the demise of several airlines over the last 12 months or so consumers are right to be wary of booking separate components of a holiday. Remember that if anythings goes wrong with the flight like the flight being cancelled then you might be left with a hotel or apartment that you have paid for but can’t use. If this happens with a package holiday then you won’t be left in this situation as you will be entitled to a full refund.

Our Advice When Booking an Online Holiday

If you are looking for a cheap holiday which is a single centre holiday then use the website of an independent travel agent like Global Holidays or a specialist company if it’s something like a Nile cruise that you are looking for.If you are looking for a more complicated holiday itinerary then do some research to get an idea of what might be feasible and then call to speak to an experienced travel agent who will offer you advice and work out the best price for you.

Prices on the Internet

Cheapest is not always best ! You need to weigh up how much good service is worth to you. Some large online travel companies are very difficult to get through to on the telephone. If you have a problem or a query then you could find yourself in a long telephone queue on a premium rate telephone number. This is where the smaller independent agents score higher because they will provide a better telephone service. It may be worth paying just a few pounds more to get the better service.

ATOL Financial Protection

Finally, remember that if you book a package holiday with an ATOL holder or an agent for an ATOL holder then you will be financially protected should anything go wrong before you travel or whilst you are on holiday.

Should you want to speak to a good travel agent call Global Holidays on 0845 299 4450 

Airport Valet Parking – Not just for Celebrities !

The Answer to the Hassle of Airport Parking

We all love a holiday abroad where we can get away from the stresses of everyday life. The worst part about a holiday though is the hassle of getting to the airport and all the stress of going through security and queueing at the airport to check our suitcases in. One of the worst parts of the holiday process for me is parking the car and catching the shuttle bus to the airport terminal. For me, it is either pouring with rain or about 5 am in the morning, pitch black and freezing cold.

At least it used to be like that until I decided that I didn’t want to wait for a shuttle bus in a freezing cold car park and that I would look for a better alternative. I thought why should a celebrity have it easy at the airport with their fast track security and dedicated check-in when I had to queue for everything. It was then that I discovered that I didn’t have to park my car in a distant airport car park but I could actually drive my car to the terminal, unload my suitcases and hand my keys to a professional looking man who would then drive my car away and safely park it for me in a secure car park and then meet me again when I returned at the terminal building. It’s called Meet and Greet Parking and it is not that expensive and it is well worth the money in my opinion.

Meet and Greet VIP Car Parking Prices

One weeks on-airport parking at Gatwick will cost £58 whilst the Meet and Greet VIP drive to the terminal service costs only £94. In my opinion, it is well worth paying the extra £36 just to avoid all the hassle of parking the car myself and catching the shuttle bus. Meet and Greet Valet airport parking is available at all major airports including Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester.

Will My Car Be Safe When I Use Meet and Greet ?

The compound where your car is stored has twenty four hour security with CCTV, regular patrols and full security barriers. Reputable operators have been awarded the Park Mark for safer parking. The Park Mark means that you are parking in an area that has been vetted by the police to make sure that the site has had measures put in place to create a safe environment. Park Mark awarded parking areas are run by responsible operators who are concerned with your safety and the safety of your vehicle.

If you like the idea – Book your Valet Parking Here

Just click this link to book Meet and Greet Airport Car Parking

Charter Flights – Premium Cabins Are Good Value

Charter Flights sometimes come in for criticism but I personally think that this is unjustified. Charter flight companies have had to adapt to the changing market conditions over the last few years and as competition has got ever fiercer the charter airlines have fought back by giving you the option of booking a Premium Cabin upgrade. Upgrading to the Premium Cabin can make much more sense as the cost is far cheaper than flying Business Class or in BA’s World Traveller Plus.

Most charter flight companies offer a Premium Cabin on their long haul routes which means you can fly in relative comfort for a reasonable price.The Premium Cabin on a charter flight will normally include either a 34 inch or 36 inch seat pitch, depending on the airline. In addition, you will normally be able to use a dedicated check-in and you will get better food on-board your flight as well as better in-flight entertainment. In many cases you will get a higher luggage allowance or the cost of checked-in bags will be included in the cost.

Prices can vary for a Premium Cabin upgrade. On a long haul flight it can cost up to £250 extra per person return but when you compare this extra cost to the price of an upgrade on a scheduled flight you will find that this is a lot cheaper. In addition, we often get special offers on cabin up-grades and prices can sometimes be as low as £50 extra for the premium cabin. Thompson flights, Thomas Cook flights and Monarch Airlines all offer cabin upgrades so just ask your travel agent to get you a price. 

Also, don’t assume that budget airlines are always the cheapest. On many routes charter flights compare favourably with the price of seats on a budget airline so make sure that you shop around. Here at Global Holidays, we can compare fares from charter airlines, scheduled airlines and budget airlines which we can search in only seconds so it is worth giving us a call.

CALL GLOBAL HOLIDAYS ON 0845 299 4450 FOR A CHEAP CHARTER FLIGHT

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