What is Signature Travel Network?

September 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on What is Signature Travel Network?
Gateway Destinations has appreciated its affiliation with Signature Travel Network since its inception in January 2007.  But what are the benefits to you as a traveler?  Here are just a few…
  • Offer over 1,000 premium and luxury accommodations worldwide that have been personally visited and approved by an STN executive – include daily breakfast, complimentary room upgrade and early check-in/late check-out upon availability, and at least one additional value-added amenity.
  • Collection of vetted and financially stable Destination Specialists and Tour Operators offering expertise in all destinations and types of travel.
  • Highly competitive cruise pricing and Signature Travel amenities included on many sailings as well as “Cruise Track” service to watch for subsequent promotions after booking.
  • Informative travel information on a complimentary basis such as The Travel MagazineUltimate Experiences and Ultimate Values online magazines.
What does all of this mean to you?  Peace of mind that you are in good hands!

Is Travel Protection Worth the Cost?

August 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on Is Travel Protection Worth the Cost?
Not really clear about the benefits and if buying travel protection coverage is worth it? The primary benefit is to cover medical emergencies while traveling abroad including doctor and hospital costs – even emergency dental costs, and medical evacuation costs to receive appropriate care.  These costs can even exceed the cost of your trip as they are often not covered by your medical plan at home (and not by Medicare).  Can you afford to lose the cost of your trip if something arises that causes you to cancel your trip or return home early – perhaps to attend to an ill or injured family member back home?  Trip Cost Reimbursement and Interruption is the other primary benefit of travel insurance. Numerous other benefits such as compensation and assistance for a delayed flight, delayed or lost baggage, assistance with finding suitable medical care, language translation and re-scheduling your return flights are all very helpful when something disrupts your travel plans.
Gateway Destinations works with several highly-rated companies to provide the best coverage at affordable prices – call us to find out more.

Rush Passport Service

July 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on Rush Passport Service
Running out of time to renew your passport before your trip?  The Department of State is currently taking about eight weeks to process an application through the normal channels. There are several US passport offices that will process passport applications or renewals on a rush basis – call 1-877-487-2778.  You will need to show proof of travel plans; a Western Region office is located in Tucson.  More information can be obtained at:  US Passports in a Hurry.
Alternatively, FedEx has teamed up with RushMyPassport to process new applications or renewals on an expedited basis. This service comes with a hefty price tag but is convenient – stop by any FedEx office.  You can also have your passport photos taken there

Tipping in Europe

May 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on Tipping in Europe
I am often asked how one should tip while traveling in Europe. The short answer is tips for service are not expected like they are in the U.S.  The locals complain that Americans over tip and spoil the system for them!
  • Restaurants:  A few coins for a simple lunch (normally less than 10%); 5 – 10% of your bill for a nice dinner with very good service and NO tip for just a quick coffee!  (Don’t automatically calculate 15 – 20% of your bill as servers earn a good salary and “service” is often included in your bill in most EU countries).
  • Taxi:  Round up to the nearest Euro
  • Private Transfers:  5 to 15 Euros for a private transfer (up to 4 passengers; more than 1 hour)
  • Private Guided Tours: 10 Euros per person for a Half Day and 20 – 25 Euros per person for a Full Day guided tour as these are professional, often licensed individuals so a reasonable tip is warranted when good service is provided (more if you are traveling solo). Group tours (not private) would be less.

When Should I Renew My Passport?

April 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on When Should I Renew My Passport?

Many countries require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond your last travel date. Due to the recent government shutdown, processing of renewal and new passports is taking longer than normal so allow plenty of time in consideration of upcoming foreign travel. This website link will get you started in the process: Passport Application

Pre-Registration for European Travel is Coming!

March 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on Pre-Registration for European Travel is Coming!

To improve security and illegal immigration, the European Union (consisting of 26 countries) has voted to require travelers from Visa-free nations (such as the U.S.) to register their travel before entering the country beginning in 2021. Technically not a Visa, it functions as one, but can be easily obtained online for a small fee.  Once approved (usually instantly), access is granted for 3 years.  Watch for more information as this date draws near.

How to Speed Up Going thru Airport Security

February 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on How to Speed Up Going thru Airport Security
Here are some simple tips to help get through airport security quicker:
  • Avoid peak travel times if at all possible (4 – 8 pm Friday & Sunday evenings) and, of course, holidays
  • Wear simple clothing (slip-on shoes, simple or no jewelry) and be prepared to easily remove a jacket or sweater
  • Don’t forget to put liquids in small containers (3.4 oz or less) in a clear, quart-sized bag that can be quickly removed from your carry-on bag
  • Separate electronic items in your carry-on bag so they can be screened more clearly, and be prepared to remove your laptop or tablet from your bag
Most importantly, take the time to apply for TSA Pre-Check (domestic travel) or Global Entry (international travel) – ask us how.

Want to Fly with your Pet or Emotional Support Animal?

January 15th, 2019 / blog / Comments Off on Want to Fly with your Pet or Emotional Support Animal?
Flying commercially with pets or emotional support animals in the US has, unfortunately, been abused by many people prompting airlines to tighten policies and deny boarding in some cases.  Make sure you know what is allowed for a carry-on animal before check-in as policies vary by airline.  This article has some helpful information and links to airline websites to avoid disappointment on the day of travel: Flying with your pet or emotional support animal?

Tired of High International Flight Costs?

December 15th, 2018 / blog / Comments Off on Tired of High International Flight Costs?

Did you know that Gateway Destinations works with several air wholesalers that can often save you money for Premium Economy, Business or First Class flights?  They are also masters at finding schedules that most consumers may never see.  Call us to compare for your next international journey.

Lost Luggage – What is the Best Action to Take?

November 15th, 2018 / blog / Comments Off on Lost Luggage – What is the Best Action to Take?

Having your luggage lost by the airline is a rough start to your trip.  Knowing what to do in this case and taking some simple precautions will help minimize the inconvenience.  First of all, make sure your checked bags are tagged with your contact information and always make sure your claim ticket reads your final destination – know what city you are supposed to retrieve it!  If your luggage doesn’t arrive where it should, immediately contact the airline at the airport and file a claim. Also, call your travel insurance provider as they can assist in tracking the bag for you.