Saturday, July 2, 2011

Preventing (and Coping) with Lost Luggage

Traveling overseas can be a fun and exciting experience. However, it can also put you at risk for scams and other attacks. It is important that travelers be aware of their surroundings and that they follow basic guidelines for protecting themselves.
Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you're standing by the carousel at the airport, watching suitcase after suitcase pass by—none of them yours—until finally, the carousel, now empty, turns off? It's a wretched feeling, especially at the start of a vacation.

One way to avoid this situation altogether is to ship your belongingsahead of time. The UPS Store just announced its new Luggage Boxes—and the cost is pretty reasonable. Shipping between NYC and L.A. costs about $66 for the small box or about $92 for the large. Just be sure to ship far enough in advance, and give your hotel the heads up! For a price comparison, here are the checked bag fees from five major domestic airlines:

JetBlue: First bag free, up to 50 lbs.; $30 for a 2nd bag. $50–100 excess weight fee.

Virgin America: First bag $25, up to 70 lbs.; $25 for 2nd bag, up to 50 lbs. $50 excess weight fee.

American Airlines: First bag $25; second bag $35. $50–$100 excess weight fee.

Delta: First bag $25, up to 50 lbs; 2nd bag $35. $90–$175 excess weight fee.

Southwest Airlines: First two bags free, up to 50 lbs each. $50 excess weight fee.

But if you opt to fly with your luggage, what are you to do in the event that when you arrive at your destination, your luggage is "lost"? (I use quotes because technically, it's not likely lost, but rather misplaced and will be recovered...though that doesn't mean it's any less of an inconvenience!)
Well, if you happen to be staying at the Stafford Hotel in London, you do absolutely nothing. Why? The hotel's new Baggage Emergency Response Squad has you covered. Not only will the concierge service take over all contact with the airline coordinate the recovery of your luggage, they'll also provide, free of charge:

- a customized goody bag chock full of essentials: clothes; bath products; toothbrush/toothpaste; even contact solution if you need it.

- same day laundering of the clothes on you flew in wearing, so you'll be ready to comfortably hit the town in your own digs.

- a personal shopper who will pick up new clothes for you—to your specifications—should the need be pressing (business meeting anyone?); you will have to pay for the clothes, but the service itself remains free.
I wasn't able to find other hotels offering a similar service, so kudos to the Stafford for (hopefully) starting a trend! (If any of you know of other hotels, please let me know!)

Author - Joshua Pramis is an online associate editor at Travel + Leisure.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Seychelles Islands - how exclusive is the holiday in Seychelles

The young Royals, Will and Kate, or rather Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, returned to honeymoon on these idyllic islands of the Indian Ocean.  

Unspoiled, untouched, and gloriously natural beauty of the sea,  the Seychelles is an exclusive holiday destination. 

Seychelles has two distinct types of topography - the Inner Islands are formed from granite rock with rocky peaks and thick forests offering lovely trekking trails. The main islands are Mahè, Praslin and La Digue which are the hub of both tourist activity and the natives of Seychelles. Most of the hotels Seychelles has are located on these islands. The Outer Islands are the coral islands stretching as far as 1100 km. around Mahè. The Aldabra atoll, declared World Heritage site is the worlds largest raised coral island, home to the worlds biggest number of giant tortoise. The coral reefs are the undisturbed habitat of turtles, sea birds and a vibrant aquatic life. Alphonse and Desroches atolls offer luxurious accommodation and are famous for fly-fishing, deep sea fishing and diving. Some of the privately owned islands like Fregate and Denis have become the favorite getaway destinations of Hollywood celebrities.

Seychelles' pristine beaches with sparkling turquoise water, white sand, naturally picketed with coconut trees and palms make it a must visit destination. Seychelles offers a unique vacation full of relaxation and blissful solitude ideal for honeymooners, where if you wish the only life you will brush shoulders with, are the giant tortoise and turtles! The crystal clear waters of this island paradise are perfect for diving, sailing, canoeing, fishing, snorkeling and viewing the rich biodiversity of sea life. Apart from water sports you can indulge in horse riding, golf or bird watching.

Nearly 50% of land area of Seychelles is protected under natural conservation, offering tourists a chance to see the thriving endemic flora & fauna, enjoying the many national parks, bio-reserves, extensive plantations of coconut trees, cinnamon and vanilla. Tourists can take guided tours or self explore the islands.

Owing to inhabitation by the Arabs, the French, the British and its proximity to Africa, Seychelles is a delightful blend of cultures offering visitors glimpses of all of them in local art, folklore and exotic cuisine. Foodies can choose from international cuisines, local flavors offering the best, especially in sea food.

You can plan your stay in any one of the luxurious hotels Seychelles has to offer, or in a beautiful beach resort Seychelles islands offer. Each lodge or hotel Seychelles has is fully equipped with modern amenities. Some of the tiny islands offer accommodation for a limited number of guests at any given time, truly making you feel like the king or the queen of that island. No matter where you are staying, the alluring beaches will always be at arm's length from all hotels Seychelles has.

To plan your holiday and know about hotels Seychelles offers, visit

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