April 8, 2020 Rules for refunds from airlines and tour operators change on a daily basis.

At the start of the pandemic and when decisions had to be made on an immediate basis,most travel providers stuck to their original cancellation penalties. They did not make any allowance for what was seen as a short lived "crisis": As the cancellations and postponements expanded, so did the thinking on refunds. As of now, there are more liberal refund policies. This, too will change over time.

My recommendation is to wait until the airline or tour operator cancels your trip or changes your schedule, giving you more leeway in getting your money back. Some tour operators are now offering a bonus for postponing rather than cancelling your trip with some adding 20-25% to the amount of funds you have to spend on your postoned trip.

If you are too nervous to wait, and you cancel now, make sure that your reason for cancelling is one that would be covered by your travel insurance, i.e, a medical reason, job loss or other covered reason. Although your travel supplier may charge a penalty, you should be able to recover this amount from your travel insurance company. Policies differ by the state in which you reside, so make sure you check your policy before cancelling.

The latest:news:

How to get a refund from an airline
As of 4.3.20: The U.S. Department of Transportation has mandated airlines  to refund passengers in the event flights are canceled, significant schedule changes or made, or government restrictions prevent flying due to the coronavirus outbreak. The order applies to any flights on U.S. or foreign airlines “to, within, or from the United States.

An airline can still provide a travel voucher in lieu of a refund if the airline tells passengers who already received that voucher about the option to receive a refund, updates and clarifies their refund policies, and goes over the new refund policies with staff, according to the notice.

Make sure you know the penalties involved in your program, and ALWAYS BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE.

Tips for Solo Travelers

One of our main goals is to feature trips where you can have a room to yourself, but have a group of new and old friends to hang around with. However, if you are traveling completely on your own, there are a few tips that apply even more when you are traveling alone.
·         Make a two copies of your passport picture page – leave one with family at home and take the other one with you, keeping it in a separate place than you keep your original passport. I keep mine in my suitcase. If you need to replace yours while abroad, this page will expedite the replacement process.
·         Make a list of all your emergency numbers, including your credit card numbers and pack it in a secure place. Don’t rely on your phone for this info, in the event that your battery dies, or you misplace your phone.
·         Leave your itinerary that includes all the places and contact information where you will be staying with your family. They won’t have to worry if they learn about some trouble in other parts of the world when they know you are nowhere near that location.


Let the people back home know when you arrive safely at your destination.

·         Get the complete name and address of the hotel/resort where you are staying and carry it with you.

·         Stash some extra money on your person outside of your purse, so you will always have enough to get back to your hotel in case of emergency.

·         If you plan on leaving your resort/hotel let the front desk know where you will be, give them the name of the tour company you are using if you are taking a tour. If you are just spending time walking around on your own, let them know when you plan on being back. Have them note it in your record.

·         Leave the name brand fancy t-shirt or your favorite NY baseball team cap at home. Blend in with the locals.

·         Try to arrive during daylight so you can check out your surroundings. Avoid going out at night alone.

  • Don’t wear your finest jewelry and bling.  That can draw attention for all the wrong reasons.  Speaking of jewelry, pack fragile necklaces in drinking straws to keep them tangle-free

·         When ordering a drink at the bar, be observant and pay attention to who is making it and handling it. Do not over indulge, but enjoy.

·         Make friends and have a great time. Traveling solo can be adventurous and extremely fulfilling.

Travel Safe – Travel Solo – Travel Now!


When I went to the eye doctor recently, she told me that I should wear sunglasses, particularly because I have light-colored eyes. Sunlight plays a large role in cataract development. That made me start thinking about other things that are imprtant during the summer months to protect yourself from the sun.

(excerpted from

SPF smarts By now, you probably know that you should use sunscreen every day both to help reduce your risk of skin cancer and to prevent pesky wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of premature aging.

Here are the most common ways you're messing up with sunscreen—and how to truly protect yourself from UV rays.

1.You wait until you're outside to apply sunscreen

2.You apply sunscreen around your clothes Skin cancer can strike anywhere, so it's best to apply sunscreen before you get dressed

. 3.You don't protect your lips So try a lip balm with SPF, which is thicker so it stays on longer. "Then reapply even more frequently than you do body sunscreen, since talking, eating, and drinking removes the sunscreen on your lips faster,"

4. You miss other key spots Dr. Graf says. "The most commonly missed areas are toes and feet, including the bottoms of your feet; underarms; back of the neck under the hairline; ears, especially the tops and back of your ears; eyelids; and inner upper arms." Put that stuff everywhere.

5. You sweat (or rinse) it all off

6. You use a body formula on your face

7. You only use it when it's nice out 8. You don't use enough The old rule about using a shot glass worth of sunscreen every time you apply still holds up, says Dr. Graf. (That's about 1.5 ounces.)

9. You think you're safe indoors or in cars Unless you choose to spend your time in a windowless bunker, you're not protected

10. You don't use a broad-spectrum formula To be fully covered, look for sunscreens labeled "broad spectrum," which means they thwart both types of rays.

11. You chose an SPF that's too low The SPF (sun protection factor) measures how well the sunscreen blocks out UVB rays—which are primarily what cause sunburns. The number tells you how long it would take to redden your skin versus the amount of time without it. For example, with SPF 15, it will take you 15 times longer to burn than if you were wearing nothing. So what number should you aim for? Yes, tanning oil with SPF 8 technically is sunscreen, but it's just not enough protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

12. You use an old bottle Shelf life varies from two to three years, depending on the formula you choose.

13. You don't reapply often enough . How often? "Every 80 minutes, even if it's water-resistant," says Dr. Graf.

14. You skip it if you're going to be in the shade 15. You don't protect your eyes Sunglasses aren't just a fashion statement—they're critical to keeping your eyes safe from UV rays. Make sure your sunglasses offer UV protection, because some inexpensive styles don't have the protective coating. "Without it, the dark lenses actually allow your pupils to dilate, allowing even more UV rays in, which can play a big role in cataract development," says Dr. Sherber. Finally, a health reason to buy a pair of nice shades!

More info:,,20818090,00.html

Improve your health

People often put vacationing aside, whether it’s because they think they can’t afford it or that they’re worried their job is too demanding to leave for a period of time, or they are afraid to leave the dog behind. But it’s actually really important to be able to take a mini break and travel, especially with friends. It help you cope with bad experiences in your life, reduce stress, and boost your mood and overall happiness, among other benefits.

Southern Living has recently reported that taking a trip with your best gal pals can improve your overall mental and physical well-being. It can refresh you when you’re burnt out on work, plus give you quality time with the people who you love most. Forbes reports that women who take advantage of vacation time are less tense, depressed or tired, and have even showed to be happier with their spouse. Their mood is better, and it can even improve productivity and creativity.

On the contrary, not taking trips can contribute to a higher risk of heart disease and death from heart disease for women. Even for men, traveling can reduce the risk of death by 21 percent and mortality from cardiovascular disease by 32 percent.

It makes sense that when you put together good friendships and travel and the health benefits are vast.

So what are you waiting for?

How to Choose a Cruise Cabin.

Cruisers are of two types: Early bookers who have a specific cabin in mind, and those who will take almost any cabin, searching for a good value. There is something for each to keep in mind.

POSH This acronym stands for Port outward, Starboard home. It refers to the ships which sailed from England to India years ago. Those “in the know” wanted to face land from their cabin windows or balconies, which meant the left side or port going east, and the right side or starboard coming home. You might keep this in mind when choosing a cabin for your cruise. If you have an oceanview or above, my favored side would be that facing land for the best views. Just take a look at the itinerary and choose.

If you have mobility challenges or like the quick way to get to the dining room or elsewhere on another deck, choose a cabin near the elevator and stairs.

Look at what is above and below you on the ship’s layout. Perhaps being near the disco, or the kitchen galley may not be the best location for you. Your best bet is to select a cabin that is both above and below other cabins. This is important when you are offered a cabin upgrade. Check the location first, before you agree.

What's on your packing list?

We all have our list of our must have's. It all starts with making a list. Here's what I need to bring:

Earplugs adjust to new noises
Dryer sheets keep my suitcase smelling fresh
Thin rubber gloves.  Store small items in them, use them to wash clothes, etc.
Extra plastic bags, ziplocks for small items and larger ones for laundry
Mini flashlight
Small amount of laundry detergent
A shawl perfect as a blanket on flights
A scarf for warmth or dress up
Clothes I can layer
One set of earrings. I'll never lose them this way.
A sleep mask is a must
Extension cord.  Sockets are always in the wrong place
Rain poncho - lighter than an umbrella

What to know before you go

What to know before you go
There’s nothing like a trip away from home! Here are some things to think about before you go:

Take Care of "Stop" Orders and Advance Payments You should look into placing "stop" orders on any regularly occurring deliveries or services. These may include postal mail, newspapers, housecleaners and the like.
Getting Foreign Currency If you're traveling overseas, the most economical option is to visit an ATM as soon as you arrive in your destination and make a withdrawal in the local currency. Check the website of the airport where you'll be arriving to make sure it has an ATM you can use. Most international airports have several, You need a PIN with number, not letters.
Call your bank or credit card company and let them know about your travel plans. Most banks and credit card companies keep track of spending patterns and may interpret an unexpected overseas purchase as credit card fraud. Your bank or credit card company could lock your account if you use your card in another country without notifying them.
Credit cards Discover is not an international card.  Visa and Mastercard are readily accepted, but Amex is less so.  Make sure your card does not charge you international fees, or that $100 bargain can become a $150 expense.
Don’t assume that your cellphone works overseas Call your phone company and make sure that you know what their overseas.  Turn your phone off or put it in airplane mode to avoid charges.
I use VIBER or WHATS APP  for international calls.  You need to set it up before you go, and both the caller and recipient need to be on the program.  It is free.
Electricity.  Your US appliances can be used.  Bring an extension cord as there are usually only 1 or two outlets in a room.
In Europe, the voltage is 220, and you need an adapter and converter.   Bring both, since you cannot count on the hotels having enough for every person in the hotel.
Clothing:  Pack an umbrella and a fold up jacket or poncho for rainy days.  Pack clothes you plan to throwaway soon so you can do just that and empty out your bag (more room for souvenirs).  Smart casual and casual with comfortable shoes, a swimsuit or gym clothes will be best.  You may want to bring a formal outfit for the ship.
Remember that you are traveling to another country. Hotels will be comfortable, but not fancy, and not just like home.  When traveling internationally, you need to be flexible.  Rooms, taxes and breakfast are included.  Everything else is your additional expense.   



More info:


Call 1-800-221-2474   or  (516) 248-2042 outside USA/Canada  

  • Cotswolds Vilage

  • STanding Stones at Avebury

  • English pub visit