Friendly Planet Blog

Archive for April, 2011

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Check off ‘1,000 Places To See Before You Die’ with an autographed copy

When Friendly Planet Travel was at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, Melissa got the opportunity to interview Patricia Schultz, author of “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.” After their chat, Melissa scored an autographed copy of Patricia’s book. Take a look below.

If you’re not familiar with the book, jump back to my previous post to find out how it became a milestone in travel journalism. In fact, many of Friendly Planet Travel’s destinations are featured in it. Spots such as Halong Bay, Vietnam; Phuket, Thailand; the Masai Mara, Kenya; Table Mountain, South Africa; and more. We must be on the same page as Patricia as to what destinations you should see before you die. 😉

But I’m not going to tease you with just images of Patricia’s John Hancock. I’m giving you the chance to win it! Here’s what you have to do to win a signed copy of “1,000 Places To See Before You Die” by Patricia Schultz. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling me about two places you want to see before you die, and why.

To be eligible to win, you must include your first name and an e-mail address where we can contact you if you win in the comment. And if you want two chances to win, you can also log in to Twitter and tweet: @FriendlyPlanet I want to win a signed copy of “1,000 Places To See Before You Die” #travel.

But if you tweet, sign your comment with your Twitter handle so we know to count your submission twice. The commenting contest starts today and ends on Monday, April 25, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. EST. One winner will be randomly selected from the pool of comments and tweets, and announced on the blog and on the Friendly Planet Travel Facebook page. Good luck!

Friday’s Friendly Funny

This Saturday is Passport Day in the USA: Apply for a US passport, it’s never been easier

The U.S. Department of State’s Passport Day in the USA is this Saturday, April 9. This is the one day of the year that regional passport agencies and acceptance facilities across the country are open for extended Saturday hours, and no appointment is necessary to apply for a U.S. passport.

If you don’t have a passport, this Saturday is the perfect day to get one. Even if you don’t plan to leave the country, having a passport is an excellent form of identification. In fact, you never know when it will come in handy. You can look up the nearest location to apply for a passport on the State Department’s website. But before you head there, you do need to be prepared with some documentation.

Swing over to our passport tab to find out how and what you need to apply for a passport. Or you can watch the video the State Department put together about Passport Day in the USA. And if you have any questions, leave them in a comment on this post and I’d be happy to answer them!

How to avoid Debbie Downer as a travel companion

Who and how many people you travel with can make or break a vacation. And after organizing exotic group tours for 30 years, I know exactly the mix of people you want to have on a trip to make your vacation an extraordinary one.

Find out what that mix is made of in the Frommer’s article, “How to Plan a Girlfriend Getaway.” The five things writer Lisa Cheng tells you to consider when picking the right mix of travel companions doesn’t just apply to girlfriends either. If you’re traveling with family or male companions, her advice still rings true.

Hop over to give it a read. Thanks again Lisa for including me in your piece!

Good news on Egypt travel: U.S. Department of State downgrades travel warning

Last week the U.S. Department of State downgraded its travel warning for Egypt. Instead of telling travelers to avoid all travel to the country, it now recommends travelers “consider the risks.”

You can go to the State Department’s website to read the full travel update. But I’ll save you the trouble of reading the entire document.

What this means is that the State Department is confident enough about the political situation that U.S. citizens should feel comfortable again visiting Egypt. In fact, most employees have returned to the U.S Embassy in Cairo to resume normal operations.

While the situation regarding Egypt’s new government is far from clear, what is apparent is that the country is now peaceful and the process put in place via the “revolution of the youth” is working. There is a new sense of hope that Egypt will become a more democratic and open society, which we all, of course, welcome.

Friendly Planet Travel suspended all tours to Egypt when the protests erupted, but we will be evaluating the situation this week and will decide when we plan to resume tours to Egypt. It could be as early as August or September.

There is no question that we are ready resume our program. I traveled to Israel last week, which is a neighbor to Egypt, and I learned that the entire region has suffered from a downturn in tourism. We’ll be thrilled to do our part to turn that situation around. Watch this spot to find out when we plan to resume tours to Egypt and the extraordinary deals we’ll be offering.

Friday’s Friendly Funny

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