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The post Protected: Flights For A Fraction – Video Course appeared first on Michael Travels.

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I want to thank everyone for taking the time to learn more about my system for finding the cheapest flights possible. Within the videos I mention a number of sites and apps that I personally use almost every time I am booking a flight. Please see below for those links.

Part 1: Pre – Flight Check 1/3

Part 2: The System 2/3

Part 3: Real Life Examples 3/3

The post Free Video Course – Cheap Flights appeared first on Michael Travels.

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For a lot of folks, visiting Machu Picchu has long been a bucket list destination.

However, there a few issues that arise when trying to plan your trip there. The ones I found were particularly the following:

  • It’s really no that easy to get to…..in the general sense
  • Fairly high altitude of over 11,000 above sea level
  • Getting there takes a considerable amount of time depending on what route you choose.

In this article I’m not only going to give you the no hiking way to get to Machu Picchu. I’m also going to give you different routes depending on what your time allows.

Step 1: Get to Cusco

No matter where you are coming from you will need to get here first. Once you get here the true journey really starts.

I personally flew into Lima and traveled to Cusco from there.

So, how do you get there?

Option 1: Via Plane

You can fly directly there if you choose. A fairly short flight over the Andes mountains.

I did not choose this route due to being a little worried about being able to acclimate to the high altitude. If you are prone to altitude sickness or worried yourself I would not suggest this route.

With that being said if you are staying at a nicer hotel vs. an Airbnb (what I did) my understanding is they usually have oxygen tank in case you are feeling ill.

If altitude sickness does not bother you and you have the extra cash to spend I’d say go for it.

Option 2: Via Bus

There are many options when it comes to bus routes and companies. For the sake of time and space I will only give you the top 2 choices most people take.

Cruz Del Sur

This is not exactly the safest options but quite certainly the most popular coming from Lima.

This bus will travel south and then east through the Andes Mountains.

They take the sharpest turns as if they are driving in NASCAR and the food isn’t the best. With that being said this bus ride takes around 22 hours.

Opt for the upgrade VIP seats that recline to 160 degrees. And do not choose the last seat in the back because you will lose at least 20-30 degrees of your recline due to the back wall.

It sounds terrible to be in a bus for over 20 hours but it actually wasn’t that bad. They have movies with English sub titles, lights for reading and music.

Peru Hop

If I had more than a week in Peru this would have been the bus I would have taken.

They go further south than CDS and do not drive through the mountains. They have multiple day/night trips depending on your time allowance.

Not only would this be an easier bus option but the biggest selling point is the stops you take along the way. If you are big into seeing the most of Peru this option is best.

Step 2: Cusco To Machu Picchu

Once you are in Cusco you can plan to make this city your base camp or you can travel closer to Machu Picchu.

Namely I would suggest Ollantaytambo.

I liked Cusco and quite a bit bigger city but for me Ollantaytambo is set up for backbackers and Machu Picchu travelers. Very cool streets with outdoor restaurant seating.

Ollantaytambo gets you in the mood for Machu Picchu. I was very disappointing after traveling thought this city that I didn’t stay here.

Train From Cusco to Machu Picchu Station Peru Rail

You will get to Machu Piccchu Staion by way of train or bus/train depending on the time of year you go.

During certain times of the year the use a bimodal system of a combination of a bus and a train. Otherwise you will travel strictly by train.

There are a few different ride options depending on how much you want to spend or see. The train I had was fantastic. Not only huge side windows but also windows on the ceiling.

The views are absolutely breathtaking.

The train (or bus/train) will take around 4-5 hours.

Pretty much this rail is made for travelers to Machu Picchu. They are professional, efficient, and the ride is more enjoyable than you would think.

Step 3: Bus up to the Top

So you have arrived at the Machu Picchu Staion.

When reading online I was a little confused on how to get to the bus up to the top.

Honestly, it is super easy. Pretty much just follow everyone else. Or ask how to get out of the streets.

It’s a little confusing trying to get out of the exit but once you do you will hit right on the bridge over a road. Go down the stairs at the end of the stairs and look at the road.

There will be arrows that will direct you to the bus ticket shop. You could buy ahead but I got in and out pretty easy. About $24 usd for round trip.

Step 4: Enjoy Machu Picchu

You have made it!

Enjoy the amazing sites and history.

Just take the same trip back to get to Cusco. So take the bus again back to Lima?

Step 5: Cusco to Lima

You have an option of taking the bus back to Lima as you did on the way there.

Honestly if I had to do it over I would fly from Cusco to Lima. If you plan well I saw flights as low as $14.

The main reason I took the bus there was to acclimate to the elevation. Going back it doesn’t matter so if I had to do it again I would fly back.

Summary

So there you have it!

The no hiking route for those that are short on time or would rather skip the hike for other reason.

As always please let me know if you have any questions. If you are planning a trip I’m more than happy to help.

The post How to Get to Machu Picchu – The No Hiking Route appeared first on Michael Travels.

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Some links contained within this article are affiliate links and I may receive compensation if you buy through those links.

I love to solo travel and so do many woman that I know.

With 4 sisters that like to travel, as well as being part of The Chicago Backpacking Group, a main topic of discussion is always solo travel. Especially Female Solo Travel.

With a little help from my female friends here are 10 products you will want to buy right now for your next solo trip. No matter if you are female or not:

1. Zoppen Multi-purpose Rfid Blocking Travel Passport Wallet

Not only does this great wallet hold everything you need for going through customs, as well as daily travel, it is also super sleek and fashionable.

Combine that with the fact it’s available in 35 different colors and you have something that is both stylish and extremely useful in keeping everything you need in an organized manner.

Here are the stats on this great piece:

* Eco-friendly material : High quality PU leather – passed Euro REACH Quality Standard, US EN71 and US CA Prop 65 Test

* Safety : Rfid blocking material inside to protect your personal information

* Measurement : 7.5″ x 5.0″ x 1.0″ inches ( 19 x 12.5 x 2.5 cm )

* Roomy : 1 Passport pouch, 3 Card slots, 1 ID Pouch, 2 ticket compartment, 1 Zip pocket, 1 Sim card slot, 1 Pen holder

* More functional : Fit U.S. money and 5.8″ Smartphone (max)

* Comfort: more sponge added for better feel

At $14.99 this is an absolute no brainer.

2. Rainleaf Microfiber Towel 

I don’t care if you are male or female.

If you are doing any type of solo travel or backpacking style travel where you are in multiple locations within a few day this is an absolute must.

  • Going to the beach but don’t want to drag a huge beach towel with you?
  • Don’t trust the towels at your Airbnb or hotel?
  • Do you have to bath somewhere other than a typical shower?

If you answered yes to any of those questions then this towel is exactly what you need.

  • Microfiber
  • FAST DRYING – much comfortable for next use & convenient to pack. SUPER ABSORBENT – capable of repeat use in short time & dry you fast. BEAUTIFUL COLOR – much suitable for multi use daily.
  • Ease to keep your towel fresh and away from mildew & germ. SKIN FRIENDLY – remarkable soft suede like feel on your skin and face.
  • ULTRA COMPACT & LIGHT WEIGHT – easy to carry and space saving.
  • HANG SNAP LOOP – practical & easy to hang anywhere and dry.
  • CARRY BAG – reusable and waterproof.CORNER ZIP POCKET – to keep cellphone and keys safe.
  • With all the features of Rainleaf microfiber towel listed above, they can do their job well as travel towels or sports towels. Also they are ideal for beach, travel, camping, swimming, backpacking, gym.
$8.99 – $2099 Depending on Size

3. Vlando Small Travel Jewelry Box Organizer – Faux Leather Storage Case

I’m one for organization.

If you are anything like my girlfriend you have multiple rings, bracelets, necklaces and ear rings you want to bring with you.

I’ll assume that has an avid traveler you learned to pack light so maybe this product won’t interest you.

On the other hand how nice would it be to have a small protective case for any jewelry you bring with you. We all know that most jewelry we bring with us has some sentimental value and we want to protect it.

As Amazon would do it we have 7 color options. Also:

  • Simple and compact design with elegant outlook and could be used to storage collective
  • Material: Deluxe synthetic leather exterior(not genuine leather but premium synthetic PU leather)+Velvet lining+High Quality flannel interior
  • 3 removal parts, raw of ring rolls and a elastic wall pocket; suitable for holding earrings, rings, necklace, etc
  • Great for carrying small jewelries (earrings, rings, necklace, bracelets, etc) when travel. Also the best Valentine’s Gift, Birthday Gift, Christmas Gift for Your Girls.
  • Zippered closure with silver tone zipper pull. Measurements: 105mm (H) X 105mm x 55mm
$10.99 makes for a sweet deal!

4. Travel Make Up Case With Adjustable Dividers

Again, when traveling solo, enough cannot be said about being completely organized.

This doesn’t just have to serve the purpose of a make up case in that you could also fill it will extra charging cords, receipts, or anything else you might want to quickly access.

About the product:

  • PREMIUM MATERIAL: This Makeup Bag is made of high quality Oxford Fabric, Lining-nylon. (Note: Cosmetic Accessories Not included).
  • PLENTY OF STORAGE SPACE: This Makeup Bag have enough space to storage your makeup and cosmetic accessories, like lipstick, lip gloss, makeup brushes, eyeshadow, makeup palettes, hairbrushes, skin care products, nail polish, nail art tools, shampoo and so no.
  • ADJUSTABLE COMPARTMENTS: This Makeup Bag have several compartments and makeup brushes slots, you can keep your makeup tools is neat and tidy. Special design adjustable compartments, you can adjust as needed.
  • PERFECT TRAVEL MAKEUP CASE: Portable and Lightweight design, with waterproof, shockproof, anti-wear and spill-proof interiors. You can bring your cosmetics to anywhere.
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL MAKEUP BAG: This Makeup Bag not only can storage your cosmetics, but also Jewelry, Electronic Accessories, Camera, Essential oil, Toiletries, Shaving Kit, Valuable objects and so on.
Starting at $18.99

5. USAstyle Infinity Scarf With Zipper Pocket – Convertible Soft Stretchy Travel Scarves

With 35 colors/styles and the ability to conceal your phone, money or keys make this a must have for any female traveler.

  • HIDDEN ZIPPER POCKET: This infinity scarf features an amazing hidden zipper pocket that can fit all of your most needed accessories like: Iphone, key, your ID and Passport and so on! It is also a basic for common occasion.
  • SOFT AND COZY FABRIC: Made from premium 50% bamboo,50% polyester.This stylish scarf is comfortable,and is good for all seasons.
  • GENEROUS SIZE: The size is 14” x 34”.Perfect for twist 2 times and make it a more full look.
$16.99 with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

6. Stashbandz Unisex Travel Money Belt, Running Belt, Fanny and Waist Pack, 4 Large Security Pockets and Zipper, Fits Phones Passport and More, Extra Wide Spandex, USA Made

Stylish and way more comfortable than your typical money belt. Available in 8 color options.

  • SECURE 4 WIDE POCKETS. NEW CONCEALED ZIPPER POCKET ALL COLORS.  Pockets load from the top with pickpocket proof fold over locking flap to secure items. Unisex Workout – Travel Belt Fits iPhones and any size cell phone vertical or horizontal, passport holder, ID, money, keys, flask holder, glasses, travel wallet, insulin pump holder, and more.
  • MADE IN AMERICA TOP QUALITY.  All-in-one fashion, sporting, and travel accessory.  A fanny pack, insulin pump belt, running waist pack, and money belt for safe travel.  See far left photo for best size.
  • DOUBLE THE WIDTH of other running waist packs or belts. Tubular stretch Spandex hip belt 6 inches high with four 8 inch wide pockets.  Vertical stretch 7 inches high to accommodate all X-large cell phones.
  • HIGHEST QUALITY SPANDEX FABRIC soft, stays put and durable. Moisture wicking soaks up sweat, keeps the body cool, phones bacteria free. Stays put for runners with no chafing or bouncing.  Non-bulky slimming comfort hides a muffin top. Discreet small logo.
  • 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. We design our own products and manufacture with a family owned facility in the USA.   We are the only authorized seller of this Patented, Trademarked product.  All images are protected by Copyrights.
$22.99

7. The Solo Female Travel Book: Tips and Inspiration for Women Who Want to See the World on Their Own Terms

From the description:

Jen Ruiz is a lawyer turned travel blogger and bestselling author who has traveled the world extensively by herself. “The Solo Female Travel Book” is the latest installment in her how-to travel series and includes funny stories, tips and inspiration to help you see the world safely and confidently.

From surviving her first overnight hike in the Grand Canyon to dating mishaps while “living abroad” in Sydney Australia, Jen shares some of her most comedic and relatable travel memories in this book.
It’s half guide, half memoir, all heart and a must-read for aspiring female adventurers. 

With this book, you will learn how to:
– Prepare for your first solo trip 
– Choose the right destination 
– Plan the perfect itinerary 
– Take stunning photographs by yourself 
– Pack light and bring all the essentials 
– Make friends abroad and combat loneliness 
And much more! Don’t let fear hold you back. You don’t need to have a travel partner to have amazing adventures. 
There is power in flying solo, and it’s time for you to start discovering it.

It’s half guide, half memoir, all heart and a must-read for aspiring female adventurers.
With this book, you will learn how to: 
– Prepare for your first solo trip 
– Choose the right destination 
– Plan the perfect itinerary 
– Take stunning photographs by yourself 
– Pack light and bring all the essentials 
– Make friends abroad and combat loneliness 
And much more! Don’t let fear hold you back. You don’t need to have a travel partner to have amazing adventures. 
There is power in flying solo, and it’s time for you to start discovering it.

$11.99 in Paperback

8. Female Urination Device – Portable Funnel Lets You Pee Standing Up – Discreet Reusable Urinal Funnel For Women – Ladies Pee Funnel for Travel, Festivals, Camping, Outdoor Uses – Carry Bag Included

Nothing is worse when you have to use the restroom but can’t go. For men it is a little easier for us to find a place to go compared to women.

For all the women that enjoy camping or backpacking trips this item is for you.

  • BATHROOM SOLUTION THAT IS PORTABLE AND SMALL: Discreet, reusable, funnel-shaped urination device for ladies! Our funnels fit in your purse, pocket or vehicle glove box…they provide a unique bathroom option for women to go anywhere clean and easily – concerts, porta potties, camping and more; no more crouching! TESTED BY Woman FOR Woman!
  • CARRYING CASE/BAG INCLUDED – Store your pee funnel in its soft micro-fiber carrying case equipped with a draw cord so you can securely open and close it easily or tie it on your backpack. Use it for traveling, concerts / music festivals, camping, long road trips, boating / kayaking, hiking, backpacking, skiing, plus many other uses!
  • KEEPING IT EASY FOR SANITARY & CLEAN USE EVERY TIME: Our funnels are MADE from 100% FDA approved silicone what is medical grade! Our product is antibacterial to prevent odors & germs. With our water-repellent feminine urinary device being silicone it can be shaken dry. You can also just simply rinse with water & soap when the opportunity allows!
  • 100% SPILL-PROOF DESIGN: Our devises are designed with a long spout & special arc designs ensure leaking-free and no spills, drip or splash back when pee standing up like men. Our flexible urine funnel fits snuggly & smoothly against your body to make a reliable spill / leak proof seal plus the long spout keeps your clothes and shoes clean and dry.
$10.97

9. Panasonic Electric Shaver for Women, ES2207P, Close Curves Electronic Shaver, 3-Blade Cordless Electric Razor and Pop-Up Trimmer, Wet or Dry Shaver Operation
  • Sharp Shaving Blades: Panasonic Close Curves women’s electric shaver with three ultra-sharp blades and ultra-thin foil follows body contours for a quick, close and comfortable shave
  • Flexible Pivoting Heads Electric Shaver and Trimmer 2 in 1: Three independently floating flexible pivoting heads glide effortlessly to trace the individual contours of legs, arms, under the arms and bikini areas; Built-in pop-up trimmer with attachment details legs, underarms and bikini area
  • Wet/Dry Shaving Convenience: Wet/dry waterproof shaver allows for convenient shaving in or out of the shower
  • Hypoallergenic Stainless-Steel Blades: High-quality, hypoallergenic stainless-steel blades and foils are especially gentle on sensitive skin to avoid irritation while shaving and trimming
  • Cleans in Seconds: 100% washable shaver cleans in seconds under running water; Rechargeable battery charges in 12 hours for up to 20 minutes of peak power shaving and trimming; Portable and travel friendly
$17.99

10. Women Backpack Purse Waterproof Nylon Anti-theft Rucksack Lightweight School Shoulder Bag
  • HIGH QUALITY – Soft Durable PU leather and Nylon Fabric, with Waterproof and Anti-theft function to protect your electronics, books or clothes.
  • POCKETS – 2 * Exterior Anterior Zipper Pocket, 2 * Exterior Both Sides Pocket, 1 * Main Pockets, 2 * Interior Pockets, 1 * Interior Back Zipper Pocket
  • STRAPS – Two adjustable long shoulder straps, one detachable comfortable hand strap or single-shoulder strap.
  • DIMENSIONS – 13.78″L x 6.69″W x 14.17″H, Weight: 1.54 pounds. Please pay more attention to the size reference on the image before paying for your order.
  • LARGE CAPACITY – Roomy enough hold your 13.3″Macbook Pro, books, iPad, cell phone, wallet, umbrella, glasses case, cosmetic… PS: This bag is not suitable for any laptop that is larger than 13.3 inch.
$25.99 – $34.99 Depending on Color Choice

Summary

I hope you enjoyed this list I have compiled for some of the best items you can buy on Amazon right now for Female Solo Travelers.

Please let me know what you think in the comments below. As always thank you for reading.

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It’s hard to determine what we think we will need, and what we actually will need, on a trip away from home. One item most of us forget about is our first aid kit when traveling.

In some cases that causes us to under or over pack. I am guilty of it and so are most all travelers.

First thing I will say…..

If you can, pack what you know you will most likely need, and if you need the others you can buy them while traveling.

Here’s what we are going to cover in this article:

  • Why a First Aid Kit
  • Figuring out what I need to pack
  • Weekend or week long trip examples kits
  • Traveling abroad example kits
  • Preparing for the worst!
Why a First-Aid Kit When Traveling?

I never thought I needed a first aid kit for traveling until I traveled to more remote areas as well as countries abroad. Sure, if you go to San Francisco you will most likely have a Walgreen’s a mile walk away from you and anything minor can be dealt with quickly.

But what about a backpacking trip to a foreign country?

I know sometimes food doesn’t agree with me and the worst thing I can imagine is not having some medicine for a “loose” stomach.

At this point it would be nice to have your Travel First Aid Kit handy.

What do I pack?

That’s a great question.

Unfortunately, most sites I’ve read on the topic give a general, over the top, pack everything you own plus the kitchen sink style of information.

I like to simply things for you and I.

Here are 5 questions I ask myself to figure out what I need to pack in my first aid kit when traveling:

  1. What do I absolutely need (Life or Death)?
  2. Where am I going?
  3. What activities will I be doing?
  4. What do I prefer to not be without
  5. Can I buy this where I am going?

That’s simple enough but let’s break this down to easy digestible steps we can actually use.

What do I absolutely need (Life or Death)?

While doing this research I realized one big important step in packing exactly what you need.

I do not take any prescription medications or have any health issues that would dictate the use and timing of a particular drug or activity.

With that being said I do have allergies. While it may not sound like life or death to you in can become very uncomfortable and irritating if I have a reaction with no medication to remedy the solution.

I take a daily, over the counter, type of allergy medicine. I know I can get this medicine (or something similar) almost anywhere I am at, but even on a weekend trip I make sure I have my Clariton on me.

I’m going to copy this text directly from the website so I need to give credit where credit is due. The CDC does a great job of outlining the most important medical items to bring if you have a medical condition or are on any prescription meds: Check out their advice here for more information:

Prescription medicines

  • Your prescriptions
  • Travelers’ diarrhea antibiotic
  • Medicines to prevent malaria

Medical supplies

  • Glasses and contacts
  • Medical alert bracelet or necklace
  • Diabetes testing supplies
  • Insulin
  • Inhalers
  • EpiPens

The above text was copies from: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart

Where am I traveling to?

This matters for one obvious reason and one not so obvious reason.

Here they are:

  1. Is what I might need easily available?
  2. What are the inherent risks with the area I’m traveling too? (mainly abroad travel)

The post First Aid Kit Traveling: What actually need to pack appeared first on Michael Travels.

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You must have and keep your itinerary for 5 years to legally travel to Cuba if you live in the US.

I’m going to help you create one today.

What does the law say?

§ 515.574 Support for the Cuban People.

(a)General license. The travel-related transactions set forth in § 515.560(c) and other transactions that are intended to provide support for the Cuban people are authorized, provided that:

(1) The activities are of:

(i) Recognized human rights organizations;

(ii) Independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy; or

(iii) Individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba; and

(2) Each traveler engages in a full-time schedule of activities that:

(i) Enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities; and

(ii) Result in meaningful interaction with individuals in Cuba.

(3) The traveler’s schedule of activities does not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule.

What does that mean in language I understand?

What that means is this:

You need to spend money with the Cuban People rather than spending your money at government owned establishments. And you need to spend the majority of your time spending that money with the Cuban people rather than just getting drunk all day.

But you can still get drunk all day you just have to do it within these limits.

5 Keys to Supporting the Cuban People
  • Stay at a casa particular: This is a Cuban owned home or apartment or dwelling.

Look on Airbnb and if you are okay with staying at someones house then go for it. Typically much cheaper.

I went for a private room in a private apartment. Literally I had my own apartment in Centro Havana for about $30 a day.

  • Eat at privately Cuban Owned restaurants called paladares
  • Shop at privately-owned stores run by self-employed Cubans called cuentapropista.
  • Drink at Cuban People owned bars
  • Spend money with the Cuban People by way of Tours and Events (Look to Airbnb for this)

The main idea is to spend your time spending money in the correct way. And by all means never visit any restricted site.

Where Can’t I Visit?

The list is longer than you would think considering the government owns a lot of the country. Here is an exhaustive list that comes from the US travel site: https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/cuba/cubarestrictedlist/275331.htm

Below is the U.S. Department of State’s list of entities and subentities under the control of, or acting for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel with which direct financial transactions would disproportionately benefit such services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba. For information regarding the prohibition on direct financial transactions with these entities, please see the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control websiteand the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security website.

*** Entities or subentities owned or controlled by another entity or subentity on this list are not treated as restricted unless also specified by name on the list. ***

MINISTRIES

MINFAR — Ministerio de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias

MININT — Ministerio del Interior

HOLDING COMPANIES

CIMEX — Corporación CIMEX S.A.

Companía Turística Habaguanex S.A.

GAESA — Grupo de Administración Empresarial S.A.

Gaviota — Grupo de Turismo Gaviota

UIM — Unión de Industria Militar

HOTELS IN HAVANA AND OLD HAVANA

Aparthotel Montehabana (Habaguanex)

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski (Gaviota)

H10 Habana Panorama (Gaviota)

Hostal Valencia (Habaguanex)

Hotel Ambos Mundos (Habaguanex)

Hotel Armadores de Santander (Habaguanex)

Hotel Beltrán de Santa Cruz (Habaguanex)

Hotel Conde de Villanueva (Habaguanex)

Hotel del Tejadillo (Habaguanex)

Hotel el Bosque (Habaguanex)

Hotel el Comendador (Habaguanex)

Hotel el Mesón de la Flota (Habaguanex)

Hotel Florida (Habaguanex)

Hotel Habana 612 (Habaguanex)

Hotel Kohly (Habaguanex)

Hotel Los Frailes (Habaguanex)

Hotel Marqués de Prado Ameno (Habaguanex)

Hotel Palacio del Marqués de San Felipe y

Hotel Palacio O’Farrill (Habaguanex)

Hotel Park View (Habaguanex)

Hotel Raquel (Habaguanex)

Hotel San Miguel (Habaguanex)

Hotel Telégrafo (Habaguanex)

Hotel Terral (Habaguanex)

Memories Miramar Havana (Gaviota)

Memories Miramar Montehabana (Gaviota)

Santiago de Bejucal (Habaguanex)

HOTELS IN SANTIAGO DE CUBA

Villa Gaviota Santiago (Gaviota)

HOTELS IN VARADERO

Blau Marina Varadero Resort (Gaviota)

Grand Memories Varadero (Gaviota)

Iberostar Laguna Azul (Gaviota)

Iberostar Playa Alameda (Gaviota)

Meliá Marina Varadero (Gaviota)

Meliá Peninsula Varadero (Gaviota)

Memories Varadero (Gaviota)

Naviti Varadero (Gaviota)

Ocean Varadero El Patriarca (Gaviota)

Ocean Vista Azul (Gaviota)

Paradisus Princesa del Mar (Gaviota)

Paradisus Varadero (Gaviota)

Sol Sirenas Coral (Gaviota)

HOTELS IN PINAR DEL RIO

Hotel Villa Cabo de San Antonio (Gaviota)

Hotel Villa Maria La Gorda y Centro Internacional de Buceo (Gaviota)

HOTELS IN BARACOA

Hostal 1511 (Gaviota)

Hostal La Habanera (Gaviota)

Hostal La Rusa (Gaviota)

Hostal Rio Miel (Gaviota)

Hotel El Castillo (Gaviota)

Hotel Porto Santo (Gaviota)

Villa Maguana (Gaviota)

HOTELS IN CAYOS DE VILLA CLARA

Dhawa Cayo Santa María (Gaviota)

Hotel Cayo Santa María (Gaviota)

Hotel Playa Cayo Santa María (Gaviota)

Iberostar Ensenachos (Gaviota)

Meliá Buenavista (Gaviota)

Meliá Cayo Santa María (Gaviota)

Meliá Las Dunas (Gaviota)

Memories Azul (Gaviota)

Memories Flamenco (Gaviota)

Memories Paraíso (Gaviota)

Ocean Casa del Mar (Gaviota)

Royalton Cayo Santa María (Gaviota)

Sol Cayo Santa María (Gaviota)

Villa Las Brujas (Gaviota)

Warwick Cayo Santa María (Gaviota)

HOTELS IN HOLGUÍN

Blau Costa Verde Beach & Resort (Gaviota)

Hotel Playa Costa Verde (Gaviota)

Hotel Playa Pesquero (Gaviota)

Memories Holguín (Gaviota)

Paradisus Río de Oro Resort & Spa (Gaviota)

Playa Costa Verde (Gaviota)

Playa Pesquero Premium Service (Gaviota)

Sol Rio de Luna y Mares (Gaviota)

Villa Cayo Naranjo (Gaviota)

Villa Cayo Saetia (Gaviota)

Villa Pinares de Mayari (Gaviota)

HOTELS IN JARDINES DEL REY

Hotel Playa Coco Plus (Gaviota)

Iberostar Playa Pilar (Gaviota)

Meliá Jardines del Rey (Gaviota)

Memories Caribe (Gaviota)

Pestana Cayo Coco (Gaviota)

HOTELS IN TOPES DE COLLANTES

Hostal Los Helechos (Gaviota)

Los Helechos (Gaviota)

Villa Caburni (Gaviota)

TOURIST AGENCIES

Crucero del Sol

Gaviota Tours

MARINAS

Marina Gaviota Cabo de San Antonio (Pinar del Rio)

Marina Gaviota Cayo Coco (Jardines del Rey)

Marina Gaviota Las Brujas (Cayos de Villa Clara)

Marina Gaviota Puerto Vita (Holguín)

Marina Gaviota Varadero (Varadero)

STORES IN OLD HAVANA

Casa del Abanico (Habaguanex)

Colección Habana (Habaguanex)

Florería Jardín Wagner (Habaguanex)

Joyería Coral Negro (CIMEX) – Additional locations throughout Cuba

La Casa del Regalo (Habaguanex)

San Ignacio 415 (Habaguanex)

Soldadito de Plomo (Habaguanex)

Tienda El Navegante (Habaguanex)

Tienda Munecos de Leyenda (Habaguanex)

Tienda Museo El Reloj Cuervo y Sobrinos (Habaguanex)

ENTITIES DIRECTLY SERVING THE DEFENSE AND SECURITY SECTORS

ACERPROT — Agencia de Certificación y Consultoría de Seguridad y Protección

AGROMIN — Grupo Empresarial Agropecuario del Ministerio del Interior

APCI — Agencia de Protección Contra Incendios

CAHOMA — Empresa Militar Industrial Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara

CASEG — Empresa Militar Industrial Transporte Occidente

CID NAV — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Naval

CIDAI — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de Armamento de Infantería

CIDAO — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo del Armamento de Artillería e Instrumentos Ópticos y Ópticos Electrónicos

CORCEL — Empresa Militar Industrial Emilio Barcenas Pier

CUBAGRO — Empresa Comercializadora y Exportadora de Productos Agropecuarios y Agroindustriales

DATYS — Empresa Para El Desarrollo De Aplicaciones, Tecnologías Y Sistemas

DCM TRANS — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo del Transporte

DEGOR — Empresa Militar Industrial Desembarco Del Granma

DSE — Departamento de Seguridad del Estado

EMIAT — Empresa Importadora Exportadora de Abastecimientos Técnicos

Empresa Militar Industrial Astilleros Astimar

Empresa Militar Industrial Astilleros Centro

Empresa Militar Industrial Yuri Gagarin

ETASE — Empresa de Transporte y Aseguramiento

Ferretería TRASVAL

GELCOM — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Grito de Baire

Impresos de Seguridad

MECATRONICS — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de Electrónica y Mecánica

NAZCA — Empresa Militar Industrial Granma

OIBS — Organización Integración para el Bienestar Social

PLAMEC — Empresa Militar Industrial Ignacio Agramonte

PNR — Policía Nacional Revolucionaria

PROVARI — Empresa de Producciones Varias

SEPSA — Servicios Especializados de Protección

SIMPRO — Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de Simuladores

TECAL — Empresa de Tecnologías Alternativas

TECNOPRO — Empresa Militar Industrial “G.B. Francisco Cruz Bourzac”

TECNOTEX — Empresa Cubana Exportadora e Importadora de Servicios, Artículos y Productos Técnicos Especializados

TGF — Tropas de Guardafronteras

UAM — Unión Agropecuaria Militar

ULAEX — Unión Latinoamericana de Explosivos

XETID — Empresa de Tecnologías de la Información Para La Defensa

YABO — Empresa Militar Industrial Coronel Francisco Aguiar Rodríguez

ADDITIONAL SUBENTITIES OF CIMEX

ADESA/ASAT — Agencia Servicios Aduanales (Customs Services)

Cachito (Beverage Manufacturer)

Contex (Fashion)

Datacimex

ECUSE — Empresa Cubana de Servicios

Inmobiliaria CIMEX (Real Estate)

Inversiones CIMEX

Jupina (Beverage Manufacturer)

La Maisón (Fashion)

Najita (Beverage Manufacturer)

Publicitaria Imagen (Advertising)

Ron Caney (Rum Production)

Ron Varadero (Rum Production)

Telecable (Satellite Television)

Tropicola (Beverage Manufacturer)

Zona Especializada de Logística y Comercio (ZELCOM)

ADDITIONAL SUBENTITIES OF GAESA

Almacenes Universales (AUSA)

ANTEX — Corporación Antillana Exportadora

Dirección Integrada Proyecto Mariel (DIP)

Empresa Inmobiliaria Almest (Real Estate)

GRAFOS (Advertising)

RAFIN S.A. (Financial Services)

Sociedad Mercantin Inmobiliaria Caribe (Real Estate)

TECNOIMPORT

Terminal de Contenedores de la Habana (TCH)

Terminal de Contenedores de Mariel, S.A.

UCM — Unión de Construcciones Militares

Zona Especial de Desarrollo Mariel (ZEDM)

Zona Especial de Desarrollo y Actividades Logísticas (ZEDAL)

ADDITIONAL SUBENTITIES OF GAVIOTA

AT Comercial

Manzana de Gomez (Shopping Mall)

PhotoService

Producciones TRIMAGEN S.A. (Tiendas Trimagen)

ADDITIONAL SUBENTITIES OF HABAGUANEX

Sociedad Mercantil Cubana Inmobiliaria Fenix S.A. (Real Estate)

Summary

Cuba is an amazing Country and you can still safety travel there as a US citizen. If you have any questions please always leave me a comment below.

Thanks!

The post Support of the Cuban People – How to do it legally as an American appeared first on Michael Travels.

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You must have and keep your itinerary for 5 years to legally travel to Cuba if you live in the US.

I’m going to help you create one today.

What does the law say?

§ 515.574 Support for the Cuban People.

(a)General license. The travel-related transactions set forth in § 515.560(c) and other transactions that are intended to provide support for the Cuban people are authorized, provided that:

(1) The activities are of:

(i) Recognized human rights organizations;

(ii) Independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy; or

(iii) Individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba; and

(2) Each traveler engages in a full-time schedule of activities that:

(i) Enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities; and

(ii) Result in meaningful interaction with individuals in Cuba.

(3) The traveler’s schedule of activities does not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule.

What does that mean in language I understand?

What that means is this:

You need to spend money with the Cuban People rather than spending your money at government owned establishments. And you need to spend the majority of your time spending that money with the Cuban people rather than just getting drunk all day.

But you can still get drunk all day you just have to do it within these limits.

5 Keys to Supporting the Cuban People
  • Stay at a casa particular: This is a Cuban owned home or apartment or dwelling.

Look on Airbnb and if you are okay with staying at someones house then go for it. Typically much cheaper.

I went for a private room in a private apartment. Literally I had my own apartment in Centro Havana for about $30 a day.

  • Eat at privately Cuban Owned restaurants called paladares
  • Shop at privately-owned stores run by self-employed Cubans called cuentapropista.

The post Support of the Cuban People – Sample Itinerary appeared first on Michael Travels.

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    Travel Legally if you live in the United States.

    I just got back a week ago from my trip to Havana. I originally booked the ticket not knowing there was a lot I had to do before I even left. Before we get into the city itself here are 5 things you need to know before you travel to Cuba.

    5 Things to Know Before Going to Cuba 1. It is Illegal to Travel to Cuba for Tourism

    If you are an American Citizen this statement is true for you.

    Fortunately, there are some exceptions (read: loopholes) so you can still travel to this amazing country. Here are the 12 exception categories you must follow for legal travel:

    • Family visits
    • Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
    • Journalistic activity
    • Professional research and professional meetings
    • Educational activities
    • Religious activities
    • Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
    • Support for the Cuban people
    • Humanitarian projects
    • Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
    • Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
    • Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing Department of Commerce regulations and guidelines with respect to Cuba or engaged in by U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign firms
    Support of the Cuban People

    This will most likely be the reason you will use if you can not satisfy the above definitions.

    If you go by this exception please do your part and do not just take advantage of this loophole.

    You will quickly find that the people of Cuba really do need our help in terms of financial spending. They appreciate tourism and understand a lot of their money comes from just that.

    2. You will need a Tourist Visa

    Even though American tourism is Illegal you will still need to obtain a Tourist Visa to visit Havana.

    There are 2 types of Visas and it will depend on whether you are traveling directly from the US or if you are traveling to another country before arriving to Cuba.

    If you are traveling on a direct flight from the US to Cuba you will need the “Green Card” which costs around $70 plus shipping.

    If you are traveling to Cuba via a layover from another country you can purchase the “Pink Card” which costs around $35.

    Since I traveled to Panama City before hitting Cuba I was able to purchase the Pink Card. Best yet you can buy these online with very fast shipping. Here is my recommended place to buy though shipping is not cheap:

    Get Your Cuba Tourist Card Fast and Safely

    3. Your Credit Card Won’t Work So Bring Cash to Convert

    If you have a card from a US bank it will not work. Not at the airport, not at a money exchange…….no where.

    So you will need to bring cash to covert.

    You will literally need to bring all the cash you will need for the trip because you will not be able to get more while in Cuba.

    Call your bank to confirm but if it is a US bank……it will not work. Trust me I already tried and failed. Luckily, I did bring all the cash I needed for a 3 day stay.

    4a. There are 2 Types of Currency In Cuba

    You will hear of (hopefully) 2 types of currency in Cuba. The first one they refer to as CUP which is more or less the Cuban Peso. This has about a 1 (USD) to 24 (CUP) trade ratio.

    The other type of currency, which will be more important to you because this is the one you will use, goes by CUC. Essentially meaning Cuban Convertible.

    This is the currency that tourists must use.

    It has pretty close to a 1 (USD) to 1 (CUC) conversion. The currency exchanges will be more strict and it’s actually something like a 96% change in the favor of the CUC. I have found that some restaurants (nicer, upscale ones) will take the American Dollar and will change you at 1 to 1.

    But you don’t get 100 CUC for 100 USD. See 4b for why.

    4b. You will incur a 10% Fee On Money Conversion

    Even if you get an exchange rate of 1 to 1 somewhere you will still incur a 10% conversion fee.

    So your $100 will turn into 90 CUC.

    Honestly, be okay with it.

    It’s a 10 percent fee and you cannot avoid it. It is what it is.

    Cuban money is a closed currency so you can’t go to your local Chase Bank to try to get a better deal. Just deal with it and accept that in your budget.

    Especially if you get a restaurant to exchange for you. Don’t try to haggle. It is what it is and accept because most of the time they will give you a 1 to 1 but include that 10% fee.

    5. You will need proof of your itinerary and keep it for 5 years to stay legal

    This is part of the law for legal travel to Cuba. I had a full itinerary and will keep for 5 years.

    Here’s the truth. No one; at any time; in Cuba or when arriving in the US; did anyone ask anything close to this type of question.

    So, you probably won’t be asked but just have it just in case. It would be terrible to be denied back into the US because of this silly reason.

    In the next post coming I will write out a full itinerary for you. Keep your eyes peeled for it.

    6. If you don’t know Spanish – Learn my Top 7 Phrases that will get you by

    I don’t know Spanish at all.

    When I first booked my flight to Cuba I was under the impression that my Spanish fluent friend was going to come with me.

    After his work scheduled changed he was no longer able to go with me.

    Some people in Cuba speak at least some English. But honestly most do not. So if you are going alone or with people that do not speak Spanish here are my 5 top phrases that got me everywhere I needed to go.

    • Habla inglés = Do you speak English?
    • No habla espanol = I don’t speak Spanish

    What’s funny is that I used this as a combination. Right after each other and got my point across I could speak enough to tell you that I can’t speak Spanish.

    What’s even better using these phrases in tandem more times or not they would get someone that spoke English. So simple but so powerful.

    And when no one was around that spoke English I used Google translate (which isn’t perfect) or I signed and gestured what I wanted. It’s crazy we don’t speak the same language but we both can figure it out. Love it!

    • Banos = Bathroom
    • Cerveza or Mojito or just gesture drink. Get menu and use Google translate with the camera viewing option.
    • Lo siento = Sorry
    • Gracias = Thank You
    • Not just a single phase but learn to count to 10 in Spanish. Signing works to but nice to use actual word.

    Sounds crazy that I got by on really just these 7 phrases in a country that English is their first language. So start here and add more as you can.

    7. Understand the History of Cuba

    Okay this is obviously optional.

    But if you are traveling for the support of the Cuban people, and spending your money to support that, I feel it is so important to understand the people you are supporting.

    Yes, they are under communist rule which I’m not political so look at that any way you want to.

    But when you realize all the hardships this country has gone through in term of Spanish rule, the Rebellion, and the rise of Castro and Guevara you will understand more about the people.

    This is their History and they hold this tight and dear to their heart.

    The Cuban people are fighters and they love their country and leaders. Be that good or bad in your mind.

    Either way, I suggest learning about their history so you can understand all the great sites you will see.

    The post 5 Things You Must Do Before Traveling To Havana, Cuba appeared first on Michael Travels.

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    If you have never heard of WOW Airlines essentially they offer super cheap flights to Europe and Iceland.  

    I am always looking for the best deal on flights so I scan numerous sites everyday.  I came across WOW from a friend that booked a flight to New Delhi recently.  

    As a travel blogger I feel it is my duty to show you the ins and outs of these travel sites.  What is good and what to avoid.  

    As soon as I arrive to the WOW website (https://wowair.us/) I hover over the “Flights” menu and select “Best Fares.”  These are the fares you typically see advertised but are they too good to be true?  

    Let’s find out. 

    Let’s Choose our Destination

    Below is a screenshot of the screen you will see once you choose your origin city: 

    Chicago to Dublin for $149 in January?!!!   Say what?!!

    I click on the “Read More” tab to see if it really is too good to be true.  I am given this next page: 

    Sweet!  Sounds too good to be true. Let’s choose our flights! 

    Outgoing Flight

    I’m going to assume that I have a week available to travel in January with no restrictions on days.  I know that is not usually the case with any of us but just for this test I want to leave as much available as possible.  

    Once you hit “Book” shown above it really starts to make sense……..it is too good to be true. 

    Okay so the $149 is only good if I have absolutely no luggage, bags, or clothing.  

    The first question comes in mind is how much would they charge me for a carry-on?  Can’t be $100!!!??.  Let’s stick with the cheap rate and see.  

    Outbound Flight: NOT INCLUDED IN ORIGINAL PRICE!

    The $149 was a one way ticket only.  Still cheap to Dublin so let’s see what we can find for Dublin to Chicago. 

    This is where things really get fishy.  Here’s my options: 

    Hey I have a week no problem let’s keep looking! 

    Okay a little more than a week maybe I can make it work: 

    Keep scrolling.  Great I found one! 

    2 months later and I can arrive back home.  

    I’m smelling a huge steaming turd of shit right now. 

    I backwards engineered the flight and while I am paying a little more ($179 vs $149) for outbound I am leaving on a Wednesday and arriving the following Monday.  Not enough time to see Ireland but not a terrible amount of time either. 

    Flight Selected: What are the Additional Fees? 

    Well, here they are: 

    You do not save if you need to have a carry-on.  The only way you would save would be if you need to check baggage.  It is $49 each flight for carry-on. 

     This is a 10 hour total flight so while there is a lay over where you could find something to eat for $10 I will purchase the meal plan.  

    Also, I am never a fan of Cancellation Protection. Honestly if you are taking your family then I’d say do it but to me having the ability to cancel does not force me to go.  I want the date to be in my mind and no matter what I go because I can’t cancel.  Personal preference as a motivator but choose what you think is best for you. 

    More and More Fees…….

    This is only optional but if you want to upgrade seats here is the breakdown: 

    Honestly to have an isle seat vs being in the middle I will splurge on the $7 per flight.  So that is what I will choose. 

    And More Fee’s

    Full breakdown of fee’s added to flight.  

    Summary 

    So I came to this site thinking I would fly to Dublin for $149.  A little naive but at the same time the marketing would make you think the same thing. 

    All in all this trip will cost $473.90. 

    I guess that really isn’t that terrible of a price to travel to Dublin for almost a week.  However my main concern is that people come to this site, me included thinking they are getting one thing, but leave with something way more expensive. 

    I hope you enjoyed this breakdown and it will help you be more informed with traveling or booking flights with WOW.  

    Please leave me a comment with you experience with this airline to help everyone else reading this blog.  

    The post WOW Airlines: Scam or Legit? appeared first on Michael Travels.

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