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The Clever Travel Companion Updates

Clever Travel 2016 January 27 2016, 0 Comments


Clever Travel 2016

Clever Travel

Over the next few months the team at Clever Travel Companion will be creating their guides to clever travel in 2016, including places they're going, places they want to go and places they've already been! Todays offering comes from our own Johanna who, despite only being January, has already been to Sweden, Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur. With that sort of travel appetite, you can imagine the rest of the year is going to be even more exciting! Here's a sneak peak of Johanna's 2016 travel guide...

 

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Lusitano Riding, Portugal

Lusitano Riding, Portugal

I'm sure this is an experience that would be found near the top of most female travelers agenda's. Somewhere alongside swimming with dolphins perhaps. Lusitano's are a famous, ancient breed of Iberian horse, known for their majestic stature and willing temperament. Riding such an intelligent and powerful animal along a Portuguese beach at sunset is certainly something for the Instagram album but more importantly, an experience to be treasured for a lifetime. This is high up on Johanna's list and will be a fantastic opportunity to test out her new Clever Travel Companion Leggings. Most jodhpurs don't come with pockets and the last thing she'll want is a bag bouncing up and down with the horse!

 

Sardinia

Sardinia

Sardinia is a sizeable island just off the west coast of Italy. It comes complete with breathtakingly stunning coastal views and trails, a wild, relatively untouched landscape, beautifully preserved historic elements dating back to the bronze age and of course, 4 million sheep. What more could you want? It's one of many European islands that may fall under the radar at times, but anyone who calls themselves a traveler needs a Sardinian boarding pass to add to their collection.
Be sure you take your Clever Travel Companion travel safety gear because although Sardinia ranks as #1 for tourist safety in Italy, there is an organized crime influence and areas that are classified as unsafe, in particular, the areas close to Cagliari football stadium.

 

Nowegian Fjord Cruise

Norwegian Fjord Cruise

A fjord cruise again is probably something at the top of most people's lists and if it isn't, it should be. Perhaps one of the most unique travel options one can experience, certainly not your regular beach or city break. Fjords are narrow geological inlets, created through glacial erosion. Very scientific but they make for fantastically stunning views of the surrounding land mass, beautifully clear and incomprehensibly deep blue water and the freshest air you will probably ever taste. Cruise's are also family friendly providing plenty to do for all ages, if you're planning on taking your kids for some whale watching on board, make sure to kit them out with a few Clever Travel Companion Kids Tees, they'll keep the little one's safe and allow you peace of mind to enjoy the wondrous surroundings. For those looking for something a little different but as equally exciting as any experience, take a fjord cruise.

 

Morocco Desert Trek

Morocco

Situated on the North Western tip of Africa, separated from Europe by just 14.3 kilometers of Alboran Sea and cut off from the rest of Africa by the Sahara desert, Morocco is an amazingly diverse cultural hub. Predominately an Arab and Berber country, it has strong French, Spanish, Portuguese and African influences through a rich 12 centuries years of European colonization and busy surroundings. All of this influence makes for some of the most spectacular surroundings and uniquely diverse food a traveler will ever come across. Known for its bustling markets, Morocco and in particular the capital Marrakesh could certainly compete for the title of "the world's kitchen". Keep in mind though, by definition, these markets are certainly places to stay vigilant, so keep your valuable close with your Clever Travel Companion gear and you'll be just fine.
As well as being culturally and historically diverse, Morocco is also as geographically diverse as it gets. The Sahara desert, Atlas mountains, Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts can all be found and experienced in this beautiful country. Be sure to check it out and absorb the magnificent colours, sights, sounds and smells to be had here.

 


Making Sense Out Of Luggage Insurance Offers January 12 2016, 0 Comments

Luggage insurance offers.. Where do I start??

According to United States law, an airline is required to provide up to $3,300 worth of compensation if a customer's bag is damaged or lost during their travels. What many passengers don't know is that this regulation is only in place to protect domestic travelers. If a bag is lost or damaged during an international flight, the owner is only entitled to the compensation of $9.07 per pound for bags they've checked. 

 

Damaged Airline Luggage

Considering this only adds up to $450 (in the case of a 50 pound bag, many airlines' limit for checked baggage), this is not nearly enough. For those traveling with expensive luggage, such as designer clothing, formal wear, or expensive jewelry, neither $3,000 nor $450 is enough to compensate. 

Many international travelers are unaware of excess valuation. No airline or airline employee is ever going to stop to explain this concept to you, as it could potentially their company money. If you claim excess valuation prior to your flight, an airline is required to provide an additional $1,700 compensation, on top of the mandated $3,300.

Declaring excess value does come at an increased cost for the consumer, depending on which airline you choose. An airline typically charges $10 for every thousands of coverage you purchase. Some airlines, however, may only cover you if the bags are completely lost and the content within them is completely lost. Damages to the actual luggage may not be covered.

Lost luggage at airport baggage claim

For international flights, there are a few airlines that allow travelers to purchase excess valuation coverage. But, many of them are purposefully vague and do not readily provide information on their websites. This means you will have to ask the information desk once you arrive at the airport. It is important to realize that an airline will change their rules at the drop of a hat, so be sure to confirm your excess valuation agreement before taking off.

Be sure to keep receipts for any items that you may need to file a claim for. An airline's main responsibility during a lost or damaged luggage claim is to try and limit their payout. Therefore, they will do their best to diminish the value of your items. If you do not buy close attention to the coverage you purchase, certain important item categories may be excluded, such as valuables or fragile. 

In the case of trips that require the use of multiple airlines, it is important to remember that once you switch planes, your excess valuation coverage lapses. You will need to claim your bag and pay a second fee with the second airline.

Purchasing travel insurance may seem like a prudent choice, but their coverage is also very limited. Many of these travel insurance policies only pay out up to $1,500 and in several instances, even less than that. Avoid these hassles and declare excess valuation. It's the smartest move for you and your valuable luggage. 

Travel Insurance


Happy New Year and what to look forward to in 2016!! December 30 2015, 0 Comments

Hello and Happy New Year Clever Travel Companion fans!

We're here to wish you a very happy new year for 2016 and we hope you will find yourself somewhere new and exciting, somewhere you've never been before and that it changes your life for the better! There's plenty to be excited about for 2016, the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for one, NASA also plans to land on Jupiter so expect it to appear on a few travel guides for 2017 along with a new space lightyears membership card from Virgin.. The more likely out of atmosphere destination will be the Russian "Space Hotel" that's due to launch. However, of course even more exciting than that will be Clever Travel Companion's new products! I hear space is terrible these days for pickpocketing, and we have a number of new products in development to add to the range so watch this space! (no pun intended, pickpocket proof space suits?? Ideas anyone?). On a serious note, 2015 has been a great year for us at CTC and 2016 looks to be even more exciting!

The team has been all over the globe this year, from The Philippines to Sweden and the US, Bali and Thailand, Mexico, India, Australia and Russia and even Dubai, the UAE and Bahrain thrown in for good measure. Its been a great year but of course we don't plan on stopping there. Below are our top picks for 2016, some we will be visiting, others we plan too. Take a look -

1. Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor, Montenegro

When people think of Montenegro, their first thoughts probably jump to the former socialist republic of Yugoslavia and the not so pleasant history surrounding the region, which might put some potential travelers off - BIG mistake. Montenegro is one of the most beautiful, less traveled countries in Europe and Kotor, a city hemmed in by dramatic, tall mountains and perched on a fjord-like bay is one of the best places to visit. Often dubbed the "mini-Dubrovnik", it's a progressive, beautifully scenic city, where many come to sample the regions delicious cheeses, coffee and bakeries. Unlike its Croatian comparison however, Kotor is yet to be graced by the hordes of Cruise Liner tourists and remains a somewhat undiscovered gem that we feel should make it onto our 2016 list.

2. Palau, Western Pacific

Palau

The republic of Palau, located to the west of The Philippines and around 1000kms from Manila is a picture perfect group of 250 small islands, with only 8 of those inhabited. Palau is the image that appears in your mind when someone mentions "island paradise" and unfortunately no picture truly does it justice (it would take a decent size memory card just to get a shot of each island). The entire regions marine life is a protected sanctuary meaning that it has some of the most thriving wildlife in the world and has been referred to as an "underwater Serengeti". The continued discovery of new species and ancient human civilizations has led Palau to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it certainly makes our list of places to discover for 2016.

3. Greenland

Greenland

Greenland may seem like a slightly odd entry as many may find it to be "a lump of ice miles from anything" and in some respects, they may be right. However, in a world where every person has there entire life and social relationships accessible 24/7 from their pocket, Greenland becomes a bit of an enigma, a rarity if you will. With the lowest population density in the world and network coverage so minimal sat phones are the norm, it's a place to detach from the world and experience the REAL world. In Greenland you will find Glaciers the size of cities, you can sail alongside whales in their natural habitat, watch the northern lights brighten up the midnight sky or even take a husky sled through the snow. If you really want to "get away from it all", then seriously, try Greenland out. I know I will be. 

4. Punta del Este, Uruguay

Punta Del Este

Situated on the Southeast Atlantic coast of Uruguay, Punta del Este is popular with tourists and expats alike due to its glamorous edge that also boasts a thriving nightlife and entertainment scene and beaches to rival Cancun or the Caribbean. Often called the St. Tropez of South America, its known for its glamour but if that's not your thing you could always take an adventure horseback through the surrounding plains with a legitimate cowboy. People love what Punta Del Este and Uruguay has to offer and we would encourage you to certainly check it out. 

5. Khao Lak, Thailand

Khao Lak

You're probably thinking "Oh no, more Thailand" and you'd be right, it seems it has been done to death and being a favourite for backpackers, isn't particularly anything new nowadays and unfortunately, a lot of areas in Thailand have become "tourist destinations". Having said that however, there is a reason it is a favourite with travelers. It boasts an exceptionally unique culture and landscape with some of the most breathtaking and also "WTF" sights you will ever come across. If you can find a place where original Thailand is still alive, you've found a life changing experience. This time around, I'm recommending Khao Lak - situated on the lower Andaman coast of Thailand it is a region known to travelers and tourists but rarely traversed meaning you will find places to stay, comforts and guides etc.. but you will also be left to your own devices for the majority of your stay. There are magnificent national parks, beautiful beaches and undiscovered natural ares to explore by boat or on foot. If you're going to visit Thailand, don't leave until you've been somewhere like Khao Lak, then make your judgements based on what the tourists don't see.

Well there you have it! Our guide to Clever Travel in 2016, we'll be visiting as many of these as possible and hope you will do the same. More guides will be coming up in future so please watch this space. We'd also love to hear your stories! If you've been anywhere you can recommend or if you've tried out your CTC wear anywhere, we'd be delighted to hear from you! Just shoot an email over to rory@clevertravelcompanion.com as he's the daydreamer who wants to read about travel tips!

Thanks for reading!