The Clever Travel Companion Updates

10 More Retirement Travel Tips March 05 2018, 0 Comments


1. Consider Timeshares

Some timeshare companies will offer prospective buyers a free stay at their property in exchange for sitting through a sales pitch presentation. Beware of this option, though. Even people with nerves of steel sometimes have a tough time walking away without signing up.


2. Rent an RV

After the initial investment, a recreational vehicle (RV) offers an excellent way to travel to scenic mountain, beach and other outdoor destinations without airfare, hotel costs or big restaurant bills. If buying an RV isn't in your budget, consider renting one through a local RV outfit or a national site such as Cruise America.


3. Downsize Your Belongings

One way to raise cash for travel is to thoroughly downsize your belongings. Now that you have time, go through everything you own and consider how many possessions you actually need. Put the rejects on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or hold a good, old-fashioned garage sale or yard sale at your home. Put the cash you raise toward future travel.


4. Use Rewards Credit Cards

It can be tough to keep track of which credit cards to use to maximize points that can be redeemed toward travel, but with more free time in retirement, you can research ways to maximize your cards for travel rewards such as free hotel stays and flights. A caution: Since travel credit cards tend to have above-average interest rates on purchases, carrying a balance could cost you more than any travel rewards you earn.


5. Consider a Home Swap

Now that you're the boss of your schedule, you can be flexible around the schedule of people who might want to swap homes in areas you'd like to visit. Check out home-swap websites such as Home Exchange, where you can begin the conversation with someone who might like to stay in your home and you stay in theirs.


6. Take Advantage of Free Days

Many museums and other cultural institutions have select days of the week or month when they're open to the public for free. Call and ask if they have retirement discounts, too. 


7. Be Flexible With Flight Dates

Since you don't have to be back home by any certain date, always search for flexible flight dates. You might be able to save hundreds on the same route by being willing to stay an extra night or two or to leave home a few days earlier. By being flexible, you can save a lot of money and stay immune to travel mistakes.


8. Travel Spontaneously

It probably was difficult to get time off work at the last minute, but without that as a consideration, retirees can save significant money on travel by being on the lookout for last-minute travel deals and specials through airline websites or discount travel sites. A number of apps, such as HotelTonight, make it easy to find such specials.


9. Use Coupons

You might not have had time to search for coupons and online deals when you were working, but now that you have more free time, you can properly look for coupons and discounts for any destination you're thinking of booking. You can use a site such as Groupon to find discounts and ideas for activities you're interested in once you've reached your destination.


10. Do Some Research

Spend a few hours or even a day at home planning your trip and your daily activities online. If you're headed toward a tourist area, the tourism board there will have a website that lists popular attractions and discounts. 


How to avoid a pickpocket November 17 2017, 0 Comments

The below video comes from a Chinese public service announcement to help members of the public identify and avoid pickpockets. As China has grown and more and more of the population join the ranks of the middle class, cities become more cramped, valuables become more available and more popular, as a result a number of cities have suffered from increased numbers of pickpockets and related crimes. 

The video is a great resource for any safety conscious travelers, especially those who might be considering China as a destination! It also demonstrates the number of ingenious and well developed methods pickpockets will use not only to get their hands on your valuables but to do so without ever being seen. That said, none of the victims in the below vid had access to Clever Travel Companion clothing, so they're already at a disadvantage! 

 



The Eiffel Tower... Pickpocket heaven? July 13 2017, 0 Comments

Eiffel Tower Police 

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is one of the sites that is probably on every single person's bucket list, at least every single avid traveler's. It's an engineering marvel and an iconic tower, representing France and known by all around the world. Something people perhaps don't quite know however is the plague of pickpockets that have used The Eiffel Tower as their area of operations for years now. They're very aware of the amount of valuable tourists that flock to the modern marvel at all times of the year, they're aware of their valuables and they're aware of how to dispossess them of such valuables, in fact they have made a very wealthy living out of it, with some reports suggesting they earn around $4000 USD per DAY off of stolen goods.

Security forces have had exceptional difficulty in trying to control the situation and even CLOSED the tourist attraction to the public back in 2015 as the situation spiraled out of control and staff staged a walkout due to abuse from the pickpocket gangs. These organized gangs use sophisticated techniques to ensure their bounty continues, like dressing up as tourists themselves and buying tickets to enter the attraction, rather than waiting on the outside. They also employ tactics like taking selfies or asking tourists to take part in fake petitions and ever targeting the public transport routes on the way to the attraction. It's not just pickpocketing that is the problem too, violent crime has become a worrying symptom of these gangs having been able to operate for so long. After all, their thievery is worth hundreds of thousands of Euros per year, which is then sent out of the country, often to the gangs home countries of Romania or Bulgaria.

75% of visitors to the Eiffel Tower are foreign tourists, that's a staggering 7 million people per year, which makes it the most visited, paid monument in the world and its growing year on year. This recent TripAdvisor review comes from someone who suggests the problem of pickpockets is not abating, despite additional security measures and several big arrests. 

Naturally we would never suggest that you don't visit one of the worlds most famous monuments due to some silly thieves, you absolutely must include it in your bucket list of things to do. But be wary of course, try to outsmart the pickpockets rather than the other way around. Be on your guard, if you're approached by someone you don't know, keep your hands on your valuables - or even better, pick up some Clever Travel Companion gear. Outsmarting the rabble of pickpockets was precisely what it was designed for!