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Alexander Waggoner

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The Corliss Group Review: 5 Key Tips for Southeast Asia Travel

From Myanmar to Vietnam, Southeast Asia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for experienced travelers and those looking for a more adventurous experience( ). No matter your reason for wanting to explore these culturally significant destinations, here are a few key tips( ) worth keeping in mind.

1. Learn how to layer

It can get very hot in Southeast Asia. Steamy daytime temps mean you'll want a fresh change of clothes quite often, but nights can be much cooler. Lots of light layers help with the transition between hot days and cool nights, and luckily, clothing tends to be inexpensive if you need to pick up a few more things along the way. Don't forget: sizing tends to be much smaller than in the U.S. 

2. Pay attention to local customs

Etiquette in Southeast Asia is extremely important. For example, shoes must be removed when entering a temple and arms and legs need to be covered. Look to the locals for outfit inspiration; in Myanmar, a traditional longyi can be a great way to keep cool (and covered) as you explore various temples. Night markets in any of the major cities or towns are a great place to find this traditional garb, as well as food, handicrafts and other inexpensive goods. It's also worth taking advantage of the local transportation: Tuk-tuks are a quick and inexpensive way to get around at the end of a long day of sightseeing -- just make sure to have your hotel's name on hand! 

3. Practice your bartering skills

Don't be afraid of bargaining with local shopkeepers -- it's a fun way to interact with locals and get a glimpse into their culture. Keep a number of small bills on hand for shopping, buying bottled water and tipping the locals. 

4. Don't be afraid to try the food

For the most authentic experience, you'll want to get a taste of the local cuisine. Ask your Tour Director or hotel concierge for their top recommendations or, if you're brave enough, sample some of the street food. Make sure you're looking for street vendors that have cooked or fried food and long lines, as busy stands mean higher food turnover and better quality assurance. 

5. Above all, stay comfortable

We can't stress SPF enough! Bring plenty of sunscreen, a big floppy hat and sunglasses. A small pack of wet wipes is also handy for wiping off sweat and dust and for using local restrooms. But the ultimate in comfort and relaxation? A soothing massage -- they're inexpensive and incredibly gratifying after walking around all day in the heat. 

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The Corliss Group Review: Travelgirl tips: Start planning your holiday vacation now!
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The Corliss Group review: Top travel tips for a hassle-free journey

When is the best time to book a trip to Walt Disney World? What are the niftiest travel apps? How do you arrange a speedy Plan B if your flight is delayed or cancelled?

The answers to these and other travel questions( ) from those in the know could make the difference between a pleasant journey and one you want to forget in a hurry.

During a Twitter discussion on Aug. 19 hosted by Reuters, a panel of experts fielded questions about travel. Below, we elaborate on the pundits' responses beyond the 140 characters allowed in a tweet.

The panel comprised Brian Kelly, who runs; Tim Winship, editor and publisher of, and Jason Cochran, editor of


About four to six months in advance will likely give you the best chance to get better prices. Within a month or two of major holidays, prices tend to rise considerably.

It's risky waiting for a last-minute deal. You could end up paying some of the highest fares, or not getting a flight at all.


Call the airline reservation service to see what other flights they can get you on. If there's a major cancellation, you'll likely encounter a crowd at the airline's customer service desk. If you have airline lounge access, try to find help there, too.

Consider using Twitter or other social media to get answers. But note: You're more likely to get a prompt reply if you have a large social media following.

If your plans are disrupted and an immediate solution isn't in the offing, feel free to show true emotion (without yelling or screaming). It can be discombobulating when you're expecting to travel( ) somewhere but are stuck along the way. Airlines are able and willing to compensate customers who have been thrown off course.


Visiting theme parks at off-peak times can make for a very different and considerably more pleasant experience, partly because you'll enjoy lower hotel rates.

If you can swing it, go while school is in session. A trip just before the winter holidays, for instance, will allow you to see the parks all decked out, while avoiding wall-to-wall crowds and multiple-hour-long waits for rides.


Jason Cochran, editor of, recommends CityMapper. The app provides detailed transit information to help travelers get around in eight cities: New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and Berlin.

He also likes Voxer, which turns a smartphone into a walkie-talkie, so you can talk to anyone else on the app for free. HiConverter converts just about any currency or measure.

Brian Kelly, of The Points Guy, likes the Uber app for car services, HotelTonight to get last-minute hotel deals, and TripIt to make his itineraries.


Among the recommendations: An extension cord (for hotel rooms with too few outlets in the wrong places), foam ear plugs, plastic zipper bags, a mini travel charger with USB ports that allows a single outlet to charge multiple devices, and noise-canceling headphones.

Also, don't forget the dryer sheets.

Why dryer sheets? A scented one can be used to take the stink out of a trash can or drawer; it's also handy for wiping lint off a computer screen or removing sticky stuff off a hotel iron.

The sheets, which could double up as bug repellent, may also repel other things - stuff one in a shoe, for example, to keep your suitcase fresh as a daisy.

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The Corliss Group Review : Save yourself from summer identity theft

Ruth to the Rescue has simple steps to protect yourself

During the summer you would like to focus on rest and relaxation, but you can't let your guard down when it comes to identity theft.
Identity thieves do not take the summer off, and they know your summer activities could give them the opening they need to get your personal information.

For example, when you pack your bags for your family vacation, you could be carrying too many personal documents. Consumer Reports recommends you leave things like your Social Security card at home.
It's advice one local mother tells Ruth to the Rescue she's already following. "I only bring one major credit card and my driver's license. Usually American Express so that I know I can have fraud protection. And I always make sure that there's a safe," said Kristin Saracevic of Troy.

If you're traveling abroad you'll need a passport and there are some simple steps you can take to protect that document as well. suggests you remember the three R's when you travel.

1) Remove! As we just mentioned, don't take documents like your Social Security card and birth certificate on vacation. You don't want them falling into the wrong hands.

2) Record! Make copies of key documents (front and back) and keep them in a separate suitcase. If you lose your passport or credit cards, having those copies will help you get replacements more quickly. You can leave those copies in the hotel safe as well.

3) Recover! Be sure to contact your local police station if your cards are stolen or compromised to make sure you have a paper trail. Also, hang onto that police report, your bank or credit card may need copies later on.

Alert Credit Card Company About Travel

Before traveling you should also call your bank or credit card issuer before the trip to let them know you're traveling just in case a fishy purchase pops up so they won't flag the purchases.

Robin Riutta of Birmingham recently had a similar situation happen to her, fortunately she informed her credit card company where she would be and when she would be home. "Someone just recently had my husband's card, but luckily the credit card company called us and asked us a couple questions and we said absolutely not, it's not us."
Beware Public WiFi

Another sneaky way scammers can steal your identity involves using fake WiFi networks. When you're checked into a hotel make sure you check the hotels authorized network. Never do personal business on a unsecured public WiFi. "I think it's horrible, I think that in this day in age with technology the way it is that there should be something to be able protect what we're doing online." said Kristin Saracevic of Troy.

Fake Hotel Calls

Also, be on high alert if you get a call from the front desk asking for credit card information. The Federal Trade Commission warns if a hotel really has an issue with your card managers will ask you to come to the front desk and deal with the problem face to face. If you get a call from someone saying they are from the front desk, tell them you'll come to the front desk, and they follow up with management.

Protect Your Children's Identities Too!

Even your kids aren't safe from identity theft. The FTC warns parents to make sure your child's information is stored safely while they're away at camp or a summer program. When asked about keeping her children safe mother Kristin Saracevic had some solid advice "I would ask the questions, where is this going? Do you lock this information up? What's your security system? Because now you can never be too careful."

There's never a good time to take a break from protecting your personal information, but with these tips you can rest a little easier while relaxing at the beach.

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The Corliss Group Review on 10 Hotel Booking Mistakes 


Booking a hotel seems pretty straightforward, right? And most times it is: Pick a destination, choose your dates, enter payment info and voila, happy travels!

However, there are some big blunders you could be making when it comes to hotel reservations. From booking on the wrong sites to forgetting to check some vital information, these mistakes could easily make or break your trip. Read on to find out what you must avoid when booking that hotel room.

Always expecting the best room

I was recently chatting with a front-desk agent about how her hotel chain distributes rooms at check-in. Curious, I asked what method her staff uses to determine who gets the best-located rooms. She revealed this surprising tidbit: Those who book through the hotel website( ) or are hotel loyalty members usually get first dibs on room assignments, with the better views and quieter locations. Travelers who book through online travel agencies (OTAs), like Priceline, often receive "run of the house" rooms (what she called "ice-machine rooms," or basically whatever is left). The agent couldn't tell me just how many hotel chains do this, but she said it was a "fairly common practice" and that it sweetens the deal for travelers who book at regular rates.

Using incorrect arrival and departure dates

Of this travel( ) sin, I am guilty as charged. On an overseas trip several years ago, I noted that my flight left on May 14th, so I booked my destination hotel starting the night of May 14th. Rookie mistake. I completely neglected to check that my flight was a red-eye that landed early in the morning of the 15th. This means I paid for an expensive (and nonrefundable) room that I didn't need.

Not using a credit card

When booking a hotel, credit cards are king. Not only do credit cards offer rewards like airline miles, free night stays or cash-back bonuses, but they also offer certain guarantees that debit cards and cash do not (such as fraud protection or immediate refunds for mischarges).

Making reservations for the wrong hotel

Travelers, beware: A misleading hotel name or location description could lead you to book an airport hotel when you think you're getting centrally located accommodations. You would be surprised how often travelers see the name of the hotel and reserve it quickly without checking to see if it's located in the right place. After all, some hotels may call themselves "located near the heart of downtown," but a quick search could reveal that it's located at the airport … two hours away.

Not accounting for taxes and resort fees

Back in March, contributing editor Ed Perkins reported one of the most outrageous resort fees we'd seen yet. At a hotel in Colorado, the decent $170 room rate was artificially inflated with a $35 cleaning fee, a $40 resort fee, a $10 pool-and-spa fee, and a $5.10 processing fee. Ouch.

Not checking reviews

If you've ever taken a spin on Oyster's Photo Fakeout feature, you know that hotels go to great lengths to make their properties seem perfect. But upon arrival, that infinity pool could really be the size of a postage stamp, and those sumptuous linens could feel like sandpaper. Take anything a hotel says about itself with a grain of salt (or sand).

Booking at the wrong time

As most procrastinators will readily admit, waiting until the last minute to make travel plans can have dire consequences for your credit card balance. Hotel rates can soar in the days leading up to a particular date, and you could be left without a room if everything books up (or if nothing left is within your budget). On the other hand, being an advanced planner can have its own disadvantages: Sure, you may want to have all of your travel ducks in a row as soon as possible, but it can actually cost you money to book your hotel room too early.

Not comparing prices

Saw a hotel you loved advertised at a "great price!" and immediately plunked down a credit card number and booked? Wrong: Without doing proper research, you could be missing out on big savings.

Booking nonrefundable rates

Every wondered why nonrefundable rates are cheaper than the regular rack rates, even if the room is the same? It's because the hotelier benefits from the lower price, too. Locking you in at that low rate guarantees she or he won't have an empty room, which would cost the hotelier money. Of course, trying to pinch a few pennies will end up costing you if you need to cancel.
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