Newsletter – February 2020

Budapest at night

Tips on Tipping!

Tipping customs vary from country to country, and sometimes tipping isn’t required at all. Check the tipping customs at your destination before you travel.

Your tip should reflect the service you receive, whether exceptional or poor.

Be sure to always review your bill carefully, in many parts of the world the gratuity has automatically been added.

Tipping Guide

Room Service
Food Servers / Bartenders
Curbside Sky Cap
Cab/Ride Share Driver
Motor Coach Driver
Tour Manager
Local Guide

$1-2 per bag
$2-5 per day
Usually included in the bill
15% – 20%
$5 – $25
$5 per bag
15% – 20%
$8 – $10 per day
$2 – $5 per tour 

Budapest at night

Destination Highlight: Budapest

Is Budapest on your Bucket List? If not, you might reconsider.

The city of Budapest is divided by the Danube river into two, very distinct sides: The historic, hilly Buda side and the more industrial, flat Pest side. The two sides are connected by many bridges, the most famous of which is the “lions” bridge.

The Buda side is seeped in history. You can hike or take a funicular up Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town Square where you will find the Budapest History Museum, a living reminder of all the twists and turns this city has taken to end up where it is today. You will also find the 13th century Matthias Church with its incredible architecture and sweeping city views from the turrets of the Fisherman’s Bastion.

The Pest side of town is more metropolitan, with streets filled with quaint shops, restaurants and business centers. The multi-level, Great Market Hall is located on this side of the river. You can spend hours shopping for everything from spices and produce to trinkets and souvenirs. Many street vendor type food stalls are also available. Give yourself plenty of time to explore this venue.
Public transportation is readily available and easy to navigate.

Shoes Budapest

Many river cruises start or end in Budapest. If you are taking a river cruise, I would highly recommend staying an extra day or two to see all that Budapest has to offer. Wander down the streets and take in all the history of this lovely city. Stop by the Shoes on the Danube, a memorial to honor those who lost their lives along this river bank during World War II. Stay at a local hotel, perhaps the Monastery Boutique hotel, an old Capuchin Order monastery which has been converted into a hotel. The hotel has been restored and updated with many modern amenities, but it has preserved the feel of the history within its walls.  
From history buff to foodie, Budapest has something for everyone.

Coronavirus Update

The Centers for Disease Control reports that there are currently 11 positive cases of coronavirus in the US and a limited number of cases in 27 other countries. The current travel advisories all remain focused on travel to China. As of 2/5/20, the World Health Organization reports that there were a total of 24,554 cases of coronavirus with the vast majority in China. There have been 491 deaths in China and two outside of China. By comparison, flu has sickened 19 million people in the US this flu season, leading to 10,000 deaths in the US.

China remains the epicenter of the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control issued a Warning Level 3 recommending that Americans avoid all nonessential travel to China and the U.S State Department updated its China Travel Advisory to Level 4: Do Not Travel. Many carriers suspended flights to the country and most recently United Airlines and American Airlines temporarily suspended flights to Hong Kong. After the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global health emergency, countries around the world began implementing enhanced screening procedures at airports.

Travelers should monitor the news and social media for updates on the destinations they are traveling to.

There are still some great deals to Alaska this summer.

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