Travel advice: how to avoid airport immigration queues

If you have to fly through a big airport, try to book a flight which lands
between about 10am and 4pm. There tend to be fewer flights landing then, and
the planes are not so full. Weekends, and peak days for travel — such as the
beginning of the school holidays — are also best avoided.

3. Check-in online

If you have already booked your flight and can’t avoid the busy times, make
sure you check in early (ideally online) and choose an aisle seat near the
front of the aircraft. Then you can at least get ahead of most of the other
people on your plane when you disembark. If you are flying with no-frills
airlines which don’t allocate a seat number, you may want to pay extra for
priority boarding in order to get a suitable seat.

4. Biometric passports

If you have a biometric passport (look for the gold rectangle with a circle in
it at the bottom of the front cover) it has a chip inside it storing
information about your face — such as the distances between your eyes, nose,
mouth and ears. These details are taken from the passport photograph. You
can use this to go through automatic gates which are now installed at every
major UK airport. But before you line up in one of the queues for these
machines, make sure the wait looks shorter than for the ordinary immigration
desks. Sometimes there can be a wait here too.

5. IRIS recognition

If you have registered for the Home Office IRIS recognition system, instead of
queuing at the desks, you can enter a glass booth and get automatic
clearance based on a scan of your iris that confirms your identity and
nationality. Unfortunately, the scheme has already been dropped at
Manchester and Birmingham, and is being withdrawn from Heathrow and Gatwick
after the Olympics, so it is of no use to those who have not registered.

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/9236611/Travel-advice-how-to-avoid-airport-immigration-queues.html

Trip buddy websites mix travel with romance

When it comes time to playing cupid, there are many websites who want a piece of the action.  Yet, dating sites have traditionally been mostly limited to dates — falling short of taking the complicated step of traveling together.  That is until recently.

A new breed of website is evolving that’s matching up travelers looking for a buddy  –someone to take that bike tour through Italy, for example –but may be open for a little romance as well. 

My-Travel-Mate bills itself as a site “for dating free singles”.  Offering free registration to its online community of travel fans, you can search for your ideal companion or date and interact with them about all your travel interests and hobbies. Once you’ve found your perfect match you can start planning your next exciting trip together.

My-Travel-Mate CEO, Marcel Gasser says traveling with a new partner is an amazing and intense experience. “You stick together most of the day and sometimes need to solve problems during traveling, so that will for sure keep an invisible bond between those two people,” Gasser said.

The dating website for travel enthusiasts, Trip2Date, also specializes in bringing together travelers looking for love. Like other dating websites, Trip2Date also allows you to post your personal profile to be reviewed by hundreds of interested singles that are looking for travel partners.

“I get why people are interested in such sites. There’s always been an appetite for solo travelers trying to find travel companions,” Robert Reid, Lonely Planet’s U.S travel editor said. “You can go to cities with higher single-to-married ratios. D.C. is the U.S. city with the most single people. Stockholm (has the most single people) in the world,” Reid added.

Even traditional travel buddy websites are getting in on the action and allowing for more romantic-type postings.

With more than 1.7 million registered members, Travbuddy is one of the fastest growing social-networking sites that connect travel buddies.  

TravBuddy doesn’t market itself as a place to find romance, but a quick search shows plenty of postings that suggest more than platonic partners. For example, in the site’s “recently entered travel plans” section one members post reads: “Looking for females to meet up in Majorca, Palma…Staying at the Ghills hotel, get in touch and hookup J.”

Once you create a profile you can post details about your upcoming trips to see if other members are from the area or would like to join you and become your travel companion. An entire page is dedicated to success stories and testimonials on the benefits of meeting new travel buddies.

Travel expert Lee Abbamonte  says sites like TravBuddy can be a great place to find and meet other like minded travelers. “This can be a tremendous value if a traveler cannot find a friend to go with or just likes meeting people and new adventures,” Abbamonte told FoxNews.com.

But he says you should use these sites with eyes wide open. “These sites are to be used with caution.  They can be deceptive and illegitimate and you might not realize it until it is too late,” Abbamonte said. “However, they can also be a good place to meet other travelers who may be looking to split costs or just have a buddy to chat with and get to know while seeing the world,” he added.

Other sites are taking the relationship to a whole other level.  For those who don’t want to spend the money on a trip but are willing to pay, (if you catch my drift) there’s MissTravel.

Brandon Wade, who created the so-called sugar daddy site, is also the brains behind other controversial sites, such as Sugardaddy.com, SeekingArrangement.com and WhatsYourPrice.com.

In what you might call a cross between Expedia and Match, or perhaps “Indecent Proposal” meets “Pretty Woman”, Wade said that the new site matches “generous travelers who hate to travel alone with attractive travelers who would love the opportunity to travel the world for free.”

With over 16,000 users in just two weeks, the site has generated a lot of new and controversial attention.

The site offers three different travel options: the “generous” member can invite the “attractive” member to visit him/her the “generous” member’s home city; the “generous” member can visit the “attractive” member in his/her home town; the “generous” member can ask the “attractive” member to accompany him/her to an agreed destination. If the new pair ends up traveling, the “generous” member must pay for all of their dates travel expenses.

Though Cupids arrow has no bounds, not everyone is convinced.

“It’s creepy. I think it sounds like a glorified escort service and the owner sounds like a pimp,” said Steve Ward CEO of MasterMatchMakers.com and host of VH1’s Tough Love.

Psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Robi Ludwig says, “It’s true, people can meet other people anywhere and anyway to fall in love, but there’s an obvious imbalance of power inherent in this situation which could be problematic to dangerous.”

Whichever path people take to find their perfect travel companion, it’s clear that many web users believe mixing travel and romance can lead them to true love.

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2012/04/30/travel-buddy-websites-mix-travel-with-romance/

Clinton to travel to China amid tension over escaped activist


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Washington (CNN) — As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepared to depart Monday night for China, President Barack Obama was tight-lipped about the whereabouts of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng and his potential impact on the discussions to be held this week in Beijing.

“Obviously, I’m aware of the press reports on the situation in China, but I’m not going to make a statement on the issue,” Obama said in response to a question about whether Chen was under U.S. protection and whether the United States would grant him asylum if he were to ask for it.

“What I would like to emphasize is that every time we meet with China, the issue of human rights comes up,” Obama said during a joint news conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at the White House.

“It is our belief that not only is that the right thing to do, because it comports with our principles and our belief in freedom and human rights, but also because we actually think China will be strong as it opens up and liberalizes its own system.”

“I have nothing for you on that subject,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in response to a question about whether Chen is in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, as reports have said.

Nuland confirmed that Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell was in Beijing, paving the way for Clinton’s arrival, but would not elaborate.

“I don’t have anything further on that,” Nuland said of whether Campbell’s visit was related to Chen.

When pressed, she continued, “I have nothing for you on anything having to do with that matter.”

Chen, a blind, self-taught lawyer, evaded guards who had kept him under house arrest for more than 18 months in a small eastern village and made his way to Beijing on April 22, friends and fellow activists said last week.

Once in the capital, Chen moved from safe house to safe house before finding refuge at the U.S. Embassy, according to Hu Jia, a fellow activist and one of the few people who has said he has seen Chen since he arrived in Beijing.

“This is a pivotal moment for U.S. human rights diplomacy,” said Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, a Texas-based Christian human rights organization seeking freedom for Chen, in an opinion piece published Monday in The Washington Post. “The United States must stand firmly with this broadly popular individual or risk losing credibility as a defender of freedom and the rule of law.”

ChinaAid, citing “a source close to the Chen Guangcheng situation,” said Sunday that Chen was under U.S. protection and that “high-level talks are currently under way between U.S. and Chinese officials” regarding his status.

The situation presents an extraordinary test for the Obama administration’s approach to relations with China, creating a strain between upholding human rights and maintaining steady ties with Beijing.


The importance of Chen Guangcheng


U.S., China meet amid dissident scandal


Fate of Chen Guangcheng


Escaped blind activist recounts abuse

Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are scheduled to hold talks with Chinese officials in Beijing starting Thursday about strategic and economic issues. But the Chen affair could overshadow the economic talking points.

“If Chen is holed up in the U.S. Embassy, it is hard to fathom how the two sides will stay focused on the many pressing geostrategic and economic challenges in the relationship,” Christopher Johnson, a China analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in an opinion article for CNN.

The blind activist’s flight from detention comes at a highly sensitive time for Chinese authorities. The ruling Communist Party has been rocked by a scandal involving former high-ranking leader Bo Xilai, whose wife is under investigation in relation to the mysterious death of a British businessman in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing.

Chinese censors block news on blind activist

The downfall of Bo, the former Chongqing party chief who is now being investigated in connection with serious disciplinary violations, has created shock waves ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition in China that is due to unfold this year.

American and Chinese officials have declined to comment directly on the Chen case. But John Brennan, one of Obama’s national security advisers, said Sunday that the U.S. government is “working very closely with the individuals involved.”

The United States is aiming to strike the “appropriate balance” between its commitment to human rights and its diplomatic relationship with China, Brennan said on Fox News.

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said in a statement Sunday that he hopes the U.S. government will “take every measure to ensure that Chen and his family members are protected from further persecution.”

Chen addressed Chinese premier Wen Jiabao in a video posted Friday on YouTube, detailing “cruel” abuses he said he and his family had suffered at the hands of authorities during months of heavily guarded detention in their home.

“They broke into my house, and more than a dozen men assaulted my wife,” he said. “They pinned her down and wrapped her in a comforter, beating and kicking her for hours. They also similarly violently assaulted me.”

Journalists and supporters were prevented from visiting Chen during his house arrest. One of those supporters is Hollywood actor Christian Bale, who was roughed up by security guards while attempting a visit in December.

Chen, 40, rose to fame in the late 1990s thanks to his legal advocacy for what he called victims of abusive practices, such as alleged forced abortions, by China’s family-planning officials.

A local court sentenced Chen to four years and three months in prison in 2006 on charges of damaging property and “organizing a mob to disturb traffic” in a protest, charges that his supporters called preposterous.

Since his September 2010 release from prison, he had been confined to his home along with his wife, mother and daughter.

Chen’s escape appears to have angered local officials holding him captive, with supporters saying that at least four members of his family have been detained.

In the YouTube video, the blind activist appealed to the Chinese premier to investigate his case and expressed concern about the welfare of his wife, mother and daughter.

“Although I’m free, my worries are only deepening,” he said. “They have been persecuting my family for a long time, and my escape would only prompt them into a mode of revenge.”

The authorities’ reaction also seems to have ensnared Chen’s supporters, especially those suspected of aiding his escape.

After speaking to CNN, Hu was taken away by police for questioning, his wife posted on Twitter.

Chen’s friend He Peirong disappeared Friday, shortly after speaking to CNN and other news organizations about the blind activist’s escape.

The last message she sent out, according to ChinaAid’s Fu, was that state security agents had arrived at her home in the eastern city of Nanjing.

“I’m not concerned about my own safety,” she told CNN. “I hope they’ll arrest me, not my friends.”

CNN’s Steven Jiang, Jill Dougherty and Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.






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Article source: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/30/world/asia/china-us-activist/?hpt=hp_t3

GBTA Announces Lineup For 5th Annual ‘Airline CEO’ Panel At 2012 Convention In …


ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 30, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ –
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the voice of the business travel industry, today announced the speakers for the fifth annual ‘Airline CEO’ panel featuring market leaders, David Barger, President CEO JetBlue Airways Corporation, Bjorn Kjos CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, and Keith Williams, CEO of British Airways. The panel on July 23rd during the 2012 GBTA Convention in Boston, made possible by the Boeing Company, will be moderated by Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor, CBS News.

Returning to the GBTA Convention for the fifth year in a row, the esteemed Airline CEO panelists will engage in a dialogue about the future of the airline industry. They will share privileged insights into how continued consolidation, evolving distribution models, and global alliances will change the competitive airline landscape.

“This panel is always a highlight of Convention and provides attendees with an exclusive look into the thinking of some of the market’s leaders and what they see as the future of the airline industry,” said Michael W. McCormick, Executive Director and COO of GBTA. “The global perspective of the panelists will certainly get people talking.”

David Barger is the President CEO JetBlue Airways Corporation, which he founded in 1998. David oversaw the company’s successful transition to a new reservations system in 2010 and growth in 2011 to become the largest airline in Boston, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He is a member of the Board of Governors and Treasurer of the Flight Safety Foundation, an independent, nonprofit, international organization which works to improve aviation safety through research, publishing and advocacy. He also serves as President Emeritus of The Wings Club, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing aviation through discussion, education and community activities.

Bjorn Kjos is the CEO of the successful airline Norwegian Air Shuttle, Europe’s third largest low cost carrier. After two years of pilot training in Mississippi and Arizona in the United States he became a fighter pilot in the 334 squadron of the Norwegian Royal Air Force, guarding the Norwegian airspace against Soviet intruders between 1969 and 1975. After leaving the air force, Bjorn practiced law for 20 years. In 1993 he became one of the founding partners and the Chairman of Norwegian Air Shuttle. Bjorn is a sought-after speaker on entrepreneurship and executive leadership. In 2009, he won Ernst Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in Norway.

Keith Williams became CEO of British Airways in January 2011, following the merger with Iberia. He also sits on the management board of the two airlines’ parent company, International Airlines Group. As CFO of British Airways over the previous six years, he played a leading part in the airline’s achievement of a record operating margin in 2007, before steering it through the worst recession in its history and masterminding a solution to its long-standing pensions deficit. Previously, as British Airways’ group treasurer and head of tax, he was heavily involved in restructuring the airline’s finances after the aviation slump following the attacks of 9/11. He is also a non-executive board member for Transport for London.

Peter Greenberg is the Travel Editor for CBS News and appears on CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and other broadcast platforms. An expert in aviation and security, he is America’s most recognized, honored, and respected front-line travel news journalist. Peter is the author of bestselling books including, Don’t Go There! And The Complete Travel Detective Bible. An Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and producer, Greenberg is the consummate insider when it comes to reporting the travel business as news. Travel Weekly named him one of the most influential people in the travel industry.

About the Global Business Travel Association Convention The GBTA Convention, with more than 6,000 attendees, is the largest, most comprehensive annual gathering of business travel and meetings managers, meeting planners, procurement professionals and suppliers anywhere in the world. The Business Travel Event of the Year® features: more than 65 industry-leading education sessions organized into 15+ specialized tracks geared to specific levels of experience and a variety of disciplines; a 400+ company Exposition showcasing market choices not available at other industry gatherings; sessions featuring world-renowned speakers and industry leaders; a wide selection of professional development opportunities; and, much more. For more information on the GBTA Convention, visit gbta.org/convention.

About the Global Business Travel AssociationThe Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings organization. Collectively, GBTA’s 5,000-plus members manage over $340 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its network of 17,000 business and government travel and meetings managers, as well as travel service providers, with networking events, news, education professional development, research, and advocacy. For more information, visit gbta.org

SOURCE Global Business Travel Association

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gbta-announces-lineup-for-5th-annual-airline-ceo-panel-at-2012-convention-in-boston-2012-04-30

Gate 1 Travel Launches Family & Friends Discount Program


FORT WASHINGTON, Pa., Apr 30, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) –
Gate 1 Travel, a leader in independent and escorted vacations, has
launched their new Friends and Family Program, an easy way for groups to
plan, book and organize their next vacation through Gate 1 Travel. In
addition to trip coordination, the program provides discounts based on
the number of passengers traveling with the group.

“During the last several years we’ve noticed an increase in the number
of customers booking group
trips, so we are thrilled to ease some of the stress of planning
these types of trips with our new Family and Friends Program,” said
Marty Seslow, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Gate 1 Travel.
“Our goal with the program is to assist customers with booking their
trips and reward them for booking their family
reunion, school
trips or group of friends vacations with Gate 1 Travel. The Family
and Friends Program helps group leaders organize the details of the
trip, send out reminders and create a website that keeps everyone up to
date.”

This program applies to all escorted tours, European river
cruises and sea cruises. Trip leaders can reserve spots on select
packages for up to 30 days. In addition to assistance with booking
trips, the group leader is eligible for discounts based on the number of
passengers that book:


7 paying passengers: $100 discount


8 paying passengers: $200 discount


9 paying passengers: $300 discount


10 paying passengers: 11th passenger goes free

For more information about Gate 1′s Family and Friends Program, visit
http://www.gate1travel.com/friends-and-family .

Gate 1 Travel was founded in 1981 to deliver More of the World for
Less — offering fully escorted land tours; sea cruises; independent rail
packages; river cruises; independent fly and drive vacations; and
customized international vacation packages. Discount travel packages and
tour packages are offered throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia,
and North and South America. For information and reservations call:
1-800-682-3333 or 215-572-7676; fax: 215-886-2228; e-mail: info@Gate1travel.com;
or visit the Website:

http://www.Gate1travel.com

SOURCE: Gate 1 Travel



        
        Vault Communications, Inc. 
        Lauren Wattie, 610-455-2751 
        lwattie@vaultcommunications.com
        


Copyright Business Wire 2012

Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gate-1-travel-launches-family-friends-discount-program-2012-04-30

Awards travel: Book British and Hawaiian on American Airlines’ site

Members of American Airlines’ AAdvantage frequent-flier program can now book awards travel on British Airways and Hawaiian using American’s website.

American’s frequent fliers can redeem their points for one-way, round-trip and multi-city award travel on American, Alaska, Hawaiian and British (including a combination of the carriers).  Most award reservations can be held for five days (unless flights are scheduled within a shorter period of time).

On partner airlines, only MileSAAver awards (which require fewer miles) can be booked for economy, business- and first-class tickets. AAnytime Awards (which typically require twice as many miles) are available only on American Airlines.

I searched for AAdvantage Award tickets for a May trip to Oahu or  London.  I found more availability for MileSAAver Awards when I searched for flights on American and its partners (the default search setting) than I did just on American.  For a trip from LAX to Honolulu (HNL), the website offered award options on American, Hawaiian or Alaska.  For travel to London Heathrow from LAX (or neighboring airports), options came up for American, British Airways and Alaska (connecting flight within the U.S.).

 A free ticket isn’t free, of course.  Award tickets to Oahu required payment of domestic security fees attached.  Award flights to London had much steeper fees, as several readers have noted recently. Award flights on British Airways typically had international fees that cost about $700. American award flights typically had fees closer to $200 (but often cost more miles). 

In May, I generally found more Economy MileSAAver (22,500 miles) awards available on Hawaiian or Alaska Airlines to Oahu or on British to London than on American Airlines.

Info: American Airlines, (800) 882-8880.

 

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-aa-flier-miles-book-hawaiian-british-20120427,0,1502643.story

Allegiant Travel Company Announces Executive Promotions


LAS VEGAS, Apr 30, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) –
Allegiant Travel Company


/quotes/zigman/101442/quotes/nls/algt ALGT
-0.85%



today announced the promotion of Jude Bricker to the position of Senior Vice President of Planning, Trent Porter to the position of Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis, and Chris Allen to the position of Director of Investor Relations.

“We are pleased to recognize the important contributions each of these individuals has made to the success of our organization,” said Andrew Levy, President of Allegiant Travel Company. “As Allegiant continues to pursue new growth opportunities, we are committed to developing a strong leadership team.”

As Senior Vice President of Planning, Bricker will oversee the Company’s network planning, revenue management, fleet planning and treasury. Prior to joining Allegiant in 2006, he was employed at American Airlines. Bricker will continue reporting to Levy.

In his role as Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis, Porter will be responsible for financial planning, budgeting, reporting and analysis. Prior to joining Allegiant in 2009, he was the Senior Manager of Financial Planning for Operating Budgets and Long Range Planning at US Airways. Porter will continue reporting to Scott Sheldon, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Allen will remain responsible for the Company’s relationships with the investment community. Prior to joining Allegiant in 2009, he worked as an Equity Research Associate at UBS. Allen will continue reporting to Scott Sheldon, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Allegiant, Travel is our deal.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company


/quotes/zigman/101442/quotes/nls/algt ALGT
-0.85%



is focused on linking travelers in small cities to world-class leisure destinations. Through its subsidiary, Allegiant Air, the company operates a low-cost, high-efficiency, all-jet passenger airline, and offers other travel-related products such as hotel rooms, rental cars, and attraction tickets through its website,
www.allegiant.com . The company was ranked ninth in the 2011 Forbes’ Best Small Companies. Allegiant was also recently named one of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Fastest-Growing Companies” for the second consecutive year.

The Allegiant Travel Company logo is available at

http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=8305

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire,
www.globenewswire.com

SOURCE: Allegiant Travel Company



        CONTACT: Media Inquiries: Brian Davis
        mediarelations@allegiantair.com
        Investor Inquiries: Chris Allen
        ir@allegiantair.com
        


(C) Copyright 2010 GlobeNewswire, Inc. All rights reserved.

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add Add to portfolio

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Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/allegiant-travel-company-announces-executive-promotions-2012-04-30

EU: Barroso Won’t Travel To Ukraine; Deep Concerns Over Situation

BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)–The European Commission has “very big” concerns about the situation in Ukraine over jailed ex-premier Yulia Timoshenko, a spokeswoman said Monday, and Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has “no intention” of traveling to the country if the situation doesn’t change.

Asked whether Barroso …

Article source: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120430-704734.html

AAA Travel Experts Offer Tips for Traveling with Children in Tow and Solo Kid …


ORLANDO, Fla., April 30, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ –
AAA Travel experts advise that traveling without the proper documentation for children can complicate or ruin travel plans

Summer remains the most popular and eagerly anticipated season for family travel according to AAA Travel experts. Options for family travel are varied and may include children traveling alone to visit geographically separated family members, travel with a solo parent or kids leaving parents behind to cruise the world with grandparents. Some family travel options may require additional and perhaps unexpected travel documentation when both parents are not accompanying the child, the child is traveling with adults other than parents or the child’s last name differs from the parent’s name.

“Family travel plans could be interrupted or even ruined if necessary documentation requirements for children catch adults by surprise,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. “It is critical that parents identify and obtain the required documents for their specific family or child’s travel.”

AAA Travel experts offer these children’s travel tips:

Passports for Children – All U.S. citizens including infants and children must have a valid passport to travel internationally by air. A passport card can be used for automobile and cruise ship travel to Canada and Mexico from the United States. Both parents must provide consent authorizing passport issuance for a minor under age 16. AAA Travel experts recommend that citizens of all ages use a passport for all international travel, including auto and cruise travel to Canada and Mexico, in the event an emergency requires reentry to the United States by air.

Current passport holders should examine the passport expiration date, and if the document is due to expire within six months of travel, renew it prior to travel. While adult passports are valid for ten years, passports for children under age 16 are valid for five years. Parents should carefully examine all passport and child travel documentation requirements at travel.state.gov, or seek the assistance of a knowledgeable travel agent. To locate the nearest AAA Travel Agency, visit AAA.com.

Cruising with Children – Cruise lines generally require at least one legal adult (age 21 or higher) to occupy every stateroom to eliminate children cruising alone. This person also needs to be a legal parent or guardian. Cruise lines also require a notarized letter of authorization to travel if a child is sailing with only one parent, other non-custodial adults, or has a different last name than the responsible legal adult. For more information visit the applicable cruise line website or a knowledgeable travel agent.

International Solo Parent Travel – When visiting a foreign country – including Mexico and Canada – as a lone adult with a minor child under age 18, additional travel documentation is required. To help prevent cases of parental abduction and international child trafficking, many countries now require proof of the lone adult’s relationship to the child and the legal right to travel in and out of the country with that child. In addition to the child’s valid United States passport, and entry visa where required, a letter of permission from the absent parent(s) signed before a notary public is needed.

The letter should include a statement of authorization for the child to travel, details of the trip and legal names and contact information for the child and accompanying adult. Single parents, grandparents, stepparents, guardians and any adult with a last name different from the child needs to be prepared with the additional documentation to present at border crossings, airport immigration check points and cruise line check-in desks. A travel agent can assist in securing the appropriate documents.

Children Flying Solo – Most airlines offer fee-based Unaccompanied Minor programs that facilitate air travel for children without an accompanying adult. These programs provide an affordable travel option to link geographically separated family members with the children they treasure. Airline Unaccompanied Minor programs, policies and procedures vary. Most require that an authorized adult escort the child to the departure gate and an authorized adult take custody of the minor child at the arrival gate. In flight, unaccompanied minors are under the care of the cabin crew.

If planning an itinerary for a child traveling by air solo be sure to carefully check the specific requirements for each airline you are considering. Check age requirements, fees and all details which can vary greatly. For example some airlines require travel must be on a nonstop flight, while others might allow one or more stops if a plane change does not occur. Specific details of each airline’s program can be found on the airline website.

Child Medical Care Authorization – When a child is traveling without a parent, receiving emergency medical care could be complicated or refused by the medical facility, unless the emergency is deemed life-threatening. The adult accompanying the child should carry a medical proxy, an original notarized letter from the non-traveling parent(s) granting permission to authorize emergency medical care for the child. The letter should include the permission statement, child’s health insurance information, social security number and full legal names of the child and accompanying adults. If the child remains at home while a parent travels, this important medical authorization documentation should be supplied to the child’s caregiver.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

AAA news releases and high resolution images are available at NewsRoom.AAA.com.Twitter.com/AAA_Travel AAATravelViews.com

SOURCE AAA

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/aaa-travel-experts-offer-tips-for-traveling-with-children-in-tow-and-solo-kid-travel-2012-04-30

Clinton to travel to China amid tensions over escaped activist


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(CNN) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to leave for China on Monday, a trip that is likely to be fraught with diplomatic tension over the status of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who is reportedly being sheltered at the U.S. Embassy.

Chen, a blind, self-taught lawyer, evaded guards who had kept him under house arrest for more than 18 months in a small eastern village and made his way to Beijing on April 22, friends and fellow activists said last week.

Once in the capital, Chen moved from one safe house to another before finding refuge at the U.S. Embassy, according to Hu Jia, a fellow activist and one of the few people to have seen Chen since he arrived in Beijing.

The situation presents an extraordinary test for the Obama administration’s approach to relations with China, creating a strain between upholding human rights and maintaining steady ties with Beijing.


The importance of Chen Guangcheng


U.S., China meet amid dissident scandal


Fate of Chen Guangcheng


Escaped blind activist recounts abuse

Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are scheduled to hold talks with Chinese officials in Beijing starting Thursday about strategic and economic issues. But the Chen affair is in danger of overshadowing the economic talking points.

“If Chen is holed up in the U.S. Embassy, it is hard to fathom how the two sides will stay focused on the many pressing geostrategic and economic challenges in the relationship,” Christopher Johnson, a China analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in an opinion article for CNN.

The blind activist’s flight from detention comes at a highly sensitive time for Chinese authorities. The ruling Communist Party has been rocked by a scandal involving the former high-ranking leader Bo Xilai, whose wife is under investigation in relation to the mysterious death of a British businessman in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing.

The downfall of Bo, the former Chongqing party chief who is now being investigated in connection with serious disciplinary violations, has created shock waves ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition in China that is due to unfold later this year.

American and Chinese officials have declined to comment directly on the Chen case. But John Brennan, one of President Barack Obama’s national security advisers, said Sunday that the U.S. government is “working very closely with the individuals involved.”

The United States is aiming to strike the “appropriate balance” between its commitment to human rights and its diplomatic relationship with China, Brennan said on Fox News.

The Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said in a statement Sunday that he hoped the U.S. government would “take every measure to ensure that Chen and his family members are protected from further persecution.”

Chen addressed Chinese premier Wen Jiabao in a video posted Friday on YouTube, detailing “cruel” abuses he said he and his family had suffered at the hands of authorities during months of heavily guarded detention in their home.

“They broke into my house and more than a dozen men assaulted my wife,” he said. “They pinned her down and wrapped her in a comforter, beating and kicking her for hours. They also similarly violently assaulted me.”

Journalists and supporters were prevented from visiting Chen during his house arrest. One of those supporters is Hollywood actor Christian Bale, who was roughed up by security guards during such an attempt in December.

Chen, 40, rose to fame in the late 1990s thanks to his legal advocacy for what he called victims of abusive practices, such as alleged forced abortions, by China’s family-planning officials.

A local court sentenced Chen to four years and three months in prison in 2006 on charges of damaging property and “organizing a mob to disturb traffic” in a protest, charges that his supporters called preposterous.

Since his September 2010 release from prison, he had been confined to his home along with his wife, mother and daughter.

Chen’s escape appears to have angered local officials holding him captive, with supporters saying at least four members of his family have been detained.

In the YouTube video, the blind activist appealed to the Chinese premier to investigate his case and expressed concern about the welfare of his wife, mother and daughter.

“Although I’m free, my worries are only deepening,” he said. “They have been persecuting my family for a long time, and my escape would only prompt them into a mode of revenge.”

The authorities’ reaction also seems to have ensnared Chen’s supporters, especially those suspected of aiding his escape.

After speaking to CNN, Hu was taken away by police for questioning, his wife posted on Twitter.

Chen’s friend He Peirong disappeared Friday, shortly after speaking to CNN and other news organizations about the blind activist’s escape.

The last message she sent out, according to Bob Fu, head of the U.S.-based nonprofit group ChinaAid, was that state security agents had arrived at her home in the eastern city of Nanjing.

“I’m not concerned about my own safety,” she told CNN. “I hope they’ll arrest me, not my friends.”

CNN’s Steven Jiang and Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.






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Article source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/30/world/asia/china-us-activist/index.html