Airbus A330-200

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Turkish Airlines increases  its presence in the Netherlands 

launching a new service from Istanbul to Rotterdam, its 244th international destination.






Rotterdam the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. It has one major university, the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), named after one of the city's famous former inhabitants, Desiderius Erasmus.

The city is currently going through a sort of renaissance, with some urban architecture projects, a night-life, and many summer festivals celebrating the city's multicultural population and identity, such as the Caribbean-inspired "Summer Carnival", the Dance Parade, Rotterdam 666 and the Metropolis pop festival.

Other events include: North Sea Jazz Festival, the largest Jazz festival in Europe, Bavaria City Race, a Formula 1 race inside the city center and a 3 day long maritime extravaganza called the World Port Days celebrating the Port of Rotterdam.


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Garuda Indonesia,  the flag carrier of Indonesia, has joined SkyTeam as its 20th member and second airline from Southeast Asia.

Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-8U3(WL), PK-GMC, i...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Garuda's membership adds Jakarta as an alternative gateway to and from south-east Asia, as well as 40 new destinations to SkyTeam's global network served uniquely by the alliance.

It's a road which the airline must take one step at a time, but his goal is for Garuda "to become one of the best airline in the world."

Signing up with SkyTeam is part of that journey  that "will fortify our position as a global player, and bring Garuda into the global arena (with) global standards", says Garuda Indonesia CEO Emirsyah Satar.  as he enters the final year of a five-year 'Quantum Leap' expansion plan which began in 2009 to add new planes, new routes and improve service.

"Garuda Indonesia is proud to connect SkyTeam's global extensive network to one of the largest economies in south-east Asia via its hubs in Jakarta, Denpasar, Makassar, Medan, Surabaya, and Balikpapan," said Satar.

"Garuda's entry into the alliance will give its customers access to SkyTeam's 1,064 destinations, covering over 90 per cent of the most relevant traffic flows in the world," said Michael Wisbrun, SkyTeam managing director.

"Garuda strengthens our presence throughout the Asia Pacific region for our 588 Million global passengers."

Garuda flies to 64 destinations in 12 countries, including 40 domestic destinations. SkyTeam customers from every continent will benefit from easier access to Indonesia's key business and tourism destinations, facilitated by Garuda's partnerships with alliance members.

SkyTeam

Photo credit: Wikipedia



The airline boosts SkyTeam's presence in Australia with service to Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney; and in Tokyo with flights to both Narita and Haneda airports. Garuda will increase its service to Europe in May this year with a new route between Jakarta and London's Gatwick airport.

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Let´s discover the Galapagos Islands together!

English: Nazca Booby, Sula granti, on Española...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean.


The Galapagos Islands and their surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park, and a biological marine reserve. The principal language on the islands is Spanish and they have a population of approximately 25,000.

Darwin's finches or Galapagos finches. Darwin,...

Darwin, 1845. Journal of researches. Beagle round the world,  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



These fascinating  islands are known for their vast number of endemic species that  were studied by Charles Darwin. 
English: Charles Darwin (1809-1882) in his lat...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.






The Galapagos Islands  are also  well known as one of the worlds top diving destinations.

Diver, Hogfish and Parrotfish, Darwin Island, ...

Hogfish and Parrotfish, Darwin Island. Image taken by Clark Anderson/Aquaimages. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There are 18 main islands (with a land area larger than 1 km2) of the archipelago.

Satellite photo of the Galapagos islands overl...

Satellite photo of the Galapagos islands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Just to name a few:

Bartoleme Island view, Galapagos.

Bartolome Island.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)






Bartolome Island is a volcanic islet just off the east coast of Santiago Island in the Galapagos Islands group. it is one of the "younger" islands in the Galápagos archipelago.

 




English: C. n. darwini (named for Charles Darw...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In Darwin Island (named after Charles Darwin) fur seals, frigates, marine iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions, whales, marine turtles, and red-footed and Nazca boobies can be seen.



English: Galapagos Penguins and Blue-footed Bo...

Galapagos Penguins and Blue-footed Boobies at Isabela Island, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)










Isabela  Island  is the largest island of the Galapagos. 

English: NASA view of Galapagos Islands, cente...

NASA view. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




The island's seahorse shape is the product of the merging of six large volcanoes into a single land mass. On this island, galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, pelicans and Sally Lightfoot crabs abound.


Santa Fe Island hosts a forest of Opuntia cactus, which are the largest of the archipelago. Weathered cliffs provide a refuge for swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropic birds and shear-waters petrels. Santa Fe species of land iguanas are often seen, as well as lava lizards.

English: Plaza Island and cactus, Galapagos Is...

Image taken by Clark Anderson/Aquaimages. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)










In 1986, the 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 sq mi.) of ocean surrounding the islands was declared a marine reserve, second in size only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. 






Ready to explore? 
Check out our best Airfares at Sky-tours 


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Are there any set rules when buying a ticket, changing a ticket or getting the best airfare available? Because not all arlines follow the same rules, there are several myths and misunderstandings that exist when it comes to airfares and airline tickets.
Question mark liberalQuestion mark liberalQuestion mark liberal
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Top 10 airfare/airline ticket myths 

1. Last minute means better deals:

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Every once in a while you can get a great deal at the last minute. However, usually the best bets are advance purchases and checking out sales that tend to appear most often on Wednesdays. 



2. You can change the name on a ticket:  On some low cost airlines you can change the name on a ticket for a fee, but on most airlines, and especially when international travel is involved, there are no name changes allowed. If in doubt, read the rules before you buy or contact the travel agent/airline you intend to buy your ticket from. 


3. You can book tickets more than a year in advance: Reservation systems are only built to book up to a year in advance. 


4. You can upgrade a ticket to first class for a nominal fee: 

First Class, Singapore Airlines 777-300ER

First Class, Singapore Airlines 777-300ER (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some charter airlines, and low cost airlines may offer this, but don't ask the Iberia agent if you can upgrade your New York to Madrid flight to first class for fifty bucks - the price difference will have a few more 00's in the equation. 

A good option to upgrade may be using your frequent flyer miles ( if you have enough).







5. Airlines will accept tickets from another airline if you are travelling between the same airports: It may seem common sense but in reality is not that simple. To change airlines you need to see if the airline you are booked with has a ticketing agreement with other airlines and if they will endorse your ticket for travel with another airline. A lot less common now that tickets are almost all electronic. 

6. You need to stay over a Saturday night for the best airfare: This is less and less the standard for securing a good price for your ticket. International travel does usually still have a minimum stay requirement but domestically Saturday night is nowadays rarely a requirement. 

7. Airlines will offer discounts or special airfares for bereavement/family emergencies:  Many airlines do offer discounts for this type of travel, but most low cost airlines don´t. The discounts are offered for travel wholly on one airline. You won't be able to travel on several airlines and secure this type of airfare. Many times the benefit of such 
fares is not really the price but the flexibility that they offer. 

8. You always have the choice of booking a one way ticket, instead of a roundtrip: Be careful because some countries may refuse visitors entry  without proof of a roundtrip ticket. 

9. Airlines can change a ticket booked by a travel agency: Unfortunately, this is not always true. The travel agency, whether it be online or in person, owns the file and may have ticket rules that airline reservation agents simply have no access to. Or, you may be booked on more than one airline with specific flight routing that got you the airfare you wanted. 

10. You can change/refund tickets bought through a wholesale outlet or a bucket shop:  Because these tend to be highly discounted tickets, changes or cancellations are rarely permitted. The seats are often bought in bulk from the airlines and the airfares are private and are not accessible to airline reservation agents. 


That´s all for now. We hope it helped to clarify a little bit!

Wherever you go, have a safe and pleasant trip and don´t forget to check out Sky-tours for the best fares !





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5 Tips For Easy Air Travel

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5 Tips For Easy Air Travel

English: Passengers boarding United Airlines j...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There's no denying that it has become more and more difficult to fly without running into snags or problems with the airport or the airlines. Enduring the line at thesecurity check point in some airports is enough to put some passengers in a bad mood. However, despite all of the inconveniences that come with flying, it is a necessity. There are several things that can be done to make flying easier and more hassle free, and all that is involved is a little bit of common sense and planning.


1. Get to the Airport Early 


Arriving at the airport early is a no-brainer, especially when the airlines tell passengers to arrive at least two hours prior to a flight's departure time. However, there are many people who refuse to heed this request, and arrive at the airport just several minutes before a flight is scheduled to leave. If there is a line at the check-in counter or at security, this can create a very stressful situation. Not only may the flight be missed, but a new flight must be booked, and the passengers will probably have to travel stand-by on a later flight with no guarantee of a seat until the very last minute.



2. Take a Morning Flight. 

Leaving on an early flight does not necessarily mean a 4 a.m. flight must be chosen. However, flights that leave first thing in the morning are less likely to be running late, and they are less likely to be affected by weather problems across the country and/or other planes that may be delayed at other airports. Also, if for some reason the first flight of the day is canceled or delayed, there will probably be several other flights throughout the day that, if necessary, can be taken instead.



3. Try Not to Fly During "Rush Hour" 

Airports, like highways, have rush hours. Typically, rush hour in the morning is from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and in the afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. These are the hours when airports are the most crowded with people waiting for flights. Crowds mean longer lines at the security check points, more people in the restrooms, more people waiting in restaurant lines, and more people taking up seats in the waiting areas. Flying at a NON-rush hour time of day can alleviate the need to stand in lines and sit with crowds.



4. Try to Take Non-Stop Flights 

Obviously, when a non-stop flight is taken, there is less risk of being delayed. Taking off and landing both take quite a bit of time, so avoiding having to do this twice is recommended. There will always be destinations when a non-stop flight is not available, but there are plenty of cities where non-stop flights are just as common as those that stop. It may even be worth a few extra dollars to book a non-stop flight to avoid an unneeded hassle and the possibility of being delayed.



5. Book Connections with Enough Time 

If a non-stop flight is not available to a desired destination, make sure to schedule enough time in between flights. When airlines book flights, they often have a layover requirement of 30 or 45 minutes between connections. However, this is often not enough time if the original flight arrives late. In order to avoid this stress, try to schedule connecting flights with at least an hour to spare between the arrival time of the first flight and the departure time of the connecting flight.



Get Cheap Airfares to your favorite destinations at Sky-tours

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The Turkish Consulate has advised that the stamp / sticker visa on arrival will be abolished from  April 10, 2014 and completely replaced by the online e-visa application.evisa-tr.gif
Visitors to Turkey from April 11, 2014 will be required to purchase their entry visa via the Turkish Government website www.evisa.gov.tr prior to travel.

Currently, the cost of the e-visa is approx $20 US.
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It's January! And like previous years, New Year's resolutions are on everyone's mind. For Sky-tour's travel buddies, it's time once again to make a list of your destinations for the year. Weather it is a romantic getaway in Venice or a sun-kissed retreat in Bali, Sky-tours.com is here to help with our:


How to Plan Your Travel for the New Year


Consider Your Budget.

budget

budget (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Your travel fund is a portion of your savings specially allotted for your travel this year. How much it is will help gauge how far and how long you can travel. This will also help determine how often you can travel.

Tip: Increase your travel fund by religiously saving up every month - and remember not to spend it unless absolutely necessary.


Plan Ahead.

Answer the basic questions

Where. Where can your travel fund take you? Which of these are your top pics. Be realistic. It is best to plan taking into consideration the money that you already have rather than what you will be saving this year.

Who. These are your companions or the lack there of. Are you going with friends, family or are you going on a solo adventure.

Why. This helps set the mood for the trip. Is it an anniversary, birthday or is it a seasonal travel like summer vacation or winter trip?

When. This comes hand in hand with the previous question. You can work out the travel dates around the why.

How. Are you going by train, maybe have a road trip or how about flying by booking with Sky-tours.com?


Prepare.

Have all your necessary documents ready. Check your passport expiration. Will you need a visa on your trip? Research on your destination, places you can stay and sites you can visit.




Are you done with your plans? Perfect!

Why not book a flight for your travel as early as today to get the cheapest deals.

Book at Sky-tours.com for the best destinations and the most affordable deals.




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United Airlines' Premium Services Gets a New Look and It's Awesome!


The entire p.s.® (Premium Services) fleet has been overhauled to give an exceptional new travel experience. 


This includes:

1. Replacement of angle lie-flat and recliner seats with full 180-degree flat-bed seats

Skytours-United-180seat.jpg

2. Fully refreshed interiors

Skytours-United-interior.jpg

3. All-new United Economy® seats

Skytours-United-economy.jpg

4. New united Economy Plus® seats with more legroom

Skytours-United-economyplus.jpg

5. Complementary personal on-demand entertainment in all seats

Skytours-United-entertainment.jpg


Other features are:

- Standard power outlets and USB ports throughout the aircraft

- Excellent meal and beverage selections

- Gogo Wi-Fi Internet access available for purchase


Check out United for the detailed features.

Book now at www.sky-tours.com for the cheapest flights





December is READ A NEW BOOK MONTH!

Cuddle up by the fireplace and let your imagination explore the world through these books.


Death in the Afternoon

Death in the Afternoon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway
Setting: Spain
Why we love it: Immerse yourself in the Spanish culture and the deeply rooted tradition of bullfighting.



2. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: A Novel by Dai Sijie
Setting: China
Why we love it: A humorous and moving account of China's cultural revolution evoking the significance of intellectual freedom.



3. The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert
Setting: Germany
Why we love it: Three characters and their tumultuous relationship with the city of Berlin.



4. Video Night in Kathmandu: and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East by Pico Iyer
Setting: far East
Why we love it: A wanderlust through the far east.



5. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Setting: Italy
Why we love it: It is about making a leap of faith and beauty of life.



6. A House in Bali by Colin McPhee
Setting: Indonesia
Why we love it: A tribute to an enchanting paradise, its culture and peoples.



Experience the world yourself. Book a flight at www.sky-tours.com

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Chopsticks Etiquette

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Chopsticks Etiquette
Chopsticks

Chopsticks (Photo credit: Robert of Fairfax)


For an authentic dining experience, travelers not only try out local delicacies, but also immerse in the traditions practiced during a meal. In countries like Japan, China and Korea to name a few; chopsticks are used as traditional eating utensils.


You've probably learned how to use chopsticks from the countless times you ordered Chinese take out. Or maybe you watched a lot of youtube videos on how to use chopsticks to get ready for your travel to Asia. But just as with western dining etiquette, there are also rules in using chopsticks.




Before you stab your bowl of rice with your chopsticks, read on to learn the rules in using chopsticks.

do use chopsticks to take the food from the shared dish and place it on your own bowl before eating


do use chopsticks to take the food at the top of the dish


do lay chopsticks parallel on your bowl


do place chopsticks on chopstick holder when provided

do not stick chopsticks upright in your rice. In Buddhist practices, this is the way a bowl of rice is offered to the spirit of a dead person


do not cross your chopsticks. This is reminiscent of Buddhist funeral practices as well as symbol for death


do not pass food from chopstick to chopstick. In funerals, it is likened to the custom of passing the cremated bones to the urn


do not spear or stab food with chopsticks. They are not skewers


do not hover chopsticks over shared dishes while deciding what to take next


do not lick, suck or nibble the ends of chopsticks


do not play with chopsticks. It is used for food not as drumsticks, hair ornament, sword,


do not rub chopsticks together. It is a sign of cheap chopsticks that splinters


do not point chopsticks at people. It is impolite




For an affordable trip to Asia book at www.sky-tours.com

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