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Don’t let credit card fraud hit you on vacation

While on a recent trip to New York City we were surprised to get an email from our bank stating that my husband’s debit card was being shut down.  After a lengthy conversation with a Bank of America rep we learned that his debit card was closed due to fraud.  Really?!  How could that be?  We have the card right here!  People are really getting crafty these days, and sure enough the card was used at several places we had not been.  LOVE that Bank of America caught the suspicious activity, but wow what an inconvenience to have the card shut down on vacation.  Quick tips on how to avoid this are below…



  • Let your bank know when you are traveling, especially out of the country
  • Try to use cash when you can
  • If you would rather use your card, use a credit card not debit. (Credit Cards don’t have an automatic withdraw of funds like a debit card has)
  • Open a seperate bank account for travel funds
  • Monitor your spending
  • Keep receipts to double check transactions
  • Know the conversion rates when traveling abroad
  • Immediately let your bank know if you see something shady on your account





Happy Travels!  Kristin

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Paradisus Punta Cana

When you enter Paradisus Punta Cana Resort through its serene tropical entrance, you immediately feel a sense of calm as you wander through the natural foliage and fish ponds towards the canopied beds in the common area. The resort has a very Zen like feeling in its initial impression, but the entrance eventually opens to a very lush tropical setting.



Only a short 30 minute cab ride from the airport, Paradisus Punta Cana has countless options to fit the needs of any honeymoon, wedding, family reunion, or corporate retreat. The property boasts 896 rooms in various styles, twelve restaurants, seven different pools, and an expansive white sand beach. The Reserve section of the property offers visitors more privacy than other areas. Containing only 132 rooms, The Reserve has private pools for adults and children. It also has restaurants that are exclusive to travelers who opt to stay there. It is the perfect way to enjoy the entire resort, but still be able to retreat back to a quieter area for relaxing.



The resort also offers a lot in the way of nightlife. The resort has nine different bars, nightly entertainment, and a casino.




Activities abound at Paradisus Punta Cana! The resort offers water sports including snorkeling, diving (for certified divers), windsurfing, kayaking, and a catamaran for sailing. If fun on land is more your speed, the resort has four tennis courts, three paddle ball courts, a rock climbing wall, batting cages, and volleyball courts. Horseback riding and golf (at Cocotal Golf) are available for additional charges as well.



After so much fun in the sun, you may find yourself needing to relax from your vacation. There’s no better way to do so than to relax at the resorts Yhi Spa. They offer a long list of services as well as a fitness center for use anytime. There’s also a kids “mini spa” where they can get pampered as well.



Paradisus Punta Cana has something for everyone and every occasion. It is perfect for large groups of people with varying needs and travel expectations. The resort is beautiful, and the staff is attentive to the needs of the guests. The Shady Umbrella would love to help you find your place in the shade, so contact us with any of your travel needs.

Happy Travels,
Kristin

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Navigating the Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Airport


 



Arrivals

This is an overview of most island airports, but specifically Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ)… You may be wondering what to expect when you arrive, so hopefully this will help to make your trip as stress free as possible.
 



Upon landing in Punta Cana, you are first met with what is arguably the cutest thatched roof airport around.  Once inside here are a few stations that you must proceed through in order to gain entry into the Dominican Republic. The first station is where you purchase a “tourist card”.  These are  $10 (cash only, US dollars are accepted)  per visitor, and are given to an attendant at the next station to validate your purchase.  Now proceed to the customs line, here your passport will be stamped and the customs documents (blue page given by flight attendants) that you filled out on the plane will be validated by the customs officer.


Be sure to grab any luggage that you may have checked and the head towards the exit where another airport attendant will be collecting the information card (white page) that was also filled out aboard the airplane. 

Provided you aren’t a drug mule or international criminal that just slipped up…welcome to the Dominican Republic!




Transportation is waiting just outside the airport…




Notes:
- A valid passport is a must.


-Don’t forget cash for the tourist card!


-Travel at your own risk, I suggest not taking anything you don’t want stolen or misplaced.







Departures




Checking your flight status 24 hours in advance for changes and completing the online check in (if available) is always a good idea. It helps save time and lowers the risk of surprise at the airport.



Once you return to the airport, there are two terminals (A and B ).  Check out the airlines at the terminal you were dropped off at.  If you don’t see your airline check-in area, then it is located in the next terminal on the other side of the airport. There are very long security lines for both terminals, so be sure that you have checked in with your airline before waiting through it.  




After the security lines, you will do your business with customs. Then follow the signs to your flight’s gate and relax. You are heading home!




Note:
If you do an online check-in with Spirit Airlines and choose to print boarding passes, these are NOT your airline tickets! Make sure to have your passport scanned and proper tickets printed prior to proceeding through security. Your new tickets will have “DOCS OK” printed on them validating your check-in.








Clearing US Customs upon Return



You will head through Customs once again upon returning to the US. Once your passport and paperwork are validated, a security check is again required. Any “Duty Free” liquor or perfume that has not been checked (over 3oz. and not in your quart sized plastic bag) that you have purchased will be confiscated and not allowed back into the country.  Basically making most “duty free” shopping a complete waste of time and money.




After you clear customs, welcome back to the US! Have a safe connection as you continue home!




Happy Travels,
Kristin

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow” ~Lin Yutan


Helpful Links:
Country Entry/ Exit Requirements
TSA What to know before you go
American Airlines
Air Tran
Continental Airlines
Delta
Spirit Airlines
US Airways


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Don’t Get Hit With Unplanned Phone Charges

When planning to travel abroad it is a wise idea to check with your phone provider and review your plan. 
With smart phones that automatically update without prompt, you may be getting hit with charges without
making the first phone call. 

When in doubt simply cut off your data package while overseas.







Happy Travels!
Kristin

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