Saturday, November 9, 2019

Fly free to Cuba

Is a trip to Cuba on your bucket list?

Old cars like this still fascinate tourists.
Do you think it may be out of the question now that stricter rules are in place for American tourists?
Not only is travel to Cuba possible, but it is easier than ever since InsightCuba, the leading provider of legal travel to Cuba, introduced free flights from Miami to Havana.

There are many historic buildings to see.
Effective immediately, president Tom Popper says InsightCuba has decided to add air without raising tour prices in order to bring much-needed attention to that destination. “Despite the Administration’s policy changes over the past two years, traveling to Cuba not only remains legal but is still easier than it was a few short years ago,” Popper says. “And now it’s even more affordable,” he adds.

Certain restrictions still apply, but an experienced tour operator like InSight can guide you on finding the right group tour or custom trip to allow for your best experience in Cuba.

Be sure to have a meal at a paladar, a family-run restaurant.
Complimentary air is available on most InsightCuba tours including the 10-day Undiscovered Cuba, 7-day Classic Cuba, 6-day Legendary Cuba, and the popular 4-day Weekend in Havana. Custom-made tours are available with dates till the end of 2020.

Samples of beautiful pottery to be found in Cuba
Air-inclusive packages include roundtrip air from Miami to Havana on scheduled service as well as the Cuban visa. Undiscovered Cuba will include roundtrip air via charter flight from Miami to Havana and Holguin to Miami and also includes Cuban visas.
Horseback is still a useful mode of transportation, especially in rural areas.
Popper says InsightCuba tour itineraries and experiences remain unaffected by policy changes. “Next year is our 20th year providing legal travel to Cuba for Americans, and we look forward to providing this incredible opportunity for Americans for another 20.”

While other U.S. companies provide tours for Americans to Cuba, Insight is the first to offer complimentary flights with their tours.

The square in Havana is a gathering place. 
Note: I have not personally traveled with Insight, but having been to Cuba six years ago, I encourage Americans to consider this destination. You’ll learn so much about this fascinating country and its people than you would never expect. Travel there will most likely change many of your perceptions about this once-forbidden island that is only 90 miles from the U.S.

Information courtesy of Tom Popper, President of InsightCuba

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

Saturday, November 2, 2019

What you need to know before driving in a foreign country

Driving in a foreign country can be an easy way to get from one destination to another—and on your own time schedule.
For most Americans traveling in a foreign country, the choice to drive means renting a car. However, not all countries consider a U.S. driver’s license sufficient for driving there. You may be required to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) in order to rent a car. Basically, it acts as a translation of a driver’s license providing important data, so the holder may drive a private vehicle in any country or jurisdiction that recognizes the document. It is not a regular driver’s license.

Since an IDP contains your name, photo, and other driver information translated into at least the 10 most widely spoken languages, it can help you avoid problems if you are in need of identification or assistance from local police or other authorities in a country where English isn’t the main language. As a United Nations regulated travel document, an IDP can make foreign travel easier and safer. That’s a good preventive reason to have an IDP before you drive in any of more than 150 countries that accept the IDP document.
How to get an IDP

You must be at least 18 years old and have a current driver’s license from your home state before applying for an IDP. You’ll still need to take your U.S. driver’s license along, as the IDP is only valid when accompanied by your U. S. license. You’ll also need to have your passport in your possession at the same time.
If applying by mail, you’ll need to send in a photocopy of both sides of your driver’s license. You’ll need to complete an application, include two original passport-size photos with your signature on the back, and pay the application fee, which may run between $20-30. The IDP is valid for up to three years, but it can’t be used for more than one year in the same country. If you plan to stay in a country longer, you must apply for a local driving permit.

Obtain an application at any AAA (AmericanAutomobile Association) full-service location and apply in person or by mail (may require up to 10 days). Or apply online to an organization such as AATA(American Automobile Touring Alliance) and get a digital version of IDP in as little as two hours. Find a list of countries that accept the IDP at
Although an IDP is not required if you are driving your own vehicle into Canada or Mexico, don’t forget to get Mexico liability auto insurance since U.S. liability is invalid in Mexico. U.S. auto insurance also may not meet minimum requirements of other countries, but you can usually buy additional insurance in the U.S. or in your destination country if needed. Check with your insurance company and the U.S. consulate of the country you are visiting beforehand.

Photos from free sources