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How to order coffee in Italy

Monday, June 11th, 2018 | BLOG | No Comments

When coffee houses like Starbucks, first became popular in the United States, I had the worst time ordering exactly what I wanted as I was more familiar with these terms in Italy. I like Caffe Latte, but here I was getting something more like milk with American coffee, not expresso with hot milk, really bad stuff. In the USA, we ask for “latte”, but in Italy, that is simply “milk”, so if you don’t say “caffee latte”, you will just get a glass of milk.  

Reading a menu at an Italian coffee bar can feel like more than just a foreign language, it’s a glimpse into Italy’s culture and identity. Unlike American coffee, Caffè Italiano revolves solely around espresso and the different ways it can be served. Here’s an in-depth guide to your options for how to order your coffee like an Italian.

Coffee:

The Basic Caffè: A simple espresso. Though caffè means “coffee” in Italian, it isn’t your standard American coffee. If you’re unfamiliar with espressos, you’ll be getting a small cup of strong coffee served on a saucer with a spoon

Cappuccino: An espresso with steamed whole milk and foam, an Italian favorite typically served in a slightly larger cup than the espresso.

Caffè Latte: An espresso with hot milk, served in a glass. Remember to ask for “caffe latte” or you will end up with just a glass of milk!

Caffè Macchiato: An espresso with a bit of foamed milk on top. Macchiato means “marked” or “stained,” so it is an espresso “marked” with a little foamed milk.  

Latte Macchiato: A glass of steamed milk with a bit of espresso, or “marked” with a small amount of espresso. If you want a bit more espresso, like a double latte, order a dark version, or latte macchiato scuro.

 

More Than Milk

Caffè con Panna: An espresso topped with sweet, often fresh, whipped cream. This drink is especially for those who want a sweeter version of the caffè macchiato.

Caffè Corretto: An espresso with a drop of liquor. Popular choices are grappa, Sambuca, or cognac.

Caffè con Zucchero: An espresso with sugar added for you. Most bars have patrons add their own sugar from a packet or container at the bar.

 

Less Caffeinated 

Decaffeinato or Caffè Hag: A decaffeinated espresso. Hag is the largest producer of decaf coffee in Italy, so some bars will write their name on the menu instead of decaffeinato.

Caffè Lungo: A “long” espresso, when the barista allows the machine to pour water until the coffee is weak and bitter.

Caffè Americano: An espresso diluted with hot water, the closest drink to American filtered coffee you’ll find in an Italian bar.

Caffè Americano Decaffeinato: A decaf espresso diluted with hot water, the closest drink to American filtered decaf coffee.

Cold Coffee:

Caffè Shakerato: An espresso shaken with sugar and ice, typically served in a martini or cocktail glass. Some bars add chocolate syrup for an extra layer of sweetness.

Caffè Freddo: An espresso served iced or cold, typically served in a glass. If you order a caffè freddo alla vaniglia, you can add vanilla syrup or vanilla liquor to the mix.

Granita di Caffè: An espresso-flavored icy slush, typically with added sugar, almost like a coffee snow cone.

 

Regional Specialities:

Espresso in Naples typically comes with the sugar added. If you don’t like your coffee sweet, order un caffè sense zucchero. Try Caffè alla Nocciola, an espresso with froth and hazelnut cream, for a special local treat.

In Milan, coffee bars serve an upside-down cappuccino called a marocchino. Served in a served in a small glass sprinkled with cocoa powder a marocchino starts with a bottom layer of frothed milk and is finished off with a shot of espresso.

The Piemontese enjoy a traditional drink created from layers of dense hot cocoa, espresso and cream, called bicerìn.

 

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Are you a smart traveler?

Thursday, April 20th, 2017 | BLOG | No Comments

So many people return year after year to the same place for vacation. Why? One reason may be that they don’t know how to travel outside what they know and have no idea where to go to learn how to do this.

Then, there are the people who think that they can go online, search the booking engines and now they are an expert travel planner with no need for a travel agent. Here’s a few things they don’t know:

  1. They can get the same or even better rate through a travel agent, remember, it is “value” for your dollar, not “cheap” travel that you want
  2. Most online booking engines have people making your reservations who have never traveled at all, so the only advise you get from them is what they are reading to you
  3. These online services are ONLY booking engines, not travel agents, they’re just order takers
  4. They are limited to the resorts, hotels, airlines, car rental companies that contract with them
  5. Most do charge a service and/or handling fee once you enter all your information and once you pay, you’re committed to the purchase
  6. Once you’re on your trip there is no one there that can help you if you have a problem with flights, hotels, tours, etc.
  7. They take no responsibility if the hotel or resort you book is not as represented online, so you’re stuck with it, like it or not
  8. They won’t sell you a package trip that is anything other what is offered on their site. No customization.
  9. They can’t give you personalized information about destinations, resorts, hotels or tours. They just read the script
  10. And then there is the amount of time spent researching and the overwhelming information gathered. Many people get so tired and confused; they end just booking something to get it over with.

What a waste of hard earned money and vacation time!!! Be smart and let someone who is trained in planning travel do all the work. 

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IS WANDERLUST IN YOUR DNA?

Saturday, April 1st, 2017 | BLOG | No Comments

There are some people who perfectly happy to stay where they are, never feeling the urge to leave their home. They’re content just sitting on the couch, watching TV, surrounded with everything familiar to them.

Then there are people like us, who can’t sit still, with constant travel plans and always with a passport at hand… just in case. We are afflicted with WANDERLUST, a desire for the unknown or just an honest love for travel. It is a hunger to explore that can never be feed, no matter how many journeys or vacations we take. It’ like and addiction, a craving that can’t be satisfied. There’s always the next thing, the next adventure, the lust for something different, and before you know it you’re on a flight in search of new adventures.

According to recent scientific researches, the wanderlust gene may have been embedded in our DNA long before our first trip with parents. One Psychology Blog claims that the built-in urge for travel goes back to one genetic derivative gene DRD4, commonly associated with the dopamine levels in the brain. The same “wanderlust gene” is responsible for increased levels of restlessness and curiosity.

Another separate study supported the same findings with additional link, 7R (the mutant form of DRD4), is found in people who are more likely to take risks, explore, are open to new ideas and more willing to take greater risks. Oh, I have this badly! One study shows that only 20% of the world’s population possess the DRD4-7R gene, so we are very rare.

The next time you hear that inner voice saying “quit work and travel the world”, it’s just in your DNA. Now you have to decide whether to do it or not.

 

Cindy Rainwater
International Accents Travel

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3 Reasons Why Travel Agents Are Still in Demand

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 | BLOG | No Comments

travel agent
Here are the top three reasons while travel agents are still in demand:

  1. Expert Advice

Travel agents are industry trained professionals who are experts at navigating through the options and asking the right questions to ensure their clients find the right vacation.  Their expert recommendations are the kinds of details that take a vacation from good, to incredible. Not to mention they are typically seasoned travelers and travel enthusiasts who can share their experiences and tips for destinations around the globe. This knowledge allows them to make educated recommendations based on their clients’ needs to design the perfect holiday experience they’ve been daydreaming about.

  1. Best Value

A key benefit of working with a travel agent is that not only are they often able to secure better fares but they also add value to your vacation. They can save you hours of stressful research and review reading by asking you a few simple questions about what kind of vacation you’re looking for and guiding you in the right direction with their industry knowledge. In addition, our clients often receive other exclusive extras like bonus onboard cash credits, room upgrades, reduced deposits and more!

  1. Personal Relationship

Working with a travel agent brings back the human component of sales that is rare today providing an opportunity for our vacation consultants to get to know their customers and build a relationship where they can provide them with the best service for their needs. Our vacation consultants take pride in making dream vacations come true for travelers in their community and being right here in your neighborhood allows them to connect with you on a more personal level.travel agent sunglasses

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Google is now a travel agent!

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 | BLOG | No Comments

Google_Travel_Agency

Recently, on CNN Money there was an article announcing that Google has launched a new feature; ‘Destinations on Google’, which is a travel search engine. You simply type ‘vacation’ or ‘destination’ after a state, country, or continent on Google on our phone, to which they respond by giving you summarized options of hotel prices and flight costs. You can then have them customize your search results according to specifications you may have, so this feature is about to take the market by storm.

Is this good news or bad news for the travel industry? In truth, I will always stand by the fact that working with travel agents and real people is the better way to book your travel. This is not just because I am a travel agent either. This is because if I was booking a trip I would want a real person on the other end of the transaction working on my behalf so that my plans go off without a hitch. But, in the interest of playing devil’s advocate, let’s take an honest look at the pros and cons of using this new Google service.

Pros
1. Efficient – Who would not like the idea of booking travel at any place, time, or location? Although, if we’re being honest here, most good travel agents are available to you any time, day or night.
2. Flexible – You can keep changing up the details of your travels as many times as you would like before you book. Again, agents will work with you here too and probably be able to offer you suggestions that a bot wouldn’t have thought of. But, I digress….
3. Fast – You get an instant response about a variety of locations.
4. Cheap – You might get cheaper accommodations and transportation. MAYBE! (CHEAP being the key word here)

 

Cons
1. Isolation – In the event that things go wrong as they sometimes do, you are left stranded and without anyone who can advise you on what to do next.
2. Logistical Failures – If the internet connection ceases while you are trying to pay for your trip you might be left in limbo.
3. Data Safety – As with all online transactions, you risk losing some vital information or having it intercepted.
4. No Follow-Up – A robot doesn’t care if you arrived at your destination on time and/or if you had a good trip.
5. No personal connection – Goes with the no follow-up con, but wouldn’t you rather work with a small business than a big corporation that honestly doesn’t care about you?

Hopefully, you have seen why you should keep working with real people and caring agents instead of yet another online travel agent wannabe.

Travel 101

Sunday, October 5th, 2014 | BLOG, Ups and Downs of Travel | No Comments

 

TRAVEL 101passport applications

Is it necessary to have a passport to travel outside the USA? Yes, unless you are traveling to one of the US territories. This would include Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix or Guam. It is not necessary to travel with a passport when going on an ocean cruise if you arrive back into the same port as your departure, however, it is advisable as you would not be able to return to the US without a passport should the need arise during your travel. If you are planning to travel outside the US, your passport must be current until 6 months from your return date. 

  • To obtain a passport, you can either print an application form online at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports.html or go to your post office. You will need an original copy or certified copy of your birth certificate and one passport photo. Be sure to meet all requirements before submitting your application. Send these along with a check in the amount of $140 plus a $25 execution fee. Remember, a passport card is not good for travel outside the USA.

Be a savvy traveler and know before you go. This will make your travel easier and keep a lot of other travelers from wanting to punch you out right in the line at TSA. If you are not a pre-check traveler, remove your shoes, belts, jewelry and jackets and place them in a bin. Put your quart size zip-lock baggie of liquids, gels and aerosols in the bin too. Familiar yourself with the 311 rule and other important information at http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information. Put your computer in a bin by itself. PLEASE don’t wait until you are next in line to get your things ready, be a good scout and be prepared.

Want to know more? Watch for our next Ups and Downs of Travel Blog at www.ia-travel.com/blogs

Recline Rage

Friday, September 5th, 2014 | BLOG | No Comments

Airline Passenger “Recline Rage” It seems like whairplane seatsining about reclining seats is the newest American fad. Did you know that 3 flights in the last 2 weeks were diverted when due to passenger “recline rage”? I have personally experienced recline rage when I reclined my seat the short couple of  inches that it will recline on a regional jet. I looked behind me before reclining my seat and the gentleman there was about my height. The seat in front of me was reclined and I found it to be no problem, however I would definitely be more comfortable with my seat reclined as well. I very slowly reclined my seat back even though the man behind me did not have his table down and was leaning back in his seat apparently sleeping. I didn’t notice if his seat was reclined. I fell asleep and then was suddenly rudely awakened as I was catapulted forward by the man sitting beside the person behind me. He took his fist and shoved my seat back forward and started yelling that I was crushing his knees. I told him he was not behind me; therefore I could not possibly crush his knees. I slowly reclined my seat back again, turned around and looked to prove my point. He started yelling again and slammed me forward again, almost causing my nose to make contact with the back of the seat in front of me. I called the flight attendant, which I hated to do, being a former flight attendant myself. She was young and embarrassed, but I suggested that she move the man to another seat. The small regional jet had no first class, however, there was no one in the front row and I knew that. She took my suggestion and moved him and the man behind me, who turned out to be his very embarrassed son. I promptly went back to sleep. This turned out to be an easy solution, but what if there had been no empty seats? He was making a connection but I think someone should have taken him aside before he boarded his next flight and had a very serious talk with him concerning each person’s space on the plane and his attitude. He was average height and had no reason at all to behave in this manner. He did not request a seat with more leg room and should have done so if he felt it was needed. No one promised that it would be the most comfortable flight on a small jet, but then it was a short 30 minute flight at a very early hour in the morning.  I wondered what made this man so special that he had to disrupt the entire flight. My husband was in the seat in front of him and his seat was not reclined, neither was the seat in front of him. Should we make the whole incident a domino effect and make everyone leave their seat backs upright to please one passenger? I don’t think so. In my opinion, the man should have been banned from flying unless he could control his temper. Air Travel Etiquette The combined results of our poll and speaking with travelers revealed this basic consensus about air travel etiquette. *Do look behind your seat before reclining and assess your fellow passenger’s needs. Are they very tall? Are they using a laptop? *Don’t put your seat back during meal time. *Always keep your cool.  What do you think about reclining an airline seat?

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Why Use a Travel Agent?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 | BLOG | No Comments

Why It Pays to Book with a Travel Agentkeep-calm-and-use-a-travel-agent

Booking a trip often proves to be an extremely stressful, grueling undertaking. You can spend hours online searching for deals on flights and hotels, bouncing from one website to another in pursuit of the perfect price. This kind of process is o ften headache-inducing: According to a recent survey by the I.B.M. Institute for Business Value, approximately 20 percent of more than 2,000 travelers worldwide said it took them more than five hours to search and book travel online. Faced with countless choices for flights, hotels, car rental, and tours, some consumers are dumping the DIY approach. To quote James Shillinglaw, editor-in-chief of Travalliancemedia, “There are simply too many travel products in the market today for individuals to decipher on their own. You need a guide to help you cut through all the different things out there that are available.” There’s a difference between price and value. Here are six reasons to consider booking your next vacation with a travel agent:

  • Save time
  • Save money
  • Learn what you want
  • Connections
  • Authenticity
  • Knowledge
  • Troubleshooting

  Taken from: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/04/30/why-it-pays-to-book-with-a-travel-agent

Do you remember the days when it wasn’t a faceless online search engine that helped you find the best deals on flights, but real live people called travel agents? One source says she scours the Web for deals but says her agent beats the prices she finds. Plus, the agency alerts her to local customs abroad and tosses in perks, such as setting up tours at popular sites so she doesn’t have to wait in lines. “We’ve outsmarted ourselves by not taking advantage of the knowledge that travel agents have.” In some cases, travel agents don’t charge their clients—for example, an agent who books a cruise may earn a 10% commission from the cruise line. Others impose booking fees—say, $35 for an airline ticket—or require a deposit that they’ll keep if you cancel. The more complex or luxurious the trip, the more useful an agent can be. Agents have an inside track on deals and upgrades, and they can quickly solve problems or change plans while you’re on a trip. Let’s take a scenario such as the passengers on the stranded cruise ships faced when they finally reached port and their cruise was terminated early. If you had a travel agent, you could already have a nice air-conditioned hotel room waiting for your arrival or your airline tickets could already be rebooked so you just have to head back home instead of waiting hours on end for someone to help you find a place to sleep. Maybe you would even like to just stay at the beach a few days. All arranged for you while you wait to get back to dry land. Taken from: http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T059-C000-S002-travel-agents-vs-do-it-yourself-online-travel-book.html#h4kumdxu8DpDDJUG.99

Even for budget travelers, the overall experience can offer better value, was found in a recent test of agents versus online search engines. This survey showed “Agents won nearly every time, on both price and service. In other words, the agents suggested alternate routes, gave advice on visas and just generally acted, well, more human than their computer counterparts”. Taken from: http://frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/is-the-best-travel-search-engine-around-the-corner/

Sustainable Tourism

Friday, July 11th, 2014 | Costa Rica, Costa Rica - Green Travel | No Comments

eco tourismSustainable Tourism & Rural Community Tourism

Take the Challenge

Experience the Real Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for its outstanding natural beauty. This jewel of Central America has a flourishing culture discovering only experiencing it.

Rural community tourism is an opportunity allowing you to experience firsthand how Costa Ricans live and how they strive to conserve the environment. Rural community tourism implements the community associations. The communities own private ecological reserves or are located near areas of ecological and cultural. All offer visitors a mixture of cultural and environmental adventures in addition to the usual tourist services such as accommodation, tours and crafts. People who visit have the opportunity to discover the real Costa Rica, explore more than just the popular tourist trails and meet people committed to preserving the rural area.

  • Stay in villages located in beautiful rural surroundings and get to know local people and their customs.
  • Explore magnificent forests, fascinating mangroves, and observe the rich diversity of wildlife with experienced local guides.
  • Spend time with women fishers on the Island of Chira and learn about their way of life.
  • Pick your own vegetables from an organic garden.
  • And much more!

You will have the opportunity to listen to stories about rural life and share your own experiences in conservation. See the authentic Costa Rica, off the beaten path, in rural areas where you can learn from the people about their efforts to preserve the environment. ActivitiesFruit

  • Bird watching
  • Canopy exploration
  • Eco / nature / wildlife
  • Educational / research / volunteering
  • Fishing
  • Guided tours
  • Horseback riding
  • River rafting / kayaking
  • Scuba diving / snorkeling
  • Visits to conservation projects
  • Volunteers acceptCIMG9149
  • Walking / hiking

Interests

  • Hiking
  • Honeymoon
  • Families
  • Birdwatching
  • Volunteerism
  • Gastronomy

Be a Sustainable Traveler! Why choose to travel sustainability? Because your travel choices make a difference. By choosing sustainable businesses you will support businesses that conserve natural resources, protect plants and wildlife, and contribute to the well-being of local communities. You will also help to ensure that these treasures will also be there for future generations to enjoy.

What is Sustainable Tourism? Sustainable tourism businesses are those that are profitable while conserving natural resources and benefiting local communities. Examples of best management practices include conserving water and energy, supporting community conservation projects, preserving, recycling and treating wastes, and sourcing locally-produced products in restaurants and gift shops. Sustainable businesses also hire employees from neighboring towns, pay them just wages, and offer them additional training.

What is Rural Tourism?Rural tourism means that local residents can be entrepreneurs on their own land rather than being pressured sell it. People who previously would have only been gardeners or maids in an ecolodge now are the owners of their own tourism destinations, providing visitors with memorable experiences of nature and local culture.

How Do I Know if a Business is Sustainable? Many tourism businesses claim to be “green” or “eco-friendly” – but what does that really mean? How can you know if these businesses are really environmentally and socially responsible? Many hotels, tour operators, and other businesses have demonstrated their commitment to sustainability by participating in a sustainable tourism verification program. This means that they have been audited by an independent, third-party program and have met a vigorous set of environmental, social, and economic criteria. CST, Certification for Sustainable Tourism, is a product of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT). The CST was designed to differentiate businesses of the tourism sector, based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management. CST is regulated by the Costa Rican National Accreditation Commission and consists of a scale of 5 “levels” of sustainable tourism achievement. SustainableTrip.org has strict guidelines for participation – all of the hotels, tour operators, and other businesses listed on their site must be verified by the Rainforest Alliance. The sustainability claim of each business is confirmed by their staff before it is included on the site, so you can be assured that all of the businesses on SustainableTrip.org are taking concrete actions to conserve natural resources and support local communities.

How Can You Make A Difference?

  • At the hotel: Ask about environmental policies and practices. Does the hotel support community development or conservation projects?
  • Language: Learn a few words of the local language and use them.
  • Dress: Learn about local conventions and dress appropriately. In many countries, modest dress is important.
  • Behavior: Be respectful of local citizens’ privacy. Ask permission before entering sacred places, homes, or private lands
  • Photographs: Be sensitive to when and where you take photos/video of people. Always ask first.
  • Environment: Respect the natural environment. Never touch or harass wildlife. Always follow designated trails. Support conservation by paying entrance fees to parks and protected sites or making a donation.
  • Wildlife or forest products: Never purchase crafts, clothing, furniture, or other products that are derived from protected or endangered wildlife or plant species. In many countries it is illegal to bring these goods back home.
  • Pay a fair price: Don’t engage in overly aggressive bargaining for souvenirs. Don’t short-change on tips for services.
  • Buy local: Choose locally-owned lodges and hotels. Use local buses, car rental agencies, and airlines. Eat in local restaurants, shop in local markets, and attend local events.
  • Hire local guides: Enrich your experience and support the local economy. Ask guides if they are licensed and live nearby. Be sure they are recommended by tour operators?
  • The Rainforest Alliance, an international conservation organization, helps the tourism industry protect the environment and provide sustainable livelihoods, builds travelers demand for sustainable tourism and enables them to travel responsibly, and promotes sound international standards for sustainable tourism.

Our Mission is to promote environmental sustainability, social, cultural and economic initiatives and Rural Community Tourism of our partners, through the living natural environment by strengthening self-governed independence and transmitting an authentic experience to our customers. For our Sustainability Tours, we work only with tourist operations that are environmentally responsible and that comply with quality and sustainability criteria when selecting our suppliers, products and services we offer.

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Sandals Royal Caribbean

Thursday, June 19th, 2014 | BLOG, Sandals | No Comments

Royal Caribbean overwater bungalows


Sandals Royal Caribbean Spa Resort & Offshore Island
guests are in for a treat! In 2015 they will now have five over-the-water suites  at this Montego Bay paradise. This will give you the opportunity to enjoy the splendor of an alluring hideaway nestled directly above the sparkling Jamaican seascape. Additionally, 14 existing rooms of the resort will be renovated to become the über luxurious Grand Luxury Butler Suites with tranquility soaking tubs! Leave it to Sandals Resorts to keep up to date and beyond in ultra luxury.

Book now and they’ll get up to 65% off,
1 free night, and $150 spa bonus

Stay tuned for more updates.

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