cruise travel tips: Intro

In about 2 months we are going on a cruise.  The first thing we did was to research what the best cruise would be for us.  Here are our first set of cruise travel tips.

How we searched for the best cruise?

We are a big fan of review sites.  If you want people’s real raw opinion beyond any flashy marketing jargon, then you have to listen to people who have been there.  For cruises, the best place to look at cruise reviews is


You can look up critiques on specific cruise lines and even ships in a cruiseline.  Most people have nothing to gain and nothing to lose by giving their honest, unfiltered opinion of their experience.  These are REAL TIME reviews.  Not review from a year ago, but from days or hours ago.  Read the bad and good reviews objectively.  Some of the reviewers are “cry babies” that complain about petty nonsense but some are legit complaints that happen to more than one passenger on the same line.  Things like food poisoning or super high prices should not be ignored when scores of passengers on the same line and same ship are complaining about consistently.

When should you get your tickets?

Choose early because the good deals go fast.  Also prices tend to go up as it get closer and closer to big vacation days.  For example, the closer you get to summer the faster the slots fill up.  The space on the ship is limited so don’t wait.

What are the Travel requirements?

We noticed that the requirement actually vary based on where the cruiseline goes and what your citizenship status is.  For example, a “closed loop” travel is when the ship will return to the same port it originally traveled from.  A closed loop can be traveled by a nonimmigrant of the United States who has proper documentation (a passport and applicable documents).  But if the cruise will end in another port, their maybe issues for nonimmigrants in the US.  The situation really depends on where the travel will end and the status of the citizen, immigrant or nonimmigrant.  The only way to be sure is to contact the cruiseline.

It seems like a good idea to have a passport just in case you miss the ship and get stuck in another country.

Travel Insurance

While booking tickets travel insurance is your best bet to be safe. Just in case emergencies happens where you have to cancel your trip or you change your mind and decided to travel somewhere else instead of a cruise, the only way for you to get your money back is to be insured.  In the cruise policies (Carnival cruise), I noticed that there is “No refund”.  Once you have book your trip you cannot get your money back if your trip is within 2 months.  You will have to pay a $200.00 cancellation fee.



Cool places to visit in Colorado- Royal Gorge

As we walked across the bridge the breeze hit us in the face and made the solid steal and wood supports sway.  The magnificent height is like the scenes of a movie.  With tall walls of rock embracing the white water Arkansa river below; it is an very beautiful place.  Every angle is offers a photographic master piece.  It is hard to believe that here was a fire that destroyed the area around the Royal Gorge Bridge.  They have done an amazing job of restoring some of the (2)

The ticket price for an adult costs $16.00USD. cool-places-to-visit-colorado And when you get in

On the way to Royal Gorge, there are shops that offer all kinds of activities you and your family can do such as river rafting, zipline, kid’s train rides, small restaurants and souvenir shops.  You will see very unique merchandise such as giant amethyst rocks.  Unfortunately, these shops are not open on

In 2013, the facilities and rides of Royal Gorge were destroyed by a wildfire.

Ninety percent of the park was gone with 48 out of 52 buildings and world class attractions destroyed on each side of the bridge. During this time, the Royal Gorge Bridge stood majestically above the rubble and was relatively unscathed except for approximately 100 boards that were scorched on the south side of the Bridge. —


As of 2015, they are still in the process of rebuilding some of the facilities.  The new building includes a big cafe with huge deck over looking the gorge.  The building also has a souvenir shop selling shirts, mugs, necklaces, stuffed toys and a few types of rocks.  At the back of the building are benches where you can sit to (4)

Royal Gorge is Open at 10 o’clock in the morning and closes at 4pm, 5pm or 6pm. It changes according to month.  Please see the guide.

Note: As you are driving towards Royal Gorge and while you are there, you may lose cell phone reception.

cool-places-to-visit-in-colorado (7) cool-places-to-visit-in-colorado (8)

denver museum free days

Denver museum free days

Here at DimeTravel we talk a lot about traveling for cheap.  But nothing beats free!!  If you happen to be in Colorado visiting you should know that Denver Museum of Nature and Science has free days!? Yes.

We have talked about The Denver Museum of Nature and Science on a few different articles about travel to Denver, Colorado.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a great place for the whole family.  The prices are reasonable for a pretty fulfilling time: 15USD for non-members and 12USD for members of the museum.denver-museum-free-days


The Scientific & Cultural Facilities District is a voter-approved special district in the seven-county metro area that provides a stable source of supplemental funding to more than 300 scientific and cultural organizations inside the district’s boundaries. The SCFD collects a one-tenth of 1 percent sales-and-use tax (or one penny on every $10 spent), providing approximately $40 million each year to area cultural attractions both small and large.

denver museum free days

denver museum free days

A fee still applies to IMAX films, Planetarium shows, and temporary exhibitions. Reservations and amenities (lunchroom, coat and lunch storage, bus drop off, etc.) for school groups are not available on SCFD Community Free Days.

2015 SCFD Community Free Days

  • Monday, January 5

  • Sunday, January 25

  • Monday, March 2

  • Sunday, April 12 (Earth Day)

  • Saturday, April 25 (Día del Niño)

  • Sunday, May 31

  • Monday, June 29

  • Sunday, July 26

  • Monday, August 17

  • Sunday, September 27

  • Monday, October 19

  • Monday, November 9

best hotel in cebu

The best hotel in Cebu is difficult to find because there are so many incredible hotels in Cebu City its hard to choose one.  But here is our list of those that are among the best.  We chose them based on quality of staff, service, online reviews from actual guest and accommodations.
1. J Park Island Resort and Waterpark formerly Imperial Palace Cebu Waterpark is one of the most luxurious resorts in Cebu with a variety of amenities at 5 star quality.  The location is in Phil BXT Corp Tourism Economic Zone in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. J Park Resort consists of 556 rooms in a 7.5 hectares land area. It has very good review from its guests.

best hotel in cebu

Reviews from tripadvisor :

A video of Imperial Cebu:


2. Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa is one of the best.  Based on my personal experience the food, the drinks and accommodation are top notch.  If you go, make sure you try the beach bar.  The have great drinks and a great view. The staff is friendly and welcoming. Shangri-La has a small beach area but I would say the customer service, cleanliness and landscape really makes up for it.  The management does an excellent job hiring great people to work there.

best hotel in cebu city 1

Review from Trip Advisor:

Shangri-La Hotel Video:


3. Moevenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu formerly Hilton Hotel is located beside Shangri-la Mactan. It has a beautiful interior and exterior design. Great ambiance.

best hotel in cebu 5

Hotel Review from

Agoda Review


4. Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan is another luxurious 5 star resort hotel in Cebu. It also consistently gets good reviews from the travelers and their previous guests for their food and accommodation.

best hotel in cebu city 1

Crimson Resort Review from;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2061482106;srpos=1#tab-reviews

Hotel Video:


5. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu has probably the best variety in their breakfast. I would rate it as excellent. It is expensive but it is worth it. The rooms are nice.  The experience matches the price you pay. Customer service is good.

best hotel in cebu best hotel in cebu 2

Hotel Review:

Marco Polo Plaza

Cool flair tending Show


best hotel in cebu 3


6. Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino is a 3 star hotel located at Lahug, Cebu City. The exterior needs better landscaping but you won’t be disappointed by the interior. The rooms are all carpeted. The customer service is fine, but could use some improvement. They should train and hire better staff who know about their jobs as some are not so attentive, or friendly.

Hotel Review:

Hotel Video:


7. Marriott Hotel is located beside the Ayala Mall. It has good set of breakfast buffet and a very comfortable bed. The staff is very professional and attentive to guest’s needs. Its average room price is around P 8,000.00 but its worth it for the service and the amenities you get.

best hotel in cebu 6

Tripadvisor Review:


8. Mandarin Plaza Hotel is rated as a 4 star hotel that also has good reviews from people. Its location is in IT Park Lahug. Guests had given a rating of good to excellent. Its given high marks for its excellent food, accessibility and good accommodation.

best hotel in cebu 4


Hotel Review:;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2766869920;srpos=1

Hotel Video


9. Best Western Plus Lex Cebu is a newly built 4 star hotel located at capitol site Escario St. Cebu city. It has been rated in Tripadvisor as number 4 of the recommended hotels in Cebu City from people who have stayed there. One great thing about Lex is its location. It is very accessible to the hang out spots, malls and tourist spots around Cebu City.

best hotel in cebu

Hotel Review:

10. Cebu Parklane International Hotelbest hotel in cebu city 1 is located next to Ayala mall. It is very accessible, fine rooms and its rates. It has an indoor pool and a fine buffet breakfast but not so much variety of food.

Hotel Review:;dcid=1#tab-reviews


11. Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu is located beside SM Mall Cebu. It has a huge, luxurious lobby. They also have a fine landscape around the hotel and a nice pool. Radisson blu has a function room called Santa Maria Grand Ballroom that can cater 1500 people.



12. The Henry Hotel is a 4 star boutique hotel in Cebu City. It has a very unique and cool design. It has great reviews on customer service as well.. although there are no bathroom doors lol. For travelers that are into art, I think this hotel would be fun!

best hotel in cebu 8

Tripadvisor Review:


13. Diamond Suites And Residences is rated as a 4 star hotel located a few steps away from Ayala mall. Great location and customer service. The hotel is new, modern type with great online deals lower than 50 usd. Very good value for your money.

best hotel in cebu city

Tripadvisor Review:


14. Plantation Bay Resort and Spa is a very beautiful 5 star resort. It has an amazing landscape and a peaceful environment. It offers the privacy that guests need with a cultural dance entertainment at night time. What you see in pictures are exactly how it looks in person.

best hotel in cebu city 1 Plantation Bay Review:;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2061482106;srpos=3#tab-reviews

Hotel Video:


15. Alta Cebu Resort is located in Cordova, Lapu-lapu City. It has a mini zoo and a quiet environment. Alta Resort has 2 pools , a mini bar and a restaurant. They also offer huge budget rooms for guests that are in big groups.

best hotel in cebu 7


Hotel Review:;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2061482106;srpos=6


Philippines tourism top 10 tourist destinations

Philippines tourism Top 10 Tourist Destinations

1. Banaue Rice Terraces is a masterpiece. It was previously listed as one of the 7 wonders of the world.

philippines tourism 2


2. Boracay Island is like a smaller Miami Beach of the Philippines. It has a very fine  powder like white  sand.

philippines tourism


3. Bohol

philippines tourism 4


is where the smallest monkey Tarsiers live. It also has a small version of Boracay called Alona Beach. Chocolate Hills of Bohol is one of the Must see tourist attraction in the Philippines. It is very unique and very beautiful.



4. Palawan is where the underground river is located,Tubbataha Reef Marine Parkand El Nido white sand beaches.

philippines tourism 5


5. Cebu is rich in diving spots, beaches, islands (Malapascua , Bantayan) and  historical places.

ayala mall

ayala mall

6. Manila has many tourist attractions, US embassy , MOA – the biggest mall in Asia and opportunities for investments.

philippines tourism 7

The Fortress of Intramuros

7. Davao is famous for its durian fruit.  It smells weird but it taste good. Davao has many tourist spots and is a very clean city with a strict ordinance. 

philippines tourism



8. Vigan also known as ‘ The Old City’ with 150 stone houses built during the Spanish era.

philippines tourism


9. Camarines Sur (Camsur) province is located in Bicol Region. It has lots of beautiful beaches and islands.

philippines tourism


10. Baguio City is one top destination of local tourists. Philippines has a very hot climate and only Baguio City has a cold temperature that filipinos want to experience.

philippines tourism image:[/caption%5D

VAT Refund during your travel to thailand

Some countries allow tourist to get some of the money they spent on taxes while visiting.  This adds some incentives for tourist to return.  This is known as a Value added tax (VAT) Refund.  If you travel to Thailand, you can get a VAT Refund.  But there are few things you need to do.

1. When Shopping

  • Show your passport when purchasing to get a VAT Refund for Tourist sticker or VAT receipt. (this was not listed of the flyer but I seen it on their website site.
  • Shop at stores that have VAT REFUND for tourists signs.
  • Minimum purchase  at the same store per person should be 2,000 baht.
  • Ask for P.P.10 Form and original tax invoices at the store on the day of purchase.
  • Take your goods out of Thailand within 60 days of purchase via international airport.

vat refund during your travel to thailand

2. Procedure at the Customs

  • Present your purchases (P.P 10 Form, original tax invoices and purchased goods) at the Customs office before taking your luggage  at the international airports of Thailand (Subarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, U-Tapao, Krabi and Samui).

3. Refunding

  • Submit P.P.10 Form and all original tax invoices to claim your refund at VAT Refund for Tourist Offices after the passport control.
    travel to thailand VAT Refund

    Location of VAT Refund Office in Subarnabhumi is at the right side after ‘ Z’ check -in

  • Show your purchased Luxury goods like jewelry, ornaments, designer collection stuff pens etc with a value of 10,000 baht or more per item to the officer for reinspection at the VAT Refund for Tourist Office.
  • If the amount exceeds 30,000 baht, the refund payment  will be made by the form of draft or credit card account.

If you are in  a hurry after all inspections have been made, you can drop the P.P.10 Form and original tax invoices into the box in front of the VAT Refund for Tourist office or mail them to the address below:

VAT Refund for Tourist Office

The Revenue Department of Thailand

90 Phaholyothin 7, Phayathai,

Bangkok 10400, Thailand

*Location of VAT Refund Office in Subarnabhumi is at the right side after ‘ Z’ check -in counter.


For inquiries, email address of VAT Refund for Tourist is:

Note: For sim cards and internet browsing, You can buy a sim cards at 7 Eleven Stores and Family Mart. They also have those machines where you can purchase for internet.

Thailand Travelling Basic Etiquette

Before arriving at your destination, it is important to know a bit of the country’s customs and courtesies when visiting.  It will help you interact better with the locals and leave a good impression on the citizens. DO not be an asshole!

When found that Thailand was no exception to this simple rule.  Although its more open than many other countries, you should still abide by basic etiquette.

thailand travelling basic etiquette

1. Dress Appropriately –  Women, be very aware of what you are wearing. Most areas of thailand are very conservative with dress and appearance. For example, in Bangkok wearing short shorts is very unusual and will earn you unwelcome looks.  You can get away with this in Pattaya or other high tourist areas where a lot is forgiven.  But if you are visiting temples ALWAYS wear long sleeves and pants.

2.  Traditional Greeting ‘Wai” a slight bow and prayer like gesture is how thai people greet each other. They also use this in saying thank you and goodbye.

3. Know basic words as you are traveling. Knowing a few Thai words make a great impression on people.  You will see smiles just from saying “Arun-sawat” (good morning).  They see that you are putting some effort when you say, “Khob Khun Kaa” (feminine Thank You) or “Khob khun krab” (masculine thank you).

4. If they offer a service refuse politely. No need to be rude, they are just trying to pay the bills.  You will find that most Thai people are not super aggressive when selling or marketing to tourist.

5. Pointing is very rude for thai people especially for religious monuments. Maybe in your country its ok, but in Thailand its not.

6. Touching somebody in the head is very offensive. It is considered the most sacred part of the body. Touching is also a sign of trust.

7. Kissing a local on their cheek may offend them. Unlike other culture kissing a friend on the cheek is normal as a part of greeting, but in Thailand its too much.

8. Leave your shoes outside upon visiting a house.

9. Smile – Thai people will sometimes give a polite smile.  Its like saying hello.  Its ok to smile back.

10. Be polite. I noticed that thai people are well mannered and never yell in public places at all.

disney sea tokyo

Disney Sea Tokyo (東京ディズニーシー) is worth seeing if you have the time and money.  If you have been to the Disneyland or Disney’s California in LA, then you may be a little disappointed by the small size of the Disney Sea.  Its technically larger (176 acres compared to 160 acres) but there is a huge man made lake (Mediterranean Harbor) in the middle of the park that makes the actual walking area smaller.

image :

image :

Disney Sea Tokyo is definitely not a waste of time especially if you have kids.  They will really enjoy it.

disney sea tokyo

Just like the Disneyland in LA, you can expect Disney Sea Tokyo to be ridiculously packed and expensive.  If you travel on a dime, then you may want to bring your own food into the park.  Also, bring sunblock and a sunhat.

If you have been to Disneyland LA, then I would recommend seeing Disney Sea.  It has a different feel than the typical Disneyland and if its hot its nice to go there and get a little wet on the rides and attractions.



Not all the rides are water rides by the way. I was expecting a sort of “splash mountain water park” feel.  But its not really like that.  They did a great job of mixing wet and dry.  Even though Disney sea is not owned by the Disney company, it still FEELS like Disneyland.



What is most memorable to me about Disney Sea Tokyo and what stands out in my mind (besides the insane HEAT and LINES) was the show in Mediterranean Harbor.  It was one of the most unique shows I have ever seen i the water.

People in costume in jetskis with giant water guns.


How to Get a visa for USA

How to Get a visa for USA

1/5 of all the worlds Immigrants come to the USA annually according to US census study. listed the US as the 5th most immigration friendly places in the world behind Canada, Germany, Singapore and Australia.  I would disagree and say that its number one! Immigrants and the children of immigrants are the most successful in the USA.  The US is a nation of immigrants.  The USA is FAR from perfect but the “American dream” is still alive and well for those willing to work hard, dream big and never give up.

how to get a visa for USA

courtesy of

There are two categories of Visas for the US:

  1. Immigrant Visa
  2. Non-immigrant Visa

The Non-Immigrant US Visas refer to people who just want to visit the US but have no intention of becoming a citizen.  So categories would include:

Tourism & Visit B “Visa Waiver Program” ESTA Application

Business B Visa Waiver ProgramESTA Application


Study & Exchange FMJB

Immigrant US Visas are for those who have a plan to stay and become a citizen.

Immigrate “Family” “Intercountry Adoptions” “Employment Diversity Visa”

US Immigrant Visas

The chart below contains different purposes for immigrating to the United States, and the related immigrant visa categories for which information is available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more:

Immediate Relative & Family Sponsored

Visa Category

Spouse of a U.S. Citizen

IR1, CR1

Spouse of a U.S. Citizen awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant petition

K-3 *

Fiancé(e) to marry U.S. Citizen & live in U.S.

K-1 *

Intercountry Adoption of Orphan Children by U.S. Citizens

IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4

Certain Family Members of U.S. Citizens

IR2, CR2, IR5, F1, F3, F4

Certain Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents

F2A, F2B

Employer Sponsored – Employment

Employment-Based Immigrants, including  (preference group):

  • Priority workers [First]
  • Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability [Second]
  • Professionals and Other Workers [Third]
  • Employment Creation/Investors [Fifth]
  • Certain Special Immigrants: [Fourth]
E2E3, EW3C5, T5, R5, I5S (many**)

Religious Workers


Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters


Iraqis Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government


Afghans Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government


Other Immigrants

Diversity Immigrant Visa


Returning Resident


Important Notes:

*K Visas – Listed with immigrant visas because they are for immigration related purposes.

About this chart – This chart is a list of many immigrant visa categories, but not every immigrant visa category.

**Refer to the Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 42.11 for a listing of all immigrant visa categories.

US Non-Immigrant Visas

The chart below contains many different purposes of temporary travel and the related nonimmigrant visa categories available on this website. Select a visa category below to learn more:

Purpose of Travel

Visa Category

Required: Before applying for visa*

Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money only)



Au pair (exchange visitor)



Australian professional specialty



Border Crossing Card: Mexico



Business visitor



CNMI-only transitional worker






Diplomat or foreign government official



Domestic employee or nanny – must be accompanying a foreign national employer



Employee of a designated international organization or NATO

  G1-G5, NATO


Exchange visitor



Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States



Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics



Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Professional: Chile, Singapore

H-1B1 – Chile
H-1B1 – Singapore


International cultural exchange visitor



Intra-company transferee



Medical treatment, visitor for



Media, journalist



NAFTA professional worker: Mexico, Canada



Performing athlete, artist, entertainer




J , H-1B


Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor)



Religious worker



Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge



Student: academic, vocational

F, M


Temporary agricultural worker



Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature.



Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor



Training in a program not primarily for employment



Treaty trader/treaty investor



Transiting the United States



Victim of Criminal Activity



Victim of Human Trafficking



Nonimmigrant (V) Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) V (NA)

Renewals in the U.S. – A, G, and NATO Visas



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