American travelers keep asking, “are we still able to travel to Cuba?” The answer is definitively yes. But if you’re wondering how, here’s what you need to know about travel to Cuba.
In November, the Trump administration tightened travel and commercial ties to Cuba, part of its effort to roll back former President Barack Obama’s historic opening with Havana. The new rules came nearly five months after President Trump announced he would reverse Obama-era policies that loosened the decades-long trade embargo against the communist island.
The new restrictions impact primarily individual travelers. Yes, you can still hire a tour company and join a guided tour that ensures you meet all the requirements and fulfill the full time schedule of activities they require. But what about individual travelers, hostelers, or adventurous people who want to support the humanitarian vision for Cuba, while still traveling in their own independent way? Under new Treasury Department rules, individual “people-to-people” trips — which have enabled individual American travelers to visit Cuba for educational purposes on their own as opposed to with a tour group — have been eliminated. This elimination has had obvious repercussions for companies like Airbnb which famously cater to individual travelers.
But, Instant World Booking has now entered the Cuban market, and is offering a fresh alternative to Airbnb and other services for accommodation at unique and individual Cuban small hotels and casa particulares. The lawmakers have assured that individual travelers are still able to visit the island if it’s in support of the Cuban people. While little-known to American travelers today, this assurance is actually written into the law.
Here’s how you, as an individual traveler, may still lawfully visit Cuba today. One of the approved reasons for traveling to Cuba is called “Support for the Cuban people”. Under this travel category, you engage in activities that result in meaningful interaction with individuals in Cuba. This now includes such activities as renting a room in a private Cuban residence (casa particular), eating at privately owned Cuban restaurants (paladares), and shopping at privately owned stores run by self-employed Cubans (cuentapropistas). So, renting one of the many private accommodations now available from Instant World Booking can help facilitate the trip to Cuba you are hoping to make. But remember, in order to meet the requirement for a full-time schedule, you must also engage in additional authorized Support for the Cuban People activities. We suggest you check out the actual requirements at one of these two official sources:
Better yet, do you need to get some sort of license or authorization from the US government? No. As an American traveler to Cuba, you can start planning your trip today. It’s called a general license, and as long as you conform to the activities and requirements outlined in the above sources, your trip is permitted. But, we suggest you read the rules thoroughly. You’ll need to keep some records regarding your schedule and trip. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring your travel is in compliance with the regulations.
To celebrate our commitment to travel in Cuba, we have introduced a new website www.cubainstantbooking.com, featuring a vast set of options for accommodation in Cuba. This site joins the over 100+ other sites in our proprietary network of hotels, hostels, and apartments worldwide. In addition, we are beginning to work with both US and Cuban groups to facilitate accommodation of official travel groups within our network of private lodgings in Cuba.
We hope you are inspired by this article, and will perhaps consider a trip to Cuba in the near future. Remember that your presence can help support civil society in Cuba, and promote the Cuban people’s independence. Please feel free to contact Instant World Booking with any questions you may have.
#IWBMob now enables you to engage your customers on Facebook, directly from your IWB profile page.
A few weeks ago, we announced the introduction of IWB’s new mobile website, called IWBmob. The next phase of this re-branding is now underway. It is a mobile-first design. As an Instant World Bookinghotel/hostel/B&B partner, your profile page, and the entire booking process, has already been redesigned. The impact so far has been remarkable. For users of our new booking engine, the experience surpasses almost any modern booking site available today.
In our last announcement, we promised to introduce some innovative methods of integrating your experience with Facebook and IWB. These are brand new innovations that have not yet been used by other booking services. Now, you and your customers can start a Facebook conversation, directly from your profile page on IWB. This is an innovative method of integrating social media with your booking media. Just post the URL of your IWB profile on your Facebook page, inviting your customers to comment and join the conversation. Then, go to the IWB profile, and begin the conversation by directly posting your Facebook comments there. For more specific instructions, continue reading below.
Why is this important?
Worldwide, there are over 2.01 billion monthly active Facebook users as of 2017. If you think Facebook has peaked, consider that this number has grown 17% since last year. With 2.01 billion, Facebook has more monthly active users than WhatsApp, Twitter, and Instagram combined (Source: CNBC). For hotels, hostels, and accommodation, Facebook is very important. It’s so important that Facebook has introduced an API called Dynamic Ads for Travel, specifically for hotels. So, this means that Facebook is a very important audience for you, one that you can’t ignore. You should consider how to increase your involvement in this platform.
This is where Instant World Booking enters. We give you a creative and effective way to increase your engagement on Facebook. There’s no cost. See the instructions below. If you are interested in other ways of advertising on Facebook, or just need help setting up or maintaining an active social media presence, we are now offering these services to our partners. Just contact us for help.
Instructions: How to interact with Facebook on your IWB profile page
Copy the URL of your profile page (assuming you’re a hotel/hostel member of IWB).
Post the URL on your Facebook page. Add a comment like, ‘Dear customers, friends, and fans, we’re partnering with Instant World Booking to start a conversation on Facebook. Please go to this page, and post your best photos of our hotel, share your experiences, and enjoy some dialogue. Let us know what you think.’
Go directly to the IWB profile page. Post the same comment there, perhaps with a new photo that you want to share.
Then, sit back and watch the comments come. When you engage properly with your audience, a lively conversation, with photos, is one of the best ways to increase your popularity on Facebook.
There’s a bonus. Any comments that are shared this way have the possibility of appearing automatically on your Facebook page, your IWB profile page, and IWB’s Facebook page. So, your exposure is tripled.
Don’t forget your Book Now button on Facebook
The most valuable feature you can use on your Facebook page is a Book Now button. This is a feature of Facebook that enables your social media followers to book instantly with you. If you know how this works, just add the URL included in our instructions above (#1) as the target of your button. If you have a custom booking engine with IWB, use that URL. If you need help with this important Facebook feature, we can guide you, or install it for you. Please look for our future emails and blogs, since we will be sharing more ways and instructions to get the most out of your social media Blog – Hotel and Hostel Marketing Experts
#IWBMob ahora le permite involucrar a sus clientes en Facebook, directamente desde su página de perfil de IWB.
Hace unas semanas, anunciamos la introducción del nuevo sitio web móvil de IWB, llamado IWBmob. La próxima fase de esta re-marca está en marcha. Es un diseño móvil primero. Su página de perfil, y todo el proceso de reserva, ya ha sido rediseñado. El impacto hasta ahora ha sido notable. Para los usuarios de nuestro nuevo motor de reservas, la experiencia supera prácticamente cualquier sitio de reservas moderno disponible hoy.
En nuestro último anuncio, prometimos introducir algunos métodos innovadores de integración de su experiencia con Facebook y IWB. Se trata de innovaciones nuevas que aún no han sido utilizadas por otros servicios de reserva. Ahora, usted y sus clientes pueden iniciar una conversación en Facebook directamente desde su página de perfil en IWB. Se trata de un método innovador de integración de medios sociales con sus medios de reserva. Simplemente publique la URL de su perfil de IWB en su página de Facebook, invitando a sus clientes a comentar y unirse a la conversación. A continuación, vaya al perfil de IWB y comience la conversación publicando directamente sus comentarios de Facebook allí. Para obtener instrucciones más específicas, continúe leyendo a continuación.
¿Porque es esto importante?
En todo el mundo, hay más de 2.01 mil millones de usuarios activos de Facebook a partir de 2017. Si usted piensa que Facebook ha alcanzado su punto máximo, considere que este número ha crecido un 17% desde el año pasado. Con 2.01 mil millones, Facebook tiene más usuarios activos mensuales que WhatsApp, Twitter y Instagram combinados (Fuente: CNBC). Para hoteles, albergues y alojamientos, Facebook es muy importante. Es tan importante que Facebook haya introducido una API llamada Dynamic Ads for Travel, específicamente para hoteles. Por lo tanto, esto significa que Facebook es una audiencia muy importante para usted, una que usted no puede ignorar. Usted debe considerar cómo aumentar su participación en esta plataforma.
Aquí es donde entra Instant World Booking. Le ofrecemos una manera creativa y efectiva de aumentar su participación en Facebook. No hay costo. Vea las instrucciones a continuación. Si está interesado en otras formas de publicidad en Facebook, o simplemente necesita ayuda para configurar o mantener una presencia activa de medios sociales, ahora estamos ofreciendo estos servicios a nuestros socios. Sólo póngase en contacto con nosotros para obtener ayuda.
Instrucciones: Cómo interactuar con Facebook en su página de perfil de IWB
Copie la URL de su página de perfil.
Publique la URL en su página de Facebook. Agregue un comentario como, “Queridos clientes, amigos y fans, nos estamos asociando con Instant World Booking para iniciar una conversación en Facebook. Por favor, vaya a esta página, y publique sus mejores fotos de nuestro hotel, comparta sus experiencias y disfrute de algún diálogo. Háganos saber lo que piensas.’
Vaya directamente a la página de perfil de IWB. Publicar el mismo comentario allí, tal vez con una nueva foto que desea compartir.
Luego, siéntese y observe los comentarios. Cuando te involucras correctamente con tu público, una conversación animada, con fotos, es una de las mejores maneras de aumentar tu popularidad en Facebook.
Hay un bono. Los comentarios que se comparten de esta manera tienen la posibilidad de aparecer automáticamente en su página de Facebook, su página de perfil de IWB y la página de Facebook de IWB. Por lo tanto, su exposición se triplica.
No se olvide de su botón “Reservar ahora” en Facebook
La característica más valiosa que puedes usar en tu página de Facebook es el botón Reservar ahora. Esta es una característica de Facebook que permite a tus seguidores de redes sociales reservar al instante contigo. Si sabe cómo funciona esto, simplemente añada la URL incluida en nuestras instrucciones anteriores (# 1) como el objetivo de su botón. Si tiene un motor de reservas personalizado con IWB, utilice esa URL. Si necesita ayuda con esta importante función de Facebook, le podemos guiar o instalarla para usted. Por favor, busque nuestros futuros correos electrónicos y blogs, ya que estaremos compartiendo más formas e instrucciones para sacar el máximo provecho de sus redes sociales Blog – Especialistas en Hostelería y Hostelería
You think of California in the summer months, you automatically think of hot summer days. But you will be very surprised to know that in San Francisco, it can be a bit chilly, especially in August. So if you need a break from the heat, head to San Francisco! Its well known for a number unique characteristics like its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills and eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture. And of course the famous Landmark, The Golden Gate Bridge. This article is the place to find out where to go and what to see and do in San Francisco during the “chilly” Summer month of August!
Since summer will be here in just a few days and travel is going to be at its summertime peak before we know it, here’s an very impt article we came across in regards to making sure your Passport is up to date. Your passport might not be valid enough for certain countries. Please read the below Article for some very important information.
Nebraska is a Midwestern U.S. State encompassing the prairies of the Great Plains, the towering dunes of the Sandhills and the panhandle’s dramatic rock formations. Lincoln, the capital and a vibrant university town, is distinguished by its soaring state capitol. The city of Omaha is home to the Durham Museum, which honors the state’s pioneering past in a converted railroad depot. Its where the Midwest meets the West, literally. Geographers identify the 100th meridian, which nearly halves the state, as the boundary between the two regions. But travelers don’t need a sign to recognize the divide. As in frontier days, the majority of Cornhuskers live in the state’s eastern half, and out west, the sun still sets over vast grasslands and yucca-capped buttes. Nebraska has wonders in every direction: vast prairies in the east, majestic cliffs and peaks in the west and sand dunes in between, making for a trip as scenic as it is fun. The state is also rich in history, with many opportunities to explore its heritage. See one bold sunset set against the backdrop of the Sandhills, (as in our attached photo) and you’ll understand what drove settlers across the grassland plains and over the bracing rivers to stake their claim to history! Tour Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park, or explore a historic military fort. No matter where you go—or where you’re from—you’ll always be welcomed with a warm smile.
Cruising the high seas has long been regarded by travelers as a romantic throwback to a bygone era of travel, where you wake up to the salt air, open ocean, and all you have to do each morning is get up, then step ashore and go exploring.
In searching for that “just right” first cruise, you’ve followed all the rules — researched cruise lines, examined possible itineraries You’ve booked your ship, selected a stateroom and picked an itinerary.
So what’s next?
You’d be surprised at how many factors — perhaps less earth-shattering but important nevertheless — remain to be considered, such as packing, getting to the ship and life onboard.
If you haven’t booked the cruise line’s flight-inclusive air/sea package, you’ll need to book your own air transportation to the port unless you intend to drive. When flying in, plan to arrive as early in the morning as possible on embarkation day. The day before is even better. The reason: You need to factor in possible flight delays and other transportation glitches that could keep you from getting to the pier on time. The same advice goes for the flight home — book flights in the afternoon, just in case your ship is delayed clearing customs and you debark late.
The following first-time cruise tips and cruise 101 will help you find the answers to any remaining questions you might have, so that you can get off to a stress-free and fun-filled start to your first ever vacation at sea. There are a few ways to make your seagoing escape even more affordable. Below are five tips for cutting costs, from looking for short-notice savings to finding freebies like complimentary dinners in a specialty restaurant or shipboard credits — the equivalent of cash that you can spend on board.
NYC was made for walking and has plenty of options for any visitor to take in. For instance Central Park is the city’s “Nature Playground” and during the spring and summer months, street fairs pop up all around New York’s neighborhoods though they’re hard-pressed to match the pop-up holiday markets that spread good cheer in Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, and Union Square. But since we’re focusing on the Month of March, I dont want to get too carried away, which is easily done when I think of this beautiful city. Between late night comedy shows, the world famous St. Patricks Day Parade, major movie premiers and food and wine events which are just a few that come to mind, you certainly can have a multitude of exciting and adventurous areas to explore. The below article specifically brings to your attention actually “48 marvelous things to do in March in NYC!” Also, log onto our website below to find your perfect Hotel in New York! Enjoy the read.
That’s right, DEADLIEST Beaches. I know that writing posts about “the most beautiful beaches to visit” is probably more of what is expected, but read along, even the deadliest beaches can be a thing of beauty. All depends on how its perceived. When you hear the word beach, you automatically see images of fine white sand, crystal clear blue waters, and the sun shining on a cloudless day. After all, a trip to the beach is meant for relaxing, rejuvenating, and chasing your cares away, right? For instance, there’s a sign at Wright’s Beach, at the southern terminus of the Kortum Trail, warning that this is one of California’s deadliest beaches. All of Sonoma County’s beaches are dangerous, but to first set eyes on, they can be very deceiving. Since the 1930s, 126 drownings have occurred at Wright’s Beach alone. On the upside, beaches can and are meant to be beautiful. But for some, just don’t go into the water.
Here are a few of the most dangerous beaches that could lead you into a false sense of security.
But let this article shed a bit of light upon Beaches and the fear that everyone who seeks out the Ocean for fun should have a bit of. These are the beaches you shouldn’t go to if the water is what you seek on your vacations. Take heed!
Love to explore this beautiful United States that we’re so lucky to call home? I just came across this quote on line a few days ago… “The World Is A Book, And Those Who Do Not Travel, Read Only One Page” ~ Saint Augustine. How fitting and true! With 2017 just a day away, Id like to bring to all my fellow travelers, for the New Year, a place that I personally have never ventured to, here in the US, but I think you might enjoy exploring for yourself. And I hope to get there this coming year and will share my photos! Its not your typical “Tourists” destinations like Disney World, NYC, the Grand Canyon, ect. Its a place that most probably haven’t heard of, and if you have, you will definitely agree with me that its a magical, beautiful part of the world that is still untouched by big “Commercial” attractions. Its nature at its most beauty surrounded by the majestic Olympic Mountains. We’re talking about Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. Its an area that has a million acres of wilderness, which is known that no other place in the US can match its diversity in terrain, mountains, coastlines and rain forests. By exploring the Olympic National Park, which sprawls across several different ecosystems, from the dramatic peaks of the Olympic Mountains to old-growth forests, just on its alone, you will be struct by its beauty. Like I said, its definitely on my Bucket List for this coming year & Ill ask if you do have your own experience of traveling there & would like to share your memories/photos, please do!
For more information on Olympic National Park, and all it has to offer for a great place to explore, check out the link below. And keep your eyes posted for more awesome places to venture off to in my next Blog in Jan! Happy New Year Travelers!
The four of us, piling into our SUV, craving the magic of Fall and the beauty of #Autumn colors, agreed that New England was the place to go. It was a 6 hour ride for us, but as friends for many (many) many years ; ) we knew it would be a blast no matter what. According to all sources, it was “PEAK” time to head up there, which was mid October, and did we ever time it right. I have headed out in the past where we hoped for the same, but was disappointed. Not this time. We chose to make our first stop in Burlington, VT before heading to #Stowe. Burlington is a beautiful town, located 45 miles south of the #Canada–United States border and 94 miles south of #Montreal. Its the perfect blend of old New England charm, arts, culture and nature. During our time there it was bustling with “leaf peepers” who come to view the vibrant autumn colors as well. Its no secret and every year the attraction to VT doesn’t disappoint at all. (Its our 4th year in a row.) We had fun walking along the 4 block, brick tiled, smoke free environment. We came across the spectacular waterfront of Lake Champlain and grabbed a picnic table and had lunch, and a few cold beers! The second day we were in the quaint little village of Stowe. Being avid skiers, were here mostly in the winter, where it truly transforms into a Winter wonderland. But in October, its still a wonderful, picturesque town to hike and take in Mother Natures beauty. We walked for hours and came across one of the most beautiful Waterfalls I have ever seen, Honey Hollow Falls. What I loved about this particular Falls is that its not well known and we practically had the Falls to ourselves. Not very crowded at all. We also had a treat at the Stowe #Theater Guild. They really did a great job. It was a Perfect night out to complement our day in Stowe. As we enter into the Holiday Season of 2016, and prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving/Christmas with our loved ones, in the back of my mind I’m already thinking about next Fall, 2017, mainly because its my favorite time of year, and am sooo looking forward to my next Fall #adventure with my “crew”. Hopefully I gave you all a few ideas. I love hearing from other Travelers as well on personal notes along with their experiences. Its more personal & insightful with small hidden treasures! Love and Peace to all!