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Posts posted by GeezerCouple

  1. 2 hours ago, 2InfinityNBeyond said:

    I'm currently in recovery from complex knee surgery and approaching final payment with Holland America 90 days before the cruise, at which time cancellation fees begin. I understand I'm dealing with a pre-existing medical condition and that plans that offer pre-existing coverage would be wise (if I get a plan that I can meet the timing requirements), or even better CFAR since there are many unknowns. But CFAR plans cost a lot and only insure a portion of the cost.


    What trips me up is the standard wording that when I purchase travel insurance, I need to be medically able to travel. Right now I'm not medically able, but the surgeon says that within 3 months I will be fine to travel. I also may be fine to cruise then but unable to handle the other rigors of travel. If I'm not able to travel right now, does that mean the insurance wouldn't be valid for me in 3 months on the cruise?


    What should I be doing to protect myself best in this situation? Do I need a surgeon's note now stating that he expects I'll be okay to travel later? The best solution is probably to reschedule, but it's a very unique itinerary that isn't offered at another time.



    We faced this after a last minute cancellation of a cruise due to a medical emergency several years ago.  Fortunately, that first cruise was 100% covered.  (As an aside, MANY thanks to CC members who had helped us learn about travel insurance shortly after we joined CC.  This large claim was for the first time we ever used travel insurance.)


    Not much later, I went to find another "replacement" cruise in about 6 months, once it was clear that DH's medical would be fully resolved in a very few more weeks.


    Fortunately Steve (of TripInsuranceStore.com) had helped us with that first policy - and also that claim. So I called him again for the "replacement trip" planned for several months in the future. He had barely started to process the new policy, when he suddenly said, "Oh, <DH's name>... how is he doing now?

    I replied much like the OP:  The doctors are sure he'll be absolutely fine by 6 months from now, etc., so "no problem"!


    NOPE!  DH needed to be "fit to travel" THAT day, the same day we started the new policy.  I thanked Steve (a lot!), cancelled the new reservation and got 100% of our money back, thank goodness, because we had just made a fully refundable deposit.


    About a month or two later, when DH's physician said DH was fine, and "good to go, including on cruises", I asked the physician to write that down on paper and date it!  Later that same day, I made reservations for a different trip AND started the travel insurance... and we kept very careful track of that letter. 😉 


    Everything was fine, and we had a wonderful trip a few months later.

    [Thanks again, Steve!]



    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1
  2. 46 minutes ago, the mice said:

    In the overall scheme of things for your entire trip, is it really worth the risk just to spend 1 less hour in the airport at the start of your trip?   If anything goes wrong (traffic problem, etc.) you will be in knots - no way to start off IMHO. Once, years ago, despite best laid plans, there were 2 major traffic issues and we just made the check in cutoff for our flight.  Been there, done that - but didn't want to do it.  Better to be safe than sorry.  



    OP, how many days in advance are you flying?  What type of time buffer do you have?

    And when is the "next flight to Rome" IF you miss the one you are planning?


    When there is a tricky international connection, and the risk of "missing" means we might need to wait a day for the next long-haul flight, we'll sometimes spend the night at that connecting airport.  That really keeps the stress level down. 🙂 


    And of course, we NEVER fly in same day as the cruise departure.

    During winter, we almost always fly in at least 2 days in advance.  A storm might cause considerable delays and backups for a while.


    We've usually made connections without much fuss, but even then, it's that SWAN effect:  Sleep Well At Night.  At this stage of our lives, we want as little stress as possible.  (Yes, when we were younger, we didn't think that much about these things... and we were lucky!)



    • Like 1
  3. 1 hour ago, jsn55 said:

    I'm sailing Crown Princess out of San Francisco in August.  My main goal is R&R, but I do want to see something in each port.  Discovered that there will be FIVE ships in Juneau ... horrifying.  No interest in strolling around the town amid hordes of pax, so have to book ship's tours or risk a miserable day.  I guess the only way to avoid this is to check cruising schedules before booking.  Crazy!  


    Have you checked independent excursions/tours?

    It might be a bit late for August, but you might want to see what is available.

    Juneau was where we had one of our most special private excursions (and if space allows, you can always invite others from the Roll Call).

    Unfortunately, it's no longer being offered, but I do watch to see if it returns after Covid has settled down so that I can recommend it.



  4. 7 minutes ago, wsantelope said:

    Thinking of cancelling my r/t sailing out of Orlando on Allure of the Seas for 6/24-28 (1 week from today) to Nassau, Bahamas, CocoCay, a Day at Sea. 
    I was SO excited to go and be back on the Allure, but quite honestly at this point it looks like it's going to rain pretty significantly the whole time. I was going for sun and sand in a balcony room. 5 days on a ship in mostly the rain sounds like no fun to me. I was on the Allure for a week last August and it was a PERFECT cruise....but I don't really want to just be on the ship watching shows, looking out at clouds and being wet and cold. Even if we could pool in the solarium. It's too much to spend for that kind of trip. I'm still watching the weather, as I know anything outside the 7 day forecast isn't really reliable, but right now it does not look promising. If it was 50/50 weather or maybe even 60 rain/40 not I would probably still go. I NEVER book cancel for any reason insurance but I did this time....coincidence??? I haven't read the fine print yet but ALL my flights (Southwest), hotels and excursions are 100% refundable until at least Saturday. I believe with the cruise under the policy I would get back 75%. I'm guessing I would forfeit the insurance fee if I made the claim and when I re-book for another time would have to add insurance. So probably a loss for the two of us (cruise was about $2000) of around $650? At a minimum would cancel the expensive day pass to Atlantis ($500) and the adults only place on CocoCay ($250) and either stay onboard or do something free at port. Have you been on a VERY rainy cruise? Have you cashed in your Cancel For Any Reason Insurance? Would love some advice. In more than 10 cruises have never had this issue. TIA. 


    While we've had several claims with TI, none included the CFAR (which we would get for that SWAN effect: Sleep Well At Night).


    However, do check the deadlines for filing a CFAR claim.

    IIRC (and our policies may differ from yours so double check YOUR policy!), one needed to cancel at least 48 hours before the departure time/date (and "time" vs "date" could make a difference).


    Good luck!



  5. 10 minutes ago, abellkathleen said:

    Only seem to find NCL having solo cabins and looking for 2025 - any info?

     Did you try Googling something like "solo cruise cabins"?


    We can't name travel agents here, but there are quite a few ads listed.


    And yes, there are other cruise lines that have these, but I'm not familiar with all of those.

    Note also that some cruise lines have some specials for singles/solo travel but it would be in a regular cabin, either with no solo surcharge or a limited extra cost.  I would assume that might also fit for you, but maybe not (no special amenities/etc., for solo travelers in a special area or such in that case).


    Oops:  Forgot to add a link to:







  6. 1 hour ago, 1025cruise said:

    I don't know if I want to deal with calling them. The difference is large enough that I might take the risk.


    "... deal with..."?

    What problem do you envision?

    We've had very good experiences when we've called to get some special assistance or ask some question.  (That obviously doesn't guarantee an excellent experience the next time, for you *or* for us, but still... )



  7. 56 minutes ago, pratzert said:

    Hi.  We are booked on a 10 day Greece/Italy cruise in October and want to purchase Insurance.


    Our Agent has quoted 3 levels of insurance thru Allianz.


    It seems very pricey for the premium and the level of coverage not so extensive.


    For example, the two lower tiers have NO accident coverage at all.


    So what other suggestions do you have for travel insurance?



    You might do well to contact a travel insurance broker, someone who offers policies from several different insurers.  They would have more ability to help you find something that suits *you*, rather than simply quickly sell you a policy that gives them a commission... without much work.


    Many of us here on CC use:


    (There are other brokers; we are among those who have had excellent experiences using TIS after learning about it here on CC ~10 years ago.  And yes, we've had several claims.)


    But CALL and discuss your specific situation.

    The online summaries just can't get into the detailed specifics, or ask you certain questions to help you find the best for *you*.



  8. 1 hour ago, Kstornado said:

    If you book a Penthouse suite on Deck 11 aft it is under Terrace Cafe. Can you hear the noise from the floor above? What is the most desirable location for a Penthouse suite on Vista?


    Here is a discussion about those PH suites on Deck 11, although the initial question is about the area under the pool.


    On the Riviera (different ship, I understand), we prefer Deck 11, so we get a forward PH under the Oceania Suites.  That eliminates any public area above.

    But it won't help if someone prefers aft (or "not forward").



  9. 3 hours ago, ORV said:


    It would seem that he will need to instigate anything special as the birthday doesn't align with the actual cruise dates. 


    This would be similar to other types of celebrations, such as anniversaries, which aren't noted on cruise reservations or supporting documents (or not usually!).


    You can call the cruise line in advance to request something (especially if it's early in the cruise), or you can make some request once on board.
    We've done it both ways.



    • Like 1
  10. 1 hour ago, 1025cruise said:

    Note, I'm under 14 days. When I booked my flights for my upcoming cruise, the cost was a bit high. I've gotten alerts, and have verified myself, that if I were to book today I can save about half. Is there any risk of cancelling, getting the flight credit, and then immediately rebooking the same flights? That seems to be the only way to get the new price (unlike Southwest where I can change to the same flights). Has anybody done this before? Yes, I realize I'd have a flight credit, but I can find a way to use it.


    Call the airline.  Have them handle the reservations, both sets.  Just make clear that you do NOT want to lose your space on the flights; it's just the fare you want to try to change.



  11. 2 hours ago, Gail &amp; Marty sailing away said:

    With gift cards you need the name Who paid for them , the number on the gift card and the 4 digit code 


    Yes, but I thought this was about travel insurance.

    IF there is a claim, one must provide the *receipt* = "proof of purchase", meaning something like the charge account bill/payment.  And if the insurance is supposed to start based upon the date of the first payment (and the next payment is sometime later), then...??

    [Note:  This assumes one wants something like that waiver of exclusion of pre-existing conditions.  Otherwise, it might not matter.]



  12. 1 hour ago, iamtrustworthy said:

    Hi Gail & Marty sailing away,


    Yes. You would use the amount you paid for the gift cards as your insurable trip cost.


    What you also will want to find out is if there are any scenrios where you will receive a refund back to the gift cards if you cancelled your trip.


    Steve Dasseos

    What if the "gift cards" were really "gifts", and the traveler has no "receipt" for them?

    Could that still work for that starting payment?

    (That starting payment can be tricky sometimes.)





  13. 19 minutes ago, shadow 123 said:

    What is an ADL? What is an ALF? This could be very useful information for me. Thank you


    I was responding to jlvlaw, who wrote:


    10 hours ago, jlvlaw said:

    someone who needed ADL assistance. We're trying to find a way to take my dad on a cruise. He's in assisted living and needs help with several ADLs


    10 hours ago, jlvlaw said:

    He's in assisted living and needs help with several ADLs

    I'm assuming that "ADL" means something like Activities of Daily Living.

    And and ALF is an Assisted Living Facilty.

    The need for help with a certain number of ADLs (dressing, feeding, etc.) is usually what determines eligibility for payments from something like Long Term Care insurance.


    Sorry that neither jlvlaw nor I defined those terms.

    I suppose we are both so used to them that they are second nature, as they often are to people involved with these issues.


    BTW, other residential type acronyms you might come across are "SN" for Skilled Nursing, and "IL" for Independent Living.  These two tend to bracket ALF care, and many facilities include care starting from IL to ALF to SN, and some also include "MC" (Memory Care).  There might be other acronyms or abbreviations for these, of course...



    • Like 1
  14. 37 minutes ago, shrifk said:

    I use travel insurance store


    Do you mean www.TripInsuranceStore.com?


    I mention this because I once posted a "link" to TIS, but I (gasp!) posted it wrong, and used the word "Trip...". 🙄

    (Fortunately, that forwards to the right place! 🙂 )



    • Like 2
  15. 1 hour ago, Sail and Relax said:

    Since you have a party of 6, a private excursion would be the best option.  In many cases they use a van and as long as your wheelchair is foldable you would have no issues.  This way your party will also stay together see the same sites and sometimes more than what the ship offers.


    Ah, I was just going to post the same as this!


    By the time you have 6 people, the economies of scale often make a private excursion/tour less expensive (or similarly priced) as 6 "tickets" on a regular excursion.  And the convenience is incomparable.  YOU get to decide, with the help of the guide/tour company, where to go and how long to stay in each place... and where NOT to go if it isn't interesting to you.


    We almost always have private excursions for just the two of us, in good part so I can rest for a few minutes as needed, without falling behind or holding up a group of others.

    When we consider the cost, for 2, it's more than 2x regular tour tickets.  But the cost to get a private excursion with a small mini-van or such... you may be pleasantly surprised!


    We've also occasionally chartered a big catamaran (with crew) for an afternoon or day in a port, and then arranged for a few others to join us from the Roll Call.  There is *plenty* of room on those big ones. 🙂 

    We've sometimes contacted tour groups and asked to take the "group" private, and then customized it.

    This may end up being a very positive surprise for all of you.



  16. 19 minutes ago, jlvlaw said:

    I would appreciate any feedback or description of your experience using a professional companion service that traveled with someone who needed ADL assistance. We're trying to find a way to take my dad on a cruise. He's in assisted living and needs help with several ADLs. I want him to be able to maintain his dignity while traveling.


    • Some prelim questions:
    • What to expect from the service?
    • How involved were they?
    • Were they dedicated to a single person or could they assist 2 travelers that need help?
    • Was it better to have door-to-door help or did you pick up the service at port of embarkation? - We will have a short direct flight.


    Appreciate any info.


    There were some good posts about this several years ago.  (Maybe someone else is better at CC searches than I am!)


    Anyway, there are "professional services".

    But there are also other ways to find "help".

    Is there a nursing school near you?  An employment office?  This could make. a rather unusual work/vacation for someone. (Make sure the hours/boundaries are agreed upon up front.)

    (I once contacted a local college that specialized in childhood education, to get an "after school companion" for my children who were still a bit too young to be home alone after school.  We used the term "companion" rather than "babysitter" for the children. 😉 )

    Ask at your physician's office, or the hospital's "social services" department for suggestions.

    The ALF may have suggestions as well.  In that case, you could "meet" some potential helpers by hiring them for a few shifts to help him before deciding, etc.
    When MIL was in an ALF, we found agencies through the ALF, and she definitely had some "favorites" during the time she needed extra help there.


    You'd need to get appropriate accommodations, with enough privacy for everyone.


    The "degree of involvement" would depend upon what was needed and what the aide was able/willing to do.  All subject to very clear advance agreement!

    Personally, we've already discussed that IF something like that were to become necessary, we'd much rather travel a bit less and pay for the "help" rather than not travel at all, or travel and have a really difficult time.


    Note:  I would MUCH rather pay for the airfare and have a chance to get to know the person, rather than meeting them as the ship sails.  But that's up to each individual.

    Do check references *carefully*, obviously!


    Good luck!



  17. 6 minutes ago, riversights said:

    Not being cheeky here, but just for reflection:  If one puts out for a cruise, the money is gone.  Would you cruise again next year?  Probably, because you bought the cruise with money you had to spend.  So if, say, you lose a cruise due to illness or accident, you have only lost money you were prepared to spend anyway.  What is money?  "Just dirty paper" (Bugsy Siegel).  


    Some of us are at higher risk of actually *using* that travel insurance, including for cancelled trips.  Sure, we can "afford the loss".  It's already paid for, after all.  And no, it wouldn't affect "the next trip".  Or the one after that...

    But knowing that we have assorted risk factors, it would be very annoying to need to cancel more than occasionally or to have costly interruptions while overseas.

    We are among the [unfortunate] few who have *not* "lost money on travel insurance premiums", although we would definitely rather be in that group rather than in the group needing to submit claims!


    Even if we had fewer claims (or less costly claims), we'd still prefer to have travel insurance.  It's that SWAN effect:  Sleep Well At Night! 🙂 


    Needless to say, others feel differently!  It's personal choice.


    The main concern we have is about those who either never considered travel insurance or thought they'd never need it [but then something happened!] or those who did get travel insurance but did *not* carefully read the Terms & Conditions [and then something happened, something they *thought* was covered, but alas, nope].   It's a legally binding contract; we wouldn't dream of not reading an important document like that, and asking questions if necessary.

    Also, working with an agent or broker helps a lot with figuring out what type of cover is or is not needed.  I can't imange starting that process without having someone like that to help us.



    • Like 1
  18. 9 minutes ago, njhorseman said:

    And for those of us who are more savvy and knowledgeable and don't want to spend money on inclusively-priced items we don't use, a la carte pricing is far superior to the current trend of automatic inclusions that have their cost built into  the fare.


    THIS ^^


    Unfortunately, the new O policies don't necessarily make sense anymore for some of us.



    We *always* arrange our own transportation, amost always using points (much them from bonuses).

    And we almost always arrange our own excursions, for a variety of reasons.  First, we want to spend the time on what *we* want to see/do, perhaps more time at A and skip B or whatever, or include C...

    Importantly, I have a minor mobility issue, so I usually can't keep up with a group.  With a private excursion, if we (that would be "me") need to rest... we rest, even if just for a few minutes.  We don't feel pressure to keep up, and we know we aren't interfering in the progress of "the others in the group", which wouldn't be fair.


    We really loved the Riviera, a *lot*, for many reasons ("let me count the ways..." 😉 ).

    But we may not be back unless the policies change at least somewhat so the costs make sense for us, for the way we want (need!) to travel.

    It's a real shame, because we loved the food (especially Jacques and Red Ginger), and we got to enjoy those a lot, because we'd ask our Butler to serve us en suite if we couldn't get extra reservations... or if I was just tired from the day's activities.


    And on the Riviera... we spent a lot of time in that large Spa Therapy Pool.  Nice and toasty warm, unlike the pool (brrrrr).  That was often like a private spa area.  Many times there was no one in the Therapy pool with us, and it wasn't uncommon for there to be no one else at all in the area (although that did feel a bit odd sometimes).


    • Like 1
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  19. 4 hours ago, Florida snowbirds said:

    The Hurtigruten cruise line is also very interesting but they do not have any balcony cabins


    Double check about which Hurtigruten ship.  Some do have balconies.

    For example, the Trollfjord has a few balcony suites on the upper decks, aft.

    I'm not sure which other Hurtigruten ships have any balconies.


    I'm not sure about their newer expedition ships, but those probably don't ever (?) do the Norwegian Coastal cruises.



    • Like 2
  20. 20 minutes ago, Ashland said:

    Would this have been the case where cruiseline insurance would have paid for the onboard costs? Then a 3rd party take over payment once off ship?


    15 minutes ago, Ashland said:

    I'm getting so totally confused now with all these medical incidents.

    Does it make sense to have onboard cruiseline insurance to cover any onboard costs in addition to my GeoBlue Trekker annual policy that will cover us once off ship?


    Good questions!


    One should DEFINITELY ask about this when deciding whether to get cruiseline insurance if this is important!


    I do remember reading (and please keep in mind, reports on the internet are simply keys clicked by anonymous others, etc. - and yes, that includes me) that the ship bill had to be cleared before leaving and that *did* include medical expenses.

    The explanation given was that the ship needs to clear the books from the most recent cruise, and send that info to HQ or similar.

    And then start over for the next cruise.


    We prefer to keep any insurance totally separate from any entity that might be involved, be it causal or remedial or whatever.  (I understand that the cruiseline insurance apparently contracts with some third party insurer, but *we* would prefer to be making that decision, etc.)


    Note also that some (many?) third party insurers will help with payments during extreme situations, but do check about any vendor you might use.  That is, they can guarantee payment (might be acceptable) or wire some money up front, etc., when circumstances warrant.  However, that would involve a delay.  We'd much rather just hand over credit card(s) and avoid any interruption in care due to financial issues.  (Or we could hand over the cards, and while care is started, get in touch with insurer and have their help take over at some point if expenses get high.


    We also work with Steve at www.TripInsuranceStore.com and have asked for his assistance from overseas when I was in hospital.  It was a complicated situation about how to have the final week of our trip instead of heading home early, which would have been covered by insurance.  But we were near that final resort on Lake Como 🙂  and the problem was how to get there.  (I was not well enough to take the assorted taxis, trains, and ferries that we had planned.)  It all worked out very well, and I continued to recuperate on the shores of Lake Como.  I strongly recommend that therapeutic approach! 😁



  21. Yes, it can get tricky.


    Q: Is a tip to a bartender at popular [aka crowded] bars a tip or a bribe?


    Is it as a simple thank you (adding to their income; we appreciate the service, can afford it, and we want to share kind of thing)? 🙂 


    Is it to get free drinks, be it now or later?

    That latter sure seems like a bribe, and it's the owner/management who are losing out, far more than other customers in this case.  Actually, that's probably a bribe/theft combo, a twofer!  [I won't even mention when someone "shares" their drinks package with someone who didn't want to pay for the package or for any individual drinks, so we can pleasantly dispense with that, eh?] 


    Or is it a thank you aka bribe to get faster servive later, when it is crowded, hoping for a repeat performance then, too?  No one "isn't getting something" [apologies for that grammatical monster!], although others may, as a group on average, wait a bit longer.  And no freebies are being offered on behalf of a non-participating owner/etc.





  22. 4 hours ago, Harters said:

    It's mentioned quite often on this forum that folk have tipped their cabin attendant over and above the auto gratuities. No doubt, pool attendants will have heard about this from their cabin colleagues and, presumably, reckon they can get a slice of that action. 

    I am *not* commenting on the pool area "day beds"!


    However, the "bribery", aka tipping, described is NOT the same as tipping cabin attendants, or not in any way that we have experienced.


    A tip to a cabin attentant is, in our experience, offered AFTER good service has been provided.  Yes, that might include some "extras" ("more towels please" or "can you make up the cabin by [time]?" or such), but - importantly - it is NOT at the expense of others.  Last I understood, if we want extra towels each day, some other passengers are NOT being left without fresh towels that day!


    What is so unfortunate about the "pool deck day beds" (or any other location) is that while the chairs are being saved, NO ONE is able to use them.  They remain in place, unused, while others would have enjoyed using them.


    The comment above about some pax offering other pax the chance to "borrow" "their"(?) lounge chairs while they went to salsa...?  That had a double benefit; it probably wasn't entirely altruistic.  They knew (hoped!?) that when they returned, they *would* get those chairs back.  Had they just up and left...?  "Not so much...!"


    Have there ever been sign up sheets for situations like this?  With an X-hour maximum?

    That's probably blasphemous to suggest...?

    The closest thing I can think of like this was at a squash club, where sometimes there were courts empty and available, but other times there were many waiting.

    There was a time limit for any sign-up.  Plus, if the court remained empty something like 10 minutes past the "reserved time", it was up for grabs.

    Fortunately, squash is sometimes referred to as "a gentlewoman's game" 😉 , so the "taking over of the abandoned court" did not result in a rough free for all.  [But that was years ago; times have indeed changed. 😞 ]



    • Like 2
  23. 5 hours ago, reallyitsmema said:

    They had travel insurance but she was under the impression that the insurance would pay the ship directly.


    I'm very glad they had travel insurance, and hope it was a good policy.


    However, this is an example of why everyone should *always* read the Terms & Conditions of any insurance policy (any *contract*, actually!).

    Almost always, it will be clear that one must pay expenses and then submit supporting documents for reimbursement.  (RECEIPTS can be essential!)


    Whereas US hospitals and other medical providers have arrangements with most insurers, "ships" or other overseas/offshore facilities and providers very likely have no such agreement.  How would they know who to bill?  How would they know they'd ever get paid?


    I remember in one hospital in a high-tourist location, while DH was being seen in the ER, I was escorted to the billing office.  There were signs on the wall to the effect of:  "We will ONLY accept payment arrangements with the following travel insurers:


    ALL other bills must be paid in full before discharge."


    I just handed over one of our charge cards, and went to be with DH, who was basically stable.  Had he not been stable, I would have said, "Fine about the billing, but please send a billing dept rep *here* while I stay with DH, and I'll make the payments..."

    (In "true emergencies", where the patient is NOT stable, and we've had a few of those, the medical care comes first, and then "Billing" starts to show up.  In some overseas locations, they won't let the patient leave without payment or arrangements.  Worse, in some cases, they apparently won't *start* treatment until they've got a credit card or such... 😡 We always travel with a few charge cards, with a high total credit limit, just in case something like that would happen.)



    • Like 1
  24. 2 minutes ago, Melloinvt said:


    You are a star!  Thank you!! You are way better at Goolgling than me!! Never thought of the option of flying out from another port to Florida - definitely an option - would still prefer to port in FL but will check it out - thanks again! 🙋‍♀️


    And maybe spend a few of your vacation days (or a few *extra* vacation days?) at the other port, such as Barbados.

    I think there was one that went through the Panama Canal!  That would probably add a lot of time to your trip, however.





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