Thursday, March 31, 2011

Germany Beer - Don't forget to join us on our Beer & Heritage Touruide

Don't forget to join us on our Beer & Heritage Tour!

German brew: Where to start? German beer to the rest of the world is synonymous with Lowenbrau, Becks and Holsten Pils, but it houses more than half of Europe’s breweries inside its borders; there are 64 types and sub-types of German beer. To complicate things further, Germans are discerning when it comes to beer styles and can be wedded loyally to their local brew. When they order a beer, they hardly ever ask for a brand name. Instead they order beer by its style name, asking, for instance, for a Pils, an Alt (Old), a Kölsch, a Weissbier, a Helles or a Dunkel. Generally, beers become maltier going from north to south and “hoppier” from south to north. In addition, some styles can have more than one regional name. A Kellerbier, for instance, may also be called Zwickelbier, Kräusenbier or Zoigl. The north German Dortmunder, which is a pale lager containing 5 percent alcohol, is also known as Export.
Given regional loyalties, it’s probably best to talk about beers that you are likely to find at a regional airport!

Join us on our Beer & Heritage Tour in May 2011 or come along to experience the Oktoberfest in Munich with us.

Brews to look out for in Bavaria
Weissbier: This white beer is the most popular beer style in Bavaria. It’s a pale lager made from malted wheat. It’s varieties include Märzen, a medium body, malty lager that comes in pale, amber and dark varieties, or Dunkel, the dark sweetish, malty Munich style lager. When in Munich Airport, visit the “Airbrau,” they actually brew their own beer on site! If passing through Munch during winter, it’s traditional to drink Bock beer. Originally, dark lager beers, Bockbiers are among the heaviest and maltiest, yet smoothest, brews in the world. Sub styles include Maibock, Helles Bock, Doppelbock and the strongest, Eisenbock, which is frozen to remove excess water. These brews should be sipped, not guzzled because, traditionally, a Bockbier has a minimum alcohol content of about 6.5 percent. Most "standard" Bocks do not exceed an alcohol level of 8 percent, but some can weigh in at a staggering 13 percent.

Join us on our Beer & Heritage Tour in May 2011 or come along to experience the Oktoberfest in Munich with us.

Brews to look out for further north
Kölsch: One of only a handful of traditional German ales, this is the local brew of the city of Cologne. It is one of the palest German beers made and may only be brewed in the immediate area of Cologne.
Altbier: A copper-colored brew that’s indigenous to the Rheinland in the northwestern part of Germany. The best known Altbiers come from Düsseldorf, the state capital, and are most likely to be available at the airport.
Dortmunder: A full-bodied, moderately hopped beer of at least 5 percent alcohol content.
Berliner Weisse: A sour, tart, fruity, highly effervescent, spritzy, and refreshing ale that’s almost only ever found in and around Berlin. A drink for hot summer days, this beer is relatively low in alcohol, only 2.5—2.7 percent by volume, and because it’s a sour beer, it’s often taken with a shot of wood-ruff or raspberry syrup.
Pils: The home of this famous brew is Hamburg. Pils is a very blond, brilliantly clear, moderately effervescent lager, modeled largely after a beer style invented in 1842 in the Czech city of Pilsen from which it takes its name. Pils is often strongly hopped with an assertive up-front bitterness and has an alcohol content of about 5 percent. It’s sold everywhere in Germany and has about 60 percent of the German market.
For those wondering why Frankfurt has been left out of the German beer guide, the reason is that it’s in the state of Hesse where Apfelwein, which means cider, is the state beverage.
Thirst quencher: If you’re dazed, confused or at a loss with what to ask for, play it safe and say “Eine Pils bitte” – I’ll have a Pils please!

Join us on our Beer & Heritage Tour in May 2011 or come along to experience the Oktoberfest in Munich with us.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Celebrity Cruises - Made in Germany

Did you know that Celebrities newest Solstice class ships were all built in Germany? Papenburg's Meyerwerft is one of the oldest and most recognized ship yards in Germany and with it's recent extension it is able to accommodate the constant growing demand for larger cruise ships.
Chris Weike from Nonstop Travel was able to sail on one of these brand new ships last December through the Caribbean.

"The moment I stepped on the Eclipse, I felt like entering the lobby of a European boutique hotel. Contemporary interior, lot's of glass, reserved colors and friendly staff set this ship apart from the traditional and often 'stuffy' ocean liners. Spacious cabins, smartly designed bathrooms and high-tech equipment in the cabin make this cruise ship standing out from it's competitors. A lawn club on the top deck, glass blowing demonstration under the stars, a large variety of specialty restaurants, an ice bar and Broadway like production shows are only a few items, which let me enjoy an outstanding cruise on-board the Celebrity Eclipse."

While on board, Chris took numerous of pictures and videos, which we have posted for your disposal. While the slideshow is below, you can find the videos by clicking HERE!

Nonstop Travel's Family & Friends Cruise to Canada and Alaska has still some spots left. We will be sailing on Celebrities Century from/to Vancouver July 31st for 7 nights. Come along and join Lisa Schmitt on-board for an unforgettable cruise.

Also keep in mind, that we currently have a ONE WEEK SALE on most Celebrity sailings, which entitles you to a 50% reduced deposit, stateroom on-board credit and a Value Booklet, with up to $250 in on-board savings.

Your Nonstop Travel Team is expecting your call! Click HERE to search for available cruises.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Travel Market Report: Air Costs: Get Ready for a New All-Time High

Air Costs: Get Ready for a New All-Time High
Air fares took a hike in 2010 - a 7% hike, according to the latest Business Travel Monitor from American Express Business Travel. That left fares just 6% shy of all-time highs in 2008. Continuing fare increases in early 2011 suggest it won’t be long before companies are paying a new all-time high in air fares. “With oil prices rising, airlines are looking to cut their capacity growth plans to combat higher fuel costs,” said Christa Manning, director of research for Global Advisory Services, the research arm of American Express. “Increases in airfares are likely to remain on an upward trend in 2011. So far this year, we are seeing this trend hold true with domestic airfare rates in January up 8% compared to January, 2010.”

Unused Tickets Not Always Money Lost
Unused air tickets don’t have to mean money lost. There are fees associated with changing itineraries and traveler names, but it’s usually cheaper to pay the fee and change a ticket than to discard an unused ticket and buy a new one — if you can keep track of all those unused and partially unused tickets. Carlson Wagonlit Travel said it saved clients more than $850 million on unused travel documents in 2010. The company’s Document Bank recycled 98% of eligible unused travel documents in North America by applying credits against new travel. The system can track and integrate travel documents that are not managed through the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) in the U.S. or the Bank Settlement Plan (BSP) in Canada, as well as documents that are settled through those standard channels. Other travel management companies offer similar programs.

Amadeus Signs Global Deal With conTgo 
Amadeus has become a global reseller of all conTgo mobile solutions. The global transaction processor is integrating conTgo products into its entire corporate product portfolio and pushing them out to current and new customers. For travel managers that use Amadeus, that means the company’s Mobile Travel Assistant becomes immediately available to book and manage corporate travel and corporate travelers. Relevant information available on traveler’s smart phones includes ground transportation and hotel details as well as any location-specific information selected by the traveler’s employer or TMC. The product also provides location-specific and traveler-specific warnings and risk information and lets travel managers communicate directly with at-risk travelers via a map interface based on itinerary filtering and geo-spatial selection. Until this announcement, American Express was the largest TMC to have integrated conTgo into its client offerings. 

Rising Oil Prices Not a Big Deal in the Short Term
You can stop worrying about the impact of rising oil prices on business travel. A short-term spike, even as high as $200 per barrel, would only cut about 2.5% off total business travel spending between 2011 and 2013. The numbers are contained in What Does Triple Digit Oil Mean for Business Travel? which was released by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation earlier this month. The report looked at scenarios with oil above $125, $150 and $200 per barrel through 2011, with a return to baseline by 2013. The conclusion: business travel spending and the number of trips taken will continue to grow even with the spike in oil prices, but projected growth will be reduced. Oil at $125 per barrell would cut projected travel spending growth by $5.8 billion, or 1.5%, and 700,000 trips over the next two years. Oil at $150 per barrell would cut projected travel spending by $6.9 billion, or 1.8%, and 1.8 million trips. Oil at $200 per barrell would cut projected spending growth by $9 billion, 2.5%, and 2.7 million trips.

Disagreement Over Free Checked Air Luggage
The Global Business Travel Association turned thumbs down on a suggestion from the U.S. Travel Association that airlines be required to allow one checked bag in all base fares. USTA said a free checked bag would reduce the burden on TSA by decreasing the number of carry-on bags that need to be screened. That would reduce wait times at security checkpoints. GBTA said in a statement that it does “not support the suggestion that the Department of Transportation require airlines to allow one checked bag as part of the base airfare. Airlines should be able to price their products as the market will bear.” GBTA did agree with USTA’s overall call for updating aviation security, including the creation of a Trusted Traveler program. “Business travelers are looking for a system that can help ensure safety while minimizing long lines and inefficient one size fits all security techniques,” the statement said. 

Large, Small Corporate Agencies Differ in Services, Prices
There are more differences between large corporate agencies and small corporate agencies than size alone. A new survey by the American Society of Travel Agents and The Beat found that larger agencies tend to charge lower transaction fees, while smaller agencies tend to charge less for special services and customized management functions. The Corporate Agency Report also found that 70% of agencies offer clients some sort of mobile booking solution. Some 25% of bookings are made online by travelers, but 16% of those traveler bookings later need some sort of agent assistance. Agencies most often use Concur for online bookings and Trams for management reports. 

Moscow Continues as Hotel Price Leader
Companies that complain about hotel prices in New York or Tokyo don’t know how lucky they are. For the sixth year running, Moscow is the most expensive city in the world for business travelers. The 2010 average price of $415 per night is a 3% decline over 2009 according to U.K-based travel management company Hogg Robinson Group Plc. New York comes in second at $339, followed by Geneva ($325), Paris ($321), and Zurich ($328.) Tokyo is number 18 on the list of 75 most expensive hotel cities at $270, while the cheapest hotel stay is in Milton Keynes, about 50 miles northwest of London, at $112.

Latin America on the Rise
“Latin America has been the up and coming region in business travel for as long as I’ve been in the industry. The latest data show that Latin American travelers and travel managers are moving faster than almost anywhere outside the Asia-Pacific region.” -  Ron DiLeo, executive director, Association of Corporate Travel Executives

Travel Market Report :: Business Travel: Article :: Air Costs: Get Ready for a New All-Time High

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Authentic German Spa-Treatments: Ruegen Chalk

One of the regions where visitors can experience unique local remedies combined with stunning scenery is the Island of Ruegen in the Baltic Sea (3 hrs from Hamburg or Berlin). Not only are the dazzling, white chalk cliffs the island's most famous landmark, but they also make for the major ingredient in local health and beauty treatments. Ruegen Chalk, often referred to as the "white gold", is an ideal remedy to treat muscle or joint disorders, osteoporosis and rheumatism; and is a popular skin cleanse product used in local beauty spas.

Binz, the largest seaside resort of Ruegen, offers various chalk therapies, one of the finest, white sandy beaches, and an annual open air summer event program that have made the town an insider's tip among international spa-goers. The resort also boasts the richest coastal iodine spring in Europe. The Travel Charme Kurhaus Binz***** is an elegant seaside hotel from the imperial 1920's overlooking the beach promenade. At its stunning PURIA Spa with saunas, indoor and outdoor pools, your clients can indulge in relaxing massages, as well as various beauty and health treatments.

The seaside resort of Sellin is only 15 minutes away, and is home to the longest pier on the island. Here, travelers can enjoy romantic views of the sea, and even get married right on the water. Architectural gems from Renaissance to Classicism and Art Nouveau are a feast for the eyes just like in Binz - and besides luxury hotels such as the Spa Resort Hotel Ambiance, many of them house affordable accommodations.

Formed during the Ice Age, the bizarre chalk cliffs in Jasmund National Park are Rügen's most famous landmark. The tallest of the cliffs, the "Königsstuhl" (King's Seat), is 118 metres high. Those with an interest in culture will love the Störtebeker Festival at Ralswiek open-air theatre during which the people of Rügen perform the tale of the infamous pirate Klaus Störtebeker. Other highlights include the historical steam trains that run a regular service on Rügen. With locomotives and carriages that are almost one hundred years old, Rügen's impressive "Racing Roland" narrow-gauge railway runs right through the south-east of the island.

As you would expect, the Baltic islands are renowned for their fresh fish and seafood specialities. Particular favourites include pike-perch cooked in a variety of ways and the traditional herring which is served in traditional bars and fine restaurants. May is garfish season on the island of Rügen. They swim along the coast in their droves before landing on the tables of the island's best restaurants. This eel-like fish with a sharppointed mouth is part of the pike family and its green bones certainly give it a striking appearance.
In Fischland you can enjoy hearty specialities such as Mecklenburg roast ribs and Götterspeise - a jelly dessert. To quench your thirst, try a traditional island beer on Usedom or a Störtebeker Pils beer on Rügen.
Served all over the region, the Rostocker Doppelkümmel (schnapps) known as "Mann un Fru" (man & woman) is said to aid digestion.

For more information about Ruegen, please visit their website.

Call your Germany Experts at Nonstop Travel at (800) 949-6362 to plan and book your vacation in that beautiful and mostly unknown destination.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Augsburg, Frankfurt, Sinsheim are gearing up for the games

In the city of Augsburg soccer madness will meet small-town charm. Magnificent historical buildings from the Roman, Rococo and Renaissance eras as well as the Roman Museum, Fuggerei, and Mozart House are among the many attractions visitors come to explore each year. 
Hotels in Augsburg.

Combining the traditional with the modern, the city of Frankfurt is an exciting, cosmopolitan metropolis to visit. Experience the vibrant cultural scene with its numerous museums, music events or modern theater performances, and soak in the city's vibrant atmosphere at one of the cozy wine bars in the historical district of Sachsenhausen.

Sinsheim is situated in the scenic Rhine-Neckar valley where the US team will be playing against Colombia on July 2. Lush vineyards, the medieval Castle Steinsberg, the nearby Castle Road and the picturesque city of Heidelberg invite to romantic escapes in between the matches.

Hotels in Sinsheim

The FIFA Women's World Cup is taking place from June 26th through July 17th in Germany. it is not too late to book your packages! Please call Nonstop Travel at (800) 949-6362.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

German Cars: Porsche

With 125 years of automotive history, Germany can look back to a long tradition of car manufacturing. Porsche is one of the car makers that developed into an international, renowned brand, best known for sports cars. Dating back to 1875 when it was founded by Ferdinand Porsche, nowadays the company stands for high quality, safety, and innovation, offering a series of car models including the popular Boxter, Carrera, and Cayenne.

The extraordinary architecture of the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen is as impressive as the cars inside: The monolithic building looks as if it is about to take off. The exhibition follows the idea of a museum on wheels with many of the 80 vehicles on display also used outside the museum, and some even compete in races.

Special Event 2011:
In addition to several special exhibitions, the "Museum on Wheels" participates with its vehicles in a number of classic car races throughout Germany:

May 2011 - 125th Anniversary of the Automobile in Stuttgart
July 2011 - Heidelberg Historic
August 2011 - Sachsen Classic
August 2011 - Oldtimer Grand Prix Nuerburgring
September 2011 - Eifel Classic

More information can be found here

... and if you want to experience Germany while driving in a Porsche and other luxurious cars, check out our Self Driving Tour of Southern Germany with several luxury German cars!