I love Saturday morning coffee the way I used to love Saturday morning cartoons. (2)

You know what comes after Memorial Day Weekend? Summer travel season kicks off!

Despite recent controversies with some airlines, the Washington, D.C.-based industry group Airlines for America has stated they believe there will be approximately a 4% increase in air travel this year with some 234-million passengers flying between June 1st and August 31st.

One thing travelers with destinations outside the United States should do is make sure their passports have at least 6 months left on their passports before the expiration date. If you need to renew your passport, we can make it happen in as little as 24 hours. Expect a wait of an average of 5-7 weeks through the U.S. Passport Agency.

Best Western is reporting advance booking of its 2000+ hotels across the U.S. is reporting a 7% increase in summer bookings. Other hotel chains are reporting similar increases. Which means, you can expect airports to be crowded all summer.

According to Airlines for America, there will be an all-time high this year for summer travel. So conventional wisdom tells you , plan your trip, book your hotel early, and make sure your passport is ready to go!

The 1950s is when travel for pleasure started booming. Especially air travel. We are going to share with you some of the best vintage travel ads from days gone by.

1950s, When Planes Were Handsome
Flying Northwest Airlines in the 1950s looks like a cocktail party from the era. Look at all the room in the cabin.

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Source : Vintage Ad Browser http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/airlines-and-aircraft-ads-1950s/3

Destination: Palestine.
Palestine was once a tourist destination. In the present the State Department has issued a travel warning to U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the Gaza strip.

source: http://www.puppiesandflowers.com/?p=3400
source: http://www.puppiesandflowers.com/?p=3400

Cuba is still pretty much this.
After getting cut off from U.S. tourism until the present, Cuba didn’t change all that much. Once again it’s a closeby, fun destination for U.S. travelers.

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

Castle in the Air
Northwest clearly had a goal for their airplanes in days gone by. If you’ve flown Northwest, you know you get packed in just like any other airline. Can you imagine flying like this?

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

Pretty Maids flew Northwest
Just imagine someone walking up to you and saying this in an airport today while you’re waiting to board. This ad can just speak for itself.

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

Remember Czechoslovakia?
Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic, Slovakia is its own country now) hasn’t been a country to visit since 1993, but the travel ads still exist.

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

Big, handsome planes with room to sleep on, Cuba is back and Czechoslovakia isn’t a place anymore but all of these things live on through the magic of vintage ads (and the Internet).

If You Love Pets, You Can Travel the World and Score a Free Place to StayLove pets and love to travel?  We have some information you might like. A company called Trusted Housesitters (trustedhousitters.com) recently started a program that allows people to stay in some amazing places around the globe, and the only hitch is that you have to care for the pets of the people that live there. Think of it as Airbnb with furry hosts.

The cost to join this program is around $100 but the benefits are enormous. The basic idea is that people want to travel, but want to make sure their pets are well cared for.
In exchange for an awesome place to stay, you will care for the pets while their owners are traveling.

You can stay in some amazing homes around the world. source: Pinterest
You can stay in some amazing homes around the world.
source: Pinterest

If you find this appealing, you will need to sign up at TrustHouseSitters.com and build up your reputation. Pet-sit for a few neighbors or friends and ask them to write you some honest reviews. Once you join the site, you’ll be connected with Pet Parents looking for someone trustworthy to watch their furbabies and stay in the home.

Some people have quit their jobs to do travel the world and pet-sit full-time. Is this something you would enjoy doing?

Spring Cleaning - Get Your Personal Papers Organized in 4 Steps! (1)There’s no better time than the present to get organized. Immediately that might make you feel overwhelmed because there are so many things that need organizing. The kitchen, the bookshelves, the garage, and of course, your paperwork.

If you’re not ready to tackle a whole room, start with your paperwork. The first thing you need to do is come up with a filing system that works for you. And the answer is in the types of paperwork you have.

Go through the files and drawers or boxes of paperwork you have and start grouping together similar types of papers. Personal papers, financial, paperwork that applies to different family members, insurance and so on. Once you have the different types sorted, then you can set up a filing system with each type of paperwork being its own category.
Choose colored folders or labels to make identification of each category of paperwork fast and easy.

Don’t be too specific when you’re setting up your categories. This keeps you from having to create folders for paystubs, W-2 forms, and tax returns when you can put all of that under financial, or split it into finance and taxes.

For storing your organized paperwork, you can use a filing cabinet like a four-drawer or 2-drawer type depending on how much space you have to give your files. Another option is to invest in a plastic file holder that goes on a shelf.

Right now - think about where these two items are in your house-Your PassportYour Birth Certificate (1)Another important thing you can do is to get extra copies of documents. At the very minimum, you should have copies of the following:

  • Automobile information
  • Bank account numbers
  • Birth certificates
  • Credit card numbers
  • Deeds
  • Important receipts
  • Instructions
  • Insurance policies
  • Loan agreements
  • Marriage certificate
  • Medical records
  • Mortgage agreements
  • Passports
  • PIN numbers
  • School transcripts
  • Service contracts
  • Tax returns (last 5 years)
  • Warranties
  • Wills

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Keep the originals of your most important documents in a safety deposit box or separate lock box. Have the copies on hand in your filing system. If you need a copy of your birth certificate for yourself or a family member, we can help you for any state.

For handling paperwork that you have incoming daily, you will do one of the following actions:

1- The paperwork contains something you must do. It might be correspondence to a friend, or reference material to read. Write the date the action needs to be done and put it in a tray or basket labeled: “To Do.”

2- The paperwork is a bill or invoice you must pay. Write the date the payment should be made and put it in a tray or basket labeled: “To Pay.”

3- The paperwork needs to be filed. Do so immediately.

4- The paperwork is either useless or no longer serves a purpose. Recycle or dispose of through other means.

Dive in and get your paperwork organized. You can devote just 10-15 minutes a day to keeping your incoming paperwork organized and never again wonder where exactly your birth certificate, passport,  or home warranty is filed away.

Texas Tower and Passport Services handles nationwide requests to expedite passport, travel visas, and certified birth certificates. Call us today 713-874-1420. 

 

SARA (2)Not the United States.

Passport power is measured by the number of countries an individual can visit without needing a travel visa for entry. For 2017, the top spot is being shared by two countries.
Global Passport Power Rank 2017 - 9GAG.clipular

Germany and Singapore are welding the most power with their passports this year with their countries’ respective passports allowing bearers to visit a whopping 159 countries visa-free.

Sweden comes in a solid second place with their passport allowing entry into 158 countries.

The United States is now in third place with a U.S. passport unlocking entry into 157 countries visa-free.

An interesting statistic recently showed only 38% of U.S. citizens own a valid passport. Between 2018 and 2020 that number is expected to grow as more individuals choose a passport to meet requirements for state to state travel to be in compliance with the REAL I.D. Act.

If you need to renew your current passport or want to apply for your very first one, we’re here to help you through the process. We can expedite your passport and get it in your hands fast than through standard channels. Every member of the family will need a passport to travel internationally, however the Real I.D. act will not require minors to have a driver’s license or passport to fly domestically.

 

In December 2016, the Chinese Consulate updated the requirements for the photograph that accompanies your visa application. Here is a brief overview of the changes:

The template given for photos shows the photograph needs to between 354 pixels wide and 420 pixels in height or 420 pixels wide to 520 pixels height.

The photos should be photographed using RGB 24-bit TrueColor. 
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The image type should be saved as a JPG. Additionally, the file should be compressed and size should be between 40-kb to 120-kb.

Facial Requirements: 
– The Visa applicant should be facing forward with entire face fully visible.
– The expression should be neutral with mouth closed, eyes open, and ears visible.
– There should not be any object or other person in the photograph.
– Glasses may be worn if they are not tinted, do not obstruct the eyes and do not have any glare on the lenses in the photograph.
– Head coverings only may be worn for religious reasons and the covering must not obstruct the face in any way.
– The background of the photograph should be white or close to white with no borders.
– The photo much be taken in the last 6 months.

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Don’t want to hassle with the paperwork or a trip to the embassy? Outsource the task to us. Just fill out your paperwork and we’ll do the rest for you. Get started on our dedicated China Visa page here at Texas Tower and if you have any questions, just ask – we’re here to help you.