Travel Risk Management: Are You Ready for a Crisis?

Introduction

If you know that business travel is not without its risk and the potential for crisis, then you need to read this article. In this article we are going to talk about the management and containment of crisis as it relates to travelers and travel managers. The objective of this article is to share with you the collective knowledge on managing crisis and significantly improve your ability to identify and manage a crisis but also improve your business travel efficiency.

During this article I am going to discuss travel risk myths, crisis management, plans and options so you can immediately compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travelers or travel management department.

Crisis by definition is something you didn’t have a plan for or something in which you are unprepared. Additionally, it can be a series of events that in concert create a crisis. Events or issues that occur, to which you have a plan and strategy, is merely an incident.

Crisis Management/Leadership

The first thing is to clarify what is the difference between crisis management and leadership. More importantly, which one is the more important?

Crisis management relates to the response to event/s that threaten your business, travelers or travel activity. The event leads and you follow with plans, decisions and actions.

Crisis leadership, on the other hand, is more about getting ahead of the events and issues to prevent, management and even contain the impact to your business or business travel activities. While management is a portion of the leadership demand, your actions and involvement lead the outcomes rather than a more passive wait and act approach with pure crisis management.

Crisis leadership is the less practiced of the two, but the most significant in terms of results and reduction in risk and impact. If you take nothing else away from this session, it should be that your focus should always be on Crisis Leadership, not crisis management.

Myths

There are many myths and half-truths about crisis, disruption and threats within the travel management sector. Much of this misinformation has originated from travelers themselves, media, travel managers, friends and family or so called “experts”.

For example, many travelers and planners are focused on terrorism. The reality is, you have a very, very small chance of being exposed or affected directly by a terrorist act. It doesn’t mean you should discount it as a threat altogether but it shouldn’t dominate your plans or processes if not a proportional threat to you and your travelers. Conversely, almost everyone overlooks motor vehicle accidents. Yet, they happen far more frequently, can have devastating affect on travelers and are the least common plan contained within company travel management departments.

Travelers and travel managers must be prepared, educated and have supporting plans for any event that has the potential to delay, disrupt or harm the traveler or the business.

The most common events include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Airline delays or cancellations
  • Airport closures or disruptions
  • Transport delays
  • Bad weather
  • Sickness and illness
  • Petty crimes
  • Hotel fires
  • Political disputes
  • Demonstrations and gatherings

Motor vehicle accidents within your own country can be stressful and dangerous but on an overseas business trip they can be 100 times more challenging and dangerous. Consider language, local authorities, first respond, standard of healthcare, families and support in your plans and initial response.

Airline delays and cancellations. They happen all the time but they are not just an administrative response. You may need to consider safety, transport, quarantines, security threats, government response and wide spread suspension of services to overcome the issue and maintain safety of your travelers.

Airport closures or disruptions. Failed systems, electrical problems, threats, weather, construction and so on can prevent you even getting to your flight. Consider the impact this has on your plans and how your traveler will need to possibly extend stay, move to alternate airport or find accommodation.

All other transport delays and disruptions can create crisis when everyone no longer has access to trains, buses, key roads or even water transport. Have a plan and add it to your immediate decision making process.

2010 and the commencement of 2011 has seen travel of all kind affected by natural disasters and weather. Weather and natural forces have and always will impact travelers. It does and will continue to occur. It is highly concerning how unprepared travelers and companies are for volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, earthquakes and general bad weather.

People get sick or feel unwell all the time. This is compounded significantly when traveling. Standard of care, language, access, cost, complications, choice and numerous other location based concerns will determine just how at risk your traveler will be. A single, “one-size-fits-all” plan or solution will fail and you need to be aware of these issues immediately with the onset of an affected traveler.

Crimes are a reality of any city in the world. However, travelers seldom know the risks and may be preyed upon by thieves and criminals. The loss of phones, money, and other items may seem less likely to constitute a crisis but when overseas, injured or not able to speak the local language, all these simple events can create a major concern for your business travelers. This can be amplified if you have a senior executive or a group of executives affected.

Hotel fires and emergencies are more common than most people think. The immediate threat to an individual is fairly obvious but the impact that the lack of accommodation choices can create from the temporary or permanent closure of a hotel is a much bigger concern. This was graphically displayed during the Mumbai terror attacks (as extra ordinary as the event was) when most of the best/preferred hotels were now unavailable in a key part of the city. This removed thousands of rooms for business travelers and forced many to cancel or significantly alter travel plans just because there were a lack of suitable accommodation options, whether affected by the events or not.

Any event that alters the political stability of a location or region or results in thousands of people out on the streets constitutes a risk to your business travel plans and travelers. They can happen spontaneously or take time to develop. The immediate dangers and the ongoing disruption can have a major impact on your business or traveler.

Again, plans, preparation and thought to these issues will greatly reduce the impact and improve your business too.

Now that we have removed the most common misconceptions, let’s focus on the management and containment of a crisis.

Crisis management

The key to successful crisis management is planning, training, plans, decision-making and adaptability.

Planning

Given the issues previously covered, you now have a better insight into how and why planning is important to remove the more emotive issues from the realities of real business threats and events.

Planning needs to include multiple departments and perspectives to be truly effective. One of the greatest weaknesses I see regularly is that departments continue to manage the risk of travel through multiple departments with multiple plans. The input and plan needs to be unified. Depending on the company, it may include travel managers, security, HR, finance, marketing, C-suite and operations.

All plans need to be continuously updated, location specific, aide in the decision-making process and modular enough have elements extracted quickly and effectively. Modern, effective plans embrace technology. Rapid, efficient access to information, along with running updates is the hallmarks of a modern sustainable plan, regardless of the size of the issue or the company.

Training

No plan is effective without training and rehearsal. Training, whether through simulations, drills or live, full-scale exercises are vital to the success of any crisis situation. Such sessions don’t need to be boring or overly complicated but must include travel managers and planners along with the more common crisis and emergency managers.

Increasingly, training is becoming a mandatory requirement for key positions and roles. It can be linked to internal HR processes but must support the business objectives and measurable on how it reduces the risk to people, business, brand and travel demands.

While the plan creates the framework for crisis decision-making, teams can learn a lot from training on how and when to adapt their plans. How the team interacts, strength, weakness, leaders, followers, limitations, tools and many more planned and surprise outcomes are possible with effective training.

Adaptations

No plan will completely script all the events, issues and options available for every plausible travel delay, disruption or crisis. You need to be able to adapt and evolve from the original plan and intention. This can only be achieved with planning, plans and training.

Solutions So what do I need in my plan?

Here is the best travel risk management content for your plan:

  • Objective(the single most important part of any travel policy)
  • References
  • Scope
  • Legal
  • Insurance
  • Finance
  • Reimbursements
  • Limits
  • Priority/precedence
  • Management Authority/ies
  • Situations

Procedure will likely cover:

  • Planning
  • Resources
  • Tools
  • Authority
  • Executive Decision making
  • Limits
  • Budgets
  • Training
  • Compliance
  • Pre-trip admin
  • Providers
  • Booking
  • Accommodation
  • Airlines
  • Ground Transport
  • Safety and Security
  • Health and wellness
  • Emergency
  • SOP/Actions on
  • Insurance
  • Travel Monitoring /tracking
  • Reporting
  • HR
  • Entitlements
  • Threat/risk levels
  • Shelter in Place
  • Relocations/evacuations
  • Management Authority
  • Review

Don’t forget your risk assessment will need to include the key elements:

  • Traveller
  • Location
  • Activity
  • Support/Resources
  • Response

Conclusion

There you have it. Now you know what is required, how do you rate your current plans and preparedness?

You now have the most relevant issues and areas to focus upon that will reduce or contain the majority of incidents you may face your travelers will be safer, your business more profitable and your costs will be contained by reducing your exposure to expensive crisis events.

We have debunked popular travel threat myths, identified the difference between crisis management and leadership, outlined plans and options so you can immediately compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travelers or travel management department. Review your plans and make the immediate improvements.

You will know when you have an effective crisis management system for your travel risk management strategy when you have little to no crisis.

You may have numerous events or incidents but you have a plan, you’re prepared and your decision making is fast and consistent. If not, you have failed and you will run from crisis to crisis on a regular basis.

Travel Insurance FAQs

There are a lot of misconceptions related to travel insurance, and understandably most people aren’t as well versed in the fine details of this type of cover as I am – I can’t say that I blame them! However, many misconceptions put people at risk of spending unnecessary amounts of money on areas that could and should be covered by their policy.

So, I’ve compiled this mini travel insurance FAQ to assist those who have doubts, worries or questions about what they should look for.

Q: What should I do before going abroad?

A: Make sure you have checked the FCO Travel Advice for the countries you are visiting. Check you have sufficient money and that your passport is up-to-date. Take a photocopy of your passport details and keep in a safe place. Check what inoculations and visas are required. Note down the numbers and addresses of the UK embassy and consulate in the country you’re traveling to.

Q: Should I take out travel insurance before my holiday?

A: I may be a little biased on this one, but yes! It is extremely important that you take out adequate travel insurance even for short trips or visits to Europe, and absolutely imperative in countries outside the EU where different conditions make illness more likely and affordable medical cover that bit more difficult to get hold of. It also covers for cancellation as soon as you book your trip.

If you travel to a country, or part of a country, against FCO advice, it is unlikely that your insurer would meet any claim, however. Should the FCO advice change after you have booked a holiday, check the position with your tour operator and travel insurance company.

Q: Should I be looking at single trip or annual multi trip travel insurance?

A: Only you can answer that really – although single trip is (generally) cheaper, it does exactly what it says and covers you for just the one trip. By contrast, annual multi trip travel insurance will cover you for the whole year on various breaks, making it the choice if you think you’re likely to travel that much. You may find that just taking two trips a year would make annual multi trip travel insurance cheaper than the single trip variety!

Q: What sort of reason for cancellation is valid to ensure cover?

A: As long as your reason is within the scope of cover provided by your policy, then you should be entitled to claim in most cases. Legitimate reasons for cancelling your trip could include an illness or death in the family (as defined by your policy), freak weather conditions suspending travel for 24 hours, burglary or damage to your home, being a victim of criminal assault resulting in you being medically unable to travel, being called up for emergency military service or jury duty (subject to the specific terms and conditions of the policy). Likewise, if the hotel or resort (for independent travelers) you’re due to visit suffers from a terrorist attack in the days leading up to your travel, you will generally be able to claim.

Q: Who pays if I need to be hospitalized overseas or flown back to the UK?

A: If you have proper cover, the travel insurance company should pay such fees. If not, the cost will fall to you or your relatives and friends.

Q: Is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) the same as health insurance?

A: No. The free European Health Insurance Card shows that the holder is entitled to reduced or free emergency care only within the EU. You will still need travel insurance to ensure you will be covered fully in the event of illness or injury. The EHIC card will help though, by reducing your initial outlay before you can be reimbursed by your insurance company.

Q: Is my pre existing medical condition a big issue?

A: Generally, yes. Check the wording of your policy to ensure it covers pre-existing medical conditions. Often they’re not covered unless you pay an extra premium, and if you fail to declare your condition when you buy your cover, you’ll be unable to claim on it. As always the key advice here is to check the policy wording with a fine tooth comb.

Q: How can I find out whether it is safe to travel to a particular country?

A: It is strongly advised that you check the FCO Travel Advice section of their website. This information is regularly updated and should give you solid advice on where is and is not safe to travel (remember, areas officially outlined as ‘unsafe’ will seldom be covered by travel insurance policies).

Q: Is it safe to travel after a terrorist attack overseas?

A: Unfortunately, there is no such thing as risk-free travel, and the absence of advice against travel to a particular country or area does not imply that the FCO guarantees safety in that country or area.

I hope this travel insurance FAQ has proved useful – it’s only really scratching the service and each policy is different, but with this advice you should be in a better position to shop around, next time you need to purchase travel insurance.

Why Travel Solo – My Reasons For Travelling Solo

Many of you reading this article are thinking to yourselves ‘why travel solo… are you crazy’, while others are reading this in total agreement. Like for all travel needs, individual tastes, interests and goals will be the concern for any person traveling.

For me personally I prefer to travel solo myself but It all boils down to the type of trip you’re taking and what you plan on doing… obviously there are times where group or couple travel is inescapable and is of course still going to be a great experience… all travel is. These times could be team getaways, events such as weddings or corporate and clearly for a romantic getaway or honeymoon where I’ll assume that you would prefer not to travel solo.

Maybe you don’t have a partner or perhaps you didn’t know anyone else you wanted to travel with you… but you know with all your heart you want to go, have to go. Are the people who said no going to stop your travel? If so, why? Is it safety concerns, is It the unknown? Those questions might be on your mind, but think about it this way… doesn’t it make it more exciting? Wouldn’t you feel more accomplished if you did it by yourself?

Let me explain why I travel solo and the reasons why.

Avoid The Drama Of Others

Drama is often inescapable as all people including myself has some sort of drama in their lives. However in my experience below

A few years back I backpacked Europe and after about a week or so met up with a group of friends for roughly a month. In this time the couple traveling with us had a bad break up, which in turn almost severed another relationship. That night while this couple was fighting, bags were snatched, wallets stolen and because of the public outburst questioned by the police… and this was just the beginning of the drama, we still Christmas to get through after this. When the whole group of my friends had left I felt relief and like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

You may not want to travel solo but if you’re single then my recommendation is that you at least don’t travel with a couple, not without at least some other single people there.

Indifference Of Ideas

All travelers have their own ideas of what they want out of their travel and so they should. Compromise can be much easier in a couple and certainly traveling solo but in a group it can be a nightmare. You may want to go to a museum you’ve always wanted to see where as the others in your group want to just hit the pub.

Whoever has the numbers or the dominance will most likely win which puts you in an awkward situation. Yes, you could leave and go the museum by yourself but then what do you friends think of you and say about you later on. You may also not be contactable by phone, being in another country without a sim card which makes it much harder to meet up and find out when others will be back etc.

I remember road trip we took just 2 hours away from home with six guys and we had one of the worst weekends away possible. Some of us wanted to go prawning, others wanted to go somewhere else for fishing and some of us just wanted to hang out at the hotel by the beach and drink. The problem was we were all stubborn and because we only had the one car and two sets of keys it caused arguments left, right and centre.

Living In Close Quarters

When traveling with others, particularly for long periods of time you need to ensure that your travel buddy is someone you could live with in close quarters for however long it is you are traveling. We all have friends that we know that are good friends but you could never live with them, maybe they are messy, maybe they are snappy and the list goes on. If you can’t live with them… what makes you think you can travel with them?

Be Who You Want

A bonus to traveling solo as well is that others you meet along the way and you get to be the person you’ve always wanted to be or at least be able to interact differently with others. I truly believe you meet a lot more people when traveling solo as you have more reason to talk to others and you will meet more like-minded people to you as there are no indifference to ideas of what to do.

These are four of the main reasons why I travel solo but there are many more personal reasons like independence my goal when backpacking Europe was to get out there in the world and do it all myself. Escapism is another big reason for me sometimes with work and the same old routine you just need to escape the daily grind and get in some alone time.

Traveling solo isn’t for everyone and isn’t for all kinds of travel but if you’re after a fulfilling holiday and experiences then there really is nothing like traveling solo. You will not only meet more like-minded people, get to be who you want, gain independence and a sense of fulfillment as well avoid an indifference of ideas, living in close quarters and avoid anyone else drama while you enjoy what you want to do on your dream holiday. This is why I travel solo.

School Bus Safety Tips For Drivers and Their Children

Imagine: millions of students nationwide start their day by getting on and off the school bus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that year after year, pedestrians who are usually below the age of 19 have died in school bus-related crashes. More school-age pedestrians have been killed between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. than any other time of day. The NHTSA has even formulated several safety tips for both drivers and children:

Take note of the crosswalk/school zone sign.

 

  • Drivers: This means that during mornings and afternoons, these areas are likely to be crowded with children — some even on their bicycles or in-line skates. All of them are no match to a bus, so extra care in part of the driver is needed.
  • Children: Do what you learned in pre-school: look left, then right to see if vehicles or people are going to pass before crossing the street. If you could, go along with other children/people using the crosswalk.

Learn the “Flashing Signal Light System”that school buses use.

  • Drivers: Alert motorists if you are preparing to/stopping the school bus using the yellow/red light.
  • Children:Just because they are in a stop position does not mean there is no more danger. Take note of the danger zones around a stopped school bus, namely, the front and back (which are the most dangerous zones) and the driver’s side of the bus.

Slow down.

  • Drivers: Be alert around school zones. Young people may be rushing about on their way to class or to meet a parent.
  • Children: No need to rush when getting on or off. Wait until the bus hits a full stop, with the doors wide open before getting in. Use the handrails to avoid falls.

Visibility.

  • Drivers: For a vehicle such as a school bus, you really can’t see what’s directly below you. Be careful before speeding on.
  • Children: When crossing in front of a bus, put a safe distance (say, 10 feet) between the bus and where you plan to cross. Use sidewalks and walkways where you’re sure the driver sees you.

Backing up.

  • Drivers: Be aware if children/bicycles are crossing behind you.
  • Children: Never be the children/children-in-bicycles who cross behind buses.

To enforce traffic safety, the state of Florida has enforced tougher penalties for passing a stopped school bus while loading or unloading children. Previously the fine was $65.00, however now they are required to attend a 4-hour basic driver improvement course. This course explains Florida traffic laws and provides a refresher on defensive driving techniques.

So, for all drivers before you rush to pass a stopped school bus remember that the school bus uses the red flashing lights for a reason. And for pedestrians and children always but safety first and proceed with caution when exiting or entering the bus or in school zones.

Travel Pre And Post Internet

Travel Pre Internet:

I’ve been traveling for over 40 years – by thumb in my early days, by boots in the Scouts, a Lambretta came next and then my first old banger followed by newer old bangers to the beaches of the Costa Brava.

My thumb, boots, bikes and bangers took me all over Europe and the UK before finding that a charter flight to Spain on an old ‘Connie’ could get me to the beaches and bars a lot quicker and allow more time to enjoy the local travel opportunities by horse and cart and the occasional bus and train.

‘Go West and Prosper’ seemed to be a good idea so instead of taking an 8 hour flight I took an 8 day transatlantic crossing from Tilbury to Montreal on the Stephan Batory of Polish Ocean Lines ensuring that jet lag did not trouble my travel plans. Some years later I crossed the pond again on a ship but this time it was 5 times bigger and I traveled in style on the QE2 and dined in the Queen’s Grill somewhat removed from my earlier experience. I highly recommend ocean voyages but cannot see myself on one of the modern cruise ships going from port to port with constant line-ups to get on and off to buy t-shirts. However, I have done 10 Windjammers and a Star Clipper cruise in the Caribbean which were all memorable (let’s hope Windjammer Barefoot Cruises recover from their woes). But I digress.

I had read that Canada is a spectacular country, from sea to shining sea, and my entrance into the St. Lawrence River to Montreal and then heading west in an old Econoline van from the Great Lakes, across the Prairies to the Rocky Mountains before ending up whale watching off of the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island was a trip of wonder to a bloke from London. Today the scenery is still spectacular and the best way to go is still by road so rent or buy a car, motorhome or motorbike, take the train or tour bus but remember the maps, a fly rod, good boots and take your time.

My favorite part of Canada / USA for adventure travel has to be Northern BC / Alaska, to hike the Chilkoot Trail in the steps of the goldseekers of 1898. The Northwest Territories to canoe the Nahannie River and the Yukon to drive from Dawson City to Chicken, Alaska. If you like the outdoors and can put up with a few bugs, cast a fly and scale a few hills or drive on endless dirt roads sharing the space with moose, caribou, elk, bears and eagles, then these are the places to put on your list. The pleasures and experiences in driving to Inuvik on the Dempster Highway or to Prudhoe Bay on the Dalton Highway or even the Canol Road can only be felt by doing them. I would have mentioned the Alaska Highway but now it is an easy drive unlike the aforementioned.

Today the costs of driving these distances may mean that sharing the journey with others is required, but RVing or simply vanning and camping is a great way to see beyond the horizon. Some enroute adventures now need to be booked in advance whereas when I hiked Denali and the Chilkoot Pass it was just a case of turning up, registering with the local ranger office and heading on out. A little more forward planning is needed for today’s traveller and cost considerations of lengthy flights or drives have to somehow be countered with more careful planning. In the days of reasonable gas prices I would not even consider the driving or flying costs and have driven to Key West from the northwest coast, down the west coast to the Baja and to the west coast from New York. I once even flew my 1946 Fleet taildragger from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back using around 5 gallons an hour of avgas. Before the oil and credit crisis I drove from Rio de Janeiro to Lima, down to Tierra del Fuego and back to Rio covering over 15,000 miles of spectacular scenery and with no consideration about the cost of gas. South America should be on your itinerary too! Some other memorable drives that may now require a mortgage with the gas companies include London to The Nordkapp, Norway, Skippers Canyon in New Zealand and the loneliness of the far north of Australia and the amazing coast of Western Australia stopping by at Monkey Mia and Wave Rock.

We tend to forget that the real cost of traveling is often less today than over the 40 years of my travels. In 1977 my round-trip airfare from Canada to Australia cost over $1700 in 1977 dollars so today it is far cheaper to fly, even with the airlines gouging for fuel, extra baggage, no service and no pleasure. The ‘Big Mac’ method of price comparison as developed by The Economist newspaper gives us a good gauge for most expenditures of today compared to yesterday but my $1500 cost to get a private pilots license in the 1970’s seems cheap by comparison to today, but obviously not when using this Big Mac principle. Other travel costs are also far cheaper today but this should not mean that travelers should disregard the many methods of saving costs that can then be put to extended or improved travel experiences

Travel Post-Internet:

In my 40 years of travel I have had to use travel agents to make even the simplest of reservations and buy tickets, not even thinking to ask them if they had “been there, done that?” It was just a case of there being no other options to buying travel. Now we have unlimited choices and can seek out better travel agents, better prices, better selections and information about anywhere in the world for our travels – without even leaving home.

The Internet now gives travelers ideas and options of Where to go, When to go, Why to go, What to do, Who to book with and How to save money and offset costs. We can search and find experts for every travel option. If we are comfortable with the Internet we no longer have to go to a travel agent to make reservations and buy tickets except to book with some of the larger travel companies that still produce glossy brochures and offer all inclusive packages or tours that only sell through the agency system. The Internet also allows those of us who are smart enough to know when to seek out a top travel agent with knowledge, experience and expertise (KEE skills) of destinations and activities about where to find them. There is no longer any need to only use our local agents when we can find one somewhere else in the world. When we do not need ‘the knowledge’ and can do it ourselves we simply surf the web so that we can book directly with tour and travel operators wherever we have decided to go.

Some travel agents operate their own tours, some are both wholesale and retail, some limit consumer selection by only selling their ‘preferred’ suppliers and some have professional consultants with years of experience invested in gaining knowledge, experience and expertise and are worth their weight in gold to the savvy traveler. Beware though, as some are also called destination specialists and some of these designations merely require the agent to take a rudimentary test offered by tourism offices, destination marketing groups or even tour operators and in my opinion can harm the reputation of the travel industry. A specialist is not necessarily an expert.

Travel is probably the most used commercial aspect of the Internet and if retail agents want to harness this exciting medium to offer ‘the knowledge’ and their ‘kee’ skills to a global audience, not just their local community, they must embrace the changes that are happening. Travelers now have the ability to seek answers to the 5 W’s of travel and the important ‘How to’ save money and offset costs by having information just a click away.

And then it occurred to me that even internet travel prices often include a commission element even when sold directly to the consumer. If we book directly with operators we should not have to pay full retail prices as we are doing for ourselves what a retail agent would normally do for us. A dilemma for the operator is that to show a both a retail and a cost price option could deter many agents from selling the services as travelers could use an agent for free advice and book directly with the operator to get a ‘net of commission’ price. Obviously this two tier pricing is not often available but travelers who do not need advice should also not be penalized by retail pricing. A new way had to be found and I think I have found it!

The need for fairer fare prices is why I developed the Top Travel Voucher program at The Top Travel Club and I even found a dot com for it. All travel selections on the site are at ‘net of commission’ prices for members who handle there own travel arrangements directly with the operators linked on the club website using our voucher program.

I am inviting travel operators from around the world to join this program, from B&B’s, Motels, Hotels, Luxury Lodges, Eco Resorts, Beach Resorts and Tour and Adventure Operators who want to promote their products and services to travelers who are comfortable with direct bookings and reservations.

I am also inviting Travel Agents with knowledge, experience and expertise of destinations and activities to showcase their skills to a global audience of travelers and to the members of this new travel club. I am leery of ‘specialist agents’ and only want experts to showcase their services.

This opportunity is available to the travel trade at no cost except for them to offer net, wholesale or outlet prices to club members and visitors to the website using top travel vouchers. I believe this program offers fairer fare prices to direct-booking travelers. The operator would normally be paying commission anyway but now travelers get the savings because they make their own arrangements.

The Top Travel Club opened in mid-April 2008 offering thousands of top travel vouchers for travel in over 70 countries with around 150 travel operators on-board. Every week we add more travel operators with more choices for members. Currently you can get savings on accommodations, adventure travel, boat charters, culinary tours, hike, bike and dive tours, auto and RV rentals fishing lodges and guides, safaris, vacation rentals, single travel, women only and dude ranches. Members get the vouchers free of charge by paying an annual membership fee and non-members can buy the vouchers on the internet at Top Travel Sites at deeply discounted prices to the face-value. The future growth will include restaurants, travel clothing, travel insurance and the opportunity to access air ticket consolidators who want to deal directly with consumers.

The way I have traveled and the way I see travel is that consumers should have unlimited access to every travel opportunity with the ability to do their own due diligence or to find a professional who can offer quality advice and services at fair prices, and to find all of this without needing endless hours of searching.

To find out more about the new way of cost offsets for travel please go to The Top Travel Club and my apologies for some of the spelling (traveler / traveler) but that is what I was taught. As long as we all understand the meaning, vive le difference!

Benefits of Collaboration in the Luxury Travel World

The luxury travel industry has been the core of my business world for many years. In my role as marketing consultant have seen travel companies grow and fall as the trends for vacations and short breaks changed in line with needs for the industry’s most important component – the customer.

From just one holiday or vacation a year, the trend has grown to a pattern of two maybe even three vacations. For those with more disposable income, a sprinkling of short breaks throughout the year has become a typical indulgence… until now.

With the onset of the financial recession from 2008 onwards large families and travelers in their 40-50s were hardest hit in terms of the number and quality of holidays taken. Excited at the opportunities afforded by budget flights and exciting destinations many families looked forward to a few weeks in the sun with cheap food and drink plus the opportunity to pick up some duty free luxuries and a tan.

But the fall out from flight route closures on the cheaper airlines, the rising costs of hold baggage and the affects of currency fluctuations have made larger numbers of potential holiday makers taking the cheaper option and staying at home.

The younger singles market still managed the short luxury breaks to European cities such as Prague and Barcelona and the island retreats of Ibiza and Mallorca. But even this market is being eroded as salaries dip in line with recession. Currency fluctuation and exchange rates have hit the cost of bed and board rises dramatically in the once celebrated destinations. Add in the effect of ‘global warming’ on the conscience of the younger travelers and its easy to see why so many of the budget holiday companies are falling on difficult times.

And what about the luxury end of the market? Believe it or now but some of the top end companies are having a very profitable time. How? They have talked to each other, joined forces and shared resources to help bring their marketing costs down and in many cases their market coverage up.

I have seen groups of top Scottish Hotels who might have been fighting for a customers attention, become a collaborative marketing group whose aim is to sell the destination first and then divide up the spoils among their spa resorts, golf complexes, boutique hotel partners and city centre apartments.

I have also seen small specialist travel agents collaborate by forming a collaborative venture specializing in high end luxury travel destinations – each member having a unique destination or service. With one innovative marketing message they have a louder voice than they might have as individual travel operators.

On the customer side collaboration is also proving very beneficial. Instead of taking lots of individual holidays there is a growing trend for groups who might have booked separate hotels and a similar destination to team up and book a large villa or apartment. Combining their entrepreneurial skills, purchasing skills and cooking skills they are able to eat well, organize great activities while staying at some of the most exclusive holiday destinations.

Business Travel Agents Tips: A Corporate Travellers' New York Airports Guide

New York City is one of the most popular key travel destinations for corporate travelers worldwide. The city is the center of much that’s great, dynamic and profitable in America. It is home of one of the world’s principal financial centers (i.e. anchored by Wall Street), and a popular business hub for the publishing and entertainment industry at the same time. So, it’s no surprise it features three airports, Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and J. F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). As a frequent corporate traveler you probably may have flown to one of the three New York airports at some point or another. With JFK being a major international gateway to the US, this city guide aims to provide some helpful travel agents tips for corporate travelers flying to or from JFK Airport.

New York JFK Facts & Figures

Located about 25km away from Manhattan in Queens, JFK Airport is the largest airport in the state of New York and one of the busiest business travel hubs (over 50 million travelers/year) in the US and internationally. It has six operating terminals (numbered 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8; terminal 6 was demolished in 2011, Terminal 3 in 2013). Currently, the 4th runway is under redevelopment to comply with the needs of Group VI aircraft (until December 2015 as planned so far), which may cause delays, but measures are in place to minimize them, so you shouldn’t be too much affected. With more than 90 airlines arriving and departing from JFK, various business travel solutions for flights to New York can be arranged. Points of origin and destinations include places within the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific, Australia/New Zealand, basically all over the world. The airport offers corporate travelers a choice of non-stop flights to about 100 international destinations which may prove convenient for your next business trip. However, JFK is very susceptible to weather-related delays due to its position. Corporate travelers are well advised to consider and prepare for possible thunderstorms in summer, causing delays across the US, as well as snow, icing and assorted slush throughout the winter season. For the months between June and November the risk of potential hurricanes is increased.

In general, our business travel agents team advise leisure and corporate travelers to allow plenty of time for getting to and from JFK. Serious traffic incidents on the way between the city and the airport left many wondering whether they’ would be able to make it in time or miss their flight. Furthermore, don’t forget that this is America. Therefore, bear in mind that the TSA rules supreme over security checkpoints. So, take a deep breath and take maybe a book with you or something else to keep you busy. Make sure you arrive early.

Useful JFK terminal facilities for corporate travelers

In most public areas within most terminals, corporate travelers will conveniently find that Wi-Fi is available for free for up to 30min. You can get online near the ticket counters, boarding gates, designated work stations and food courts. The Wi-Fi access is provided by Boingo Wireless Company. If you need to use the internet for longer than 30mins., consider the following options: 1) $4.95 (£3.01, €3.77) per hour (pay as you go), 2) $7.95 (£4.83,€6.05) for unlimited access throughout a 24-hour period (day pass), 3) $9.95 (£6.04,€7.58) per month (unlimited access via a monthly subscription, to be used worldwide), or 4) if you already have a user account, simply log in using your user name and password. ATMs, currency exchange options (Lenlyn or Travelex), a rental phone shop, and more than 100 shops alongside various dining options are available at the terminals.

Ground transportation services from JFK Airport to New York City

The most convenient, stress-free way for travel from and to JFK Airport is to take the AirTrain. It is a cost efficient and helps you make sure you arrive at the airport in time, whilst avoiding possible traffic jams. You can access AirTrain services via the New York City subway system, which is also connected to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). The journey from/to the city takes just over an hour. AirTrain is operated 24 hours on 365 days a year. Within the airport area, it connects terminals and also enables you to easily access car rental services, hotel shuttle areas and parking lots. At peak times the trains depart every 7 minutes and at off-peak times they go every 15 minutes. However, be clever in choosing your business travel route, as various routes make different stops within the airport. Good news for corporate travelers is that travel within the airport is usually free of charge. However, travel outside the airport is subject to a fee. AirTrain prices generally start from $5 (£3.04, €3.81). For more details on ticket prices are provided on the JFK Airport website under costs and tickets. If you travel via New York’s public transport network, then it is a good idea to use MetroCard, which is widely accepted and is worth to purchase for travel via subway, local trains, or buses. You can find vending machines for buying a MetroCard at Howard Beach and Jamaica Station. A good alternative for corporate travelers would be to take a taxi (for up to 4 passengers). Simply wait in the cab line for a licensed and insured cab to take you to your destination (about $52, i.e. about £31.58, €39.59, flat rate between JFK and Manhattan, excluding tips and tolls). The time for this trip should be about an hour. However, it can take much longer during rush hour.

Shared-ride shuttle services are a cheaper option than taxis, but can involve a lot of waiting and being driven around New York City to drop other people off first. You can find a full list of providers on the airport authority’s website. But remember to tip appropriately, as tipping (around 20% of transfer cost) is quite common and keep in mind that bridge/tunnel tolls are not included in the shared-ride shuttle services fares. Another option is to ask your business travel company to arrange a shuttle service for your trip from and to John F. Kennedy International Airport as prices can vary greatly depending on location and number of passengers. In this way you can ensure that you are traveling with a reliable supplier.

An express bus service is also available for a nominal fee from Penn Station (reachable e.g. by AirTrain or taxi). The service operates from early morning to late night, with buses running at least every half hour.

The airport is also home to several car rental agencies. Leisure and corporate travelers can choose between a number of car major rental companies including Advantage, Thrifty, Dollar, Enterprise, Budget, Hertz, National and Avis.

So, which mode of transport should corporate travelers choose for a trip from JFK to Newark and LaGuardia airports? Usually the best way to get to Newark Airport from JFK Airport is to simply take the AirTrain. However, if you need to travel to LaGuardia during your business trip, it we recommend to take advantage of a convenient shuttle bus service, using the free Route A (running every 10-15 minutes from 4:00am to 11:30pm) or Route B (running every 10-15 minutes from 6:00am to 2:00am).

Hotels near JFK Airport

Hotel booking services for corporate travelers flying to New York JFK Airport-although there are no operating hotels at JFK Airport at the moment, New York provides corporate travelers a huge choice (from budget accommodation to luxury suites) of hotels and motels, which are conveniently located nearby the airport. Most hotel accommodations nearby offer shuttle services. Alternatively you can take the AirTrain to the Federal Circle station and follow the “Courtesy Hotel Shuttles” signs. There are telephone services for the hotel courtesy shuttles located at the AirTrain Federal Circle Station and in the arrival areas of the airport terminals ($5, i.e. about £3.04, €3.81, Service Charge for making reservations). The range of motels and hotels include the Hilton*, the Courtyard* by Marriott, Hampton Inn*, Sheraton*, Hilton Garden, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield Inn* by Marriott, Days Inn, Best Western and Howards Johnson. The ones marked by an * are also offering conference and meeting rooms for corporate events.

© Copyright Flight-line Travel Management Ltd. All rights reserved. All prices correct at time of publication.

In part two of our New York City Airport guide we’ll provide you with some business travel agents insider tips on Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA).

Does The Internet Benefit Small Travel Businesses?

Yes, of course it does, but as much as it should?

When you think of the number of travel directories and websites available to travelers you would think that this is a world free of the normal conventions of business but unfortunately it is often bound by restrictions that travelers would not appreciate. Pricing of travel is one of the conventions that are not yet totally free of restrictions and understandably so due to distribution considerations.

Travel businesses using the traditional distribution chains for the sale of their products need to allow for the payments of commission to various levels of middlemen, Inbound Tour Operators, Wholesalers and Retailers, all who need to take a percentage for their efforts in enabling travel services and products to reach the consumer.

Websites however, reach directly to consumers and enable them to make direct bookings with travel providers but they can still incur the costs attributed to these middlemen. But, to place a two-tier price for each product could deter the agents from representing products so a new way had to be found. This is where TopTravelSites stepped in with their newly developed service for the travel provider who wants to continue with the traditional supply chain but also wants to encourage travelers who are comfortable with making their own arrangements directly with providers and who do not need the services of travel agents, just the internet.

The service called TopTravelVouchers gives travelers a ‘fair fare price’ on direct bookings but the provider still incurs the cost of commission.

This new price format is achieved by the travel operator issuing a voucher in exchange for marketing, promotion and deliverance of travelers directly to their websites to make their bookings. The voucher is sold to travelers at deeply discounted prices to their redemption values enabling the traveler to be the beneficiary of a ‘nearly net’ price for the travel package or service. The operator of TopTravelVouchers does not have the normal costs that are attributable to retail and wholesale agents such as shops, reservation systems, brochures and high staffing and is thus able to encourage travelers to book directly with their clients and to get a price saving for their efforts. It is in effect a travel agent that does not sell travel, only travel vouchers, which are to be used towards travel purchased from the travel companies who are participating in the service.

Many travel businesses do not use middlemen, often due to the small size of their travel operation, but they would still be prepared to pay a commission or fee for a referral or a sale. They still need to make travelers aware of their products and services and to be able to offer encouragement and a reward gives them an opportunity to reach out to travelers who prefer to deal directly with operators.

There are thousands of smaller travel businesses around the world ranging from B&B’s, Family Boutique Hotels, Small Tour Operators, Adventure and Eco Tours that are rarely seen by the vast majority of travelers. These operators are not found in the glossy travel brochures or represented by travel agents but they often have excellent products and services which can be seen on their websites. Many of them are willing to pay a commission to a seller of their products but are not able to get travel agent representation. This new voucher system allows them to encourage and reward travelers who prefer to handle their own arrangements directly with the operators by offering a price that reflects discounted commission costs and thus savings for the do-it-yourself traveler.

TopTravelVouchers sell at three price levels according to the savings on each: $30, $50 or $100usd or equivalent currency if purchased outside of the USA. They may often be purchased in multiples, benefiting families or groups and at the time of this article there was a voucher costing $100usd with a value of 1,500euros (around $2,000usd) offered on a small ship cruise in Greece that is also a small travel operator not normally represented by the agency system.

Travelers are given 100% money-back guarantees if the vouchers are not used within 1 year of issue but maybe this should be for two years as the vouchers are normally valid for 2 years. Even after the completion of travel and travelers are unhappy with the quality, the voucher cost is reimbursed by TopTravelSites and the problem taken up with the travel operator.

It is obvious that this service will only work for TopTravelSites if supported by the world of travel providers who need to expand their representation as the retention of only a small percentage on each sale needs to be followed by high volumes of voucher sales but it is a unique service offering benefits to both travelers and the smaller travel businesses in the travel industry utilizing the logical use of the internet for direct bookings.

Travel Agency School and a Turn Key Booking Site Equals Success!

Are you searching for a travel agency school that will teach you all you need to know about starting a travel business and becoming a travel agent?

Does the intrigue and romance of the travel industry sound fascinating to you? Can’t you just picture yourself basking in the culture and fine cuisine of a faraway land that you’ve e only dreamed of traveling to? Or relaxing on a tropical beach while sipping frozen cocktails, mesmerized by the sound of crashing waves on the powdery, white sand?

You may call this vacation, but many home based travel agents are combining pleasure with business and taking what they often call “paycations”. Upon becoming a travel agent anybody can build a lucrative income and enjoy the amazing fringe benefits that home based travel agents enjoy, including

  • Discounted travel
  • Commissions on their own travel (and all other travel booked on their sites)
  • Tax deductions on their travel expenses
  • Even free trips

Due to the popularity of online booking sites, becoming a travel agent can be an inexpensive and easy venture. Along with receiving a fully operational online travel site, you can learn everything there is to know about marketing and operating a travel business by enrolling in an online travel agency school.

Those who are already working another job enjoy the fact that becoming a travel agent doesn’t need to be a full time undertaking. Several factors have made it possible for home based travel agents to create full time success on a part time basis. Consider these facts

  • Online travel sites provide a self-serve business model, becoming a travel agent no longer requires the agent to research or book travel for customers
  • As a result of the paradigm shift created by online travel booking sites, starting a travel agency no longer requires a brick and mortar storefront, or employees
  • Many companies allow their home based travel agents to choose the level they wish to reach in travel agency school, more education equates to higher commissions
  • Once enrolled in a business, anyone can attend travel agency school on a part time basis

Does the thought of becoming a travel agent sound appealing to you? Well, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. You see, many home based travel agents have built businesses with companies that offer a guaranteed income. Yes, you read it right, guaranteed income! Up to ten thousand dollars in the first year, even for those who choose not to attend travel agent school!

If the thought of starting a travel agency appeals to you, there has never been a better time to go for it. Just think, a total business in a box, full support, access to online travel agency school, and even a guaranteed income. How can you go wrong?

Enjoy Partying at a Whole New Level With a Party Bus for Hire

Name a party that you want to have and you can all do it with a party bus for hire. You can unwind from a hard day’s work if you enjoy yourself in parties once in a while. At other times, you also want to try out something new and have more fun doing fun activities with friends and family. Typically, when you want to celebrate a certain event, you would normally rent the venue for the party or celebrate it at home. Private vehicles and vans cannot accommodate all the invited guests at once. A trip would be more enjoyable if you can be all at the same vehicle and everything you need is already there. Here are some fun ideas to do when you get to have a party bus for hire.

The night is still young and you might be already tired of partying at the same club. With a party bus, you can continue on partying at the bus with your friends while heading out to the next club. The fun never ends and you also get to meet new people as you do the club hopping. If you had too much alcohol, all you need to alleviate your drunkenness are also in the bus. Aside from that, the bus is operated by well trained individuals ensuring your safety while you and your friends enjoy the party.

You can also celebrate a love ones special occasion on a party bus. May it be a birthday party or a bachelor/bachelorette party; you will all have a good time together on the road. Aside from that, you get to visit places, watch sporting events and get to enjoy the scenery along the way. All you need to do is just enjoy yourselves and the rest will be taken care of by the party bus employees.

Most party bus companies have different buses with different kinds of amenities. Of course, you will be able to get to choose the kind of bus which is suitable for the party that you want to celebrate there. Some of these amenities include karaoke machines, excellent sound systems, neon lights, private toilets separate for men and women and a lot more.

You can try something new once in a while and explore other ways of having fun. One way of doing so is getting to have a party bus for hire to celebrate good times with friends and family. Also to maximize the rental you paid for the bus, it would be best to maximize the amount of people you invite to come with you. More guests to celebrate a party with, the more fun it will get. That way, the cost for the party bus will definitely be worth it.

First Time Travel Info For the Philippines

Before traveling to the Philippines one must be aware that this is a tropical country and therefore you need to have tropical gear and such. The Philippines is known history as the Pearl of the Orient and the Gateway to Asia. It is the only Christianized nation in Southeast Asia, most of its neighbors being Muslims or Buddhists.

Definitely before traveling to the Philippines you will need your travel documents in order. Should you be coming from another country which is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, then you will not need a travel visa and you can enter and stay in the Philippines from two to eight weeks without any visa. Tourists from Europe and from Australia and the United States may stay in the country for up to 2 months without a visa, but this is granted on a case to case basis.

Going back to the part where the Philippines is a tropical country, you can expect the country to be hot and humid, especially in the summer months of March to June. The monsoon months begin starting in July to December, but it usually rains strongest near August. Traveling to the Philippines around December to February is the coolest time when Siberian winds travel from Northern China and hit this island archipelago.

The medium of exchange in the Philippines is called the Philippine Peso. This is due to the country’s almost four hundred years of being a Spanish colony and strong ties to Mexico in the past. Thus expects a lot of Spanish type architecture, traditions like the siesta and fiestas when you travel throughout the country.

When traveling in the Philippines, travel light. Bring along light clothing made of cotton if available. It is not uncommon to see tourists in the capital city of Manila wearing beach shorts and flip flops. The weather is more than agreeable to this kind of clothing.

Plenty of hotels of international quality are found in the main cities of Manila in the north, with Cebu and Davao in the south. These three cities are the main hubs of tourism and commerce so they should always be included in one’s itinerary. There are adequate bus and air systems to ferry you back and forth within and through these cities.

Within the main cities the traditional jeepney is a popular mode of transportation, much like a small bus invented and adapted from the World War 2 soldier transport. However due to the heat, it may be more convenient for the new visitor to take a taxi around the cities. Taxi fares begin at roughly 50 cents for flag down rates and 25 cents for every kilometre.

The main cities of Manila, Cebu and Davao are centers of tourism where you can book your other travels to the 7,000 islands of the country whether you want to go to beaches, forests and the like. One is encouraged to visit the museums, shopping malls and nightspots to get a taste of a country that some have called the only Latin American country in Southeast Asia.

Travel and Its Benefits

Why do we need to travel? Why it is getting increasingly important that we, once in a while, change our environment and travel outside our country? Why it is sometimes a necessity for our emotional health to travel?

Travel’s importance is underestimated by many people. Travel is not only fun, entertaining and enjoyable. With our current lifestyles and work conditions, travel has become more than an option. It is more than just having fun. As Augustine of Hippo said ” The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” During travel you are able to do things you usually don’t do. When traveling, you go outdoor and be away from computers, and TVs and you are likely to be mixing with different people and cultures. People travel for different reasons. Some travel for fun and to have a good time. Others travel as a hobby. Travel can be an escape away from the hectic pace of life in big cities. Some travel just to change and move, as Robert Louis Stevenson said “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake”. Some people like to learn from different cultures, as Mark Twain said ” Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Travel gives the person the opportunity to discover, to explore and to feel the sense of adventure.

Many people around the world are discovering the benefits of travel to the extent that the tourism industry is growing worldwide and has become one of the major profitable sectors in world economies. No wonder that travel is growing year by year. According to figures published by the World Travel & Tourism Council WTTC, world tourism industry grew by 3% in 2012, and contributed $6.6 trillion to world GDP by direct and indirect impact. In 2012, for the first time in history, international tourist arrivals reached 1.035 billion.

Here are the main benefits of travel:

1-Stress Relief: As you travel miles away from your environment, you are able to be free from your responsibilities and then begin to relax and rest. Not only you rest your body, but also your mind. Knowing that you can wake up anytime without an alarm clock, without the need to be physically available at work, will take off a lot of mental stress. Here, you can sense freedom. Stress relief is a major reason for travel. The moment you think you are heading for Hawaii or Bali, you get immediate sensation of excitement and stress-free feelings. It is this mental peace that makes travel a very good stress-relief. Sometimes travel can be stressful if your trip has a lot of sightseeing, or meeting a lot of people. But travel stress is different from home stress because it is positive stress. Travel stress does not associate with it anxiety or worry.

Travel is a great way to connect with nature which is very helpful for your relaxation, mentally or physically. Nature is a stimulus for activating your right brain. Right brain domination is one major cause for stress-relief. Also, during travel there is no sense of urgency which is usually associated with home behavior. Change of scenery is by itself helpful for relieving stress.

2-Physical Benefits: You move more when traveling. You walk more frequently whether riding the subway or exploring the streets of a historic city or even visiting a museum. By swimming or laying on the beach, you get a high dosage of vitamin D from the sun, something that is very useful for your bones and also for your positive emotions. Outdoor activities associated with travel can lower risk of diabetes, lead to weight loss and reduce cholesterol level. Some medical experts recommend traveling once every six months for cardiovascular health and for the heart. Some studies show that travel even improves better sleep.

3-Cultural Benefits: Sometimes we need to be anonymous. Sometimes we want to be free from any responsibility. Travel allows you to exercise both while meeting new people and experience new cultures. You will know how different people accomplish their goals with different ways. You will learn new ideas that you have never thought of before.

4-Relationship Benefits: Traveling with a companion and sharing same experiences and situations together will enhance your mutual bond. 93% of youth ages 8-18 consider travel as “a quality time” spent with their parents. 3 in 4 parents say that family vacations are very helpful for the family. Meeting new persons in new locations can result in long term relationship for many.

5-Happiness: Many persons associate happiness with travel. More than 50% of adults buy souvenirs just to remember their vacations. Most travelers store photos of their destinations as a way of remembering those trips that are about tasting new food, beautiful sights, historic monuments, and new music. This is one reason that travel can be addictive, especially if have enough time & money. It has become a hobby for thousands of people around the world.

Remember, you can travel and have fun with a limited budget. Plan carefully and spend wisely. Read and learn saving tips.

Why Sound Business Travel Reporting Matters

For any company that has their employees engage in regular travel, it is important to have a good corporate travel strategy. Part of developing and improving on a corporate travel strategy is solid business travel reporting. Business travel reporting provides the company with details about the cost of travel and how the money is being used. This data not only helps to keep track of expenses but it also can be used to identify areas of waste and inefficiency. When this information is tracked and analyzed it can be used to improve upon your company’s business travel strategy. Using the service of a corporate travel agency is an effective means toward achieving all of these goals.

Due to their experience and their connections in the travel and finance industry, a corporate travel firm will be especially suited to provide these services with the highest degree of detail. A corporate travel agency uses a variety of methods to analyze and track a clients business travel expenses. They can use data from banking and credit card records along with the travel records to identify the most and least efficient travelers in your company. They can help to manage airline data to find which carrier is providing the most business friendly service for the most affordable price and they can help to identify waste and abuse of funds.

A corporate booking agency can also help employers to analyze information in a way that can determine how effectively the employees travel and how well they stick to the itinerary and how closely the individual employees stick to the travel strategy. This can be achieved by referencing the data accumulated from credit cards, expense accounts, airline data, hotel bills and rental information. Once all of the data is collected and analyzed, the corporate travel firm can prepare a complete report. The reports will cover a variety of different areas and will often be accompanied by a written summary of the overall information. Clients can also request specialized reporting from a corporate travel agency. These may be to address an area of concern or to see how a new aspect of the travel strategy is working.

Most business travel agencies recommend that their clients schedule regular meetings with their travel manger to go over the business travel reporting and to find ways to improve the corporate travel strategy. The management of a business should meet with their corporate travel manager at least once a year. In these meetings the travel manager can help the client go over the business travel reporting and understand what all of the data means. The manager will help to identify areas of waste and point out parts of the travel plan that are working well. At this time the client can address their concerns about the travel strategy and work to adjust the business travel strategy. A corporate travel agency can also help their client with a plan for implementing the new strategy and addressing the changes with their staff.

Having the services of a business travel agency is a necessity for any company that engages in regular travel. Having a well thought out strategy will not only save the company money, but it will also make sure that the staff is getting the most out of their trip.

How to Be a Travel Agent

If you plan to become a travel agent or want to learn how to start a travel agency from home, you’d be glad to know that there are plenty of agencies that offer certifications, training, and the chance to own your very own travel agency.

A travel agent’s job functions may vary from assisting with booking/selling reservations to referring people to travel booking sites, where an agent receives commission.

Here are some tips to help you become a successful travel agent.

Research Travel Institutions and Education

The minimum educational requirement for individuals who want to become a travel agent is a high school diploma. Computerization and technology have increased training needs and most employers prefer applicants with a higher level of education such as a post-secondary vocational award.

There are vocational schools that offer full time travel agent programs as well as weekend and evening programs. These programs are also offered in community colleges and universities.

There are colleges that also offer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in tourism and travel. Although there are only a few courses that directly relate to travel and tourism, college degrees with background in world history, foreign language, communication and geography are often preferred by employers.

The American Society of Travel Agents features a correspondence course that teaches the basics of travel industry. While most travel agencies offer on the job training programs for their employees, there are also many reputable websites that give free detailed information and offer travel agent study course on how to start a travel agency business from home.

Be a Certified Travel Agent

Certifications will enhance your reputation as an agent and will show clients that you have met the professional standards set by an institution in the industry. The travel industry features several certifying organizations that are widely recognized today.

Experienced travel agents can take advantage of study courses from the Travel Institute that leads to a Certified Travel Counselor professional designation. The Travel Institute also features sales/marketing enhancement programs and destination specialist programs that provide a detailed knowledge of regions like:

•Western Europe

•The Caribbean

•North America

•The Pacific Rim

Cruise Lines International Association or CLIA offers various certification programs that are recognized and respected in the travel industry.

Get a Travel Agent Job

Find a job with an agency or partner with an agency to help you run your own travel counseling business. Try to work with an established agency.

There are also travel agencies that allow you to work from home. Find a host agency that will help you in establishing your own travel agency. A host agency will show you how to start a travel agency from home, provide services, back office support, travel suppliers, marketing support and access to reservation portals.

Become a Registered Travel Seller in Your State

There are states that require registration. This type of regulatory requirement helps protect consumers and ensures that agencies are legal. Don’t forget to check with government offices for local regulations.

Become a Part of Organizations

Joining organizations is a great way to stay up-to-date on trends and news in the travel industry. These societies also offer continuing education and updates to their members. If you expect to be booking online airline tickets, become a member of the International Air Transport Association or IATA.

Business Traveller Flying to London? A London City Guide for Getting to the Centre

London. The vibrant, beating heart of the United Kingdom. It’s one of the world’s most popular destinations for tourists, and for business travelers too. The amount of commerce that goes through London is staggering, with a financial center second only to New York, and service industries that cater for both the UK, European and international markets. As the world’s most multicultural city – there are over 300 languages spoken by a population of over eight million people (twelve million if you include the metropolitan area) – the opportunities for business are clear.

With the UK strategically positioned for the business traveler on the western edge of Europe, London is a global hub for air travel, providing easy access to mainland Europe, and a stepping stone to the United States. Primarily served by five airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted and Luton – London is easily reached from anywhere in the world. But with the exception of London City Airport – smallest of the five and located in East London, close to the business district of Canary Wharf – the other four airports are satellites evenly dispersed around the city. The most popular, Heathrow, is located to the west of London; Gatwick is situated to the south; Stansted to the north east; and Luton to the North West. Knowing this before you make your travel plans can be useful. Since the greater metropolitan area of London covers over 1,000 square miles, your final business destination may not be right in the center. Researching which airport is closest to your destination can save you time, effort and money.

However, whether you’re a business traveler flying from within the UK or from overseas, your starting destination may often determine the airport you arrive at. Other factors, such as your chosen time of travel, budget and availability will also make a difference. For example, if you’re travelling with a major international carrier from a major city, such as New York, the chances are you’ll arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick (Stansted also receives flights from New York but is the smallest of the three). If you’re traveling locally from within the UK with a budget carrier you’re more likely to arrive at Stansted or Luton (though not exclusively). And if you’re traveling from a major European city, particularly a financial capital, such as Frankfurt, London City Airport is a likely arrival point (the airport was created specifically to cater for short haul business travelers, particularly between financial centers).

Each airport is served by comprehensive rail and road infrastructure, providing business travelers with a variety of options to enter London. All five airports offer direct rail travel into the heart of Central London, coach travel to the main Victoria terminus, and hire car, mini-bus, licensed black cab and taxi services by road. If you’re a VIP business traveler, chauffeur services are also available, and with the exception of London City Airport, each also offer direct helicopter transfer into the heart of the city.

London Heathrow Airport

The busiest of the five airports is London Heathrow. Located less than twenty miles from central London, Heathrow is situated to the west of the city within the M25 motorway metropolitan boundary. The fastest route into London is via the Heathrow Express train service, taking just 15 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3 to Paddington station (located on the western side of Central London). If your flight arrives at either terminal 4 or 5 it’s a further four and six minutes travel time respectively, and you’ll need to transfer on to the main London-bound service at terminals 1, 2 and 3.

The service is excellent, offering comfort and convenience, but does not always suite everyone’s travel budget. The standard ‘Express’ single journey ticket costs £21.00 (€25.00 / $35.00), but business travelers can get better value when purchasing a return ticket, priced at £34.00 (€40.00 / $56.00). The ‘Business First’ ticket is more expensive, with singles costing £29.00 (€35.00 / $48.00) and returns £52.00 (€62.00 / $86.00), but it does afford business travelers considerably more leg room, the privacy of a ‘single seating’ layout, and a fold out table. The experience is akin to that of air travel. All passengers across both pricing structures enjoy access to electrical sockets, USB ports and free Wi-Fi. The overall quality of service and passenger experience generates a ‘wow’ factor, and if your budget can afford it, is certainly the smoothest, quickest and most convenient way to travel into London from Heathrow. Trains run regularly every fifteen minutes in both directions, particularly useful for last minute dashes to the airport.

There are two further rail options available to business travelers, both considerably less expensive, though this is reflected in the quality of service. That’s not to say either is not a good solution for business travelers, just that there is a noticeable difference in convenience and comfort.

With a service typically running every thirty minutes, and a journey duration – depending on the time of day – of between 23 and 27 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3, Heathrow Connect is more than adequate for business travelers who are not in a hurry. Like the rival Express service, Connect also arrives at Paddington station, but unlike its faster rival stops at up to five other stations before reaching its terminus. The ‘inconvenience’ of this less direct journey is compensated for by a considerably less expensive ticket price. Single journey’s cost £9.90 (€12.00 / $16.00) while a return is £19.80 (€24.00 / $32.00). There is no saving to be made from purchasing a return ticket. While the convenience and comfort of the traveler experience cannot match the Express, the Connect business travel solution is an acceptable compromise that suits a greater number of travel budgets.

The third – and least expensive – rail option is the London Underground ‘tube’ network. Despite the network’s name the majority of the journey from Heath-row is overground, until the business traveler nears Central London. Starting on the Piccadilly Line, the service connects all five Heath-row terminals and provides frequent trains into London, stopping at a considerable amount of outlying stations before arriving in the capital’s center. This continually ‘interrupted’ journey – there are seventeen stops between Heath-row terminals 1, 2 and 3 and Paddington Tube station (the nearest equivalent tube terminus for a fair comparison) – and takes approximately fifty minutes journey time on average, considerably slower than its more direct rivals. This journey comparison also requires the inconvenience of a transfer between lines.

So why would the business traveler consider using the tube from Heath-row to Central London? Simple. The frequency of service, the array of destinations, and the cost. At a cash price of just £5.70 (€6.80 / $9.50) for a single journey in either direction during peak hours (06:30am to 09:30am), financially the Underground is an attractive option. At nearly half the price of the Heath-row Connect, and at just over a quarter of the price of the Heath-row Express, this service is comparably good value for money. Further value can be found if the business traveler purchases an ‘Oyster Card’, the ‘cashless’ electronic ticketing system beloved by so many Londoners. Available to purchase at Heath-row London Underground stations, this useful option allows you to get tickets cheaper than for cash – in this case a reduction to just £5.00 (€6.00 / $8.30). Off-peak travel with an Oyster Card offers even greater value, with Heath-row to Paddington in either direction costing just £3.00 (€3.60 / $5.00) per journey. The Oyster Card can also be used for unlimited travel on buses and trains throughout London, with a maximum daily spend capped at £17.00 (€20.00 / $28.00) peak time and just £8.90 (€10.60 / $15.00) off-peak for a six zone ticket (destinations across London are divided into six main zonal rings. Traveling from Heath-row to Central London crosses all six zones).

The Underground is primarily a city-wide mass transit system, rather than a ‘train’ service. As such the level of comfort and convenience is substantially less than that of both the Heath-row Express and Connect services, and at peak hours can be considerably uncomfortable. Having endured a recent flight, business travelers who choose this option run the risk of having to stand up the entire journey if traveling during peak hours. If the carriage is full to squeezing point (as is often the case at peak time) managing your luggage can be a challenge. It should also be noted that the tube network – which, as the world’s first urban mass-transit system is over 150 years old – is often prone to signal failures and delays. If the time between your arrival at Heath-row (don’t forget to factor in clearing immigration control, luggage collection and customs) and your business appointment is tight, particularly during peak hours, it is not unfair to say that you are taking a risk if you choose to use the Underground.

Compared to using rail, traveling by road into Central London is far less convenient. Like every major city around the world, traffic congestion plagues the streets of London. The M4 and A4 route from Heath-row into London is always busy and in parts can be slow moving at times. No matter what your method of road transport, the business traveler is vulnerable to the risk of delays and accidents.

Buses and coaches are plentiful. The dominant carrier is called National Express. They operate services between Heath-row Airport and London Victoria, the main coach terminus in London. From here travelers can travel to many other destinations around the UK. The coaches run from Heath-row Airport Central Bus Station, which is located between terminals 1, 2 and 3. Its well sign posted so easily found. If you’re arriving at terminals 4 or 5 you’ll need to first take the Heath-row Connect train to the central bus station. From Victoria Station you can get to any other part of London with ease, via the Underground, plentiful buses, local trains and licensed black cabs / minicab taxi services.

A single journey tickets start from £6.00 (€7.20 / $10.00), while returns cost £11.00 (€13.20 / $18.00). Although you can purchase your ticket at Heath-row, it is advisable to do so in advance, and online. This will ensure you have a guaranteed, reserved seat on your coach of choice, and also provide you with the opportunity to select a time of departure and/or return that best suits your needs. Typically this service runs three coaches per hour to and from London Victoria coach station. The journey time can vary, dependent on the route taken, the time of day and traffic conditions, but you can typically expect your journey to take between 40 and 90 minutes.

National Express also offers business travelers a Heath-row hotel transfer service to and from the airport, known as the Heath-row Hoppa. With hundreds of services each day running around the clock, it’s a clean, comfortable and affordable way to get about, costing £4.00 (€4.80 / $6.60) for single journey and £7.00 (€8.40/ $11.50) for a return journey. This service is particularly useful if your business appointment is located close to Heath-row and you have no need to travel into Central London.

An alternative to coach travel is taking a bus. This can be particularly useful if you arrive at Heath-row late at night. Depending on the day of the week, the N9 night bus runs approximately every 20 minutes to Trafalgar Square in Central London, from 11.30pm to 5am. The journey time is approximately 75 minutes, subject to traffic delays. It’s a very affordable service, and as part of the Transport for London infrastructure a single journey can be paid for with an Oyster Card (£1.40 (€1.70/ $2.30) or by cash (£2.40 (€2.90/ $4.00).

If your journey into London requires the freedom to choose to travel whenever you want, to wherever you want, or you simply require privacy, then private hire transport is readily available at Heath-row. If you’re just interested in getting from A to B and back again, without any other journeys in between, taking a licensed black cab or minicab taxi may suit your needs. Traveling in an iconic licensed black cab into Central London will take approximately 45-60 minutes, subject to traffic delays, and can typically cost between £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) and £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00). If you do find yourself delayed in traffic the journey will cost more, since black cab meters also charge for waiting time when not moving. Black cabs are readily available at all hours, and good sign posting at Heath-row means they’re easy to find. At a squeeze up to five business travelers can be accommodated, though if you all have large luggage it will be a problem.

An alternative private hire to black cabs are licensed taxi services. This could be a better option for the business traveled, particularly if a number of people with luggage are travel ling together. An array of vehicle types are available, ranging from standard 4/5 seater saloon and 6/7 passenger people carrier cars, up to 15 or 17 seater minibuses and even coach taxis. An added advantage is you can book your vehicle of choice in advance and at a fixed price. With so many different companies offering these services, prices – and quality of service – can vary, but typically for a single journey the business traveler can expect to pay a fixed, advance price of £40.00 (€48.00/ $66.00) for a saloon car; £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) for an estate car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for an executive car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for a people carrier; £65.00 (€78.00/ $108.00) for an 8 seater minibus; £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00) for an executive people carrier; and £165.00 (€198.00/ $272.00) for a 16 seater minibus. Savings can be made on all tariffs if a return journey is booked in advance.

Traveling by black cab or licensed taxi affords the business traveler the freedom to travel at his or her own pace, and can take the hassle out of a journey. It can be a very relaxing way to commute from the airport into London, particularly after a long flight, and offers the business traveler an opportunity to unwind prior to their business appointment.

If you need to arrange senior executive or VIP transportation, chauffeur driven services are readily available (booked in advance) between Heath-row and London. The vehicle type and the length of time you require it for will dictate the price you’ll pay. Chauffeur driven services are readily available to find online. The same is true of helicopter charter services which can transfer the executive business traveler from Heath-row into Central London (Battersea Heliport) in approximately 15 minutes. Flight-line Travel Management is experienced at providing our customers with both modes of transport, and we’re happy to take your inquiry.

© Copyright Flight-line Travel Management Ltd. All rights reserved.

All prices correct at time of publication.

Closer To Truth: Is Time Travel Possible?

There is an ongoing PBS TV series (also several books and also a website) called “Closer To Truth”. It is hosted by neuroscientist Robert Lawrence Kuhn. He’s featured in one-on-one interviews and panel discussions with the cream of the cream of today’s cosmologists, physicists, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, etc. on all of the Big Questions surrounding a trilogy of broad topics – Cosmos; Consciousness; God. The trilogy collectively dealt with reality, space and time, mind and consciousness, aliens, theology and on and on and on. Here are a few of my comments on one of the general topics covered – Is time travel possible?

# Is time travel possible? Actually I personally don’t believe time exists. Change exists, and time is just our measurement of rate of change. IMHO time is just a concept. Time is a mental construct that helps us come to terms with change. Some cosmologists say that time was created at the Big Bang, as if time were a thing with substance and structure, but I challenge them to actually create some time in front of their peers or maybe a TV audience or at least produce a theoretical equation or two that would create time. In the meantime, here’s a trilogy of points.

First, the concept of time travel is one of those fun parts of physics. Whether true or not, it is entertaining to play the ‘what if’ game. If nothing else, the concept makes or forces one to think about the nature of reality.

Secondly, Einstein and others have postulated that time travel is a theoretical reality and I’m not in their sort of league that I can dispute the theories. I’ll leave that to others who know the field inside and out.

But thirdly, and most importantly, you can never actually be in the future or the past, only in the future or the past compared to where and when you are now. In other words, no matter how you slice and dice things, you exist in the where-ever and in the whenever in that where-ever’s or whenever’s NOW or in other words in the present. You cannot literally be in any future or in any past since you only experience the NOW which is the present. If you should somehow travel back one hour, you would still experience things as belonging to NOW. If you sleep for one hour then wake up, you are in the future relative to when you went to sleep, but you still find yourself in the NOW.

# Is time travel possible? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, we can travel into the future at one second per second, we do that anyway whether we like it or not. Yes we can travel into the future at a slightly quicker rate by going to sleep or otherwise having our sense of consciousness, our awareness of rate of change (which is what time really is or measures) incapacitated. You get drunk and pass out and the next thing you know you are 12 hours into the future. Yes we can travel into the future as outlined by Einstein’s twin ‘paradox’ where one twin travels at a very high rate of speed outward bound, stops and returns to home base, while the stay at home twin, well, stays home. Upon their reunion the traveling twin finds their stay at home twin to be far older, so the traveling twin has traveled into the future more rapidly than would otherwise have been the case. Yes, you can travel back in time, in theory, according to the apparent theoretical properties that wormholes or black holes can have. No, you can’t travel to the past because of all of those nasty paradoxes. I like the variation on the grandfather paradox whereby you travel back just one hour into the past and shoot yourself dead. That’s a novel way of committing suicide! The other paradox I like is when you go back in time to have Shakespeare autograph your copy of “Hamlet”. Shakespeare isn’t home but the maid promises to have him autograph your book when he returns. Alas, your timing is slightly off and Shakespeare hasn’t yet written “Hamlet”, so when he receives your copy from his maid to autograph, he reads it, and after you return to Shakespeare’s home and receive back your now autographed copy and return home to your own time, Shakespeare now writes “Hamlet”. The paradox is, where did “Hamlet” come from since Shakespeare only wrote it after he had already seen your copy. No, you can’t travel back to the past because if that were possible there would be hoards of time-traveling tourists who went back in time to witness some important historical event or other. No hoards of photo-snapping tourists have ever been documented being present at Custer’s Last Stand, the Battle of the Alamo, the sinking of RMS Titanic, or any one of thousands of similar historical events. Yes, you can travel back in time but only into a parallel universe. If you shoot yourself but it is another you in another universe, no paradox arises. You travel back in time to have Shakespeare autograph your copy of “Hamlet” but in that parallel universe Shakespeare can now write “Hamlet” based on your copy and no paradox results. However, the one point I find interesting is that if you end up in the future, or in the past, are you really in the future or the past? No, the only time you can exist in is the present, your right here and NOW time. It might be a different time from what you previously knew, but still wherever and whenever you exist, you only exist in the NOW.

# Is time travel possible? It could already be the case that time travel has been documented at the quantum level although that could be open to interpretation. Before I get to the specifics, I just need to point out that with respect to the laws, principles and relationships of physics, time is invariant. Operations in physics remain invariant in time whether time is moving as we normally perceive it (past to future) or back to front (future to past). For example, gravity would operate as per its normal grab-ity self in a world where time flowed backwards. There’s many an operation one could film that when the film were run backwards, one wouldn’t be any the wiser. Tree branches blowing in the wind comes to mind, or the coming together, collision, and rebounding or separation of two billiard balls. Okay, having established that when it comes to physics, physics doesn’t care which direction time is flowing, there will be no violations in those laws, principles and relationships of physics future to past, we now come to the delayed double slit experiment.

In the normal double slit experiment, you have an electron gun that fires one electron particle at a time, such that one electron completes its journey before the next one is fired, at two side-by-side slits. If one or the other slit is open, the one-at-a-time electrons pass through the open slit to a detector screen behind the slits. The detector screen gets hit in nearly the same spot every time after each and every electron particle passes through the single open slit. That is straight forward. If both slits are open, the electron shape-shifts into a wave (how I don’t know), passes through both slits (as only a wave can), morphs back into a particle and hits the detector screen. The difference is that after enough electrons have been fired, and have passed or waved through the double slits, the hits on the detector screen are not in just one or two spots but all-over-the-map, albeit all-over-the-map in a classic wave interference pattern. Okay, that’s the classic experiment.

Now we do a variation on the theme, the delayed double slit experiment. Electrons are fired one-at-a-time, with both slits wide open. An all-over-the-map classic wave interference pattern should appear on the normal detector screen after enough electrons have been fired. However, in addition to the normal detection screen, there are two other detectors positioned behind the normal detector screen that are each in an exact line-of-sight with each of the two slits. The electron is fired. It morphs into a wave and passes through both slits then morphs back into a particle. But before the electron, which has already passed through both slits, can hit the detector screen, the detector screen is removed to reveal behind it the other two line-of-sight detectors. Now presumably once the electron has passed though the double slits it’s too little too late to change its mind about where it’s going to hit. Only a tiny few should be detected by the two line-of-sight detectors aligned with the two slits. Alas, each and every electron will be detected by one or the other of the line-of-sight detectors. It would appear that the electron CAN change its mind after it has already gone through both slits and instead appear to have gone through one or the other of the two slits. One interpretation is that the electron, after having passed through both slits, realized the gig was up, traveled back in time, retraced its path and passed through one or the other slit.

As an aside, the late Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman noted that the double slit experiment went to the heart of quantum weirdness. I mention this because it was the same Richard Feynman who suggested that a positron (an anti-electron) was just an ordinary electron that was going backwards in time.

# Is time travel possible? I have several other points to make about the concept of time travel.

Firstly, there is Stephen Hawking’s idea of a Chronology Protection Conjecture which postulates that there is some as yet undiscovered law of physics which prevents time travel to the past and thus makes the cosmos a safe place for historians to strut their stuff.

Secondly, it has been said that you cannot travel farther back in time than the date your time travel ‘device’ was constructed, be it a wormhole or some other gizmo. So if some genius builds a time traveling ‘device’ in 2014, he’s not going anywhere into the past. But in 2015 he can travel back to 2014 and in 2114 he could travel back to any time between 2114 and 2014. The analogy is that you cannot travel through a tunnel prior to when that tunnel was built. Thus, we don’t see human time travelers because no human time traveling ‘device’ has yet been constructed. The flaw there is that doesn’t prohibit ET from visiting who might have constructed a time traveling ‘device’ millions of years ago. Recall those pesky UFOs though they don’t seem to cluster around significant terrestrial historical events so maybe ET doesn’t care about our history and are just here on vacation from their future.

Thirdly, presumably your time traveling ‘device’ is fixed at some sort of celestial coordinates. Because everything in the cosmos is in motion, when you re-emerge into that cosmos after starting on a time traveling journey, while you may be at those same fixed celestial coordinates the rest of the cosmos would have moved to differing celestial coordinates. So, if you start out in London you won’t end up in London on down, or up, the time traveling track. Finally, the concept of your, or the future or of the past or your past is only relative to what you choose as some fixed point. If you pick your date of birth as that fixed point, then clearly you are now in the future relative to your date of birth. If you pick the concept of an ever ongoing NOW, the present, as a fixed point, you are neither in the future or the past relative to the NOW nor will you ever be. That of course doesn’t mean you can’t recall your past, what existed before your NOW (although the past in general is more abstract) or plan for your future after your NOW (although the future in general is beyond your control).

# Is time travel possible? There’s yet another form of time travel, or at least the illusion of time travel, and that’s via the cinema. Films and TV shows involving time travel are many and often legendary. But that’s not quite the medium I wish to explore here. One can program time travel into a computer simulation. You can have a video game where the characters travel backwards (or forwards) in time, or have a software program that loops around back to the beginning. Now the question is, might we be characters or virtual beings in a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe? If so, the software programs that run our virtual show might allow for time travel, or virtual time travel, yet still time travel that would appear to us to be quite real. Now where does our sense of deja vu really come from?

# Is time travel possible? There is one other form of pseudo ‘time travel’ towards the future that can be debunked. Presumably the only way you can know what the future brings, without benefit of any theoretical ‘device’ that can propel you there at a greater rate of knots than at one second per second, is to stay alive. Once you kick-the-bucket that’s it. Your second per second journey towards the future is over. It’s a pity that that worthless stock you hold just happens to sky-rocket to fantastic values within a week of your demise, or maybe you’d really like to know if ET exists but the discovery happens a few days too late as far as you are concerned. Of course some might claim an afterlife will enable you to keep up to date with future happenings from that heavenly vantage point high up in the sky, but apart from that, there are those who claim to have led past lives or existed in past incarnations. Thus, you can still continue your journey to discover what the future holds by passing on to another body via being conceived again (and again and again). There’s one huge problem however with ‘remembering’ alleged past lives. Your mother’s egg cell cannot remember your past lives. Your father’s sperm cell cannot have any recollection of your past lives. Therefore, the you that comes to pass at conception cannot hold any memory of past lives. So, where did your memory of past lives come from? Might I suggest that it was internally generated out of wishful thinking, that perhaps a belief that you existed in the past will give rise to a belief that you will exist again in the future, and as a pseudo form of afterlife and as a pseudo form of ‘time travel’ that gives you comfort. Anyway, that concept is a really far out methodology of ‘time travel’ but one which can be dismissed despite the many people who seemingly believe that they indeed have ‘time traveler’ towards their endless future via this method.

Cheapest Airline Tickets – How to Find Best Travel Deals

So you are in the market for cheap airline tickets, but not sure where to start and how to find the best travel deals. The reality is that in order to find the cheapest flight fares and schedules you need to know when and where to look and how to search. Yes, it is that easy, and all you need to know is several tricks. First of all, do you need a domestic or an international travel ticket?

Domestic Air Travel

These can be US domestic flight or flights within Europe, or within any country or other continent. If you are looking great flight deals, you need to know WHERE to look for low airfares. If you are looking for flights within the US, you may contact local US airlines or travel agencies or look up flights on the online travel search engine.

Airlines compete among each other and they can give great flight deals (just know WHEN to look). Travel agencies might also find you great deals. Here is the truth… lately several airlines and several large and well known travel agencies started having some issues and several airline banned those huge agencies from selling their airline tickets. Therefore, small and specialized agencies still do have very good contracts with major airlines of the world. So, my advise is to look who has the best flight deal, not at the size of the agency or the popularity. At the end of the day, it matters how much you pay for the ticket and that you have a confirmed seat.

Most smaller travel agencies have online only booking so they can save YOU money by eliminating staff salaries. Most of the time travel agencies use the same fares as airlines offer (unless negotiated better rates), but usually with 0 commission. Since agencies need to survive, they are forced to add a small service fee on the top of the ticket price. If you do not mind that, call your travel agent or best of all go online and check flights yourself. If you are traveling within Europe, you might want to contact a travel agent or search online travel agents’ websites first. In Europe local travel agencies and agencies outside Europe that specialize in international travel will have low fares because they use very low so called consolidator fares. This is nothing else, but negotiated contracts with airlines to sell special very low priced airline tickets.

International Travel

Whether you live in the US or other country, you travel internationally if you leave your country of residence.

What concerns transatlantic, transpacific or other between countries international travel, your best bet is a travel agency. The consolidators will offer you the best fare deals and will find you the best schedules. Depending on personal preferences, some might prefer talking to a travel agent, while others would want to do their own fare search online at their own pace. There is no right or wrong choice here. As long as you find a flight and a fare that works for you, you succeed. HOW to find a travel agency or a good travel website Always work with the travel agent or travel website that specializes in your travel destination or region. For example, if you need to fly from the US to Europe, search for ‘flights to Europe’ or so. Usually online search will give you best results. Check several websites or call several travel agents and compare the deals.

NOTE, you might know lots of huge agencies like Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. They might seem attractive to you because they are big and well known. But they will not always give you the best flight, hotel or cruise deals. They might be good for US domestic travel, but not always for international travel.

HOW and WHEN to search for best fares

Where you need a flight, hotel or a cruise, you need to know how to find the best fares and when to look for those. Let’s say that you found a travel agent or travel website that specialized in your travel destination.

5 tips on How to Find your Best Travel Deal:

  1. Be Flexible. In order to find lowest price, you might need to be flexible on travel dates, arrival/departure times, airlines, and sometimes destinations. In short, there are different price levels for every flight and the only difference is the price and number of seats an airline assigns to that price level. Therefore, all depends on when you buy a ticket, how popular is the destination, travel season (peak or low), and how full the flight gets.
  2. Book domestic travel tickets as early as you can (this applied to some international travel as well). Most domestic airlines have best fares with 21, 14, and 7 day advance purchase. This means that you may find lower fares when booking (= purchasing) a flight this many days before the flight.
  3. ‘Play’ with the search. This means that you need to be creative when searching for flights. Check flights couple days or weeks (if possible) earlier and later, check various airlines, different connections (an airline might have several hubs or fly with 1 or several connections), search based on price and try searching based on schedule (you’ll see different results).
  4. Check travel package deals. If the purpose of your travel is vacation, instead of booking flights, hotel, and car rental separately, check on travel package rates. Sometimes your total package rate is lower that if you book everything separately.
  5. Use miles or points when possible. Apply for airline/ hotel/ car rental, etc. frequent traveler programs. They are FREE, and you can get lots of benefits. For example, I cannot remember the last time I paid for a hotel room when Hilton Hotel is in my destination. Check out hiltonhhonors. Go to the airline, car rental, or hotel websites and sign up. The only disadvantage of using miles and points is that you need to book your travel early as there is limited number of seats for miles or points on the plane and they go fast.

If you cannot decide whether to use an airline or a travel agent, here are some suggestions.

AIRLINE vs. TRAVEL AGENT/AGENCY WEBSITE

Advantages of booking a ticket with an airline:

  • you are talking directly to the carrier, the entity responsible for a flight
  • it may take much less time to deal with the airline directly (if an agent knows his/her job)
  • airline customers representatives are usually open 24/7

Advantages of using travel agents or travel websites:

  • lower negotiated (consolidator) fares
  • more flight options; travel agents/travel websites search all possible airlines, not just one
  • low fares available 24/7 given that an agency has a online booking system

Please send in your comments on how you find your best deals, and I shall be happy to share them with the rest of the world. Good luck!

The California Travel and Tourism Commission is a Great Touristic Resource

It has been said that those who are considering vacation travel to the great, golden state of California really have an underlying desire to “be Californians,” even if it’s only for the brief time that they are vacationing there. As a result, more and more potential California vacationers are looking to the state’s completely redesigned travel and tourism website to help them learn all about becoming a “temporary Californian.”

The state of California has an official department, or commission, that is structured to help promote and encourage people to travel throughout the vast state to take in all of the sights and wonders of the many tourist attraction destinations. It is the California Travel and Tourism Commission, or CTTC, which began promoting the idea of calling vacation travel visitors “Honorary Californians.”

The essential idea of this nomenclature is to encourage tourists to do much more than just visit the various tourist destinations. Instead, the California Travel and Tourism Commission wants vacationers to embrace the full experience of California’s easygoing, laid-back lifestyle and soak up the culture just like a local.

The CTTC has put together an extensive website. The impressive online presence is an attempt to compete aggressively for the attention of those planning to travel and who are looking for vacation ideas, for the ideal family vacation and great tourist destinations. They have provided an online tourism and travel guide that is intended to help potential visitors to the state to fall in love with the destination even before they arrive.

The CTTC website has gone a long way in accomplishing this goal by giving the website visitor a great deal of information about the “must see” tourist attraction options, as well as highlighting the many world renowned landmarks around the state. And, if that were not enough, there is also extensive revelations about “inside scoops” that further give people insights about where to go and what to see to make the vacation travel visitor feel even more connected and like a Californian, honorary or not.

And, true to the very image of style, fun and uniqueness, the state’s website provides all of this information, and much more, in a way that is visually appealing, engaging, and fun. This approach certainly helps to set the stage for the California experience and helps to draw people in and retain their attention. In the highly competitive world of travel tourism, this is very important and the consensus is that the CTTC has done a very good job at providing a compelling tourist guide.

From where to gingerly sip a trendy drink at a casual Los Angeles hideaway, to catching the rays on a sun-baked San Diego beach, to soaking up the high life at a posh Napa Valley spa, the California Travel and Tourism Commission’s website, at “Visit California”, has captured and cataloged the local California hot-spots and revealed hidden state treasures. For travelers who like to pre-plan their itinerary, the site even offers an extensive menu of trip ideas, complete with Google maps.

How to Book Your Next Bus Trip

There are so many reasons why you need to make use of a bus service the next time you travel on vacation to Florida. I will list all of them down below so that you can evaluate and make your decision a lot easier. When it comes to traveling to any destination in a large group, loads of fun is generally had by all. The reason being is that you will get to socialize and meet a lot of people. And, you will be able to experience everything that Florida has to offer without you having to worry about driving to a destination yourself. Trust me, Florida is a way too beautiful for you to be doing the driving and not getting to really experience or take in the scenery that it has to offer.

Another great reason for bus travel is the cost effectiveness of it all. You can really spoil the group by going to Florida on a guided bus trip. In this way you will get to see and experience the very best of Florida. Another reason would be to have a personalized service that will enable you to get the best service when it comes to you going to a tourist hot spot or restaurant. You might even get better pricing by making use of a service such as this. Plus you’ll have loads of fun and meet all the other people on board the bus too.

You will also need to remember when booking a bus trip of this kind that you actually meet everybody’s needs. It would be in your best interest to make sure that there is a planned itinerary with this bus trip so that everybody will get to do what they want. Everyone in the group can get to experience what they want and more. I highly recommend you make use of a bus trip service so you can sit back, relax and enjoy your next bus trip to Florida.

Kennedy Space Center in Florida

Orlando, Florida is home to many interesting places to visit no wonder the place is one of the well loved vacation spots around the world. One of the best places to come to during your stay in Orlando is the Kennedy Space Center.

Kennedy Space Center entertains it visitors by making them understand how the place first began and how historical it is. It also shows people mankind’s endeavours to knowing more about not just our planet but including the things in space. The space center is accessible to go to because it is just an hour away from Disney World. The space center has kept some of its parts closed to the public which is why the Visitor’s Complex is where they opened their doors to the public to let the world see what is going on in such an interesting facility. Visitors can also catch a glimpse of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The KSC also has attractions inside which are wildlife sanctuary, Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Canaveral National Seashore. The KSC is also included in the list of National Register of Historic Places and is one of the 10 major NASA field centers.

The KSC Visitor Complex was once called as the Spaceport USA and it is under Delware North Companies which lets visitors see displays and attractions in it. When you come to the space center, you get the chance to know how it feels like to be in space and this is done through the Shuttle Launch Experience. It is a simulation ride that “takes” you out into space. There are also IMAX theatres that will show you great clips. The KSC has two of the IMAX theatres and bus tours.

Once you get in, you are then brought to the tour-bus transportation off to the Apollo-Saturn V Center. It is a large museum that has the Saturn V launch vehicle as its center piece. You also see other space articles exhibits and one of which is the Apollo capsule. The IMAX theatres give the visitors a treat by showing them the Apollo program days. One of the theatres simulate what it’s like to be in the space craft’s firing room during launch while the other theatre simulates the Apollo 11 moon landing. If that’s not enough, guests get the chance to visit the Space Station Processing Facility where they get to see modules tested for the International Space Station.

Don't Risk It, Get the Protection and Security You Need With Travel Insurance

Let’s face it, getting travel insurance can be a very overwhelming and tedious process, making it easy to put off and even forget entirely. But before you head off on your international adventure, you might want to consider getting coverage through some travel insurance, just to be on the safe side.

With some luck, you’ll be glad it’s something you have and won’t need to use. But we all know that in life things happen, so it’s a good idea to find a travel insurance policy that fits your individual needs, travel agenda, and budget. Many travel agents and private companies offer travel insurance, and they have a wide variety of types and options to choice from.

What does Travel Insurance cover?

Basic coverage of travel insurance includes some financial losses while traveling, as well as limited medical expenses, including medical evacuation. The most common type of travel insurance is trip cancellation or trip delay insurance. This type of policy covers you and your travel companions in case you need to cancel, interrupt or delay your trip. However, the acceptable reasons for canceling or interrupting your trip will depend on the insurance policy, but most likely you’ll be covered for the following reasons:

o Sudden business conflicts
o Change of mind
o Delay in processing your visa or passport
o Illness or injury
o Weather related issues

In case your flight is canceled or delayed, travel insurance companies may provide additional coverage such as expenses that the airlines won’t cover, like taxi fares to the hotel or meals during your wait at the airport.

It’s also a good idea to have a plan with medical coverage of up to $1,000,000 in the case you become ill, need medical assistance, or have a flight accident occur. It’s also good to review the amount deductible by your insurance plan (this is the amount you’ll need to come up with before the insurance company picks of the rest). Make sure it covers repatriation (evacuation to your home country, rather than the nearest regional medical facility); make sure that does not mean you will be sent to the country where you purchased your travel insurance plan either, but your home country. If you’re planning a visit to multiple countries, make sure all the countries are included in the region covered by your insurance policy.

To learn more about these types of coverage and more specialized coverage, read The Basics of Travel Insurance.

To invest or not? How to make travel insurance work for me.

Purchasing travel insurance is great for insuring your money, should any unforeseen events pop-up, especially if you invest large sums of money on extravagant travel packages. To determine whether you want to invest in travel insurance your not, ask yourself these questions:

o Did you invest a lot of money into your travel plans?
o Are you traveling overseas?
o Which regions or countries are you visiting and for how long?
o Are you planning on participating in any extreme sports?
o Can you afford the cost of your trip back home if any emergency arises?
o Will you be able to afford medical care if you or someone you are with gets sick and needs immediate medical attention?
o How old are you and how is your overall health?
o Do you have any pre-existing conditions that need regular, special attention?

You can purchase your travel insurance for a single trip, multi-trip, or with an annual policy, all depending on how frequently you travel and the length of your trip. Comprehensive travel insurance can cost anywhere from 4% to 8% of the cost of your trip, depending on type of coverage, the length of the trip, the destination, and the age of the travelers. It is best to purchase your travel insurance between 7 to 21 days of purchasing your travel itinerary. Usually the maximum coverage period for insurance providers is for one year abroad.

Go through the fine print on your policy and check whether you will have to pay on the spot and redeem the money later for any medical expenses, or will the insurance company pay providers directly. If you have to claim it later on, you will want to hang on to all documents.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, get an insurance policy that will specifically cover it. Also examine which adventure sports and activities the plan does and does not cover (rarely does it include scuba diving and hang gliding). Lastly, for your benefit, a policy that is flexible and can be extended while you’re already away is recommended. You never know whom you’ll meet, and you just might want to extend your trip.

Another good tip would be to get in touch with your credit card issuer before investing in travel insurance. At http://www.creditcards.com/, a credit card information site, suggests calling your credit card issuer to see if you have any free travel benefits that you may not be aware of, for example, insurance on lost or damaged luggage. However, according to USTIA, canceling a trip at the last minute and being reimbursed by your credit card company is the most common misconceptions among travelers. And sometimes credit card companies have limitations on only cover up to 3 months of travel. It’s worth investigating.

Lastly, if you have existing health coverage, it would be wise to get in touch with them before hand, especially if you will need vaccinations and other medicine for your trip. Depending on your health insurance plan, ask for a ‘travel packet’ and they will send you important information regarding your coverage, if any, while abroad. It might turn out you might already be covered for somethings, but not for others.

Where can I purchase Travel Insurance?

There are many sites and companies offering travel insurance online. Among them are leading companies such as World Nomads, Travel Guard, and InsureMyTrip, just to name a few. A new online resource called Squaremouth, helps travelers easily and instantly compare all the major travel insurance plans at one site. You’ll be able to get immediate quotes from several major, reputable travel insurance providers and compare policies and their prices. It’s a good starting point and one that you can trust.

Helpful Tips for once you’ve purchased your Travel Insurance:

o Scan your insurance policy electronically and save it somewhere securely online
o Make one copy for yourself to bring on your trip
o Make another copy for a trusted family member to keep at home
o Have the emergency hotline number accessible during your trip, but make sure you try it out before leaving home to ensure its operating and correct
o List out any medications you are taking (including vaccinations for your trip), and a list of allergies you have; keep this with your insurance emergency number
o Keep all receipts at home
o Review all the fine print in your insurance policy and determine which adventures you will be taking and which risks might not be worth it

Finally, get ready for a trip of a lifetime! Hopefully you’ll avoid ever using your insurance plan, but it will give you and your loved ones more security knowing you’re protected.

Train Travel

Train travel is an ideal means of transport in the UK and the rest of Europe. Rail travel is fast, practical and convenient in both urban and more rural areas. Railway stations often allow for car hire services if you need access to a car or perhaps need to venture to an area not accessible by train.

Rail travel is often convenient even if you have flown partway to your destination. Train travel works well for personal or corporate travel, and can be an economical way to transport staff to a conference, event venue, or meetings. It can also be a luxurious and comfortable way to transport clients quickly and efficiently. Train travel is a viable option for conferences, annual meetings and other events throughout Europe. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can easily opt for rail travel to or from the UK and mainland Europe.

Booking rail travel is easy thanks to online interfaces that offer planning, scheduling and trip organization services. Both personal and corporate travel arrangements can be made easily and practically online. Whether you need to simply book a rail ticket or opt for a full package, both can be done with little effort. Corporate travel to events including annual meetings, conferences, and other events can be planned quickly and easily. Many online trip organizers even allow you to book airline tickets, car hires, rail travel and accommodations in one step. A well planned trip can be especially important for group travel, or for corporate travel arrangements. Discount on rail fares are even available for groups of more than ten.

Euro star services offer fast check in and a short trip between London and Paris or Brussels. Euro star allows you to travel in high speed comfort, with champagne, drinks, and food available at your seat in Leisure Select and Business Premier Classes. Business Premier may be an ideal choice for corporate hospitality or business travel to general meetings, conferences and PR events. Business Premier offers even faster check in services as well as additional business amenities. Standard class offers affordable and practical travel between London and France. Euro tunnel can also offer those traveling by car a helpful and cost effective rail option as you simply drive your car onto the shuttle and make a short 35 minute trip via shuttle to Calais, France.

Train travel is ideal in many ways as a corporate travel option, or even for corporate hospitality events. Comfortable rail travel is convenient and practical, and some train travel routes even offer wireless internet access and charging capabilities for laptop computers. If you are transporting important clients for PR events, product launches or exhibitions, rail travel can be an excellent choice. Train travel is an ideal choice for corporate hospitality, allowing your clientele to use their travel time for business needs or work.

While train travel works well for shorter trips, it is also ideal for longer trips. Sleeper cars are available on some train routes, allowing for a comfortable night’s sleep. While train fares can be quite economical, first class seating in the UK and Europe will allow travelers an enjoyable and relaxing ride to their destination. Long distance train services are most apt to offer first class services. These may include more comfortable seating, tables, upgraded decor, meal services and more. Business travelers will also appreciate access to first class lounges in many train stations with Wi-fi, power outlets for charging mobile phones, laptops and other electronics, comfortable spaces for meetings, and more.

Rail travel can be more convenient than air travel today, particularly in terms of check in times, and some travelers may simply prefer train travel. Passengers are allowed three pieces of luggage on trains in the UK, two larger items and a smaller piece of hand luggage. Excess luggage may be carried for an extra cost, as can some larger items. Check in via many rail travel companies is quite quick, with Euro star and others estimating a less than 30 minute check in time. Business travelers in particular may find this speed and efficiency helpful.

If you are planning a corporate event, a product launch, PR events, an annual general meeting or perhaps a corporate conference, offering train travel as an option can be ideal. Train travel is both affordable and comfortable, and can offer the kind of luxury business travelers often prefer. Ample conveniences and accommodations for business travelers will appeal to your clientele. Online booking technology can allow you to schedule your event, book accommodations, rail travel, car hires, and air travel in one easy step. Consider consulting a corporate hospitality specialist to assist you in this sort of planning and make your event a true success. Your clients, employees and others will find train travel an ideal way to begin and end any event.

Bus Travel Service – On the Rise After Decades of Decline

Brief History

After World War 2 the middle classes deserted bus travel in favor of travel by private automobile, and later by airliner. Just 10 years ago, affluent travelers saw buses as the last resort, a sign of desperation.

Rising Bus Travel 

Today most Americans travel by bus or plane when undertaking long distance travels. High gas prices have boosted bus travel after decades of decline. There are more, and more of briefcase carrying travelers venturing back to the bus, as other forms of travel are slumping. What does that tell us, traveling by bus is on the rise again

Travel Planning

The Bus systems often run on a schedule of some sort, which allow you to plan your travel agenda and book your tickets in advance. Popular routes have buses leaving every couple of hours, generally all day long plus at least two or three buses traveling overnight. Buses in route on long travel tend to make stops primarily in major cities and are very pleasant to travel in. If you’re traveling on weekends or during busy holiday times on popular routes, it is sensible to reserve tickets in advance.

Contribution Factors

The development of traveling by bus corresponds to increasing package tours that evolve every year. In 1983 the number of holiday travelers that participated in package tours was roughly 8.4 million, and has increased each year since then.

A bus requires less energy to operate per passenger mile than air travel, which allows very reasonable fares. No matter what bus route you end up on provides a mode of travel that allows you to view the countryside at leisure, not to mention many small towns between destinations you would otherwise not know existed.

Cities are now involved around the world to improve the benefits of bus travel while they address the issues that have traditionally set back buses effectiveness. For example adding dedicated bus lanes on highways among other plans cities are involved in. This has been great for bus travel systems both locally, and long travel, as they have been able to modify to better promote & serve customers. It allows travel agency’s to offer fewer stops, and take additional efficiency measures to add time saving technologies that make bus travel reliable, fast, and effective.

Other factors mostly influencing tourists’ preferences for bus travel are the good opportunity’s it provides for social interaction and its entertainment value. While traveling by bus you will be surrounded by all different types of people.

There is also a new awareness of our carbon footprint, which has just about affected every industry, in fact if it has not affected a specific industry yet, it will very soon. To that end fuel costs, combined with interest in traveling “Green” have played a big role in the increased interest in bus travel. It is clear the bus is a much greener form of transportation, and as riders return to buses, the old stigma of bus travel is evaporating.

Bus Budget Travel

For a nation that really enjoys there private automobile, they are seeing bus ticket prices that are to attractive to pass up. If you’re traveling independently on a budget, the bus will certainly be a lower cost choice. Don’t worry cheap tickets can still mean high quality bus travel.

A growing number of budget travelers are taking a close look, and noticing buses are an viable alternatives to flying. There are several bus passes available that give you unlimited travel within a given area. Seems they are so cheap, busing around specific regions should be a serious consideration for the budget traveler.

Bus Travel Training

Did you know there are even self-paced bus travel training programs for people who are interested to learn to travel independently using the regular bus system.

As you can see there is a lot of value in traveling by bus both financially, and for the quality of a trip.

Of Taxi Games and Fishy Games

You have seen the taxi cabs that are plying their routes haven’t you? To be sure, you have ridden a taxi at least at some point in your life. While some taxi drivers make the journey somewhat more interesting than they should be, oftentimes, taxis are rather boring. The only time that they really get interesting is if when your cab driver happens to be just a little crazy, you see some sort of awe-inspiring sight or when you are in another country and the taxis act very differently from what you are used to. So are these the only times really that taxis become interesting? You might think that is the case but you might be surprised and even intrigued to know that there are some ways that taxis become very interesting and that is when they become taxi plots!

A Crazy taxi game? What in the world is that you may ask as you slowly scratch your head as if you are perturbed. Yes, it does sound somewhat loopy to someone who has no clue but really, it is just that, a crazy taxi game. But what are taxi plots? You might ask again since you are still somewhat confused as to the concept of what taxi stakes are.

You can be given a little information about it but in order to fully appreciate what taxi stakes are, you might want to experience them in your own. In order to do that you will have to go online and try them out for yourself. They are a lot of fun as opposed to the real taxis that you see on the road and that is a promise; another plus is that you do not have to pay to play.

While you are online anyway, why don’t you try to play a fishy game instead of a crazy taxi back? If you like the taxi games, you are guaranteed to like the fishy game even more since it requires a lot of concentration on your part.

What are you still waiting for? Go on and start playing a crazy taxi game and fun a fishy game today.

Travel Agents Event Management

It does not matter the size of the conference or where it is, travel agents can be a major help in their planning. Travel agents can be especially helpful if it is an international conference. Travel agents can have knowledge of the area as well as such things as transportation, accommodations, and hospitality issues. One of the main hassles when planning a conference is taking care of the needs of the people attending.

It doesn’t matter if it is a press release, convention, training seminar, or product launch, travel agents can take care of many of the needs of the attendees so that the people attending or the people running the conferences do not have to worry about those details. The larger the conference the more travel agents can be of service.

One of the main ways that travel agents can help with conferences is with transportation and travel needs. Many times if the conference is international the people attending the conference will need a way to get there. Travel agents can help with flight, train or bus information as well as procuring tickets. The larger the group traveling to a conference the more travel agents can be used and many times they can also get better deals. Travel agents are in direct contact with airlines, train lines, and bus services so they can find out if there is space available as well as the best price for the ticket. They can also contact charter services, as it may be cheaper to travel this way for larger groups. Another advantage of using travel agents is that they can be available to coordinate travel times so that it can be easier, once the people arrive, that they do so around the same time making it easier to either get to accommodations or to the conference itself.

Another beneficial aspect when using travel agents when dealing with conferences are accommodation issues. Much like travel issues the travel agent can have direct contact with hotels and inns as they can find accommodations for people that are traveling to the conference. Also much like travel they may be able to find better rates than if the people traveling to the conference booked accommodations themselves. One thing that travel agents have as well are information about package deals, which can save people, or a company, a lot of money as travel, accommodation, and transportation services can all be packaged in one deal.

When people travel out of town to go to a conference they will also have transportation needs so they can get to and from the conference itself. They can also help with such things as arranging for car rentals and taxi services to and from the conference. Travel agents can also find accommodations that are closest to the conference site. If a travel agent is working with one group of people there is also a better chance that they will be staying in one location, or, at least, close to each other. This is a crucial aspect of a conference if many people from one organization or company are in attendance.

While travel agents can be used for many types of conferences one of the most important ways in which they can be used is for companies that need to have many employees in attendance. For example, if the company is having a training seminar for hundreds of employees their main goal is to make sure that the seminar runs smoothly. The company needs to find a conference site and deal with the information that will be presented at a seminar. If the company uses travel agents there is a huge amount of time and resources that can be saved that can be used in areas of more importance. Any time that the company needs to take care of the travel needs of the people in attendance travel agents should be used.

Travel agents can also be of service when dealing with hospitality issues as well. If the conference runs more than one day they can find out information such as where to eat and what there is to do in the area that people are traveling to. If the people that attend the conference do everything for themselves they will not be as informed, as if a travel agents took care of them. Travel agents can find restaurants, make reservations, book lunches, and rent out halls, just to name a few things they can do.

The hassles that can arise when traveling to conventions can be great for the people traveling to them and the people running them. By using travel agents many of those hassles are taken care of. When dealing with conferences, especially international ones and ones where many people will be in attendance, the things that travel agents can take care can be invaluable to both the company and/or the traveler.

Travel Guide

Who likes taking vacations? Of course, that would include approximately 99 percent of the population. The 1 percent would more than likely be workaholics that just do not like taking work along with them on vacation. And, no matter who you are, you probably like getting that travel deal.

Travel deals can come from the actual airplane flight, a hotel discount, car rental savings, cruise packages, and you can obtain travel deals from travel guides.

What are the most popular travel deals? The most popular travel deals include

1) last minute labor day deals or otherwise last minute getaway for the holiday weekend savings. You can save up to 70 percent on these last minute getaways for the holiday weekends. Usually, these featured deals include both air fare and hotel packaged-savings. A lot of times the travel package deals come with flexible departure dates from Thursday to Saturday. Of course, the travel packaged-deals expire within a limited time offer period, usually a weekend only packaged-deal.

2) Compare and save on air fare. Now you can see if you are getting a good travel deal. A lot of sites offer this option of compare and save on air fare and other flight services. Example, you can compare and save for Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year air fare flight rates. Often, you can get last minute travel deals with last minute packages from $199, United States dollars.

Other popular travel deals. Looking for a travel deal to London, Paris, Venice, Barcelona to New York, Arizona, or other popular hot vacation spots? Frequently, Norwegian Cruise Line, Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, and Continental Airlines offer hot deals on travel packages. You will find offers for travel credits, one way, round trip, pre-purchase, and other fantastic travel deals. Some popular travel deal destinations can include Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Orlando, San Francisco. Some popular international travel deals include travel locations such as Aruba, Bahamas, Cabo San Lucas, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Paris, and Puerto Vallarta.

Popular travel deal sites. You can search and find travel deals with carrentals, Orbiz, Delta Air Lines, Travelocity, Expedia, travel yahoo, travel channel, travel nytimes, cnn, and County Visitors Bureaus. For US citizen traveling abroad, try travel.state.gov. For car rentals, you can search and find deals from $10 and up for a weekend car rental deal. For hotels on sale nationwide, you can search and find deals from 30% off. For last minute fares, you can search and find weekend air fare deals. For county visiting bureaus, you can search and find hotel discounts and gift card options. Travel guides, travel magazines, travel zoo, train travel, last minute travel, cruises, and airlines offer many appealing travel deals.

Take advantage of all the travel deal options. To do this, you may want to explore package deals, not just a particular travel deal for flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacations. There are many available travel deals for many popular travel destinations in the United States and Internationally. Search all travel destinations if you are not set on one particular vacation hot spot. You will find different travel deals for various hot spots, vacation location destinations, throughout the travel holidays and seasonal travel deals as well.

Destination Dorset, UK – Travel Info

With the current financial climate forcing all of us to cut back on spend for the non-essentials this year, many Brits are considering a holiday here in the UK instead of travelling abroad. As a result, prospective holidaymakers are becoming fully aware that if they choose to stay in England it is unlikely that they will be the only souls with that idea – so choosing a destination that is less known, sooner, and booking early is a great idea. Dorset is the perfect destination, especially for those seeking camping or cottage holidays. It is a less obvious choice than Devon and Cornwall, but is equally as unique and enchanting a place.

Lyme Regis is perhaps one of the best known tourist destinations in the county. The town lies on the Jurassic Coast (a World Heritage Site) to the east of the county and equidistant between Exeter and Dorchester (25 miles from each). The town’s rich history is related closely to the progression and growth of shipping and exploration in the 13th Century, and was once home to George Somers (who founded Bermuda). Today, one of the major pastimes in the town is fossil hunting. The Blue Lias rock of the cliffs is host to many intact fossils that are revealed by coastal erosion, and easy to find by visitors.

The county’s unique geography is also exemplified by Chesil Beach. This barrier beach connects the Isle of Portland to the mainland, and stretches 18 miles north-west up to the village of Burton Bradstock. The intriguing beach bar structure offers a natural barrier to Weymouth and Chiswell against the harsh channel and sea. Behind the beach in-between the Isle and the mainland lies Portland harbor, the second biggest manmade harbor in the world after Sydney. The harbor is a popular destination for sailors, wind surfers, and divers.

Bournemouth is the largest town in Dorset and is situated on the coast at the east of the county. The town is considered the regional centre for leisure and recreation, and consequently offers many things for tourists to do. The Russell Coates Museum contains collections of 19th Century paintings from countries as diverse as Japan and Russia. Bournemouth is also home to the well-renowned Royal Bath Hotel which has been the temporary residence to such celebrities as Oscar Wilde, H. G. Wells and Shirley Bassey.

There are numerous other sights to see in the county to satisfy all tastes and interests: from castles to tank museums. Monkey World is certainly worth a visit. The primate sanctuary is continually growing and progressing its environmental efforts, with a range including Gibbons, Marmosets, and Lemurs. However the icon that is no doubt most known around the world is that of the Cerne Abbas giant – an 180 ft tall chalk drawing to the north of Dorchester.

What to Do When Planning a Charter Trip and Charter Bus Rental of a Motorcoach and/or School Bus

There are many things to consider when planning to rent a charter bus with a professional driver-whether it is a full-size motorcoach, a smaller coach bus, or a school bus. By the way, school bus charters are mostly rented out by the bus operators for strictly local charter trips. In any rate, I would like to outline a few important and essential things to consider and resolve before, during, and after renting a coach or a school bus from any bus rental company. These points to note come from the extensive experience working as a bus company operator and having made, as well as witness many clients make, many mistakes and blunders resulting in charter delays, bus/bus-driver scheduling errors, and other such inconveniences like having no-shows on the day of the charter trip. I realize along with our clients that any charter trip begins and ends with a functional and clean coach/school bus being driven by an enthused and punctual coach bus or school bus driver. There are, however, ways to ensure that all of the logistical fronts are covered for the clients to be satisfied with their chosen charter bus rental company and the bus operating company in turn to be happy with their clients. It all boils down to effective and efficient communication.

Firstly, the relationship between the client and the bus operator begins with the client requesting a charter trip quotation or a charter trip appraisal. There are many things that are taken into consideration before a bus rental company issues a quotation. For example, the season, month, day of the month, bus fleet availability, and the rates given by the 3 largest charter bus rental companies in the industry for a given date-just to name a few. At this stage, the client is strictly focused (like tunnel vision) on getting the best price for the best possible charter bus services. And they rightly should be; however, not at the cost of neglecting their focus on very simple but profound details. Such crucial, albeit simple, details include making sure to submit the exact and correct dates for the charter trip; provide the correct time of departure and arrival; and outline the itinerary details, like extra charter-trip destination stops. Once, these details are provided to the charter bus rental company, the bus operator issues a charter trip quotation with a trip-rate. The client is now at the stage of either accepting the charter bus rental company as their vendor or not. Once the charter bus company is chosen and the client confirms the booking of their respective charter bus (be it coach bus or school bus) a formal trip confirmation is issued by the charter bus rental company to the client.

At this stage, it is crucial to double-check all of the aforementioned “simple” charter trip details. Many times, clients get quoted for a different date than what the trip confirmation states. That is there is a discrepancy between the trip quotation and the trip confirmation. Any bus rental company ultimately goes by their trip confirmations when scheduling and finalizing their bus rentals and schedule. These trip confirmations are also signed by the client upon the finalization of their charter trip booking. In my personal experience, some clients end up not getting their charter bus arriving on the right date. This seems to be a ridiculous mishap and it is. But it all stems from neglecting to focus on the contracted details stated on the trip confirmation.

I plan to continue the series of articles focusing on such logistical details in order to help clients and operators to foresee and overcome such blunders and to ultimately provide a reliable and professional charter bus rental service to our community. Please stay tuned for future publications on how to rent a charter bus and, equally important, how to make sure that all the charter trip logistics are put in place.

Get the Most Out of Your Travel Agent

Booking air travel, making hotel reservations and arranging vacation travel in general has changed completely with the advent of the internet and many people try to be their own travel agents. While you can arrange seemingly most of your travel yourself, you can’t do as well as your travel agent in a long run!

Travel processionals, whether your local travel agent, tour operator or destination specialist still possess contacts that you as an industry outsider do not have. As in number of other professions, travel agents, whether in a shopping center near your home or an online agency, wherever they may be located, do know something you do not, have way to book and arrange travel for you in ways unavailable or unknown to you.

Traditionally you could contact a travel agent and ask for a quote, whether a price of an air ticket, hotel or a vacation package. For the most part travel agents still provide that kind of information, although there is a limit how much information they may disclose as not all information is readily available to them.

First of all, most travel agents indeed may have at their fingertips routine cost of air ticketing, hotel rates or certain vacation packages available and will be happy to provide the price information to you instantly when asked. But once your travel request will need to be somewhat customized, whether tailored to your dates of travel or your other travel preferences, to find a relevant answer will be time consuming. Because of this time element involved, do not automatically assume an agency is keen to spend the time to furnish the information you seek when there is no commitment you will travel at all.

Look at the situations from the following perspective. In the old days if you had a problem with your car, you’d drive it to your neighborhood car mechanic and asked him to see what was wrong with it. You would drop the car off at the garage, the mechanic would have a look and tell you what the problem was. He would also give you an estimate and it was up to you to decide if you wanted him to fix it right then and there, wait or seek another opinion and another quote. His services cost you nothing.

But not anymore. These days, no garage, no car repair mechanic is willing to spend time trying to find out what’s the problem with your vehicle without charging you at least one hour labor upfront. Pay and he will look and tell you. Up to you if you will decide to take your car to another shop or have him fix it, he has covered his time spent diagnosing what’s wrong with your car.

Similarly, many travel agencies and professional travel planners and tour operators will charge you an upfront travel planning fee if you are requesting travel arrangements that first of all are time consuming, or there is no guarantee you will book anything. All you are after are essentially private tailor-made travel arrangement s and there are no simple answers or options to give you, and the only way to find out will be for the agent to dig and consult all sorts of different sources he has at this disposal and then present the travel alternatives to you for you to decide upon.

When working with a travel agent, travel planner or any other travel professional such as a knowledgeable destination specialist, keep in mind that a certain protocol will assure you will get not only the kind of travel arrangements you want in general but also you’ll gain a true partner that will always work in your best interest whether you’ll travel away from home on business or for pleasure.

1. First of all, when contacting a travel agent, whether in person or online, don’t hesitate to give them your name – don’t worry, most agents won’t spam you back. Without your name when you’re asking for a valuable travel advice most agents won’t take your request too seriously. Call if you wish but most agents prefer not to take notes, email is a way to go and for an agent to look up a fare often a time means he has to plug in a name, so might as well that name will be your real name. If you decide not to accept the booking the reservation will expire and no harm done. If you decide later to purchase the reservation the agent does not have to rekey it into the system all over again.

2. If you’re trying to be you own travel agent, even in part, say you plan to book your own hotels online, disclose it to the agent your are contacting for assistance, he/she may still be interested to help you with the rest of your travel arrangements. Don’t hide your intentions from the agent as agents don’t like to be used for information gathering purposes only.

3. If at all possible, always contact your travel agent or destination specialist as soon as you know when and where you wish to travel, not last minute before your intended departure. That is even more important when you’re planning a trip to a lesser frequented destination.

4. Don’t book your flights and hotels online and ask a travel agent to do the rest, namely the difficult parts, such as complex transportation connections, travel arrangements in remote locations or to book segments that you just feel are not safe for you to book online yourself. Give your agent to design and book your entire trip for you. The worst you can do is design your own vacation package, then copy and email the same request to dozen different agents to see who may be the lowest bidder. Yes, the internet is perfect for that kind of information gathering but look at this from a perspective of a travel agent. If he/she knows you are sending the same request to dozen agents many of them will not be too interested in dealing with you. Then again, telling them the truth they will appreciate knowing what you are doing and approach the whole thing quite differently and in the end they just might offer you a deal.

5. If you’re after booking shoe-string cost of travel, for example wishing to book the lowest type of accommodations, best be your own travel agent. Do realize that agents can’t book services that are simply too cheap to begin with, not to mention that that kind of suppliers do not pay agent s any kind of commission. The agent may still help you but keep in mind he will be doing you a favor and will be working for you at no charge. If so, appreciate it, email your thank you.

Do realize that to ask an agent million questions, get all the answers, including time consuming quotes, only for you to never replay again is definitely rude and turns agents off completely. If you are polite and respectful many will often work without any commitment on your part, providing you with information you need, working for free. But because of those that just siphon info out of agents so they could possibly book travel on their own leaves not only a sour taste in agent’s mouth but certainly induces the decision to charge au upfront planning fees when a next inquiry comes.

6. On another hand, when it comes to upper end accommodations keep in mind these hotels routinely offer discounts to agents that agents can markup and still offer you room costs below hotel rack rates. Genuine agent is not interested in selling you a higher end hotel in order to make a higher commission but to tailor in a better trip experience for you where he deems it desirable.

7. Keep in mind that there is a difference between a travel agent and a so called Destination Specialist. Most travel agents use online reservation systems to book transportation, hotel and vacation packages. They essentially book or resell ready-to-sell travel offers from a variety of suppliers that do not require more than filling in your name and dates of travel. When it comes to you needing customized arrangements, they will need to contact tour operators and destination specialists that are either part of their consortium or a network they belong to. Depending on the connections they have they will or will not be able to help you.

8. Destination Specialists pride themselves in really knowing their destinations. Many of them have indeed not only traveled extensively but know a particular destination inside-out so they can arrange travel logistics for you based on knowing, rather than looking it up in a brochure or some kind of data base. Many Destination Specialists specialize in difficult, custom designed itineraries and do not sell travel packages. Often a time though not always that kind of service reflects higher markup.

9. Last, please note that many destination specialists as well as travel agents work 110 or more hours per week because especially custom-design travel is indeed very time consuming. Being good at travel logistics does take experience and while with the internet it seems second nature to be able to arrange travel on your own, many travel professional are indeed very good at what they do! They do know more about travel than you, give them a chance, they can save you not only money but also many headaches and above all, they can assure not only that you’ll travel worry-free but that you may have a trip of your life! Keep in mind, a good agent is not after selling you a single ticket or a package tour, they want you to become a repeat client, their go-to-travel processional for rest of your life.

Taxi 'Recap' – The Short Version; Part 1

For the record, here is a précis of the brief I received:

…what it really entails and why taxi operators are up in arms about it, probably for the March 2007 issue, although it’s quite topical now. By then, some progress will hopefully have been made. “It should discuss why and when the program was introduced, implementation date, cost to government and taxi operators, operators’ response during this time (last week of Nov ’06) and the chaos and violence caused on the roads, etc; where progress with the program will stand by January/February and the road forward. Negative comments by experts infer that the program treats the symptoms and not the causes: lack of driver training, non-roadworthy vehicles, overloading, ineffective policing, etc.”

N B: All the quotations in boxes come from an address by the Minster of Transport to Top Six Management Ltd, August ’05.

Forgive me my levity, but herein lies an entire research project and a history that dates back to the early ’50s. I don’t have all the answers to hand and won’t be taking six months to assimilate them. Taxi violence, though, has been with us for two decades plus and the taxi industry has also taken considerable blame for the train violence experienced during the ’80s.

“Deregulation of the transport sector in the late 1980s brought its own problems. This has seen destructive competition among taxi operators, as well as self-regulation by the taxi industry.”

My collection of 66 news clippings from 2005 (and a filed copy of the Minister’s speech) exists because I proposed a research survey on what taxi drivers and operators actually understood and thought about the process. At the time, research funding for Transport/Traffic/Road Safety was completely discontinued. Taxi operators are still striking a year later, which, I believe, says something about government’s understanding and perception of feelings on the street.

“Taxi associations and their members have become…protective of their turf…impeding access to lucrative routes and ranking facilities to…operators from rival associations…this has resulted in conflict within the taxi industry.”

At its inception, during the mid-’90s, ‘taxi recap’ was considered a ‘done deal’. It still is. The only real problem with that appears to be the refusal of the industry to do, without question, exactly as it’s told to do. ‘Done deal’ or not, doing takes a lot longer than planned!

Space allows only a rough explanation of some of the factors leading to the present, but there can be very few South Africans who have managed to play ‘ostrich’ efficiently enough to have ‘taxi recap’ pass overhead, unnoticed. By virtue of their profession, the traffic fraternity should already have, at least, a vague understanding of the processes involved.

Potted history

By the late ’50s, the black taxi industry was already a reality in Alexandria and Soweto. The vehicles generally used to transport paying passengers were large sedans of the Cadillac/Valiant variety. The industry may initially have begun when one Mr Big Shot, extremely-proud-second-hand-vehicle-owner, realised that running a car costs far more than polishing it and watching it stand idle.

In a world where few families owned a second car, and most people relied on public transport to get to and from work (bus and train services were not much better then, than now), most jobs required daily trips to a common destination. Suburbs and townships were residential facilities only. Industry and business knew its place – in the heart of city centres – and presented the practical possibility of car ‘pooling’ to share commuter costs.

The original minibus taxis were second- or third-hand VW ‘Combis’ that had risen to fame in the flower power era, when students could live, love and lubricate from interior foam mattresses. They were then discovered by those mums whose sole, practical, out-of-home function was to negotiate the daily school taxi rounds. Once they moved on, by the late ’70s/early ’80s, a pay-per-person ‘khaya’ taxi industry became a reality.

“There is no doubt that the aging and unreliable taxi fleet poses serious problems and challenges, not only to the commuters, but to the operators as well.”

Entrenched industry

Initially, trips were over short distances, but later, long-distance passengers began converting from train for their bi-annual trips back to rural villages and different provinces. Taxis would be stacked high with cases, bags, mattresses, furniture and animals (for slaughter); luggage that would have been rejected by rail authorities – and voila! South Africa had found its very own, unique, distinctive, mode of transport.

“The taxi industry was able to take advantage of the gaps in the formal public transport system, and positioned itself as the public transport mode of choice.”

While it is true that Apartheid showed far too much concern about what was actually carried in minibus taxis (regular, road-block army searches uncovered an endless supply of weapons during the ‘struggle’ years) it virtually ignored the industry’s core function: transporting people.

“The apartheid government did not view the taxi industry as part of the formal public transport system, and denied it access to the subsidy and other forms of support.”

Train and bus services were invidiously replaced by taxi services, especially as industrial and business areas mushroomed across the landscape, suburbs and rural areas. It became too much trouble for the authorities to run several different public transport routes, and the more easily maneuvered taxis serviced a desperate market. Long-distance rail services became obsolete, although a vicious war between short-distance rail, bus and taxi commuter services was declared.

Violence on trains and buses forced passengers to patronize the taxi industry and wherever sufficient custom could not be found to fill the cabs, it seemed that shots were sure to follow…drivers and associations apparently poached each others’ territory and were merciless to the paying public. Probably as many people fell off trains, as fell into SAP/army hands.

“Transport deregulation was the root cause of the so-called taxi wars that ripped through the industry and our society during the 1990s.”

Come 1994, with stability and optimism top-of-mind, our new political minders showed a worthy determination to regulate all those areas of concern that had been previously neglected. And what better group could there be to effect change?

The ANC had overthrown an entire nationalized dynastic policy; its populace was wildly delighted with the party’s overwhelming success and bubbled with approval. Who better to invoke new rules of law? During the initial post-1994 honeymoon period, all appeared quite quiet on the taxi front. Had the governing party moved quickly, they may have found transformation really easy. But they delayed.

I guess they just didn’t realize that their ‘freedom’ would be compromised by regulation. And once they realized, they didn’t particularly like it. (My personal theory is that our revolution is still alive and well: military rule so often crushes resistance; benevolence allows distension to carry on thriving.) Concerned citizens, although somewhat slow to digest the enormity of the possible consequences that the original taxi recap plan conveyed, now continually voice their objections, in a manner that gets results.

“It is important for the industry to appreciate that self-regulation breeds conflict and will never assist anyone to achieve the goals that we have set ourselves as a collective.”

Initial plans

While the initial taxi recap plan doubtless intended to improve travel for the average citizen, certain features of the plan were so astounding, it is amazing that it managed to find its way onto paper without serious, public contention and outcry. How any free-market country could seriously believe itself entitled to dictate which brand people are entitled to buy and which bank they are entitled to borrow from, is ludicrous, but that’s how it all began.

Many people still believe that proposed kickbacks were at the core of the initial thinking. The Sheik/Zuma arms-deal affair confirms these suspicions and many people still question other ‘deals’ made by Transport during that era.

“The main objective…is to assist taxi operators to replace their ageing fleet with new taxi vehicles that meet certain Safety Requirements, as published by the Government.”

DoT, having set specifications to improve safety conditions (overloaded, top-heavy taxis were inclined to roll easily and had no seat-belts, for instance) proposed putting the replacement vehicles out to a limited number of manufacturers for development, via a tender process. The war was on and at least one manufacturer went insolvent competing with the ‘big guys’ for the pleasure of government’s business.

“I am confident that working with the industry, the banks and manufacturers, we will be able to ensure that the new vehicles are affordable to the average operator.”

Thankfully, it was later decided to adapt and allow all interested manufacturers the opportunity to develop vehicles that met the specifications, and to allow taxi operators to decide for themselves which brand to buy and which bank package to contract to. Since manufacturers could no longer be sure of the numbers involved, prices, also always at the mercy of the economy, rose accordingly.

Specification changes occurred at intervals along the way: only diesel-powered vehicles are now acceptable, for instance, to help contain the high volume of crude-oil imports. The motor industry is committed to the success of the programme, but then, why wouldn’t they be? There are high profits to be made…

Originally excluded by virtue of specification drawbacks, Toyota again entered the field with a model by the name of ‘Quantum’. Since this will probably keep Toyota’s hi-jack figures sky high, the challenge to find a suitable nickname is on: ‘Quantum’ could refer to ‘How much?’ (free, if hijacked) or ‘How many? (can be squeezed inside).

“Government will endorse initiatives aimed at ensuring that the taxi industry develop business interests in sectors such as petroleum, financial sector, vehicle manufacturing, and wheel and tyre sectors and [others] where suppliers benefit from the taxi industry.”

The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco), doubtless ANC aficionados with struggle affiliations, put their money and faith into the Russian 16-seater GAZelles. These were initially sold for R179 900 VAT inclusive, but appear to have cost their 3 000 to 5 000 new owners dearly.

Labelled ‘death traps’, there are concerns as to how they passed SABS specification checks and are said to spend more time off the road than on. Who’s biting the bullet now, Santaco? Or must Gorky, GAZ SA and McCarthy face the firing squad on account of the vehicle’s fourth recall (deadlined for March 2007)?

Tata and Mahindra also joined the race and access to Indian spares will hopefully be better than to Russian ones. Whatever the make, model or specifications of new vehicles, if they are regularly overloaded, not suitably regulated/enforced, are not driven competently or maintained well, their ability to keep death off our roads will be nil and we can expect to experience déjà vu once their warranties expire.

Safety first

“Our interactions with commuter organizations indicate that commuters are as much concerned about their own safety and the unroadworthy nature of most of the taxi vehicles.”

When results of a survey into household transport usage were tabled in Parliament (September 2005) distressing levels of dissatisfaction with all three major public transport modes, were revealed, with the minibus taxi industry labelled the worst offender. Of the nearly 2.5-million people who regularly commute to work, by taxi, 30% appear to regard their personal safety (due to crime, bad driver behavior, or motor accidents) to be at serious risk.

“The most critical and immediate challenge facing the taxi industry is safety. Government has a major role to play in this regard.”

As a virtually immediate (for government) result, the taxi industry sped into 2005 at a reduced speed limit of 100km/h. This aimed to reduce the high percentage of people-carrying vehicles that are involved in fatal crashes. By August of the same year, the ‘big possibility’ of advanced driver training for taxi drivers was revealed by Santaco.

Of which, not one word more has appeared in the media, since! Also dropped from the wish list, was a national electronic management system: declared ‘too advanced’ for the still-developing world. This single omission appears incredibly relevant to the original objective of regulating the taxi industry.

Without efficient regulation, it has become notorious for anarchy, instability, corruption and mafia-type operations around lucrative routes. Curbing the free-for-all is essential. If the process compromises our national devotion to ‘African’ time, disregard for pre-arranged obligations, total onus for regulation and enforcement immediately reverts to the traffic officer on the ‘beat’.

“…it is the duty and responsibility of Government to ensure that all public transport operators, not only taxis, observe the rules of the road at all times and show respect to other road users.”

It is this lack of effective regulation that causes violence to punctuate the industry’s effectiveness. The job functions of traffic authorities make it impossible for them to curb taxi violence. Officers do not go out in large numbers, as a fighting force, with protective shields and in military formation. They are easier to pick off, one by one, than stray mosquitoes in the midday heat.

And they know it! It’s not what they signed up for. Expecting an isolated traffic officer to deal with organized crime is a bit like sending a girl guide into a war zone to effect peace. (Sorry, Guys; no offense meant). The military structure, through which they deliver, does not make them an effective hit squad!

The scrap metal deal

“I wish to also address concerns of many taxi operators that the R50 000 scrapping allowance will be inadequate for them to be able to purchase new vehicles.”

Transport has seen a turnover of three Ministers: Maharaj, with the vision, Omar, who appeared to delay and Radebe, who has determined to play out the scenario. Much of the delay was caused by the high budget needed to accomplish the deed and the ‘recap’ budget, together with additional resources of R885-million, to improve traffic law enforcement, was finally granted, in Parliament in February 2005.

Since the original figure of R100 000 per scrapped vehicle was touted, it has been halved. Either the taxi ‘park’ has grown (doubtless) or the number of taxis had been miscalculated. Ten years on, vehicle prices have risen more than most of us imagined. The delay in delivery has caused the media to wonder whether Transport had “bitten off more than it could chew” (when R7.7-billion was approved by cabinet in August 2005).

“…at the same time enabling other taxi operators whose vehicles could be impoundment due to unroadworthiness to remove their vehicles from our roads…”

A R250-million allocation was to be used to establish ‘scrapping’ systems in 2005, deputy director-general of public transport at National DoT confirmed in March of that year. He later (it was whispered) succumbed to death threats from within the taxi industry and moved on, but not before the minister and Santaco had confirmed their readiness to begin the process by April, after the tender had been allocated.

We were also assured that most of the aging taxi fleet would be “history” before the 2010 World Cup. One April, I am told, is very much like another, in the world of politics. It was November 2006 before the first token taxi was symbolically, and very publicly, crushed beyond repair (a very difficult thing to do to a taxi, notorious for remaining on the road minus several, generally considered essential, moving parts).

“These operators will be expected to register…their intention to exit and voluntarily surrender unroadworthy vehicles in exchange for the R50 000 scrapping allowance.”

The intention has always been to reduce the taxi fleet to less than 100 000, thus preventing ‘overtrading’ on lucrative routes. The scrapping allowance, although promoted as an incentive to drivers to renew their vehicles, was not necessarily intended to allow those with limited means to trade up.

There was also the possibility that large operators would consolidate their scrapping allowances and either invest the hard cash or use it to enter other industries. There has been continual unrest from drivers who believe their futures to be insecure and if and facts, figures or statistics have been presented to reassure them that they will still have jobs, after the fact, they have completely passed me by.

10 Tips to Buy the Smartest Travel Insurance Policy

Why invest in travel insurance?

Travel insurance is the backbone of your travel plan as you can not only be at peace but also can ask for compensation in case of any uncertain event occurring during your vacation. There are many benefits of investing in a suitable travel coverage plan. The frequency of uncertainties has increased these days. Terrorist attacks, thefts and robbery are some of the commonly happening events. You never know how bad you will be affected by such uncertain events while you are out in an unknown destination for a vacation. Insurance is a tool that helps you stay protected throughout your trip and offers you good amount of compensation in case of any emergency or an uncertain event. Nowadays, buying suitable travel coverage tops the list of any travel plan. The tourism industry in India is doing a great job by offering attractive travel packages to the residents. Buying a suitable travel insurance plan to match your vacation package has never been so easy before.

Buying travel insurance online

It takes just a few clicks online to search for available travel plans and compare them with their features and coverage details. Comparing available travel coverage plans through online quotes is the smartest way to search for the most suitable ones. As premium is the primary factor to consider, you can calculate the premiums associated with different plans by using the online calculators and invest in the smartest one.

Tips to buy online travel insurance

Here are some effective tips to buy travel insurance policy that suits your requirements:

• Before searching for the travel coverage policy, firstly decide about the place where you would like to spend your vacation at. After you finalize the travel destination, search for reputed travel companies online and ask for the variety of plans that they offer.

• For aged people, it is a must to opt for a plan that covers emergency charges and medical expenses along with ambulance and hospitalization fees.

• If you are a regular traveler, you can easily locate a discounted travel coverage policy.

• Your coverage elements would differ as per the place where you are planning to visit. For an adventure trip that includes activities like sea diving, mountain climbing and rafting, make sure that the policy covers compensation for loss of luggage and personal injury.

• There are different insurance policies for business travelers that usually cover compensation for loss of business related accessories and uncertain expenses.

• Students travel policies would cover uncertain events during their abroad visits for education.

• Family travel policies would offer compensation to your entire family against events like delay in flights, loss of checked baggage and interruptions due to hijack.

• Avail assurance from the insurance company that they would refund the tourism amount in case of cancellation of trip due to uncertain events.

• Be ready with your coverage checklist before applying for any travel coverage plan.

• Some insurance companies also offer pet insurance policies to travelers who want to take along their pets for the trip.

For a safe and peaceful journey, buying a suitable travel insurance policy is a must.

Why You Should Travel Young

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

-Henry Miller

Traveling is simply a brutality of humanity, it is when we travel that we see things for what they truly are and not how we imagined them to be. Traveling also lets our imagination run wild without expectations, it lets us see things from a new perspective, without the alleged prejudice of the world. And while all of this seems to be an adequate reason to travel, many are still naïve to the idea of traveling.

But just as many are left in the dark to wonder and wander, some are out there exploring and enjoying what the world has to offer them, for it is in that brief moment of youth that we can truly experience life, as we know it.

Now the question of many remains, “Why Should I Travel Young”? Personally, I can give you a hundred, even a thousand reasons why you should travel when you’re young but if you’re desire to see the world begins and ends with your “Wish to See the World” then I’m afraid no amount of reasoning would suffice to convince you to go after what you want.

You see, traveling as much as it is a form of recreation is also a commitment, a vocation for some, but ultimately, it is a responsibility. A responsibility you should be willing to take onto yourself. Many people say that the young are lucky to have the health and the wealth to see the world but what they do not realize is that the young are often distracted, deceived and sometimes, deluded.

So if you’re one of the young who wish to unearth the world’s greatest places and learn life’s most valuable lessons, but are afraid to make it happen, read along, maybe I can convince you to travel while you still have the gift of youth.

  • Traveling teaches you a sense of adventure- Don’t quote me on this one but based on my experience, traveling allows you to have as much as fun as you want without having to worry of what other people will say about you. You don’t have your peers or parents to warn you and judge you, so you can be young, wild and free. Life is an adventure and traveling lets you experience that.
  • Traveling teaches you to be compassionate- Other than the photos, the souvenir and the life-long memory that traveling gives you, it also edifies you of the real situation and teaches you to care for other people, sometimes not of your own kind.
  • Traveling allows you to be culturally diverse- If you think traveling is all about sight-seeing and marveling at the wonders each country has, then you’re right. But there’s also something more important that traveling teaches us, it allows us to be culturally diverse. Whenever we travel, it is important that we follow the local practices of the country/destination we are going to. As the old saying goes, “Respect begets Respect” If we learn to respect and even appreciate the culture of other nationalities then we become more aware of our own. That’s the mutual benefit we get from traveling.
  • Traveling makes you more attractive as a person- they say that the most attractive people in the world are those that have seen it. Do you agree? I do. It is because of the invaluable and immeasurable life experiences we have with our travels that make us a better person, and when you feel you’re better, you become more attractive.
  • When you travel young, you travel more- let’s face it, we’re all bound to grow old and lose our health. But while we’re young and at the peak of everything, it’s best to take advantage of it and start traveling, after all, you’re only allowed until your 30s to hike a mountain or ride the rapids of the river.
  • Traveling makes it easy to make friends- if back at your hometown you tend to cling to the same group of people bound by a circle of friendship, then maybe you should travel more often. Traveling has been proven as one of the best ways to gain friends and build bonds, after all, you are all strangers to one another at one point but because of your common interest to see the world, you are bound by it as well. And get this; wouldn’t it be nice to have friends in all parts of the world? That would be way cool, way cooler than your friends back home.
  • Traveling makes you a better storyteller- You might not get this now but when you have kids or grandchildren, you will. Those who travel young have more opportunities to experience everything there is to traveling. With the many countries that you’ve visited and you’ll be traveling to is a story waiting to be told. Traveling gives you things to share over breakfast, lunch or dinner. When you travel, you will never have a hard time thinking of a topic to talk about; not to mention you’ll keep everyone with your story.
  • Now if for some strange reason, after citing all these reasons why you should travel young and you’re still not convinced; it’s pretty obvious that you have a fear inside you that you’re just trying to hide so everyone won’t think you’re a coward who can’t face it. Is it fear of heights? Fear of the unknown? Fear of being independent? Whatever it is, know that traveling, especially alone, will help you address that fear. You just have to take the big leap of faith and make the first step to make your traveling dreams a reality. You only live once; and you’re only young for a short period of time, if you don’t travel now, when?

    The Health Benefits of Humor When Traveling

    Traveling makes people excited to arrive at their destinations. But sometimes the destination is not the only thing that travelers should take into account. The journey can be as enjoyable as the destination. The only thing that people need to remember is to always have fun. If you know how to have fun while traveling, then you know that traveling is more than just an activity. It is an enjoyable activity. A funny travel attitude can make any journey less strenuous. Your problems will actually be lighter to carry. Humor can aid in the promotion of a traveler’s physical health. These benefits can be achieved through the laughter that people have in a funny travel experience. Laughter as proven by studies can make the body adapt to many situations. A good laugh can make problems easier to solve, relieving the traveler of the stresses that problems bring in the trip. It also aids in the development and support of the physical health of the person.

    Some things may go wrong while traveling. The possibility that a humorous travel experience will occur increases when wrong things start happening in the journey. If you have the right attitude, having fun is easy and free. Travelers do not have to pay more just to have fun in the trip. The spontaneous events that in any moment can happen while traveling make the activity more exciting. Expressing and sharing humor while traveling will let travelers be more spontaneous, less defensive, release inhibitions and be able to express true feelings. Being spontaneous, travelers get along well and easy. Travelers will have less doubt and forget prejudgments of their traveling buddies if they let go of defensiveness. Less defensiveness will in turn release inhibitions that will make the travelers relaxed with each other. And the last of these funny travel tips, is that travelers need to let go of their feelings; this transparency can make traveling relationships fun.

    If people are all having funny travel stories, traveling will never be seen as a boring and strenuous activity that people do. A good laughter has many healthy effects on the physical body of the traveler. Laughter relaxes the whole body, boosts the immune system, releases endorphins and protects the heart. A good laugh can make the body’s muscle relax up to 45 minutes after the laugh. It also decreases stress in hormones and thus creating better functioning immune systems for the traveler. A good laugh can make any traveler at the worst situations feel better because fun triggers the release of endorphins. Laughing also exercises blood vessels and arteries; this protects the heart form cardio vascular diseases and heart attacks.

    There is no harm in funny travel. Fun can never be gone in any situation; all that it takes is to recognize it. Travel jokes can go far for any traveler. It does not only assure a good laugh but it also puts the traveler in a higher state of well being and health. Traveling and humor are perfect buddies as they spread happiness all around.

    Why Travel Medical Insurance Is So Important

    Travel medical insurance is an insurance package that offers certain medical coverage while traveling. These plans are similar to that of normal health insurance policies, but are associated with traveling. Travel medical plans consist mainly of one of two types of policies, namely temporary travel medical plan and permanent travel insurance program.

    To acquire travel insurance, an individual needs to pay a monthly premium to the insurance company through a travel agent. The company then pays for all medical care required by the customer while traveling.

    International travelers, who travel frequently, mainly require this type of insurance. There are various choices to be made among travel health insurers, which offer help to numerous traveling people. If travelers develop some medical troubles outside their country, these travel programs provide them with all the necessary medical assistance and protection.

    These travel health insurance scheme provides hospital security benefit of $100 or more per night, for travelers going outside the US. They also provide $15,000 and more to cover suitable medical expenses for previous health conditions. These are the most attractive feature of these travel plans.

    Reasons To Get Travel Insurance:

    Is travel medical insurance necessary or waste of money? This is a common question arising in the minds of many people, when they think of a travel insurance program. There are certain reasons that show how important travel health coverage can be to a traveler.

    While seeking an affordable travel package, people need to pay attention to its price structure. Most of the available travel medical plans are of low cost. The traveler is ready to spend the vacation money for fun, but chances of medical complications can add extra money. To avoid this, it is very necessary to buy a cheap travel health insurance package.

    Most medical policies provide health care assurance all around the world. However, they do not offer full amount as per the coverage. For instance, if a person is traveling on a cruise ship, the basic health insurance plan will cover only 50 percent of the doctor’s visits on the ship.

    However, the medical travel package covers the full amount and sometimes more. Therefore, travel insurance programs are the best choice for international travelers to protect themselves while relaxing.

    Many travel medical insurers offer policies, without a medical or health examination. The package takes care of all the medical expenses associated with any medical crisis, while traveling.

    Final Advice:

    Travel medical insurance provides peace of mind, during your entire trip. To make the vacation more enjoyable without any hassles, it is very important to have travel medical insurance. For those travelers, who have previous medical history this is even more important.

    Travelers with previous history have a high risk of medical complications during traveling and there is no chance of extra expense, if they already have travel coverage. You really don’t want to take the risk of not having it.

    A travel agent generally offers the travel health insurance when making bookings, and a large number of travel agents, who provides these policies, are available online. To conclude, travel health coverage provides an extra level of comfort and deals with all the medical complications get a quote below.

    Business Travel Insurance

    Anyone that travels a lot should consider travel insurance, but those that travel for business often overlook the importance of this protection. Business travel insurance is simply a good idea because it can provide you with the protection that you need whether you are traveling just a short or long distance away from home. You never know when you are going to need the protection that insurance can provide, so you should look into business travel insurance before you go on your next trip.

    The great thing about business travel insurance is that the individual can purchase it or a company can purchase it. Many companies are choosing to purchase the insurance for all of their employees that travel. This is a very economical way to buy the coverage as many companies can offer bulk buy discounts. This can be a particularly good idea for companies that host a lot of conferences, meetings, team building events, training courses, product launches, and the like. Many businesses offer corporate hospitality outings and the like, and even on these fun getaways employees should be protected and business travel insurance is a great way to get that protection.

    If you happen to be an employee that travels to a lot of business oriented annual general meetings, exhibitions, seminars, or conventions and you aren’t provided with business travel insurance you can buy it yourself. The coverage is not at all expensive, and you may even be able to purchase the coverage at the same time that you plan an event or plan your travel, which will make it convenient to purchase. When you purchase this protection you can go on your business travels and not worry about what would happen if you were robbed, if your luggage was lost, or if you needed medical attention in an area where your usual medical or dental insurance was not valid.

    Many of us think about travel insurance when we are going on vacation or visiting exotic vacations, but this is not the only time when you need the protection that this type of insurance can provide. Business travel insurance is just as important as the insurance that you would buy when flying across the world for an exotic vacation or honeymoon because there is just as much opportunity for you to encounter health problems or circumstances that you just did not plan for. Why should you be any less equipped to handle these problems on a business trip than you would be when you are on vacation? When you leave home you should feel safe, secure, and confident in your abilities to handle any situation and with business travel insurance you can do this.

    If you don’t travel often or you only travel once a year you can opt to purchase your business travel insurance for just one trip. All you have to do is disclose when you will be traveling, where you will be going, and when you will be returning. This is generally very affordable and will offer you the protection that you should have on your one trip. If you travel all the time for work you can choose to buy your business travel insurance for the whole year. While this is more expensive in the beginning, it is cheaper over the course of the year than it would be to purchase the coverage every time you go away on travel. Many times there are also different levels of coverage to choose from, so you can choose from very basic coverage to very extensive coverage, based on your needs. When you purchase the travel business insurance you may want to consider the areas that you travel to as well as what sort of coverage your other insurance coverage may provide as this information will help you determine what sort of coverage you need.

    It used to be more difficult to buy travel insurance, and that is why many people simply opted not to do it. In many cases you had to go right to an insurance agent and you had to fill out a ton of paperwork, or you could go to a travel agent and do the same thing. Now, you can purchase your business travel insurance right along with your other travel needs such as but not limited to your event planning services, your car rental services, lodging, transportation, and airfare. This is very convenient and allows for those that didn’t want to bother with the coverage before because of the hassle to purchase the benefits of travel insurance. Next time you receive notice that you have to travel for your job, why not look into travel business insurance and see what protection it can offer you? It’s better to have the protection and not need it than need it and not have it!

    India Travel Forums – The Traveler's Delight

    We have all heard the word “forum” and the present world, fast transcending into an “e-world” has umpteen umber of such forums. A web forum can be simply defined as an online message board or a bulletin board for endless and detailed discussions on various issues. One of the most upcoming forums in India is the “India Travel Forum”.

    As the word suggests, India travel forums provide a hands-on experience on travel within India. Such discussion forums also guide travelers visiting India to make their travel a pleasurable one.

    Indian travel forums have certainly become a useful tool for all the vacation lovers who wish to explore the natural wonders of India. The members of forums can share their pictures, suggestions, and first-hand experiences on several destinations. Technology features like “chatting” enable the forum members to get swift responses to all their travel related queries. The personal travel experiences shared by the members give an honest review of the place visited. From the route to be taken, the tips to be followed, the places to be visited to the money you need to expend, you can actually get all the required information as to everything that a traveler can think of. Indian travel industry is expanding rapidly as every other Indian is eagerly looking forward to a getaway within India to discover the mystique landscape and the breathtaking water bodies. As they say: “Better late than never”, India has finally struck on the right keys with several Indian travel communities being set up to make travel as easy as it can get.

    The Indian travel discussion forums have eventually made their mark and have come a long way from taking advice from a few friends before heading for a vacation to sharing it on a much larger platform with thousands of real-time travelers. Travel forums are not only for people seeking answers to their travel related queries, but also for people who have immense knowledge about the Indian hot-spots or frequent travelers as they can share or guide the other members. There are countless advantages of being a member of the India travel forums as listed above but a fairly important one is being saved from the exaggerated views of the Indian travel agents about any destination, which may land you in a highly praised location but does not suit your interests. Most of all, if you pay a hefty amount and do not get the worth then all that remains is an unhappy traveler-the basic purpose of travel being defeated. You are no more rejuvenated but remorseful after your trip, this is where the forums step in with the genuine common people (travelers) ready to lend a helping hand. To the contrary, the forums might just suggest a travel agent or a tour operator who turns out to be a blessing for your vacation offering cost-effective packages.

    The picture-sharing feature of the forums help you to get a look and feel of the place you wish to visit. Thus, Indian travel forums can save your time, money and offer you an expert opinion by the travelers themselves. Next time when you are making your travel plans, be it a South India tour, a North India tour or any corner of the Indian subcontinent, you know where to find the travel gurus. Be a part of the change, be a member of the Indian Travel forums. Happy traveling!!

    Top Advantages Of Using A Car Rental When Traveling

    The most significant advantage to using a car from a rental service is cost and freedom. If you are a regular business traveler or are simply traveling for leisure, having your own vehicle to move around in is more convenient, not to mention more cost effective, than using a taxi or public transportation. This is especially true for those who are traveling for site seeing or are spending longer periods (typically 3 weeks to a month) in a foreign nation. In this article I list a few advantages of renting a car when traveling that you may find useful.

    Anyone traveling on vacation with a budget will immediately see the benefit of renting a car from any international rental company. If you want an appropriate balance between cost of transportation to complete your explorations and site seeing, and freedom to leave your residence at any time of day with a car, then a rental is your only option, short of buying a car there. If you are a member of a loyalty program with a car rental company back home that has an international presence, you may be eligible to receive better discounts at your destination.

    If you are traveling from the US to an Asian country, the disparity in fuel costs can work to your advantage. On average (because of the value of a dollar) you can gain slightly more fuel for a dollar in many Asian countries than you would back home. Unfortunately this wouldn’t necessarily apply for European countries as the cost of pump fuel there is higher than it is in the US.

    You can expect the same high quality standard of vehicles from rental car companies in Europe as you would expect to find in the US. Not only does the European Union enforce strict rules on emissions, the level of competition coupled by the massive market of travelers to Europe who rent cars on a daily basis ensures that you will find affordable high standard car rental companies.

    If you have just landed in a foreign country and are at the airport, the typical cost of a taxi is normally a huge fraction of the total cost of a car rental for an entire day. Many of the well established car rental companies have offices in the major airports of the world, making it easy and convenient for you to rent a car almost immediately you land in the country.

    Travel Health Insurance: It's Easy to Get and Cheaper Than You Think

    Of the concerns people have when the topic of world travel rears its exciting head, few feel as serious as the concern of getting sick or hurt in a foreign country without any form of health insurance to take care of the problem. Compared with the fear of running into serious health problems abroad, the concern of not knowing where to travel, or the worry about getting scammed, or insecurities surrounding your ability to make the money necessary to travel all seem trivial. None of those fears can kill you- getting sick or hurt abroad without any form of health insurance can.

    Most forms of health insurance are nationally based, they are domestic, which means the insurance you use at home isn’t going to do much of anything for you abroad. Thankfully, getting health insurance while you’re traveling, or getting insurance that will cover you as you travel, is a lot easier than you think and it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg.

    An Important Question

    Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to acquire health insurance that will keep you secure and feeling good during your travels you need to ask yourself a single important question- do you plan on traveling to one country or multiple destinations?

    The answer to this question will determine what sort of insurance you will need. If you’re traveling all over the place than you need a more comprehensive, far-reaching insurance. If you’re traveling to a single city or country and setting down roots for a few weeks or a couple months then you only need to get health insurance valid within that country.

    Even though you should avoid overly-detailed travel planning to figure out the answer to this question before you leave home, it is a good idea to plan your health insurance needs.

    Single-Country Insurance Strategies

    As far as insurance goes, if you’re traveling to a single city or country you have it easy– though it’s important you act fast for peace of mind and safety’s sake. You should purchase local insurance the first day you arrive.

    Doing this not only makes sure you’re protected no matter what happens, resolving to buy insurance your first day in a new country is also the best way to be sure you actually get it done. It’s easy to put off chores and busy work, the less sexy elements of travel, when you’re excited to be in a new country and itching to start exploring. Getting all the boring stuff out-of-the-way as soon as possible protects you against the dangers of procrastination- dangers that are potentially lethal when it comes to medical coverage.

    But how, exactly, can you find local insurance?

    Well, you have two options.

    • You can spend hours trying to research local medical coverage plans online, often browsing through poorly translated websites in an attempt to compare one plan with all the others. Or,
    • You can take the easy route and just ask an employee at your hostel or your hotel what local health insurance they have and what insurance they think you should sign up for. Then find out if their insurance coverage is available to visitors. Hospitality workers are there to help you out, and the more personally owned and operated your lodgings the better the chances of receiving some good advice from them.

    Multi-Country Insurance Strategies

    Owning local insurance in addition to global insurance is almost always a good idea. After all, it’s a safe bet local hospitals will accept your local insurance card but there’s no guarantee local hospitals will accept your international coverage. That being said, if you’re traveling to a large number of different locations, you don’t really have much of a choice. You need to get the most comprehensive global health insurance you can afford.

    When it comes to global health insurance you have a couple options at your disposal.

    1) First, you can take a look at your existing domestic health insurance and determine whether it provides any sort of worldwide coverage at all. The bigger the insurance carrier the more likely it will provide something for you when you’re out crisscrossing the globe. If you don’t know where to look and you’re unsure about your current coverage you should get on the phone with a representative and start asking questions.

    If your current coverage won’t help you overseas you need to ask whether there’s any plan provided by your carrier that will help you out as you travel. If there’s an upgrade to your insurance available and if the upgrade will cover you abroad you’d be wise to pay a little extra to make sure you’re secure. Acquiring traveler’s insurance isn’t really difficult but ultimately it’s a lot easier to stick with the carrier you already have than to unnecessarily jump ship.

    2) If your current carrier does not provide travel coverage while you’re traveling and if they do not offer any sort of upgrade, add-on or package that will cover you abroad, then you need to locate a new carrier.

    You can either switch over to a large carrier who provides a wide range of insurance options, or you can just sign on with a carrier who specializes in traveler’s insurance.

    3) Travel Health Insurance is a LOT more common and a LOT cheaper than you’d think. Don’t be surprised if you find travel health insurance that is considerably less expensive than what you’re paying for your existing domestic coverage. Not only that, but travel health insurance tends to be extremely flexible. You can purchase insurance for a single trip, you can purchase insurance for trips of varying lengths (such as 30, 60 or 90 days) and you can purchase insurance for those times you’re going to travel indefinitely.

    So how cheap can travel health insurance be? How does less than $1,000 dollars a year sound to you? Compared with the normal $300-$500/month you’d pay for your own health insurance, if it’s not covered by your employer’s travel insurance, this represents a really, really good deal.

    What Types of Travel Insurance Do You Need?

    When you start researching travel insurance you’ll soon realize there are many types of travel insurance out there, all covering a different corner of the traveler’s experience.

    • The average traveler simply needs to purchase the most comprehensive Travel Health Insurance they can find. But if you’re traveling to snowboard the alps or something else that may be considered risky, then Hazardous Sports Insurance might also be worthwhile.
    • Evacuation Insurance might make sense to help get out of countries if political or environmental situations turn ugly, but only if you are in a country where you could reasonably assume you could be evacuated by helicopter.
    • You can purchase Identity Theft Protection in case someone swipes your passport and credit cards.
    • You can purchase Cancellation Insurance to make sure you end up at your destination even if your airline starts messing with your reservations or some other unforeseen problem arises.

    Whether you purchase these different forms of insurance or not depends a lot on where you’re going and what you plan on doing there.

    But after you settle the issue of travel insurance, what’s keeping you from finally taking that trip you’ve always dreamed of?

    Save on Travel Now: Discover How Much Money You Can Save on Travel Now Using This

    Who else wants to save on travel today? I realize that may sound like a silly question and the fact is, economic times are rough right now. Most people (including myself…) are looking to save big money on their travel prices. If you want to save a lot of money on your travel expenses, the solution to doing just that is actually a lot easier than you think. If you want to go to a nice luxurious hotel, resort, or cruise, the reality is you really can and at affordable prices that everyone can afford…let me explain…

    The answer to saving on your travel has nothing to do with travel sites that have been known to save you up to 30%. I am talking about are travel memberships wherein you pay a one-time fee and gain immediate lifetime access. You can literally begin saving up to 80% off your travel needs for the rest of your life. No restrictions of when you travel, either! I am speaking highly of something known as a travel discount club that many are now discovering for the first time.

    If you have never heard of a travel membership, basically what this mean to you is this…..it eliminates the high prices when it comes to travel prices. Have you ever gone to a hotel thinking that you paid way too much? Me too! These overpriced prices have gone on for far too long in my opinion. So in essence what these memberships do for you, is save you a log of money.

    When you are a paid member, you then have access to over thousands of highly sought after travel locations from around the world. This will save you up to 80% off of your travel expenses around the world. You do not have to worry about when you travel because you get to decide that.

    You can literally go anywhere and save a lot of money. You will save limitless amounts of money if you are member. If you are a member, you will have the luxury of being able to stay at some of the very most luxurious relaxing condos. You can also take advantage of scenic cruises, villas and cottages and best of all, when you want!

    Savings are available at many of the finest of resorts, too. You can stay at 4 and 5-star hotels and be treated like a king or queen! For many, this is a dream come true because of the fact that you will have the ability to stay at some of the very best resorts from all over the world. This is not a timeshare, mind you.

    These memberships do not require you to pay any additional fees, at least the ones that I have checked out. No maintenance fees or annual fees is a huge plus to many, who have been burned by timeshares. That is something that no timeshare can even come close to when comparing the two. If you compare the amount of money that you would have to pay on a retail vacation, a membership blows the retail price right out of the water. You will easily save over 50% or more.

    Do your own research and see for yourself. Having a membership to for access to thousands of luxury hotel locations at rock-bottom wholesale prices is what makes this an easy decision for many. When you compare the savings to the retail price that you would have to pay, it just makes good sense..

    Take for example the fact that you can get:

    a 2-bedroom condo at multiple worldwide locations for less than $200 for a seven-day vacation stay. The only question is why would would you want to spend several hundred more than what you need to? The retail price for this vacation retailed for $998 on a site that offered the exact same amenities.

    When I first learned of these savings, I jumped on the opportunity because I hate having to spend more money than I really have to. When you join, you will gain immediate private access and be a part of the vacation club that allows you to profit from these vacation deals. When I first took a look at it, I could not believe the savings. In fact, I thought there had to be a catch….I was pleasantly surprised when I realized there was no catch on having access to unbelievable discounts on these luxurious vacations. It was a dream come true for me.

    Another big advantage is that you will also have access to travel advisors. These are advisors who will assist you with various travel needs on other travel related expenses. When you are getting ready to go on a trip, the less that you have to worry about is priceless.

    These memberships are the answer to saving money when it comes to traveling throughout the entire United States, but all across the globe. While memberships are not free, you could easily make your money back on one vacation alone. So basically, you get your money back after your first vacation. Keep in mind that there are pretty high priced memberships compared to other clubs.

    If you want to save some serious cash, consider a membership because it will certainly save you more than just a few bucks when you consider the fact that you can save several hundreds of dollars on your first trip. I cannot say enough about these memberships. They really are the way to travel when it comes to saving money at worldwide luxurious hotels, resorts and cruises.

    No matter if you are casual traveler or a business traveler, saving up to 80% on travel related expenses is the perfect solution for literally anyone who travels I do not know about you but most everyone I talk to travels at least once in a while. So even if you just travel once in a while, you still save a lot of money.

    If you want to save money on your travel, having a membership that will save you several hundreds of dollars on resorts, cruises, fine hotels and many other vacation expenses, is the best deal. The reason is that having one of these memberships pays you back every time you access your membership privileges. It allow you to take immediate advantage of for the unlimited savings.

    Travel Insurance FAQ

    Travel Insurance is an essential part of any trip and is something that should not be put aside. Most soon-to-be travelers usually have heard about travel insurance, but might not know the specific reasons why they need travel insurance. This is an important article about frequently asked questions for travel insurance. This article also provides a link for further reading about travel insurance.

    What is travel insurance protection?

    Travel insurance is a type of insurance that covers you financial for any losses or illness that may unfortunate occur while you is on your trip. Travel insurance can be bought for international or national (within your country) trips.

    Why should I buy travel insurance?

    Since travel insurance protects you while traveling, this will help and provide the necessary protection you will need in the occurrence of a unfortunate event. Any individual traveling anywhere without travel insurance will be in a dangerous situation if an accident occur.

    What is the coverage for travel insurance?

    Travel insurance should provide coverage for medical cost, transportation to a medical facility, and reimburse you for certain or some nonrefundable costs due to a interrupted trip, and financial loss of funds.

    How much does travel insurance cost?

    How much the cost of your travel insurance will be depends on your insurance company provider and their policy. The cost of travel insurance usually will range up to 12 percent of the cost of your vacation/trip.

    Is travel insurance really important and how many people actually get paid for their claims?

    Travel insurance is highly recommended, there are usually about 10% of people who file claims. Sometimes some travelers make have taken a overly expensive trip that they would have to pay out of their own money if they have not bought travel insurance.

    What is the medical care coverage?

    When there is a case of illness or serious injury, medical transportation to an appropriate medical facility, and medical treatment will be covered. You should also have coverage for if it is deem necessary to bring you back home.

    Does travel insurance cover business trips?

    This will depend on the insurance company. Most insurance companies will provide travel insurance for a business trip, but the coverage may be separate from the standard coverage.

    How long will travel insurance provide coverage for me?

    You can often buy travel insurance starting from as little as two weeks, up to a year. Different insurance companies may vary with their service of coverage.

    When is the best time to buy travel insurance coverage?

    The best time to buy travel insurance is as soon as possible before you go on your trip or vacation. You want your travel insurance active during your whole trip.

    What will happen if my money is lost or stolen?

    If you can not receive traveler checks replacements many insurance companies provide a service where a travel agent can arrange a money transfer or traveler check for you to receive. You will have to ask more about this to your travel insurance provider.

    Base Tendriling Travel Expenses

    As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference

    US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

    Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

    Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

    Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

    Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

    If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and re-engineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

    As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

    The Great Leveler

    Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

    The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

    “When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

    Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

    The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

    No More Tickets

    Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticket-less” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

    In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

    Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

    The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

    “Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

    With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

    Out There

    Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

    A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

    For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

    Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

    The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

    As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

    Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

    What’s the Price?

    Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

    Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

    Kent stresses, “Airlines should approach corporations with long-term strategic relationships rather than just discounts. We would like to see ourselves committed to a corporation rather than just involved.”

    As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference.

    US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

    Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

    Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

    Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

    Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

    If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and re-engineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

    As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

    The Great Leveler

    Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

    The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

    “When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

    Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

    The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

    No More Tickets

    Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

    In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

    Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

    The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

    “Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

    With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

    Out There

    Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

    A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

    For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

    Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

    The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

    As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

    Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

    What’s the Price?

    Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

    Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

    Kent stresses, “Airlines should approach corporations with long-term strategic relationships rather than just discounts. We would like to see ourselves committed to a corporation rather than just involved.”

    Do Travel Agents Get Free Trips? Part 2

    Yes: travel agents DO travel for free

    There are several scenarios that could allow travel professionals to travel for free. In a previous article, I discussed 4 ways that travel agents do come out of their pocket to pay for their trips. This time around I will explain how they also save and even travel for free.

    Booking Groups Could Get You a Free Pass

    There are incentives for booking groups (the fact that group travel is the most lucrative bookings in the travel industry should be incentive enough). If an agent books so many rooms (hotel) or cabins (on a cruise), they cold get a free room or cabin or money (not counting the commission) that they could use toward their room or cabin. Of course this all depends on the vendor’s group policy, quantity needed and who is assigned as group leader.

    Actually you do not have to be a travel agent to get this benefit I am described above. If you are not a travel agent and you decide to book a group, if you are the group leader, you could very well get these benefits (ask your travel agent they should tell you that up front). This is the only way (outside of a frequent guest program) that a non-travel agent could get perks extended to them… so if you want to get some perks out of your trip…think in groups!

    Travel Contests

    Another way an agent could go free could be based on sales volume for a specific property or destination in a particular niche. Some travel vendors and agencies may offer free trips to top agents as incentive or awards for sales performance. These kinds of awards are offered as contents too! I’ve seen some really exotic destinations, life a fully expense paid trip to Costa Rica (wow!) offered to contest winners in my agency, which makes it really worth trying to get your sales

    Travel Perks can be Good

    Agents can sometimes take advantage of extended ‘courtesies’ or perks, which is an added benefit of being in the travel industry. We call them courtesies because no vendor is obligated to extend perks just because a travel professional identifies themselves as such. If an option for a room upgrade or car rental upgrade is available, agents will ask first if of course, and it’s up to the vendor to extend free services, amenities or perks to agents up presentation of valid credentials. These perks may also include shows, attraction tickets, tours and much more.

    Agents Travel Free in the Long Run

    This is the part I love about being a home-based travel professional! It really is all free in the long run! How is that? Travel professionals are allowed to legitimately write off their travel 100%. Yes, they can, so regardless if you are an agent who paid for their trip, you are in the business of travel, which makes all your travel 100% tax deductable. So if you are a travel agent, the key is to document your trip and save your receipts so you can legally write off your trips at the end of the tax year!

    Just to recap, there are 4 main ways travel agents can travel for free:

    1. Booking groups and getting room, cabin, or monetary credit
    2. Agency and Vendor Contests
    3. Perks & upgrades
    4. Write-off your travel 100%

    Attention All Agents: save those receipts and document, document, document!

    How To Travel Vacation And Grow Rich Part 2 of 5

    This is about taking advantage of the travel industry’s secrets. Taking that dream vacation at wholesale and making money!

    Remember that Expedia was sold for $5.1 Billion Dollars! Wonder why?

    I really wondered why such a high price was paid for an internet travel store until researching some important facts.

    People love to travel. It is the number one (1) thing that people say that they would do if they had the money and the time to do it. Because of the major trends that are taking place, more and more people now have the time and the money to travel.

    So They Are Traveling!!

    82% of all travel is booked online meaning, through the internet. 79 million Americans booked their travel on line in 2005.

    In the last decade, more than 200,000 travel agents have lost their jobs. By 2004 there were only 103,000 travel agents left in the United States.

    People like you and me were buying travel from the Internet Travel Stores.

    The travel industry today is a 1.3 Trillion dollar business here in the US.

    7 Trillion worldwide. Wouldn’t you like a piece of that! That amounts to $56 million a minute spent on travel in the U.S. alone.

    The travel industry is growing 23% faster than the global economy.

    Of that economy, tourism accounts for 11% of all consumers spending worldwide.

    The travel industry is bigger than the oil business.

    There is continued growth of Internet e-commerce. Consumers spend billions on the Internet, and travel is the fastest growing segment of that trend.

    Consumers are comfortable buying things such as cars, homes, and, of course travel online.

    Baby boomers are retiring at the rate of 1 every 8 seconds and what do they want to do? That’s right, Travel.

    Because of this the travel industry is about to experience an explosive boom: it is expected to double to $14 Trillion worldwide in the next 10 years.

    Why Would You Or Anyone, Not Want to Own An Internet Travel Store!

    Let’s See Why:

    You and the people you know are going to travel anyway, so, doesn’t it just make sense to…

    1.Get paid for that travel?

    2.Make a substantial amount of your personal travel tax deductible rather than paying for it with after tax dollars?

    3.Travel as an insider, with potential perks and benefits, rather than as an outsider?

    WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO THROW MONEY AWAY FOR NO REASON? This Is So Unique—It Has Two Opportunities in one!

    1. You own your own travel business with a company supported website and Earn 60% of the commissions from all travel booked on your site!

    2. You benefit from the greatest referral compensation plan in the industry and Make money every time you and your Rep team refer someone to the travel business. Just like I am showing you!

    I don’t want you to be confused, so the first one is an Online Travel Agency where you have travel credentials and are referred to as a referring travel agent. This is where you make 60% of all commissions on all travel booked on your travel site. You, your friends and family do the booking on your site.

    The second is as an Independent Marketing Representative showing your friends about this opportunity. The Company Is Financially Solid

    The company was founded in January 2001 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of YTB International, a publicly-traded company (YTB.PK) The last three years the company has gotten the highest award from Carnival Cruise line for travel bookings. WOW

    Southern California Travel Agent Location Highlight

    Northern California travel agents just aren’t as busy as those who work in LA, mainly because when hearing “California”, most people quickly think about Metropolitan Los Angeles which is recognized for the theme parks, entertainment industry, classy accommodations, busy beaches, superstars, movies and the like.

    A Northern California travel agent seldom experiences the hustle and bustle of the agencies in the heart of Los Angeles because their place isn’t so daring and fancy. LA is the residence of the rich and famous along with Hollywood, the Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Disneyland, Universal Studios, water parks, Beverly Hills, Kodak Theater and the list goes on. Visiting the residences of stars and their lifestyle is fascinating and watching the shooting of a live TV show is just as exciting. It’s a no shocker that many tourists flock Los Angeles for these purposes.

    Shopping additionally draws crowds to LA. Melrose Avenue presents retro stores while the Grove is a superb site to hang out and enjoy the outdoors. Obviously, Rodeo Drive tops the list, if you have the budget for it. Fun destinations such as theme parks, Santa Monica Pier, beaches and boardwalks could all be found in Los Angeles as well. So that is why take you should take the time to visit down south. An instant call to a Southern California travel agent will surely encourage you to take a drive because it is really worth the travel. The Southern part has a lot to offer which Metropolitan Los Angeles can no longer offer since it’s too packed and busy.

    Fun in the sun is one of the main attraction of Southern California. It is filled with beautiful and not too busy seashores. Coronado Beach, Black’s Beach and Imperial Beach are only few of the many beach locations with broad sandy shores and crystal clear water. Other water activities draw people to this section of California like Knott’s Soak City Water Park and Sea World in San Diego. For those with little ones, visiting San Diego Zoo is a good idea, having its central African rainforest feel. The zoo recreated the natural home of the animals so children can picture how they live in the wild, furthermore, there’s a petting zoo where children can freely socialize with animals that area safe to be around. A Southern California travel agent offers passes for these fun-filled places.

    Apart from “fun in the sun”, heritage lovers drive down south for some museum hopping. A lot of the more popular ones would be the Women’s Hall of Fame, Marston House, Junipero Serra Museum, Museum of Modern Art and the list goes on. What makes the south appealing to tourists is the fact that if offers pleasure from the hustle and bustle in the city. Peaceful respite and quiet leisure is one thing we need from time to time. Though LA is glamorous, it doesn’t capture the whole essence of California. Contact a Southern California travel agent now to explore other exciting places in California.

    Driving Safety Near a School or School Bus

    Driving near a school or a school bus can be dangerous if motorists don’t take proper precautions to ensure not just their own safety, but the safety of children in the vicinity. Here’s a guide to help you understand the right protocol to follow as a motorist in a school zone, or near a school bus.

    Picking up or dropping off children at school:

    • Every school has a system to pick up and drop off children. Make sure you educate yourself on the rules of the school and adhere to them
    • Don’t double park because it reduces visibility for other drivers, and can endanger students
    • Park in the allotted areas (these have been designed keeping in mind the safety of students), and take permitted turns while navigating the school grounds. Avoid making U-turns and three-point turns.
    • While driving, watch out closely for children on bikes coming onto the roadway from between parked cars. Also keep a safe distance of at least 3ft between your vehicle and the motorcycle, and always check your side-view mirror before exiting your car
    • As a rule, ensure that your child is safely buckled in with the seat belt or in an age-appropriate child car seat before starting the car. Also, make sure your child enters or exits the car only via the ‘safety door’ which is the rear door on the kerb-side

    Driving in a school zone:

    • Don’t exceed the 25mph speed limit imposed while driving in school zones. Most often this speed limit is imposed in school zones between 8 a.m. and 9.30 a.m., and 2.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Motorists must adhere to this speed limit even if there are no children in sight
    • Slow down when approaching a school crossing
    • Do not proceed past the school crossing until the crossing supervisor’s hand-held sign is no longer displayed, or until he/she indicates that you can continue
    • If there is no crossing supervisor, but ‘CHILDREN CROSSING’ flags are displayed, the motorist must stop and wait until all the pedestrians have crossed the road
    • While driving through a school zone, avoid honking as it might scare children and cause them to stumble or fall in the way of oncoming traffic

    Driving in the vicinity of a school bus:

    • Learn to understand the flashing light system on school buses.
    • If the overhead lights on the bus are flashing yellow, then prepare to stop. These lights indicate that the bus driver is planning to bring the vehicle to a halt to load or unload children.
    • If the overhead lights are flashing red, and the stop sign extended, it means that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off the bus. At this time all motorists, regardless of the direction in which they are moving, must come to a halt until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign pulled back, and the bus resumes motion. In all 50 states of the U.S., it is mandatory for all vehicles on both sides of the road to come to a halt during this process. However, if a median divides the road, this may not be required.
    • If you are passing a school bus, make sure that there is plenty of visibility and space in the next lane. It is illegal in the U.S. to pass a bus on the right side, as this is where the loading and unloading of children occurs. Therefore, vehicles may pass the school bus on the left side on multiple lane roadways
    • Remember, though buses have large mirrors to assist the driver in his/her navigation, these vehicles also have huge blind spots. Stay cognizant of this, and pull back and slow down if you see a bus flash its blinkers, and allow it to move into the next lane.
    • Be especially vigilant near bus stops. Children may be playing at the bus stop to kill some time, or might be arriving late for their school bus and may inadvertently dart into oncoming traffic.
    • Bear in mind that buses stop frequently, so maintain at least 3ft distance between your car and the bus, to allow yourself enough time to come to a halt too
    • Do not park at or near a bus stop. In fact, maintain enough distance between your vehicle and the bus stop to allow children to enter and exit the bus with ease
    • Always remember that children can behave in an unpredictable, often rash, manner. In their haste or enthusiasm, they may not remember the safety concerns associated with walking on the road or picking up something they’ve dropped on the road. Therefore, it’s important to look very carefully to make sure the way is clear before navigating traffic behind a school bus.

    These tips will help you drive in a safe, responsible manner while driving in a school zone, or near a school bus. If you would like to share your thoughts or suggestions of your own, we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below!

    DIY Travel Should Save You Money

    Travelers or Travelers today, whether experienced or not, have unlimited choices, so why use a travel agent?

    Savvy travelers or travelers, when in need of information relating to specific destinations or activities, seek out travel agents with knowledge, experience and expertise of those destinations and activities.

    It is not always easy choosing a travel agent. Many agents are called specialists, but sometimes the qualification to be a specialist is a simple test run by a tourism office or tour operator. Sometimes, these tests do not require the agent to have ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt.’ Some of these tests are too simple and could harm the reputation of the travel industry if allowed to continue unchecked. A ‘specialist’ can mean, ‘I know the brochure product’ or ‘I have seen a training video’ or ‘I have taken a test given by a Tourism Office.’

    If you find a specialist, ask about their expertise. Ask them if they or their colleagues have any direct knowledge, experience and expertise of where you want to go and what you want to do, after all, it is your hard-earned money.

    Experts are out there. Find them locally or use the internet and then do your bookings with them. You may have to use different experts for different destinations and activities, just as you would select any other professional for accounting, legal, medical or mechanical matters, except in your lifetime you will probably (or hopefully) spend more on travel than all of the others put together.
    Reality Check: “I once tried a major chain of travel centers to get 2 tickets to Mexico from Canada. I was only offered 2 airlines. I then used an internet search and came up with 5 airlines and made my bookings online. Perhaps the travel center did not earn commission or was not able to charge a fee for the booking or did not want an ‘air only’ booking or did they only offer their ‘preferred products’ which limits client choices?”

    The Nomad

    If you do not need an expert agent you can use the internet to find all kinds of global travel choices and then you can make your booking directly with an online agent or travel operator. If you decide to make your own bookings directly with the travel operator you should not have to pay the full retail price which has a built-in amount for commissions to be paid to sellers of their travel products. Retail agencies that have their own in-house tour products which are sold through other agencies should also be prepared to sell at a net price for a direct booking from a consumer.

    It is only fair that agents and agencies earn commissions and fees from travel providers such as hotels, lodges, tours, cruises or mark up their own tour products to allow for a third-party sale. They all have overheads which have to be covered to give local consumers the convenience of local shopping and it is important to support your local businesses as long as they offer excellent pricing and service. At the same time, it is only fair that consumers who make their own bookings directly with travel operators should not have to incur this extra cost. Fair fare prices should be available for consumers who want to handle their own direct bookings.

    If you are comfortable with dealing over the internet directly with the travel providers and you want to get fair fare prices you can check out a travel website that was launched in April 2008 that, for members only, offers free travel vouchers that saves them the commission or fee elements in retail travel prices. The site offers thousands of travel vouchers for travel in over 70 countries ranging from simple B&B accommodations to complex adventure travel, all at net of commission prices. This travel site is operated by an online travel club that does not sell travel or make reservations and all monies therefore, are handled directly between the members and the travel operators.

    The internet has just about everything a traveler or even a traveler could want, whereas agents and agencies can only offer limited selections of brochures from travel providers and operators. There are thousands of travel businesses that never get to see the inside of a travel agency or brochure, but they would still be prepared to pay commissions to sellers of their products. This online travel club allows travel businesses to promote their products and services at no cost except the requirement to issue travel vouchers that represent the normal commissions and fees in the retail price. 100% of these savings are then passed on to members who do their own direct bookings. As a member, all travel vouchers are free but if you do not want to join there is an associated website that sells the same travel vouchers without requiring a membership fee.

    A tip from the website. When you make your own direct bookings, do make sure that the time in the time-zone that you are calling is appropriate as “it is embarrassing to wake up a Greek Sea Captain at one in the morning somewhere in the Greek Islands to discuss their listing.” The Nomad at The Top Travel Club.

    This site is continually adding new travel selections and as long as you are comfortable and prepared to be a D.I.Y. Traveler or D.I.Y. Traveler over the web, you might find some interesting trips and adventures, some of which are not readily available elsewhere.

    In closing, I hope you find the little bits of attempted English language humor humorous and as I consider myself 1 L of a Traveler, I say 2 L with travelers but at last I am happy to have found a web travel centre centered around saving me money. Apologies to both Websters and Oxford dictionaries.

    What to Pack for Travelling

    This is what I consider to be essential items for any traveler/backpacker. These are items which I have used in my past travels, and have served me well.

    Backpack

    The first most obvious thing for any traveler to decide on is whether to use a backpack or a suitcase. During my first solo travel experience to Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan, I traveled with a backpack. For under 50 I bought a Eurohike 55 litre backpack with a rain cover, which came in handy during the monsoon season! The pack was top-opening, and didn’t really offer much by way of security. I therefore bought a special backpack transit case which I put my backpack into and made it secure from theft, but also made it secure from airport conveyor belts. I had heard that the conveyors in airports sometimes broke clips from backpacks if they were not properly secured, and that some airlines didn’t even want to have backpacks on their airplanes because they were a safety threat. I actually lost the backpack case during the course of my travels, and had to resort to wrapping my backpack in black bin bags and tape in order to prevent the clips from catching airport conveyors. The backpack was comfortable, with some very nice cushioned padding. However, I realized as my trip went on that the pack was a little too large. I had read on many different websites that the smaller and lighter your pack, the more comfortable your trip will be. This is so true. It is not just about how light the pack is for you to carry, but also practical reasons like traveling on packed trains and subways with a giant wardrobe on your back. The backpack was incredibly annoying whilst traveling on busy subways, as I didn’t know if, and how badly, I was bumping into people – but I am sure that I definitely was! However, it was great to have my hands free when I needed to pay for tickets and also carry bags and water bottles.

    Suitcase

    On my second trip to Japan, I decided to ditch the backpack and travel with a medium sized suitcase. I was traveling for 3 weeks, and had planned to move around the country quite a bit. I was worried about the condition of the suitcase’s wheels by the end of the trip, but altogether I preferred the comfort of a nice suitcase. The suitcase takes up the use of your arms, but it does relieve your back. I found time and again that my backpack was becoming too heavy and cumbersome for longer walks; a suitcase, meanwhile, makes walking a pleasure. Trying to find your hotel in the humid and busy conditions of Bangkok with your gigantic backpack is not a pleasant experience. Though, going up stairs is a pain with a suitcase, but with a backpack it is a breeze. This may be important to you as it is best to travel around a Japanese city (and many other Asian cities) via the subway system, and sometimes they have enormous staircases leading to the platforms. The final clincher is that a suitcase makes you look more businesslike and professional; a backpack makes you easily identifiable as a traveler or tourist, and makes you stand out far more. If I entered a nice hotel with my backpack, I wouldn’t be given the same service as if I travelled with a suitcase. I believe that backpackers have a bit of a bad name in some countries, as backpackers tend to be younger people who are more prone to loutish behavior due to letting of some steam after finishing university.

    Daypack

    You don’t want to take your suitcase or backpack with you on your daily walks or excursions, so you need a nice convenient daypack. I actually took a shoulder bag, as it looked more stylish than a small backpack. But be warned, a shoulder bag can give you some irritating neck and shoulder pains if you over pack it with large water bottles or souvenirs. In this instance, a nice mini backpack is better as it transfers the weight evenly on your back and shoulders.

    Travel Insurance

    I always take out travel insurance as you never know what could happen during your trip. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Medical help abroad could cost you thousands if you do not have the correct insurance, so always read the insurance policy properly. When I search for insurance I always turn to comparison sites, such as moneysupermarket. This way you can compare all the different companies offering insurance and their relative policies.

    Skype

    Skype is a free service which allows you to call anyone in the world (who also has a Skype account) for free. The service is completely free when using the Skype-to-Skype service, and the prices are competitive if you want to call mobile phones or landlines. You can use Skype on your iPod Touch, an actual Skype phone or on your laptop. If you are taking a laptop abroad, you can even use your webcam to make video calls, but if you are not taking a laptop, I found that many internet cafes in Asia had Skype already installed on their computers. Skype also allows you to send instant messages, play games and even transfer files. All in all, Skype is a great device which you should be make use of whilst traveling.

    First Aid Box

    I like to take a mini first aid box when I travel. The boxes come in some very nice convenient sizes with everything you could need for your trip. Items can include: plasters, antiseptic cream, insect repellent, and various tablets for common travel sicknesses.

    Clothing

    I will not speak at great lengths on clothing, as I believe this is a personal choice and dependent on different people’s needs. However, I will say that you should always pack light, and think about whether you will ACTUALLY need an item of clothing. Sometimes, I have fallen into the trap of packing far too much clothing ‘just in case’. Whilst traveling in Asia you can always pick up cheap clothing, so there is no need to over pack. The minimum I would take for a month traveling is: 3-4 t-shirts, 2 shirts, trousers, two shorts, swimming shorts, 2 pairs of socks, trainers/sneakers (I would buy some that look formal but are as comfortable as trainers).

    Travel Washing Line

    I take a small washing line on my trips in case there is not enough places to dry my clothes. If you are packing light, you can just wash your clothes more often, and you will sometimes need a washing line for extra space.

    Travel Sink Plug

    I used this occasionally when I stayed in hostels. In some budget accommodation you will not have a sink plug, which makes shaving difficult. The travel plug is therefore recommended if you are considering staying in budget accommodation. Also, even some higher grade hotels have faulty plugs in their bathrooms, so it is generally a good item to take.

    Toiletries

    As a dandy backpacker I have a vast array of toiletries. My toiletry bag consists of: shavers, moisturizers, sun cream, nail clippers, eyebrow tweezers, aftershaves (which I tend to buy from airport duty free), lip balm, deodorant and more!

    Rain Mac

    If you are traveling anywhere that has a monsoon season then a rain mac is a great idea. Monsoon rain is awesome, and can just take you by surprise and leave you drenched. A little rain mac can be scrunched up into a very small size and can easily be carried in your daypack.

    Swiss Army Knife

    I sometimes take this on my travels as it has various useful devices: a bottle opener, scissors, toothpick, tweezers, screwdriver heads and numerous knives of varying shape and sizes.

    Travel Towels

    I recommend taking a large travel towel. These can be folded into an incredibly small size and take very little space in your luggage. They also dry quicker than ordinary towels.

    Camera

    I really don’t know much about cameras but I definitely know that you will need one on your journey. It’s a way of recording experiences that are not possible in any other way. I just bought an 8 megapixel camera in Bangkok – it has served me well.

    Batteries

    You will need these for your camera, so make sure you take enough spares from your own country, which tend to be cheaper than whilst abroad.

    Mobile Phone

    A mobile phone is now a necessary gadget in all parts of life, and is very important during your travels. It is a great device to keep in touch with other travelers, but is also a safety device if you become lost or in danger. Remember to take you charger though, or it will become useless after a few days.

    Backup Sim Card

    Just in case you lose the first Sim card you can just take another Sim, which are usually free.

    Backup Debit/Credit Card

    I would take a backup card just in case I lost my main card. If I lost my main card I could just cancel it and then transfer the money from my main account into my backup account via internet banking.

    Pens and Paper

    You will occasionally need to write things down, such as directions or contacts, and a pen and paper would be very helpful. I would always travel with a mini pen and small notepad in my daypack so that it was easy to get to. You can always use your mobile phone or iPod Touch for this as well.

    Travel Adaptors

    Travel adapters are necessary if you want to charge your iPod or mobile phone. Once you know where you are going, you can find out what converter plug you will need. It will save you having to search around in your destination country. Some plugs are all-rounders and cover everywhere.

    iPod Touch

    My iPod Touch has been irreplaceable during my travels. Not only is it great for watching movies, listening to music and playing games whilst waiting for your flight or on long train journeys, it also has practical uses. By downloading free applications via its Wi-Fi capabilities you can turn your iPod Touch into a hotel or hostel finder, a currency exchange service, a travel guide and much more. I also bought a special, and inexpensive, earphone and microphone set for my Touch, which allowed me to use Skype wherever I had free Wi-Fi. Actually you can find free Wi-Fi everywhere in Southeast Asia: McDonald’s, Starbucks, shopping malls, hotels and even airports. However, I surprisingly found that Wi-Fi access is not so easily found in Korea or Japan, and tends not to be free if it is offered.

    iPad

    I don’t actually own one of these but they just seem to be a large iPod Touch. All the convenience of the iPod Touch being a nice pocket device which is easy to take everywhere is lost on this device. But maybe I am missing something about it.

    Travel Guides

    I love to read travel guides and always take them on my trips. My favorite guides have always been DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. I regularly use DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: Thailand, Japan and Rome to name a few. I found them incredibly helpful, but most importantly I loved the focus on culture and historical sites. The guides are wonderfully illustrated, easy to navigate, and the pictures and captions are beautifully presented. In addition, the historical sections are informative, well illustrated and a joy to read. I would also recommend Rough Guides and Lonely Planet, which I have also used in the past.

    Money Belt

    I originally bought one in order to hide my valuables, but then just used it to hold my bus/train tickets or small change so that it was easily at hand and I didn’t have to rummage though bags or my pockets. The money belt can be used as just a regular bum bag (fanny pack if you’re American) without valuable items and just left on display rather than inside your clothing. I just used it as an extra convenient pocket.

    Start a Home Travel Business and Profit From the Multi-Billion Dollar Online Travel Industry

    Yes, it is true. You can make money online working from home and can actually make a lot of money if you work hard, stay focused and execute. You can build a home travel business and live the Internet lifestyle you always dreamed of by operating an online home travel business. This article will put to rest any misgivings you may have had about starting an online travel business. I will not sugar coat it. In fact much of what I have to say will probably cause an up-roar in some parts of the online travel industry. I am aiming to tell it like it is.

    The TRUTH!
    Who really Makes Money in Online Travel. The truth is that you can’t really make a lot of money reselling other businesses travel products. This statement is directed towards the home-based travel agent market. Yes, its easy to get started as a home-based travel agent and the online travel agencies can provide you with your own personalized white label branded website, including quality customer support but in the end you are NOT building a business, you are only paying yourself a salary.

    Don’t be fooled.

    I am amazed at the amount of junk that there is online out there catering to the make money online from home crowd, touting selling travel as the route to freedom and riches. This truth is probably the most important fact anyone will ever tell you if you are just thinking about entering the online travel business. Let me repeat this for you one more time.

    It is difficult to become rich and build a company reselling other companies travel products. You can become rich over time by building a business that sells your own uniquely branded travel products. You can get rich and build a business if you “own the travel product.”

    Owning the travel product means that you are contracting directly with travel suppliers under your company’s own contracts, you are not just reselling a travel product owned by another travel business, tour operator, travel agency or travel consolidator. Your business creates the travel product by doing deals directly with travel suppliers. Your contracts with the travel suppliers become your businesses own unique inventory for the travel products you will be selling. The new travel product becomes your own brand. Your online travel business sells the travel product directly to consumers online or wholesales it too other travel agencies, travel agents, tour operators and re-sellers.

    The Home based Travel Agent Dilemma.
    I know I am opening up a can of worms here by disclosing this information but it’s really the truth. My intent is not to knock anyone down but to provide insight into how the online travel business really works and to show you WHO is really making the money and how you can make real money by deciding from the get go to actually build a business.

    Yes, if you want to make $20,000-$50,000 working from home then reselling cruises or popular travel products will be the best option for you but if you want to make real money, six or seven figures and you want to build a business that has real tangible value and can be sold later then you need to develop and sell your own travel products.

    The Internet is NOT causing Travel Agencies too shut down.
    I believe that the main reason that brick and mortar travel agencies are closing is not because of the Internet but because all they are really doing is reselling other companies travel products. The Internet contributed to the destruction of the traditional brick and mortar travel agency but the biggest factor in the down fall of travel agencies and travel agents in the travel industry is due to the fact that they are not selling anything unique or different from anyone else. It’s really a business model established to fail in the long run.

    How do you own your own travel product? You can own your own travel product in two different ways.

    1. Your business acts as a travel supplier providing tours, guiding, travel and tourism related activities or you own a lodging property.
    2. Your business partners with two or more travel suppliers to resell their individual travel products under a unique package that you own.

    What type of Online Travel Business do I need to start where I can own my own travel product, sell packages and build a real business?

    -Online Travel Agency
    -Online Tour Operator
    -Online Tour Guide
    -Online Travel Broker
    -Receptive Tour Operator
    -the Hybrid

    Let’s discuss a little about each type. There are many directions you can go.

    OTAs or Online Travel Agencies traditionally sell everything underneath the sun; including lodging, air, cars, vacation packages, and much more. On a hierarchy level of all online travel businesses, this would be the most expensive and most challenging type of online business to start. It’s doable don’t get me wrong it would just take much longer and be more expensive to startup.

    If you second tier niche and focus on contracting your own lodging deals and contracting with activity suppliers you could easily build a smaller more focused OTA. Another option would be for you to utilize the Global Distribution System (GDS) for air, car and for lodging that you could not contract yourself. I don’t recommend this last option as you’ll be just reselling product you don’t own but as long as you can combine the non-owned GDS products with your own contracted travel products you could create a nice win-win for the bottom line.

    Online Tour Operator’s sell dynamically packaged trips and pre-packaged trips to vacationers. I believe building an online tour operator business is your best option at building a successful online travel business.

    Now let me first state that the name is a little miss conceiving because of the word “Tour.” There is a big difference from a tour and a trip. On a tour there usually is a tour guide or person leading the tour with the travel participants. On a trip the traveler is traveling by themselves or with other people but there is no tour guide involved. In the travel business they call this a FIT trip, Drive vacation or Fly-Drive package.

    I favor selling trips, where the traveler buys a tour or trip product then attends the trip by themselves on their own time. The reason being for this is two parts.

    1. You don’t have to be the tour guide and you don’t have to hire one either.
    2. You have 100% more freedom by not actually participating in the tour itself. Just think of the time involved of actually going on a tour with a group or individual people.

    We operated tours when my wife and I owned the Yellow Breeches House Fly Fishing Lodge and B&B. We ran fly fishing excursions with lodging and guiding. Guess who was one of the guides? Yes, you got it. Yours truly. I would not change the past for anything. I learned so much from being a fly fishing guide and owning a lodging property. I just wouldn’t want to run that type of business again. There are much better travel business models out there. That’s part of the beauty about this report is that I am able to share some true life, realities for you.

    Sell Trips not Tours. This is the most important thing I can tell you regarding wanting to live the Internet life style and working from home enjoying the freedom that comes from owning your own online travel company. You won’t be living any Internet lifestyle if every week you are giving tours.

    Online Tour Guide’s provide tours to individuals and or groups. If I didn’t scare you off from above that’s ok, the tour guide business is a great business and it’s easy to get started with limited investment. This is a great business to enter the travel business and starting learning about how to build a business.

    If you love dealing with people and spending much of your time outside then this is probably the best travel business for you. This is serious work, day-in-and-day-out, as you are always outside in the elements. This travel business could be a stepping-stone for you to then go ahead and build an online tour operator business. I have a really good friend that owns a kayaking guide service. He runs Eco-adventures that include island hoping for three to five nights. He just loves it.

    Let me share a little strategy with you that will totally change the way you build or grow your existing tour guide business. Hopefully by now you’ll already see it and be way ahead of me but if not here it is.

    Create packages for your tour guide business that includes lodging, meals and your guide or tour service. You probably sell trips, guiding and or tours as an hourly or day product. Take the next step and package in lodging and meals and maybe a third activity. Sell packages to your clients and you will super-charge your revenue in a very big way.

    Example:
    Take an existing kayak guide that sells day trips for $250 for 2 people. Now create overnight packages. Create a new product line for your business.

    1. Contract with a lodging supplier to buy lodging for your kayak packages.
    2. Contract with two local restaurants to buy dinners for your kayak packages.
    3. Sell a 2 night, 1-day kayak excursion, with 2-dinners. Make money off the lodging, dinners and a 3rd activity and you can seriously start adding more profits to your business.

    Online Travel Broker – this is a new business category I stumbled upon. I believe this is a type of business you could start with literally no money. It’s just a matter of understanding the travel business. Here is how an online travel broker operates.

    Every travel supplier needs sales representatives. Your travel broker business contracts with travel suppliers to represent their business and help them sell more of their travel products. Many smaller travel businesses don’t have sales representatives. This may be your entry into the online travel business industry.

    Let’s say you live in a resort town or area and there are 4 golf courses nearby or 3 ski resorts. You represent the travel supplier’s products, finding larger partners and or re-sellers that would resell or distribute your client’s products. This business is just a matter of finding other travel suppliers that need sales representatives and finding larger companies looking for new travel products to sell and distribute. You make money by earning a percentage of all future sales booked or earn a flat fee per contract you sign. This would be a great way to enter the travel business as a part-time business. You could start with not much investment and build out slowly.

    Receptive Tour Operators receive inbound travelers from foreign countries. This is a B2B business (business-to-business). You build an Online Tour Operator business but you don’t sell your travel products directly to consumers or vacationers online, you sell your owned travel products to wholesalers or other tour operators in foreign countries that then resell them directly to travel agencies and the consumers in their country. If you live in a world- renowned destination area or region where foreigners come visit you can build a successful receptive tour operator business. The receptive tour operator business takes longer to develop as the buyers of your travel products will be other travel companies, tour operators and seasoned travel business won’t necessarily want to do business with a company that is new or just in startup mode. Adversity can be overcome though, through focus, determination and having an owned travel product that a wholesaler or foreign tour operator believes he can sell and make money.

    The Hybrid – build an Online Tour Operator business that caters to individual vacation travelers. After the business starts selling trips and or tours, start building a Receptive Tour Operator business component.

    I hope you have enjoyed a little insight into the world and possibilities of the online travel business and what it will take to start a home travel business.

    Travel The Majestic Canadian Rockies In Luxury

    Each major mountain range of the world is known for its scenic splendor and the Canadian Rockies are no exception. The Canadian Rockies are a must-see location for travelers who enjoy the majesty of mountain ranges or for anyone who desires to be counted among the well-traveled world explorers. For over 125 years, savvy travelers have taken advantage of the superior opportunities to view the panoramic scenery of the Canadian Rockies through luxury train excursions.

    The historic trains of Royal Canadian Pacific (RCP) offer a luxury travel experience like no other. At the 2006 World Travel Awards ceremony RCP won the “World’s Leading Luxury Train” award, winning over such notable train experiences such as the famed European Orient Express and The Blue Train of South Africa. RCP guests can be assured of five-star luxury service in an intimate atmosphere as only 32 guests are on board each rail excursion. Chartered individual tours can be arranged for the ultimate in privacy and service.

    The fully restored railcars hail from the 1920’s, the era of luxury travel of such notable society names as Rockefeller, Carnegie, Churchill and the British Royal Family. Wealthy individuals traveled to the famed lodge on Lake Louise to spend the summer season in the cool natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Travelers seeking the best in luxury travel can relive the elegant lifestyle of the pre-war American and British elite, admiring the unchanged scenery of this majestic part of the world.

    The Royal Canadian Pacific train originates in Calgary in the province of Alberta. The tour package includes limousine service between the airport, hotel and train locations as well as gourmet dining experiences in Calgary before and after the tour. RCP provides first-class amenities and service from beginning to end.

    Another well-known train service to the highlights of the Canadian Rockies, the Rocky Mountaineer, travels between Vancouver, British Columbia on the west coast, to Calgary with stops at the popular tourist destinations of Whistler, British Columbia, and Jasper or Banff in Alberta. Travelers originating or terminating at Vancouver can easily extend their scenic experience with an Alaskan cruise which includes whale watching and spectacular views of Alaska’s famed glaciers.

    The Rocky Mountaineer takes a 2-day journey to the national parks at Jasper and Banff and features glass domed bi-level rail cars. Travelers enjoy the panoramic views from the second storey. Gold Leaf Service provides seated first-class dining en-route. Overnight accommodations and dinner are provided at a moderate hotel. While not the award-winning luxury trip of RCP, the Rocky Mountaineer provides an alternate means of reaching the famed tourist spots of the Canadian Rockies from the west coast of Canada.

    A knowledgeable travel consultant can combine the train trip with a stay at a luxury resort nestled in the pristine forests of the Canadian Rockies. There are any number of modern first-class premier resorts that provide tourists with upscale accommodations and service nestled in the stunning forests near the numerous clear lakes of the area. Anyone seeking an Eco-friendly luxury travel experience in a peaceful and private spot in the world need look no further than a Canadian Rockies adventure.

    How I Made My Travel Certificates

    Although my company is deeply involved in the design and sales of Travel Related Incentives and Rewards, first and foremost, we are a travel agency. Everything we do here is for the purpose of gaining access to travel customers.

    Travel Agencies have been through some pretty big changes over the years starting with the airlines deciding that we didn’t deserve a commission for our services anymore. That sort of snowballed through many other travel service providers as the Internet opened up access to many of the same travel sources that we travel agencies used to call our own.

    Today, instead of earning a commission by simply booking reservations for their clients, travel agencies must specialize in areas where they can guarantee travel service providers a large number of travelers. This allows the agency to negotiate rates below what is available to the consumer directly. So, the travel agency of this new era is now working for the travel services provider instead of the traveler. To make the new concept work, agencies are always looking for favorable pricing on the most desirable types of travel and then struggle to find the 1000’s of travelers they need so they can keep their contracts.

    I developed my business model a number of years ago before the commission crunch began and unknowingly got a jump on the trend. I decided to try and market travel packages through the Human Resource departments of large companies. I put together cruise packages based on favorable rates I was getting from a few cruise lines sailing out of Florida. I offered these discount packages to employees as a company benefit. The companies loved it and were quite willing to put my flyers in their employee’s pay envelopes each week. That was almost 20 years ago and I still have a few companies that still use my original program today.

    Getting really low rates on the most desirable types of travel is great but getting it for free is even better! While most agencies were desperately looking for more travelers, I knew if I could provide the travel services for little or nothing, this would never be a problem for me. I just had to figure out how I could get someone else to pay all or at least some of the travel expenses.

    Living in Florida I watched as condominiums were being built one after the other from one coast to the other and all points in between. These were time share condo developments and they were some of the nicest resorts that Florida had to offer. They had a lot of empty suites week after week and they were looking for travelers too. I made a few calls and soon after I had arrangements with dozens of resorts that would give me access to their accommodations simply to have the opportunity to show my travelers around in hopes they would buy. All I needed now was a cost effective way to let people know what I had to offer.

    It wasn’t just me that was looking for customers; everyone that was in any kind of business was looking for customers. I got together with a few marketing managers I knew and proposed that we work together. If they would cover the cost of the fees, I could give them a travel certificate that they could in turn give to their customers in reward for their business. It wasn’t long before I had several business owners who were promoting my travel packages by purchasing travel certificates from me and then giving them out to all their customers. It was the perfect idea: Travelers got to go to great places almost for free, my business associates got terrific sales incentives at a great price and I got plenty of travelers to fulfill my contracts with all my fees prepaid!

    Since then I’ve design 100’s of travel certificate programs. The scope of each program is based primarily on the amount of money the business wants to pay per certificate towards the fees. The travelers makes up the difference but still has access to deeply discounted travel services that they would not be able to get elsewhere.

    Travel Website Dictionary

    For the benefit and convenience of the traveler and adventure lover travel dictionary is compiled. This dictionary provided a complete guide to all the aspects of traveling. You might be a regular business traveler looking for some discount on travel cost or the wanderlust looking out for a vacation that many travelers do not take. For every kind of traveler with whatever their requirements, website dictionary is the solution.

    There are a number of things that go into planning a vacation and without a good travel dictionary this is impossible on your own. The road map has to be conceptualized and the itinerary must be sorted out. While you can get a customized itinerary for you self you can also select one suitable to your travel destination from an array of great tours travel website dictionaries boast of.

    Only a travel website dictionary will be able to get you the latest updates on prices of tours, discount packages and the umpteen frills all travelers look out for. You can get them right in your inbox by signing up with them. The latest fares and the festivals are all listed on travel website dictionaries.

    Before spending your hard earned money on a lavished tour it’s always a good idea to sample its preview. And what better way to do that than through the eyes of experienced travelers and their travelogues. On a travel website dictionary you get the opportunity to communicate with there travelers who have been to the sites where you plan to go. Get the best tips and cultural information on the food habits, dress code and religious customs before you arrive.

    A travel website directory is one that gives you the chance to sit back in your easy chair and book a travel guide over the net. Isn’t it a better proposition to have your travel guide waiting for you on arrival than to scout the alien city seeking one out. Travel agents who register on travel website dictionaries have a name for themselves, and can give you the right information which many guide books are unable off.

    A travel website dictionary is also regularly updated and you will get all the latest information about new sites to visit, the recent change in hotel room tariffs and what is new in town. You can source contact numbers and get more information from their websites and agencies that have been listed. A Travel dictionary has a huge list of hotels, taxi services, insurance companies, travel guides and travel tips that you cannot expect to find any where else.

    Details About Working With an Online Travel Agency

    When you are looking to book your next vacation or your next business trip, you may be considering using an online travel agency. Before you decide to do so, however, you should be aware of what to expect from an online travel agency so you can determine how best to match that to your own unique needs. There are several different levels of service in which to classify online travel agencies, the level you need depends on your trip requirements as well as your personal travel and leisure preferences or desires.

    Quite simply, you should be able to find an online travel agency that can fulfill any expectation you may have. Whether you prefer self-service travel plans where you do all of your own searching and booking, or a full-service online agency that handles every detail on your behalf, there are many options available. Depending on the type of travel you will be undertaking, there are also various options that you can consider among online travel agencies. Some specialize only in travel packages, while others offer a la carte menus of travel services for you to pick and choose.

    There are several expectations, however, that are universal to all online travel agencies. These have to do with the minimum level of service provided and the quality and competitiveness of the types of travel being sold. It is best to qualify the online travel agency on all of these expectations before you choose to enter into partnership with them for the travel you are seeking to plan.

    The first universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is having a variety of destinations and packages available to choose from. It does not matter what specialty the agency might have, from full-service travel to niche travel such as cruises or unusual destinations. No matter what is being sold, you always want to partner with an agency that provides options. While the first option you see may very well end up being the best choice or the best value, you will have no means of determining that unless other options are available for comparison. Good self-service travel sites will readily offer you comparison information. Full-service online travel agencies should compile that same information and present it to you when you are in the process of making a decision.

    The second universal expectation you should have when using an online travel agency is that they offer the same basic types of vacations from more than one carrier or provider. For example, you can choose between two major airlines for the same New York-to-Miami flight leg of your trip. If an online travel agency represents only one brand, they are not truly a travel agency; instead, they are a representative of that brand. If only one brand were offered, customers would have no means of evaluating whether the services and products offered were of value or were worthless. Having a number of providers to choose from when selecting hotel or airfare or cruise line shows that the travel agency is actively updating its site with the best prices and options currently available.

    The third universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is price competitiveness. Although travel agencies sometimes charge fees to travelers in order to off-set their cost of doing business, those fees must be fair. The charges for the actual travel services you see published through online travel agencies should be no more than what you would pay if you went directly through the provider, and, in fact, less if bundled with other services.

    The final universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is a service-level guarantee that ensures you get what you pay for and are treated in a courteous and appropriate manner. Online travel agencies should also offer some form of a guarantee for your purchases that no foreseeable action on their part or the part of the service provider will interrupt your travel. They cannot warrant against freak or random occurrences, but they can ensure that their own offerings are solid before offered.

    Perhaps the best thing about using an online agency is the availability of customer reviews and feedback you can read before making a final purchase. Another nice convenience, for repeat customers, is the ability to create your own customer profile that allows you to save certain options in your preferences that will streamline future vacation planning. You can save time and hassle by storing any corporate or membership discount numbers, frequent flyer numbers and other pertinent information on your customer profile.

    The expectations you hold for the online travel agency you select as a partner may be varied. If they can uphold these four basic standards of quality, you can be assured that you are getting sound representation and the best deals available.

    By And Large, Business Travel Is Not A Pleasurable Experience

    Business travel has become so common that a considerable proportion of the corporate world of America is spending more time in airplanes and hotels than on their couches or in their automobiles.

    According to a recent estimate, about 40 million adults in the US travel on business at least once a year to a location about 50 miles from home. More than 20 percent of the trips made by African Americans, for instance, are related to their work.

    Those who do not need to travel frequently on business consider business travel glamorous and exciting. However, in reality, business travel is often arduous.

    It is tough physically, tough on the family, and especially tough on the pockets of businesspersons who do not have the luxury of generous expense accounts to take care of their travel expenses.

    In addition, those who travel on business regularly, quickly wise up to the fact that a stress-free and safe journey requires the smooth functioning of a number of interconnected factors, which includes the vagaries of the weather.

    According to a study conducted recently, monitoring business travel trends:

    – 58 percent of business travel is undertaken for association meetings and conferences,

    – 43 percent comprising of business travel made by individuals,

    – and 29 percent for corporate meetings.

    The study also identified some of the most popular destinations within the US for business travel. They are:

    – Washington, D.C.,

    – New York,

    – Los Angeles/Long Beach,

    – Chicago,

    – Atlanta,

    – Boston,

    – Houston,

    – Minneapolis-St. Paul,

    – Detroit,

    – and Dallas.

    Irrespective of what the destination is, business travel is seldom an enjoyable experience. Some companies will allow their business travelers the opportunity to enjoy their travel surroundings but this is usually short lived depending on the demands of the trip.

    Business travelers, who have to make frequent trips, need special facilities to ease the hassles of traveling. Airlines and hotels are increasing the levels of services they provide in order to meet the growing demands of business travelers:

    Usually, business travelers research fares on their own and make their reservations online. According to a survey, it was found that only 32 percent of corporate travelers used the services of travel agents for their reservation needs, while the rest, 68 percent, preferred using the internet or online services to plan at least some part of their business traveling arrangements.

    Business travelers are usually technologically conversant; hence, choose to handle all their traveling arrangements through the Internet, limiting the necessity of having to interact with travel agents and professionals dealing with customer service.

    Most tourism related sites offer one-stop travel facilities for reservations of flights, booking rooms in hotels, and providing transportation on the ground.

    Major airlines like Delta and American have included travel-friendly features like locating cheap fares, finding economical hotel accommodation, and hiring cars on a rental basis inexpensively on their websites.

    Travelers, thus, can make arrangements for an entire business trip, which includes seating preferences, confirming special food requests, and a text message or e-mail verifying their flight status and information about the departure timings with a few clicks of the mouse button.
    Most of these sites provide boarding passes that can be printed out and online check-ins within 24 hours of the departure of the flight.

    At the airport, those travelers in a hurry can take advantage of check-in kiosks in order not to have to wait in long lines, and get their boarding passes and their seating information.

    Frequent Flyer Miles, Automatic Upgrades, and Comfortable Seating:

    One of the biggest perks of traveling frequently on business is the facility of accumulating points, which can be exchanged for vacations. Travelers, therefore, are always on the look out for hotels offering generous points facilities.

    Frequent air travelers also favor automatic upgrades and comfort inside the airplane, such as generous legroom and additional storage facilities overhead. Business traveler programs like Elite-access provided by Continental Airlines offer comforts like guarantees of no-middle-seat and upgrades to the first class if possible.

    Getting Value for Money:

    Companies are constantly curtailing overhead expenses by cutting down on the travel allowances they give their executives, while business travelers look for ways in which they can maximize their allowances to the fullest.

    For example, several hotels offer free breakfasts, while others provide complimentary facilities such as a welcoming snack or allowing their guests to make free long distance and local calls. Many hotels also offer free newspapers, tea and coffee.

    6 Things To Consider Before Choosing An Auto Transport Company

    In my previous article of this series I discussed some things you should know before you decide to transport your car across the country. In this installment I am going to give you some additional advice to follow before actually deciding on a particular transporter or method of transport. And I will also give you a few general tips that you should follow to make your move as painless as possible.

    Check for Adequate Insurance

    Prior to entrusting your vehicle to an auto transporting company, be sure that the company is correctly accredited, and insured. Cars can occasionally get damaged in the course of a move; therefore you need to ensure that your service provider has adequate insurance to cover any damage your car may receive while in transport. Be sure you know what the transport company’s insurance policies cover and the amount of insurance deductible you would need to pay out in case there is an insurance claim. You should also check with your own insurance carrier to see what they will cover in the unlikely event that your car in damaged during transport.

    Have your Vehicle Inspected

    Before giving your vehicle to the transport company for inspection, take it in for a complete servicing. This is to make certain that it is in good working condition with no mechanical, electrical or other problems. Regarding the inspection of your motor vehicle, always keep in mind that it is for your benefit as well as for the benefit of the transport company to have your car or truck inspected prior to having it loaded onto the transport carrier.

    To make the vehicle easier to inspect, you should ensure that the vehicle is thoroughly clean. The outside should have no dirt on it, and the inside should be neat and uncluttered, making it easy to inspect for any signs of damage or general wear and tear. Document any dents, dings, or any minute scratches on your vehicle together with the company so there will be absolutely no possibility of a later misunderstanding once your vehicle is returned to you. Another inspection will likely be administered at the drop off location.

    Although damage is unusual, it can unfortunately occur. Therefore it is critical that you document any damages to your vehicle on the bill of lading, as soon as your car comes off the truck, and before you drive it away. The transport company will not take responsibility for any damage that you report to them after you have already taken possession of your vehicle.

    Minimum Requirements for Non-Working Vehicles

    If your vehicle is not working it can still be hauled. Although it is certainly possible to haul an inoperable vehicle, your car at the very minimum should be able to be rolled, steered, and braked. Otherwise a forklift will need to be used at both the pickup and delivery locations, which will add to the complexity and cost of your move. Keep in mind that your inoperable vehicle must be located in an adequate sized lot for the truck and forklift to have access to it if necessary.

    Should You Use A Broker?

    Brokers act as intermediaries between you, the client, and the transporter or motor carrier, and are in fact the primary source of freight for the majority of motor carriers in the industry. The majority of brokerages are non-asset based, meaning that they do not actually own any trucks but rather work on behalf of their clients to get their car moved quickly and at a reasonable price using their large network of pre qualified motor carriers. Since brokers typically don’t own any trucks they do not have to burden of having idle trucks just sitting around that need to be on the road, but instead can focus on locating the best auto shipper to transport your vehicle.

    Brokers frequently weed out the trucking companies with poor customer service or lots of complaints as they do not want to utilize a transportation company that doesn’t deliver top quality services. They utilize tools that you simply do not have access to that enables them to track the transport company’s safety record, driver history, insurance coverage, or fraudulent activity (if any). This is priceless information you simply cannot obtain just by searching the Internet, so using a broker to facilitate your vehicle move can save you a lot of time and headache. You basically make a single phone call to the broker and they’ll help you get a list of available, reputable companies to work with.

    The best vehicle transport brokers will make sure that their customers be given a variety of transport options to enable them to make a suitable choice based on their budget as well as their particular transport requirements for his or her motor vehicle.

    Vehicle transportation brokers provide transport services across the United States and in many cases internationally as well. Utilizing vast databases of carriers, they are able to easily locate a carrier which offers car or truck transport services within your general location and arrange pickup inside of 2 or 3 days. Brokers offer transport solutions for virtually any type of motor vehicle, and though they don’t ship the vehicle themselves with regards to motor vehicle transport, this is your best option.

    How Much Will It Cost?

    Your rate will likely be determined by the method of transportation you choose and will differ based upon the transport company and your pickup location relative to your desired drop off destination. In general, the more accessible the location and the destination the more affordable the transport conversely out of the way regions will be far more costly to transport your vehicle to.

    Typically the most cost-effective way to transport a motor vehicle is on an open car carrier. This is the type of large, multilevel, truck that we so often see on the road. An open car carrier can hold as much as 15 automobiles simultaneously depending on the situation. Typically car manufacturers and dealerships use commercial transporters such as these for getting their cars and trucks from one location to another. Open car carriers are quite dependable, however they aren’t appropriate for every situation (I will discuss this further in the upcoming article).

    The transport process may take roughly 2-10 days for the mover to pick up your motor vehicle. The timing is determined by a number of factors such as the region of the country that the automobile will be picked-up from, and the distance that it must travel to get to its final destination. Keep in mind that lengthier distance moves usually takes more time to coordinate., and that after your car or truck is picked up for transport, it may take as much as 21 days to deliver your vehicle to the specified drop off location. However the actual amount of time it takes will really depend upon your pickup and drop locations.

    If you need your vehicle picked up and delivered ASAP most transporters will offer you an expedited service for an additional cost. In general the faster you want your vehicle delivered the more it’s going to cost you. You can get a wide range of prices from a number of transport companies simply by searching on the Internet, and this is a good place to start when you begin shopping around, however do not let price be your only criteria for choosing a company. Look for a company that provides quality service even if they are more expensive, you will be happy that you did.

    Overall, if this is your first car moving experience it is probably best to go with an experienced auto transport broker who will save you a lot of time and headache. They have the knowledge, the connections, and the negotiating power to get you through this as painlessly as possible.

    General Tips

    If access to your home is limited because of a narrow street, trees with low hanging branches, speed bumps or very tight turns, the driver may ask you to meet the truck at a different destination or we will arrange a convenient location, like a shopping center or major street crossing, to pick up or deliver your vehicle for Car Move.

    Remember when relocating to a cooler climate make certain you check all antifreeze and fluids in your car or truck prior to transport. This will guarantee that no part of the engine will be damaged during cold starts in frigid temperatures. The Automobile Transporter will not take responsibility for any problem with your car that they didn’t directly cause.

    Also keep in mind that if your house is restricted by narrow roadways, low-hanging trees and shrubs, speed bumps or tight turns, the driver might request you to meet him at a different location like a shopping mall or major street crossing, to either pick up or deliver your motor vehicle to you.

    Lastly, it’s never a good idea to store personal items in your vehicle during transport. Any personal items left in the car or truck is not going to be covered if it gets lost or stolen. Remove any valuable items before your car gets picked up.

    Corporate Travel – Is It Time to Centralize Your Program Again?

    Corporate travel has undergone a ton of changes in recent years, the most important being the advent of easy access to airfare via the internet. As more travelers found value in better control over their schedules by using the internet, many organizations loosened their travel policies to allow for travelers to book on their own online. This perceived benefit to travelers has actually cost businesses quite a bit in terms of lost productivity, lack of control over unused tickets, and lack of access to airline programs that can save the company significantly in all areas of travel.

    Can we agree that online travel booking, while advantageous in some ways, has not been all we had hoped it would be from the outset? I hear stories from travelers every day about how difficult online booking can be, and how even when using the internet, travelers simply cannot be sure they are getting the best fare. This uncertainty gnaws at travelers and coordinators, and for good reason. It is difficult to be certain of what you are getting online because there is no track record of success, and no level of trust between the organization and the travel provider.

    Collaboration between your organization and your chosen travel management provider is critical. This collaboration will reap benefits for your company in terms of a better working relationship and an anticipation of your current and future needs as they relate to the constantly changing corporate travel environment.

    Centralized travel needs to make a comeback for the sake of the corporate travel program, and the sanity of travelers and travel coordinators. Because all distribution channels have access to the same fares and rates, there are fewer reasons today to continue with a decentralized travel policy. Executive level buy-in is critical, and it is easy to allow travelers to keep the level of control they like while still requiring travel booking through the preferred corporate channel. Most brick and mortar agencies now offer online booking solutions that can be customized to meet the needs of the unique corporate travel policy.

    The benefits of centralizing travel again are many. Here is a comprehensive, but certainly not an exhaustive, list of reasons to regain control of this important but under-scrutinized budget. It will certainly have a positive impact on your company and its ability to serve your customers and improve traveler morale.

    • Access to airline and hotel discount programs through agency and provider contracts
    • Centralized booking allows travelers to be more organized and efficient
    • Unused tickets can be tracked and hotel cancellation policies can be managed
    • Centralized billing of hotels and car rentals
    • More efficient booking processes
    • Effective customer service for the inevitable changes and issues that come up with business travel
    • Customized and centralized financial and accounting reports

    Many corporations find that the best solution is a combination of booking options, with most using an online booking portal provided by their agency partner, along with real live agent help when travelers are pressed for time or have more complex travel itineraries. The key in my opinion is to re-examine the travel program from every angle. There are more airline programs that are available to businesses than ever before. New opportunities to save money and streamline processes are out there for you. United Airlines recently began offering a discount off of every fare for corporate partners. That includes cheapest coach class seats, which even many Fortune 500 companies do not have access to. This is just one example of under-publicized opportunities for your company that can be had through the old-fashioned agency relationship.

    It’s time we took another pass at the corporate travel program to see where efficiencies can be found and savings opportunities can be uncovered. Your travelers and coordinators may even be able to get back to what they’re actually paid to do. Take care of your customers and propel your business forward.

    Time Travel: It's Been Done Before!

    Could we really travel through time? The short answer is yes! That’s right. We all have the ability to leap forward through time, even if we don’t realize it. If you wanted to jump to the future, you can simply go to sleep and wake up a few hours later right? Of course that’s cheating the question. We want to be able to go back and redo those silly mistakes we made many years ago. who doesn’t wish they could go back and talk to their 15-year-old self? Tell them not to make the mistakes you did (or they will). Or perhaps you’d rather travel 500 years into the future and see those flying cars we were promised by the year 2000. Fortunately, time travel is theoretically possible.

    In fact there is no law in physics that prevents time travel. That’s right, according to all the laws of physics we know, it’s perfectly plausible to travel through time at will. But as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Time travel is an extremely dangerous endeavor with devastating consequences, and is also riddled with paradoxes.

    For example, what if I traveled back in time and prevented World War II? Sounds like a brilliant idea right? Countless lives would be saved, I’d be hailed as a hero! Not necessarily. Although I’d be saving lives, I’d also be destroying others. What about all the technology that we rely on today that was developed during the war, such as jet engines and nuclear power. In fact the world map could be completely different. We could actually be worse off than simply leaving history as it was.

    Another famous time travel paradox is the grandfather paradox, which basically states that if we were to say for instance, I travel back to a time before my parents were born and prevent my grandfather from meeting my grandmother. My parents couldn’t have met and thus, I would never have been born. So how could I have gone back in time to prevent my grandparents from meeting in the first place.

    So we can see that time travel could be a bad idea, but let’s say we really want to go back in time, how would we do it? Well first we need to understand how time works.

    Time is something we are all very familiar with, we all know what it is, but yet we can’t see it, touch it, we can’t seem to interact with it in any way, we can only observe it. Isaac Newton thought that time was constant and never deviated, which would of course make time travel impossible. Even Einstein believed it was impossible, yet it is his equations that make it possible. Einstein theorized that space and time are inexplicably linked in what he refers to as “space-time”. So in theory, if I was to warp space with something extremely powerful like a black hole, I would also be warping time. While this appears to be true and scientists continue to explore its possibilities, the real possibility for time travel, seems to be in his other theory; Relativity. In fact time travel using relativity isn’t just a theory, it’s actually been done, several times! Now you probably think I’m crazy but the secret seems to be in going extremely fast.

    According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, no object with mass may travel faster than the speed of light, which is an astonishing 299,792,458 metres per second in a vacuum (that’s no air). That’s an incredible 1,080 million kilometres an hour! So according to General Relativity, we can only travel at 99.99% the speed of light. But lets say for instance that I’m sitting at the back of a plane traveling at the speed of light and I walk to the front of the plane from the back at a rate of 10 kilometres an hour. I’ll leave the equations out of this, but that would mean that my speed plus the speed of the plane would mean that I’m traveling at 1,080 million and ten kilometres an hour, which is 10km/h faster than light, right? Wrong. According the theory of relativity, time would actually slow down for me to prevent me from traveling faster than light. Sounds weird doesn’t it.

    Of course this scenario would never happen in real life, as I have already said we can’t travel at or faster than the speed of light. In fact you would need more than an infinite supply of fuel to travel faster than light, which is obviously impossible.

    So then what is relativity? Einsteins theory of relativity basically states that if I’m driving down the road at 50km/h and drive past someone standing on the side of the road, to them I would appear to be traveling at 50km/h, I’m sure you already know this. However to me in the car, they too would travel past me at 50km/h. But then if someone where to drive beside me in another car traveling at 50km/h, to them I would appear to be completely stationary. Hard to believe? It’s the same thing that makes it look the car driving beside you on the highway sometimes seems to be floating just outside your window. I’ll leave the complicated equations out of this for now, but you can use simple addition and subtraction to confirm this theory. If you’re traveling in the same direction as the object you’re observing, in this case the other car, you subtract your speed from theirs. So 50km/h minus 50km/h is equal to 0km/h. so they would appear to be stationary. If we’re traveling in the opposite direction we add our speed to theirs. So 50km/h plus another 50km/h is equal to 100km/h. So if we drove past the other car at the same speed in the opposite direction, they would appear to be traveling at 100km/h.

    So how does all this work, and more importantly, how did they actually manage to travel through time? Well as it turns out, the faster we travel, the slower time will pass. This was proven when scientists placed an atomic clock, which is an extremely accurate clock down to one billionth of a second, on the space shuttle and observed it its behavior. Before launch the clock was perfectly synced with another atomic clock here on earth, and once the shuttle had returned to earth they put the two clocks together. They then discovered the clock from the shuttle was slightly behind the clock that remained on earth. meaning time had past slower for the clock on the shuttle than the clock that remained on Earth.

    So basically astronauts are in fact also time travelers. Sergei Krikalev, the current record holder for the longest time spent in space (about 804 days or 2.2 years) is actually half a second behind the rest of the world. furthermore, scientists have actually calculated that if we could orbit the Earth at 99.99% the speed of light for 7 whole years, we would actually land back on earth 500 years in the future. This effect is known as Time Dilation. What a spectacular realization! Time travel may actually be within our reach after all. The only problem is inventing a machine or vehicle capable of traveling that fast. Unfortunately it looks like that might be just out of our reach for now. We would actually need the power of a whole star to get to that speed.

    But what about traveling back in time? So far neither general or special relativity allow for traveling backwards in time and it appears as though no other laws of physics will allow travel to the past. Such travel to the past, as stated above would lead to paradoxes that could result in the collapse of an entire universe, or a completely new one to be formed. This is part of the Many World Interpretation of Quantum Theory. There are other theories to travel both forward and backwards in time such as black holes and wormholes, but I’ll discuss those in the future.

    So for now it looks like we could theoretically travel to the future, but unfortunately we can’t go back and tell our younger self not to buy that car from that dodgy looking salesman, or to buy stocks in Apple and Microsoft when they first start out. So we’ll just have to settle for traveling forwards in time at the same rate we always have, and just to wait to see what the future holds.

    Top 7 Tips to Achieve Success With a Travel Blog

    For travelers, starting a travel blog is not a bad idea at all. By sharing your ideas and travel experiences, you do not only derive pleasure but you also get an opportunity to make money online. Passionate travelers such as Kate (of Adventurous Kate), Matt (of Nomadic Matt), Earl (of Wandering Earl) & Stephanie (of Twenty Something Travel) have been successful in turning their travel blogs into full-time businesses, which earns them good amount of money. There are hundreds of such bloggers who have achieved success with their travel blogs.

    If you have a strong passion for traveling too, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity of setting up your own travel blog. While starting a blog about travel takes only a couple of minutes, managing it successfully may take months or years.

    With some expert tips at hand, however, you can also popularize your travel blog and make money from it without wasting too much time.

    Given below are seven tips that you can use –

    #1. Share Unique Experiences

    If you want to make your travel blog really unique, avoid talking about destinations, cities or towns superficially. There are plenty of travel websites that offer general information on popular travel destinations around the world. What you need to do on your blog is share unique experiences or things or activities that very few people will rarely get a chance (or even think) to do or enjoy.

    #2. Learn to Write Well

    When it comes to sharing your travel experiences, you should also be able to do it in an expressive manner. You can go to any place or city of the world and indulge in as many interesting activities as you may find. But if you can’t share your story in your own unique style, it will only dilute the impact that you want to make.

    Therefore, it’s important that you learn to write well. In any case, avoid copying anyone else style. Instead develop your own (if you don’t want to bore readers).

    #3. Become an Avid Reader

    If you want to become a successful blogger, you don’t just need to travel. You also need to read travel literature extensively. Find out about the most popular travel authors, books that they have written and read them to broaden your knowledge base. Subscribing to popular online travel magazines is also a good idea. If you focus on a specific niche, as a travel blogger, reading relevant travel writings can help you a great deal. To write well, you need to read really well.

    #4. Take Attention-Grabbing Pictures

    What’s a travel blog without pictures? A travel blog without good pictures looks dead. Like you learn to write well, you also need to photograph attractively. A well-crafted travel blog post coupled with great pictures has the potential to go viral in minutes. And you can never tell a good story without using great pictures.

    #5. Be Consistent

    Success doesn’t come overnight. Once you start a travel blog, you need to share your experiences, stories and other relevant pieces of information on a regular basis. If you make your readers wait for an entire week or month to read the next post on your blog, you’ll simply lose them forever. So, plan out the content strategy in advance.

    #6. Stay Genuine

    While sharing your travel stories with readers, you should always stay genuine. By being genuine and honest, you’ll soon be able to develop a personal attachment with readers, an essential ingredient to help you achieve success.

    #7. Pay Attention to SEO

    What’s your purpose of writing travel stories? Well, you do it so that more and more people can read them. Though content is always the king, you can never neglect the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Most of the travel bloggers think that writing great travel content and doing SEO are two different things, which isn’t true. In fact, great writing always remains at the heart of great SEO.

    Therefore, don’t let your travel blog fall deeper and deeper into an ocean of obscurity by neglecting SEO.

    [It’s a good idea to seek the help of a SEO professional.]

    Do you have a travel blog? Feel free to share your views or opinions.

    Why Traveling Makes Us More Creative

    Traveling is a wonderful hobby for millions of people across the globe. This also provides various advantages to people. Here’s why traveling is important. The ability to move around from one place to the other place is the main virtue one can ever have. All humans and animals have been secured with this ability, but humans are always a step forward. We humans being, have an extraordinary virtue of seeing, experiencing and learning from it, and this is exactly what makes our traveling more satisfying and enriching.

    A person who went on a long-distance journey returned home after some years. Till then, his family had either no or very little information regarding his situation and well-being. In some thrilling cases, a person would never return. In despite of all these barriers and difficulties, people traveled; not always because they needed to, but many times, also because they loved to. And why not? Traveling not only takes us to distant lands and explains us with various people, but this also removes the dullness of our lives.

    This is certainly very unlucky that some people feel traveling is a sheer waste of time, energy and money. Some also discovery traveling a very boring activity. However, a good majority of people across the world wish traveling, rather than staying inside the partial spaces of their homes. They love to travel to new places, meet new people, as well as see things that they would not find in their homelands. This is a very common attitude that has made tourism, one of the most money-making, commercial sectors in the world.

    People travel for different reasons. Some travel for work, others for fun, and some for finding mental peace. Though every person may have his/her own reason to go on a traveling, this is significant to note that traveling, in itself, has some inherent rewards. For one, for some days getting away from everyday routine is a pleasant change. This not only refreshes one’s body, but also mind and soul. Traveling to a distant place and doing fantastic things that are not thought of otherwise, can refresh a person, who then returns home, ready to take on new and more problematic challenges in life and work. This makes a person forget his worries, problems, prevention, and fears, albeit for some time. This offer him a chance to think wisely and usefully. Traveling also helps to heal; this can mend a broken heart.

    For many people, traveling is a way to achieve knowledge, and perhaps, a quest to find answers to their questions. For this, different people prefer to go to faraway and lonely places. For believers, this is a search for God and to gain higher knowledge; for others, this is a search for inner peace. They might or might not find what they are looking for, but such an experience certainly augments their lives.

    With people, with their culture, opinions and ideas also travel. When they go from one place to the other place, they are bound to meet people and share their thoughts and experiences with them. This is where the exchange of ideas takes place, and it definitely broadens a person’s outlook. This makes him/her think in a different way, from a different viewpoint. When we speak of cultural influences and exchange, food is one of the important factors. The food habits of people say a lot of things about them. It is very interesting to discover new and unknown ways and values; they really add spice to life.

    Traveling also makes lifelong memories. Whether a person travels solo or along with family and friends, the experience certainly gives him/her nice and thrilling stories, which he/she can share with people back home. A good long holiday with loved ones allows him/her to spend some quality time with them, which in turn, benefits to renew and restore relationships and makes very strong one-to-one and family bonds. In fact, traveling away from home and spending time with near and dear one(s) can bring the relationship an entirely new perspective and possibly, people may begin understanding each other in a good way.

    Addition to the above, traveling and getting away from our homes allows us to spend some time with our own selves. This makes us subtler and more tolerant towards others. This also makes it easier for us to meet and mingle with various kinds of people, and also explains us to live life to the fullest. Some of them travel from richer countries to poorer ones in pursuit of cheaper medication; some others travel from inferior countries to more developed ones to get the right medication. Medical tourism is today, one of the most essential parts of the travel and tourism sector and more than 50 countries have recognized it as a national industry.

    Personal health is what makes travel very important. People here, travel because they don’t have an option in most cases. One might wonder that if a person becomes medical aid only after he reaches his/her destination, what importance does traveling hold in this case? Well, traveling stimulates hope in a person. As a person travels and gets more and more faster to the destination, the hope of getting preserved and living a healthy as well as smooth life ahead goes on increasing. Thus, traveling makes a person more confident towards life. Traveling can therefore be a very enchanting and inspiring experience that may help recover the quality of your life. So, let the travel bug bite you so that you experience the excitement and the serenity of life at the same time, and arise a different person altogether.

    Traveling To America? New ESTA Registration Mandated January 2009

    For years, visitors from certain foreign countries have been able to travel to America without first getting a formal Visa sticker placed in their passport. Implemented in 1998, the “Visa Waiver Program” (VWP) has allowed for visitors of several countries to come to America for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without getting a Visa put in their passport. During 2007, more than 15 million visitors from VWP countries arrived in the United States.

    As of January 12, 2009 America’s new ESTA program requires Visa Waiver Program visitors coming to the U.S. for tourist or business purposes via a plane or ship to “register” online before entering the United States to see if they pose a law enforcement or security risk to the U.S. ESTA is not required for land crossings. Officials are asking that the ESTA registration be done at least 72 hours prior to leaving, but theoretically it is possible to register at the last minute. An ESTA Travel Authorization is free, valid for 2 years, and valid for multiple entries.

    Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for ESTA Travel Authorization:

    What Countries Are in the Visa Waiver Program?

    Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

    Where Do I Apply for an ESTA Travel Authorization?

    A website, operated by the American government, is where you register for ESTA: esta.cbp.dhs.gov. The ESTA information you submit via the computer is compared with certain American law enforcement databases and then either approved or denied. Foreign travelers will not be able to submit ESTA applications at American airports after arriving or at a U.S. Embassy in their country.

    What if I Don’t Have Plans to Travel to the U.S. Yet?

    VWP travelers are not required to have specific plans to travel to the United States before they apply for an ESTA Travel Authorization. As soon as VWP travelers begin to plan a trip to visit the U.S., they are encouraged to apply for travel authorization through the ESTA website. Applicants are not required to update their destination addresses or itineraries if they change after their ESTA Travel Authorization has been granted.

    Does the ESTA Travel Authorization Guarantee Entry to the U.S.?

    An ESTA Travel Authorization only authorizes a traveler to board an airline or ship for travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program. After they arrive, travelers who obtained an ESTA Travel Authorization may still be denied entry (also called “admission”) at a U.S. port of entry, such as an American airport. An approved ESTA is not a guarantee of admissibility at an American airport. In all cases, the American airport officers make the final determination whether a foreign traveler can enter the U.S. or not. You still have to establish to the satisfaction of the inspecting officer that you are entitled to be admitted to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program.

    Can I Change My Travel Itinerary?

    It is possible to change an itinerary on an existing ESTA Travel Authorization; ESTA is designed so that you can update parts of it at any time. Travelers who did not get an ESTA approval may be denied boarding by the airlines, experience delayed processing, or be denied admission to the U.S. at the American airport.

    What If I Already Have a Valid B1/B2 Visitor Visa?

    While the ESTA Travel Authorization is completed online with no interview, there are Visas that require a U.S. Embassy interview. The Visa process has separate procedures, which generally require an appointment, travel to a U.S. Embassy, an interview with a Consular Officer, processing time, and the payment of an application fee. If a foreign national already went to the U.S. Embassy and has a valid B1/B2 Visitor Visa pasted in their passport it is not necessary to get an ESTA Travel Authorization because the traveler will be entering with a B1/B2 Visitor Visa and not through the Visa Waiver Program. Keep in mind that an approved ESTA Travel Authorization is not a Visa.

    Can I Re-Apply for an ESTA Travel Authorization if Denied?

    Yes, but you must wait at least 10 days to reapply and your circumstances must have changed. Unless there is a change in a substantive fact, re-application will not change the result. Keep in mind that applying for an ESTA Travel Authorization with false information can cause a foreign national to be permanently barred from ever entering America. The ESTA system is designed to try to prevent individuals from changing and manipulating an ESTA entry until they receive an approval.

    What If I am Denied an ESTA Travel Authorization and Have No Changed Circumstances?

    There are three types of responses to an ESTA application; approved, pending or travel not authorized (denied). Applicants who receive a “pending” response are advised to check the website 72 hours later. Applicants who are denied will be required to go to a U.S. Embassy to apply for a formal non-immigrant visa, such as a B1/B2 Visa, which may take months.

    Can a Traveler Find Out the Reason Why an ESTA Application was Denied?

    The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security has stated that travelers may contact the DHS Travel Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP at dhs.gov) but there are no guarantees that information about a denial will be divulged. U.S. Embassies and Consulates are not required to provide details about an ESTA denial nor resolve the issue that caused the ESTA denial.

    What If I Have a Criminal Record?

    Only those qualified to travel under the VWP are eligible to pre-register through ESTA. Persons who have been arrested and/or convicted are generally not eligible for VWP and probably require a formal Visa, such as a B1/B2 Visa, to travel to America. If a foreign national has received tickets for speeding (which don’t usually result in an arrest or conviction) they are probably still eligible for the VWP and ESTA. If a foreign traveler has been denied entry into or deported from the U.S., they require a formal Visa.

    Do Any Other Countries Have a Similar Program?

    Australia has a program called the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) that mandates travelers to submit an ETA application electronically through a website requesting permission to travel to Australia. Airlines may refuse to accept passengers who do not have either an approved ETA or Visa to enter Australia.

    How Long Will the ESTA Application Data be Stored? Who Can Access It?

    The ESTA Travel Authorization is valid for two years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first. The American government will maintain the information for at least 15 years to allow retrieval of the information for law enforcement, national security, or investigatory purposes. Information submitted through ESTA can also be shared with any U.S. government organization.

    What Information Does the Airlines Get?

    Airlines will receive confirmation of a passenger’s ESTA status visa the “Advance Passenger Information System” (APIS) which shows whether the ESTA authorization has been granted for a Visa Waiver Program traveler. It is recommended that the traveler print out the ESTA application approval in order to maintain a record of their ESTA application number and to have confirmation of their ESTA status.

    What About Children?

    Accompanied and unaccompanied children, regardless of age, are required to obtain an independent ESTA Travel Authorization.

    What if a Mistake was Made on the ESTA Application?

    The ESTA website will ask applicants to review their application before submitting it. Also, there is an update function for certain information such as email address, telephone number, or flight information. If an applicant makes a mistake that cannot be “updated,” he will need to submit a new ESTA application.

    What if I Only Have a Connecting Flight Through the U.S.?

    Visa Waiver Program visitors who have a connecting flight in the U.S. are required to either have ESTA Travel Authorization or a Visa from a U.S. Embassy in their passport to travel through the U.S. even for a one hour stop. If a traveler is only planning to stop in the U.S. en route to another country, the traveler should enter the words “In Transit” and his final destination in the address lines under the heading “Address While In The United States” on the ESTA application.

    What Are the Questions on the ESTA Travel Authorization Application?

    The traveler must provide (in English) biographical data including name, birth date, country of citizenship, country of residence, email address, sex, telephone number, passport information, destination address in the U.S., travel information (round trip airline ticket, flight number and city where you are boarding) as well as questions regarding communicable diseases (chancroid, gonorrhea, granuloma inquinale, HIV, leprosy, lymphogranuloma venereum, syphilis [active], tuberculosis [active], and others), physical or mental disorders, drug addiction problems, arrests, convictions, past history of visa cancellation or denial, and prior deportations from the U.S. The traveler will also be asked whether they are seeking work in the U.S., have ever been deported or tried to get a visa by fraud or misrepresentation. The traveler will be asked if they have ever detained a child of a U.S. Citizen granted custody of the child, and whether they have ever asserted immunity from prosecution.

    Do I Select “Business” or “Pleasure (Tourist) at the Airport Port of Entry?

    After the ESTA Travel Authorization is granted, the foreign traveler will be interviewed by government officers at the first American airport they land. The officer will ask what the foreign traveler will be doing in America and the questioning can take up to four hours in a detained setting called “secondary inspection.” The officer may ask the traveler “what else are you doing in America?” repeatedly to try to get “the real” answer. If the traveler is only going to be a tourist, they are not allowed to do any business, including meeting with any attorneys, applying for a bank account, meeting with real estate agents, or other business consulting activities. Even though the traveler is going to conduct just one business meeting while in America, they are required to report it and enter as a business visitor. The business visitor is allowed to participate in tourist activities, but the tourist visitor is not allowed to participate in any business activities. Therefore, if any business might be conducted while in America, it is best to tell the government officers about it at the airport to avoid being accused of lying, put immediately on a plane back to your home country, and barred from America for life.

    What Else Do Can the Airport Officers Make Me Prove After I Land?

    The airport officers will ask the traveler proof of a foreign residence (address on foreign driver’s license), whether their intention is to depart at the end of the visit (round trip airline ticket), whether the traveler has a job (letter, paystub, business card) and family in their home country, (marriage certificate, children’ birth certificates), and whether the traveler has the money to travel around America (bank statement or credit cards with bank letter showing credit limit). The airport officers are also required to ask where the traveler will stay in America (hotel reservations or friends/relatives’ homes) and have been known to pick up the phone to verify all of the aforementioned information.

    Can I Be Searched in the American Airport? Am I Entitled to Legal Representation?

    While being interviewed at the American airport, all luggage (even locked bags) can be searched, as well as the traveler’s body and his/her cell phone (including text messages and phone numbers) and laptop (including hard drive). The officers may “google” a traveler’s name and check out their myspace, Facebook or hyves pages. The traveler is not allowed to be represented by an attorney or even call their attorney while in “secondary inspection.” Bathroom visits, water and food may be limited, so it is best to prepare for such an occasion while still on the plane before landing.

    Do I Still Have to Go Through the “US-VISIT” Program at the American Airport?

    Foreign travelers arriving at American airports and seaports must still be photographed and fingerprinted every time they enter the U.S.

    Who Should I Ask For Help to Fill Out the ESTA Application?

    The information a traveler provides on the ESTA application can remain in their file with U.S. authorities for a minimum of 15 years – probably longer. If a foreign traveler has some questions about how to answer the questions so as not to be permanently barred from America, it would be prudent to them to pay for a legal consultation with an American Immigration Attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Beware of unauthorized private websites that offer ESTA application assistance for $49.99 – they are usually not authorized to practice immigration law and are asking travelers to pay for a copy of the application questions, which are free on the dhs website.

    If I Am Denied the ESTA Travel Authorization Will it Effect My Ability to Obtain a Visa at the U.S. Embassy?

    When the ESTA Travel Authorization is denied, the foreign traveler must make an appointment at a U.S. Embassy in their country to apply for a formal Visa. The U.S. Embassy is operated by the U.S. Department of State and there are no expedited procedures for those who have been denied ESTA Travel Authorization. Because the ESTA program is so new, it is impossible to predict how badly a denial of the ESTA Travel Authorization will impact a traveler’s application for a Visa at a U.S. Embassy or impact their future travel to America in general. American Immigration Attorneys are in close contact with their foreign clients and will share the denial information with each other starting in January 2009. Currently there are no government policies regulating this area of the law, or opportunities to appeal a denial.

    When Is the a “New” ESTA Travel Authorization Required?

    A new ESTA Travel Authorization is required during the two years if (1) the traveler is issued a new passport (2) the traveler changes his name (3) the traveler changes his or her gender (4) the traveler’s country of citizenship changes or (5) the circumstances underlying the traveler’s previous responses to any of the ESTA application questions requiring a “yes” or “no” response have changed (such as a new arrest).

    Can an American Immigration Attorney, Travel Agent or Employer Fill Out the ESTA Application?

    A third party, such as a relative, travel agent or American Immigration Attorney, is permitted to submit an ESTA application on behalf of a VWP traveler. Be aware that the traveler is still responsible under the law for the answers submitted on his or her behalf by a third party.

    Over 68,000 travelers have already voluntarily registered by using the ESTA online system in the last few months. Applicants are reminded to obtain a new “e-passport” which has an integrated computer chip capable of storing biographic information from the data page, as well as other biometric information, when registering with ESTA.

    An Overview on Taxi Driver Jobs in New York City

    Taxi driver jobs in the city of New York have been prevalent since more than eight decades using the very popular yellow cab. Those who are looking for employment as taxi drivers in New York City should bear certain factors in mind. Being a taxi driver in the city of New York is not that simple. This profession is a viable option for earning a stable and substantial income even during times of recession since the demand for cabs is always consistent.

    Taxi driving is not exactly like any other job. It is more like a business where you have to put in some amount of commitment and dedication. You will require investing somewhere from four hundred to almost a thousand dollars for receiving your driving license for qualifying for a taxi driver’s job in New York City.

    Getting such a job is not so easy because every yellow cab driver requires passing the exam of New York City and a majority of candidates are not really experts in terms of the topography of this city. Being home to scores of highways and bridges, five boroughs, hundreds of theaters, museums, parks, schools, hospitals, schools, relevant landmarks and a lot more, taxi driving can be quite challenging here.

    In order to be best prepared for the test of taxi driver jobs would mean to be well prepared to drive any yellow taxi in New York City. For most potential taxi drivers, especially those of whom have been out of school for a few decades or those coming from other parts of the world or belonging to local suburbs or even different regions of U.S.A, extensive navigation and geography preparation becomes mandatory.

    Some popular taxi companies of NYC are New York Water Taxi that provides tourism and commuter services for the entire region of Manhattan and Michelin the Green Guide New York City. There are two major regulatory offices for taxis in NYC.

    Every taxi, car and limousine service in NYC is regulated by the Taxi and Limousine Commission – Financial District and the Taxi and Limousine Commission – Long Island City. All complaints about and taxis are reported here. The website NYCabbie is dedicated to taxi drivers of NYC while the site NYC Taxi Cabs provides information resource on NYC taxi service that includes taxi tips and fares.

    The New Face of Modern India in Travel & Tour

    Today, India has the potential to become the Global Super Power. Now, India is the 2nd fastest growing economy in the world after China with the growth rate 8.5%, and by 2013 we will beat China and will be on the 1st Position. India is territorially a large country, geographically a peninsula with a strategically dominating view of three major seas which could potentially provide a basis to control ship traffic from the Indian Ocean to Pacific Ocean by putting toll gates at the Malacca Straits, a long continuing civilization (over ten thousand years), a large and young population(average age of 29 years as compared to of China of 38 years, and Japan of 47 years)- which is termed as Demographic Dividend, and as proven inventors of cutting edge scientific discoveries in mathematics, astronomy, surgery and recently in high quality IT software. At present India has demonstrated innovative capacity in Chip design, Thorium reactors, Biotech, and pharmaceuticals.

    Travel & Tour is also the fastest growing industry in India. India tourism is gradually increasing every ending year. Nowadays, Indian people are traveling all around the world. The way of traveling by Indians is slightly different, preferring the luxury travel & tour.

    Organizers of the recent Travel and Tourism Fair (TTF) in Ahmedabad conducted a survey among Gujarat attendees, and results showed a significant number of Indian tourists prefer luxury travel and accommodations.

    TTF found that one-third of those surveyed had an average travel budget of Rs 80,000 as reported by the Times of India. Foreign tourism departments in attendance have taken notice of this trend and are offering more options for Indian travelers seeking upscale opportunities.

    “Switzerland provides tourists an option of staying together in fully furnished homes or chalet with a kitchen where one can cook one’s own meals,” Swiss travel agent Puneet Sehgal told the news source. Sehgal also noted that at least 400 Indians choose Switzerland for group vacations each year.

    Japan has been focusing promotions towards Indian tourists, specifically for theme parks. One Japanese travel agent at the fair told the Times of India that Osaka’s Universal Studios is a major attraction for Gujarati.

    More than 15,000 people attended this year’s fair, including exhibitors from Egypt, China, Dubai, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and many other nations.

    Celebrations times for Travel Industry…

    Travel Magazine has been informed there has been an increase in Package Holiday bookings this year compared to last year even though we are still in a trick economic climate. High Street Travel agents such as First Choice and Thomas Cook are celebrating after people looking for Holiday Deals in September helped increase bookings this year by 75% compared to booking for holidays last September.

    Some of the leading travel agents like Lets Travel India have been offering value deal holidays to help increase trade after the industry predicted early this year that the travel industry could suffer due to the unstable economic growth in the UK.

    Some of the top selling destinations which have helped increase trade for travel agents have been Canary Islands, India Tour and Spain with people looking for cheap package holidays as a large number of families could not afford holidays last year.

    Wise holiday makers have been keeping an eye on travel agents such as Lets Travel India to search for cheap package holidays after the company announced they were slashing prices on a large number of their holidays, while other holiday makers have been booking their own cheap flights and booking hotels abroad via the internet reducing the cost of their holidays.

    It was feared that a large number of travel agents would see themselves left with thousands of unsold holidays but with holiday makers looking for cheap deals after leading travel agents were forced to reduce their package holiday prices, this fear has now been reduced and travel agents are now claiming most of their unwanted holidays for September have been sold.

    The Indian travel industry is doing well with Indian flights. After having suffered from a somewhat slow season in 2008-2009, once again India is leading travel industry to the front, taken lime light and is seeing a growth in its travel industry of what is expected to be between 5-6% & 1-1.5% higher than the global average.

    There are two reasons behind this boom: one is the upcoming Commonwealth Games being hosted in Delhi in October & 2nd one is the Indian government efforts to boost the travel industry through improvements to international travel services and accommodation. This includes the completion of Terminal 3 of Delhi’s International Airport. The terminal is now the sixth largest in the world with a capacity for 37 million passengers per year. For the tourist and business travelers, this means shorter queues, more comfortable lounge areas, plenty of shops and increased flight offerings from UK airports including Birmingham, Belfast International and direct from London Heathrow as airlines bolster the number of Delhi-bound flights.

    In anticipation for the Commonwealth Games, the Indian government has also been giving the city of Delhi itself a major facelift; to such a point that professionals within the travel industry are anticipating that Delhi is quickly becoming a top contender as a one of the major travel destinations for world tourists.

    Of course, with all of this attention focused on India, destination-bound airlines and hotels are offering tempting fares and fabulous budget accommodation prices for Delhi bound tourists and business travelers – both in October during the Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi and beyond.

    Avoid Turning Travel Into Burden

    People travel for different reasons. Most people travel for reasons of relaxation and recreation. The idea of travel appeals greatly to those who want to take the time off from their daily routines and off from dreadful workloads and stressful deadlines. Thus, people in the travel industry have designed their services to provide the best possible convenience and comfort for clients. In fact, countless travel agencies around the world designed travel deals and vacation packages in the most customer-friendly features as possible.

    Yet, despite myriad of choices and long preparations; some dream travel vacations turn into nightmares. In some cases, well-drafted travel itineraries unexpectedly come across problems in airports, hotels and resorts. Unfortunately for some, a minor delay in one of the travel stops lead to a series of related and similarly exasperating troubles. In minutes, all that was carefully arranged for weeks or months turn into a chaotic chain of events. When the situation becomes this worst, most travelers prefer to cut-off the escapade and return home with great disappointment and enormous regrets.

    While there are uncontrollable circumstances, a traveler can take some precautionary measures to make sure that the trip would go smoothly. By observing these measures, the traveler can reduce the possibility of the trip going wrong. These practices can also help when things start to go out of hand while on travel.

    First and foremost, people should check on the reliability of their travel service provider. Some discount travel offered by irresponsible travel agencies also discounts the fun in the travel. Such companies’ partnership with airlines and hotels could not be trusted. Entrusting your travel concerns to these companies may only lead to delayed flights, reservation problems, booking issues and others. Choose a travel agency that has a respected name in the travel industry. Companies like Expedia Travel have reliable backgrounds and dependable experience in the industry for many years. Their partnerships to other travel service providers are proven strong and efficient. And their deals on travel ensure greater travel fun and experience.

    Even after all the arrangements are made, travel planners should not be excessively laid back of the travel details. With the help of a trusted travel agency, travelers must continually check on the status of their travel reservations. One can never know the tendency of reservations to changes especially those that can easily be affected natural forces. For example, schedule of flights can change if there are problems in the weather.

    Travelers must also make sure that they are knowledgeable enough on the basic details of their destinations. It is best for people to know the culture of the place to avoid offense on local practices. A tourist must also be aware of the different activities that can be done in the place. This could be helpful, especially when there are cancellations of activities in the middle of the trip.

    Finally, one must see to it that they have everything taken cared of before traveling. Chores and tasks that were left done could cause major disruptions on the travel. Having something to worry about the travel reduces the fun factor of the trip. Make sure important matters like financial related chores, home and properties security, work requirements, necessary notifications and others are already settled before setting out.

    When problems occur during your travel and you feel the need to be assisted by the right company, turn on to Expedia. The company has coupons that you can purchase online. Expedia also has the reliable connections to air carriers and hotel across the globe.

    Make your travel experience a pleasantly memorable one. Don’t let problems ruin your dream travel.

    How to Understand, Start and Run a Successful Home Based Travel Business

    Why this is such an excellent choice for a home based business, and How To Get Started

    Are you seeking information on a Home Business, or possibly you’ve read a whole lot and now you are trying to sort out what might be the BEST home based business? This is a long article, but stick with it all the way and we’re very confident you’ll have your answer(s).
    Are you looking for the Best Home Based Business ? Recent polls show that over 70% of people who search the Internet are looking for such an opportunity. But does something like this really exist?

    Here’s the problem: if you asked ten different people what the “best” home business was, you would probably get ten different answers. The truth of the matter is it really comes down to finding the best one for YOU.

    We are all coming from a unique background. Each of us first has different wants and needs, and a want or need will determine what is best. Then we all have different abilities, and yes.. your abilities DO match up to what might be the best for YOU. What’s best for a friend or neighbor and might work for them might be a total mismatch for you. This article will give you a good instigate and provide a direction on what is one of the most universally agreed upon as a “Best” business.

    We all have different interests and personalities, interests , abilities, and personalities. We have different strengths and weaknesses. We also come from all sorts of different circumstances. So it makes sense that not all of us are going to be interested in the same home based business model.

    If there was truly ONE business that was for everyone, can you imagine how competitive that field would be? It would be VERY difficult for anyone to make any money!

    You have probably seen advertisements all over the internet about THE #1 income making opportunity. Don’t get fooled by all the hype and so-called ways to make easy money. There is no such thing.

    That’s where this article comes in. This article is NOT a comprehensive list of reviews of the thousands of home based business ideas out there. It’s an article that tells you some parameters of a good home based business, then discusses the travel industry. We give you the pros and cons both of a job and being in business; we tell you the history of our industry, and then why it’s so good and the place to be right now as it rides two major trends: Travel and the Internet.

    I have researched and tried (sometimes failing miserably) many home based businesses, both online and in the real world, BUT, I have found and chosen something that is a legitimate way to make a great income from home. That’s what this is about. It’s a great fit for me, but because you are NOT me and probably have a different personality (thank heaven!), it may not be for you.. and that’s ok. But if you see things as I do, and as is presented here…

    The best home based business for ME is a HOME BASED TRAVEL BUSINESS. I know it will also be for many of you.

    But other than the fact that I’m just a normal, ordinary guy with no special talents.. and in fact, I’m probably older than most readers at 69 and I started this just last year, this article is not about me. It only points out that about anyone can easily get involved in the home based travel business. This is about YOU and what YOU want from life and your “working hours”, whether you are a stay-at-home-mom, a retiree, or any other category.

    So the question becomes, out of all the various choices: Why start a online travel business?

    We are going to discuss first the “Why”, then a little about the various types, and then the “how”. This will take some time, so grab a beverage of your choice and read on. In fact, I suggest you print this out while the coffee is brewing so you can really digest it. Mark it up. Pencil in questions.. and let’s get going!

    First and foremost, when choosing a home based business, it’s really important to ask yourself “Why” are you doing this, and are you prepared to take it seriously and treat it like a business? That means regular hours of commitment of time and a commitment of money as any and all businesses you own are going to require some degree of investment.

    This is probably as good of a time as any to differentiate between a JOB and a Business. ..

    A job, including a home based “job” is one where you are going to essentially be trading time for money, and the assumption is that you have an employer of some sort who is going to pay you either on a dollar value per hour spent, or some dollar value for certain production. That production could be sales production as it often is; it could be manufacturing production, or it could be service production.. so many envelopes stuffed; so many calls made, so many of about anything done. That person is going to pay you for that, but you know that person or company is only doing this because they are going to make a certain amount of money on you. You are essentially paid what the job is worth; what the employer could get a replacement for you for. Regardless of your skills, you are not being paid what YOU are worth, but what the job is worth. For accepting this, you get some degree of security knowing that if you do “the assignment” or “the job” you are going to receive a certain, predictable amount of money. You may even receive some benefits. But the “security” is a joke because everyone knows that there is very little security. First the employer must remain in business. He must have a market for whatever it is you are doing, and markets change.

    Next, your value is relative! Maybe that employer has a cousin who would like to do your job, or maybe someone comes along willing to do your job for less money. How secure are you? People tell me every day, “I don’t want the risks of a business.” Guess again everyone! You certainly have RISK as an employee as well!. And as to investment… well, many businesses have employee borne expenses, and even the IRS recognizes this. It’s just that there are SOME “out there” that don’t require any CASH investment, but don’t kid yourself.. you ARE making an investment, only it’s hidden in the fact you’re paying it in work and in the sense that you’re not being paid as much as you might if you absorbed certain expenses yourself.

    In contrast, a BUSINESS, including a home based business, is one where you choose and control what ever it is your business makes or does. It could be virtually anything, and probably the best business is one where you control the product or service. Here on the internet, Information products are tops; these are followed by service products. Then comes those things you manufacture or make, and finally, there’s the category of items someone else controls but makes available to you for resale. Affiliate programs fall into this category. But you really need to be aware that if you are going to have a BUSINESS you are going to have business expenses, even a home-based business. These are the expenses of the office first, and then you may need to have some product or have been a user of some of the service so you truly KNOW what you have and can do business from a credible point. The product or service should be one of value that if you were the buyer, you’d consume it yourself at retail. Watch the line though… you don’t want to is get into a business where you are required to purchase X dollars amount of product every month, whether you can use this or not. That’s not a legitimate business.

    Depending on your philosophy, you’ll probably agree that it is very important to choose a business that interests you. Pick one that you will enjoy doing, ideally something you are passionate about. Think about it, if you are going to start a business from home, it makes sense to choose something that you will enjoy. And if you enjoy it, then you’ll probably learn more quickly and have your heart more into it when the going is tough.

    But we’d put just a couple things ahead of this and put “enjoyment” as a luxury. Those things are market size and market growth. Where is your business product or service in terms of life cycle? Is your market expanding and you can ride a wave, or is it declining. And what is the market size and potential. Will there be a business available for you in 5 years? Ten?

    Then lastly, we’d probably mention that the business should be ethical and compatible with what you believe. Many people who research businesses, particularly Internet businesses, know that the porn and gambling industry meets the criteria of growth and market size. You may be tempted to look in those areas, and if you are, kindly close this report or article and tear up you paper copy. This is not a part of the business world we want anything to do with. Money and income is just not that important to us.

    After evaluating many, many, many businesses and participating in several since 1969, including an early successful involvement with Amway, then Free Life, and a couple others, including a few that just didn’t “go” for us, we became aware of the opportunities in the online travel business. This is a business model that has just evolved over the past few years, and is now in full momentum.

    It is also important to be a part of trends. Fortunes are made by riding trends. Currently, travel is a trend to the tune of 6 trillion dollars a year! By 2010, that number is estimated to be 14 trillion dollars!

    Think of all the baby boomers that will be retiring in the coming years. And what do people like to
    do when they retire? What would you like to do when you retire? If you’re like me, travel is probably very near the top of that list.

    That is why the travel industry provides the perfect business for opportunity seekers. It is simply taking advantage of a trend that is just starting to gain momentum. When looked at as a home based business, it rides the second trend: the growth of the Internet as a business medium.

    Let’s look at how and why this has evolved into a viable Internet Based Travel Business.

    People “booking travel” for others has evolved possibly in three stages. We also should consider the two major market segments: Business travel and personal or leisure travel, and in the later category, we’d include as a very close association, travel and leisure and recreational activities and lodging. We are going to focus on personal leisure travel and recreational travel market.

    STAGE 1: Probably dates back about 75-80 years when the primary mode was train and ocean liner. There were no condos, few motels, and little air travel. But there were many lodges and luxury hotels. We’ve all heard of the Baltimore and others. And there was some degree of business travel, but not to the extent we had a few years ago before travel (particularly sales meetings) became so expensive. Other than those vacations to places like Atlantic City, travel was really more in the hands of the more wealthy part of the population, and most of THOSE people just did not want to be bothered making their own arrangements, or even checking places out. A small cadre of “travel agents” was born, although they probably had many more duties along the line of concierge, personal assistant, etc. In large companies, specialists were brought on board to do those arrangements… and seek out bargains and discounts for their companies.

    STAGE 2: Now we have more cars, the DC-3 and early airlines are starting to emerge. We have reliable telephones; we have some early forms of fax but the telegram was the primary means of communication on short notice as mail took longer, and people are becoming aware that they can earn money booking travel for others. Providing essentially two services: Knowledge of destinations and Administrative tasks such as actually buying the travel arrangements on behalf of a third party. That third party could be a business or an individual.

    Natural business evolution follows and at first small partnerships were formed because now two people might have the knowledge and experience of two different travel destinations, but as a single entity (the travel agency) be able to offer clients more options. Then this single agency could bring more volume to a travel provider such as an airline, hotel, etc than a single person, and hence negotiate better discounts, or as more often was the case, better commissions as not all discounts got passed on. Everyone benefited.

    Airline traffic was particularly challenging to book, and in the late parts of Stage 2, computers began to come more and more into play, although they were both expensive and highly specialized. The affordable home computer had not yet really evolved and there were limited travel networks. Travel agencies could afford these computer systems and gain access to the various vendors, which at that time were mainly airlines, and book travel conveniently and easily. This was about to change!

    STAGE 3: Change took place almost over night. The airlines deregulated as one part, and competition evolved to a point where commissions were almost non existent to the agencies. The Internet and access to travel databases within the airlines and hospitality industry literally exploded into being, and now EVERYONE had at least almost nearly equal administrative access to the services and could bypass the agencies which started going out of business at an alarming rate. The one thing certain agencies DID retain was a cadre of people who HAD traveled and did have personal experience with various providers… resorts, cruise lines, etc. But as profits to the providers themselves started to decline, so did the availability of FAM trips, and there were fewer agencies.

    But along with this evolved another trend! The population is growing and there’s more travelers available, particularly in the leisure market than ever. And many of these travelers just don’t have the time to really do the research, or even to truly shop for the best and lowest costs.

    But individuals devoted to and loving to travel such as stay at home moms in travel find that they can provide the same services that the old large agencies did!

    All they needed was a vendor willing to work with them, and at this time, new vendors started to emerge.

    The emergence is primarily in the area of recreation and resorts as unlike the airlines which have cut back and in many cases have a SHORTAGE of seats and product, resorts (and cruise lines) have continued to build and expand where today, they have an excess or surplus of inventory except for very limited times of the year.

    The question becomes: How do we fill these empty rooms? These empty staterooms? These empty golf courses? These unused campsites?

    The answer is: Through You!

    But you don’t know where they are, or how to negotiate the pricing.. but a newly evolved list of consolidators do! Currently there are three major consolidator groups doing business in the USA, and one stands out above the other two as it has more contacts, more experience, more inventory, and essentially a better pay plan offering the customer more options. What YOU have is a list of contacts or the knowledge and time to introduce the traveling public to these options. Because you are working with the suppliers of SURPLUS inventory who is willing to fill these vacancies at deeply discounted rates, you can pass these rates on, if only you knew how to get your hands on them.

    Actually, about anyone can get their hands on any one location at any time at a discount, and many people have been doing that using services such as Orbitz, Travelocity, and others But these are very sharply targeted and focused, and deal much more with just hotels, car rentals, and to some extent, airline travel. One can pick up a major magazine or metro newspaper and find condos for rent from owners, at discounts. But again, this is very limited.

    How Do You Get Started?

    First, you learn about the 3 major consolidator firms offering travel, and if you just let the word out that you are looking for a homebasd travel agency or company, you’ll find that these people find you very quickly. Or you can do an Internet search using terms like that and find them. Most of the firms have a fairly similar makeup in that they are offering an entire travel package or membership for a fee. This entitles the purchaser to the inside track on deeply discounted travel services.

    If they are essentially all the same, what do you look for? We focus in a legitimate business first on product, so we look for product value. We look for a company with flexibility and a product mix. Not all people want to travel internationally, so is there just a domestic package? What is offered that you or your customer can do when they get to a destination? Are there name resort and theme parks? Golfing? How about great meal discounts, as we all “eat out” when we travel? We know cruising is “big” but we know the cruise lines vary from very family oriented to “swinging singles”. Is there a good mix? How about time limitations on the travel package?

    As a business, what kind of support tools are available? Training is a must, and is it real, and in real time, with real live people you can talk to and ask questions of? A solid, reliable web site is a must. Does the firm you are looking to join provide one? None will do a good site free, but is this a fair and reasonable cost?

    Will you have access to a personal mentor? Can you become a certified, card carrying travel agent as well if you want?

    These are but a few of the questions.

    The “How Do You Get Started” in the home based travel industry is best summarized by 3 words: “Do Your Homework”

    Well, now that you know some of the history, let’s look at a couple more things, starting with some of the advantages of this, particularly in comparison to other options you may have selling nutritional products, informational products, skin care, diet products, or many others.

    Aside from the money making potential in our industry, there are many other advantages.

    It is easy to start. This facet never ceases to blow me away With the invention of the internet, businesses that have traditionally always been brick and mortar establishments are now available to all of us. The internet makes it easy for everyday people like you and me to start a small business online. We can reach people all over the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the comfort of our own home. People can be checking out your business while you are sleeping, on vacation, or whatever. Phone services like Skype let us actually talk to people all over the world (one of us might be sacrificing some sleep due to time zone differences, but technically, it’s possible!)

    Your business is relatively inexpensive to start, particularly compare to a more standard travel agency business. Because you no longer need a regular office, insurance, and employees, businesses. In fact, if you set up a legitimate IRS qualifying home office, many of the costs you have at your current home now become tax deductible (see your accountant, and if you don’t have one.. get one. Maybe you can even barter some travel services for HIS services).

    Your potential clients include almost everyone. Who doesn’t like to travel or need a vacation? And if the economy slows, your business grows! Previous travelers who thought nothing of paying full price now start to look for discounts.

    You can save a lot of money on your own travel.

    What’s the point of owning a business if you don’t get some fringe benefits? With a home based travel business, you become eligible for some incredible discounts. And because you are your own boss, you will have more free time to go on vacation and take advantage of these discounts.

    Is there a downside to a home based travel business? Sure, there is in any business.

    Travel is a very competitive industry.
    In order to have an edge, you have to differentiate yourself from the rest by branding yourself with a superior product. Those who read this article and find a specific interest and contact us as the author will be given some very specific knowledge on how to do this and succeed.

    Other than that, I have not come across any other disadvantages to a home based travel business.

    We hope you have found this article to be greatly helpful and look forward to seeing a few of you join us in this exciting industry soon.

    The School Bus "Danger Zone"

    As unbelievable as it may sound, there are a large number of fatal accidents which continue to occur in this country involving students while getting on and off the school bus.

    According to published figures from the Kansas Department of Transportation and other sources confirm that fatalities and injuries in the loading and unloading zone, rightfully called the ‘danger zone’, accounted for 13 fatal accidents, involving K-12 school children. Of the 13 fatalities, 7 occurred behind the bus and 6 were killed by a passing motorist.

    Pedestrian fatalities at the ‘danger zone’ are three times as many as school bus occupant fatalities. This makes the time of getting on and off the school bus, one of the most potentially dangerous part of the bus ride.

    The reason why the ‘danger zone’ is potentially so hazardous is because this is the area on all sides of the bus where the children are not seen by the driver (ten feet in front of the bus where the driver may be seated too high or ten feet on either side of the bus where a child may be in the driver’s blind spot, and the area behind the school bus).

    Considering the rise in such fatalities there have been several mandatory product and design changes in school buses implemented. For instance, the federal rule requires all new buses to have an 8-amp lamp warning system and stop signal arm.

    While the number of such accidents in the ‘danger zone’ has significantly reduced over the years, the School Transportation Section of the National Safety Council recommends that training on various aspects of getting on and off the bus should be given both to pupils and students.

    Here are some simple guidelines which you could train your child while he is getting ready to get on and off his school bus:

    – Avoid any rowdy behavior while waiting for the bus. Stay calm and do not stray on to the streets.

    – Remain away from the street as the bus approaches.

    – After entering the bus, find a seat and sit down.

    – Keep your head, neck and arms inside the bus.

    – When the school arrives, wait for the bus to come to a complete halt before getting up from the seat.

    – Keep the aisle of the bus clear of clutter.

    – Walk at least 10 feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road, if you have to cross the road in front of the bus.

    – Wait for the driver to give you the ‘walk’ signal before you start to cross the road.

    – While crossing the road, keep your eyes for oncoming traffic.

    – Always stay away from the rear wheels of the bus.

    How Goods Transportation Has Evolved Over the Years

    From ancient times goods have been transported from the countryside to big cities and towns and vice versa. Goods also have been traded with neighboring and distant countries. The best example is the ancient Silk Route. The Silk route made use of different modes of transportation according to the region. While in some places camels were used to transport goods in the form of caravans, in coastal areas ships were the preferred mode of transportation.

    Goods transportation, a boost to the global economy

    Transportation of goods is a broad term which includes several kinds of activities and modes of transportation. Moving raw materials from mines or forest areas to factories, transporting the finished goods to markets, distribution of goods to various consumer centers worldwide are just some of the activities that come under the category.

    Another example that can be stated is that of agricultural produce transported to a food processing unit. The processed goods are then stored in a warehouse to be transported to distribution centers.

    The mode of transport used in this process would vary widely according to the volume of goods to be moved, the urgency and the geographical topography of the region. Today goods are transported using various modes of transport giving rise to transport corridors. Transport corridors along with favorable customs and tariff duties have boosted trade in different parts of the world.

    Efficient transportation of goods is based upon

    • The Infrastructure
    • Vehicles or mode of transportation
    • Operations and administration
    • Energy or fuel supply and consumption

    The different modes for goods transportation

    Roadways

    Road Transportation (Roadways) is the oldest means of transport used for moving goods. Whether in the form of caravan trails or paved paths, roads have been used extensively in the past. The automobile revolutionized road transport and today freight trucks, wagons and trailers carry large volumes of goods across highways.

    Also with improved methods of lying roads using material like concrete and tarmac, roads are now much more durable. Further advances in civil engineering have meant that bridges can be built across water bodies facilitating movement of goods across regions separated by rivers.

    Marine transportation

    Maritime transportation has always been an important mode to transport goods across countries and continents. Consuming less energy as compared to roadways or rail, cargo ships can carry thousands of tons of freight in a single trip from one port to another.

    With the advent of containerization, goods can now be easily transported using ships which can be unloaded at ports and then transported via rail to inland markets.

    Railways

    After the Industrial Revolution, rail transport began to be extensively used for moving goods. Rail technology has improved considerably over the years. Today diesel-electric locomotives haul large quantities of freight in most parts of the world.

    High speed rail transport has proved to be efficient in transporting goods over large distances in countries like the United States, Russia and China and in Europe.

    Airways

    The use of aircraft in transporting cargo has generally been limited to areas where urgency is the primary need. Large airfreight carriers like the Boeing 707 and 727 can transport significant amounts of cargo at a time.

    However the cost of transportation and limitation in the volume of goods that can be transferred at a time has prevented large scale use of aircraft in goods movement.

    Planning is crucial

    While Goods Movement, Transportation has an obvious impact on the economic sphere it also has a visible effect on the environment. Planning is vital to manage the various factors involved. A well planned transport system would make optimum use of available facilities and ensure a streamlined and Eco-friendly transportation process at lesser costs.

    Confused With All the Travel Information on the Internet?

    There is so much information available on the internet right now regarding travel. There are online travel sites for cruises, hotels, air, trains and any other type of travel. But what is the correct product for you? Is the location of the hotel where you want to be? Is the type of room or cabin the right fit for you? Is that cruise line the one you should be booking? Not all products are created equal nor are the products right for everyone. How do you tell? Contact a travel professional.

    Do travel agents exist?

    There have been multiple articles, and even the President of the United States, has said travel agents don’t exist or are going away. In a way they are right. Travel agents in the past were just someone who booked a trip for someone who called or came in to the storefront office of a travel agency. Storefront travel agencies are few and far between now a days as most of the “travel agents” have gone home to work. Even the term “travel agent” is going away because what they do now is different than what they did before.

    Travel Professionals/Travel Counselors

    Travel Agents are now more a counselor and an adviser so they are now called Travel Professionals or Travel Counselor. Even the travel industry is trying to get away from using the term “travel agent”. They no longer just book a trip for someone, they know more than what is available to the traveling client. The travel professionals now are constantly learning, constantly traveling, receiving input from other travel professionals about where they have traveled and are a resource for what is required to travel now a days.

    When you use an online travel agency like Expedia, Travelocity, etc. you aren’t able to have someone protect your back. They book the travel for you and then you are pretty much on your own. Say your flight gets cancelled, who is going to book a replacement flight? You are, not them. If you use a travel professional that travel professional will do it. If something goes wrong on your trip, if the room you booked is not like what you thought it would be, who is going to make it right? A travel professional will also check constantly for price drops before final payment and whether a new promotion offered would be more beneficial than what was booked with a deposit. All these things can be addressed before final payment.

    A travel professional works with you from the time you first talk to them until you are home safe and sound and any and all problems have been solved or addressed.

    It Costs More to Use a Travel Professional

    This is not always true. True, some travel professionals charge fees but not all of them do. This is because some vendors, like airlines and some hotels, don’t pay commission or some of the vendors have decreased the amount of commissions paid to the travel professional. In order to make ends meet, some travel professionals charge fees. I charge $50 per person for airline reservations domestically and $100 for airline reservations internationally. I will also charge a fee sometimes for hotels for the same reason or if I am putting the various sections of the trip together myself. If I book a cruise or a tour, I don’t charge a fee as the vendor pays me a commission. Remember, whether you use a travel professional or not the commission is still being paid as it is automatically included in the price from the vendor. So, why not use a travel professional and avoid the hassle and save your time?

    The rules for traveling are constantly changing and it is the travel professional who is able to keep their clients on track with them.

    Examples: Passports

    For instance, did you know that come January, 2016 you may need a passport to travel by air domestically? This is due to a law called the REAL ID Act. This requires all travelers to have a REAL ID compliant identification that includes all of these fields: full legal name, signature, date of birth, gender, unique identifying number, a principal residence address and a front-facing photograph of the applicant. Unfortunately there are still a handful of states that are non-compliant. Do you know which states are compliant and which aren’t? Your travel professional does. By the way, outright non-compliant states/territories are American Samoa, Louisiana and New Hampshire. The states of Minnesota and New York offer an optional Enhanced ID at a cost, so because it is optional, a large percentage of residents don’t have one. Some states have applied for additional extensions, but it is unclear if those will be granted. Currently, only four states (Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York) and American Samoa are technically non-compliant.

    Also, we still don’t know if January 1, 2016 will be the date of the requirement or will it be later? Because of this law, the passport processing time for all will be affected. All the passports issued in 2006 to meet the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that went into effect in 2007 are now expiring, causing a slew of renewals. So, because of those renewals coupled with the possible REAL ID enforcement, passport waits are expected to further increase. As of October 11, the current wait has already increased a week to four to six weeks for standard passports and three weeks for expedited. Expedited in person could be up to eight days based on travel need.

    Ultimately the REAL ID Act will require all state-issued drivers’ licenses to include “machine-readable technology” or chips to help keep us safe and secure while traveling.

    Also, passports are recommended for cruises just like they are required to fly outside of the United States. The reason being is if you do need to fly back to the United States from a foreign port you have a passport to do so. Just because you are on a cruise leaving a United States port, technically you are traveling internationally just as soon as you step on the ship as most ships are registered outside of the United States!

    Example: Visas

    A travel professional would be able to help you determine if visas are required to travel to where you want to go. If they don’t know for sure, they know where to send you for that information and get confirmation that you do or don’t need one for the type of travel you are taking. For instance, for most cruises if you leave an U.S. port and return to the same U.S. port you probably don’t need a visa to visit the ports. This is called a “closed loop” trip. But, again, most of the cruises. Always double check to see if one is needed.

    Example: Travel Insurance

    Again, not all travel insurance is created equal. Should you purchase travel insurance? Absolutely!!! I recommend to my clients not to purchase travel insurance, for the most part, from the supplier of the cruise or product. The reason being the coverage is not as comprehensive as third party policies. Travel insurance is not only purchased for travel delays, luggage lost/damage or cancellation protection. Some health insurance companies do not cover you when traveling outside of the United States. Medicare does not. Travel insurance will act as your primary health insurance during your travel, from the time you leave to the time you return to your home. Also, it provides emergency evacuation for health reasons and protects you for other items. Always read the policy and information provided by the issuer of the travel insurance to see what is covered. Your travel professional will know which is a good travel insurance issuer.

    How Do Timeshares Work? How's Their Value Compared to a Travel Club?

    My beautiful wife, Nancy, and I love to travel… a lot!!

    We’ve taken over 70 vacations & trips together in just over 8 years as a couple, which means we’ve got a little experience being tourists and in vacation mode.

    So over the years we had heard about timeshares many times and had been solicited to go to presentations for freebies but we never once bothered…

    …not really sure why not?

    Maybe it was the thought of wasting several hours of our vacation getting pitched to spend lots of money, maybe it was the thought of it being too much money or that we didn’t want to keep traveling to one property all the time, etc.

    Whatever it was, we just simply never went to a presentation… wasn’t worth a free dinner or tickets to us.

    But over the past 18 weeks, as we’ve been traveling around to awesome places in Hawaii, California, Arizona & Florida, we’ve been staying at many great resorts through an International Travel Club that we’re members of and we’ve talked to many timeshare owners (there are lots of them) staying at the same places…

    …and we’ve been chatting it up with some of these people trying to figure out why they bought, whether they liked it/disliked it, etc.

    Basically, we figured it was time for us to see if a timeshare could benefit us with all the traveling we do.

    So with that said, in Las Vegas a couple of months ago, we took the plunge and went to a presentation.

    (Side note: The $150 in dining vouchers we were offered to go to the presentation had nothing to do with us attending… we simply wanted to learn and would have seriously considered buying if it made sense.

    Tip: Our recommendation would be to never attend a Timeshare presentation for “the gift”… if you’re truly not interested, you’ll be wasting several hours of your vacation and you’ll be putting yourself in a high-pressure sales situation… we were there for 4 hours, even though they said 90 minutes max, and they said no pressure sales up front but let’s just say, that was not so)

    What was our experience like?

    To be honest, we’re still confused from the whole thing.

    As mentioned, we’ve traveled a ton over the years and I was a top-selling travel agent for years but pretty much the whole idea went way over our heads and we’re not really sure why billions of dollars of this gets sold every year.

    Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re an owner yourself we’re not knocking you for buying… if we didn’t know of a better alternative we may have considered.

    But when we logically looked at the #s, it just didn’t add up for us.

    Of course, like many purchases, we understand most people buy on emotions, not logic…

    …travel is a powerful motivator… look at us, 18 weeks ago we sold all of our “stuff”, are now homeless, we travel full-time…

    …and have never been happier in our lives!! LOL

    For most people, that wouldn’t be a logical thing.

    So we get that many people buy emotionally to “lock” in an annual vacation and commit themselves to get away… and we’re huge promoters of that… our eBook we wrote is all about that.

    But logically, we couldn’t figure the whole timeshare thing out.

    They were going on about buying points and how many points you need depends on things like how many weeks you want, time of year you travel, resort you stay at, room type, your “status”, and on and on.

    But they wouldn’t give us real examples of what an amount of points would get us, what availability was like, how much ongoing maintenance fees would be, etc.

    We had to make a decision “there and then”, that was it… no info to take with us to evaluate or think about it because “no-one comes back and buys once they leave” we were told…

    …it was actually a little insulting as we felt we were expected to make an immediate decision without doing any due diligence on a “points” system that felt like you needed a degree to understand with all the variables, exchange options, add ons, upgrades, etc.

    Being a couple that spent $40,000+/year on travel the last several years (and that’s before we started traveling full-time) we feel we were great prospects but unless we were willing to make a decision ‘on the spot” our business wasn’t wanted…

    …very weird business practices!?

    When we initially joined an International Travel Club earlier this year, it wasn’t till 3 weeks after we first saw it we joined. That was AFTER we did a bunch of research and flew to Las Vegas to check out 7 of their properties, and they were happy to take our business.

    So we can now understand why many people who buy timeshares regret the hasty decision they made (Google timeshare and you’ll see owners selling them is a huge market) as they were so confused and pressured at the time they didn’t really understand what they were buying.

    Anyway, enough about our experience on that.

    What great thing came out of it though was that we feel better then ever about our decision to join a Travel Club rather then buy a timeshare… let’s compare the #s and see why that option made better sense to us.

    Regarding the timeshare we saw, depending on how many points we bought based on when we wanted to travel, we would have paid either $18,000 or $26,000 up front for 1 week per year… and if we financed that at their 15.99% rate over 10 years it would have doubled that #.

    On top of that you have monthly maintenance fees that you’re locked into for LIFE.

    They were $50-$70/month depending on the package we bought… let’s use $60 for our example.

    Over 30 years we’d pay our initial $18,000-$26,000 up front and $21,600 in maintenance fees. (Keep in mind maintenance fees ALWAYS go up… that’s the biggest complaint owners tell us… we talked to one who’s fees jumped to over $2000/year due to a hurricane and major repairs being done… for our example though, we won’t even factor in higher fees)

    So when you add it up for 30 years of JUST 1 week/year we’d pay $39,600-$47,600.

    And if you want more weeks you have to buy more points. (Which could double or triple or more the above #s depending what you want) And if you can’t travel due to illness you still pay maintenance fees, etc.

    It’s a HUGE commitment!!

    Now let’s look at the travel club option.

    For a typical, good quality Travel club, you’ll pay, approximately, a ONE-TIME $5000 fee for life-time access which allows you to book up to 10 weeks/year at the resorts for the price range of $298-$799/week.

    On average members pay around $550 for each week they stay at a resort.

    So in 30 years you’ll have paid $5000 up front and $16,500 for 1 week/year… $21,500 in total… that’s 46%-55% less then a basic timeshare.

    So you can see why being a member of a Travel Club, financially speaking, makes sense!

    And here are a few things to consider:

    1. You can book up to 9 more weeks per year in a Travel Club and just pay the $550 on average per week…. over 30 years you’ll pay $16,500 per extra week whereas an extra timeshare would be MUCH more… basically you’re saving over $20,000 for each extra week compared to a timeshare… the more you use your club the savings get ridiculous!

    2. You’ll have no maintenance fees, ever! If you can’t travel in any given year or ever again, no big deal, you’ll never pay another dime… no contract locking in ongoing fees.

    3. As mentioned, your up front cost will be around $5000, that’s it! Not $18,000-$26,000. Not sure about you but we don’t want to pay for years and years of vacations today… we have better things to do with our hard-earned dollars!

    4. All the above timeshare #s are based on a studio or one bedroom which is all you need if you’re a couple… if you have a bigger family though and need 2 rooms or heaven forbid 3 or 4 you’ll need a ton more points… your costs will sky-rocket. With a travel club, the $298-$799/week can be for 1-3 rooms, based on your needs and availability… they’re not penalizing you and charging double/triple for your large family.

    5. Most people don’t need to “finance” an upfront $5000 fee with a travel club… with the $20,000+ for a timeshare, many do… the high interest rates double your #s and really make a timeshare pricey.

    Alright, enough said about the whole timeshare vs travel club option… I could go on with lots more pros/cons but I’m pretty sure about anyone could look at the above and easily decide which one logically makes more sense and can at the same time get emotionally satisfied with the monetary savings.

    As I said at the beginning, this post isn’t about knocking timeshares or owners… Nancy & I love all industries that promote travel as we believe it’s so important and we know many of you love the “ownership” aspect of timeshares and that’s cool.

    But we know our readers & most travelers love to save money, like savvy travelers like us do, and we want to make sure you’re fully informed on the options…

    …and in our experience, most people don’t necessarily want “Vacation Homes” or “Vacation Ownership”, they just simply want consistent vacations and in our expertise…

    …being a member of a Travel Club vs owning a Timeshare is a much more economical and smart option… in this volatile economy…

    … or in any economy for that matter!

    I appreciate you.

    Shawn

    Tips on What You May Need When Travelling – Travel Bags and Accessories

    Many people enjoy traveling and will always do so at any available opportunity. Some people travel often because it is part of their job requirements. There are those who rarely travel but will gladly do so once in awhile especially during vacations. When leaving your home for a night or more, it is always very important to take along with you everything you need to make yourself as comfortable as possible for the period you are away from home. Also take with you everything you need to fulfill the purpose of your travel, such as things you may need if you are on official/ business trips. If you forget something you would have taken for your travel, it may not only frustrate you but also sour your spirit, You may even incur extra expenses because you may be forced to buy something you would otherwise not have bought. So it is important you plan ahead and decide what you need for your journey and what kind of suitcase or luggage bag will be most suitable for your journey. What you may need for your journey and the type of travel bag you will need depends on the length of time you will be away from home and also the mode of your travel. What you may need for a business trip will be different from your needs when going for a vacation. When you have made a good mental recollection of what you need for your travel and your mode of travel (travel by air or drive yourself to your destination), you then have to decide on the type of travel bag to pack your things in. You have to choose the type of suitcase or travel/ luggage bag that will give you the greatest flexibility and allows you to travel light.

    Traveling With Luggage Bags /Garment Bags for Official/ Business Trips

    Most people prefer to fly if they are traveling for official or business purposes such as attending business meetings or going for conferences. In this case you may be spending a night or two away from home, then your best choice of travel bag may be a carry-on bag with wheels or a messenger bag. The messenger bags and rolling bags are available in many sizes ranging from 13″ to 21″. Each of these travel bags lets you travel light because you can fit your computer into your travel bag. The unique design of each bag allows you to comfortably store your notebook/iPad in addition to clothing and personal accessories in the same bag. Each bag has special overnight luggage section that provides enough room for the clothes you need while on your journey. Each bag is perfect for short official/business trips. Each type of carry-on case has all necessary notebook case features including a zip-down workstation with storage for your mobile accessories, pen loops, key clip and business card holder. The rolling carry-on bags have smooth-rolling wheels and telescoping handle that makes the rolling case a perfect companion for the businessperson on the go.

    Some people may prefer to travel with a garment bag, computer /notebook carrying case or a multipurpose handbag (for women). The garment bag is great for protecting clothes while traveling. The clothes stay neat and wrinkle free. The garment bag has multiple pockets and can hold up to 4 garments. It has four interior pockets that provide enough room for shoes and accessories like cosmetic/makeup bags, toiletry bags and curling hot iron cases. It also has one exterior pocket where you can put the book you want to read on the plane or any other thing you want to be handy while you are on the plane. This garment bag is very stylish, lightweight and durable. It has full-length center zipper that gives you easy access to the inside. It also has full exterior zipper closure that ensures that everything inside the bag is secured. When you have packed everything you want inside the bag, you can fold the garment bag into two. The bi-fold bag has two handles that makes it easy to carry. It also has a metal hanging hook that allows you to hang it on a wall. You can then use your multi-purpose handbag or computer/notebook carrying case to carry your computer/iPad.

    Some other travelers may prefer to travel with an overnight bag. The overnight bag has zippered main closure with three zippered side pockets and two Velcro end pockets. It has adjustable shoulder strap and carrying handle. It also has a black linen inside lining that makes it great for wiping out and keeping clean.

    Travel Accessories- Snoozer – Travel Neck Pillow / Blanket in Velura

    Beside the travel/ luggage bags that you need to pack everything you need for your journey, you may consider other travel accessories such as a luxurious Velura covered neck rest that not only carries a soft, easy care Velura 40″ x 60″ blanket inside, but also has an inflatable pillow that allows you to enjoy a warm and comfortable trip. The PVC inflatable pillow is easy to inflate and deflate and the blanket is so soft that it easily folds back into the pillow cover. This snoozer-travel neck pillow/blanket in Velura is a compact, easy to carry travel item that you can use to provide comfort for yourself on any journey. This travel accessory is ideal for business or recreational travelers.

    What You May Need When going on Family Vacation

    Many families choose to travel by road when on a family vacation; Traveling together in a car is part of the close family experience that every family cherishes and long for every year. Preparing for this long traveling experience for the families can be a sweet challenge for parents, especially when the journey involves very young kids. The thought of how to keep them engaged and entertained all through the long journey can also be daunting.

    It is no brainer to say that you need suitcases to pack the family’s clothing and needs while on vacation, The challenge is what type of suitcases do you need. Do you need a suitcase for everyone in the family or do you need to put everyone’s clothing in a common suitcase? Depending on the number in the family and the ages of the kids, you may have a common suitcase for clothing and another for other accessories. Alternatively, each kid can pack his/her accessories in his/her backpack, while you have a common suitcase for everyone. In another arrangement, you can let everyone in the family use a garment bag to pack both his/her clothing and accessories. This is one of the “sweet-bitter” choices parents have to make.

    Use A Thermal Cooler Bag to Pack Enough Cold Drinks For Everyone While On The Journey

    Depending on the length of the journey you might want to travel with enough cold drinks packed in a thermal cooler bag. The thermal lining of the cooler bags prevents the drinks from absorbing heat as such the drinks will remain cold for a very long time. The idea is for you not to stop to buy cold drinks each time any member of the family wants something cold to drink. Having sufficient cold drinks handy when you need them gives you enough driving time and also lets you stop only when you need to break the journey for any other thing other than just buying some cold drinks.

    Make Your Kids Comfortable With Kids’ Travel Accessories

    Besides having enough drinks handy for anyone who needs it during the journey, it can also be a challenge to keep the kids comfortable during a very long journey. You can keep your kids comfortable all through the journey by allowing them to use kids’ travel accessories such as travel buddies. Kids’ travel buddies are ultra soft neck pillows that allow kids to snuggle with their buddy while “visiting the land of dreams!” These buddies that are available in different animal characters are perfect for strollers, cars and any other place kids drop off to sleep.

    Scosche back STAGE pro II Vehicle Mount for Tablet PC

    Apart from providing cold drinks for your kids when they need them and making them (kids) comfortable while they sleep during the journey, keeping the kids engaged during the course of the journey is another challenge. Some parents allow the children to read their books during the journey, and play their video games when they are tired of reading. These are good ways to keep your kids engaged. Another way is to have them watch videos/movies on iPad while you drive. In this instance, back STAGE pro II is very suitable. Use the back STAGE pro II to securely and rugged mount your iPad 2 to the back of any headrest so that your children can enjoy hands free viewing of movies, apps, games while you drive. This device is ideal to keep your family entertained with ease when you are on a long journey. The backstage pro II has a charger that plugs directly into the headrest mount and provides a continuous charge to your iPad 2. It has wireless IR headphones for private listening and a USB port that supports flash drive use for viewing images.

    These are some of the things you need to consider when preparing for a business trip or family vacation, to ensure that you have the most comfortable journey whether you travel by air or travel by road with your family on a vacation.

    Slash Thousands From Your Business Travel

    When it comes to your business travel we all know that this comes write out of your bottom line, but in order to keep good customer relations this is something that you must do. One of the most common things to do is to hire a business travel manager to handle all your business travel arrangements.

    Did you realize that the median salary for a business travel manager is $73,000.00 per year? (FACT) Where’s the savings?

    The best way to slash thousands from your travel expenses is to out source. You can have a travel agency do the same things as a business travel manager without spending thousands doing it. By having a travel agency handle your travel arrangements, you can save anywhere from 80 to 90% depending on how many traveler’s you have. By doing this makes your bottom line more profitable.

    Let me ask you, would you rather spend 73,000 or 10,000?

    The responsibilities of a travel manager are to choose transportation and lodging for company employees, advise about passport and visa requirements, rates of currency exchange, all things that a travel agent is already doing. Additional perks of hiring a travel agent is they can handle convention planning and group vacation organization for employees.

    One of the best benefits from hiring a travel agent over a business travel manager is that a travel agent is offered reduced travel rates from preferred vendors as to where a business travel manager is not.

    By out sourcing and hiring a travel agent over a travel manager, you are not only saving from paying a large salary, but you also save by not having to provide benefits such as health care and retirement. These could easily bring the cost of hiring a business travel manager to well over $100,000.00 a year. That’s Insane!!!

    There are so many more benefits from hiring a travel agent over a business travel manager because they are so much more knowledgeable in the travel industry. How, when, and where travel is booked whether online or offline is very important when it comes to saving money on your business travel. These are techniques that only travel agents will know because they deal directly with travel vendors. Nine times out of ten a business travel manager will either call a travel agent or go to a travel agent’s web site for their information.(FACT)

    Haven’t we learned in the past couple of years that foolish spending is not the way to go? Look at what it has done to big business. It’s time we get smart and trim the wasted fat. Wouldn’t you rather spend the money growing your business than hiring someone that’s probably looking out for them self rather the company?

    When looking for a travel service for your company make sure that they have incentive and rewards programs. Look for a service that has the customer’s best interest at heart.

    I understand that customer service must come first in order to have long standing business relations. I want to help you to accomplish this same goal.

    Five Insanely Odd Florida Attractions

    Some rave of Florida’s pristine white sandy beaches, others its endless array of world class theme parks and still others its equally endless array of senior citizens. For us however, there’s one thing to rave about above them all; its spectacular selection of bizarre roadside attractions. Here are some of its best:

    1. World’s Largest Shuffleboard Courts: St. Petersburg, Florida

    Grab your friend Ethel, give Gertrude a call, heck, clear out all of Florida’s old age homes and bring the gang here to the world’s largest shuffleboard courts. This may not be Florida’s oldest attraction, but it certainly attracts its oldest people.

    The Shuffleboard courts here are so large in fact that your Aunt Bertha will have trouble making it to the other side without her angina acting up. Don’t let her leave home without her meds.

    Once your aching back has had enough, head inside to the World Shuffleboard Hall Of Fame and pay your respects to Shuffleboard Legends Mae Hall and Lucy Perkins. Cooperstown has nothing on these guys.

    2. Las Margaritas Grill: Homosassa Florida

    Not since the American Revolution has Patriotism bled as strong as it does inside the doors of Las Margaritas Grill. On Friday and Saturday nights, patrons are handed American flags, and asked to take part in the singing of God Bless America, I’m Proud To Be An American, God Bless USA and the National Anthem. Those refusing to stand and sing (not to mention those who partake in flag burning) are promptly asked to hit the road.

    Loyalists to the British crown, the French, Osama Bin Laden, we suggest you check yourselves at the door.

    Las Margaritas Hormossa Springs

    3. Mini Golf With Live Gators: Sarasota, Florida

    Windmills, castles and clown noses no longer doing it for you on the mini-golf course? Try throwing a few live gators to the mix. The threat of losing your ball (or your hand) to pack of deadly 10 foot gators will have you putting with laser like precision.

    After your round, you can even purchase a pile of raw meat to feed to the resident reptiles. Or alternatively, just jump in and feed them for no charge.

    4. French Café Themed McDonalds: Orlando, Florida

    Here a Big Mac becomes Le Big Mac, and mere French fries become Les French Fries. In fact, if not for the McDonald’s arch standing out front, you’d think you’d walked straight into a Parisian café.

    Along with Le Big Mac and other classic McDonald’s favorites, you’ll also find such upscale fare as, blackened grouper, Portobello eggplant, Italian amaretto spumoni and of course, wine. We recommend the 1997 Ronald McDonald Red; a fine, fine year.

    5. Boat n’ Trailer Racing: Bithlo. Florida

    For those who have yet to achieve their NASCAR Dream, Boat n’ Trailer racing is their chance to prove their worth. Brave men and women hitch a boat to their vehicle, put the pedal down, and unleash a pile of carnage in their wake.

    Should the above automotive violence still leave more to be desired, stick around for school bus racing, where you’ll see these massive yellow machines whisk around the track doing deft defying figure 8s. Hail to the bus driver indeed.

    Mine Haulage and the Transportation of Minerals

    Transportation has always been one of the main industries in Australia, playing a vital role in any operation, most companies nowadays requiring loads transported safely to their destination. One of the most challenging and also successful types of transportation is mineral transportation. In today’s growing society, more and more people nowadays need minerals transported safely, within the time-frame and without any incidents happening during the period of the transit.

    Minerals such as coal, ore, iron or even expensive minerals such as gold, silver, or even diamonds are often transported in Australia every single day, making mineral haulage one of the most successful and demanded types of transportation in today’s society. In this article we are going to feature mineral transportation and also the equipment used in the process of transporting minerals.

    Mining companies have always viewed the actual transportation of these minerals to their destination one of the most problematic steps of the whole mining operation, minerals being hard to deal with and requiring much precaution and safety measures. Choosing the best mining company is of vital importance if you need minerals transported safely to their destination.

    Coal is one of the most commonly transported mineral, requiring much attention and proper care from the transporting company. The whole transportation process is quite simple. Usually small cars or coal trucks load the coal in the mine and transport it outside the mine to the actual transportation area where the coal is loaded into heavy coal carrying trucks which are going to transport the load to its destination for example to a wash plant.

    The loading and unloading process of the minerals are also vital steps in the whole transportation system, many accidents occurring all of the time, requiring much experience from the transportation company. In order for the minerals to be properly loaded and unloaded from the carrying trucks, special equipment such as cranes or shoves is used. Bulldozers and excavators are also commonly used in the loading and unloading processes. Drag line buckets have also seen much popularity in the past few years, being a much more flexible system bringing the user with a safer and faster transportation process.

    Many minerals require transportation all around the world and only the best transportation companies, providing only the finest equipment and crew are needed for the entire operation to work flawlessly. Precious minerals such as gold, silver, or even diamonds are very often transported in Australia, requiring much more attention than the transportation of cheaper minerals. Titanium and nickel are also popular minerals around Australia, requiring transportation often from shipping companies.

    Cities like Perth and Queensland are very busy regarding mineral transportation, many companies working and transporting materials in those areas, making Australia one of the busiest centers for transportation of minerals.

    As a conclusion, mine haulage is of vital importance for the whole mining operation to work, requiring only the most experienced crew and the finest equipment in order to fully provide a safe transit and also transporting the minerals within the time-frame provided without any accidents occurring during the actual transportation of the minerals.

    The Many Benefits Of A Travel Club Membership

    There are many benefits to having a travel club membership, especially for those people who are keen travelers (or wish to be keen travelers). But up until recently, for most travelers, owning a travel club membership has not been an affordable option.

    In the past, getting your hands on a quality travel club membership would easily run you $3,000-$10,000…and although these travel memberships were well worth the price, the average family or traveler could never afford it.

    But now, with the internet causing raging competition within the travel industry and companies eager to get their hands on their share of the $7 Trillion travel industry pie, travel memberships have become much more affordable and readily accessible.

    There are several option to choose from when picking a travel club membership, but with this article I will only be focusing on the many benefits.

    (*Note* I am NOT an expert on ALL travel memberships…as all memberships are created differently. I will be generalizing from my own experience, but you will find that most of the benefits I present ring true across the board.)

    1. The first major benefit to having a travel club membership is obviously the discounts. Depending on the membership you get, you can expect to receive 50%, all the way up to 80% off of regular room prices.

    2. Second, is that you are never tied down or committed to just ONE property. Unlike owning a timeshare, where you pay BIG money to be permitted to stay at one location, a travel club membership allows you to stay at ANY of the properties that your travel membership company if affiliated with. Depending on the travel membership you choose this can be in the hundreds, to tens of thousands of properties from all around the world.

    3. Speaking of timeshare, the price for one of these properties can run anywhere from $10,000 all the way up to $90,000 or more. And that doesn’t even include ANNUAL maintenance fees. Travel memberships are often a fraction of the price of a timeshare property, with NO recurring fees.

    4. Unlike most timeshare properties where the ‘owner’ is only permitted to stay ONE week out of the year, travel club members are often allowed to vacation multiple weeks per year. Some companies even have a ‘NO Black Out Dates’ service, which means members can vacations 52 weeks out of the year if they so please. If you haven’t got a calendar handy, that is EVERY SINGLE WEEK of the year.

    5. Unlike the usual method for booking a hotel room where you pay per person, per night…with a travel club membership, you pay PER ROOM, PER WEEK. Obviously when you’re booking a vacation at 80% off for the room, with some rooms sleeping up to 4, 6 or even 8 people, there are HUGE savings to be had.

    6. Your travel club membership is not subject to just hotel rooms either. Many travel membership clubs have all sorts of different vacation packages ranging from luxury resorts, hotels, condos, cruises, and much, much more. Some companies even provide the option to book discounted airplane tickets, rental cars and family activities as well.

    7. Most travel club membership companies pre-book their rooms, so there is little-to-no chance that members will ever miss out on the vacations they desire.

    8. Members of a travel club can book their holidays at the drop of a hat, even during busy peak seasons like Christmas and New Years, all without having to pay ridiculous prices or worry that they won’t get a booking.

    9. Travel memberships allow you to show your family and friend the world, for pennies on the dollar.

    10. Having a travel club membership allows the average person or family to enjoy the lap of luxury and the kind of lifestyle that is usually only reserved for the rich and famous.

    Obviously, there are many benefits to having a travel club membership, but remember, not all travel memberships are created equal. While some are OVER PRICED for the service they provide, others are just not up to scratch at all…So make sure you do your homework before spending your money on a travel membership.

    Paid to Travel? Can You Really Get Paid to Travel (or for Free?)

    Traveling… ahh yes, doesn’t EVERYONE LOVE TO TRAVEL? Well, I know, I know… the pains of connecting flights, delays, cancellations, dragging luggage a mile across terminals… the hassle of renting cars, fighting traffic in a foreign country (and figuring out which side of the road to drive) and trying to figure out what the guy is telling you when all’s you asked was “where is the bathroom?”… Aside from all of that, is it not the greatest feeling when you can step away from the normal routine, take a few deep breaths and realize you have nothing to do but sit on the beach… your hardest decision is if you’re going to have steak or lobster that night… and your biggest worry is if you have enough sun screen? That’s what traveling is all about… when it transposes us from our everyday lives and places us in a completely new culture… seeing, breathing, eating and dancing to what people 10,000 miles away from you are doing and thinking to yourself “this is the kind of stuff you see on TV”. That’s when it’s all worth it… that’s why traveling is so amazing.

    But, one of – if not “THE” – biggest obstacles in traveling is that little green piece (or many pieces) of paper called MONEY. Whether you’re trying to visit a friend in Dallas or take your wife to Bora-Bora, it all costs Money-and a lot of it. The days of those Southwest “$49.00” fares are long gone and even the little weekend getaways whack a dent in your pocket book. There are definitely ways to shave off a few dollars here and there, but no matter how you slice it, traveling is expensive. Not everyone has a cush, 6 or 7 figure salary that allows them to take off 6 day weekends or weeks at a time to party in Ibiza. So, is there really a way to travel-and I mean really travel-and either get paid or travel for “free”??

    The travel industry is an $8 TRILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. Yes, you read that right… that’s Trillion with a capital “T”. So, other than the hotels, airlines and luggage manufacturers, how can you get involved?

    Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can earn a living, traveling across the world:

    Flight Attendant: This is actually a great way to visit a LOT of places-FAST. The average flight attendant makes $37,000.00 a year, with the higher level salaries hovering in the $75,000.00-$90,000.00 range. It’s definitely an advantage if you know more than one (1) language. Flight attendants receive a daily per Diem for meals, along with flexible work schedules, discounts on flights, hotels and travel expenses for vacation. The downside is that when you are working, the flight schedule can be grueling-traveling to multiple cities in a 12, 18 or 24 hour time frame. When you finally stop to rest, the urge to go sight-seeing or check out the city, is traded out with the simple need to sleep in a bed. Oh yea, I forgot to mention… have you ever NOT seen a few angry, annoyed or upset people on your plane? Yep, be prepared to deal with those rude customers during your 12-24 hour shift!

    Commercial Airline Pilot: Same deal with flight attendants, in terms of work schedule, but the pay is much better-depending on the size of the jet and company, you can be making $121,000.00 a year. If you want to go to flight school, pass your minimum 250 hours of flight experience, go for it! Just make sure you have perfect vision and hearing. Again, if you want to make this a career, you will visit cities all over the country (and the world), but be prepared to deal with thousands of customers, weather and equipment problems, grueling schedules and the stress that comes along with the responsibility of flying so many people to different places.

    Travel Agent: As you may already know, travel agents know all about the best places to visit. They are the middle men between the hotels, airlines, tourism bureaus and the travelers. More than likely, they have an opportunity to visit some of these places so they can see everything for themselves-that’s a pretty sweet perk, eh? Typical salaries are anywhere from $25,000.00 to $35,000.00 and most likely be required to enroll in some sort of training, typically with the Travel Institute.

    Freelance Writer or Photographer: What a cool job this would be… traveling all over the world… spending your time with various cultures, observing how the people communicate, eat, sleep and worship. You truly are “free”, relaying what you see and experience to the people sitting on their couch, thousands of miles away. Only catch… well, it’s that one thing we talked about a little earlier: MONEY. Obviously, you are not going to get paid before you get to these places, so be sure to plan this out a little bit, stock up some green in your checking account and pick up some pointers on how to express yourself with the pen & paper or with the camera. Try to develop some sort of “following” so you have a good base of people reading and viewing your content. Do not try to fly to India with a thousand bucks and an iPad, expecting to start a travel blog that generates cash, allowing you to wander the world for the next few years. You might as well go to your nearest casino and play blackjack. If you can pull of this occupation (and to those that currently do this), I tip my hat to you-great work!

    Okay, now that we have gone over a few of the travel “jobs”, you may be saying, “well, I like my job right now and don’t really feel like dealing with all of those people and flying across the country 6 times, only to sleep in Des Moines for the night.” If you’re in between jobs, just out of school or simply want to take a “sabbatical”, why don’t you consider these routes in traveling the world:

    You Speak English?: Speaking English can provide access to countries in all places across the globe. Some companies offer free room & board in exchange for you to help their employees enhance their English speaking skills and knowledge. There are also programs you can find on the web that well set you up with a certain country and company in order to train their people English. Now that you have your room & board covered, now we just need to figure out how we can pay for food and drink…

    Start Giving Back: Feeling charitable or want to help others? Why not look to jump on a church mission trip, Habitat for Humanity-International, or if you can take off more time, join the Peace Corps? Obviously, this is not going to be as glamorous as sailing the Mediterranean, island hoping the Greek Isles, but if you want to feel good about helping out people less fortunate-and work hard-pack your bags and sign up for a volunteer opportunity. You will definitely see some places without paved roads, running water and people simply looking for a roof over their head. Giving the less fortunate the simple things we take for granted: food, clothing and shelter, will give you new sense of gratitude, after completing one of these tours.

    All of these ways to travel are great and all, but how many people have the opportunity to take off extended amounts of time or have the nerve to just walk away from their job and become a commercial pilot or join the Peace Corps? Everyone has a job because it pays the bills and gives us financial security. I don’t know about you, but I am responsible for my wife and three(3) children, thus taking the plunge on the “unknown” is absolutely NOT realistic.

    So, back to the original question above… How can you realistically travel for free? And when I say, “travel”, I mean, really travel… That means taking a care-free vacation… not having to worry about if you can afford to leave the resort for dinner that night, or buy those extra pair of sunglasses… Care-free travel means doing what you want, when you want and not worrying about the bill when you get back home. Let’s break down a few ways in which we really can travel for free (or as close to it as we can get)… or even better: GET PAID TO TRAVEL!

    Use Those Points!: You know, I always knew I was going to be thankful for all that money I spent on my credit card. Now that I racked up all that debt, I also racked up all those points! Points I can use towards booking a new flight or maybe pay for my stay at the Bellagio in Vegas… where I can blow even more money!… I’m kidding!… kind of. Whenever you are looking to obtain a new credit card, choose the card that offers the most, when used. Compare the interest rate for charges and cash advances, the annual fees and also the credit card that provides the best rewards. If you fly a certain airline, be sure to input your frequent flyer number to gather those miles. Use travel sites that allow you to accrue points when you purchase flights, hotels, cruises and rental cars. You’re paying for this stuff anyways, so why not try and earn a little more for the next time you want to take a trip?

    Vacation Packages through a Resort or Company: Very similar to a travel agent, only you are selling pre-packaged vacations at a discount to consumers. Instead of creating a customized travel package based on what and where the customer likes, you are selling a pre-packaged stay at a specific resort or hotel/resort/meal itinerary. They come in all shapes and sizes… and they can be dirt cheap (think: hotel next to Senor Frogs-Cancun during Spring Break), or the Rolls Royce type of trip. Depending on the type of company or resort, there are many perks with the access to all of their locations, with commission schedules pretty generous. There are limitations on the demographic of the clientele and if you are representative a company or resort with mediocre selections-and reviews-then it may put you in a rock in a hard place.

    Direct Selling with a Travel Company: With this, you really do have the opportunity for the best of both worlds-traveling the world on the cheap (or in some cases, for FREE!) and making money. Typically, people that get involved in this industry already have a full time job and are looking for a better, cheaper way to travel and an additional source of income. It can be extremely lucrative, in terms of creating wealth and a residual income, but a lot of the members simply take advantage of the fact they can generate a few extra dollars every month and access to the premium resorts at wholesale pricing. The direct-sell companies in the travel industry offer 5 star packaged vacations at 2 Star pricing, as well as access to their trip planning website that works like an Expedia or Travelocity. Also, confirm there are ways you can accrue points, when you buy flights, vacations, or even their travel mall, so you can use those points for a free trip. Bottom line: do your research… choose a company that has a great reputation and make sure you have a good support system… thousands of people are catching on to these companies and are really capitalizing on the residual income and extremely low cost of travel.

    As you can see, traveling for “free” is really only for professional poker players and the kids with enormous trust funds. You are going to have to work one way or another-whether it’s building up a stockpile of cash and funding an overseas trip or jumping into a new occupation on a plane or abroad. There are multiple ways you can get paid to travel, as well as minimizing your travel costs through various companies and resources… it’s all a matter of preference on what you want to do and how much time you have. Traveling can be a life changing experience or simply a much needed time-out from our crazy lives. Whatever you choose, just make sure to not take it too seriously and enjoy yourself!

    Prepare For Long Term Travel

    Preparing For Long Term Travel

    Traveling abroad is an art. It requires intellect to plan, courage to enact, and perseverance to endure. When planning your dream trip, you must walk a fine line between over- analysis and not-so-blissful ignorance (summer in Sudan, anyone?).

    There are several things you should consider before booking your travel, and the most important will be deciding where and when to go.

    Where to Go

    After working in a cubical and day dreaming about traveling around the world, most people already have a pretty good idea where they want to go. It’s a personal choice and there are amazing places to see and experience all over the globe. If you intend for your systems to pay for your travels, the main factor in deciding where to go is your budget.

    How Much the World Costs
    These numbers assume a few things. Firstly, you travel slowly (no more than one out of every four days). Second, you stay in clean, basic accommodations. While it’s certainly possible to rent a $3 room in Cambodia, most people mature enough to run a business want a little more comfort. We’re talking rooms with a bathroom, hot water, shower, towels, a bed, and a TV… but not much else.

    The prices below are for two people and include food, room, laundry, toiletries, visas and overland (usually local) travel:
    o Southeast Asia: $50
    o UK and Ireland: $100
    o Australia and New Zealand: $80
    o South America:$55
    o Africa: $60
    o Western Europe: $90
    o Eastern Europe:$65
    o Indian subcontinent:$40
    o Japan: $90
    As you can see, expenses can be very reasonable, far more reasonable than what you may be currently paying back home. However, you will want to travel somewhere that your systems can afford.

    You can escape home faster and live better if you visit third world areas such as Southeast Asia and India. Though we’ve visited the UK several times, my wife and I are still a long ways away from living it up in London! There’s another more powerful reason for going third world initially: a new perspective. Chances are, if you’re reading this you are probably raised in the Western world. When you board that plane, you will no doubt be ready for a change, and the transition from first to third world will be as eye opening as the transition from worker to entrepreneur.
    All in all, their calculations have been fairly close to my personal experiences.

    Money Saving Tips

    These are some tips I’ve learned from both working as a travel agent and personal experience. There are many, many ways to stretch your budget:

    o Purchase tickets ahead of time, or last minute. So many people lament over rising flight costs, when they should have bought the damn thing months ago and saved a bundle. Here is my rule of budget travel: purchase tickets ahead of time if you know where you want to go, purchase last minute if you don’t. For example, there is currently a special discount flight to Hungary from San Francisco for three hundred dollars, last minute. Did you plan on going to Hungary? No, but when the opportunity arises, you should take it.
    o Slum it, then go all out. My wife and I cycled across Ireland without breaking the bank, and yet we stayed in quality bed and breakfasts (including an old Irish castle). How did we do this? Simple: for every one night in a great location, we camped two nights. Once we arrived at our room for the night, we cleaned up and had a good time. The next morning we showered and hit the road. Following this approach you only miss a shower for one day at a time…
    o Change your drinking habits. One of my largest grievances with budget travel writers is their silly notion that you should sacrifice a cold beer in the name of saving money. There are far better ways to save a dollar while you’re traveling. What you should avoid are bars. You can drink cold beer or local spirits for cheap from bottle shops (or oddly enough, 7-11’s). I found myself contemplating buying a can of Guinness in Thailand for more than it cost back home! True, it was an Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day, but come on…

    Health: Avoiding Problems

    Vaccinations

    You need to start getting some of your vaccinations at least two months before departing on a trip. Several inoculations require three or four visits, spaced two to three weeks apart. Here’s a short list of the most common vaccinations required (or highly recommended) for global travel:
    o Hepatitis A and B. (if possible, get the combined vaccine)
    o Japanese encephalitis
    o Polio, diphtheria and tuberculosis
    o Rabies
    o Tetanus
    o Typhoid
    o Yellow fever

    Malaria

    While there is no vaccination for malaria, there are a number of anti-malarial tablets you can take to help combat the disease (though none of them is 100% effective). Check with your doctor to see which prescription is right for you.

    To get these vaccinations, visit your local travel clinic or speak with your physician. If you’re currently employed, check if your benefits will cover vaccinations. I was able to save over $700 on vaccinations thanks to the health insurance provided by my previous employer. Talk about a severance package!

    Food
    When it comes to food, I follow a few simple rules:

    1. Eat at restaurants with a lot of people and high turn over. It probably means the food is fresher.
    2. Eat cooked food. Try to avoid any raw vegetables and raw fish. Fruits and vegetables that you can peel are a safer option. Consider bringing vitamin tablets if you’re not getting enough fruits and vegetables.
    3. Don’t over eat. If you stuff your face with contaminated food, you’ll feel a hell of a lot worse than if you ate a smaller portion. The only two times I’ve been sick abroad were shortly after a three or four course meal at a high end steakhouse.

    Water

    Depending on where you travel, you might need to bring a water purification system. I use The Steripen Adventurer UV purifier. The same size as a screwdriver, this wonder tool can purify one liter of water in one minute using an ultra violet light bulb and lithium batteries. Though it isn’t cheap- retail is about $130- the Steripen is both lightweight and effective. Keep in mind it doesn’t work with ice, a common cause for getting sick among travelers.

    If you’re planning on buying bottled water over seas, keep in mind that many merchants refill used water bottles with local water and resell them. If the plastic seal is broken- and it often is – you probably don’t want to drink it.

    Traveler’s Diarrhea

    Traveler’s diarrhea claims 30-50% of tourists abroad within the first two weeks, and is often accompanied by vomiting. In other words, don’t be surprised if you’re leaking out both ends… it’s natural. The best thing to do? Take over the counter anti-diarrheal medicine or antibiotics (rather than something that just plugs you up), drink lots of water, lay low and let the good- or bad- times flow. Symptoms should clear up within a few days. Any more than that, contact a doctor.

    Tying Up Loose Ends
    Before you hit the road you’ll need to close up shop. While most of these steps aren’t necessary for short term travel, they are imperative for long term wandering.

    o Three – Six Months Out:
    o Get a passport (if you don’t have one).
    o Book your airplane flights.
    o Visit your doctor or travel clinic to get vaccinations. Check if your employer’s health insurance covers them before you quit!
    o Determine how to handle your living situation. Consider renting out your residence furnished. This saves you the hassle of storing your belongings, and moves you one step closer to paying off your mortgage. Most people interested in furnished accommodations are working abroad for a year or more: perfect for your intentions.
    o Book a dentist, doctor, and optometry appointment for one month before you go to make sure you have a clean bill of health. This gives you time to handle any cavities before you leave.

    o One Month Out:
    o Set cancellation dates for all insurance policies, credit cards, and other miscellaneous items.
    o Close any unnecessary accounts (e.g. banking accounts and department store accounts).
    o Sign up for Online Banking (if you don’t already have it).
    o Set up a forwarding address with the post office to a friend or a P.O. Box in your name.
    o Find someone to rent your car while you’re gone. Make sure they get insurance and to draft an automobile leasing contract.
    o Go to your dentist, doctor, and optometry appointments.
    o Get travelers insurance.

    o Two weeks out:
    o Give your two weeks notice to your employer.
    o Email yourself copies of your passport, driver’s license, insurance policy, credit card, and any other important information you might need while you’re away.
    o Get travelers checks and email the security numbers from those to yourself.
    o Notify your bank that you’ll be making purchases in a foreign country with your credit card.
    o Have a garage sale. If you don’t manage to sell the majority of your belongings, have another garage sale following week. My wife and I made over $1,500 of two days work selling our stuff- worth over a month of travel in Southeast Asia. If you can’t sell your stuff, look into a storage unit.
    o Get a visa if applicable for your first country.

    Remember, you don’t need half of what you may think you do, a truism that applies to a crucial step in preparing: packing for long term travel.

    What (Not) To Pack
    Prior to departure: create a checklist of items you need to take. At a maximum you should include:
    Passport
    Drivers license (international if possible)
    Airline/train tickets
    Credit cards, travelers checks and US dollars
    Photocopies of important documents
    Youth hostel card
    Scuba diving certification (if applicable)
    Passport photos (1 or 2 per country)
    Money Belt
    One small day pack
    Sunglasses
    A good book
    Pen and notepad
    Laptop and headset for Skype
    Two pairs of light weight pants
    One pair of shorts
    Three shirts (one for going out)
    1 Pair Sandals
    1 Pair Shoes or Boots
    Underwear
    Swim suit (if applicable)
    Toiletries
    Silk sleep sack (not a sleeping bag)
    Sewing kit
    Nail clippers
    Ear plugs
    First aid kit
    Swiss army knife

    Possessions will only tie you down. For example, let’s say you purchase a brand new digital camera before your trip (chances are you will). Sure, it’s a great way to document your experiences, but it weighs you down a lot more than you think.

    You have to think twice about swimming in the ocean for fear someone will steal it. Crossing a river could potentially destroy it. Strangers become potential threats.

    And these are just the tangibles. The worst, and most common, is that it prevents you from truly experiencing a place before reaching for your camera. This effectively removes you from your surroundings, preventing you from ever really gaining anything at all.

    Why Einstein Was Wrong – How to Travel
    The theory of relativity states that time slows down when as speed increases. For example, imagine a friend whizzing across or solar system in a spacecraft while you remain here on the Earth. Einstein proved that your friend’s clock would seem to tick more slowly than your own.

    Sadly, the opposite is true when traveling. People who travel near the speed of light- or at least sound- arrive home seemingly unaware of where they had just visited. Locations become nothing more than a check box on their itinerary, an experience not to be savored, but shown off to others. They develop the classic “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Rome” syndrome. Speed is not better, which is why you shouldn’t try to travel at the speed of light.
    My advice is to travel at the speed of smell.

    As I write this, there is a large Vietnamese market going on less than five meters away. The smell of pho boiling over and the sounds of locals conversing is something I wouldn’t have noticed on a five day whirlwind tour of Vietnam.
    In order to really experience your surroundings, you must slow down. While guidebooks may offer walking tours that allow you to “do” a city in a day, it takes much longer to “feel” it out.

    Somewhere along the line, we lost the point of travel. People visit pagodas, temples, churches, museums, and art galleries not out of personal interest, but out of some misplaced obligation. If you aren’t interested in art, skip the Museum of Modern Art. If you don’t like sports, forget the Superdome. Can’t stand witnessing first hand poverty? Don’t go to India.

    It’s not about seeing the most acclaimed sights. It’s about experiencing those that affect you the most.

    Your First Night Abroad: Make It a Soft Landing

    Your first two days in any new region should be seen as a transition period. Don’t throw yourself into the mix right away; book your hotel prior to departure and stay there for at least two nights. This will help you acclimate to your new surroundings, and sleep comfortably for the first few days. Your first few nights shouldn’t be concerned with travel plans, budget, or any other logistics… just unplug and rest while your body adapts to the new sights, smells and time zone.

    Lunch at 4AM? How to Deal With Jet Lag
    There are several ways to combat jet lag, a common problem among travelers. It certainly hits some people harder than others; it takes me over a week to adjust, while my wife takes it in stride. Here are some ways to battle jet lag:
    o Don’t eat. Studies have shown that your liver takes longer to adapt to a new time zone than any other part of your body. By not eating for 12 hours or more, your body will adjust much more quickly. If this seems like too much, try eating on your intended destination’s clock a few days before departure (dinner at 10 AM, anyone?).
    o Sunshine. The sun helps you set your circadian clock, so the more the better. Exercise also helps.
    o Pop some pills. There are additional over-the-counter pills that claim to help with jet lag. Though I have no personal experience with them, several people I’ve spoken to swear by No Jet Lag.

    Staying Connected
    Now that you’ve freed up your time and location, you’ll need to monitor your systems and stay in touch with loved ones. Here are several crucial tools to maintain your systems abroad.

    Poste Restante
    A great way to pick up care packages from home. Get the address of the main post office in whatever town you’re in (or will be shortly) and have people address your mail to the following:

    LAST NAME, First Name
    Poste Restante, General Post Office
    Town, Country

    When you arrive at the post office, simply present your passport as identification and you’ll be able to claim your mail. Generally post offices around the world will hold mail up to two years.

    Blog
    A great way to keep in touch is to start a travel blog. You can do so with free services such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com; both are free and can be set up in a matter of minutes. By creating a travel blog, you are able to avoid sending out group e-mails, which always come across as forced and rather generic. This way, people who were really interested in your trip can check up on you whenever they like, leave comments, and engage other people visiting your blog.

    Also, blogs allow you much more creative freedom than sending emails. You can include pictures, video, polls, international clocks, maps and a whole host of other customization, all of which provide a great scrapbook after your travels.

    Word of the Year: Wifi
    Wireless is the name of the game. As time progresses, connecting to the Internet will only become increasingly important, so you might as well get used to ranking “free internet” higher than amenities such as free breakfast, swimming pool, and massages. Let’s face it: you’re now able to create systems that pay for your lifestyle, completely free of employees. Free of fax machines, cubicles, commutes, and water coolers… so logging into your accounts to make sure the money’s coming in doesn’t seem like too much of a hindrance, does it?

    Expect internet cafes to run around $1-2 USD an hour. Seeing that your business is Internet based, you may want to consider traveling with a laptop depending upon your goals.

    Laptop: Luxury or Necessity?
    If you intend to develop more systems while traveling, a laptop is necessary. You will need to upload web-pages to your sites, conduct phone interviews with prospective freelancers, and keep tabs on your expenses and revenue streams. If you intend to just monitor or expand your existing systems, you can use internet cafes, though working amidst Chinese computer gamer ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.

    Laptops also provide more security. You don’t know what kind of spyware (programs that remember your keystrokes for future use) might be on some random computer. To paraphrase sex ed teachers, a trusting, monogamous relationship is one of the best ways to avoid viruses.

    Cell Phone
    Though I personally don’t use one, cell service is getting better all the time, and can save you a lot of time if you need to call people who don’t use Skype. For example, I spent thirty minutes in search of an international phone to call my bank for a phone call that lasted two minutes.

    Skype
    You can’t go wrong with free international phone calls, and Skype provides just that. Get your friends and family back home to sign up and you can chat through your laptop for free. More and more businesses are jumping on the bandwagon, though banks and credit card companies are still behind the curve.

    An additional feature that may be of some use is the ability to forward calls from a US based phone number to your cell phone abroad. If you handle customer service questions, it pays to list a domestic number. After all, would you buy a product from a company that requires you to call East Timor with questions?

    Dragon Naturally Speaking
    If it wasn’t for this software, this book would never have been written. For less than thirty bucks you get a microphone, headset, and the ability to dictate to your laptop. I’m able to “write” at about 120 words per minute. An added bonus is that you can use the microphone and headset with Skype.

    USB Card
    An absolutely essential tool. There will be times when you won’t be able to access the Internet with your laptop, and a handy USB allows you to backup your work.

    Other Technological Marvels for Working Abroad
    o GoToMyPC : This software allows you to access your home computer from any other computer in the world. If you are abject to traveling with a laptop, this is the way to go. Just remember, you’ll have to pay for internet connection along the way, making this a better solution for short term travel.
    o World Electronics USA: Get information on global phones. Good explanation of which GSM frequencies and “bands” function in which countries, which will determine the phone you purchase for travel (and perhaps home).
    o Universal Plug Adapter: I’ve purchased adapters in several countries in order to power our digital camera and laptop, though it can be a hassle if you’re exploring several different regions. This universal adapter works wonders around the world.
    o World Electric Guide: This site is a life-saver when it comes to handling electronics abroad. It breaks down voltage, wattage and a slew of other technical requirements by country.
    Use what you’ve learned and hit the road!

    Overseas Travel Insurance Plans – Costs Less and Offers More

    Everyone craves for vacations to enjoy some quality time with their loved ones and Indians are no exception. The outbound travel sector of India saw a robust growth this year because international travel destinations are highly sought-after among Indians in 2015. Obstacles like inflation, skyrocketing ticket price and depreciation of rupee couldn’t deter the wandering spirit of Indian travelers to travel around the world. Over 60% of Indians remain unmoved by the depreciating rupee and are raring to go to travel. However, the rate of availing travel insurance to safeguard the trip is still dismal among Indian travelers.

    Young generations prefer to travel to international destinations once a year at least. According to a survey, 90% of these travelers make use of their own savings for overseas trips and don’t consider travel cover. Quite surprisingly, this is the mindset of young internet savvy generation as ICICI Lombard conducted the survey in the age group of 25-35 among 1049 people across six metro cities in India who had international trips in the previous year.

    The survey further reveals that Singapore is the most preferred travel destination among young Indian travelers; the second and third places are held by US and UK.

    Let’s take a look at the travel plans available and their prices for those who favor these destinations. Let’s start with Singapore.

    Travel insurance plans available for Singapore trips

    The following list of top 5 policy quotes in terms of lowest premium are for one 30 years old person looking for a single trip to Singapore. The trip duration is 10 days and the chosen sum insured is US$ 500000.

    1. Universal Sompo – Premium of Rs. 942
    2. HDFC Ergo – Premium of Rs. 1015
    3. Reliance – Premium of Rs. 1129
    4. TATA AIG – Premium of Rs. 1234
    5. Religare – Premium of Rs.1666

    The lowest premium is Rs. 942 for a travel insurance plan for a 10 days trip to any Asian country such as Singapore, Thailand. This means one has to pay less than Rs. 100 per day to make his trip safe and secured. Indian travelers must know that travel plans are not only inexpensive but they also provide coverage for loss of baggage, passport, hijack and even emergency treatment.

    Travel Insurance plans available for UK trips

    The following list of top 5 policy quotes in terms of lowest premium are for 1 person looking for a single trip to UK. The trip duration is 10 days and the chosen sum insured is US$ 500000.

    1. Universal Sompo – Premium of Rs. 942
    2. Bajaj Allianz – Premium of Rs.991
    3. HDFC Ergo – Premium of Rs. 1015
    4. Reliance – Premium of Rs. 1129
    5. Bajaj Allianz ( Travel Elite Platinum) – Premium of Rs. 1139

    Universal Sompo provides the lowest premium. The premium of travel insurance plan is also Rs. 942 for a 10 days trip To UK.

    Travel insurance policies for US trips

    The following list of top 7 policy quotes in terms of lowest premium are for 1 person looking for a single trip to US. The trip duration is 10 days and the chosen sum insured is US$ 500000.

    1. Universal Sompo – Premium of Rs. 1344
    2. HDFC Ergo – Premium of Rs. 1438
    3. Bajaj Allianz – Premium of Rs.1441
    4. IFFCO-TOKIO – Premium of Rs.1456
    5. Bajaj Allianz ( Travel Elite Platinum) – Premium of Rs. 1658
    6. TATA AIG – Premium of Rs. 1694
    7. Reliance – Premium of Rs. 1783

    The lowest premium is Rs. 1344 for a travel insurance plan for a 10 days trip to US. Just imagine, you are getting all types of risks covered just by paying less than Rs. 140 for each day of your trip.

    Best travel insurance plans in India in terms of baggage and medical coverage

    The survey also made clear that 79% people buy travel plan to cover medical emergencies. Safety of baggage is the second most vital reason as 60% people behind purchasing travel insurance policy. So let’s find out best travel insurance plans in terms of medical emergency and luggage safety.

    From the above list of travel policies for US, two plans by Reliance and Bajaj Allianz look best in terms of baggage cover.

    Reliance Travel care platinum provides US$1500 for the loss of checked baggage for a premium of Rs.1783.

    The Travel Elite Premium plan by Bajaj Allianz provides US$ 1000 for a premium of Rs. 1658 for the loss of checked baggage.

    To get the best coverage for medical emergencies, the Titanium plan by HDFC ERGO is the best. It primarily covers:

    1. Emergency Medical Expenses
    2. Permanent Disablement/accidental death
    3. Hospital Cash
    4. Loss of Personal Documents
    5. Accidental Death
    6. Loss of Baggage
    7. Financial Emergency Assistance
    8. Personal Liability

    What is the cost of international travel policy for a couple?

    According to the survey, 52% of travelers prefer to have trips with spouses. So, if these people can avail a travel plan for visiting US or UK or Singapore, how much do they have to pay?

    Let’s start with US trip for 10 days for a sum insured of US$ 100000 covering 2 people who are 30 and 28 years old.

    Religare offers the best plan which comes at a premium of Rs. 2407.

    If you compare travel plans available for couples who wish to visit UK, keeping the same criteria for trip duration, sum insured and age of the traveler, Religare provides the best plan. The premium of the plan is Rs. 1537.

    For a trip in countries like Singapore, Thailand within Asia which has been the top travel destination of 2015, a couple has to spend even less for a travel insurance policy. If you compare travel insurance plans that cover Asia, you will get the lowest premium of Rs. 1218 from Explore Asia plan provided by Religare.

    The positive part of the survey is the increased awareness among Indian travelers. More than 90% of young generation is aware of the travel insurance which is a significant rise from last year’s 80%. One of the major provider of travel insurance plans in India; ICICI Lombard underwritten a total travel insurance premium of Rs 100 previous year, one can expect the premium to increase by 5-10% in this year. The problem is not with the awareness; it is the lack of understanding about the benefits associated with these travel covers.

    27% of the total respondents in the survey choose not to avail a travel insurance plan simply because they were under the wrong conception that such plans cover only accidents, loss of baggage and theft but don’t provide medical coverage. This is far from being the truth as the complete break-up of Titanium plan by HDFC ERGO shows extensive coverage for medical emergencies.

    25% surveyed people didn’t buy any travel plan because they thought such plans are costly but it is not so. The price of all plans for person mentioned here are about less than Rs. 100 to less than Rs. 140 for each day of a 10 days trip. Travel insurance policies for couples are even cheaper as they cost in the range of less than Rs. 65 per day per person to less than Rs. 125 per day per person for destinations like US, UK and all countries in Asia including popular destinations like Singapore, Thailand.

    Indians love to spend their holidays in international destinations. An international travel insurance plan doesn’t cost much and offers a lot in return. If you are also a travel freak, you should insure the total duration of the trip so that you can enjoy your holiday with complete peace of mind.

    The Main Reasons Why People Travel

    There are two levels of answers to the question of why people travel. The first is the obvious one, and probably the reason we give ourselves and quote to others. We travel so that we can see sights, experience other cultures, attend events and learn more about the world.

    These are exciting reasons. But there are deeper reasons for traveling that have less to do with what we do when we travel, and more to do with what traveling does to us. These five sets of changes to ourselves are at the heart of what makes travel so compelling.

    Travel Enriches You, Before, During & After

    The anticipation of a trip is almost as stimulating as the trip itself and the memories afterwards. Knowing what you have ahead, and imagining it in detail, lends excitement to life, and relieves the tendency to fall into a workaday rut. The more detailed the image of the trip, the more a future trip will excite you in advance.

    During the trip itself, daily life can be intense. Living in these moments fully, and noting everything around you, makes for heightened living. Clearly, this kind of intensified experience is a quality of a style of travel that takes you beyond the bus and out into the streets and squares, landscapes and waterways, of the places you are visiting. Independent travel is a world apart from “contained” travel.

    Travel Broadens Your View of the World

    Through travel you gain a framework for the history and significant touchstones that brought you to your current life and point in time. Now you are standing in the evil Borgia pope’s office, surrounded by the very walls that contained the man with sufficient power to write a Papal Bull-a mandate-that claimed all the wealth of the Western Hemisphere for Spain and Portugal, and secured it for the next 200 years. As you pause in the spot where that happened, the events and significance come alive with new meaning.

    Now you are looking down at the stairs that lead to a tunnel connecting the home of Leonardo da Vinci with the royal palace across street. It was through this tunnel that King Françoise traveled to sit and talk with his genius friend. And now you are in Bayeux, where the French William the Conqueror built his naval vessels to cross the English Channel and claim the throne of England.

    Each of these experiences broadens your view of the world and your firsthand sense of time and place.

    Travel Makes You More Vibrant and Interesting

    Travel gives you something to look forward to… to prepare for… to study for… and later to share. You will bring home stories. Life can get somewhat monotonous if you let it, particularly after you retire and your work life ends. Anticipation is worth at least as much as the trip itself and the memories that follow the trip.

    How much better to have travel stories and observations to share then to have your conversation limited to your latest doctor visits and your frustrations with the weeds in your lawn.

    Travel Re-Energizes You

    Travel, and the anticipation of travel, recaptures your enthusiasm. You look ahead with excitement instead of experiencing the dulled-over feeling that comes from repetition and routine.

    Travel challenges you to be at your most effective and focused level. Comfort zones may be comfortable. But it is good for you to be taken out of your comfort zones regularly. Otherwise, your social skills can begin to atrophy, and your ability to think on your feet and solve problems may decrease due to disuse.

    Travel Improves Your Health and Well-Being

    Travel gives you a reason to stay healthy. And it keeps you sharp longer! The challenges of travel test your acuity on a daily basis. Travel can be demanding, especially if you are not being “led around by the nose” on a group trip. You know you will need to be on your toes – to be situational aware – to pay close attention. You will need to walk extensively, including up and down hills and stairs.

    Generally by the time you return home from a trip, you will be in better shape than you have been for months, or even years. And if you begin immediately to anticipate another trip ahead, you will have a genuine incentive to keep up these improvements and be ready for the next time.

    Changes and Benefits

    These changes and benefits to you from travel can become permanent ones. Your life will become punctuated with enrichment, you will think more broadly. You will find yourself incorporating deliberate lifestyle changes learned during travel. You will be more vibrant and interesting as you are periodically re-energized. And you will experience enhanced health and well-being.

    Ask Your Local Travel Guru: What's New on the Travel Industry Wire?

    As a travel guru for many years now, I have seen the travel industry wire adapt in so many ways. As you already know, we now live in a world with instant and infinite amounts of information, right at our fingertips. Like everything else, the travel industry has adapted, grown and cultivated a new identity with our present day world of information. Until beaches start disappearing and people can be teleported across continents, there will ALWAYS be the want and need to visit our regular and new destinations.

    The travel industry plays a substantial role in the global economy. During 2015, the travel industry wire forecasts global GDP to grow by 3.7% and employment by 2.6%. This demonstrates the sector’s enduring ability to generate economic growth and create jobs at a faster rate than the global economy, which is due to grow by 2.9% in 2015. By the end of 2015, the Travel & Tourism sector will contribute US$7,860 billion, 10% of global GDP, once all direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account. The sector will account for 284 million jobs, 9.5% of total employment, or one in eleven of all jobs on the planet. By 2025, the global travel & tourism sector is projected to contribute 357 million jobs and generate $11.4 Trillion dollars. Ask your favorite travel guru and he will show you the various components all contributing to these massive amounts. Let’s check out what the travel industry wire says:

    Hotel Industry

    Among all the sub sectors of the travel & tourism industry, Hotels is one of the biggest fragments. The travel industry wire explains that hotels generated a global of $457 billion dollars in 2014. Your travel guru has most likely coordinated a recent trip within the Intercontinental Hotels Group. The company contributed the highest revenues, earning $22.8 billion dollars. In the United States alone, the total revenue within the hotel industry climbed to $163 billion dollars. The majority of tourists visiting the United States of America (65.1%) choose to stay in a hotel, where the average daily is a healthy $121.30.

    Aviation industry

    Although the major corporations, leading sector, seem to always changing names and planes, the industry cultivated a whopping $783 billion US dollars in 2014. Your travel guru may have whispered about some of the airlines not performing, but the industry continues to grow at rate of 7.4% every year. The travel industry wire indicates that Europeans, Americans, Chinese & Brazilians combine for the highest market contributors.

    Cruise Industry

    Cruises have steadily become a popular choice of travel the past few years. These are an easy sell for your local travel guru… The luxurious ocean liners, offering food, fun & music for the entire family have created a loyal gathering that continues to grow. Due to the growth rate of 6.55% every year, Cruise lines have postured their company growth strategies, by building larger capacity ships, ship diversification, more local ports and more destinations. The travel industry wire indicates that the average cruise traveler spends approximately $1728.00 every year, with over 22 million people jumping on the floating palace. The cruise industry contributes about $39.6 billion dollars in 2014, and is poised for a solid 6-7% increase.

    Online Travel Market

    Any travel guru, coupled with the travel industry wire statistics, will tell you that the online travel industry has EXPLODED over the past 5 years and will only continue to skyrocket. As more and more people use smartphones and as these smartphones continue to develop into personal super computers, the more information we have, the more we want. Online travel revenue reached $340 billion dollars back in 2011, worldwide and 39% consisted of American bookings. Obviously, the deluge of data & information has contributed to the online travel industry, but hotels and hotel broker websites have been the main proponents to this boom. As everything turns to online information, bookings, etc… the travel agencies, travel gurus and everyone associated with the industry has jumped in. Rarely do you see a corporation dependent on the travel & tourism industry, that hasn’t adapted to the online market.

    The Future of the Travel Industry

    The travel & tourism industry is an enormous portion of the global economy and will only continue absorb market share. The travel industry wire explains that the sectors and their respective technologies are developing at a rapid rate, procuring the consumer process into a much easier-and faster encounter. Just ask your favorite travel guru.

    Are Travel Agencies Outmoded?

    It seems like you cannot enjoy television for more than one hour without seeing a commercial with William Shatner referring to Travelocity or perhaps that silly gnome discussing Orbitz. When you have browsed a few of these travel sites, you might have noticed that they’re amazing in the diversity of travel choices that they make accessible. And it is difficult to deny that lots of thousands of individuals have taken advantage of these services. As a business traveler, however, your requirements are usually relatively distinct from the typical airline traveler.

    There are several very specific services a living and breathing local travel agent can only provide, that just cannot be replicated by an automatic site such as Travelocity or Orbitz. Some of those services that the seasoned business traveler could be hard pressed to live without contain…

    1. Focus. You being a business traveler are not arranging this journey for enjoyment. An individual possess specific business objectives as the primary goal. So should you need to take time from preparing for your business task to bother with travel itineraries, hotel and rental car bookings and the like, that’s time that you are not being productive for the business. In the event that it is possible to contact a gifted local travel agent who knows the travel profile effectively and delegate those arrangements to that particular representative, they do their work to locate the ideal accommodations to suit your needs and you are liberated to complete what you do best, focus on your company and the upcoming business travel.

    2. Economy. It is hard to find which balance between finding the lodging that match the demanding schedule of a business person on the road which is well-intention of the companies travel budget too. If you use an automatic online travel support, you might have to compromise convenience, schedule or place for economy. A great local travel agent will continue to work hard to get the correct schedule while getting as near the organization travel cost restrictions as it can be. And they are going to do it without taking up plenty of your time.

    3. Back up. You don’t need help if the trip goes flawlessly as designed. But if you experience issues traveling, you can find yourself in need of assistance or rescheduling flights and finding new hotels to work around terminated flights, weather issues or some other unforeseen disruptions to your plans. These traveling unfortunate occurrences are not aware of your tight deadlines to satisfy your company objectives. But if you have a travel agent who is focused on offering you support, they can see those other ways and resources to accomplish all they can to get you to your desired destination to help you conduct your business promptly.

    4. That personal touch. A person might have travel preferences that you want to accomplish with every trip you take. A travel agent has your profile as well as your travel history so they can do the things they can to accommodate your preferences. But moreover, if you have certain special requirements like a diet plan limitation or perhaps a need for accommodation as a result of disability, it will likely be the travel agent which sees to it that your needs are given for and you’re simply properly cared for on the road.

    5. Issues. When your travel itinerary requires making connections with business partners who’re journeying through varied workplaces, intricate travel agendas and itinerary challenges that simply cannot be described to the generic monitors of an online travel service, you can explain these types of complications to your travel agent and they can work along with other travel agents working to organize the meeting to see to it that the schedule fulfills the needs you have.

    As the online travel services do give a valuable and inexpensive substitute for the overall traveling public, it is easy to notice their limitations if you’re attempting to arrange an outing that’s tricky or if you have specific needs that the monitors don’t anticipate. Which is why dealing with a human travel agent guarantees this travel professional will devote on their own to the task of making certain your journey works to your own specifications and you get to your destination prepared to conduct business and be successful in your reaching ones ambitions.

    Impress Your Clients With Corporate Limousine Service

    Whether you’re making a first impression on a prospective client or entertaining a client you’ve had for years, your business will benefit with the corporate limousine service of Platinum Ride Limo. Their luxury vehicles and private chauffeurs will help you close deals and strengthen partnerships in comfort, class and style. From Phoenix airport transfer for clients visiting from out of town, to Scottsdale hummer limousine service for hosting a corporate party, this Phoenix-based limo service is available all over the Valley.

    For a client flying in from out of town, you want his travel plans to be as easy as possible. The last thing you want is him waiting around at the airport for a ride, or him renting a car himself and trying to navigate the roads in a foreign town. His head needs to be in the same place yours does – on the purpose of your meeting, not the logistics of getting there. That’s something you can arrange for him beforehand with reliable, on-time Phoenix airport transportation that’s like your client’s own personal taxi limousine shuttle. The chauffeur will bring the client to you or pick you up first so you can greet your client at the airport for an extra touch that’s both personal and professional.

    Of course, corporate limo service for visiting clients need not be limited to Phoenix airport transfer. Pamper your client throughout his visit for ultimate impact. That means scheduling your client’s taxi limo shuttle for trips to and from his hotel, your office, restaurants and anywhere else your client might need to go. You can join him as often as you like, ideally taking the time to entertain your client with all the must-see sights in the Valley, from the Superstition Mountains to historic Heritage Square downtown. Just think of all the progress you can make with your client – personally and professionally -tooling around town with ease while having fun.

    And it’s not just out-of-town clients you can impress with Platinum Ride Limo. Host a party for your local clients with corporate limo service. Your clients are free to relax and have fun knowing their own private chauffeur is designated to drive. Whether you host the event in one venue, or it’s scattered across the Valley’s hottest night spots, there’s a stretch limo for you – from the Limobus, to the Scottsdale Hummer Limo, to the Chrysler 300M with Lamborghini angel-wing doors.

    Time and Money – The Two Things You Must Have to Travel

    “He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb

    If you had more time and more money, what would you do more of?

    The overwhelming response is:

    “Travel!”

    Almost everyone wants to travel more. But there are two things most people need more of that are essential to travel:

    1) Money
    2) Time

    Let me explain that money really is not the issue for many people, although most tend to think that it is the #1 thing they need more of to travel.

    This simply is not true. Travel agencies have programed us into thinking that travel is expensive. They try to make us think that it costs $4,000 plus round-trip airfare for a short 10 to 14 day vacation.

    Travel agencies try to sell us travel. The fact of the matter is – trying to sell travel is like trying to sell air – it’s completely unnecessary.

    But they certainly try to charge you for it.

    World travel can be done for only $1,000 a month – or less. No, this does not mean that you’ll be sleeping on the streets and eating out of dumpsters.

    Instead, you’ll be doing everything you want to do, and travel very comfortably as well.

    When you cut-out those ridiculously over-priced packaged tours, you pay what the locals pay. In some countries you can have a full-blown buffet at a nice restaurant for a measly $0.50, or book a 3-star hotel for $10.

    When you know how to do it, the cost of world travel averages to only $1,000 a month (there are others who travel without spending anything – do a Google search on Peter Jenkins for an example).

    As you can see, when you know how to travel independently, money isn’t the problem.

    The #1 thing people need to travel is – TIME.

    Earning $1,000 a month is easy. What you need is the time to travel. We’re not talking about a once a year two-week vacation. I’m talking about traveling as much as you like, when you like.

    The biggest problem most people have with getting the time to travel is their job.

    You could earn more than enough money to travel the world at your job, but you don’t have the time. If you quit your job to have the time to travel, you don’t have the money.

    If I was making $10,000 a month at a job I hated that wouldn’t let me travel, or if I could make just $2,000 a month and have the time to do anything I please, I’d choose the latter.

    What you need is a way to make money while traveling. Let’s say you earn only $2,000 a month – but you do so from anywhere on the planet. It only costs about $1,000 a month to travel the world. So this way you’ll have the time and the money (with $1,000 left over each month) to travel anywhere you want to, at any time, for as long as you desire.

    Most of us are simply clueless when it comes to making money while traveling. However, there are scores of ways to do. Do a Google search for “travel jobs” and “adventure jobs” to find several opportunities that allow you to travel while earning money. Pick one or two potential jobs and study them.

    Some jobs that earn you money while you travel are: internet marketing, travel writing, internet stock photography, online auctions and work as a group travel organizer.

    When you make money while traveling you will have an abundance of the two essentials to travel – time and money, and you’ll be able to travel where you want, when you want.

    5 Things You Must Know About Medical Travel

    There are FIVE very important things you need to know before taking your next travel assignment:

    1. SALARY, SALARY, SALARY.

    Chances are INCREDIBLY HIGH you are NOT getting paid top dollar for your assignment if you accept the Standard Benefit Package travel companies offer.

    Most travelers (both new and seasoned) do not realize that the Standard Benefit Package offered by a travel company is only a STARTING place for negotiation. Because the initial salary offered is higher than what they receive for a stationary job position, often travelers quickly take the standard salary, not realizing that negotiating for MORE is relatively easy.

    I know for a fact that I have worked along side other medical travelers doing the same job I was hired to do at the same time in the same hospital and they were making less per hour than me…And some of these people were not new to the travel game! Why? They might either be unaware of the pay range for their job title and competency and/or they simply thought that their current assignment “just paid that particular amount.”

    But the real NUMBER ONE reason they aren’t getting top dollar is they don’t know what to ask and how to ask for it!

    Just knowing what to ask can signal to a recruiter that you are a savvy business person and immediately increase your changes of getting the best deal.

    Don’t take years to “catch on”, losing money all the while, when you can start smart right out of the gate. And if you’ve already hit the road and are suspecting you’re not getting the best deals, you can change that today!

    2. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!

    You can end up in some very undesirable locations if you don’t know how to access the best travel assignments.

    When I first began medical travel I had no idea of the broad scope of places I could visit. I merely took the only job I was offered and set out to drive across the country in my own car. I arrived to spend a very desolate 13 weeks in a little out of the way town that offered nothing of interest. In addition it was a very dull working environment. So much for the glamour of travel!!

    The type of job I just described is obviously harder to fill with a more knowledgeable traveler and therefore many companies merely take advantage of the traveling novice and send them packing to the outer parts of nowhere. After all, the travel company gets paid for you to work…where you work is your problem!

    However, even those who have been traveling for awhile often do not know how to land the most desirable job locations. It took me several years to figure out the “nuts and bolts” of ending up where I really wanted to work and visit. (After all, one of the main reasons besides salary to hit the road is to enjoy the view!!) Looking back, accessing the BEST job locations was really just a matter of know-how and not complicated at all.

    3. TRAVEL NIGHTMARES!

    You can get booked on some flights from “you know where” if you are unaware of the options the travel company can provide.

    Some years ago I took a job in Oregon that necessitated me flying across the country from my Florida address. I was still in my medical travel learning curve and thus ended up changing flights three different times complete with hideous layovers plus I arrived at 1 am in the morning at an airport that was two hours away from the town where I would be working! I took the rental car awaiting me and drove to the hotel where I was to spend my first night (if crawling into bed at around 4 am could be called going to bed for the night!) On top of that the motel ended up being a colossal dump with a stuck heater system that turned my room into a steam bath, finally driving me out into the early morning air exhausted and angry.

    Since travel companies normally cover your travel expenses, they can save money by re-routing you all over the place and by having you arrive at weird hours and in towns or cities within “driving distance” of your destination. Trust me, it happens often! If you don’t know your “rights” you’ll have the experience fairly quickly once you begin to travel.

    So just know that because you’re told your “travel plans are all taken care of” it doesn’t mean you’re going to like the arrangements one bit!!

    4. HOUSING…LOUSY, JUST AVERAGE, OR GRAND!

    There are many ways to either enjoy or rue the day you took an assignment and one of those factors is the type of housing accommodations the travel company provides for you.

    Most assignment last 13 weeks and 13 weeks is a long time to live somewhere you don’t like and enjoy. I’ve had just about every experience possible since I began traveling, from fairly lousy, to just average, to absolutely grand. And as any traveler will tell you, GRAND is always better!

    To tell you the truth I could just kick myself when I think back to some of the housing conditions I accepted. It wasn’t that they were terrible (well, one was pretty bad!), many were just “ho-hum.” (Certainly not directly overlooking the ocean, which I have now experienced on two assignments…all due to the negotiating techniques I’ve learned along the way.)

    But now I go first class on each of my assignments and I do that on a regular basis. And believe it or not, it’s very easy to get those upscale housing considerations. Very easy! Among the many considerations I ask for and receive besides an upscale apartment complex or condo community ( a good start in and of itself!), are a BIG television (I like sports and I don’t want to squint to see the action!), a washer and dryer inside my personal apartment or condo (no trips to the local wash-dry-and-fold for me!), availability of a pool and work out room, a really well stocked kitchen (not just a few barely adequate necessities) and even a hide-a-bed sofa at my current assignment just in case I want to have guests. These are just a few examples of the things I ask for and receive…My list goes on and on!

    5. THE RIGHT JOB!

    There are some very simple but critical things you need to ask to determine if you’re walking into a job straight from the pit or into smooth sailing complete with a great environment and friendly co-workers and physicians.

    You will be interviewed by a recruiter from the travel company to see where you are best suited to work and you will also be interviewed by a representative of the hospital where you are being considered for a travel position. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to interview them too.

    I am still appalled when I hear even seasoned travelers tell me they ask very few questions, other than the basics, when they are considering a position. As a result, horror stories constantly make the rounds about travelers arriving at jobs that turned out to be anything but what they expected. And now they are bound by a legal contract to complete the assignment!

    To me, not asking the right questions is not only totally foolish, it’s completely unnecessary. Almost without exception I can spot “red flags” about a job just by asking some critical questions of the travel company recruiter and the hospital representative. In fact, you’ll be awed at the information people will volunteer if you just ask the right way!!

    Case in point…not long ago I was interviewing for a position in my home state of Florida. It had all the criteria on the surface that made it seem the perfect set up. However, after asking the questions I’ve learned over time to ask, I knew I would be walking straight into one those situations I wanted to avoid at all costs. For example, just one of the red flags that presented was this…three people had left all at once from this particular department, indicating there were some major problems there. I would not have known that if I hadn’t asked the right question. The exit of those three employees leads me to ask a few more questions. As a result, I quickly moved on to another assignment.

    The interesting follow up to this story is that some months later I returned and took this exact assignment. Why? The whole stage had changed…new people, new environment…things had settled down and the unworkable situation had been corrected. And the job was great this time around. One of the other travelers that had lasted out the initial nightmare and had renewed his assignment told me I had certainly avoided the worst. Hear, hear!

    Now, I’ve given you just five things from the many chapters of my book, Insider Secrets to Medical Travel that you must know before taking your next travel assignment, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned traveler who has become dissatisfied with the deals you’re being offered.

    Implementing any ONE of these five things in an informed manner can bring you tremendous benefits while saving you untold grief and a lengthy, painful learning curve.

    Medical travel can be a lucrative, fun, exciting, and fulfilling career…IF you know how to navigate the system and access the highest salary, most desirable locations, comfortable travel plans, nicest housing accommodations, and the best job scenarios.

    How To Travel On A Budget And Make Money While Traveling – It Is Possible!

    Many of us wish to travel the world whether it be to places near and familiar or places way from home and much more exotic. The thought of plane tickets, hotel accommodations and food is daunting but rest assure that there are many ways to travel this beautiful world of ours on a budget and even ways to travel while making money. Wherever your destination (or destinations) may be there are many tricks of the trade that make being a world wanderer a feasible and budget friendly a reality.

    While you can still travel on a budget, (we will discuss that in the next section) some travelers prefer to travel while still making an income. Many hopeful travelers rule out the idea of working to travel and working abroad because of a potential language barrier but in most cases that is not the correct scenario. There are plenty of work opportunities where speaking English will actually benefit you and will give you the extra income necessary to explore the world.

    1. Au Pair: We have all seen the job of an Au Pair in a movie or television show. In literal translation, the French word Au Pair means an extra set of hands. Ambitious world travelers can work as Au Pairs for families looking for extra help with their children and light work around the home. An Au Pair is typically a college and above aged person who seeks traveling the world and in exchange is paired up with a host family who provides food and board and a wage as well. There are several programs that can be found online that will pair an aspiring Au Pair with families around the world. Many Au Pair programs offer the option of attending school/university while working with the possibility of traveling even after the contract is expired. Working as an Au Pair is a great opportunity for English speakers because the majority of host families are looking for a Native English speaker to teach their children English. If the idea of an Au Pair sounds thrilling but also intimidating at the same time, make sure to check many resources available online that can help you in your search.
    2. Teach English abroad: As mentioned above, being a Native English speaker can raise your likelihood of finding a job abroad. Teaching English abroad is a great way to be able to travel and make an income. If you have decided that this is the route you want to take in your endeavors to travel and get paid, the first thing you must do is decide your desired country and research the rules of the country for teaching English. Some countries have differing rules, regulations and requirements before you can teach English there. Some countries in Europe even require you to join the European Union. Before embarking on your journey, it is imperative to get a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate in the USA. The TEFL program can also be taken in your desired country after you obtain your certificate. It is important to take a TEFL class in the desired country so that you can meet fellow peers, learn the country’s customs and potentially be placed in a job after the class. The most important thing to remember before embarking on such an important journey is to research, research and then research some more. It is important to know when the peak hiring season is, rules and laws and of course about the culture.
    3. Cruise Ship: The idea of working on a cruise ship and traveling may sound glamorous and alluring but it is a lot of hard work and long hours. Working on a cruise ship also means you must live and coexist with your fellow crew members which may or may not be a problem. There are several job options if you decide that working on a cruise is the route you want to take. Job options range anywhere from child care, restaurant work, bar work, maintenance, customer service and much more. The variety of jobs makes it a great hub for those who want to work and travel because there is literally something for everybody. Working on a cruise has many great perks and can be a great way to travel the world and meet new people so remember that there will be a lot of competition so do your research and make sure your resume stands out.

    While there is the option of traveling and working there is also the option of traveling on a budget. Believe it or not, you can travel the world on a very limited budget, granted you may have to give up many luxuries that can come with traveling.

    1. Hostels: Hostels are a great way to travel on a budget and meet new people. Wherever you go in your travel expedition there is sure to be a hostel for you to stay at. Sure some hostels are much nicer than others and some are for the brave but there are options. Here is where research comes in handy again. Before you travel seek to learn information about the hostels where you will be staying, you can also find several reviews online from former guests. When you do your research, you can see the prices of the room, if you will have a private room or communal room and how far the hostel is from all the landmarks you wish to see.
    2. CouchSurfing: The new craze in budget traveling is. What is CouchSurfing you might ask? CouchSurfing is a social media platform that allows users to literally surf from couch to couch at host’s homes. CouchSurfing is available in more than 10,000 cities world-wide and is free to users. CouchSurfing offers the traveler a place to stay with a host family, it also offers the “couch surfer” a different way to meet new people and new places. CouchSurfing is attractive to many people because they feel as if they are getting an authentic travel experience from a local of the destination and saving money.
    3. Food: Many ambitious budget travelers worry about food costs when traveling. The reality is that if it is done correctly, obtaining food can be extremely cheap and in many instances even free. Many restaurants/cafes all over Europe practice throwing away food at the end of the day. A great way to get free food is by visiting family owned food establishments before close and asking if you may have the food they are planning on throwing away. In many instances they will give you more food than you planned hence you will have food for days while traveling. Another option for obtaining low-cost meals is to shop at small farmer’s markets. Many farmer’s markets in Europe and other parts of the world offer fresh fruits and vegetables at a ridiculously low price. Keep an eye out for fruit stands on the side of the road as well. If you are staying in a hostel this is another great way to save on food as chances are there will either be a communal kitchen you can use to prepare the food you bought at a low price or many hostels provide at least one meal a day withe their nightly price for stay.

    It may seem intimidating but traveling on a budget can be done and attainable. You must first concoct a plan and develop your research from there. Seeing the world is a possibility and it can also be your possibility with some drive, determination and hard work. It may take some time to device your final plan but in the end it will be worth all the work when you are looking back at the people you met, the places you discovered and the memories you made.

    A Short Note About the Variety of Travellers

    Traveling is a fruitful entertainment. It gives utmost pleasure to the travelers and makes them enjoy their life time by traveling to different destinations. Traveling is the basic activity got closer to the life of human. Humans started traveling even before the ancient civilization grows up. Hence, it is the activity mingled with the human nature. So traveling is not the newly invented entertainment. In this article, I would like to explain the different categories of travelers. Generally, travelers have been categorized with respect to their needs, shapes and gender. Let us see the different variety of travelers in detail.

    Backpacker:

    A traveler packs all of his or her stuffs into a backpack is called as “Backpacker” These stuffs include food, water and shelter to sleep. They carry these gears in highly compacted mode as a backpack. Backpacking is a combined activity of hiking and camping in a single trip. Generally, a backpacking trip must include at least one night stay in the wilderness.

    Women Travelers:

    You can understand the meaning and the type of travelers from the title itself. It refers to single female traveler or a group of females traveling together.

    LGBT Travelers:

    LGBT is the abbreviation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgenders. Travelers belongs to those category are known as LGBT travelers.

    Disabled Travelers:

    You can understand the variety of traveler from this title itself. People who travels even with their disabilities are called as “Disabled Travelers”. It is necessary for them to take enough medications. The visually impaired travelers would be helped by the Royal National Institute of the Blind to hail taxis but a simple sign up is required before you start traveling. There are no restrictions and limitations for the disable. Anyone can enjoy their tour.

    Festivals abroad:

    People who would travel to any country with the purpose of festive season are known as the kind of “Festivals abroad”. They would be starting for the vacation and they will be back after the season.

    Winter, water and extreme sports:

    These are all the travelers who travel on that particular season in order to participate in the sports. For ex: Travelers who are all going to Christmas Ski or bungee jump or any winter sports etc. They should carry appropriate medications and fully prepared to avoid the injuries.

    Overseas weddings and civil partnerships:

    These categories of travelers are the people who are willing to get married in other countries. They may need to travel to that country and have to be clarified with the legal terms. In such cases, perfect documentation is required. Hence, planning far before the date of wedding is necessary. Some process would take few months.

    Hajj pilgrims:

    Hajj Pilgrims are a variety of travelers who travels from a country to Hajj, the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. They are a kind of spiritual travelers. Only the people who belong to Muslim religion would travel to Hajj.

    Visiting friends and family abroad:

    These types of travelers start their travel to other countries to visit their friends and family.

    Traveling abroad for medical treatment:

    People who are traveling to abroad for the special medical treatments would come under this category.

    Traveling football fans:

    People who travel to other countries to enjoy the football tournament comes under this kind.

    Cruise ship passengers:

    People who travel through cruising are called as Cruise ship passengers. It is one of the safest mode of traveling.

    Antarctica visitors:

    Antarctica is a unique travel destination and highly protected place on earth. People who are all traveling to Antarctica is called as Antarctica visitors.

    Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games:

    The sports lovers who are all traveling to enjoy the winter Olympic and Paralympic Games are comes under this category of travelers.

    These are the different types segregated according to the purpose and the identity of the travelers.

    5 Criteria to Select Travel Websites For Your Travel Planning

    With the world now becomes a global market place, travel is increasingly turning into the number one activity that people do on a regular basis. Equipped with rapid internet penetration at travel destinations around the world, people are making travel arrangement online.

    Websites such as priceline, travelocity and cheaptickets all of sudden attract high interest to savvy travelers who are looking to plan their travel at convenience.

    Besides the above three travel websites, there are numerous sites that specialize into different market niches.

    Like the old saying ‘don’t put all your eggs into the same basket,’ selecting one travel website for all your travel needs is unnecessary. You should find the best site that meets your objective. After all, competition is always good for customers.

    What question should you ask yourself before jumping into the one travel website? Here are a few criteria that you should consider when selecting travel websites:

    1. Objective

    If you take a step aback a little bit and ask yourself your current travel situation, you should be able to find out what the real goal is at that time.

    For example, if during holiday you unexpectedly receive news that one of your close relatives just passed away and you need to be there the fastest way possible, how do you make your travel arrangement?

    Would you still go to priceline and bid for the lowest fare – or hit for ticket at lastminute right away? Priceline specializes in the lowest fare on bidding situation, so it will take a certain while to get the best deal. However, if you go to lastminute, you will be able to get the lowest fare at the last minute.

    Under other circumstances, bidding through priceline can be more desirable than lastminute.

    Forget about purchasing directly from the airline company. It costs more for them to serve your purchase – customer support, advertising, maintenance and all the sales overhead are incurred to fulfill your purchase. This translates to higher ticket price for customers.

    On the other hand, travel websites acting as ticket middlemen purchased tickets at wholesale price. They are in competition with other travel websites to attract you to their websites. More competition translates to a better pocket for customers.

    2. Country

    Next tip is about the country you are visiting. Each country has a specialized or national travel websites that cater to foreigners.

    For example, if you travel to the Great Britain or Paris, the national travel association offers unlimited entry pass to visit a multitude of attractions at one price. If don’t know about this offer and purchase tickets at a number of independent websites, you are guaranteed to spend more money, time and hassle.

    On other occasions, if you travel to unfamiliar developing countries where infrastructure is not as adequate, it is better to make your arrangement via a trusted national agency who has long been in business.

    3. Trustworthiness

    Purchasing online is essentially the same as purchasing offline. The difference is security and convenience. Now that you are aware of the convenience, I will explain about security.

    Online travel websites need to be secure and trustworthy. I am not talking about fraud only. From handling promotion, sales process to customer support, the company needs to be able to demonstrate its strength in doing business online.

    I would typically look for Better Business Bureau (BBB) sign, investigate how long they have been in business, what guarantee, terms and conditions that the company holds before landing on one travel website.

    Another indication is browsing through customer testimonials. Although they might be orchestrated, reading testimonials is a great way to understand the products and services of the company.

    4. Savings

    For budget-conscious customers, saving money on flight is definitely a win. The best advice is to plan your travel way in advance. Take advantage of pricing comparison websites or recurring promotions from each travel websites.

    However, if you are on a time or budget constraint, knowing what website to baseline from will be beneficial. Again depending on your situation, I would recommend you start with priceline and bid for the lowest price. In parallel, you would go to special niches websites such as lastminute to shop around for ticket pricing.

    For business flyers though, they are prepared to pay a higher fee for their ticket price. Business customers usually fly during weekdays and make last minute arrangements. The airline companies know this – that’s why last minute tickets are costly.

    5. Uniqueness

    The last important factor to select the best travel websites is how unique they are, compared with other websites.

    Some websites are more user-friendly and informative; some others are very clunky yet professional. Finding what makes each website ticks will play well in your decision.

    Availability of travel guide or blog is also crucial in my opinion. It shows that the company cares enough not only to sell the best priced tickets, but also the best total value experience.

    In conclusion, selecting travel websites that suit your particular travel situation is important. Due to a heightened competition, customers will find the best value to their dream travel experience. Taking the time to understand which website is good at which niche will be beneficial in both short and long run.

    Why Every Travel Writer Needs to Have a Travel Niche

    I’m often asked by travel writers to look at their website and make suggestions. Because of this I’ve discovered a lot of really great travel blogs. I always offer constructive feedback, however, most of them make a common mistake that keeps them from getting any significant amount of site traffic, and few, if any, comments.

    What’s this grave mistake that prevents them from becoming authority sites? As great as they are, as well written as their content often is, they lack specialization, or more simply, a travel niche. They have no specialty that would set them apart from every other travel blog out there.

    There are some travel writers who do an exceptionally good job with their travel blogs – they travel frequently and regularly add fresh travel content to their blog. Their sites are well organized and easy to navigate, and I enjoy reading their travel articles. But let’s be honest here – there are thousands of travel writers out there, many of whom are also doing just as good a job.

    So how do you stand out from the crowd? The answer is simple – choose a travel niche. Find a specific topic that you are passionate about (and no, “travel” is not specific enough), and focus on writing about that topic.

    A perfect travel niche for you should be:

    • Something you love, and
    • Something you know a lot about, and
    • Something you have firsthand experience with

    Your travel niche can be a specific place or a specific type or method of travel. Examples of some travel niches for which I’ve seen websites that are very well done include:

    • Place – bloggers who write about what’s going on in their hometown, expats who live abroad and write about their adopted place of residence as they explore it, and travel writers who focus on writing only about the Spas of the world;
    • Type – bloggers who write about solo travel, traveling with small children or pets, girls getaways, Eco-tourism, voluntarism, adventure travel, and spiritual pilgrimages;
    • Method – bloggers who write about backpacking trips, bicycling or walking tours, river cruises, and even some of the worlds best train trips.

    The reason these websites do very well is that they remain focused on a small travel niche that they can dominate by regularly adding new, interesting, valuable, and focused content about that niche. By doing that, it’s far more likely that people who are searching for information on that topic will find them.

    In addition to attracting more site visitors, when you write on a specialized travel niche topic, you have the opportunity to be perceived as an expert in your travel niche. And being an Expert is a good thing. People love to quote experts, especially in print. People love to ask experts for help and advice. Experts get offered opportunities – frequently paying opportunities – that others don’t get.

    When Publishers want content on a specific locale, they look first for writers who already know that particular destination well. When an Editor or Journalist needs a quote on a specific subject, they look for an expert on that subject. Experts get asked to sit on Panel and Advisory Boards, judge competitions, give speeches or lectures, contribute to new projects, and much more. The fastest way to become an expert is to pick a niche that you know very well and write about it. Teach others. Share your knowledge.

    The bottom line is that if you choose to write about all things travel and all destinations, you might be able to succeed and make a living from it, but it will certainly be challenging because you have a lot of competition in that market — some really good competition, too. But if you pick a niche, and work to become the go-to person in that niche, success will be easier and opportunities will come sooner.

    Intelligent Transport Systems

    Both describe the use of computerized communication technology applied to improving the conditions on our roads. A system is programmed to achieve a particular set of goals, according to brief, further goals can be added, in the future, but need to be programmed into the system.

    Any difference, therefore, lies in details of software programming and its application. Where traffic-related ITS deals mainly with traffic enforcement and toll collection, transport-related ITS aims to provide more pleasant and effective travel to those using public transport and help traffic to run more smoothly. The eThekwini Transport Authority has incorporated ITS into its plans for the future.

    The eThekwini Transport Authority

    In January 2004, the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) was established to take responsibility for all transport-related issues within the Municipality. Its particular mandates are public transport and the reduction of traffic congestion. It therefore hopes to encourage the people who presently indulge their use of private transport, to see the benefit of swapping to public transport.

    In the Durban area, this includes buses, mini-bus taxis and trains, none of which presently operate very efficiently. Some services are duplicated, under-utilised and over-subsidised while others, that by virtue of their popularity should receive subsidies, do not.

    Buses and trains are subsidised to the tune of R400 million a year, but taxi commuters -historically the poorer people of our society – are required to cover the entire cost of the service.
    13% of Durban’s residents (roughly 400 000 people) have no access, or cannot afford to access public transport, in any form. The eThekwini Transport Authority’s current initiatives aim to apply technical intelligence to change and improve the status quo.

    The ‘recap’ and EMS

    The average distance of a public-transport trip is 20km and takes roughly 48 minutes from start to finish. Taxis are often (at best) uncomfortably crowded and (at worst) in a frightful condition, putting the lives of commuters at great risk.

    Taxi ‘recapitalization’ goes far beyond exchanging hard cash for beaten up vehicles and dedicated, regulated, route monitoring. An Electronic Management System (EMS), which operates far beyond fare payment issues, is an important feature of the R7.7 billion x 7-year program.

    This “total operating solution” will monitor such things as vehicle speeds, where and when stops are made, vehicle-maintenance management and the automatic provision of medical and funeral insurance cover for passengers (in the event of injury or death). It will, in fact, control and totally revolutionist an industry that caters to 68% of the country’s daily commuters.

    Incentives for change

    “Positive discrimination” incentives that will hopefully cause motorists to change willingly to public transport, include priority right-of-way (dedicated) bus lanes enforced (to keep other vehicles out) with the help of CCTV number plate and facial recognition systems, which will allow for automatic prosecution of offenders.

    Dedicated bus lanes increase the speed of buses while decreasing the speed of all other vehicles. Electronic transponders, fitted to buses, can further ensure that the buses encounter green signals at robots.

    All well and good; but the Durban Municipality may need then, to double the staff in its traffic camera office. As a nation, we are known for our lawlessness on the roads; citizens regularly ignore the regulations. As for taxis: does one exist, that could resist an empty lane? A huge increase in number-plate violation and the skipping of red robots can be expected as a result of this initiative.

    More importantly, you cannot catch a bus that does not function in your area. Perhaps pre-emptive lanes, reserved for buses and taxis, would leave motorists to travel in comparative safety, even if more slowly!

    A fair fare system

    Due to the low value, but high volume of public transport fares, ticketing systems have traditionally been deemed the most acceptable proof of payment. Cash presentation either wastes the time of the driver, who must provide correct change, or incurs the need for an extra person, a conductor/ticket seller, either inside the vehicle or in an alternate office.

    Integrating and preloading a ticket for use across various forms of transport (taxi, bus or rail) would offer an opportunity for seamless travel between the various transport modes and make the fare-collection process faster and more efficient. It would also reduce opportunities for fare collector fraud and would bring all public transport operators within the SARS (tax) net.

    Previously, this solution was not considered viable because the organization that would hold any central float of pre-paid funds (and thus benefit from its interest) could not be decided amicably. Any involved transport operators would have benefited enormously from having a few billion Rand to their credit.

    Electronic or e-payment systems allow for bank-issued smart cards, linked to the bank accounts of individuals, so trip costs can now be deducted from personal bank accounts and paid directly to the relevant operators. This recent development is likely to change the face of public transport.

    Information systems

    The ‘talking trains’ in London are fascinating. Not only are passengers warned, by digital carriage displays, of distances between stations and stops, but an electronic voice, in anticipation of the next station, also kindly suggests when it would be appropriate to gather your luggage and head for an exit.

    Trip information is vital to those commuting in unfamiliar places and, if managed competently and available 24 hours a day, causes far less consternation and stress to travelers. The London Underground now also sends SMS messages to regular passengers to reassure them that their services are running normally.

    Presently, individual South African commuters are at the mercy of an imperfect system (though, to expect absolute perfection of any system, is not realistic). Our high road accident rate regularly causes havoc on our roads. Traffic reports, now featured on radio, during peak traffic hours, help to reduce congestion, but buses and taxis are unable to change their routes due to waiting commuters at pre-ordained stops.

    People like to feel in control of their own movements and those who have used their own transport to travel to and from work, in South Africa, are unlikely to take kindly to any system that does not disseminate whatever information it can, to them, the road users.

    Individual Benefits

    Intelligent Transport Systems will, in the future, monitor any incidents of abnormal traffic congestion on the feeder arterials, even showing the causes for delay. They will relay this information to the eThekwini Emergency Response Centre. While Metro Police close the main arterials affected, the Freeway Management System will automatically send appropriate warning messages to message signs posted at key (driver) decision points on the route/s affected, diverting traffic onto less congested routes.

    Automatic Vehicle Location and Real Time Passenger Information systems will operate from a central Public-Transport Call Centre, where reports received about delayed public transport vehicles will then be relayed to bus and taxi stops along the revised and initial routes. The data can also be posted on digital displays within public-transport vehicles.

    Passenger Information Signs within a 20km radius of any delays will thus inform commuters, allowing them to decide whether to make alternative plans, warn others of delay on their cell phones or utilise a different mode of public transport. Commuters subscribing to a new ‘Buspass’ payment system will be able to receive this information, by SMS, on their cell phones.

    If, for instance, a would-be passenger has not yet left the office for his evening trip home, he might prefer to work late, or use the train, rather than stand for an extra hour at a bus stop. The system, in fact, will present viable options to passengers, depending on their destinations and time restraints.

    Integrated ticketing

    The concept of integrated ticketing also allows for unlimited possibilities. In London, for instance, vehicles are recognized by CCTV camera systems, as they pass certain points. Toll fees are charged to the vehicle owners accordingly. Accounts are paid on presentation, at regular intervals.

    Your municipal rates/electricity/water account might, for instance, carry an extra charge, according to how many toll cameras your vehicle had passed during the preceding month. Obviously, this could prove a problem in a country where people allow their service accounts to accumulate and then demand everything ‘free’ after several months.

    Whether tickets are paper, smart cards, pre-paid cards or even cell-phone link-ups, the intention is to allow one form of payment for any and every trip. In case of a MetroRail strike, passengers would be able to use buses for the duration, without incurring extra costs – essential in a country where many families are on so tight a budget that finding several extra Rand mid-month can leave them without food until payday.

    Once again, London provides the best idea I have yet seen. Monthly underground rail cards can be kept inside a purse or wallet and yet are still activated as commuters pass through the checkpoints. There is no need for searching of pockets or handbags for inoffensive little pieces of plastic or paper. Just as metal (very often bra under-wiring) activates x-ray machines at airports, so technology at the checkpoints can recognize a hidden ticket: an ‘extra-smart’ card.

    Only people who travel regularly would probably use such an advanced, pre-paid option. A facility to allow once-off passengers to buy their tickets at bus stops would probably also be necessary and could be similar to the parking payment machines inside airports. When the ease with which South Africans buy cell-phone airtime at outlets on practically every street corner, is considered, this should prove no problem – you see: it can all be far easier than we at first think!

    Ticketing procedures like this would do away with queues, the need to carry cash, the need to make special trips to ticket outlets, the need for fare collectors and inspectors and the need for drivers to count change while at the wheel. They would allow subsidies to be distributed exactly according to mode usage, after the fact, rather than, in advance.

    The facility doesn’t need to be limited only to fare payment, though. The intention is to facilitate a program for the 2010 World Cup that will allow soccer fans to pre-load electronically formatted entrance tickets for combined transport, refreshment and memorabilia usage – a ‘one card pays all’ system. The possibilities of this format are endless and depend more on the ability of service/supply organizations to co-operate within centralized visions, than anything else.

    Safety

    With one of its prime objectives being the attraction of private motorists to public transport usage, reluctance to give up comfort and convenience has been cited by Darryll Thomas, Manager of the Urban Traffic Control Branch (eThekwini) and President: SASITS (SA Society for ITS) as a main disadvantage.

    I find it difficult to believe that public transport authorities will ever be able to supplement ‘own travel’ with an improved alternative, in South Africa; where presently, options do not exist, they would need to be provided, regularized through a 24/7 cycle and operated in a holistically safe environment.

    Not only would the mode of transport need to be 100% safe, but vehicles parked preparatory to public-transport trips, would also need to be safe, while parked. On their return, commuters would again need to feel safe as they claimed their vehicles. For most to consider public transport a worthwhile option, pedestrian commuters would also need to feel considerably safer walking between destination and their choice of public transport.

    Mr Thomas agrees that: “If the public are frightened to use the services, inevitably the policy is doomed to failure” and believes that it is the safety aspect that deters many commuters from swapping from own transport to public transport, despite the fact that attacks on passengers are rare.

    He agrees that vandalism and criminal attacks need to be curbed, and claims they can be, with the help of technology. He also believes that visible CCTV surveillance could nullify this fear; that public education would alert us to “video analysis techniques that can alert staff automatically to suspicious behavior on stations, trains and buses”.

    His intention to educate the public about all the technological measures that would be employed to combat crime, on public transport, is laudable. He insists that, “should something untoward occur”, help will be “very close at hand” and acknowledges that “vandalism and attacks on public and staff are an evil curse that, as a civilized society, we need to attack with all the technologies we have at our disposal”.
    Consumer safety priorities

    I sense that, from his positions with SASITS and in the municipality, he is considering public safety only as it relates to public transport usage. Personally, I am less frightened of using the service than getting from my home to the service point, from the service point to my destination and then reversing the process later in the day.

    Every commuter is likely to be a pedestrian at either end of his/her public transport usage and it is as much during this point in their journeys, as actually while on public transport, that safety is a huge concern to most people, who may need to carry laptop computers, cell phones and even their public-transport tickets, in whatever format, through city streets.

    The pertinent question: does the Municipality intend to position CCTV cameras at every point along every journey, even the pedestrian ones? If so, well and good, but this would require immense financial investment (though probably slightly less, long-term, than installing the same number of Metro policemen in those positions, 24/7.

    Mugging and petty thievery, on the streets, cannot be left out of the safety equation! I personally believe that safety is the crux of this issue and is generally hopelessly oversimplified. Another important concern is the number of people who are expected to use their ‘business’ vehicles for work purposes during the working day.

    In some areas where options already exist, taxi strikers have stoned commuters who choose to travel by bus or train. Some commuters find it safer just to remain at home, instead of trying to get to work. It seems clear that the ‘grip’ that striking workers in any industry have, over others, has been allowed to get out of hand. This, too, should be classified as a public-transport safety issue. Most Durban motorists approached, insisted that the Municipality would need to pay them handsomely to use public transport on a regular basis. The reason? Always the safety issue…

    Co-operation

    Thomas, ultimately, agrees that: “as long as the perceived inconvenience of public transport persists, the majority of motorists will prefer to use their car regardless of any penalty imposed”.

    Improving the quantity and quality of public transport vehicles, he concedes, is necessary and will involve a far larger investment than has been presently budgeted. It is not only the mindset of the public that needs to undergo change, but that of transport planners throughout the country.

    ITS is an effective and necessary means to an end but, unless used creatively and within revised norms, it will not provide all it could. Disciplines, such as policing, security, public-safety and transport services, need to co-ordinate and co-operate to a far greater degree to get the effective results that are necessary – and possible – especially regarding general public safety.

    Party Bus Rentals for Your Next Party

    If you reside in a big city chances are you’ve seen those giant buses that people rent for private use. Party buses are becoming very popular in Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, Texas and most other big cities in the United States. Many smart parties like to rent a party bus so they can get to their destination with class and of course safety. When you rent a party bus for your event you don’t have to worry about anything other than having fun!

    How much does it cost per Hour?

    That all depends what city you live in and what options you prefer. If you are in California and you want to rent a small 10 to 20 person Bus, chances are you can find something decent around $100 to $250 per hour. Another thing to keep in mind is if it’s a Vegas trip, you can split the costs between all the passengers to make things more affordable. We did that on our last trip to Vegas and we all had a blast. We ended up renting a Freight-liner Bus since we had 34 people in our party. We split the costs between 30 of us and I can honestly say we would have spent more on gas if we all took our own cars instead.

    Where can I find a reliable Limo/Bus rental company?

    Your best friend should be Google or other search engines you like. You should do a local search with the keyword “Party Bus Rental” and contact couple of them and get more details and pricing.

    Party Bus Rental Scams

    Before I end my article I did want to bring another important matter to your attention. Be extremely cautious when renting a party bus for your next event. Always verify the limo company you are dealing with and make sure they are an “actual” business and not someone who is operating a “party bus” without all the legal permits. Cops are well aware of the problem and they are cracking down on the “Bandit Party Buses” but we the consumers need to be more alert and verify everything.

    Can you drink in a Party Bus?

    Why else would they call it a Party Bus if you weren’t allowed to drink alcohol? You can but as I mentioned before please make sure the company you are dealing with is licensed and bonded. You can end up getting in lots of trouble and end up losing lots of money if you end up hiring a person/company who are not properly licensed. So gather all your friends, rent a Party Bus and spend the night having fun and enjoy life a little!

    Tips for Over 50 Travel

    For active, sophisticated people, stepping over the age of 50 means more opportunities to travel! But planning a holiday can get confusing, especially in a highly-competitive, dynamic tourism industry like ours. Here are some tips to plan your over 50 travel adventures with as little stress as possible!

    Tip 1 – Try The Internet.

    The Internet is an invaluable tool in planning your next holiday. It’s easy to get information on any destination, and the rates that online travel agents (OTA’s) have online are updated almost every day. That means it’s easy to compare different OTA’s and their offerings.

    It’s also easy to pay for your flights, accommodations, and tour packages over the Internet. Just be careful with your credit card information, and feel free to ask any questions you may have. Some OTA’s may even offer discounts for travelers for over 50 travel and seniors travel!

    Tip 2 – Watch Out For Shady Online Travel Agent’s (OTA’s).

    Here’s one thing you have to remember about online travel agents — competition is VERY high. More and more online travel agents are popping up every single year, so rates and offerings can change frequently throughout the year.

    The best way to keep yourself safe is to look for the better-known, more reputable OTA’s. The best ones out there are licensed, and don’t give any “too good to be true” travel packages — which, by the way, are a sure mark of a scam artist travel agency!

    Also, the best OTA’s out there encourage their customers to take out adequate travel insurance. It’s a definite must for anyone who wants to travel. If you can’t afford insurance, then don’t travel at all — and that’s a piece of advice that any good OTA will give you.

    Tip 3 – Visit Travel Review Websites.

    Travel review websites are great places to check reviews of hotels, restaurants, and other points of interest in your chosen destination. The reviews are written by real people who have actually been in those places, making these websites very reliable.

    But do be careful — some unscrupulous people have been exploiting travel review websites lately. For instance, some unscrupulous hotel owners write bad reviews of competing hotels, while writing good reviews of their own. These are fake reviews, and should always be disregarded.

    Here’s how to tell whether a review is trustworthy — check if the reviewer has written several reviews already. Most fake reviews are the only one in a user’s record, and well-traveled individuals tend to write more reviews. The more professional and well-written the review is, the more trustworthy it is!

    Tip 4 – Visit Real Travel Agencies.

    Finally, it’s also a good idea to compare the deals offered by real travel agencies (at the mall, or two blocks down the road, etc.). Some travel agencies specialize in certain destinations, and offer travel packages that include visits to exotic spots not included in others’.

    It’s a good idea not to hold back when you have any questions about your destination. Ask the agent if he’s been there himself, and if he has any advice for you. You may also want to know if there are any perks for over 50 travel!

    And, as always, ask your agent if they offer travel insurance. The protection you get will be invaluable in case your flight gets canceled or if you lose your luggage or wallet. And, since you’re over 50, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount!

    Travel Info – What You Need to Know About Vegas!

    The city that never sleeps and the place where prostitution is actually legal. Those are only two of the many things you need to know about Las Vegas before you plan a trip there. Here are a few bits of Las Vegas travel info that will help you plan a vacation that will be filled with memories.

    When it comes to Las Vegas travel info the first thing you need to know is that there is really something for just about everybody. From casino gambling to dinner shows and more. Some of the finest restaurants, golf courses, hotels, arcades, shops, and casinos are in Las Vegas. Plus there is an incredible night club atmosphere if that is something you love as well.

    The next thing you should know is that around every single corner there is something different. Even though Vegas is known for its nightlife and is the perfect place for a bachelor party, there is more to it than that. There are plenty of family shows and activities that you can enjoy along with plenty of adult type of activities as well.

    The last piece of Las Vegas travel info you need will save you some serious money while you are there. Before you go to Las Vegas you need to shop around online for the best package deal for your hotel and airfare. You also need to spend a little bit of cash and get a coupon book for Vegas. These two tips can take your $1,000 trip to Vegas and make it about a $400 trip.

    3 Great Reasons To Get On Board A Party Bus

    You are planning your partner’s 30th birthday party and you want to do something different, something unique. You want to plan something that he and your guests and family will remember for years to come.

    Let’s take a look at 3 great reasons why you should host this 30th birthday party on a party bus:

    More room for all your friends

    You have the option to book a party bus to suit the number of guests you wish to accommodate; so if your party is a small group, get a small bus, but if you’re inviting everyone he’s ever known, there are party buses big enough to handle them all.

    You can arrange for the bus to pick every one up at one designated place. Then when the party is over, the professional chauffeur will return everyone back to their pick up point, safe and sound with no need to worry about anyone drinking and driving. No matter the size of the group, there is a party bus available to suit any size party.

    Move around and see the sights as you party

    Let’s face it, no matter how hard you try, or how much effort you put into entertainment for your party guests at your home or at any other venue, it can get stale and then the party goes dead. All good parties have had this happen and you can avoid that problem by having that 30th birthday party on a party bus!

    With a party bus, you, the birthday boy and his guests can party on while the professional chauffeur drives you all around town. Enjoy the bright lights and night life as you enjoy your own party on wheels cruising around. You can even arrange for the party bus to make a stop at the birthday guy’s favorite club or restaurant and treat everyone to dancing and dinner. When that’s done, it’s back on board the bus for more partying.

    Delight and impress your friends

    With a party bus, your friends and guests will enjoy a fabulous decked out venue with a night club atmosphere that includes surround sound stereo with your choice of music and strobe lights to give it a festive touch. A professional DJ would give it extra pizzazz! You would possibly have previously arranged for refreshments and appetizers just as if you were hosting this party at home and your guests will be delighted as they mingle together and enjoy each other’s company.

    Yes, there is room for everyone to sit comfortably with plenty of leg room; space to get up and move around too and maybe even dance if they feel so inclined. Your guests will get so wrapped up in the party going on, they’ll forget they are on a bus!

    It will be a smooth ride with a professional chauffeur taking them from point A to point B without having to worry about private cars and designated drivers.

    Make his 30th birthday party bash a night to remember!

    5 Great Tips to Stop Travel Anxiety

    While most of us enjoy holidays and traveling, many find the associated travel anxiety tough to bear. Travel anxiety isn’t a disease but it is rather the fear of the unknown. Fear of travel is usually caused by several factors. Some people may worry about their house and pets when they are away while others might have had unpleasant traveling experiences during their previous trips. Others are afraid of flying. Some fret that the trip will turn out to be a disaster and worry about all of the details. All of these are examples of worries related to travel that can lead to varying degrees of uneasiness. Regardless of the causes or intensity of your anxiety, it can really compromise the pleasure and excitement of your trip.

    Although, travel anxiety is common in both experienced and novice travelers, most travelers have positive traveling stories to tell. Probably, they learned how to manage their anxieties and have regained the joy of travel. It is not too late; you can also overcome travel anxiety by following a little advice. The following 5 tips to stop travel anxiety could prove invaluable to you in planning your next holiday.

    5 Tips to Stop Travel Anxiety

    1. Spend time making Preparations Prior To Your Trip

    From past experiences, to think of the details and annoyances that bothers you about traveling. For example, you think that your house will be in a mess once you step out of the door hire a house cleaner to clean your home prior to your return. If flight travels frightens you, you can equip yourself with your iPod or your favorite book to keep you busy while you’re traveling. Simply make a list of those things you think you’ll require in your trip and those things you won’t want to be left running while you are away. The time spent organizing, planning and taking care of all the details well in advance will help to stop travel anxiety.

    2. Don’t Procrastinate

    Some people are well aware of their travel anxieties and they’ll often avoid taking care of the details; eg. booking a ticket, packing, etc. They will make excuses, avoid and procrastinate due to previous poor experiences with traveling. Just because you have travel anxiety doesn’t mean that avoidance will eradicate your fears. If you really want to take control over travel anxiety, get yourself involved in the action by preparing early and taking care of all necessary details. Keep in mind, travel fears are just made up fears and they are never real.

    3. Learn How to Cope Up With Flight Phobia

    For those people who worry about flying, you may wan to dig a little deeper to find the root of this fear. Get to know exactly what frightens you. Are you are acrophobic or claustrophobic? Perhaps the mechanical sounds bother you or air turbulence puts the fright into you. All of these fears are irrational meaning you can counter them with rationality. Airlines have strict safety measures on board. Once you are aboard, try to listen to attendant instructions to calm your nerves. Also, use anything that you like such as music to disrupt your thoughts while you are traveling.

    4. Meditate

    To effectively manage their travel anxiety, many individuals use meditation to gain control. Meditation makes use of a kind of self-hypnosis, so you can calm your nerves and mind down. Various self-hypnosis scripts designed specifically to ease travel anxiety can be found online. Meditate on these scripts and your mind will be at ease during your time of travel. The scripts are great tools of converting people’s subconscious minds into a friend rather than a foe. Instead of having a subconscious mind that is deep-seated in travel anxiety, you’ll have a subconscious mind that is confident and not frightened of flights.

    5. Get rid of the Unknowns

    Illuminate your travel shadows by doing a research prior to your trip of things you’ll expect to encounter once you’re at your destination. Apart from visiting various travel blogs, you can also use travel guides to become well-informed with your destination point. Go online and checkout your accommodation so you will know what to expect. Have your looked into travel from the airport to the hotel? What about meals and special dietary requirements? The little unknowns add up and will add to your travel anxiety.

    Besides the 5 tips to strop travel anxiety strategies listed above also ensure that you maintain proper communication using Facebook, MySpace, etc. Keeping the communication channels open with loved ones back home will keep you connected.

    Observing the 5 tips listed above is a great way to start you on the path of happy travels. Best of luck!

    What You Should Know About a Party Bus

    A party bus can go by many names. You might hear it being called a luxury bus, party van, limousine bus, limo bus or even a party ride. In essence a party bus is a large vehicle that has been converted from a more conventional motor coach or bus. It has generally been modified and then designed to be able to carry more than a dozen people for purposes that are recreational and might involve some sort of celebration. In the main, the bus will typically be driven by a professional driver who is in the employ of the company that owns the bus.

    Types and Sizes of a Party Bus

    Party buses come in a variety of sizes. Some are small and will only carry 10 people while others are much larger and have a seating capacity for 69 people. In some instances these buses have been made from a converted mini bus or van chassis while in other cases the chassis will have been converted from a motor coach or urban coach.

    A bus may have a variety of amenities that can include things like different floor plans, equipment to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, toilet facilities, strobe lights, disco lights, laser lights, smoke machines, back up cameras, luggage partitions, audio and video equipment, passenger entry doors that are air actuated, stripper poles, seats and fabric that have been upgraded, power windows and door locks, fast idle controllers, electrical systems that have been upgraded and even more.

    Why Hire a Party Bus?

    Mainly it will be used for things like city tours, birthdays, a night out on the town, casino trips, bachelorette and bachelor parties, proms and weddings. That said, you will also find that they are sometimes used for events such as week-long tours or even just a day trip. Most of the time, this is a type of vehicle that is for hire. It provides an alternative that is more accessible than taxis or limos.

    No matter what your event is, you can make it stand out with the sleek and stylish party bus at your service. The drivers and staff of the companies know that your plans can change at the last minute and they are always professional and can help you with these changes with courteous accommodation.

    Private outings are a great reason to hire one. No matter where you are planning on going, your group will arrive in style. They can be had for small tour groups as well as for large ones. You will be able to relax and enjoy the day without having to worry about the stress of traffic and dealing with maps and other driving annoyances.

    You can hire a party bus for a single day or for a set period of time and then use the bus for casino trips, concerts, theater events, athletic events, dining, shopping, sightseeing and even more! Whatever your event might be, it can get you there safely and comfortably.

    Selecting a Corporate Online Booking Tool For Your Travel Program

    Online booking of travel is one of the earliest business applications to come out of the internet explosion and is clearly one of the most successful. There are so many options when it comes to booking travel online, it is a wonder how anyone can keep them all straight. There are new booking tools coming online all the time. What makes one different from another, and when should I use one versus another? There are two different kinds of travel, and two different kinds of sites to consider. Leisure travel bookings have certainly done very well on the internet, but this article will focus on the many options for corporate booking online and what you should look for if given the task of finding the right solution for your company.

    First of all, you certainly have the option of going directly to an airline website to complete your reservation. This is a great way to do it in certain circumstances. You may be familiar with the flight you need and know exactly what the fare should be from previous experience. Also, the airline websites sometimes offer mileage bonuses for booking online, and there is no fee in most cases for booking directly on the airline site. Sounds great, right? But actually there are many shortcomings by going directly with the airline websites. You are likely getting the lowest fare available for that airline, but you will usually have better options if you look at many airlines simultaneously. By going with a solution that looks at all airlines at once, you’ll guard against a traveler using their preferred airline for the mileage benefits without regard for price. What you will pay in booking fees with one of these solutions will likely be more than made up for by the lower fares you will find on multiple airline searches. Booking sites like Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia are examples of this kind of travel search engine.

    Most people are familiar with these websites for leisure travel, but there are also business travel divisions of these companies with excellent alternate websites specifically designed for business travel use. What can you expect from a business travel site that differs from the leisure sites? You will get multiple traveler profile information stored on the site, as well as corporate reporting capability. You will see the ability for a travel coordinator to book travel for someone else, using a variety of credit cards. There will be some additional business friendly options, including options to book a car and/or hotel along with the air reservation. One of the best reasons to utilize an online system like this is that you can take care of the entire business trip in one shot instead of visiting multiple sites or making additional phone calls. So what exactly should you be looking for in a corporate travel online system? Let me give you my thoughts on the biggest issues.

    Can it be customized?  This is a must for any company that really wants to get a handle on the travel program. There should be the ability to input corporate contracts for negotiated airfare (with detail down to the market or fare class level). This is also crucial for car contracts and individual and chain-wide hotel contracts. The reason this is so important is two-fold. First, your travelers need access to the absolute lowest fares and rates possible. Equally important but often overlooked, is the fact that in order to keep your current contracts, you need to perform to certain standards. If you need to drive 35% of your business to American Airlines, for example, you need to ensure that your online booking tool will help drive volume in the appropriate direction. This also holds true for the number of room nights you have agreed to with your hotel partners. Some of the newest online tools will automatically drive the volume to the right places based upon your input. While many are not this sophisticated, there are still ways to remind travelers of their corporate obligations as they are booking through pop-up reminders, banner headlines, etc.

    Can it be integrated and branded?  For many companies this is an important way to drive adoption of the tool.  If you can brand the site with your logo and other design options, your travelers will be more likely to use the product.  Brand identity is important both inside and outside your organization.  Also, if you have a corporate intranet that travelers are used to using on a daily basis, you should be able to integrate the system using a Single Sign On application so users can access travel booking internally without having to remember another password for another system.

    What kind of reporting can be generated?  If the whole idea of an online system is to better track traveler activity and spending, you need to be sure the available reporting meets your needs.  Many corporate systems may offer some baseline reporting, but it probably won’t be anything close to what you are used to, especially if you’re working with a Travel Management Company that customizes their reports to your specifications.  Make sure you have access to the information you need as it’s being generated.

    What kind of backup support it offered?  This is perhaps the most critical issue you’ll come up against.  The larger online systems like Travelocity and Expedia have call centers to back you up in emergencies.  But do you need a better level of service in these situations?  There are many reasons to utilize a Travel Management Company’s online system instead of going with a larger, better marketed company.  If you partner with a TMC that offers an online system, you can get the support you need not only for complex reservations and emergency situations, but you’ll also get better support in programming your system.  Which brings us to another area of importance.

    Who is responsible for programming the site?  Travel program changes happen all the time.  You’ll have travelers coming in to the company and leaving.  Your contracts, if you have them, will be renewed and canceled.  Your company policy will change, and it’s different for different level of employee.  In all these changes, your online booking system will also change.  When these changes happen, who is responsible for updating your system?  If it’s left up to you, do you have anyone that is trained in how to make the changes you need?  If it is the TMC’s responsibility, how quickly can they implement the changes?  And remember, an online booking site is only as good as it is programmed, no matter which way you go.  So who takes responsibility for programming errors?

    Who takes care of training users?  Just as a system is only as good as it’s programmed, travelers can only benefit from the system insofar as they’re properly trained.  Most of your travelers are likely familiar with online booking either for personal travel or in previous business travel, so it shouldn’t be difficult to train them on a basic level.  However, each site that you investigate will have different strengths and weaknesses that travelers need to know about.  Online training can be effective, but personal training is even better.  Is your representation at the company local or willing to send a trainer to your location(s) for more in-depth training?  This goes for both end user travelers, travel coordinators booking for others, and anyone that needs to know programming of your site.

    Get Paid to Travel – Five Careers in Travel That Pay

    Want to get paid to travel? There are dozens of careers in travel that are not only rewarding, but also pay well.

    Some of these opportunities involve finding a salaried or hourly wage-paying job, like becoming a traveling nurse, an airline hostess or pilot, a traveling chef, a cruise ship worker, yacht crew member, a massage therapist or hospitality worker at a resort.

    There are several other travel careers that are easy to enter, let you go wherever you please, make money as you go, and even earn royalties for years from the work you do today.

    Not only that, but you have the choice whether you want to make this your full-time occupation, or only a part-time travel job, when you have the time and desire to see the world, and make money doing it.

    Get Paid to Travel Career #1: Lead Tours for Fun and Profit

    Do you have an interest like yoga, wine tasting, cooking (or simply eating), writing poetry, painting, coffee, art history, or snorkeling? If you have a hobby, an academic interest, or particular expertise, you can find people with similar interests to pay you to take them on vacations with you.

    Know something about wine? Lead a tour of wine country in Argentina, Italy, South Africa, even Morocco or China.

    Get paid to lead tours to your favorite places in the world, or to the places you have always wanted to go.

    Though you do not need to become a travel agent to lead tours for profit, you can make more money if you do have the ability to book the airfares, cruises, and accommodations of your clients yourself.

    Get Paid to Travel Career #2: Make Travel Videos

    Video sharing sites like YouTube are very popular, and resorts will pay you to create videos for them in the hopes of getting more business.

    There is very little barrier to entry in this field, and not much competition. In fact, you can get started with a Flip recorder, or even the video camera on your phone. If you have $400 or $500 to invest in a quality digital video camera, you can make even more profit by creating travel videos to sell on Amazon.

    You will need a laptop and some video editing software – and the desire to have complimentary stays at some of the world’s best resorts while they pay you to work!

    Get Paid to Travel Career #3: Write Travel Articles

    If you can write a postcard, then travel writing may be the career for you. Many publications look for short reviews of restaurants and hotels from new writers. Then, as you become more established, you can get paid more for longer articles.

    Better yet, often resorts, hotels, restaurants, and other travel-related businesses will offer you their services at no charge in return for a review.

    In most cases, you can republish the same article a number of times, drawing a check each time the article is printed in a different publication.

    You might at some point want to write a travel guidebook, for which you could earn royalties. You can also publish your articles on web travel directories that share advertising revenues with writers.

    Get Paid to Travel Career #4: Sell Your Travel Photos

    There are several ways to make money with a career in travel photography.

    You can combine travel writing and photography to earn more by submitting photos with your articles.

    Also, you can upload your photos to online stock photography sites, and every time someone buys your photo from the agency, you earn a commission.

    Even if you don’t have your own website, you can sell your travel photos online in a number of ways. You can sell prints of all sizes, posters, postcards, calendars, screen savers, even t-shirts and coffee mugs with your images on them.

    You can also sell your work as fine art from the walls of coffee shops, restaurants, and galleries.

    Get Paid to Travel Career #5: Start a Travel Publication

    With your own website and newsletter, you can combine as many of the above methods as you want. You can publish only the content you create – articles, photos, and videos – or you can invite others to submit their work to your site, too.

    Having a quality website gives you instant credibility and immediately establishes you as an expert in your field, whether it’s luxury travel, cruises, coffee, yoga, wine, or any other interest.

    You can make money through advertising, promoting your tour business, selling your photos, and by referrals to hotels and other travel businesses.

    These five careers in travel can not only help you get complimentary stays in resorts all over the world, but they also allow you to actually get paid to travel.

    Southern California Travel – Top Five Places of Things to See and Do When in Southern California

    When you travel to Southern California, it’s always wise to keep a checklist of the top places to see and things to do. To better help you plan your next invigorating escape to this amazing destination, here are my picks for top five places and things to see and do when in the Sunshine State.

    Hollywood Boulevard: Don’t miss the Walk of Stars, where the most famous actors, actresses, film producers and directors have their very own star decorating this walkway. Other notable sites include the world famous Whiskey A Go Go – where Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix performed – the Viper Room, and hundreds of stores and shops that line this amazing, historical street; a must-see when you travel to Southern California.

    Pacific Coast Highway: Is a few hundred mile stretch of highway that is one of the most famous and historical highways in the United States. The views that you will see when driving along the Pacific Coast Highway are second-to-none. Stop off at any of the dozens of beaches along the way to lie in the white sand and watch the tide roll in.

    San Diego Zoo: One of the largest and most amazing zoos in the entire world awaits you with more animals and exhibits than you will find almost anywhere else in the world. Make sure that you have a park map, sunscreen and some bottled water handy, as this park demands one or two days to really take it all in and see all of the sights.

    Santa Monica Pier: This pier sits alongside Boston’s and New York City’s as one of the most famous piers in the entire country. The best time to visit it is at night, when the shops and the trademark Ferris wheel are all lit up brilliantly. One can easily spend hours of time walking from vendor to vendor, people watching, strolling along the beach, or visiting the many different attractions.

    Sea World: One of the largest and most exclusive water parks in the world is the place to go if you want to catch one heck of show. Learn about exotic large fishes, and see some pretty fabulous shows. If you get lucky, you can even pet the bottlenose dolphins or offer them a tasty, fishy treat.

    Travel Nursing Jobs As a Career Option

    If you are thinking of becoming a travel nurse then it is a viable career option as you will have more salary than the permanent and para diem nurses. If we look back then it is in the year1920 when traveling nursing jobs came into existence after the shortage for nurses was felt. It is the most popular career in USA as the demand for travel nurses is mounting owing to less number of nurses in specific regions. There are around 25,500 travel nurses in USA and about 340 US travel nurse companies. Travel nursing jobs are the short term nursing jobs (4 to 52 weeks) in which the nurses have to travel to different parts of the country. The contract that is outside the country is of longer period like one to two years.

    Travel nursing job gives you the wonderful experience of meeting new people and enjoying different seasons and states of the country. Depending upon the project you can choose the period of stay in the travel nursing job. Like some nurses prefer to stay for one month other for one year.

    How to become a traveling nurse?
    To become a travel nurse one will have to complete the education from the affiliated nursing school to get the Registered Nurse degree. You can go for any of the following types of education

    • Four years BSN degree
    • Two years ADN program
    • Three years diploma

    Along with this one must have the clinical experience of one year as a licensed nurse in the area of his or her specialization to get into traveling nursing jobs. It is recommended that you must get two to three years of experience for the International travel nursing jobs. The requirement of experience vary with the specialization. Like LPN/LVN requires three years of experience where as for Psychiatric nurse job, Med-Surg and Rehab you need the experience of two years to get travel nursing jobs. Also clearing NCLEX-RN exam is must in USA. Along with this you will have to get the license of that particular state. You travel nursing company will help you in getting that.

    Apart from the education and experience you must have a charming personality, easy to adapt nature and good communication skills.

    Traveling nurse jobs is obtained through the travel agency or travel nursing companies that are tied up with the hospitals. Travel nursing companies not only help you in finding the travel nursing jobs but will also help you with the relocation, housing and registration with local authorities. But you will have to be very careful while choosing the travel nurse company as the services provided vary a lot from company to company. So always ask for the entire services that travel nurse agency or company is going to provide while giving the travel nursing job to you. Do ask for clinical support, type of health insurance and 401(k), type of housing, salary and associated benefits, work assignments and loyalty programs.

    You can tell your requirement of travel nurse job to your travel nurse company so that can find the best suitable match. You can start your travel nurse jobs after accepting and processing of your job offer. This can take one week to one month’s time.

    Benefits of Traveling Nurse Jobs
    First of all travel nurse salary is more than the registered nurse working in the same hospital. Apart from this travel nurse will get the housing facility while on work by the travel agencies with basic furnishings of washer dryers, dishwashers etc. Housing stipend is given to the nurses who choose to live independently of travel agency. The amount of stipend is more than the actual wages or it can be substantial.

    Along with this the travel allowances are also paid by the travel agencies that but the coverage of the travel cost vary. So you must inquire about this things before getting travel nursing job. Tax advantages are also given if the nurse maintain tax home while working in the traveling nurse job.

    Salary
    Travel nursing pay vary a lot and generally changes with the location, hospital need, housing cost of the area and negotiation ability of the traveler. Like you will find more travel nurse salary if you are given travel nursing jobs in north or west America than the southern American States. The RN travel nurse salary can be $40 per hour whereas surgical technologists, respiratory therapist and LPN will get pay close to $28 per hour. Some of the hospitals and travel agencies also give bonus that can reach to $6,000 and given at the end of the assignment.

    You can also begin your traveling nurse job with your friend or family. So no need to worry about anything to begin the adventurous career as a travel nurse.

    Nursing And Allied Travel Jobs – The Real Story

    THERE’S ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO THE STORY!

    I’ve been a medical traveler for many years now and have had numerous occasions to review a large number of Travel Company web sites. Most of them contain some type of Q & A section that explains how they work and what they offer. I’ve found that the information given, while accurate, is very incomplete.

    Most of what I’ve learned about the medical travel industry has been learned through the proverbial School of Hard Knocks. It occurred to me recently to write an article that expanded on the usual information given on medical travel websites, an article that presented (as Paul Harvey used to say) the “Rest of the Story.”

    And so…here we go!

    SALARY

    Travel Company: On their web sites Travel Companies usually state a salary range that they offer depending on the type of position, your area of expertise and your experience.

    Rest of the Story: What you are initially offered for a travel assignment is usually not the top dollar that is available for that assignment. Most travelers merely accept what they are offered believing the “deal is the deal” for that particular assignment. I used to do that too… but not any more!

    You especially limit your chances of getting the best salary for your assignments if you choose to register with only one travel agency. When you do that, you give away all leverage to negotiate for better pay. I am always registered with multiple travel companies so I can compare several potential assignments at once and negotiate for the best over all packages.

    There are numerous other “pitfalls” when it comes to getting the most compensation for your travel job. For example, it behooves you to clarify the stipulations for receiving certain types of bonuses and whether you must work solely for one company to earn those bonuses. Again, if you work for only one company, you may unknowingly forfeit higher compensation in other areas of your benefit package in order for the company to offer you those bonuses, in which case they can hardly be called a bonus.

    Remember, you can always, “work your best deal,” (negotiate) with several companies while still remaining highly professional. In addition, knowing how to ask for more will telegraph to a recruiter that you know your business and will position you to receive the best offers.

    HOUSING

    Travel Company: Travel companies always state they will provide you with fully furnished housing while you are on your assignment.

    Rest of the Story: You may be asked to share a two bedroom apartment with another traveler, even a stranger, who is working at your same location unless you know you can request a one bedroom separate apartment.

    Some travelers have been “required” (because they merely accepted this arrangement) to live in an extended stay facility for the entire 13 weeks of an assignment. This is very cramped quarters and becomes extremely wearying after just a couple of weeks.

    I have seen travelers deal with other conditions that were very undesirable such as having their housing located too far from the hospital. I had this experience on one assignment (before I learned to clear all that up in advance!). Each morning I had to make my way through 10 miles of early morning rush hour traffic to reach the hospital.

    In addition, fully furnished means different things to different people. If you don’t know what to ask for in advance you can be stuck with things like a poorly furnished kitchen (only a few sad looking pots and pans for cooking) as well as sparse and unattractive furniture (an ugly green sofa and purple chair spring to mind).

    Knowing what your options really are and how to ask for them is paramount to having a comfortable, safe, convenient and enjoyable living arrangement. Multiple considerations are there for the asking, but you definitely have to ask. By clarifying in advance what I need and expect, and by applying simple to learn negotiating techniques I’ve perfected over time, I now receive the very best housing accommodations on all my assignments.

    GENERAL BENEFIT PACKAGES

    Travel Company: All travel companies offer a variety of benefits besides housing and salary which can include per diem pay, travel expenses, bonuses, clothing and equipment reimbursement, insurance, continuing education, 401 K’s, etc.

    Rest of the Story: Travel benefit packages are definitely not all equal! For instance, one travel company’s insurance coverage may not start until 30 days after you have begun your assignment versus a policy offered by another company that becomes effective the first day on the job. These and numerous other “small print” concerns can come back to bite you if you’re unprepared!

    I’ve also talked to nurses who were never offered per diem pay (the average is $30.00 a day or $210.00 a week) but others were receiving it simply because they asked for it! Some were told they could elect to have per diem pay but would receive fewer benefits in other areas if they chose that option. However, that was not the case for other travelers who refused that trade off. I know I continually receive per diem pay on ALL my assignments without sacrificing any reduction in other areas of compensation.

    To make your travel experience the most lucrative and enjoyable, it pays (literally!) to know what is available as well as how to access those top of the line benefit packages.

    TRAVEL PROVISIONS

    Travel Company: Travel companies offer a variety of ways to cover your travel expenses. If you are required to fly to your assignment, your flight costs will be paid in advance and your travel itinerary arranged for you plus a rental car will be provided once you arrive at your destination. If you are desirous of driving your own car to your job site, you will receive mileage compensation and/or a flat fee amount for travel expenses.

    Rest of the Story: Travel companies can save a lot of money by booking you on flights that leave or arrive at undesirable times of the day or night or that re-route you all over the place, necessitating you change planes frequently.

    I had that experience early on in my travel career (oh what a novice I was then!), when after 3 stops, and long layovers, I finally landed at an airport at 1 am in the morning that was a full two hour drive away from my job site! Just to add to the misery, after that two hour drive in the middle of the night I arrived to find the hotel booked for me was the ultimate rat’s nest with a stuck heater system that turned my room into an unbearable steam bath.

    I also have some rather interesting stories about the type of cars that were rented on my behalf (tin can anyone?). Fortunately I’ve learned how to avoid all those nightmares and now travel comfortably and at reasonable hours.

    The point is that if you don’t know your way around the available travel options, plus know how to negotiate for the best travel considerations, you can have some pretty nasty travel experiences.

    JOB LOCATIONS

    Travel Company: Travel companies paint a somewhat glamorous picture of the places you can travel and the wonderful experiences you can have.

    Rest of the Story: If you’re a traveling novice there is a very good chance you will end up in some out of the way place or hospital that is anything but glamorous. Travel companies are anxious to fill whatever positions that present (after all, that’s how they make their money!) and so they can offer less than desirable job locations to those who don’t know how to navigate the system. That certainly happened to me the first time I took a travel position. I landed in a miserable little town with a very boring job assignment. It made for a very long 13 weeks!

    Just knowing you might get dealt the “low end of the deck” if you’re new to the game can help you avoid something really dower. However, even seasoned travelers are often not getting the best assignments that are available. Thankfully, over time I’ve learned what to ask for and what to avoid, and more importantly, how to spot a bad job location no matter how many bows are on the package.

    THE BEST JOBS

    Travel Company: Travel companies accurately state that a recruiter will contact you about a job opportunity and will give you a general overview of the job, its requirements, and what salary and other benefits are being offered. You will also have an opportunity to ask whatever questions you wish concerning the position.

    Rest of the Story: Recruiters are going to provide the basics of the potential job assignment to you but they are not going to go into any great detail unless it is in direct response to your questions. You should also be prepared to ask pertinent questions of the hospital representative if you should decide to interview for a position presented to you by the recruiter.

    I remain astounded at the number of even experienced travelers that either do not ask many questions concerning a potential job assignment or don’t know what to ask to find out the “nitty gritty” of what the job really entails. As a result, there are many travelers who are quite “surprised” (and not in a good way!) about the real facts once they reach their job destination. And of course, like it or not, they are bound by a legal contract to fulfill their assignment.

    Just by asking the number of staff that will be working on your floor or in your department, the number of patients or tests you will be expected to oversee or perform, and the ratio of permanent and travel staff, you can begin to get a definite feel for what you will encounter. Recently while considering a position, I was able to ask those questions plus several others that revealed there had been a recent “uproar” in the department with people leaving in mass, leading me to decide not to jump into the fray.

    I am always being treated to the latest horror story concerning jobs that were anything but what they were thought to be. That doesn’t have to be your story if you learn the right questions to ask in order to get the real picture.

    IN CONCLUSION

    As you can see, knowledge is power! Without it, you’re in for a very bumpy ride in the medical travel world. I’ve explained just a few Q & A areas where travel companies are only giving you the basics of the process. Unfortunately, relying on “just the basics” will have you collecting a few horror stories of your own!

    Travel Clubs

    Are Travel Clubs worth the investment?

    My traveling days have slowed down since I’ve become a new mom, my priorities have changed, but my husband and I still try and take a vacation at least once or twice a year. My boss travels several times a year and was telling me about the opportunities that come along with them and suggested that I check things out. Well, my curiosity got the best of me and I started searching different sites for information on the pros and cons. I hope my findings help you with your decision on whether or not to purchase a membership.

    Wondering what a travel club is? Members a charged a membership fee in return for providing travel at cost or an extremely discounted rate. There are several different types of clubs, ranging from luxury leisure travel to affordable adventure travel and a whole slew of others.

    My boss chose to go with “Travel RCI”, which guaranteed the lowest prices for flights, hotels and other forms of travel. He has been very happy with the services and said he wished he would have joined earlier. The savings have truly added up for him, and they might for you as well.

    Benefits

    Becoming a member can be extremely beneficial if you travel more than just once a year. Most memberships come with several free trip offers each year. Travel club memberships offer cheap trip options that are not available to the general public. Investing in a membership can range anywhere from unlimited flexibility in travel options, trip packages in thousands of destinations. You can save on all the extras that go hand in hand with planning a trip, like car rental, hotel reservations, airline tickets and discounts on food and drinks. Travel club membership also works like airline mile rewards programs, giving you additional benefits for traveling more.

    Types

    There are a handful of different types, ranging from women’s only clubs, sport-specific like ski or golf travel to clubs for traveling singles. Most memberships require a one-time nominal fee, while other may require annual or monthly membership fees. There are also several companies that coordinate for the professionals, like teachers and dentists, with professional services related travel opportunities.

    With the vast array of options and types, just about every traveler can find a club that is unique to their individual tastes. An important factor is convenience. A travel club allows members to maintain up-to-date profiles based on their travel interests that help the club to weed out potential offers and trip options for them. With a vast array of traveling tools, a travel club can simplify your travel planning process for you by keeping everything you need on an easily accessible site.

    Advisory

    Like any other special offers and discounts you may find on the Internet today, travel club options should be thoroughly researched for legitimacy. There are many travel-related Internet scams on the Internet and they prey off vulnerable trusting individuals. Be sure to check out the company’s reputation by conducting a basic Internet search. Like contacting the Better Business Bureau, or simply calling the company in question to ask for more information.

    Also, remember that the benefit of a travel clubs really ramps up once you travel twice in a given year. If you do not travel at least twice a year you will likely not save enough money to justify the cost of your membership. If you travel more than twice a year your travel club should be a great investment.

    Conclusion
    Travel clubs can be a great investment for the avid traveler. If you plan on traveling several times a year I would highly recommend that you research the different travel clubs and see which one will best suite you and your family and/or business needs. Please take the time so you too can get the best out of your future travels.

    Travel Nerves and How Best to Intervene

    When litigating a road accident claim, travel anxiety and associated stress is one of the typical sub headings of damages. Depending on whether physical injuries exist, the severity and level of disruption socially and occupationally of any travel anxiety are crucial to accurate and viable quantum assessment. Paul Elson and Karen Addy both have considerable experience in differentiating clinical and sub-clinical types of ‘travel nerves’.

    Travel nervousness following a road accident is almost a universal psychological consequence among those people unfortunate enough to suffer such an event. The level of nervousness displayed by individuals varies considerably. For some people it is very mild and soon disappears as they return to driving. This can essentially be considered a normal response that does not require treatment. For others however the level of nervousness suffered is more problematic. This group of people fall within three categories, namely those for whom the problem is considered ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’.

    Mild travel nervousness describes those people who, while displaying a clear degree of travel anxiety, are nevertheless able to travel in a vehicle without too much difficulty and as such there is no avoidance behavior. Those people with a moderate degree of travel nervousness display increased nervousness and have consequently reduced their level of travel, typically limiting their travel to essential journeys only. Finally, those people whose problem is considered severe display both marked anxiety regarding the prospect of traveling in a vehicle and in addition have markedly reduced such travel or even avoid travel altogether. The level of travel anxiety suffered by those people for whom it is considered mild is unlikely to meet the criteria for a psychological disorder, ie it is not clinically significant. The level of travel anxiety suffered by those people for whom it is considered moderate may or may not meet the criteria depending on the level of anxiety suffered and the degree of avoidance involved. For those who are suffering from severe travel anxiety it is likely that they will be suffering from a diagnose psychological disorder, most commonly a specific phobia.

    There are various approaches to tackling these problems. First, a person may benefit from learning strategies to relax, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. This may be available on the NHS (usually via the person’s GP), privately, or could be accessed through simply buying a relaxation tape that will talk the person through the skills needed. This approach would be of particular benefit for those people considered to be suffering from mild travel anxiety and could be sufficient to help the individual overcome their nervousness. Behavioral approaches, such as encouraging an increase in travel practice, are essential to recovery as avoidance of travel maintains the nervousness and reduces confidence in traveling. Thus encouraging a person to increase the time or distance involved in their traveling would help them regain their confidence. Refresher driving lessons can also play a part in increasing confidence and reducing avoidance; this approach is likely to be beneficial to all three levels of travel nervousness.

    For people with more severe travel anxiety and those that meet the criteria for a specific phobia, more formal psychological treatment is often required. The most common and evidence-based therapy used in such cases is cognitive behavior therapy. This is a well-established psychological treatment that seeks to teach people to overcome their nervousness by tackling both the individual’s thought processes (the cognitive component) and by working on the degree to which they actually travel or else avoid doing so (the behavioral component). It is practically-oriented, involving the teaching of skills and homework-type assignments. Its effectiveness is grounded in scientific research. This approach would be indicated in those individuals whose problem is moderate or severe and usually consists of a course of 8-10 sessions. Ideally, the person receiving the treatment should possess a degree of psychological mindedness, ie they possess the ability to reflect on their thoughts, feelings and behavior.

    Another form of psychological therapy used to treat travel nervousness is that of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). This approach involves encouraging the client to bring into awareness distressing material (thoughts, feelings, etc) from the past and present and which is then followed by sets of bilateral stimulation, most usually side-to-side eye movements. Once the eye movements cease the individual is asked to let material come to awareness without attempting to ‘make anything happen’. After EMDR processing, clients generally report that the emotional distress in relation to the memory has been eliminated, or greatly decreased. EMDR is primarily used to treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for which there is some scientific evidence demonstrating its benefits, and although it may also be used to treat travel phobia, the research evidence supporting this is more anecdotal.

    The above approaches are not mutually exclusive and it is likely that in practice a combination of treatment approaches is needed. For example, a person undergoing cognitive behavior therapy is also likely to benefit from being taught relaxation techniques and to increase their travel practice, components which usually form part of this therapeutic approach. They may also be receiving EMDR treatment.

    While the approach to tackling an individual’s particular problem is partially determined by the nature and severity of the problem, as outlined above, it is also dependent on the preference of the individual concerned, as some people would rather try tackling the problem themselves, having received some simple informal advice, while others would prefer something more formal, such as psychological therapy. Either way, the person needs to be motivated to tackle their problem and ideally possess some belief in the effectiveness of the approach that they are using.

    The following case highlights a typical anxiety reaction to a car accident and the recommended treatment for such symptoms:

    Mr. M was a 28 year old who was in an accident in May 2008. He was a front seat passenger, in a car driven by a friend. The car they were traveling in was hit from the rear by a lorry and pushed into another lorry whilst on a motorway. Mr. M was trapped in the car and was cut free by the fire service. He received whiplash injuries and burns to his legs as a result of the car’s water tank spilling on him. Early psychological symptoms (developed within 2 months of the accident) were stress symptoms of intrusive thoughts, nightmares, some avoidance phenomena and persistent arousal symptoms. These symptoms as described did not meet the full criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (DSM.IV 309.81).

    However, he experienced mood disturbance with variable low mood reactive to pain, feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem, sleep disturbance, reduced appetite and weight loss, lethargy and reduced motivation, consistent tearfulness, loss of interest in usual activities and consistent irritability, exacerbated by physical discomfort. He also stated that he was generally more anxious, describing worries about potential hazards and being more jumpy and hyper-vigilant to perceived danger. Following the accident Mr. M avoided driving and at the time of the interview (15 months since the accident) he had not driven. In addition he avoided traveling as a passenger whenever possible. There was social withdrawal due to travel anxiety and low mood. He reported stopping usual activities such as going to the gym and going out with friends. Mr. M had not worked since the accident. He reported that he was physically unfit for approximately six months, however had not returned to work due to a fear of traveling in a car preventing him from accessing work.

    The symptoms described by Mr.M meet the criteria for a Specific Phobia (DSM.IV 300.29) related to travel and a Depressive Disorder (DSM.IV 311). Mr M completed a course of cognitive behavioral therapy (12 sessions) which included a graded approach to increasing his travel practice and incorporated general relaxation techniques. After six months Mr M had significantly increased his driving and passenger travel, had started to work part time and no longer met the criteria for either a specific phobia or depressive disorder. It is unlikely that without appropriate psychological treatment such improvement in Mr M’s condition would have occurred as evidence suggests that maximum natural improvement in symptoms will occur 6-12 months following the index accident.

    Travel anxiety, a common response to experiencing a distressing road traffic accident, is a well documented and understandable phenomenon. It can and does improve with self help, advice, and where appropriate, professional help.

    The Joys (and Sorrows) of Travelling Alone

    There is no one “right” way to travel, especially when it comes to the number of partners you choose to travel with as you explore the world. Yes, if you travel with others, you should only travel with those whose presence you enjoy. And yes, I’d argue you’ll have a lot more fun by traveling with some close and adventurous friends rather than traveling through a foreign destination with a group of tourists who barely want to leave the hotel. But, assuming you make a few wise choices regarding the company you keep, there are unique benefits hidden within traveling with one person, with three people, or with a dozen people.

    Not that you actually need to travel with anyone else. In fact, the intensity of traveling alone often outclasses anything you’ll experience traveling with others- intense in its highs and its lows. Intense in its connections and its loneliness. Intense in its opportunities for building confidence, and intense in its opportunities for dealing with doubt and fear. And it’s this intensity of often-conflicting experience that makes traveling alone for an extended period of time an absolute necessity for each and every one of us.

    Travel is About Growth

    A quick aside.

    Some people may be put off by the ideal of intensity I’ve used to drum up travelling alone. I understand this. An intense experience can be uncomfortable to think about. But in reality, an intense experience is often more uncomfortable to think about than it is to actually live through. But our discomfort surrounding intensity lies at the heart of every growth opportunity we ever encounter. We grow the most when we feel most alive and when we push through vague anxieties to expand our sphere of comfortable action.

    In other words you shouldn’t avoid the intense experiences and the discomfort they temporarily produce- you should run towards them. Sometimes traveling is about just enjoying yourself, but at its heart traveling the world is about running towards intensity, embracing discomfort, and expanding the world you inhabit.

    So yes, the thought of traveling alone can sometimes feel scary. That’s sort of the point. Don’t use this fear as an excuse to live in a smaller world than you need to.

    Others

    When you travel alone your experiences will swing wildly back and forth between being deeply social and deeply lonesome. Often the tone of your experiences changes overnight. One night you meet some new friends you spend hours and hours with as you talk, as you explore, as you bare your souls- as you get drunk together and dance together and as you wander foreign streets late at night together, invincible in the moment. The next day they leave and so does the last person you know in your current location and you’re alone again. In that moment you can be active and reach out and meet others, but you’ll feel shocked how often, in that moment, you’d rather spend your time totally alone.

    Through expat bars and hostels and alternative tours, traveling provides you with a never-ending opportunity to meet new people. When you travel by yourself you’ll only ever be as alone as you want to be. You’ll be able to meet others without preconceptions, without strings attached, without checking in to see if everything’s cool with your friends and without worry what others will think about the relationships you build and leave behind. When it comes down to it traveling by yourself provides you with social freedom you could never experience back home or traveling with others.

    And that includes the freedom to truly be by yourself. The relief of occasionally spending a day on your own when you’re back home does not, and cannot, compare with the depth of the solitude you will experience when you are alone for hours, days, or weeks at a time in cities, countries and cultures far from your everyday experience. These silent, lonely moments will make you feel so many things, they will give you the time to process and to question and to answer, it’s in those moments of total separation from everything and everyone related to home that you can gain the most perspective on your life and make the hard decisions about who you are, what you want, and how you’re going to get there- decisions you just can’t make when you’re grasping on to even the slightest thread of connection to the life you used to know.

    Yourself

    I hope I don’t sound like I’m bearing down negatively on others. So many of your opportunities for some semblance of enlightenment will come to you in the company of others. We are intensely, and intrinsically, social creatures. As E.E. Cummings said, “We are for each other,” and every nugget of insight you learn as you travel by yourself exists for the sole purpose of helping you better serve the world and the others who live in it. I’m merely suggesting there are benefits and insights out there in the wild you can only gain when you disconnect completely in the way you only can when you vacate normal life and search for something else on your own.

    If you need any greater indication that humans are truly social in nature consider the powerful feelings of doubt and fear you’ll feel when you cut yourself off from others. Even thinking about traveling alone you’re probably thinking that it isn’t something you could ever do. When you leave home on your own you will feel incredibly scared of what you’ll find way out there and whether you’ll be able to handle it. Traveling alone you will repeatedly question pretty much everything about yourself and whether you can even survive, in a basic mental and emotional sense, without continuous close contact with others.

    And moving through these cycles of fear and doubt you will learn something- that you can handle it. You cannot only survive but you can thrive. You learn how tough you really are, how little you really need, and with that knowledge of your own inherent indestructibility and with that understanding that life can be great even if you lose everything, you will gain the confidence and courage to actually act on the dangerous insights you accumulate while you travel. Traveling alone not only lets you see what difficult choices you need to make when you return back home, traveling alone lets you know you’re strong enough to risk it all and act on them. Traveling alone makes you both a wiser and a stronger person in a way traveling with others never, ever could.

    Party Bus Services

    Is there a party coming up and you have planned everything except the transportation. No one wants to miss the party. There are many people who reach the party very late; this is because they do not have the correct transportation mode. The solution to this problem is Charlotte Party bus. You will never be late by booking a limo for your party. You do not have to worry about any kind of traffic or parking lots, no hassle at all! Charlotte bus takes care of your transportation needs.

    Make your more convenient, safe and reliable with Charlotte occasion bus service. Party buses are especially for the kind of people who want to stay together and party. A party bus can accommodate all of your gang, keep it safe and you do not have to worry about the driving at all.

    Are you thinking of what to get for your occasion? Then make sure you go for a occasion bus, it has it all. There are many people who think that a stretched limo is more comfortable than a party bus. But this is not true; there are many Charlotte occasion buses that offer the same amount of comfort as the limo. a occasion bus offers more space and comfort. A party bus offers more space to move around, you can even stand in a party bus. There are a lot of amenities in the party bus. A party bus is a perfect choice for a group of people; it will offer them comfort, luxury and at the same time a lot of space to party.

    A Charlotte occasion bus has a lot of amenities like, sound systems, flat screen TVs, entertainment systems, lights, wooden floors, built in bars and mush more all there is in a occasion bus that you need to party.

    Keep all of your friends together. What if there is a party and your friends are late. So it is a good idea to book a occasion bus sop that the whole gang stays together and arrives at the spot on time, safely and in style. A Charlotte occasion buses is driven by an experienced driver, he is well trained and knows the roads, and he will take you to your place of party in style and safely without any traffic hassle. While renting a Charlotte occasion bus you have to be sure the company is licensed, the drivers are licensed and the fleet of party buses is large enough to fulfill your party needs.

    Top 5 Basic Things to Consider When Choosing a Travel Agent For Traveling to Antarctica

    Travelers planning a trip must perform due diligence with the task of choosing a dependable travel agent. This becomes crucial when the planned trip is to Antarctica. The harsh and unpredictable weather as well as remote and inhospitable geographical conditions of the region demand that experienced and capable people handle the affairs of an expedition be it by air or sea.

    Choosing a dependable travel agent is a tricky job as there are a dismayingly large number of travel agencies out there. Anyone with a little knowledge of Internet ticket booking and awareness of travel destinations can set up a travel agency. It is hard to expect quality and dependable service even from registered travel agencies as the registration process is simple and doesn’t require much more than filling out a simple form and paying some fees. Airliners and cruise liners affiliations are also meaningless. Let the lure of visiting the White Continent not make you overlook some basic factors in choosing a travel agent. If I were traveling to Antarctica these are the things I would be concentrating on for selecting a travel agent.

    Reputation

    This is the prime consideration while choosing a travel agent. Usually, the more reputable a travel agency the better is its service. Ascertain whether it’s lower cost or quality service that makes a particular travel agent special. Your target is clearly reputation based on the dependability of service. Cheap and best are not applicable always. You don’t drive the cheapest car, don’t wear the cheapest dress, and don’t eat out in the cheapest restaurant. So why choose a travel agent that specializes in providing cheap services. You are going to Antarctica, remember. Everything should be top notch. You should concentrate on getting that. Getting better rates becomes secondary to getting top equipment, facilities, and services.

    People assume that the longer a travel agency is in business the better will be the quality of their service. This is purely a common assumption and there are no statistics to support this. Not how long has the travel agency been in service, but how well is it serving travelers now should be the question uppermost in your mind. The fact is that there are many old travel agencies on the verge of running out of business and there are many new travel agencies offering better services with newer and appropriate policies. Reputed, experienced, and efficient should be the preferred criteria of your choice. Equally important is to choose tour operators that specialize in expeditions to ice covered lands like the Arctic and Antarctica.

    Check with Friends, Clients, and Suppliers

    The best opinions that you can get are from trusted friends and associates that have traveled to Antarctica. If you can tolerate a little exaggeration or understatement you will get honest opinions from them. However, don’t take a single emphatic recommendation as final. Check and verify with others about any recommendation. Find from the recommended travel agent if they are giving any benefits to clients for bringing in referrals. Make sure that your friend has not referred you mainly to earn benefits for himself.

    Get a list of existing clients and suppliers from the travel agent to verify its claims. Find out how the travel agency performs on a bad day. Be careful as it’s natural on the part of a supplier to say only positive things about a travel agent if the latter is the former’s client. You should contact a reliable and reputable supplier to establish the truth whether or not the travel agent does business with it. Clients can better testify about the veracity of the claims made by a tour operator. Get an exhaustive list of clients so that the travel agent will not know which ones you are going to contact. If you are taking the contact address of a few clients then contact them right away so that the travel agent gets no time to tutor clients and dress up testimonies.

    Dependable Team

    The competencies and expertise of the expedition team are crucial to an Antarctic expedition. In the unending stretch of ice and cold water you have only them to ensure your safety. A dependable team should comprise of at least one veteran captain having several expedition experiences, expert sailors, environmentalists, geologists familiar with the topography of the continent and specializing in glaciology, oceanographers, marine biologists, polar scientists, and polar educators. It’s essential for all the above people to have previous Antarctic expedition experience. Make sure that the team has all the qualification and experience to make your expedition a safe and enjoyable one.

    Sturdy Ship

    Special attention must be paid for the kind of ship the travel agent is going to put you on and the team that will lead the expedition. The ship must be in top condition. It must have all the latest communication tools as well as expedition equipment. Find out how well the ship can cope with disaster?

    Ask the travel agent about which cruise liners are listed in their agency and how many voyages the cruise liners have made to Antarctica? The more successful voyages made by a cruise liner the better – the rule is simple. Is your travel agency offering good ice breaking ships or ice strengthening cruises? If you are more adventurous you should prefer the ice breaking cruises as they will take you to places that just ice strengthened ships cannot take. Ask the tour operator what kind of logistics the ships offer (zodiacs and helicopters). What kind of gear and equipment do they make available on the ship? Will the ship have qualified guides, naturalists, geologists, and sailors to make the expedition safe and successful?

    Some More Questions to Ask the Tour Operators

    There are expeditions led by people that have explored the entire Antarctic. Your expedition can benefit immensely from the knowledge of such people. Find out whether the tour operators are members of International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). IAATO is a private body, which has laid down the rules to be followed by tour operators while going to Antarctica and about conduct on the continent.

    Ask the travel agent this precious question, “what service they offer which any other agents do not or cannot offer”? Compare the results and answers of the travel agents and go for the most reliable one.

    If you plan to fly over part of Antarctica then find out from the tour operator whether the pilot and crew members have previous flying experience to the continent. Some travel agencies make sure that the captain of the airplane has flown to Antarctica at least once before.

    These are just five basic factors that you should consider when selecting a travel agent for an expedition to Antarctica. There are more things that you should take into account while doing the due diligence in this regard. Look up on the Internet and guidebooks to cover all the aspects to make sure that you have taken utmost care in selecting a travel agent. Do not always trust what is posted in forums without cross checking. For that matter trust advise or information only when they come from an authentic and reputed source. Cross check them to be absolutely sure. Have a safe and happy voyage.

    Benefits Of A School Bus Driver Endorsement

    A position as a school bus driver is a perfect job for a CDL driver who wants to work regular work hours and enjoys working with children. Most school bus drivers transport public elementary school, middle school or high school students. These are stable jobs paid for by the various school districts of the counties the driver is employed by. These jobs usually offer good salaries and employee benefits which include health insurance, holiday pay and vacation pay. School bus drivers usually work a set schedule. A typical schedule involves picking children up early in the morning to take them to school and returning to schools in the afternoon to pick them up to return them to their neighborhoods. Drivers can also earn extra money by driving students to special events. Middle schools and high schools often have after school activities which include various sports events. Football games, basketball games and other sports events are often held at different locations through the city. Drivers can earn extra money by transporting the athletes, cheerleaders, dancers, etc. to these games.

    Another benefit of a school bus drivers schedule is that a typical drivers work day starts early. Most children are picked up early in the morning and dropped off at their schools between 7:30a.m. and 8:00a.m. depending upon the schedule set by the school district. Drivers are then off duty until they return to schools in the afternoon to pick the children up and return them to their respective neighborhoods. This allows a sufficient amount of time for drivers to work a part time job or attend classes either during the day or after their work day ends. Some drivers like to use their off duty time to exercise, do chores, or take a morning nap. Whatever drivers like to do with that time, a school bus driver schedule allows them the flexibility to do so.

    To be qualified to become a school bus driver you must receive a Commercial Driver License (CDL) with a school bus driver endorsement. To qualify for the school bus endorsement you must meet specific criteria. Applicants must take and pass a driving skills test in a vehicle of the same vehicle group that the applicant intends to drive. Applicants must also pass the knowledge test for obtaining a passenger vehicle endorsement. The knowledge test demonstrates knowledge concerning the proper loading and unloading procedures with children. This includes knowledge of the safe operation of:

    Stop signal devices
    External mirror systems
    Flashing lights
    Emergency exits and procedures for safely evacuating passengers in an emergency
    State and Federal laws and regulations related to safely traversing railroad-highway rail grade crossings.
    Knowledge of other warning and passenger safety devices required for school buses by County, State or Federal law or regulation
    Other operating procedures and practices required by law but not otherwise specified.

    Many school bus drivers have found their jobs to be very rewarding and a good career choice for them. It is a very challenging career which requires a high level of responsibility as you will be responsible for the safety of a bus load of children in your care. If you are up to the challenge, you too may enjoy a career as a school bus driver.

    School Bus Rental – The Yellow Bus Company

    If you have somewhere to go with a class or with specific children, you don’t just have to do it by hoping enough individuals will be able to have their family drive them to school. One of the ways that you can get to your destination is by using school bus rental. This will give you the ability to get to your desired point of destination with the best option for travel to the area that you want to go.

    Even though school buses are used for public transportation of children, they are not necessarily required to stay only in one area or with one route. School buses also function as a company that can provide extra transportation so that you can have direct routes to the area that you are going to. This will allow individuals to get to the points needed for the best price and for the options that will provide the best of getting to the desired destination.

    When you are looking into buses that are a part of school bus rental, you can start by examining the different companies and options that are available. Typically, you will be working with a school bus driver as a part of the company in order to drive you towards your desired destination. This will allow you to find a school bus that is convenient and has the same qualities as other types of rental bus companies, allowing you to get the most convenient option.

    Not only will you want to find the most convenient bus, but will want to find a school bus that will get better mileage and gas, dependent on how many people are going along for the ride. This will be combined with different types of bus formats that are available, such as a regular sized bus or a minibus. Each school bus area will be able to find you the best option in buses, dependent on how many people are traveling to the destination needed. These options will provide you with the ability to get to the location that you desire in the best way.

    Not only can you find the best school buses through these rental options, but can also look into the comfort with the transportation, as well as the needs that you will have. For instance, if you are renting a school bus for a school function, the best option will be to go through the company that has the school buses in order to get the best options available to you. This will allow you to get all of the children to the competition, project or area with the most convenient type of transportation. If you are looking for something that has a longer distance or that doesn’t have the same functions, you will want to find a different type of company to provide you with the best.

    If you are ready to get places, you can start by tapping into the yellow bus as an easy and convenient way to get to your destination. If you want to look at some of your best options, than finding a school bus rental will be able to provide you with a way to get to your desired destination in the most convenient way.

    Travel Risk Management and Foreseeable Risk

    Introduction: Travel Risk Management and Foreseeable Risk

    When it comes to foreseeable risk, foresee ability and travel risk management, this is what every travel, human resources and manager should know. In this article we will cover foreseeable risk, foresee ability, hazard identification and travel risk assessments to mitigate or eliminate the risk of travel and comply with the company’s social objectives and legal obligations. By reading this article you will be able to confirm the true meaning of foreseeable risk as it relates to travel risk management and determine if you and your company truly have a demonstrable travel risk management system that complies with your social and legal duty of care objectives.

    The first point is to clarify as the the legal definition of foreseeable risk.

    Foreseeable Risk and Foresee ability Defined
    Foreseeable risk is defined as a danger, hazard or threat which a reasonable person should anticipate as the result from his/her actions. Foreseeable risk is a common affirmative defense put up as a response by defendants in lawsuits for negligence. A skateboarder hits a bump on a road, falls and breaks his wrist. This is a foreseeable risk of skateboarding. A woman is severely injured while flying on an aircraft when the the aircraft suddenly descends due to turbulence and she hits her head on the over head luggage compartment. While there is potential risk, she had the right to anticipate that the aircraft was properly maintained, the pilot aware of the approaching weather conditions and did not assume the risk that her seat-belt would fail. Signs that warn “use at your own risk” do not bar lawsuits for risks that are not foreseeable.

    Foresee ability is the facility to perceive, know in advance, or reasonably anticipate that damage or injury will probably ensue from acts or omissions.

    In the law of negligence, the foresee ability aspect of proximate cause-the event which is the primary cause of the injury-is established by proof that the actor, as a person of ordinary intelligence and circumspection, should reasonably have foreseen that his or her negligent act would imperil others, whether by the event that transpired or some similar occurrence, and regardless of what the actor surmised would happen in regard to the actual event or the manner of causation of injuries.

    Hazard, Threat and Dangers Identification

    Travel Risk Management and Foreseeable Risk

    An officer of the company must demonstrate the process and implementation, whereby any person of ordinary intelligence can identify, document and in advance mitigate or eliminate dangers, threats and hazards that would ordinarily imperil a business traveler. Policies and notification that warn business travelers of risk do not bar legal recourse, even if the events were not foreseeable.

    Forward planning supported by past incident capture and analysis aid in this process. Generic, global or regional identifications are inadequate with specific locations, actions, competencies and supporting elements required in order to reasonably anticipate in advance any damage or injury that may ensue from acts or omissions. This process should be continuous and timely. Obligations are not limited to what the actor surmised would happen in regard to the actual event or the manner of causation of injuries.

    Travel Risk Assessments
    The analysis and assessment of business travel related threats must be evidence based and cannot be fully outsourced to providers or third parties as the business comprehension and obligation remains with the person/s within the company charged with the authority and responsibility of duty of care for business travelers.

    Collection, processing, analysis and distribution of travel risk management elements such as traveler, location, past event, current circumstances, special events, forecaster changes and business activity must be inclusive of the process.

    Consistency and clarity of travel risk assessments are required if the process is to be replica, transferable and applicable for any and all business travel.

    Travel threats, danger and hazards relative to business travelers must be distinct and focused exclusively on business travelers and the act of business travel and not bundled with broader business risk assessments.

    Similar and exact acts related to business travel and travel threats must be evaluated for relevance and impact. Leisure travel threats may need to be considered also if proximate to business travel locations and business travelers. Regardless of what the company officer surmised would happen or the event that transpired, along with similar occurrences, proof of process and outcomes are required.

    Conclusion: Travel Risk Management and Foreseeable Risk
    Now that you understand the importance of foreseeable risk as defined by legal opinions, you will probably see your approach and effectiveness in a whole new light. Foreseeable risk and foresee ability does apply to business travel risk management and your business travelers. In order to prove or effectively demonstrate travel risk management foreseeable risk actions you need consistent, audit-able and effective evidence if you are to mitigate or eliminate the risks associated with business travel, convey confidence to business travelers that you are proactively fulfilling your duty of care and defend or confirm your compliance with the various acts and legislation. Objectively review your current preparedness and processes specific to travel risk management and use this advice to make your comparison and rectify any omissions to your processes immediately.

    Don't Have Time to Travel to Your Favourite Destination This Year? Think Again

    Believe it or not, our life revolves around travel everyday! When we think of the word “travel,” we would normally think about exotic vacations, airplanes, road trips, our dream travel destinations, all inclusive hotels on a tropical island, you name it! Traveling is simply moving from point A to point B. This includes but not limited to traveling to work, traveling to school or even traveling to a destinations a few blocks away from our home.

    Humans and animals travel for various reasons. During the winter time, some birds such as the Canadian geese, travel south to far as Mexico to escape the cold (humans do that too!), we as humans travel to work in order to make ends meet and the list can go on forever. Not to mention, we travel to other places on this planet to temporarily escape our chaotic environments, then we come back to it rejuvenated. Sometimes we even travel permanently to other destinations for various reasons such as seeking a “better life,” reuniting with family and taking up a new job offer.

    Just about everyone has their own dream travel destination. Many people in developing countries dream about traveling to the USA to taste the American dream; many people from developed cold countries dream about traveling to tropical countries such as Jamaica to taste at least two weeks of sunshine and many others from various regions around the globe dream about exploring other countries that are known to have extraordinary scenery.

    Now unfortunately, many of us don’t get a chance to fulfill our travel dreams in our life time for various reasons such as lack of finances, can’t get the time off from work or just simply having to fulfill other commitments. These common excuses mentioned here are all understandable; however, the truth is you can still fulfill your travel dreams if you work hard at it. The question I have for you is, “How important are these travel dreams to you?” If your dream travel destination doesn’t have any form of priority in your life, don’t expect to be going anywhere soon! Yes, I would certainly encourage you to be realistic with your finances and resources at the same time. If you really want to go on that trip that dreamed about all your life, make it happen!

    Start planning ahead with your family about the family travel plans. If you plan at least 1-2 years in advance, you can make it happen (depending on where you’re traveling). For example, if you’re planning an all inclusive trip to the Caribbean for a family of four, and save at least $200 US or more a month, you’ll be amaze to see how much you’ll end up by the end of the year!

    You may say “I can’t afford this” but think about all the unnecessary things that you’re purchasing and add up how much you can be saving and who knows, you and your family can be able to fulfill that travel dream in less than a year! By saving up from now, you can pay for that vacation with cash without going in to debt if you start saving now. Yes, it’s going to take some sacrifice but at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. It’s good to also plan ahead with your boss when you want to take time off from work. If you own your own business, plan ahead of time to set aside some days off from work.

    Did you know that there are some benefits about traveling? Education may be the first benefit. Yes, traveling can also be a learning experience. A person from a developed country who travels to a developing country may learn how to complain less and appreciate life more in his own developed country. A person from a developing country who travels to a developed country will learn that he can have a “better life” in another environment though this may not be true all the time.

    Traveling to other nations may give you the opportunity to discover developmental and business opportunities. If you’re an entrepreneur or investor who is on a vacation in another country, you may learn about some investment opportunities that may come with great rewards.

    Traveling may be good times to get know your friends and family much better. Not to mention again, it’s one of the best opportunities to relax and escape the stressful world for a while. I enjoy traveling myself and I also enjoy encourage people to travel other places, and even locally. My traveling experience has taught me that there is much more to life than I thought before. In other words, my view about life has changed for the better.

    Happy New Year to you! I hope that you, your family or friends, would be able to fulfill the travel dreams that you have in mind during this year. Remember, your traveling journey starts now by implementing the plans. All the best!

    Become a Travel Agent – Reap the Benefits

    Become a travel agent and capitalize on reaping the benefits of 7 trillion dollar and counting industry. The travel industry is probably the largest in the world and America is in the top 3. The internet continues to literally explode with opportunities and home based businesses really rocket into the limelight.

    Air travel has come a long way since its humble beginnings and today it is possible to fly to the farthest corners of the earth without any difficulty whatsoever. More people are being attracted to flying overseas for annual vacations and business travel. If you have landed on this page don’t go away – you can read all about the benefits you will enjoy when you become a travel agent.

    Once you take a look at the grand benefits you can avail of when you become a travel agent my guess is there will be no turning back.

    A travel agent gets to save as much as 80 percent on travel to several of the world’s finest resorts and travel destinations. General discounts include but are in no way limited to:

    • Complimentary upgrades on airlines
    • Hotel room discounts
    • Hotel room upgrades
    • Car rental discounts and upgrades
    • Discounted or even complimentary cruises
    • Vacation package discounts and benefits
    • Earn visits and discounts to theme parks, shows and attractions
    • Luxury cruise discounts of up to 70 percent
    • Comprehensive training

    You could become a travel agent and enjoy familiarization (FAM) trips; supplier offer these trips to travel Professionals to familiarize them with the facilities and gain first hand knowledge about an airline, hotel, travel destination, etc. A travel Professional cannot be an effective sales person if they have never actually experienced the joy of visiting a particular place; flying a particular airline or staying at a particular hotel. This first hand knowledge will help convince clients that the agent is knowledgeable and knows what he or she is talking about.

    When you travel a distinct benefit is the fact that suppliers roll out the red carpet for you. They tend to go overboard in convincing you that their hotel or package is the best on the market.

    Independent travel agents can avail of tax benefits and you need to check this with a CPA or professional tax authority to get the right information.

    Travel Professionals earn travel agent commissions on travel undertaken by clients and self.

    You will need to do your research to find a good company to tie up with depending on whether you want to be an independent travel Professional or work with a big travel agency. You will also need a license to become a Certified Travel Professional need to do research on companies who offer independent travel agent.

    Renting a Party Bus

    A party bus comes in handy for many who want to go out at night and party. A party bus is mainly used for personalized trips, drop offs, weddings, proms, bachelorette and bachelor parties, city tours, birthday parties and picks ups from various nightclubs and bars. A variety of party bus rentals have party limos such as exotic limousines, antique limousines, exotic limos, standard limousines, party buses and L Series cars that one can rent out.

    The advantage of renting a party bus is that one can move from one place to another easily without worrying about driving and safety issues. This is because most of these come with chauffeur services. Most party limos have limousine features that are reliable hallmarks of success such as AM/FM stereos, a CD player, upgraded seats, luggage partitions, laser lights, on-board restroom and power window locks Whether one needs a party bus for a corporate trip, bachelor or bachelorette party, they can always rent out a party bus which comes in different shapes and styles and let the professional drivers do their job. Renting a party limo saves one the headache of arranging for transportation later on in the night.

    A party bus can be rented for a day, week or month. A party bus that is hired for more than a day is charged a daily rate or mileage rate. Chauffeur tips and overnight sleeping arrangements are not included in the price. Reservations for a party bus need to be made as quickly as possible especially during the summer. Sometimes a deposit is necessary to make a reservation and is usually applied to one’s overall charge.

    When hiring a party bus from party bus rentals, one should ask a number of questions and make sure they fully comprehend all deposits and costs. Research should be carried out about party bus rentals and their policies in case a breakdown or accident occurs. Evidence for liability insurance must be obtained and one should ensure that the party bus has an operating license. Tour bus and party limo operators must have their licenses registered and displayed on their vehicles. It is important to know the number of passengers the party bus can hold. Having completed one’s research on party bus rentals and the services they offer one can easily pick a party bus that meets his or her needs. It is necessary for anyone who experiences problems when trying to obtain the best party bus to do earlier planning and seek out help from executives of party bus rentals. These executives will ensure that the party bus rentals offer efficient and quality services. Their profound experience and knowledge in handling party transport will ensure that a party bus travel goes smoothly.

    It is very important to correctly estimate how long one will use the party bus for billing purposes. Most Party bus rentals will require this information to bill upfront. Others may require that the bill be paid at the end of the night. In both cases, time must be properly managed to avoid additional penalties for late returns. It is essential to note that most party bus rentals have party buses and limos for every occasion and therefore they come in handy.

    California Travel Medical Insurance

    California is situated in the western part of United States. It is a well-populated state and people in California are in the farming industry. Californians are known to travel either within the country or go for inter continental trips. They travel for both business and pleasure. The mode of transport varies from a rented car to luxury jet liners. Most of the travelers have an insurance cover. This is to ensure peace of mind for the traveler, in the eventuality of any medical emergency during travel or at a foreign place. Insurance companies that provide travel medical insurance assure worldwide service. Travel medical insurance insures or covers against a specific loss, occurring due to medical emergency during travel in return for premiums paid.

    Most of the insurance companies provide round the clock assistance worldwide. Accidental insurance is included in travel medical insurance. In case of an accident in any part of the world, these companies cover for expenses incurred. Travel medical insurance can be applicable for an individual, family, or a group. Many of the companies provide political evacuation or a medical emergency reunion. Comprehensive plans are available such as the international term life insurance policy. There are many countries that specify coverage for travel medical insurance. Insurance companies in California are able to cater to the needs of people at an international level. They offer surprisingly affordable coverage for minimal premium rates. Some of the plans do not require medical history or medical examination. These plans offer a long-term benefit to the insured and his family.

    It is highly advantageous to be covered under a travel medical insurance as this takes care of an important aspect of travel ? medical expenses. The insured person can travel without carrying the burden of an eventuality of illness or hospitalization during travel. Claims to medical insurances for travel are settled immediately, and some plans take care of the expenses directly with the hospital, the insured is admitted to. Consultants from Californian insurance companies can suggest appropriate plans fitting needs of the traveler.

    Excellent Thailand Travel Info For Your First Step in Thailand

    If you plan to travel to South East Asia you should definitely consider taking a trip to Thailand. Thailand is one of the most beautiful countries in Asia and there are millions of tourists visiting Thailand each year. This article will provide Thailand travel info to anyone who interests in this charming country.

    First is the time for your visit. The most popular time to visit Thailand is between November and March. This is not only the pleasant temperature the country has, but also this period is the main season for festivals in Thailand. You will be having lots of fun participating in the Loi Krathong and New Year festivals.

    However, if you come at the end of this period and stay longer until 13-15 April, you will be able to experience some extra fun with the extraordinary water festival, called Songkran in every part of the countries. A little tip is that if you expect to enjoy this Songkran festival in Pattaya, you will have to stay a little longer as Songkran in only pattaya is held during 17-19 April each year.

    This period is also Thailand’s peak tourist season. As a result, if you want to avoid crowds and expensive room rates, you should choose the least crowded months like from April to June or September to October.

    Although the rainy season is not a very pleasant time to visit the country, you should not dismiss this season entirely. The temperature is much cooler and tourists are fewer and the landscape is green and lush. The most important thing, there are great deals of accommodation and other services during this time.

    Once arriving Thailand, most people are like to visit Bangkok as the first start as this is the main transit, Suvanabhumi International Airport, where people step in this country. Bangkok is a city you should not miss in your trip. You will be amazed at the unrestrained glory of the city. There are countless shopping centers to satisfy your shopping need.

    Moreover, Bangkok is the place where tradition and modernity intermingling with each other. You will be able to visit a typical Siamese village when you step outside of your affordable world-class hotel. You will be able to buy famous brand-names from sky-high shopping centers as well as participating in an open-air market. You can choose to eat the popular Thai food either in a luxurious restaurant or street-side market.

    The excitement of the city will keep you alive. There are many shopping centers that open all night long, enabling you to wander around if you cannot sleep. You will never feel bored when you are in Bangkok. Hope this Thailand travel info will help you for planning your first step in this country and wish you a happy trip in Thailand.

    Dynamic Packaging for Travel and Hospitality Industry

    The concept of Dynamic Packaging is to bundle all the components chosen by the aspiring traveler and create one reservation. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer.

    To a traveler, there is nothing better than a one stop shop for his traveling needs. The Dynamic Packaging Engine uses a travel component inventory and prices. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features. Rules also determine how the final retail price is computed.

    CAPABILITIES

    A typical dynamic packaging application will need the following capabilities:

    1. Search and Availability

    2. Memberships

    3. Shopping Cart

    4. Booking and Reservations

    5. Payments

    6. Cancellations

    SEARCH AND AVAILABILITY

    A traveler always seeks a destination. Even though he may well be aware of where he needs to go to, he will search for the most appropriate place to stay and enjoy his visit. The search starts with a Transportation and Travel components, Hotel Property, Leisure Components. The search therefore has to be divided geographically to include destinations and neighboring destinations that meet the search criteria. An example search could be travel to New York City, stay at Stamford, Connecticut, Golf at upstate New York. Clearly the Dynamic Packaging engine needs to know the dates of travel, from and to destinations, closest airport to hotel, rental car or other desired ground transportation from selected airport to hotel and access to tee times at the neighboring golf courses. Like the traveler, businesses also seek travel related information.

    Travel Agents, Call Centers, and Meeting Planners need packaged information on behalf of their clients. Such a search is riddled with rules and complexity. Besides, the customer needs to have choices that can vary from comfort to price and everything else in between.

    1. Proximity: The search uses parameters that can narrow down possibilities yet offer extended possibilities. In our search example, Westchester Airport would have been the best choice. La Guardia airport would be an ideal choice. JFK and Newark and Teterboro are the next choices from a distance to Hotel point of view.

    2. Fare and Rates: The traveler will look for the best fare. In our example though Westchester is close to the hotel, offers limited Airlines and perhaps not the best fares. Some fares maybe very attractive, however when it comes to flexibility and cancellation they are not the best. Flexibility of change, penalties associated with change and cancellation are important factors to include in the search results.

    3. Travel Times: That’s another important factor for the business traveler. How many flights are there to the airport and at what intervals. Check in times and total time to travel also helps in determining his choice. Therefore non-connecting and connecting flights with layover times need to figure in the search.

    4. Accessibility: Another key factor often not paid attention to is accessibility. Physically impaired travelers, people who need meals on a flight, wheelchair access, and quick access to rental cars or trains or ground transportation play a very important role in travel. Do the hotel(s) have wheelchair access? Is it possible to get ground transportation to destined hotel that has wheelchair access?

    5. Amenities: Does the hotel offer standard amenities like restaurants, swimming pool, health parlors, spa, fax and printing, broadband Internet access etc? Similarly does the rental car come with GPS, insurance, inter state travel? Does the Golf Course allow only cart access? Are ski rentals available near the resort? The inclusion of amenities in a search result ensures the traveler is not in for surprises at the first lap of travel.

    6. Prepackaged: You want to travel, stay in a semi luxury hotel, play golf, why search for each individually. A prepackaged deal would also be more attractive than customizing the travel. Perhaps cheaper.

    Travel should be far from being hostile. It is after all a home away from home. A home is a pivotal source for living and entertainment. One uses the home and its peripheral surroundings to make the best of living. The travel destinations and the mode of travel should be as non hostile and as hospitable as is possible. A dynamic packaging should offer a wealth of choices to the traveler yet not inundate the traveler with so much information that he/she is nervous wreck at the end of an itinerary creation.

    ACTORS

    From the above description one can determine who the obvious actors are in this case.

    1. The Traveler

    2. GDS (Airlines and Hotels Rate Distribution)

    3. Airlines

    4. Car Rental Companies

    5. Hotel Central Reservation

    6. Tour Operators (Buses, Ground Transportation)

    7. Proprietary Aggregators (like Golf, Ski etc.)

    MORE ACTORS

    The Dynamic Packaging should be capable of extending the services for business-to business operations. Which would imply that our actors now are?

    8. Travel Agents and Meeting Planners

    9. Call Center Agents.

    SHOPPING CART

    The key item in dynamic packaging is the Shopping Cart. The results of search can be selected and added as line items in the shopping cart. It bundles all the components chosen by the traveler to create one reservation. This shopping cart based vacation builder allows comparison shopping of packages that can include plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, insurance, attraction tickets and other features. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features.

    Travel Insurance Options for Traveling Abroad

    Travel insurance is just one of things that are necessary when traveling abroad. Travel insurance can be a very practical solution to providing protection for unexpected emergencies while traveling. This type of insurance protects your investment and allows individuals to travel with peace of mind. There are several options available for going abroad depending on the length and type of trip. Travelers can easily compare plans from leading providers, receive quotes and purchase a plan instantly. Travel insurance can insure against unexpected illness, injury, employment loss, luggage loss and more.

    It can provide coverage for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption. This insurance provides coverage due to unforeseen illnesses or death. Pre-departure trip cancellation insurance provides protection in the event of the traveler having to cancel flight or hotel reservations due to an immediate member of the family’s death or illness or other covered events. Trip interruption insurance provides benefits if the traveler is unable to continue the covered trip after departure due to covered events. As an option, there are companies that also provide policies that cover cancellation for any reason.

    Another option available for travelers insurance is for medical emergencies. This type is beneficial particularly when visiting abroad. Insurance for medical emergencies will provide coverage for doctor visits, medication and even evacuation for medical emergencies. This is particularly important for individuals with chronic conditions or those traveling to underdeveloped countries. Travelers may also have the option of insurance that will provide coverage for tickets that are not refundable and the trip has to be cancelled. Some insurance will even cover missed flights, which can be, a life saver due to delays and overcrowding.

    Baggage protection is another type of insurance available. This type of insurance covers direct loss, theft, and damage of your luggage during the covered trip. Travel Accident Protection is another insurance choice that is available. This type of insurance provides coverage for accidental death and dismemberment. This type of insurance provides protection if the traveler is injured in an accident and suffer a loss while covered under this type of plan. A comprehensive travel insurance plan is a great option and a very popular choice for vacationing abroad. This option can provide a wide range of insurance coverage and may even allow travelers to choose what options to incorporate which is why it such a popular choice.

    There are several types of companies that offer insurance for travelers. Most travelers prefer to purchase this insurance directly from travel insurance agencies or companies. It is also offered by most companies that offer tours as they generally offer insurance to their clients. Major cruise lines as well offer the option to purchase travel insurance. Cruise line operators usually offer a host of plans to travelers when they schedule a cruise. Travelers can purchase insurance from a travel agent which is very convenient to purchase travel and insurance in one place.

    Once you think about the high price of travel and the low price of insurance, this type of insurance is a very reasonable investment. There are plenty of things to worry about when traveling but by protecting your vacation plans with affordable traveling insurance, unforeseen events do not have to be one of them. Since it is not possible to foresee what may happen during travel, a insurance plan is a great value. Travel insurance can slash your losses in numerous situations.

    Productivity Tips for Travelers – How To Be A Productive Road Warrior

    You have seen them, they all look alike, the regular ‘road warrior’ with their determined expression, wrinkle proof suit and pulling a beaten up carry on bag…whether you travel a little or a lot with your company there are many ways you can boost your personal productivity when you travel. These before, during and after strategies will help you maximize your time, limit your stress and overall increase your travel productivity.

    Before You Travel

    Buy the tools – you wouldn’t build a house without the right tools, travel is no different. To be a productive traveler you want to ensure you have a variety of tools to assist the comfort and productivity of your trip. Tools to consider purchasing are quality luggage, Ipod, noise cancelling earphones, soft briefcase and GPS system.

    20-22 inch Carry On expandable luggage – I like Briggs and Riley, it is durable, light weight, expandable, self healing and well made. These are allowed in the US and other countries as carry on baggage. When you are buying luggage look for features such as pull along, strong wheels, stability foot on the bottom (in case it gets too heavy), external zippers (to hold travel documentation and the Ziploc toiletry bag) and also make sure the pop up handle is a ‘one pull’ action.

    IPOD or MP3 – this is not a luxury, this is a requirement for any travel. I have a created a selection of play lists, including one with very relaxing music so that when it is time to sleep I can turn to this group and fall asleep.

    Noise canceling earphones – these are a little bit of a luxury, but I wouldn’t travel anywhere without them. My husband previously flew many long international flights and he turned me onto this great invention.

    Briefcase – I like a soft tote briefcase that allows me to include personal and work related items. My favorite is from Coakley Business Class (sorry guys these are just for women) and they are the best travel briefcase I have ever found (and you can use it everyday!). For the gentleman, try the soft Samsonite one, it has great suspension in the shoulder strap. When looking for a brief case also make sure it has the feature to be able to slide it over your carry on luggage (many have a soft strap or a zippered section to allow you to do this).

    GPS (Global Positioning System) – this was the best gift I ever got! They are now getting smaller and smaller and are perfect to plug into your rental car when you arrive in another city. Also when we were in Italy last year we downloaded the European maps and it was great fun to get around tiny little towns. I have named mine ‘Bella’ – she keeps me company when I am driving late at night or in a city where I don’t know my way.

    Consider clothing – When you are regularly on the road I suggest a few strategies to help make your life easier for both packing and arriving looking together.

    Travel Outfit – Create your own travel outfit, yes it can be the same every time. Mine is a pair of black pants, black top (I have a short sleeve one for summer and a long sleeve one for cooler months), pantyhose and a pair of black patent leather flat slip on shoes. I wear the same silver jewellery with it all and I know when I arrive at the security line I don’t have to remove anything (except my shoes) – that is why pantyhose (or socks) are good when you have to take off your shoes. The fabric of this outfit doesn’t crease and is comfortable (which makes a huge different on those long flights).

    Airport shoes – think about the quality and make of the shoes you wear to the airport. I suggest slip ons of some description so you are not awkwardly trying to tie up laces or straps. Also ensure they are comfortable and well made as you often have to walk long distances between gates or to the parking area.

    Carry a pashmina – for the ladies, I recommend you invest in a dark colored pashmina that has many uses. On the plane it is a great blanket (and so many airlines in the US don’t supply pillows and blankets). When I rent a car it becomes a booster seat for me (he he). When I have to sit on an airport floor (yes I have done that living here in the US) it is great to place on the floor … oh and yes I can wear it if I need to keep warm.

    Jewellery – wearing the same silver jewellery when I travel I know I can wear it the next day and I can walk through the screening area without having to remove it. It simplifies the process and speeds up the line.

    Belts – if possible, don’t wear an outfit that requires a belt as it is only one more item of clothing you have to remove at the airport line.

    Productive Packing – there are many opinions on what to pack and I find the most productive way for me is having a series of pre-packed bags. This includes luggage, carry on plane survival kit, brief case, make up and toiletry bags.

    Pre-packed luggage contents includes:

    • Ziploc toiletry bag
    • Underwear
    • First aid items (band aids, safety pins and head ache tablets)
    • Make up bag
    • Gym gear
    • Clothes brush (I have a long haired cat and her fur seems to make its way across the world with me)
    • Book of interest
    • Cell Phone charger
    • Laptop power pack
    • Stamped stationery (note cards and envelopes)

    Carry on plane survival kit contents include:

    • Ipod
    • Noise cancelling earphones
    • Spare battery for noise cancelling earphones
    • Lip balm
    • Eye mask (for those long flights)
    • Pen
    • Eye drops
    • Travel size toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Breath mints

    Make up kit – ladies if you travel a lot I suggest you buy a full set of make up and make up brushes and tools and keep them in a separate make up bag so you never have to go looking for something and you never forget something on your trips.

    Ziploc Toiletry Bag contents include travel sized:

    • Decanted shower gel
    • Skin care
    • Hair care products
    • Travel sized perfume or aftershave (most brands now supply a smaller size compliant with airline safety standards)
    • Toothpaste
    • Spare contact lenses

    Many department stores and pharmacies carry a range of travel sized products. I was fascinated when I was in Sephoria in Times Square recently that the merchandising near the payment counter had changed significantly and provided 50+ choices of regular band products in travel sized convenient containers.

    Plastic helps – My friend Camille was an airline goddess for many years and gave me this great tip, using the plastic you receive from your dry cleaners around your clothes helps avoid creases.

    Duplicate copies – to be more productive (and for a few extra dollars) consider investing in duplicates of everything you travel with. If you are a regular traveler, having a pre-packed bag will allow you to leave with minimum notice and save time and stress before any trip. On your list of items to buy you could include:

    • Toiletries available in travel size
    • Brushes – make up brushes, hair brushes or combs
    • Cell phone charger
    • Laptop power pack
    • Make up
    • Stamps and stationery
    • Spare items i.e. pantyhose, clothing brush.

    Choose your seat – I like to sit in an aisle seat so I can get in and out and I don’t feel cramped by others. For longer flights (especially the red eye), my friend Shawn books the window seat so you can lean against the window to sleep, choose your seat wisely. If you have an option of an exit row choose this seat as it gives you more leg room. You may like to check out – it is a great website to see exactly what your seat will be on most major airlines.

    Pre-print your boarding pass – whenever possible go online 24 hours before you fly and select your seat and print your boarding pass. This will save you time in the long lines at the airport check in and also help you find the seat you want.

    Join airline clubs – if you fly frequently to same cities join the airline programs of those major airlines so you can also gather frequent flyer miles for all your travels. You may be able to use them for a fun trip with those you care for later on.

    Join airline lounges – if you fly with the same carrier regularly to invest in a membership for that lounge so you have a quiet place to snack, get changed or to catch up on reading. I noticed in Australia this was a great use of money and well worth it however in the US the gates and lounges are so spread out and there are so many options to travel with different airlines this hasn’t been a worthwhile investment for me here, however if you fly the same airline every time it might be worth it for you.

    Create a one page itinerary – create a one page template that includes your confirmation codes of all flight details, hotel and rental car information. Include on this template all your frequent flyer clubs and associations also so that if you arrive and they haven’t included this in your booking you can quickly get credit for your travel.

    During Your Travel

    Allow extra 30 minutes – add at least 30 minutes onto any amount of time you think it will take you to get to the airport or park. This additional time will save you stress if you are stuck in traffic, can’t find a car space or the security line is longer than you expected. If you have pre-packed a book or magazine you can use that 30 minutes to read or to connect with a friend or client.

    Know the Parking Garage – if you regularly travel on the same airline, know the shuttle system or design of the car park so you can get in and out quickly.

    Take your ticket – when you receive a parking receipt/ticket on your arrival place it in the same compartment of your bag or briefcase so you know where to find it upon your return.

    Write the parking space on your ticket – in the US the parking garages are so big that I always write the color and space on my parking receipt so that when I arrive back after a few days away (often late at night), I can quickly find my car and not waste time wandering around the parking garage.

    Ground transport notice – when you enter an airport, notice where the taxis, rental car shuttles or parking garages are. This will save you time when you return and allow you to quickly make your way to the next place.

    Regular rental – Use the same rental company each time you travel will also boost your productivity because you will expect a certain standard each time you fly. You might also consider joining their frequent customer program too. I like using Enterprise because they are affordable and also each time you arrive they look so happy to see you and they pay attention to small details including water bottles in the car and also pre-printed local lists of radio stations and areas of interest.

    Play music – by creating different play lists on your IPOD you will enjoy your travel more if you can listen to music and block out the noise around you. This is effective in the airport lounge, at the gate and on the plane. You might also like to include a CD in your packing checklist for the rental car.

    Getting through security – there are several tips to help you get through the line faster:

    • Wear an outfit that doesn’t require any removal of items or have any metal.
    • Place your cell phone and keys into your briefcase or purse before entering the security line.
    • Keep your Ziploc bag of toiletries in an outside zippered compartment for quick access.
    • Get your laptop out of your briefcase before you reach your place in line.
    • Place your laptop, shoes and toiletries in one container on the security screen belt.
    • Keep your boarding pass and photo identification in your hands.

    Check in or carry on – I always carry on luggage (up to a five day business trip), I have learn to pack well and have invested in a minimum number of outfits. I think there is so much time wasted waiting for luggage (not to mention the concern it may not arrive with you!) wherever possible try and carry on luggage for your business travel.

    Laptop … or not – if your trip doesn’t require you to take your laptop, leave it at home. It is one less thing to juggle through security and some laptops add significant weight to your briefcase. Leave it behind if you can. If you have to take it with you consider buying a smaller, light weight model one that is easy to use and you can balance in small places. You do pay more for smaller, lighter models but it is money well spent.

    Keep a reading file – as you collect articles, newspapers or journals you want to read, take them with you when you travel. Each week I receive the Philadelphia Business Journal and I take it with me on the plane to read and enjoy. It is a paper that keeps my interest and small enough it doesn’t crowd the person beside me.

    Buy bottled water – part of my routine as soon as I get through the security line is to head to the nearest store to buy 2 bottles of water. During the flight it is essential to drink water to keep you hydrated, two bottles allows me to drink before the plane arrives (has been helpful when there are large delays) and during the flight.

    Eat healthy – many airlines don’t supply quality food on board so try to find healthy solutions within the airport to satisfy your hunger. You may also like to buy something to eat on board for longer flights so you are snacking on healthy items. I like to travel with a bag of almonds and pecans so that I always have a yummy (and healthy) snack available. AS you are flying from the same airport each week, become familiar with the food offerings inside the terminal so you can quickly find something you enjoy eating.

    Hotel routine – no matter what time I arrive at a new hotel I have the same routine. I open my suitcase, remove my suit and hang it on a hanger. If it has gathered small creases in the travel I take it into the bathroom, hang it up and turn on the hot shower to create a ‘steam room effect’ and this removes any creases. Now for my Australian readers who are experiencing a drought right now that seems very wasteful so you may want to hang these clothes while you are showering the next day to avoid water waste. You might like to take this opportunity to iron your clothes instead. I then plug in my laptop, set up my cell phone charger, set my alarm and pull out the documents or reading for the next day. By having the same routine each time you will be productive and not forget important details (and you save time in the morning also).

    Exercise – if you don’t have a gym in the hotel consider either taking a walk outside at the beginning of your day or exercising in your room. I often place a towel on the floor and then do a series of stretches, yoga, sit ups and push ups. You can establish a routine especially for travel that doesn’t require any equipment i.e. push ups, sit ups, squats and any yoga.

    Call a client – you often have down time in the airport so it is a great time to reconnect with a client or colleague. I use this time to touch base with important people in my life and it becomes part of my business development time.

    Be strategic – time in hotel rooms can be lonely or unproductive so I use this time to design new products, review my business plan, catch up on reading and design new models or programs for my business. Some of my best ideas have come while sitting in my hotel room – use this time for strategy and thought space instead of turning on the TV to keep your company.

    Stay connected – when you arrive at your location notify someone important to you. I like to call my husband when I have arrived in my hotel so he knows I am safe and sound and I get to hear his voice. Calling your family or friend is a great way for you to keep connected on the road.

    Write thank you notes – because I carry stamped stationery with me when I travel, I use the flight home to write notes to people I met during my trip. When I arrive my next destination I post them. It is a great way to reconnect with people after you have met them and is a productive use of flight time.

    After Your Travel

    Know the quickest route home – understand the quickest and least traffic congested way to get out of the airport so you can be home with those you care for in the smallest amount of time. Where I live there are 2 major ways home and if you take the wrong one at some particular times during the day it can add up to an hour to your ride home (not so much fun after a long flight) so know which ways are best at different times during the day.

    Unpack quickly – if you arrive home early enough, unpack your bag, refill any necessary toiletry items and allocate clothes for washing or dry cleaning.

    Refill and replace – update any items in your ‘pre-packed’ toiletries or luggage that need attention to save you time for future trips. Note any additional items you may have forgotten on this trip and place them in your luggage so you don’t forget them next time.

    Debrief your trip – recall any items you missed, notice things that you enjoyed or frustrated you and make the changes that are within your control. Each time you travel you may learn something new that will help you save time or save you frustration for your next travel experience.

    Thank your team – if you have an assistant, let them know what went well about the trip and any enhancements you would like to make for your next trip. Thank your travel agent for the trip planning and also let them know if something didn’t go well and discuss how to fix it for the next trip. Thank your client for the opportunity to work with them. If you experienced great service at some point in the trip take the time to email or write a thank you note to that organization. The simple art of thanking people is often overlooked but is one of the most powerful things you can do to boost your productivity and make someone else day!

    Gather your receipts – there is so much paperwork collected on trips including boarding passes, rental agreements, and food and hotel receipts. Keep this in a central place when you travel (I take a clear plastic folder for this very purpose each time I travel). When you arrive home quickly sort through the paper, action business cards and file any receipts or keep them aside for your clients. Process all your paper within 24 hours.

    Action business cards – if you have met new people during your productive trip take the time to now action those cards. You might like to write a ‘nice to meet you’ note, scan them and add them to your database and write a note for any follow up action required. Following this process diligently each time you travel will avoid piles of business cards gathering on your desk (reminding you of action you haven’t taken!)

    Be grateful – if you are traveling for business it means you have a successful job that is supporting you and your family. Stop hating it and start enjoying it. Giving thanks for the opportunity to see new places, meet new people and share your experience is a privilege.

    Change your language around travel, enjoy it, embrace it and you will be more productive! Next time you see another road warrior smile at them and let them know you understand. You can be more productive every time you travel by applying these before, during and after you travel strategies… now where am I off to tomorrow?

    Truth in Travel Pricing

    None of us should be surprised at these quotes from a travel article in the TimesOnline (Oct 2008) by Stephen Bleach:

    “Massive discounts on cruises were exposed as a con last week after leading line Fred Olsen admitted it had not sold a single cruise at full price for a year.”

    A further quote from the managing director of the line, Mike Rodwell:

    “the big American operators started it and the rest had to follow.”

    Another surprise. On the same laptop page as this excellent article were three Google ads offering:

    “Cruise Deals. Search The Top Online Cruise Deals. Read Reviews & Book Online Today.” Followed by:

    “Cruise Discounts 75% Off, All cruise lines, all destinations.” And another:

    “Huge Alaska Cruise Sale, Free Upgrades, Exclusive Deals & More with Guaranteed Lowest Prices!”

    The travel operators behind these advertisements must think the traveling public is naive or even stupid but they would probably not use them if they did not work.

    Also, these Google ads were run against a very negative, but truthful article about misleading advertising for cruises.

    The traveling public continues to be treated with disdain by travel operators and advertising companies, not only by cruise lines and airlines but by all types of travel suppliers. What could be more misleading and false advertising than an airline advertising their fares in headlines that shout out:

    “$49. one-way to Smithville” IN LARGE PRINT, and then:
    ‘based on return purchase, plus all taxes, surcharges for fuel, surcharges for security, checked baggage is extra, seat selection fees, and on and on and on.” And by the way, have fuel surcharges been reduced enough?

    Not only cruise prices and airfares but also consider hotel pricing that often requires much investigation as regards the offered discounts:

    “75% off! But off of what? A rack-rate that is rarely charged?

    And, why can you often get cheaper rooms at an online reservation office than at the hotel front desk even when you are in their lobby and ready to book?

    Next in line for pricing questions could be the packaged holiday market. How many of these are sold at the brochure price? Or, as with the above cruise line, are packaged tour operators simply following the lead of others?

    Not only is the public being mislead by questionable advertising and pricing practices but once captured by a cruise line, airline or packaged resort operator they can be open to additional gouging whilst on-board the ship, aircraft or resort.

    Apart from the on-board costs of alcoholic drinks which should be at duty-free prices (i.e. cheaper than onshore). Extras, such as shore excursions can also be more expensive when purchased on-board rather than ashore or even pre-departure using the internet. Similarly with resorts that have onsite booking agencies for off-resort activities. The prices are often cheaper when purchased directly from the operators or again at pre-departure directly over the internet. Airlines however, who are charging for all sorts of basic amenities from blankets, pillows, soft drinks and soon even water may not be free, have a more captive audience (the movie, ConAir comes to mind) and will continue to be the most reviled part of the travel experience.

    There is hope for the future but so far only in Europe. In 2009 new rules for advertising standards will come into effect offering more protection for travelers. We must hope that these new rules will eventually spread to the rest of the world with further improvements to protect consumers worldwide.

    In the travel industry. Where has the originality and creativity gone? Where are the leaders? Where has “lead, follow or get out of my way” gone? Only the followers know.

    Another aspect of travel pricing is when consumers want to handle their own travel arrangements directly with the operators of hotels, lodges, tours and transportation. The pricing should reflect the fact that the products are being purchased directly from the source and not at the retail level. In other words, reduce the price by the commission that would have been paid to an agent, broker or retailer and give the traveler a direct booking discount. This action could encourage more travelers to make their own direct bookings, leading to more business and a competitive edge for the operator.

    Of course, the traditional distribution channels have to be protected as many consumers require help and assistance and as yet not everyone has or wants the internet.

    Travel providers do not normally show different prices on their websites as this could lead to potential clients seeking advice at the retail level and then booking directly with the operator to get a discounted price. It is unfair for retailers to lose their commissions when they have performed services for their travel-trade clients.

    Consumers on the other hand, if they do not need expert advice or booking services, should have the opportunity to go directly to the source and get a direct booking discount.

    Originality and creativity has returned to the travel industry. Travel providers are now able to offer travelers a direct booking discount service by using a new travel voucher system that has been introduced. With a website and the internet they can now reach out to the global travel community, not just travel agency or local traffic.

    Any travel operator, from the smallest b&b to the grandest lodge or luxury tour, can offer this service. The voucher values represent the normal commissions that would have been paid out to sellers of travel but now will be given back to the buyers of travel. And, the discounted price does not have to show on their websites.

    The service is leading with this new initiative and now wants to promote the thousands of small travel providers and other businesses around the world that do not use selling agents and therefore do not have sales commissions built into their pricing. The operators of the voucher service suggest that lower yields with higher volumes of direct booking discount travelers may achieve better overall returns.

    Members of a new online travel club can get these vouchers free with membership and non-members can purchase them at deep discounts to their face values at another similar website. At present there are vouchers covering travel in over seventy countries from b&b’s to adventure and luxury tours.

    The Club operators say that they do not charge businesses for listing their services as long as they participate in issuing vouchers enabling members to get direct booking discounts.

    There are many directories linking the world of travel to the world of travelers but this new concept offers a directory with discounts on every travel selection if you are willing and able to handle your own travel bookings and arrangements directly with the listed operators.

    The club operators are aware that many travel operators will continue to adhere to the business style of Mike Rod-well of Fred Olsen Lines and will continue to follow rather than lead and it is unlikely that they will ever be represented by this travel club. They are also aware that there are enough independent travel businesses that will find that their new business style of expanded selections and direct booking discounts is a better way of offering travel directly to consumers around the world.

    Yosemite is a California Travel Treasure

    Roughly 175 miles from San Francisco, San Jose or Sacramento and about 300 miles from Los Angeles, Yosemite National Park affords a California vacation experience you’ll never forget. If you’re traveling here from out of state, the closest airport to the park can be found in Fresno, which is about 55 miles from the park’s southernmost entrance (near Oakhurst).

    While you’ll find unparalleled opportunities for outdoor activities like camping, hiking and fishing here, you won’t be disappointed even if your tastes tend more along the lines of “civilized” activities like photography, learning about the valley’s cultural history and enjoying gourmet meals at the magnificent Ahwahnee Hotel.

    If at all possible, plan your trip during April or May. In addition to missing the summer visitor onslaught, these months typically offer incredible wildflower and waterfall displays. Fall is also a good time to visit, especially if you enjoy trout fishing (September through December is peak season). Most of the park’s trees are of the evergreen variety, however, so you shouldn’t necessarily expect a terrifically colorful autumnal show.

    In the winter months, you may enjoy skiing at Badger Pass, California’s oldest downhill skiing area. Be sure to keep apprised of driving conditions, however, as chains may be required. Highway 140 through Mariposa offers the lowest-elevation route into Yosemite Valley, and it is the least likely to be affected by snow and ice.

    If you visit in June, July or August, be sure to pack some extra patience, as it is typically extremely crowded during the summer months, especially on weekends. Actually, plenty of patience and keeping apprised of conditions are good ideas for any Yosemite visit, no matter the season.

    A free shuttle bus system operates year-round in the valley, and visitors are encouraged to use this system since parking at several park destinations during the peak season is often nearly impossible to find. The shuttle system is free (included in the park entrance fee of $10/person or $20/car at the time of this writing; see the National Parks System site for more details). It is also pleasantly open air and easy to hop on and off.

    Even if you’re just visiting the park for a day, some other things you may want to add to your “to pack” list:

    • An extra memory card for your digital camera or extra film
    • Plenty of battery power for your camera
    • Sunscreen (frequently apply SPF 30 or higher throughout the day)
    • Plenty of water for everyone in your party
    • change of clothes (shorts/slacks, t-shirt/sweater, socks) for variable conditions

    A “don’t miss” feature of Yosemite National Park is its Giant Sequoia groves. There are three separate groves: the Mariposa, Tuolumne and Merced. The Mariposa Grove is the most popular and is the largest, too, containing about 500 mature trees. (Giant Sequoias are also known as Sierra Redwoods, but should not to be confused with the Coastal Redwood found in a separate range along the state’s coast.) There is limited parking at the Mariposa Grove, and you should plan your visit for either early morning or mid-to-late afternoon. During summer months and spring and fall weekends, the Grove parking lot is usually full by 10:00am, and parking often doesn’t open up again until after 3:00pm. A free shuttle bus runs from the Wawona Store to the Grove during the peak summer season.

    California Travel Agents – Film Choices

    These days, California travel agents give trips of vintage films for movie fanatics. A lot of devoted followers normally acquire this trip since they’d like to learn more about the filming and filming of their favorite motion picture.

    The 1978 thriller movie sends chills to its audiences, rearing their worry of shark attacks. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Jaws is a hit classic. Everyone is aware of the heart pounding music upon seeing the shark fin, knowing that it’s going to attack. It’s surely a must see plus a hair-raiser to the old and young alike. It is therefore successful that a lot of folks grown phobia in the wide open sea, believing that sharks might strike their fishing boat as well as cause it to capsize. This movie is such a hit that the ride in Universal Studios is dedicated to this movie. Ask California travel agents about it.

    The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 musical film by Victor Fleming. It talks about the ventures of Dorothy who flew to Oz mistakenly, met new friends and in the end conquered the Wicked Witch of the West. The fantasy in the script and high level of musicality involved in the film makes it wonderful especially for children who want their imagination to be involved. Also filmed for kids, E.T., an American science fiction movie by Steven Spielberg and produced by Universal pictures became a hit and had become the most financially outstanding movie of its time. Experts highly recognized it because it speaks about a “timeless story of friendship”. Like Jaws, E.T. has also a ride in Universal Studios taking children to flying bike rides. Call California travel agencies about it.

    Released in 1942, Casablanca made it to the list of “one of the best movies of all time”. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, this movie won 3 Academy Awards which includes Best Picture. The lines are legendary that everybody knows “Here’s to looking at you kid” was cited by Rick to his leading lady. Another great story is about the Trapp family. Sound of Music is the film all kid knows the songs. It has popular songs like “My Favorite Things” as well as the theme song “Sound of Music” titled after the movie. California travel agents often have tours dedicated to both of these films.

    These are only 5 of the thousands of films filmed in California. Many of them are worth looking at. Although it is excellent to see them on silver screen, it’s even better to go to the actual places when the movies were shot and California travel specialists will make this happen. By providing film tours designed for enthusiastic moviegoers, California travel agents showcase the success of the Golden State in the movie industry.

    Are Travel Agents Old School?

    It appears you can’t stare at the TV for 60 minutes without seeing a notice with William Shatner discussing Travelocity or that senseless dwarf discussing Orbitz. These travel sites have been extremely effective at encouraging voyagers to book their own particular carrier and lodging reservations on the web. So with this colossal push from the web to assume control over the travel business, one needs to ask, “Are travel agents old school?”

    In the event that you have searched for some of these travel web sites, you have watched that they are stunning in the assorted qualities of travel choices that they make accessible. As a business traveler, be that as it may, your requirements are fairly unique in relation to the run of the mill aircraft traveler.

    There are some certain administrations and genuine help that a living and breathing travel agent can give that basically can’t be duplicated by a computerized site like Travelocity or Orbitz. Some of those administrations that a prepared business traveler would be unable to live without having…

    A Travel Agent will give you…

    – Focus. You as a business traveler are not orchestrating this excursion for excitement. You have particular business goals as a main priority. So on the off chance that you should remove time from planning for your business assignment to stress over travel agendas, lodging and rental auto reservations and so forth, that is time that you are not being beneficial for your business.

    When you get the chance that you can call a skilled travel agent who knows your travel profile well and delegate those courses of action to that agent, they carry out their occupation in finding only the right facilities for you and you are liberated to do what you excel at, spotlight on your business and the up and coming business trip.

    – Economy. It is hard to find that harmony between finding the housing that fit the requesting timetable of a businessman out and about and is conscious of the organizations travel spending plan too.

    On the off chance that you utilize a computerized online travel administration, you may need to relinquish accommodation, timetable or area for economy.

    A decent travel agent will endeavor to get you the right schedule while getting as close the corporate travel cost confinements as would be prudent. Furthermore, they will do it without taking up a considerable measure of your time.

    – Back up. You needn’t bother with help if your excursion goes totally as arranged. Be that as it may, in the event that you experience issues out and about, you can wind up in need or rescheduling flights and finding new lodging to work around scratched off flights, climate issues or other surprising intrusions to your arrangements.

    These travel debacles are not aware of your tight due dates to meet your business objectives. In any case, you have a travel agent who is committed to giving you administration, he or she can locate those option courses and assets to do whatever they can to get you to your destination so you can direct your business on time.

    – That individual touch. You may have travel inclinations that you need to accomplish with every outing you take. A travel agent has your profile and your travel history so they can do what they can to suit your inclinations.

    Yet, in addition, when you have particular unique needs, for example, an eating regimen constraint or a requirement for convenience because of an inability, it will be a travel agent that sees to it that your needs are accommodated and you are well dealt with out and about.

    – No Complications. In the event that your travel agenda includes making associations with different business accomplices who are going from various workplaces, complex travel calendars and schedule challenges that just can’t be depicted to the nonexclusive screens of an online travel administration, you can disclose these inconveniences to your travel agent and they can work with other travel agents attempting to arrange the meeting and see to it that your agenda meets your prerequisites.

    While the online travel administrations do give a profitable and moderate other option to the general voyaging open, it is anything but difficult to see their confinements on the off chance that you are attempting to book a trek that is dubious or in the event that you have particular needs that the screens don’t suspect.

    That is the reason working with a human travel agent ensures that this travel proficient person will devote themselves to the assignment of ensuring your excursion attempts to your details and that you get to your destination prepared to lead in business and be fruitful in your accomplishing your objectives.

    New Zealand Travel Info – Part 3

    In this third article we will know more about New Zealand – Heaven on Earth for sure.

    Transport Options:

    Getting around New Zealand is very easy and safe. There is good public transport connectivity between different parts of New Zealand. However for tourists the best mode of transportation is Self Drive in New Zealand.

    New Zealand’s domestic Airlines Jet Star and Air New Zealand covers almost all the parts of New Zealand through air network.

    Apart from the standard airlines, you also have lot of chartered flight options to go from one place to another.

    Other option is a very well planned coach network. New Zealand is well connected with coach network across the country. There are various options of Hop – On and Hop- Off bus for one destination to another. You also have option of adding or clubbing the sightseeing packages in to your bus pass.

    Third option is the Ferry. If you all remember, there are two major islands of New Zealand, North & South. The Ferry runs between Wellington & Picton. It is a 3.5 hours sail through beautiful waters of Marlborough Sounds. Amazingly, you can also carry your entire car or even motor homes as well through the Ferry. It is once in a life time experience and one should never miss it if you are in New Zealand.

    Last option is the train service. However it is not widely spread across the country. There are couple of major train journeys.

    1. The Northern Explorer: Runs between Auckland & Wellington. Travel time is approximately 10.5 hours

    2. Tranz Alpine: Runs between Greymouth & Christchurch. One of the top 10 train journeys in the world. Approximate travel time is around 4.5 hours and one should not miss this one. Absolutely must do activity.

    Driving in New Zealand is one of the best and safest options to travel through the country. Rental cars of different categories are easily available across the country. However one should keep in mind that most of the car rental company needs a valid Credit Card of the person who is renting the car.

    Minimum age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 and the charges are different if you are below 25 years of age. Also an Indian Driver’s license is valid and recognizable and you do not need an International Permit to drive in New Zealand.

    Can it get easier than this?

    Catch you in next article with some more useful information on New Zealand.!!

    Devising An Efficient Public-Transport System In South Africa

    The background for this article was derived from a speech made by Wrenelle Stander (Director General: Department of Transport) to public-transport role players and stakeholders, in 2004. Subsidies, Ms Stander said, “must be viewed within the context of passenger transport funding rather than as an isolated service for poor people. Both needs and funding must be weighed against what is possible”. She conceded that making eventual choices, on this basis, might not be easy.

    The status quo

    Currently, minibus taxis are the dominant mode of public transport, serving 64% of the 3.8 million workers using public transport. There are, in fact, roughly 9.8 million workers who travel regularly. We can deduce, from these figures, that 6 million workers provide their own transport.

    Minibus taxis currently receive no subsidies. Train services are subsidised and are used mainly in metropolitan areas, to serve roughly 24% of public-transport commuters. Subsidised bus transport services 42.5% of the public-transport commuters in rural areas.

    74% of the country’s households have no private transport available to them. In rural areas, 62% of the households believe that public transport is either not available, or is
    too far away for convenience. Of metropolitan households, 46% are dissatisfied with its proximity.

    Public perceptions, though, may not accurately reflect true need and more detail is necessary to providing practical input. The minibus taxi industry, to a large extent, has fulfilled the needs dictated until now, and no vehicle of any sort profits by running half empty. If not even a taxi service exists there may be insufficient call for frequent public transport. A less regular, but committed service, may suit the situation.

    Poor service options

    Public-transport users are otherwise dissatisfied with the options they have. 48% who use taxis are unhappy with the overall service, as are 42% of the train users and 31% of those who travel by bus.
    .
    Train dissatisfaction has been voiced, as follows:
    · overcrowding, 71%;
    · lack of security between home and the stations, 64%;
    · lack of security on the trains, 62%, and
    · unsatisfactory toilet facilities, lack of punctuality, lack of off-peak frequency and the long distances that commuters must walk between their homes and the stations (over 50%).

    Dissatisfaction with bus services were categorised thus:
    · a lack of facilities at bus stops (74%);
    · passenger overcrowding, 54%, and
    · off-peak lack of frequency, 50%.

    More than 50% of taxi users were unhappy about high fares, passenger overcrowding and driver behaviour. Other concerns noted were:
    · the lack of facilities at taxi ranks, 64%;
    · the poor roadworthiness of taxis (59%), and
    · the imminent danger of accidents (67%).

    No complaints by own-transport users were included, though Minister Trevor Manuel recently made no secret of the fact that traffic congestion was seriously impacting on his ability to get to work at a reasonable hour.

    Exercising restraint

    Ms Stander made the point that the majority of South Africans do not have regular access to either private or public transport. She used the example of scholars to clarify this:
    · scholars number 15.7 million, which means that there are over 60% more traveling regularly to educational facilities than the 9.8 million workers who also travel regularly;
    · 12 million (76%) of these walk to school. 75% of these can make the two-way journey, on foot, within one-and-a-half hours, but roughly 550 000 children spend over two hours a day walking;
    · 9% of school children use taxis to get to school; another 9% travel in cars, and
    · 73% of white children travel to school by car, while only 3% of black children do.

    While the intention, here, may have been to infer that white school children have superior facilities at their disposal, the point should, in fairness, be made that, quoting a figure for car usage but none for rail, buses and walking for white children, is misleading. Also, without taking into consideration why children use particular transport modes, a true picture does not emerge.

    How far is too far to walk? No one enjoys a long walk with heavy shopping or other parcels, but door-to-door vehicular transportation may cost this nation its health. A half-hour walk, twice a day, for adults, is considered advisable and children should exercise for no less than that – two hour’s of low-impact exercise is not extreme.

    During November 2004, news headlines bewailed the fact that in schools where PT and sports are not actively promoted, children are not exercising enough. Walking a reasonable distance is a healthy alternative. It is more important to ensure that those children, who walk long distances, have food in their tummies. The provision of school meals, might offer better options. The pitfall here is to avoid abetting corrupt practices, which may make dealing directly with manufacturers a better option.

    Where distances take in excess of forty-five minutes (one-way) to walk, scholars would be better peddling to school than using motorized transport. The manufacture of an initial 550 000 bicycles would provide much-needed jobs, but the recipients would then need income for repairs and maintenance and might need to form cottage industries making postal and grocery deliveries in their areas, to this end.

    Safety first

    Would scholars be safe riding alone? If not, surely safety is the main reason that people require better public transport? Whether people live rurally or in urban situations; in townships, informal settlements or up-market suburbs; whether they walk during the day or at night, they risk the loss of possessions or their lives.

    My teenage, rugby-mad son avoids walking routes and distances, in Durban, that I regularly tackled twice a day in my youth. His need to be fit is more than mine ever was. The difference? Where once it was safe to walk, it is no longer safe even to drive a car, let alone walk. When he was younger and at school in Gauteng, children were not allowed to ride to school on bikes, because too many had been hi-jacked.

    Suburban, working parents with cars are more able to choose between schools than rural parents. They easily drop their children off en route to work, without significant detours. Cars that enter the city limits with only one occupant may have left home with up to five – school runs and car clubs have become part of middle-class culture and some families still boast two parents, who may work some distance apart.

    But “single occupant cars” are considered “inefficient road users during peak times” whereas those who share vehicles, walk, ‘cycle or use public transport are considered more socially deserving. I don’t quibble with that, but the logic used to come to this conclusion may be incomplete and deserves, I suspect, more consideration.

    Few of the 73% of white children transported by car are picked up directly after school. Many join extracurricular activities or childcare groups until their parents’ working day allows them to collect their children on their way home. For many white children, the school day runs from 6:30 until 18:30. Safety is again pertinent; few families still afford full-time assistance and children, returning to empty homes, are vulnerable.

    Financial limitations
    Preliminary results from the National Household Travel Survey, Ms Stander continued, indicate that: “low household incomes, even in the richer provinces, constrain the affordability of public transport services”.
    · Users who do not travel daily, may need to be able to move about in search of work and to shop;
    · 5.8 million households (nearly 47%, of which 3.1 million are rurally situated) run on less than R1 000 per month. Financial resources are obviously strained in these circumstances, and
    · a further 2.85 million households manage on R500, or less, per month and half of these spend more than R100 of their earnings on public transport.

    There are, it seems, 10.7 million workers in the country. 9.8 million workers travel to work regularly, so it must be presumed that 0.9 million workers work out of their homes, live on employer property or work on a contractual basis for short periods.

    Of the 9.8 million regular travelers, 32% (roughly one-third) use cars, 39% use public transport and 23% walk. Worker transport, Ms Stander maintained, is then characterized by a mixture of “car dependency, public-transport captivity and walking dependency”. Her choice of words is interesting.

    The curse of congestion

    A specific problem that faces the viability of future transport systems is growing urban congestion. The number of vehicles that enters cities during working hours must be reduced – funding must be channeled into “public transport and non-motorised transport initiatives”.

    Facts that appear to be entirely relevant (and thought-provoking) include:
    · the increase of rural to urban migration, over the last ten years, has put undue pressure on suburban, peri-urban and inner-city facilities;
    · city populations and industry have decentralized and spread, which makes the provision of efficient public transport a far more complicated issue than it was thirty years ago;
    · middle-income families have had to come to terms with high levels of suburban congestion;
    · income earners of all levels have had to deal with these issues independently, and
    · these trends have undermined the efficiency of cities.

    74% of South African households did not have access to a car in 2003 but it is difficult to agree with Ms Stander that the transport needs of middle class, urban, car-owning households were provided for, previously, and still are. Had middle-class, urban needs been adequately addressed, surely those households would never have felt the need to own a car, let alone, in some cases, become two-car families.

    The middle classes very often financed their own needs in the past. There was no ultra-cheap housing available in white areas and the authorities would have made short work of tearing down shacks erected on private property – building regulations had to be adhered to. Housing subsidies did not exist, except for parliamentarians who commuted to Cape Town annually and programs to benefit public servants.

    High numbers of inner city and suburban flats were necessary for people who paid far higher rentals than those who lived in townships and subsequently could afford neither their own homes, nor transport. They lived close to schools and their jobs. Only once they could finance private transport, could they, in turn, look for better-paying jobs any distance from home.

    Up-grades in living conditions usually resulted once breadwinners had vastly improved their working circumstances. It was not usual, until the ’90s, for young married couples or single people to own property. As a woman, I was granted my first bond by a bank, at the age of 38, despite the fact that I had kept two jobs for most of my adult life and was considered financially stable.

    I am not, in any way, trying to suggest that white people did not live considerably easier lives than others. It is though, a fact, that the middle-class suburban areas that ‘mushroomed’, incorporate various facilities that were intended to enable people with various levels of income, to co-exist. The discipline that most facilitated this state of affairs was urban planning.

    I totally agree that Apartheid policies brought about inequalities and settlement patterns for which the majority of the population still pays a social price. As Ms Stander stressed, long-distance commuting, for low-income workers, has left a legacy of spatial dislocation:
    · poor people travel long distances at high cost;
    · their needs have not yet been met;
    · many walk in unsafe and unpleasant conditions;
    · our high pedestrian death toll must be addressed, and
    · a preference to locate to informal housing that is closer to schools and amenities (to reduce long-distance travel) exacerbates already untenable situations.

    That Transport expects to turn all these conditions around seems to put illogical strain on the Transport systems. Lack of urban planning is as much responsible and should contribute to the effort by situating industrial and manufacturing opportunities close to low-cost housing estates. Schools and amenities would then also need to be conveniently placed, nearby.

    Subsidizing the needs

    Bearing the legacies of Apartheid in mind, government plans must take into consideration that:
    · transport infrastructure implementation should complement existing infrastructure, and use flexible and incremental technologies;
    · public-transport subsidies must serve as social investments in support of economic development;
    · limited funding is available to reinvest in public transport systems that promise higher costs for people who can little afford them;
    · Given the rural and urban needs of a growing economy, reinvestment and the expansion of public transport systems must ensure more efficient and productive settlements, such as safe, off-peak and after-hours public transport to cater for shift workers, working students, scholars, etc., and
    · the challenge is to expand social investment to benefit economic development.

    During the 2004/05 financial year, subsidies amounted to roughly R4.5-billion. Road-based (mainly bus) subsidies equaled R2.1-billion and commuter rail (addressing the needs of roughly two million, mostly urban, workers with incomes around R2 000 per month) received R2.4-billion. Both must still be considered potential beneficiaries.

    Controlling car use in metropolitan areas, promoting public transport in all areas and catering for the safety and infrastructure needs of the 2.26-million workers and the 12-million scholars who walk (half in rural areas) remain important to Transport’s brief.

    Any proposals, Ms Stander, explained, will need to take into consideration: that public transport subsidies should enhance the access and mobility needs of all people, where commercial fares for the provision of essential services are not affordable to its passengers; benefits awarded will need to justify the subsidy costs incurred, and that market failures would result in service providers being unable to provide essential services in a viable manner.

    Groundwork approach

    How much pertinent information and research was omitted from Ms Stander’s speech, is impossible to estimate, but some situations would have benefited from clarification. It is hoped that proposals will not be accepted before they are explored and discussed at more length and in conjunction with all the others received.

    Taxi re-capitalization will now exchange owners’ vehicles for R50 000. With this subsidy, owners are free to invest in the vehicle of their choice, as long as it follows the legislated, safer specifications. They may also use the money for any other purpose they choose. In sizeable organizations, owners may prefer to develop a different line of business or retire on the proceeds.

    When this does happen, it should be noted that those payments will not have subsidized the taxi industry, only the scrap-metal industry. Until the process has been completed, we will have no idea how many of the new taxis will become available to fulfill the country’s needs and how many taxi drivers will still have jobs. This state of limbo may seriously impinge on other decisions.

    Worker obligations

    Many workers are also obliged to have their cars with them during the working day because their vehicles are part of their gross salary package, used to drive to meetings or make deliveries at the behest of the employer. The public-service subsidized car scheme illustrates: the number of subsidized cars multiplied by four between 1999 and 2002. Officials are expected to use these cars to employer advantage.

    Can the government afford to ask its officials to leave their subsidized vehicles at home on a regular basis and can it justify the cost increases over the same period: from R81-million in the 1999-2000 financial year, to R213-million in 2001-02? This increased spend infers the delegation of subsidies to an elite few and possibly causes more disruption in Tshwane (Pretoria) than the taxis that have lately been given specific routes to follow in that city. Other provincial capitals must also be affected, to a lesser degree.

    Were the Department to investigate the figures for people who claim their vehicle expenses for business purposes from the South African Revenue Services, it would have a good idea of how many cars must use the city road networks daily and the number of vehicles that must be accommodated daily within proximity of their jobs.

    Safe bets

    If safe parking facilities could be made available at safe railway stations and safe public-transport ranks, many would consider the options as long as both train- and bus-transport were also safe, affordable and their vehicles were not necessary to their jobs. At the other end of their trip, workers would need to know that they could walk safely from drop-off points to their offices (and back) with brief cases, lap-top computers and other working equipment, even after dark.

    Until this is so, punishing car users without improving safety conditions, is a ‘cop-out’. For this reason, Ms Stander’s wording “car dependency, public-transport captivity and walking dependency” might read more honestly: ‘car, public-transport and walking captivity’.

    In essence, those who use their own cars are saving the country a fortune in public transport costs; those who use public transport deserve safe and affordable options and those who do walk, should have better conditions in which to do it. All these reflect, to varying degrees, on crime prevention and are not wholly Transport concerns.

    None of which offers any solution to the problem of inner-city congestion, but does appeal for a less punitive approach. Our public-transport systems will not be considered efficient until they encourage those who do own cars, to leave them at home. Commuters cannot make this call; it rests, instead, on the ingenuity of Transport, the tax system, urban planning and law-enforcement. It also calls for consultation and co-operation on a far greater level than has yet been implemented.

    Non-motorized initiatives

    Using Durban as an example: vehicles cannot feed from the inner southern suburbs to the northern ones, without going through the city. Commuters needing to travel to the other side are forced into city congestion, with no options – the M4 stops as one enters on one side and begins again on the other. Providing a viable option to avoid the city would greatly reduce congestion, but would also prove costly; definitely a non-motorised transport initiative, though.

    Provision of creatively situated, decentralized taxi ranks and bus termini might also reduce congestion to an enormous extent. Train journeys into the city do not offer a destination close to either shopping, office or beach facilities and secondary public transport becomes necessary.

    Bus, rail and taxi services should, perhaps, not duplicate each other, but rather run more efficiently over shorter distances. For instance, if bus services could be initiated on Johannesburg’s ring road, taxis could ferry workers throughout the suburbs – from and to every off- and on-ramp, where bus stops could be situated. Taxi services continually circling on feeder roads next to freeways and across bridges some distance apart, could reduce the need for pedestrians to run across busy traffic lanes.

    In many cases, though, the necessary feeder roads still need to be built and, ten years into democracy, the past can no longer take all the blame. When an electricity sub-station in the western suburbs of Johannesburg recently caught alight and left suburbs without electricity for four days, blaming those who laid the original lines sixty years ago, was not constructive.

    Sixty years ago, who could have guessed what progress and expansion would occur and how many homes, shops and industries those electricity facilities, would be expected to service? It seems clear that each municipality will need an individual plan to service its immediate industrial, business and shopping areas.

    Transport subsidies also cannot be expected to improve the lifestyles of those who live below the breadline, in any noticeable manner. What those people most need, are jobs and increased incomes. Let us deal with the realities, to the very best of our ability.

    For Worry-Free Travel, Travel Agents Is the Solution

    There are a plethora of full service travel agents who prepare the itinerary of the traveler from researching, planning to purchasing an entire trip to ‘Discover India’. The tour packages are at a discounted or subsidized rate due to channel partners that comprises of economic luxurious hotels, airlines, railways, transporters so on and so forth. Almost all of the travel agents cater to the needs of one and all – from single men & women, to families and clubs going on vacation or a weekend getaway at short notice, whatever the need the travel agents are ever ready to ensure that their clients are satisfied.

    Most of the travel agents in Kolkata have expert tour operators on board who are capable of understanding the subtle nuances of the travel industry and therefore personal attention is given and most of them can speak English fluently. Intending travelers are able to access directly an assortment of travel packages which are affordable for middle class families who might be planning a trip to India.

    By virtue of researching continually on travel destinations in India that are safe and secure, travel agents have been offering travel packages that are economical so as to ensure that sufficient funds are available for travelers to perhaps buy gifts for their loved ones as well. Almost all travel agents offer value added services, bus and car rental for example, train and air tickets, hotel booking and other ancillary tour and travel services at competitive rates.

    Travel agencies in India are professionally managed and particularly so for foreign tourists be it groups or individuals. Travel packages are priced in a way so as to fit any budget that any traveler would be able to avail. Travel agency as a business grows exponentially because of the dedication of the team of tour and travel agents. All travel agencies have channel partners throughout India and the IT infrastructure of the agencies have been upgraded to offer further benefits in the days ahead. The reason behind the enhancement of the infrastructure is to make sure that the service that they are offering is one-of-a-kind. It’s no wonder that hordes of foreign tourists revisit India as they are delighted by the services provided by the travel agencies which by their own admission is absolutely phenomenal.

    India is a land where the dichotomy of rags and riches is omnipresent and often can be seen alongside each other. It is a testament of the social and economic inequalities and divisions. Nonetheless it is a land that is worth exploring as it offers variety of breath-taking and idyllic scenic beauty in every nook and cranny. From the snow-capped mountain ranges of the Himalayas with their peaks so high up in the sky that it would appear they have gone beyond scraping the sky and are reaching for the heavens. To Rishikesh on the river Ganges in northern India is an ideal locale for white water rafting.

    Goa is a much sought after destination as well for those looking to bask under the sun and have a suntan or are enthusiastic about all night long beach party under the moonlight and the starlit sky along with entertainment by the best music bands. Kerala is also a suitable locale for river cruises on the natural backwaters in the midst of coconut palms that seem to whisper, the beaches full of white sand, herds of elephants, and lush greenery everywhere that seem to seduce as they pass by on lazy sunny afternoons.

    A ride of a lifetime on the Palace on Wheels perhaps would indeed prove to be a dream come true as the scenery of Rajasthan would enthrall anyone. After being mesmerized by the breath-taking and amazing natural beauty of Rajasthan one would have to head back to Delhi to visit Agra and the Taj Mahal in particular which must be seen if one is in Agra besides the Agra Fort. One could relish the idyllic beauty of the “queen of hills” Ooty, or have soul-searching and spiritual experience at Haridwar and Rishikesh. Last but not the least, the Royal Bengal Tiger, the pride and joy of West Bengal can be seen in the wild at the world’s largest Tiger Reserve.

    For travel without any worries it is advisable therefore that all travel requirements be fulfilled by reputed travel agents. The travel agents are ever so eager and willing to cater to the myriad needs of travelers who find it extremely convenient to be able to have an agent take care of everything that is necessary to ensure that a traveler does not have to worry about anything whatsoever.

    Why Do You Pay Commissions When You Do Your Own Travel Bookings?

    When you buy a travel package, tour or service your price may include a number of levels
    of commission added to the original pure cost of the product direct from the supplier.

    To give an example of such:

    Let’s take a tour operated in Australia at a cost direct from the operator of say $1,000:

    1. This tour may be listed with an Inbound Tour Operator.

    2. The ITO buys for $1,000, marks up 10%, sells to Wholesaler, tour price now $1,100.

    3. The Wholesaler buys for $1,100, marks up !0%, sells to Retailer, tour price now $1,210.

    4. The Retailer buys for $1210, marks up 10%, sells to Traveler, tour price now $1,331, (prices changes if percentages are higher, or less if the ITO is not in this equation) (without the ITO the retail price would be $1,210 at 10% or $1322 at 15%).

    The commission element, without the ITO at 10% mark-up is $210 per tour per person (21%).

    The commission element, without the ITO at 15% mark-up is $322 per tour per person (32%).

    So the Traveler pays variable levels of middleman commissions.. When you have 2 or 3 or a family of travelers, this is a considerable amount of cash and if you have a tour costing in excess of $1,000, just do the math.

    Similarly, brochure prices have commissions built in to them for the retailers of 10 – 25%.

    If a consumer goes to an Outlet Store they expect outlet prices, if they go directly to the Manufacturer they expect ‘go-direct’ prices, so why not handle travel arrangements in a similar way?

    Because, it is only fair that each level of the product sales cycle earns revenue for the business involved and these businesses are necessary and needed to ensure that some products are marketed, promoted, brochures and sold to consumers around the world who may not be comfortable with handling their own bookings and need the assistance of an expert professional travel consultant.. However, with the growth of the internet and the ability to now find the source of travel products, travelers who handle their own arrangements should get a fairer deal on the pricing as a middleman is not needed in the purchasing process.

    It does not make sense for most travel operators to show different prices on their websites, Retail, Wholesale or Internet Direct etc as this could undermine their supply chain by deterring the efficient middlemen from representing their products, so we have to find a way for all of the ‘do-it-yourself’ bookers to get a fairer price.

    There is a way. A new service has been introduced that enables travel operators to encourage and reward travelers who are comfortable with direct bookings and for them to get a fair price break for the commission no longer required to be paid out. The new service, operated by TopTravelSites, offers TopTravelVouchers for sale that have values equivalent to, or more than the commission elements on the operator’s travel products. These may be purchased by travelers at very deep discounts to their redemption values, getting closer to the direct cost price of the travel product for the consumer… think outlet pricing or go-direct deals.

    The Travel Operator still incurs the commission cost by issuing a toptravelvoucher but the beneficiary of the price break is the traveler, not the middleman. By encouraging and rewarding travelers, the operators should get more traffic to their websites.

    TopTravelSites can be compared to a retail travel company but it does not sell travel. It only introduces travelers to operators involved with the program and invites them to go directly to the travel websites of its clients. If travelers want to do business directly with the travel providers on the site they can get a price break by purchasing toptravelvouchers online at prices of $30, $50 or $100usd (or equivalent foreign currency). The vouchers have a 100% money-back guarantee and if, after the travel has been completed, the traveler is unhappy with the product, the cost of the voucher is reimbursed and redress is sought from the operator.

    Hundreds of vouchers are currently available and new vouchers are being added each month but when you see a voucher valued at 1,500 euros for sale for $100usd it may not be long before you will see thousands of choices. Many other vouchers are available and can be
    purchased by single travelers, groups or families, leading to very healthy savings for all ‘do-it-yourself- bookers.

    Many travel operators will continue to only sell through a supply chain but this is a program that could be added to their marketing options in the future but there are thousands of travel businesses around the world that want to improve their representation and for their services to be seen by a wider audience of travelers. Most travel operators would always be willing to pay a commission on sales and so this site should appeal to them. It will attract travelers who are comfortable with booking their own arrangements as they are being rewarded by rebated commission and as long as the site operator keeps to low overheads (no bricks and mortar stores or expensive brochures) they will be able to continue rebating commissions to self-booking travelers.

    Long Term Travel Insurance Is All Important For Long Term Travelers

    For most businessmen and their associates, travel is an important part of the business. It is in traveling that they get the chance to meet investors, clients and promote their company. Many business executives choose to meet their prospective clients outside their home country to impress them. These are the businessmen that love to show off their traveling capacities. Aside from businessmen, some housewives also tend to travel a lot nowadays. In the past decade, the majority of travelers are men and it is still true today but it has been notable that there is a vast increase in the percentage of female travelers. One of the reasons is that since there are many men who work abroad, they barely get the chance to see their significant other.

    Therefore, it is the women nowadays who do traveling to visit their husband for some tender loving care. Also, a certain percentage of the overall travelers include students. More and more students are encouraged to leave their country and seek education in another land. For some, they do this to lessen their expenses since studying in another country is cheaper. Say for example, many Koreans, Japanese and even Indians are studying English in the Philippines because it is much cheaper than their motherland. On the other hand, some Filipino students choose to study abroad in order to be more competitive with the real world. Other countries also have many different specialties when it comes to education. The Philippines is well known for its world class facility, the International Rice Reserve Institute while Harvard is best known for its Law and Economic courses.

    Whatever the travel’s purpose is, still, many travelers are vulnerable to the perils of loss of baggage, medical needs, and all the others that come in between. Long term travel insurance is the answer for travelers who stay in a place longer than the usual leisure travel. Some of the packages are valid for one hundred eighty days to three hundred sixty five days. Of course, the package is all up to the consumer. This type of travel insurance must be bought directly to a reputable insurance company. A well known insurance company that provides long term travel insurance is the 1Cover Travel Insurance. They are always ready for inquiries regarding long term travel insurance. They understand the needs of every traveler and are always willing to cater to their client’s insurance needs. They also give quotes for those who are interested in getting insurance.

    In conclusion, it is very much obvious that long term travel insurance for long term travelers is all important. Perry Wilson quotes, “The world is so accessible now, even more so than 10 to 15 years ago and gap years have grown so popular that employers are becoming increasingly flexible in allowing employees a few months off to travel. However when you are older you have a greater number of responsibilities than those of a younger age so taking out a good backpacker travel insurance policy is as necessity.”

    Transport Your Vehicle At A Low Price With Auto Transport Services

    If you want a company to move your vehicle, you will need to engage in some serious research first. A simple internet search term for “auto transport discount” will reveal thousands of hits and it is your job to find the best ones. However, unless you really know what you are talking about, how do you recognize with auto transport discount offer is genuine and which one should not be trusted with a raw egg, let alone your vehicle? One great thing is that simply by looking into the different companies that are around, you will already learn a lot of about methods of transportation.

    Finding Quotations For Auto Transport Discount
    As stated earlier, the best way to learn about transporting your car is by contacting companies. However, as also stated before, an internet search will present you with thousands of hits and you probably don’t have the time to try them out both. People usually presume that the hits that appear on the first page are also the best. They usually are, but you should not accept this blindly. It is possible that the owner of the website is better at SEO marketing than he or she is at offering auto transport discount. So, unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as contacting the top five companies and hoping for the best. So how do you get a shortlist of companies that you can ask for quotations? Using common sense is generally the best policy. Look through the results for auto transport companies that you have found and think about which ones strike you as genuine and which ones do not. As stated earlier, most of the really good companies offering auto transport discount do manage to get on the first page of Google, so realistically you only have to sift through those results, or perhaps go to the second page as well. Take a look at the websites and dismiss the ones who have a website that is poorly designed or poorly written, as well as those that are too flashy. That is a very common sales gimmick and quite simply not what you should be looking for. Hopefully, once you have completed this, you should be left with no more than five different companies offering auto transport discount and with a bit of luck, the best nationwide car transport service is among that. Getting five quotations is always the best policy, because it allows you to really compare the different offers and find out who offers the best value for money. Always remember that value for money does not mean cheap. Speak to each of the companies you are considering and tell them about the vehicle that you want to have transported. Ask them how they intend to transport it. This will allow you to get a good idea of the methods employed by companies offering auto transport discount. Always ask why they choose a specific method, as this will give you a better idea of what seems safest to you.

    Using The Online World Even More To Find The Best Nationwide Car Transport Service
    You can actually use the internet to your benefit even more. As shown, the internet should already help you to find the best nationwide car transport service, but it also allows you to have a wider search range. If you were to use the yellow pages only, you will be limited to your geographical area and this is not necessarily the best auto transport discount that is out there. Not just that, if you were to purchase a vehicle that is far from your geographical area, it will make much better business sense to use a company that is nearer to the location of the vehicle, rather than your location as this will usually work out cheaper.

    Using the internet will also help you to keep costs down significantly. A lot of companies claim that if you can find the same like for like quotation at a cheaper price, they will match it or even go below it. True, this can add some time in your quest for the best auto transport companies, but we live in difficult economic times and getting the best deal on something is very important. Also, the internet may even provide you with price comparison websites for auto transport discount, where you will be able to find the best price at just a glance. Remember, however, that finding the best price does not necessarily give you the best possible company so make sure you still check the companies out one by one. Last but certainly not least, finding a company online and booking your car transport online may give you even further discounts. Clearly, the internet is your best friend in the search for auto transport discount. Make sure you use it to the best of your advantage.

    What To Expect From The Service
    Armed with all this information, you should be able to find the best value for money on your auto transport service. But what can you expect from an auto transport company? What service will you receive and what will they actually do? An auto transport company is able to transport vehicles from one location to another. This can be beneficial if you work for a salvage company or own a scrap yard. Or perhaps you have seen the car of your dreams on the other side of the country and don’t actually have the possibility to go out there and drive it back yourself. An auto transport discount service is there to load up your vehicle or vehicles and drive it to whichever destination you want. The vehicle is securely strapped on the back of a truck, together with any other vehicle, and is taken to its destination. The best nationwide car transport service will always be happy to explain further details about this to you. Don’t confuse auto transport discount services with tow trucks. A tow truck tows a car over a relatively short distance. This can be because they have committed a parking violation or because they have broken down alongside a road. Whichever the case, the key here is that this service is not applicable for long distances. After all, you couldn’t tow a car all across California for example.

    The Bottom Line
    Basically, you should never feel rushed in making a decision. An auto transport company tends to transport an item that is generally of high value. A car, after all, is not a cheap toy that can easily be disposed of. Make sure you pay very close attention to all the quotations you receive. Read all the small print on any details that you get sent from the auto transport discount company. Think about such things as what sort of insurance they have, what would happen in case your vehicle arrives damaged, what would happen if they don’t arrive on time. If your car has to be transported over very long distances, make sure that the auto transport discount service has measures in place to protect the health and safety of their drivers. Do they have machines installed that force the trucks to go no faster than a certain speed? What arrangements do they have in terms of working hours? Also look at the company’s history. Have they had mainly satisfied customers and if not, what were the complaints? When looking at the complaints that an auto transport company has received, it is not so much about the content of the complaint, it is about how the company has responded to this. Remember that there are people out there who feel complaining is a national sport, which makes it clear that the reaction in dealing with any complaint is far more important.

    You should now be armed with all the information that you could possibly need to find the best auto transport company. Always remember that it is good to look for an auto transport discount, but that price should not be the main driver in finding the best nationwide car transport service. Indeed, what is important is that the auto transport discount company that you intend to work with is safe and experienced in dealing with what you need. Do they know the vehicle or vehicles that you want transporting? Do they understand how to keep things safe and secure? Do they protect their staff? Do they have a good track record? For one last bit of security, you could once again use the internet to find reviews on the different auto transport discount services that are out there. Do make sure that these reviews are independent and not actually from the company itself. Also, don’t trust the reviews you read on the company’s website. They are highly unlikely to post anything on there that is highly negative. This doesn’t mean that the positive reviews on the service aren’t genuine. However, they will not give you the complete picture of customer experience. Never be afraid to ask questions, a good company should be happy to answer any query.

    At Your Own Risk – 10 Countries Where Travel Insurance Won't Be Able To Help You

    The foreign and commonwealth office draws up an extensive list of countries that should not be traveled to quite regularly and it is from that our, and other global travel insurance providers’, underwriters decide which countries travel insurance should be provided for. We look at the government travel advice and decide from that whether or not we can provide insurance to travelers.

    Although global travel insurance does, by its nature, cover the majority of the world, the current climate ensures that there are some places where the likelihood of incident means that UK travel insurance providers are unable to offer protection. Thankfully, the list is clear of the majority of popular holiday destinations, and you’re unlikely to have your big holiday plans affected. The most likely group to have their travel plans altered by the foreign office’s travel advice are business travelers.

    The foreign office’s travel advice is not to travel to the following countries, even if it means losing business – the risk from the war-zones listed below is just too great to make the reward worth the danger:

    Here’s our top 10 countries to avoid traveling to, and the reasons for the high risk factor! The risk is far from conclusive (the foreign office’s travel advice lists many more countries), but to me, these are the ones that all travelers should avoid like the plague:

    10) Liberia

    Economic hardship in Liberia is currently making outbreaks of violence common, and foreigners (especially westerners) are at risk targets due to their affluence. This extra likelihood of incident ensures that no UK travel insurance provider would risk offering you cover if you choose to visit Liberia

    9) Nepal

    Occasional acts of terrorism and political violence in urban areas make Nepal off-limits for those who want to get travel insurance. In September this year, three nearly simultaneous bombs went off in the capital of Kathmandu, killing 3 and injuring many innocent bystanders.

    8)Haiti

    Haiti is considered off limits to many travelers on account of the high risk of kidnappings and civil unrest that is prominent. At the time of writing, there have been 12 kidnappings of American travelers in 2007 – mostly criminal in nature. In the past, these kidnappings have ended in physical and sexual assaults and shootings. The potential for spontaneous protests and demonstrations has also been known to result in unexpected violence, day or night. It’s no surprise that the government’s travel advice is not to travel here!

    7)Yemen

    Due to the high levels of terrorist activity in Yemen, westerners are advised to steer clear of Yemen. If this is not possible, then all travelers are encouraged to stay vigilant and to keep a low profile to avoid attacks or kidnapping. The situation is so grave that the US Embassy often restricts American citizens from certain hotels, restaurants and shopping areas.

    6)Israel

    The Gaza Strip and West Bank has seen immense violence in recent months between Israeli and Palestinian factions, and shootings, kidnappings and violence demonstrations have occurred in each. The region’s continued instability makes travel to Israel widely recommended against – the risk of abduction or worse makes travel insurance impossible to obtain.

    5)Democratic Republic of Congo

    The democratic republic of Congo remains one of the most dangerous places to travel in Africa, where violence, neglect and corruption has left the country distinctly damaged. Fighting erupted in the streets of Kinshasa in March this year, and the situation remains volatile despite the immediate threat of violence calming down. Travel outside of Kinshasa is difficult and dangerous with security, especially in the north and easy, being unstable. Any traveler brave enough to travel to the Congo should be extremely cautious, avoid the North Kivu district which is the backdrop to armed conflict between government troops and army rebels, avoid crowds and keep a close eye on local media.

    4)Burma (Myanmar)

    While the human rights situation makes Myanmar an ethically uneasy place to visit, currently there is a lot of personal risk involved as well. Throughout September, the anti-government protests sparked a violent crackdown from the authorities and made international headlines. Although the dusk-til-dawn curfew imposed in some of the towns has been lifted, it still remains an uncertain time to visit the country and you’re unlikely to find any global travel insurance company who will insure you.

    3)Colombia

    Colombia remains one of the most dangerous places to travel in the world thanks to the crime the country suffers from. The illicit drug trade in urban areas such as Cali and Buenaventura means that there is often a high risk of violence, while the more rural areas expose visitors to the country at risk from narcoterrorist groups who will often kidnap civilians to use for ransom or to gain media attention. Naturally UK travel insurance companies are loathe to insure travellers who choose to ignore these warning and travel to Colombia anyway.

    2)Afghanistan

    With the war on terror in Afghanistan still fresh in the mind, it’s no surprise that the country remains a big no-go area. Western tourists are obvious kidnap and assassination targets, as many of the disbanded Taliban and Al-Qa’ida forces remain at large and hostile to the new regieme. Additionally, the country remains unsafe due to tribal groups, explosive devices, landmines, military operations and acts of terrorism. Unsurprisingly, the government’s travel advice is to avoid traveling here at all costs!

    1)Iraq

    Given the high profile nature of western kidnappings by various insurgent groups, and the regular acts of terrorism and hostility to Western troops, it is no surprise that no travel insurance companies will insure travelers to the troubled country. The instability is caused by various groups – Ba’ath regime remnants, transnational terrorists and criminal elements have been known to attack convoys en-route to venues, hotels, restaurants, checkpoints and police stations.

    While holidaymakers are unlikely to be affected by these less touristy locations, their riskiness means that business travelers will have to forgo their travel insurance if they are unable to cancel their trips.

    7 Best Online Travel Communities

    True, Tripadvisor, Frommer’s and the Lonely Planet are some of the best online travel communities going, but they’re far from the only ones amongst the greats. So go on, expand your travel community horizons and check out our 7 Best Off The Radar Travel Communities:

    1. Travelistic

    From YouTube to Hulu to Yahoo, were a video obsessed bunch. Travelistic has cleverly taken this to head and created a travel community wholly centred around video.

    Log on and you’ll find over 10,000 user submitted travel videos, to view, comment on and inspire your future travels. Want to visit the Great Wall? Journey to the top of Everest? You can do it all on Travelistic, without ever leaving home.

    2. Igougo

    A masterful all in one travel community, where you can plan your trip, compare flights and hotels and share your travel experiences with the world.

    Just type in a destination and you’ll be instantly connected to a plethora of photos, reviews and users who have traveled or reside there. When you’re ready to go, create your very own trip journal and give back to the community by sharing your own travel experiences.

    3. Trip It

    Less of a travel community and more a travel service, Trip It is perfect for the organization nut in all of us. Just enter your flights, hotel stays and destinations and let trip it create an optimized travel itinerary for you in seconds. Never miss another plane or train again.

    For those who truly want it all, upgrade to the pro version and Trip It will automatically alert you if there are changes or delays in your travel plans. That means less time at the airport, and more time at the beach.

    4. Dopplr

    Create a map with the dates and location of your travels; share it with the Dopplr community, check out other’s maps, then meet up with those whose travel plans overlap with your own. If you’d like to keep your location a secret from some (mom, dad, a raging x), don’t worry, you can control who can and can’t see where you are.

    Along the way you’ll get a wealth of location specific travel information, so you’ll always know where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. Taking the thinking out of traveling, we like that.

    5. Travbuddy

    Travbuddy’s got all the ingredients that make for a killer online travel community; helpful forums, honest reviews, stunning travel photos and a dedicated membership 1.5 million strong.

    Travbuddy ups the ante by giving you your very trip blog, allowing you to easily post your stories, pictures and reviews as you go. There’s even a built in mapping feature that builds a map of your travels as you venture across the earth.

    Wherever, you’re headed, this is one buddy you don’t want to leave behind.

    6.Travelers Point

    Besides being a great place to plan, book and share your next trip, Travelers Point has hands down one of the best travel resources on the web; wiki travel guides.

    These 100% user created and edited travel guides, give you the collective wisdom and travel experiences of over 250,000 members, right at your finger tips. From country and city guides, to travel health and safety information, you’ll find everything you need to get in the know, before you go.

    7. Travel DODO

    Travel DODO takes travel reviews and puts them into a fun, easily digestible format, Travel Do’s, and Travel Don’t.

    Want to find out which restaurants, hotels and attractions are best avoided in France? Just click on the location on the interactive map, and you’ll be given a list of places to cross off your list (travel don’t), so you spend your valuable vacation time wiser.

    Frankly, you’d be a DODO, not to check up here before you GOGO.

    Eco Travel World Wide

    Although the words Eco travel have been popping up a lot more over the past few years, its definition is often misunderstood or not known at all. Possibly you have also heard the word Eco tourism and they are used interchangeably because of their common definition. So what do they mean? Eco travel is planning a responsible vacation to places that conserve the environment. They also contribute to the well being of their community while practicing ethical policies.

    The amount of interest in Eco friendly travel has soared, as people become more and more aware of environmental issues. Recycling and reducing vehicle emissions. Lowering the use of energy all makes a difference. Now your Eco travel vacation can also make a difference.

    There are different things to look for to know if the vacation your are planning is environmentally and socially friendly. Let’s say for an example you went to a resort. You would check if they use environmentally friendly, recycled products? Are they committed to preserving their wild and marine life and the environment? Increase knowledge of local community and benefits socioeconomically and affordability? Not using wasteful products to make the area more attractive? Do the profits go back into the community? Do they employ local people and pay them fair wages, which is referred to as fair trade? These are all things to consider before deciding on your destination

    Government and local communities are starting to work together to conserve their environment while providing much need employment in the area. There are many programs now available to help people in the tourism industry and program directors increase their knowledge of Eco travel, Eco tourism. Consumers that are ethically aware of fair trade have drastically increased sales in the tourism industry by over 50% on any given holiday.

    There are now a wide variety of areas in different Countries that offer Eco travel vacations. The industry has grown so much over the past few years that it has become difficult to choose which one. From Costa Rico to Hawaii to Antarctica the choices are endless. Be aware of conservation of our environment and make Eco travel part of your next vacation.

    Italy Travel Info – Plan a Better Trip

    Italy is a hot vacation spot and there is so much to see you can get quite overwhelmed planning your vacation. Everybody feels compelled to hit the big three, Venice, Florence, and Rome. These are incredible cities with many great sites to visit and famous objects (art, architecture, etc.) to see. Here’s some Italy travel info to help you plan a better trip.

    Here’s a simple fact, you cannot see everything in a single vacation, and the attempt to do so becomes very stressful, robbing you of the fun and excitement you planned. The thousands of years of history found in Italy (about 5,000 years of civilized history to be more precise) make it impossible to absorb in a few days, weeks, or months. You need to decide what you really want to see and build your trip around this rather than try and see everything. I would like you to think about a better way to see Italy with less stress, less expense, and more enjoyment. How? Plan your trip and get out of the major tour cities and into the lesser strained hill towns and fortified villages.

    Say you are planning a trip to Florence. Identify the top three to five sites you wish to see and give yourself two or three days to see them. Once this is scheduled, take out a map of the region and start looking at the many incredible sites within a couple of hours of Florence. The big secondary sites include Pisa (worth a half a day at least), Lucca (also worth at least half a day), and Montecatinni (a spa town with open markets, grand parks, and an ancient hill town overlooking the town below). To the south of Florence are such well known sites as Siena (easily worth a full day), San Gimingano (get here early to avoid the crowds), and Volterra (worth at least half a day and one of the most interesting of Tuscan hill towns).

    By picking day trips to one or two of these other towns between your planned excursions in Florence will allow you to experience a more intimate Italy. Enjoy a walk along the curtain wall surrounding Lucca (the wall is now a park and trail), then pop over to Pisa for a gander of the Tower, Basilica and more white marble than you have ever seen in one place. Another day you can stroll the narrow medieval streets of Siena, Then head on over to Volterra and explore the Etruscans, Romans, and the architecture and fortifications of a typical walled hill town.

    Each of these towns is rich in history and tradition and will give you a better sense of rural and small town Italy. Each of the big three have dozens of great secondary sites nearby, all worth a visit, making planning trips as described above easy and fun.

    Relax and get in sync with the slower pace of rural Italy, wander the myriad shops and cafés, and watch lovely sunsets or sunrises. A trip to Italy should be fun, relaxing, and truly a trip of a lifetime. The true beauty of Italy is that you can have several of these “trips of a lifetime”, never seeing the same places twice (unless you want to, I know we have).

    Should Travelers Who Book Direct Get Fairer Fare Prices?

    A travel website that does not sell travel but enables travelers to save money on travel as long as they do their own bookings is now offering services to internet travelers. This service is a unique addition to travel options for all travelers comfortable with direct bookings using a new type of travel document called a TopTravelVoucher.

    The operators of this service are addressing the issue of travel pricing which often includes a 10 to 25% mark-up to allow for the payment of travel agent commission to either wholesalers or retailers but when travelers buy directly from the provider (accommodations, tours or transportation) they can still pay the price inclusive of commission. To overcome the travel providers’ problems of showing multiple prices for the same products and services on their websites, they can now offer ‘fair fare prices’ by issuing TopTravelVouchers.

    Travel Providers are given marketing and promotion in exchange for their own travel vouchers, equivalent to or more than, the commission that would be payable upon sale of their various travel packages and services, so they still incur the commission cost on sales but do not have to alienate their distribution chain of wholesalers and retailers by offering a retail, wholesale or ‘direct’ price on their website. This is done by the voucher operator who sells their vouchers to travelers at deep discounts to their redemption values to be used when making direct bookings, hence a travel agent who does not sell travel, only travel vouchers and therefore is not a travel agent.

    According to the website information of the voucher operator, they are able to offer the ‘Fair Fare Price’ option because they do not have the normal operating costs of travel agencies such as shops, reservation systems, brochures, advertising and high staffing levels, but can still offer the traveler and the travel provider a service that is fair to all users.

    Before purchasing TopTravelVouchers, travelers are advised to check for quality and availability directly with the website of their travel selection and when satisfied, make a direct booking mentioning the voucher, then purchase the voucher. All vouchers come with a 100% money-back guarantee and in the event that the traveler is not happy with their travel purchase upon completion, the cost of the TopTravelVouchers will be reimbursed and the matter taken up with the provider.

    There are three levels of vouchers, $30, $50 and $100usd achieving various levels of savings but to give an example, at the time of this article there was a voucher valued at 1,500 euros (around $2,000usd) on sale for $100usd. If the vouchers are purchased outside of the USA the price is shown in the relevant currency. All vouchers are issued online and the provider is also sent a duplicate with the traveler details to encourage assistance in any travel itinerary planning of the traveler.

    So as not to deter expert travel agents and agencies from participation in this service the site invites them to identify any destination and activity expertise and to also offer vouchers to encourage travelers to seek out expert professional agents. Many retail agents offer their own travel packages and tours and many are comfortable in dealing with new clients from anywhere in the world over the internet, telephone or skype. The site cautions travelers to be careful when selecting ‘specialist’ agents who are not necessarily experts and who may have just taken a simple test operated by a tourism office or tour operator promoting their own destination or products.

    The travel selections with TopTravelVouchers are limited at present but the site operators are confident in the growth potential, but if you want to see what is available, you can find them at toptravelsites.

    Top 12 Blogs For Travel Bloggers

    This is a list of creative travel blogs that I read and follow. They are written by independent travel writers, the list include those that I consider as heavy-weights in travel blogging. These bloggers are associated with large travel sites/blogs but their focus is on living a unique life (getting to see the world around them) and be an insightful writers. All of them are fun and inspirational to read.

    Blog: Everything-Everywhere

    Writer: Gary Arndt

    Gary has been on the road since 2007 as a professional traveler. On the blog you’ll find interviews with leading figures in the industry like Laura Bly from BlyOnTheFly. The posts are factual yet personal as they include Gary’s insights and reasons for visiting each of the destinations. Everything-Everywhere is the top travel blogger on Twitter according to its Klout score.

    Most recent post: This Week In Travel – Episode 152

    Blog: Nomadic Matt

    Writer: Matt Kepness

    Matt offers practical and tactical advice about how to travel better, cheaper and longer. The blog gives down-to-earth details about the best ways to explore the world. The blog is more of a collection of useful tips rather than a chronicle of Matt’s adventures although there is a travel guide section with info gathered from Matt’s travels since 2004. The site includes videos and a list of resources.

    Most recent post: How To Travel Anywhere For Free

    Blog: Go-See-Write

    Writer: Michael Hodson

    Traveling since 2008 he circumvented the globe without getting on a plane. The blog includes Michael’s adventures and experiences as he goes through each of the travel destinations. Dubai travel is included in the long list of destinations you can read about and there is a section of travel destination tips. The blog is a personal journey of a solo adventurer exploring the world.

    Most recent post: Visiting One of the World’s Highest Lakes

    Blog: Fox Nomad

    Writer: Anil Polat

    Chosen by the Huffington Post as one of the top travel writers to watch Anil is a full time traveler but a gadget geek as well, so the focus of the blog is often on the technical aspect of travel. He often visits countries which are off-the-beaten-track and gives practical advice about how to cope in places like Yemen and Iraq. On the blog you’ll find destination tips, tech posts, resources and insights into green travel and culture.

    Most recent post: The Landmarks To Look Out For When Flying Into Istanbul

    Blog: Legal Nomads

    Writer: Jodi – A former Lawyer from Montreal

    She has been traveling and eating her way around the world since 2008 and the blog focuses on food, culture and her adventures. One of the plus points about this travel writer’s blog is that it is ad-free (except for Amazon links) which makes it a very clean-cut blog to look at. This is a good blog to watch if you’re into food related travel, the blog is on the MSN list of top travel blogs.

    Most recent post: Thrillable Hours: Doug Barber, Co-Founder of Minaa

    Blog: Almost Fearless

    Writer: Christine Gilbert

    One of the top ranking travel & leisure blogs written by a mother traveling with her family since 2008, this blog has beautiful photography and the blend of family, self and travel. The family travel focus can be seen by the blog sections – life, kitchen, photos and kids. You’ll find some useful destination tips but more general life insights.

    Most recent post: How I Spent 10 Years To Get Where I Started

    Blog: Camels and Chocolates

    Writer: Kristin Luna

    One of the top travel writer blogs according to Elliott.org and other “top” lists due to the well written text. The writer is a professional journalist, has interviewed the stars and in addition is a travel addict. She covers a long list of travel destinations recording her adventures with the occasional travel destination tip thrown in. The blog boasts many photos of the travel writer in the various travel destinations.

    Most recent post: Photo Friday: Columbus, Ohio

    Blog: Johnny Vagabond

    Writer: Wes

    Another of the Huffington Post picks for best travel writer blogs, the charm of this blog is in the well written descriptions of the writer’s adventures. Wes is traveling around the world on a tight budget and taking brilliant pictures as he goes. The writing is engaging, intelligent and entertaining as well as giving you plenty of info about the travel destinations.

    Most recent post: A Love Letter from the Philippines

    Blog: 48 Hour Adventure

    Writer: Justin Morris

    A very useful and highly practical blog where each post is dedicated to a 48 hour plan of what to see and do in various travel destinations. What makes this travel & leisure blog standout is its no-nonsense usable quality. You’ll find a “48 hours in Dubai” post if you’re interested in Dubai travel, listing sites, how to get around, orientation and plenty of large photos.

    Most recent post: 48 Hours in Reykjavik

    Blog: Global Grasshopper

    Writer: A team of travel writers Gary and Becky

    Unlike many of the blogs on this list it is not a chronicle of any one person’s travels but rather a collection of inspirational travel stories and travel destination tips written by travel writers. For example you’ll find “top 10” lists, cool hotels and beautiful places as well as the section for travel snobs!

    Most recent post: 10 of the Best Travel Destinations

    Blog: Travel Business Success

    Writer: Tourism Tim Warren

    Since 1994 Tourism Tim Warren works to inspire, guide & connect tourism pros’ to realize their dreams. From Michigan to Mongolia, Baja to Bolivia, “Tourism Tim” Warren has helped 1000’s of small start-up tour operators to international business development agencies increase sales, arrivals and profits via his book, online courses and webinars. An entrepreneur at heart, he enjoys helping current & future travel entrepreneurs succeed financially following their passion of a profession in tourism.

    Most recent post: 5 Travel Website Sales Tips

    Blog: Y Travel Blog

    Writer: Caz & Craig Make-peace

    Caz & Craig originally from Central Coast of Australia alongside their daughters have been traveling round the world. Y Travel Blog was started in April 2010 as a way to share personal travel tips and stories to help others live their travel dreams. There consistency, dedication and global travel knowledge makes their travel site one of the best.

    Most recent post: What a Day at Famous Hyams Beach Looks Like

    Taxi Insurance – Understanding The Nuances

    Those of you who own a vehicle or taxi need to purchase the right type of insurance, so that you are adequately covered in the event of an accident or untoward happening. Irrespective of whether you own a taxi or a fleet of taxis, it is imperative that you buy it and make sure that it meets your budget as well as requirements. There are a number of taxi insurance providers who offer discounts, if you purchase the insurance online. The best way to identify taxi insurance is to browse the internet. There are online insurance directories that will direct you to the respective insurance provider and within minutes, you will have complete information at your finger tips.

    Check out for insurance comparison websites as they will be able to guide you choose the right policy for your requirements. To begin with, you may want to invite insurance of taxi quotes from three to four providers and based on these, take a call on the right policy. Fill in the insurance of taxi quote form and email it to the sites. Within minutes, you will have the filled quotes or quotations. The quote form will ask for some basic information and based on the data provided by you, the insurance provider will tailor-make the policy.

    There are many ways of attracting good discounts on your taxi insurance premium. Having a clean driving record will help you achieve this. The lesser the number of accidents, the greater are the benefits. Similarly, over fifty drivers also get the benefit and good discounts on their insurance of taxi. Above fifty drivers are considered as matured and are less accident prone.

    The taxi insurance premium may vary from one location to another. The type and model of the taxi also have a bearing on the insurance premium. Insurance providers encourage taxi owners to purchase the policy online as they can also get the benefit of good discounts. Once you have bought online insurance of taxi, you will be sent proof of the policy. You only have to take a print out of this copy which is a valid and legal document.

    Depending on the number of taxis or vehicles you own, the insurance premium would vary. You may want to go in for group taxi insurance if you are running a fleet of taxis. The experience and age of the taxi drivers may also be taken into consideration by the authorities before extending the policy. The lesser the risk, the lesser will be the premium and vice versa. It is important to understand that a basic insurance of taxi policy may not always be enough. You may have to check out for a policy that extends other advanced features. In the event of an accident or damage to your taxi, both the parties do not have to bear the brunt of the accident.

    It is advised to take adequate medical cover for the driver along with the taxi insurance, so that the coverage is spread accordingly and claiming compensation becomes simpler and easier.

    Planning Vacations With Free California Travel Guides

    Pick up some free California travel guides today to start planning your vacation to the land of sun and fun. No matter what time of year it is, you will find something in California to entertain you. In the winter, California still boasts warm temperatures and year round theme parks for your entire family. In higher elevations, you can find great places for skiing, so plan to hit the slopes for your next holiday vacation.

    In the summer, California is particularly dynamic, as you will see when you visit the multiple beaches and enjoy the perfect temperature. When you look at free California travel guides, one thing they might not mention is that you should plan ahead.

    Especially during the summer, you might find many hotels are booked, especially those hotels that are around public attractions. Expect longer lines during these summer months, and know that you might have to go exploring to find a spot of beach to keep to yourself.

    If you want to avoid the crowds, fall is a great time to do that, and you can explore the many wine regions. Many free California travel guides can point you to the best ones in the area you plan on visiting.

    Look through your free California guides to find the places worth visiting. Of course, you have the main, well-known tourist attractions, like Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. You have most likely heard of the Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, where you can be amazed at the immensity of the redwood trees. Take a trip to SeaWorld and Mission Bay, which are perfect locations for the entire family.

    If you are looking for great family vacation spots, find free California travel guides that highlight these attractions. For example, there is the National Yo-Yo Museum, which is always a favorite with kids. There is Universal Studios, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom or Birch Aquarium, all of which are great locations to bring those with short attention spans. Free California travel guides should help you find places that interest you.

    Alternatively, if you are traveling to California for a romantic getaway, one free of children, then choose free California travel guides that capitalize on that fact. Have a fun day out parasailing and walking around the heart of San Francisco before cozying up in one of the many romantic dining options available in California.

    No matter which city you visit, you will find relaxation in the surrounding spas, culture in multiple museums and fun with all the different recreation places and parks. Using the various free California travel guides, you can set up the perfect vacation in no time, so get started and put it off no longer!

    Why Travel Agents & Tour Operators Need To Focus On Authentic Local Experiences To Stay Competitive

    The major elements comprising the generic destination competitiveness model helps to identify the key success factors of destination marketing. Among the many approximate set of indicators used to determine destination competitiveness, local experiences is one of the key points. Elaborate empirical as well as conceptual research points out the relative strengths and weaknesses of different tourism destinations, which can then be used to study the impact of local experiences on the travelers and vice versa.

    The discerning travelers of today’s world love exploring unique experiences each destination has to offer and go much beyond staying in the top suite of hotels. Choosing the best dining options and spas has otherwise become passe. No online portal can take you to the hidden nuggets of the destination except the native folks. So, to match up with the millennials’ definition of travel, you need to indulge with the locals which is way beyond any packaged holiday or cookie-cutter options.

    Blurring the borders of traditional definition of travel
    It’s important for Travel Agents to realize that selling travel is actually selling happiness. Imbuing travel goals based on interaction with local people makes travel more meaningful than ever. Authenticity, simplicity, and culture are the new watchwords driving the growth of the travel tourism sector internationally. The evolution of the whole new travel genre is based entirely on indulging in local experiences. It is not about the best luxury experience but the intrinsic local touch will definitely add magic to the holiday memory. Remember that the most valued luxury is experience.

    Present-day culture travelers have moved beyond the familiar environs and revel in the experience in itself. Clearly enough, tourists that like to break the mold are more interactive with local residents. This paradigm shift has not however, completely caught up with everyone yet. The focus of investments still remains on the traditional tourism-related components.

    To create a layered travel experience, the hospitality industry is gradually promoting themselves as the portals for the local community. Although that might not be a necessity but local experience will definitely give a competitive advantage.

    Blending national culture and heritage into luxury travel tours need careful planning and is bound to enhance tourist’s experience. Getting certified from the government tourism policies which include inter-cultural education policy helps to makes the travel agents’ outset more impressive.

    Counter homogenization of the travel experience is the new clause of the tourism authorities. Embracing local cultural tourism will have an impressive lasting impact on travelers with like-minded outlook. Traditional vertical distribution chains among the travel providers has given way to complex value chains and thus in this increasingly competitive marketplace, providers need to seize every opportunity for competitive advantage. Collaborative advantage through local and government partnership is thus a new norm. Local culture and society has become an essential part of tourism value chain. The integrated inter-relationships between travel and other socioeconomic sectors are now conceived as a ‘value network’.

    Promoting Local Cuisine
    Sustainable tourism, which is tantamount to responsible tourism, has been a major concern in the travel industry for the past couple of years. Experiencing the local culture largely contours around the traditional gourmet industry. Trying traditional food completes the cultural experience of the place. Talking of the economic aspect, if you are eating at McDonald’s, instead of benefiting the local community, a major chunk of it leaves the local socioeconomic circle. The international traveler’s gang consist majorly the Western tourists and without much doubt, the need for Western food is always higher than the local recipes.

    While traveling for a single night’s stay, people might think it not important enough to connect to the local traditions. However, pennies in the pocket of the local cuisine industry help to uplift the local tourism industry on a larger picture. Walking into a McDonald’s or a KFC might fill your tummy but will neither add to the local tourism sector nor enhance your experience. For instance, Vietnamese pho is now a big pull for travelers in Vietnam and when in Costa Rica, do not miss gallo pinto. Building connections with the local folks is not always the only token you get in return but you actually help to build a perception about your nationality as a whole. A country’s heritage is strongly rooted within the memories of the local people and as the old folks say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!

    Experiential travel – creating a deeper connect
    The demand for ‘experiential travel’ is arguably the most significant as well as systematic trend in worldwide tourism. The term typically defines immersive, authentic, local, and more active travel trend. While some travel enthusiasts would like to argue that travel is inherently ‘experiential’ by nature and that the term is overused, the idea is to make it more mainstream. Travel consumer attitude has varied wildly when it comes to local tourism and it is its degree of definition varies widely how the overall trend is approached.

    On a deeper emotional and more personal level, people want to travel better at the end of the day. Growing numbers of travelers shying away from the traditional packaged travel brochure is definitely a valid evidence of how local experiences matter for the new age travelers.

    Going Social
    Relying on technology and global networks of small and individual travel providers, travel brands are offering more connected experiences. Almost infinite online matrix of social media networks keep us connected no matter where we travel. But ironically enough these social networks are gradually isolating people in real life than helping them make closer to human connections. The online sharing portal pair travelers with the local citizen network and offer experience to travel like local.

    With packaged tourism losing its appeal among modern day travelers digs the question of what exactly is authentic travel. Consumer data might reveal a section of these answers but tracking social media will give an organic result. For travel brands targeting specific niches, evaluating and adapting to the changing travel behavior is much important.

    Tech tools
    Undoubtedly, the most influential and dependable tech tool for millennials is the smartphone. Mobile phone location technology has made connection right. On niche apps, review-stuffed maps by Google etc. have made planning for set-piece events easier than ever before. The transparency of peer-to-peer accommodation and transportation services like Airbnb and BlaBlaCar add to the authenticity of the travel experiences and their reviews. The underbelly of a place can only be offered by the natives of the place and thus creates difference in the authenticity of the travel experience.

    Large industry players have also chosen to go down to local level. The Instagrammable ideas and images of the less explored destinations is fun in itself. With a series of themed guides and commissioned travel advice by savvy locals has found intense popularity among the new age travelers. The aim is for travelers to get a genuine local experience of the destination. Travel Companies can do well to follow the adage – Think global, act local!

    Auto Transport and Its Process

    Auto transport is such a way of getting your car being moved from one place to another with the help of auto carriers. Instead of having ourselves do the job, transport companies could actually get the job done for us. It is otherwise known as car shipping, auto shipping or vehicle shipping. Getting your car transported across countries is quite a compelling and a hard task to do, therefore a special truck is required for it.

    The process of auto transport is not that easy as it seems. The time it takes for it to be completed and the total cost to be covered on the process depends about on how well you do your research and evaluation of the various transport companies. The internet has made it a lot easier for anyone to look for companies rendering these services and for making some comparisons about it. But with a lot of them present on the web, it is still quite a bit harder to choose for the best one among them.
    < There are various types of auto transport which is being made possible and available for everyone, and here are some details regarding this matter: Open-type Auto Transport

    Open-type process is a type of transporting which definitely means open to the elements. Moreover, open-type car transport is the typical type and a majority of transport companies use this one and besides, it is much easier to find. This can carry up to 10 cars at a time and it also has a lot of car haulers as well. But there are some times wherein it’s unsafe due to some weather disturbances but oftentimes, it doesn’t happen that much and a majority of the vehicles being transported to their desired location arrived without even a single scratch on them.

    Close-type Auto Transport

    From the name itself, it simply means it is close from all elements. Close carriers are much safer and it ensures your car to be safe from unexpected weather disturbances. This is one of the reasons why close-type transport costs a lot more when being compared to an open-type transporting. It could only carry from 2-3 cars at a time making each car completely protected from any elements hereunto. If you have a luxury car and want to have it transported, then close-type transport would be best for you.

    Door to Door Auto Transport

    This type of auto transporting provides that the mover will deliver the car right into the house of their customer, thus saving time and energy of the customers as well. It is a lot more advantageous compared to other types since it is not only easy but economical as well. During this time, mostly all transport companies avails door to door delivery since it is of great demand both in the national and international industry.

    Terminal to Terminal Auto Transport

    This type of transporting simply means transporting the car on a particular time and day. Terminals are of great advantage especially to those who wants to accumulate their cars on an exact date and time.

    These are the ways of getting your cars transported to your desired destination. So if you would like to get the job done as soon as you wanted, then it would be best to look out for the best auto transport company for you.

    Whenever the need for auto transport is on your plan, don’t forget to always check out for the best transport companies on the web. These types of transporting processes could help you to start with.

    Transportation Services and Modes of Transport

    In human evolution, the earliest means of transport were walking, running and swimming. Before the Industrial Revolution and modernization, water transport was the most efficient method of transporting large quantities of goods over long distances though it was very slow and expensive. The importance of water transport led to the growth of cities along rivers and sea-shores where boats, canoes and ships could dock.

    The domestication of animals and the invention of the sled gave way to early animal transport services. Horses and oxen were used from as early as 3000 BC to transport goods and humans and traveled over dirt tracks. Later civilizations such as the Mesopotamian and the Indus Valley built paved roads for easier transport.

    The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century turned transportation on its head. It was the age of many inventions that fundamentally changed the concept of transport. Communication, telegraphy, the steam engine and the steam ship sped global transport in all directions. Land transport became possible over large distances without the application of animal or human muscles. The Wright brothers’ successful experiments with aircraft paved the way for airplanes and air transport became a faster way to transport goods and people in shorter time-frames to further destinations.

    Modes of transport

    A ‘mode of transport’ is a method or solution that uses a particular type of infrastructure, operation and vehicle to transport people and cargo. A mode can be used by itself or in conjunction with several other modes; in this case it is referred to ‘intermodal’ or ‘multimodal’ transport. Each is distinct from the other and is used based on choice of factors like cost of transport, route taken, capability and so on.

    1. Human-powered – this is the most common in developing and under-developed countries because of several factors like savings on cost, accessibility of location, physical exercise and environmental reasons. Human-powered transport is a sustainable form of transport and has recently been enhanced by the use of machinery and modern technology – e.g. cycling, skating, rowing, skiing which are extremely useful in difficult environments.

    2. Animal-powered – whether ridden by humans or used as pack animals for movement of people and commodities, animals can work alone or in teams – e.g. mules, horse-carts, dog-sleds etc.

    3. Air – airplanes and aircraft have reduced travel times considerably and is the fastest mode of passenger and goods transport. High costs and high energy use are the downsides of air transport; however, it is estimated that over 500,000 people travel in aero-planes at any given time.

    4. Rail – Railroads and rail tracks run the length and breadth of every country in the world ferrying people and goods from place to place. Although they involve the use of large amounts of surface land, rail networks provide easy connectivity options within cities, within countries and between different countries as a mode of public transport- e.g. New York City Subway, London Metro, Eurotunnel or the Chunnel between England and France and the Euro Rail.

    5. Road – road networks pass through cities, towns and villages and provide better connectivity options in addition to city rail networks and are ideal for public transport also. Road transport is entirely different from other modes as it allows a vehicle user to have complete freedom over speed, direction, timings of travel and change of location that other transport methods cannot provide. They require large surface areas, use high energy and are quite expensive.

    6. Water – water transport includes barges, boats, sailboats and ships through canals, rivers and seas. The earliest boats and ships were routed through inland canals for transporting people and spices. Today large passenger and cargo ships provide an organized and efficient transportation method. Although the time involved is long, water transportation is significantly less expensive than air or road.

    Other less used modes include cable and pipeline transports which are specifically purpose oriented – e.g. liquids and gases, water, sewage etc. for pipeline transport and conveyor belts, aerial tramways, cable cars etc. for cable transport.

    All transport services involve three common elements – infrastructure such as terminals and facilities, operations that include government and private agencies and vehicles which are specifically made for the purpose.

    Traveling Well – 10 Commandments of Wise Travel

    In this age of high tech communication, the world has become a smaller place, and overseas travel, once the privilege of a few, is now enjoyed by many. However, traveling frequently is not necessarily synonymous with traveling well. I still note with dismay at the numbers of travelers that unknowingly jeopardize their own travel experience, and those of others, by failing to address the two cardinal sins of traveling: lack of planning and lack of sensitivity. I have dissected these 2 points further into the 10 Commandments of Wise Travel.

    The 1st Commandment of Wise Travel is to check and organize all relevant travel documentation at least 1 week prior to departure date. This means passports, tickets, visas and travel insurance. Purchasing a passport/ document holder in order to keep all documentation together is a good investment, particularly when you are a frequent traveler. Otherwise, tour companies and travel agencies give less expensive versions away for free if you book flights with them. You may also want to alert your credit card company of the countries that you will be visiting. Due to credit card fraud and an increase in safety precautions, credit card companies are now putting a halt to cards when they notice a change of spending pattern. Although I may sound as if I am stating the obvious, checking all relevant documentation prior to departure means that you are stating your trip off on the right foot. Any mishap in this area could be enough to color not just the journey, but the rest of your trip.

    The 2nd Commandment of Travel is to arrive at the airport with adequate time to check-in, and clear customs and security prior to the flight. This means airport arrival 3 hours prior to any international flight anywhere from the United States and 2 hours prior from Australia and New Zealand. Since 9/11, security procedures have tightened the world over, and one simply does not breeze through customs and security anywhere anymore. If booking a taxi to transport you to the airport, then ensure that the taxi booking is made the day/night before the flight. Similarly, if a friend/ family member is taking you, then confirm a pick-up time the day prior. I shamefully admit that my husband and I broke this rule on our last trip to Hawaii, to our detriment. We had forgotten to book our taxi for the airport the night before. Initially, we were not that worried as we don’t live too far from Kingsford-Smith International Airport. However, when the time came for us to book our taxi, even though we thought we were allowing plenty of time, our call coincided with the taxi driver changeover, and we could not get an available taxi for a very long time. This mistake caused us a great deal of stress, and it nearly caused us our flight.

    The 3rd Commandment is to pack your luggage sensibly, coordinating your wardrobe carefully. This seems to be a common mistake for women. Rule of thumb is if an item of clothing cannot be worn and coordinated 3-4 ways, leave it at home. Keep the main items in a monochromatic color tone, adding your splash of color with a scarf or jewellery. Knits are ideal to travel with as they wrinkle far less than wovens and are easier to wash and dry. Always travel with a good quality,lightweight pashmina that fits into your handbag when folded. This can be pulled out and used during the flight or when the temperature drops during your travels. Keep shoes down to a minimum, as this only adds weight to your luggage. Have one pair of everyday shoes, one pair of good walking shoes, and another pair for dressier occasions. Leave your “skyscraper” heels at home, as they will only interfere with your mobility, not to mention the damage it will do to your spine.

    The 4th Commandment is to make sure that you nurture yourself on long flights. Drink plenty of water, even if it means more frequent trips to the lavatory, and limit your alcohol intake. The pressurized environment of an aircraft is extremely dehydrating. Keep your skin clean and well moisturized on the flight, and for ladies, if you can manage it, leave your face make-up free. Any foundations or powders will merely clog up your pores. If you have an ipod, I cannot recommend listening to guided meditations on the ipod highly enough. From personal experience, it helps reduce jetlag. Wear clothing that has a stretch in it and does not cut into your arms, chest, waist, crotch etc. get up frequently for a stretch and a walk up and down the aisles whenever possible. The more that you can nurture yourself on a long flight, the more energy you will have and the less jetlag you will experience when you reach your destination.

    The 5th Commandment is to keep a travel diary or journal in order to record all your experiences for posterity, and to share with friends on your return. Take note of all the interesting sites visited and the names and addresses of any fabulous eateries and restaurants. Take lots of photos and collate into an album or CD. This will ensure that the memories of your trip will live on in your mind long after the trip is over. And should you want to revisit a particular site, shop or restaurant, or even recommend a particular place to friends, you won’t have to struggle to remember it.

    The 6th Commandment is not to be rude and obnoxious to cabin crew, waiters, waitresses, tour group staff and hotel staff during your travels. I cannot stress this point enough. Although it may be instantly gratifying to vent your spleen when you are tired, irritated and frustrated during your travels, please remember that these people hold your comfort, not to mention your food, in their hands. If a complaint needs to be made, by all means do so with assertiveness, but always accompany it with respect and courtesy for the individual that you are addressing. Never resort to sarcasm or humiliation. If necessary, take the problem further to a superior. If a problem is communicated by you in an aggressive manner, then you can expect at the very least defensiveness and resentment in return. If there seems to be no solution to the problem, question whether the issue at hand is worth fighting for. If it isn’t, then save yourself the aggravation and have the wisdom to mentally let go of it and walk away.

    The 7th Commandment is to have as authentic an experience as possible when visiting other countries. The whole point of travel is to broaden your horizons, discover unfamiliar lands and open ourselves to new experiences. Research the country’s festivals prior to your trip and partake in the experience when you get there. Find out where the locals eat and frequent. Try the cuisine that is typical of the area, listen to different music and attempt some phrases in the local language. Educate yourself on the country’s history. The results can be quite liberating. You will develop a deeper respect and appreciation for the country and the people that you are visiting, and enrich your travel experience tenfold. If more people did this, our world would not be so divisive.

    The 8th Commandment is to perform random acts of kindness whilst on your journey. When confronted with a fellow traveler who may be in a spot of trouble, take the time out to help without expectation of a reward. If you have the resources to help someone else, then the experience is its own reward. if the situation is a small one, than a small gesture on your part can revitalize a potentially negative situation for the other person. If the situation is serious, then try to get some help. Remember that the laws of karma are alive and well.

    The 9th Commandment is to be sensitive towards the ecology and culture of the lands that you visit. Imagine for a moment that foreign visitors to your home town littered the grounds, destroyed the vegetation, insulted your neighbors and exhibited a gross disregard for your customs and culture. The scenario is not a pleasant one, and yet we as travelers do this when we visit foreign lands. So be extra mindful of this on your next trip, particularly when traveling as a group.

    The 10th and final Commandment of wise travel is to savor and enjoy every moment of your travels. Remember that the world is a wonder and a blessing, and the opportunity to explore it is something to be grateful for. Learn to be in the moment as wise traveling is just as much about the journey as it is about the destination.

    In conclusion, if you do your homework, and take care of all the necessary planning and organization for your trip prior to your departure, you are in a much better position to make the most of your trip. Utilize a checklist, as it saves plenty of headaches later on.

    History of Travel & Tourism

    2000 years Before Christ, in India and Mesopotamia

    Travel for trade was an important feature since the beginning of civilization. The port at Lothal was an important centre of trade between the Indus valley civilization and the Sumerian civilization.

    600 BC and thereafter

    The earliest form of leisure tourism can be traced as far back as the Babylonian and Egyptian empires. A museum of historic antiquities was open to the public in Babylon. The Egyptians held many religious festivals that attracted the devout and many people who thronged to cities to see famous works of arts and buildings.

    In India, as elsewhere, kings travelled for empire building. The Brahmins and the common people traveled for religious purposes. Thousands of Brahmins and the common folk thronged Sarnath and Sravasti to be greeted by the inscrutable smile of the Enlightened One- the Buddha.

    500 BC, the Greek civilization

    The Greek tourists traveled to sites of healing gods. The Greeks also enjoyed their religious festivals that increasingly became a pursuit of pleasure, and in particular, sport. Athens had become an important site for travelers visiting the major sights such as the Parthenon. Inns were established in large towns and seaports to provide for travelers’ needs. Courtesans were the principal entertainment offered.
    This era also saw the birth of travel writing. Herodotus was the worlds’ first travel writer. Guidebooks also made their appearance in the fourth century covering destinations such as Athens, Sparta and Troy. Advertisements in the way of signs directing people to inns are also known in this period.

    The Roman Empire

    With no foreign borders between England and Syria, and with safe seas from piracy due to Roman patrols, the conditions favoring travel had arrived. First class roads coupled with staging inns (precursors of modern motels) promoted the growth of travel. Romans traveled to Sicily, Greece, Rhodes, Troy and Egypt. From 300 AD travel to the Holy Land also became very popular. The Romans introduced their guidebooks (itineraria), listing hotels with symbols to identify quality.

    Second homes were built by the rich near Rome, occupied primarily during springtime social season. The most fashionable resorts were found around Bay of Naples. Naples attracted the retired and the intellectuals, Cumae attracted the fashionable while Baiae attracted the down market tourist, becoming noted for its rowdiness, drunkenness and all- night singing.

    Travel and Tourism were to never attain a similar status until the modern times.

    In the Middle Ages

    Travel became difficult and dangerous as people traveled for business or for a sense of obligation and duty.

    Adventurers sought fame and fortune through travel. The Europeans tried to discover a sea route to India for trade purposes and in this fashion discovered America and explored parts of Africa. Strolling players and minstrels made their living by performing as they traveled. Missionaries, saints, etc. traveled to spread the sacred word.

    Leisure travel in India was introduced by the Mughals. The Mughal kings built luxurious palaces and enchanting gardens at places of natural and scenic beauty (for example Jehangir traveled to Kashmir drawn by its beauty.

    Travel for empire building and pilgrimage was a regular feature.

    The Grand Tour

    From the early seventeenth century, a new form of tourism was developed as a direct outcome of the Renaissance. Under the reign of Elizabeth 1, young men seeking positions at court were encouraged to travel to continent to finish their education. Later, it became customary for education of gentleman to be completed by a ‘Grand Tour’ accompanied by a tutor and lasting for three or more years. While ostensibly educational, the pleasure seeking men traveled to enjoy life and culture of Paris, Venice or Florence. By the end of eighteenth century, the custom had become institutionalized in the gentry. Gradually pleasure travel displaced educational travel. The advent of Napoleonic wars inhibited travel for around 30 years and led to the decline of the custom of the Grand Tour.

    The development of the spas

    The spas grew in popularity in the seventeenth century in Britain and a little later in the European Continent as awareness about the therapeutic qualities of mineral water increased. Taking the cure in the spa rapidly acquired the nature of a status symbol. The resorts changed in character as pleasure became the motivation of visits. They became an important centre of social life for the high society.

    In the nineteenth century they were gradually replaced by the seaside resort.

    The sun, sand and sea resorts

    The sea water became associated with health benefits. The earliest visitors therefore drank it and did not bathe in it. By the early eighteenth century, small fishing resorts sprung up in England for visitors who drank and immersed themselves in sea water. With the overcrowding of inland spas, the new sea side resorts grew in popularity. The introduction of steamboat services in 19th century introduced more resorts in the circuit. The seaside resort gradually became a social meeting point

     Role of the industrial revolution in promoting travel in the west

    The rapid urbanization due to industrialization led to mass immigration in cities. These people were lured into travel to escape their environment to places of natural beauty, often to the countryside they had come from change of routine from a physically and psychologically stressful jobs to a leisurely pace in countryside.

    Highlights of travel in the nineteenth century 

    ·        Advent of railway initially catalyzed business travel and later leisure travel. Gradually special trains were chartered to only take leisure travel to their destinations.

    ·        Package tours organized by entrepreneurs such as Thomas Cook.

    ·        The European countries indulged in a lot of business travel often to their colonies to buy raw material and sell finished goods.

    ·        The invention of photography acted as a status-enhancing tool and promoted overseas travel.

    ·        The formation of first hotel chains; pioneered by the railway companies who established great railway terminus hotels.

    ·        Seaside resorts began to develop different images as for day-trippers, elite, for gambling.

    ·        Other types of destinations-ski resorts, hill stations, mountaineering spots etc.

    ·        The technological development in steamships promoted travel between North America and Europe.

    ·        The Suez Canal opened direct sea routes to India and the Far East.

    ·        The cult of the guidebook followed the development of photography.

     

     

    Tourism in the Twentieth Century

     

    The First World War gave first hand experience of countries and aroused a sense of curiosity about international travel among less well off sector for the first time. The large scale of migration to the US meant a lot of travel across the Atlantic. Private motoring began to encourage domestic travel in Europe and the west.  The sea side resort became annual family holiday destination in Britain and increased in popularity in other countries of the west. Hotels proliferated in these destinations.

    The birth of air travel and after

    The wars increased interest in international travel. This interest was given the shape of mass tourism by the aviation industry. The surplus of aircraft and growth of private airlines aided the expansion of air travel. The aircraft had become comfortable, faster and steadily cheaper for overseas travel. With the introduction of Boeing 707 jet in 1958, the age of air travel for the masses had arrived. The beginning of chartered flights boosted the package tour market and led to the establishment of organized mass tourism. The Boeing 747, a 400 seat craft, brought the cost of travel down sharply. The seaside resorts in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Caribbean were the initial hot spots of mass tourism.

    A corresponding growth in hotel industry led to the establishment of world-wide chains. Tourism also began to diversify as people began to flock alternative destinations in the 70s. Nepal and India received a throng of tourists lured by Hare Krishna movement and transcendental meditation. The beginning of individual travel in a significant volume only occurred in the 80s. Air travel also led to a continuous growth in business travel especially with the emergence of the MNCs.

    Become A Travel Agent – The Secret To Saving Up To 80% On Your Personal Travel

    Remember the days when travel agencies were everywhere and before you took a trip you consulted a travel agent? Of course, that was before the advent of the Internet. Now the travel agent’s job is one of the fastest disappearing jobs there are, but there is still a reason for you to become a travel agent.

    Now there is a new kind of travel agent called a home-based independent travel agent.

    These independent agents take advantage of one of the most effective ways of marketing products or services. It’s called word-of-mouth advertising. As people are bombarded with more and more advertising messages, advertising messages are getting less and less effective.

    When people use a product or service they like, they tell other people about it. That has always been true. But now this fact is much more important. If you want to grow market share these days, it’s best to find a way to take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing.

    That’s why a new form of travel agency has sprung up. These “hosting” travel agencies still have travel agents in them, but these agents have a different role. Their role is not to find customers to sell travel to, there role is to sell travel to the people referred by the home-based independent travel agents the agency signed up.

    The home-based independent agents are the ones actually “selling” the travel. But most of them aren’t doing it the traditional way with standard marketing techniques. They are taking deeply discounted trips themselves and then telling their family, friends, neighbors, and business associates about these trips. Since these independent travel agents can sell travel too, this word-of-mouth advertising helps them make commissions on the trips the people they refer make.

    So not only are they getting deeply discounted trips, they are making money by simply sharing their experiences! These agents even earn commissions on their personal travel too!

    That’s where you come in. If you want to get the same perks travel agents get, then you can now easily become a travel agent. All you have to do is to sign up with one of these travel agencies, read a training manual, receive a travel agent ID card, and you are now qualified to receive the same benefits as other travel agents.

    You don’t even have to quit your job and become a full time travel agent to get the same travel benefits that were previously only available to travel agents who worked in a travel agency. You can travel at up to 80% off and make some money from doing something you’re going to do anyway…talk to others about the trip you just took.

    In fact, everyone benefits. You benefit by receiving huge discounts. The travel agency makes money by selling more travel without expensive advertising. The hotels, cruise lines, airlines, and the rest of the travel industry make more money because they see more travelers. It all starts when you become a travel agent for one of these host travel agencies.

    Work From Home in the Home Based Travel Business

    There are essentially 3 types of travel home based business opportunities.

    1. Becoming a licensed travel agent.
    2. Marketing and reselling promotional vacation certificates.
    3. Marketing travel membership clubs.

    1. Becoming a travel agent requires licensing. You can book travel under the umbrella of a registered travel business using their travel agency IATAN number. After a certain amount of sales and commissions earned you can apply for your own IATA number. As a travel agent you can book your clients’ travel using travel consolidators and marking up the price to earn a commission. Travel agents are required to be licensed and bonded. Some hotel chains require the travel agent to complete their own travel agents exam online in order to claim travel agent benefits. Becoming a home based travel agent has become a sought after home based business within the travel arena. Not all work at home travel agent businesses are created equal. Some members are unable to utilize travel consolidators and can only use their own replicated travel portal websites to book travel. The commissions here are very low and the main income comes from recruiting other members. Other travel agencies train the members to become fully fledged travel agents, where potentially the commissions on bookings can be much higher.

    2. Marketing promotional travel certificates has become a popular business. The certificates can be resold to businesses or companies but generally can not be sold to the end user. Promotional items have become part of the marketing arena and create customer loyalty. If the promoter sells the certificate to the end user a license is required in most states and provinces in Canada. Everyone loves a good deal but many certificates have black out dates and require the spouse or partner to travel with the person registering the certificate. Some certificates require a timeshare presentation. As a work from home business, the promotional certificates generally generate smaller commissions.

    3. Travel membership clubs have been the staple in the home based travel arena for over 14 years. They have progressed from those selling just promotional vacation certificates and discounted last minute travel to becoming full fledged travel agencies. Some even offer concierge customer service, have access to huge databases of resort vacations, cruises, flights, car rentals and more. Some home based travel businesses have the added bonus of earning rebates on travel booked from company portal websites. In order to resell travel, the home based travel company is required to be a licensed re-seller of travel and should have their license number visible on their website. These discount travel memberships are popular not only as a way to earn money from home for many thousands of members, but are also popular as a real way to get deeply discounted prices for the savvy and frequent traveler. The commissions on travel memberships can be very high, many companies offering direct sales bonuses of over 50%.

    Unlike other home based businesses and work from home opportunities, the travel industry offers a product with market recognition. Everyone knows what a vacation is and what a cruise might entail. Travel is a $7Trillion industry and continues to be a growing market with no signs of losing steam. It is also packaged as a fun industry. When asked, a dream vacation is one of the most wanted items atop a wish list.

    Helpful Notes When Preparing A Taxi Driver Accounts To Save Money

    Self employed taxi drivers in common with other self employed businesses are required to submit a self assessment tax return form each year reporting the main totals from the taxi drivers accounts. The final submission date for these accounts to enable the tax authorities to calculate the tax payable is 30th September while the final deadline for submission of the self assessment tax return is 31st January. Miss the 31st January deadline and the penalty fine is 100 pounds.

    The simplest solution to preparing the taxi driver accounts is to collect all the taxi receipts and expenses together, hand them over to an accountant who will prepare your self assessment tax return and might charge between 150 to 450 pounds for the privilege. That is taxing. Taxi driver accounts does not have to be that taxing. You can prepare your taxi driver accounts and self assessment tax return yourself but do something.

    These taxi driver notes in preparing the taxi driver accounts and completing the self assessment tax return are to assist that process.

    Mileage Allowances

    Taxi drivers can claim as an alternative to vehicle running costs mileage allowances of 40p for the first 10,000 miles and 25p per mile thereafter. You may not claim mileage allowance and vehicle running costs. Should you choose to claim the mileage allowance then keep good records of mileage covered, purpose of journey.

    Taxi Capital Allowances

    If you bought a vehicle in the financial year 2007-08 and used the vehicle as a taxi you can claim a first year writing down tax allowance of 25% of the cost of the taxi, restricted to 3,000 pounds for vehicles costing over 12,000 pounds. On vehicles purchased in previous tax years you can claim 25% writing down allowance on the balance not yet claimed. Many taxis are bought and sold each year and where a taxi is sold the capital tax allowance that can be claimed is the difference between the written down value for tax purposes and the amount of sale proceeds. First year allowance on non vehicle assets in the current tax year 2007-08 is 50% for small businesses.

    Taxis bought on Hire Purchase

    Claim capital allowances on the original cost of the vehicle, interest and other charges count as business expenses and go in the self assessment tax return box 3.61 Other Finance Charges

    Taxi Running Costs

    When completing the self assessment tax return taxi drivers should enter fuel costs in box 3.46 cost of sales not motoring expenses. A standard check carried out by any competent inland revenue inspector inquiring into a self assessment tax return would be to check when the taxi driver was on holiday and examine if fuel receipts had been included for this period. Not many tax returns are inquire into as the system is based upon trust but taxi drivers should ensure their accounts do not contain this fundamental tax fiddle. Taxi running costs also include repairs, servicing and parts including tyres, road tax, taxi insurance and AA/RAC membership. Include radio hire and taxi office costs in general administrative expenses.

    Household expenses

    If you run your taxi business from home you can claim a proportion of household expenses as business expenses in the taxi accounts. Household expenses are likely to be disallowed unless they are either specific to the business or a specific area of your home is devoted entirely to your taxi business. Using part of a room part time would not be sufficient to include the household expenses in the taxi driver accounts.

    Spouse Costs

    You can claim expenses for partners who work for your taxi business and payments up to 100 pounds per week would not attract income tax or national insurance however any payments claimed in the taxi driver accounts must be real payments for real work done. The Revenue naturally adopt a strict view on taxi expenses claimed for partner work as it is an area some people might use to reduce the tax liability. Care is required to justify the partner as an expense.

    Other Expenses

    Enter all business expenses in a named expense box on the self assessment tax return. Avoid entries in box 3.63 Other Expenses if possible as any significant amounts in this box may give rise to an Revenue inquiry into the self assessment tax return.

    The best method of ensuring the taxi drivers tax bill is as low as possible in the future is undoubtedly to meticulously maintain good records of all taxi receipts and expenses and mileage covered which offers the opportunity for taxi drivers to compare the taxi running costs against mileage allowances and choose the most tax efficient option. The decision to claim mileage allowance or taxi running costs can and often does change during the financial year. In general when a more expensive taxi cab is purchased then the capital allowance of 3,000 pounds will often outweigh the potential mileage allowance although if the vehicle is low value the mileage allowance might be the best option and a method of saving valuable tax pounds which you are entitled to. The best taxi accounting software will automate the comparison of taxi mileage allowances with taxi running costs doing the taxi accountants work for you.

    Save and Profit From Your Own Online Travel Booking Engine

    Now is your chance to finally profit and save big from the largest market shift in history. That is the Travel Industry Shift from the Brick & Mortar to the online Click & Mortar.

    Are you ready for a good time off rate for your next vacation? If you are watchful for the cheaper prices, mull over using the internet and booking online using an online travel website. These online travel websites are becoming in demand with holidaymakers and travelers nationwide.

    Usually, you will come up with cheaper rates, cheaper prices in airline and traveling fares. Online travel websites are qualified to accommodate their clients with cheaper pricing because their over-heads are normally less than your standard travel agency who maintains a big staff, have to pay a lease for their office space and have to furnish equipment for the travel industry. Utilizing the internet, travel entrepreneurs can cut their expenses by spending exclusively over the internet or by telephone.

    Online travel websites are providing instant communication over the internet, where conventional travel agents have to check and research travel information. So, travelers are benefiting from instant travel information, services and the convenience of booking all travel online and not needing to leave the home or work place to book their travel.

    Now travel enthusiasts can use these online travel websites to select their own vacation destinations, stops, routes, dates, and basically plan their own vacation to fit their particular needs. As you continue to read this article, you will find my resource box at the bottom with a link that will show you how you can profit big from this huge market shift in the travel industry. This is made possible with your very own online Booking Engine website.

    So, there are numerous advantages for travelers to use online travel websites instead of a conventional travel agency. Online travel websites will allow you to plan and select your vacation or destination and then select the most affordable flights or passage to your selected vacation destination. Select an online travel agent with industry experience, this means that they will have sufficient expertise and knowledge, contacts and additional to guarantee you get the least expensive deal possible.

    Use the internet to set up your next vacation, save yourself time, money and gain from the convenience of online shopping and booking. Online travel websites are becoming a big business in the travel industry. These online websites have practical, informative and helpful websites for their patrons to compare prices and find useful information on their vacation destination and their selected online travel website’s choices and services in the travel industry.

    Join the travelers of the world and originate your plans and bookings for travel and vacations by using an efficient, professional online travel agent. Save money, time and take advantage of creating your own vacation structure. Decide on the best vacation for you, and let professional online travel websites get the cheapest travel rates available.

    I hope you have gotten some good ideas from this article and are able to use them.

    Top Travel Trends in 2010

    The holidays next year will be to a great extent affected by the economic recession most countries suffered this year. That however does not mean that people will not go on holiday, but that instead they will be more careful with how and on what they spend their money. Holiday makers will spend more time searching for great deals, such as exploring new travel destinations to find the best bargains and joining Online Travel Agencies (OTA) to gain good discounts. Below are some of the predicted top travel trends for the year 2010.

    1 – Looking for budget options

    Economical holidays will the key deciding factor this year, with holiday makers searching out the best budget details and discounts. Make sure when you plan your holiday this year, not to just go for what looks like the best rate, but hunt deeper for complementary give-aways, such as a free night’s stay on a multiple night stay, gift cards, spa credits, coupons and free dining etc.

    2 – Eco Travel

    Humans are slowly but steadily becoming more aware of their impact on nature. Think ‘green’ is the trend these days, with its effects being felt even by the travel industry. Most travelers look for Eco friendly holiday options, holidays that cause minimum damage to nature. Eco travel was born out of this need and is a continuing trend for 2010.

    3- Mixing business with pleasure

    The world is always on the go, with most travelers finding it more economical and viable to mix business with pleasure. Nowadays business travelers look for accommodation options that cater to all their business needs while providing leisure activities as well, so they can enjoy the best of both worlds.

    4 – Latin adventure

    Latin America is finding itself growing more and more popular with travelers as a luxury travel destination.

    5 – Train Travel

    Rail travel in Europe has grown popular, as this is an economical way of traveling while enjoying the wonderful scenery on the way. This has become even more popular with the new high speed rail links into Spain and Italy.

    6- Going Mobile

    With the growth of mobile applications and capabilities, it is now even easier to plan your travels, such as tracking flight information and planning itineraries. Mobile phones now play a very important role for travelers in helping them with their travel planning. They are used to receive information from travel agents etc and are fast proving to be invaluable to travelers.

    7 – One platform for travel plans

    With the busy schedules most of us have, it is easier to have one central platform from which to plan your travel details. This way you can keep track of everything happening in the travel industry, be up to date on the latest happenings and not just make one off purchases. The Internet offers strong travel centrist sites where such central services are offered, so that people can plan every aspect of their travels, from creating the trip, to searching for accommodation, getting advice about the intended trip, finding the best deals down to updating profiles so as to keep friends and family informed.

    8 – Adventure Travel

    The year 2010 will find people looking for holidays with more action. Most now look beyond the standard and look for adventure such as jumping out helicopters, skiing, safaris, bungee jumping as well as more personalized holidays with private tours of museums and art galleries. For the more adventurous a growing trend is to take a high-speed car tour around major cities!

    9 – Seeking out new hot-spots

    As with everything in this world trends change. As travelers expand their travel horizons, China, India and the Gulf States find themselves growing into the latest hot-spots. This trend will grow more in 2010 as travel to the ever popular European destinations at the moment for most, is not economical. So traveling to China, India and the Gulf States gives the traveler an exotic holiday while being easy on the purse, with favorable exchange rates and low travel costs.

    Monsters on a Bus

    When I finished my drivers test last week, I was welcomed aboard as a new full time driver for Lisa Motor Lines and given a choice: if I wanted to start trucking that very afternoon I could have an International tractor right there in the yard in Fort Worth. If I didn’t want to drive the International (and who does?) I could have an older, five years, Freightliner tractor…

    …but…

    …The Freightliner was in Tampa, Florida, another reason to opt for the Freightliner. March in Florida, how bad could that be? I’d have to go to Tampa to retrieve the truck…

    …but (and this was the really BIG BUT!)…

    …Lisa would only send me to Florida by bus, a Greyhound, thirty hours from downtown Fort Worth to Tampa. The bus left at 6:00 a.m. the following morning and, God willing, would arrive in the Sunshine State around noon the following day. I hadn’t been on a cross-country bus since I was a kid. It might be kind of fun in a weird sort of a way, I thought. Besides, what could possibly go wrong?

    I presented myself with all my gear (a lot of it) at the Greyhound station in downtown Fort Worth at 5:45 a.m. and was immediately assailed by the driver, a big man who threw his considerable weight around like a wrecking ball. He would not answer any questions from passengers, shouted orders like a drill sergeant and cussed and griped under his breath the rest of the time.

    He yelled orders; passengers had to line up inside the terminal behind a specific door (we were all standing outside at the bus door). When a woman asked him to repeat the door number he dismissed her. “I already said the door number and I ain’t going to repeat it. You better learn to listen better.” He walked off. Later as we were boarding, a young man stepped out of line to throw a piece of paper in a nearby trashcan, the driver yelled, “Hey! When I say ‘all aboard’ I mean get on the bus! Don’t you get out of line again or I’ll leave you here!”

    This bullying of the passengers continued all the way from Fort Worth to Dallas (what, a half an hour?), but I was so furious by the time I arrived at the Dallas terminal I was ready to chew through anything that got in my way. I found the station supervisor. “You need to fire that driver! You need to fire him off this job right now! He’s the meanest son-of-a-bitch I’ve ever met!” The words spilled out of my mouth like too-hot soup, but it was obvious this was not news to the supervisor who just turned and sauntered away.

    The attitude of all the Greyhound employees I encountered, be they drivers, counter help or baggage handlers, was the same. Their sarcasm, condescending attitudes and aloofness were unconscionable! The drivers had all the warmth of vengeful prison guards. When a black woman, just as angry as me, deigned to ask still one more question, the driver retreated to an almost identical tirade about. “I already said it once, I ain’t going to say it again…,” like he had memorized it out of the company handbook, doubtless the very short chapter on Customer Service. But this brave woman wasn’t taking any more lip from the driver. “When I want a lecture I’ll call my mama!” she yelled back, overpowering the driver. “What I want from you is a civil answer to a simple question!” I joined in the applause the woman had earned. The driver was not moved.

    The problem facing Greyhound is not merely one of escalating fuel prices, expensive equipment in poor condition and spotty passenger counts, but one of attitude and if it’s true that ‘manure’ roles down hill, Greyhound’s front line employees are standing in the cesspool created by distant, insensitive and uncaring management. The bad eggs need to be rooted out and fired. If there are any employees left after that house cleaning, they need to know that they’re going to be next ones thrown ‘under-the-bus’ if customer service doesn’t improve.

    The ride was interesting. The bus was sort of clean, kind of like a football stadium right after a big game. It ran well when it was running (it quit three times, once in traffic and the police had to come and stop cars while the driver [a different but equally rude one] rummaged around in the engine compartment).

    The day wore on into night and the array of odd passengers made the trip surreal. It was just as weird to see a well dressed, refined woman with coiffed hair and stylish clothes, as it was to see the grizzled old man in three different plaid pajama pieces, a bathrobe, slippers and a cowboy hat.

    But in the hours when you can only see another passenger in the headlights of a passing car or truck, everybody looks weird. At that hour of the night we are all refugees, monsters who don’t know, don’t want to know, or don’t want anyone else to know where we are. It’s a grim parade with vampire overtones, one that kept us all from restful sleep.

    Tampa came into view as the sun was hovering over the bay in the western sky. Only six hours late – not bad, I was told. I didn’t make any lasting acquaintances, you don’t on a trip like that, only momentary relationships that serve to wile away the daylight hours or to keep the monsters – the other monsters in the night – at bay.

    But unlike our Greyhound drivers, when the sun came up, we passengers turned back into human beings.

    Woman's Travel World

    As a woman, it is quite a rare opportunity to get to see and enjoy the world in our own way. There are very few travel opportunities when we drop our worries and responsibilities down and wear the new aura of being ourselves. It is our time that allows us to live from to-do-lists, children’s whereabouts, office tasks and the details of the rest of the world. Ladies travel club is a wonderful opportunity with international and domestic tour packages wholly designed for women.

    Domestic tours packages involve auspicious Konark tour packages, unique relaxation special Kerala women tours and Chennai-Puri tour packages that would totally set you free and rejuvenate you. It is the best way to get ready for the life challenges again. From single mothers to home makers to professionals to business owners want to pick these domestic tours for women that offer various itineraries and packages of various sizes. Women from all the walks of life love the travel without any male guardian around. It offers time for gossiping, shopping, relaxation and just the time for your family to miss you at homes. It is the kind of two-in-one deals for women only.

    There are so many ways in which women’s lives revolve around our jobs and family. If you continue to carry on your family pressure on your travel, you would not come back refreshed and empowered for the challenges of life. That’s why these packages are successful in domestic and international levels. From a short 3 day escapade to a total refueling package of 10 days, they are created with women in mind. From one night accommodation in Cochin to extra shopping time in the itinerary, from the spa visits in Kerala to sightseeing in Mysore, women are the central focus of all the details.

    This is created to be our time. It is completely our time to be spent in gossiping or just laughing aloud, in yapping about husbands to non-sense shopping sprees. These alone travels allow women to heighten their confidence and also make them self-reliant. These qualities make them able to handle crisis situations in much better manner and also give them the kind of monthly group meetings to look forward to.

    The international packages involved travels to Sri Lanka, Dubai, Bhutan and China. The explorations create the excellent opportunity to understand the cultural nuances of all these places and enjoy the different experiences. The small groups of 15-20 women give the chance to get to know each other as friends and fellow-travelers in much better and intimate way. That changes the dynamics of the group altogether. Women can here as travelers and leave with some friends of the lifetime and great moments that they would cherish for the lifetime.

    Have you ever found a journey that can change you forever? If no, then you must join WTC and luxuriate in the experience because that’s what we enjoy and share with more and more women through WTC. The freedom and duty-free time just for yourself is what would create the most exciting and never-before time for each and everyone if us.

    Travelling From Newark NJ to Orlando Florida Via Niagara Falls

    The day finally arrived and it was time to set off on our journey to London Gatwick airport for our Month long trip to the US. We had booked to stay overnight at an Airport hotel so that we could be fresh for our trip the next day. I should point out that this trip was pre 9-11.

    Our flights consisted of a flight to Newark NJ with Virgin Atlantic and a return flight from Orlando also with Virgin. We booked car hire in two parts, both with Alamo. Because car hire is more expensive in New York, the first leg would be for 7 days and then we would return the car at Orlando and take out another rental for the remainder of the trip.

    Our planned itinerary was to stay overnight on landing at Newark in a Holiday Inn close to the airport. Then head off the next day to Niagara where we would spend 2 nights, then journey down to Florida, staying 2 nights on the way.

    We took off on time from Gatwick for the almost 7 hour flight. Although we were regular travelers to Florida, we had never been to New York before and as our time would be a bit limited we had not planned on visiting the city across the water on this trip. We arrived mid afternoon after flying quite low along the Hudson River giving us a magnificent view of the New York skyline, to a very busy Newark airport. The airport itself was undergoing some major alterations and it was a bit chaotic to be honest. We eventually, cleared immigration and collected our luggage and at that time the Alamo car rental desk was off the airport so we had to wait for a bus to take us there. In fact from where we were waiting, we could see the rental depot outside the airport across the road. The bus arrived and took us to the depot. We had booked a one way rental and we knew we would have to pay a drop off fee of $300. The clerk tried to talk us into upgrading even though we had booked a seven seat minivan for the 4 of us and had prepaid all our fees and insurances. We paid the drop off fee and the airport collection fee (which she managed to get us to pay) she gave us the keys and told us where the vehicle was located.  Imagine our surprise when we found the vehicle was in fact an 8 seat GMC minivan, obviously the one she wanted us to pay the upgrade for and better yet it had Florida plates!! At that time we were keen to get going so it didn’t much bother us about that. We set off to find our hotel and after a short drive we came to the Holiday Inn. We got checked in and headed to our rooms to freshen up a little before having our dinner. We opted to stay in the hotel to eat and had a few drinks before retiring for the night.

    The next morning with our body clocks still being on UK time enabled us to be up at 5am, fresh and ready for our drive to Niagara. We set off around 5:30am and decided we would get breakfast on the way. After a bit of a nightmare trying to get to the interstate we eventually left the Newark area. Daylight had come and we found a Perkins to have some breakfast en route. The rest of the drive was fairly uneventful and we remarked how similar the scenery was to where we lived in the UK. When were nearing Niagara Falls, probably about 30 minutes away, I could see what I thought was steam rising from a cooling tower in the distance. It turned out to be the falls.

    We had decided to stay on the Canadian side of the falls and had booked 2 nights at the Sheraton. Once we got to the border we had to go through customs and immigration, we had no problems and were through in about 15 minutes. It was then that we got the first view of the falls, from the bridge, what a magnificent sight it was too. I can say that photos don’t do it justice. We went to our hotel and checked in then set off to discover Niagara. We decided to walk to down to the falls and it only took around 5-10 minutes. The first striking thing that occurred to me was that the spray rises so high, in fact the following morning when we left the hotel I thought it was raining, you know the fine drizzle type but it was in fact the spray from the falls. The wind direction was blowing towards our hotel. We did all the usual tourist things, went to where the whirlpools are along the river. I was surprised to see so many Armish people there, I don’t know if it was a holiday time for them or what but there certainly was a lot. We would see some more of them too later in the journey through Pennsylvania. We did the “Maid of the Mist”, well the men did and it was spectacular. We set off on the boat towards Horseshoe Falls, once the boat get close you hear the engine rev up as the skipper increases the power to get you in close, the only thing I can describe it as, is something like the Arctic, it was just white everywhere and you are being covered in a white spray. Even with the waterproof poncho’s you still find the water getting in somewhere. The trip over, you head back to the dock and take the elevator back up to the top, back on the main road. We also did a tour that takes you behind the falls. We found the Canadian people were fantastic and we felt we had good value for money. We never had to change our currency as you could pay for everything in US dollars. One thing to remember is that you can claim back the GST a sales tax for purchases in Canada. It is restricted to certain things though, so check to see what you can claim for. On our second day we went to Niagara on the Lake, a beautiful place with some lovely scenery. There is a jet boat that you can go for a ride on here which looked like fun. On a clear day you can see the CN tower of Toronto in the distance too. That night we crossed back over to the US side to visit the outlet mall where we got some great bargains.

    The next day we checked out of our hotel and began the journey to Florida. We had a little bet to see who the first person was to spot a wild Palm tree but that would be a day or two away yet. We crossed back into the US and headed towards Buffalo where we took the interstate. After New York, the next state we entered was Pennsylvania and we passed through Harrisburg and onto the next State Maryland where spent our first night. We stayed in a motel and were surprised at the difference between, here and other places we stayed at. It was a Sunday and the hotel bar closed at 10:30pm. It just seemed that they were more religious than some of the other places we stayed.

    Anyway next day we were off and I must say that the scenery in Pennsylvania and Maryland was starting to get so much better and passing by the towns of PA with their quaint churches and steeples was very picturesque along with the fall colours of the leaves. It is our intention to drive down the Blue Ridge parkway and travel through the Shenandoah national park for some of the journey so we head for Front Royal and in no time we enter the Park. As we enter and pay the small fee, we see a deer crossing the road ahead of us. We thought this was a taste of things to come but believe it or not that was the only one we saw! The speed limit on the twisty roads is only around 20mph so the journey can take some time. Every so often there are overlooks where you can stop and take some photos. This area is steeped in Civil War history and there were many plaques that commemorate the lives lost between soldiers of the North and South. Much of the scenery you are looking at won’t have changed that much over the years and you can just imagine what it was like when you look at the battlegrounds below. You can see how the name Blue Ridge came about as there is a blue tinge to the hills in the distance and this is caused by the trees putting the “blue” in Blue Ridge, from the isoprene released into the atmosphere,thereby contributing to the characteristic haze on the mountains and their distinctive colour. There are information stations along the route and places to buy refreshments. We traveled along the route for about 3 hours and then left to rejoin the interstate and on to our next stop passing by Roanoke, Charlotte and into South Carolina where we stayed overnight at a Howard Johnson. The girl on the reception desk had that southern drawl which we found so nice. Princess Diana had not long been killed and when she noticed we were from the UK she went to great pains to express her sorrow, which we thought was very nice.

    The next day we wanted to get to Jacksonville in Florida for our last overnight stop and to visit some friends. We set off early and travelled south on the interstate towards Charleston where we joined the I-95. This interstate runs from the North of Maine all the way down to Miami Florida. We passed by Savannah and it was around here that I won the $10 for the spotting of a wild palm tree! Before long we were entering Florida and Jacksonville was in sight. When we got there we chose a beach hotel and checked in. It was early afternoon and we set off to meet our friends. We met up and we went back to their home for a while and arranged to meet later at the Mandarin ale house for a meal later. After a great night out we went back to our hotel, we had arranged to go to St Augustine the next day. This was a great day St. Augustine is reportedly the oldest US city and is steeped in history with a definite Spanish flavor. We had a look around the Fort and did some shopping. Later that afternoon we were going to go to Orlando. We said our goodbyes and headed off to the land of the mouse.

    The temperature now was getting much warmer and we had changed into shorts in SC but as we neared Orlando it was getting very warm. When we got there, we decided to get the car sorted out and during the trip it had been needling away at us that we had paid $300 for the privilege of returning a Florida rental car to Florida! So when we went to the rental office in Orlando we complained to the clerk, she went to speak to a supervisor and came back to tell us that they will refund the $300 and gave us a brand new 7 seat Dodge Grand Caravan. So that was a good result.

    We had pre booked our Orlando accommodation and during our stay we did the theme parks and all the other things that tourists do. We also set of for a few days down to Fort Myers, this has always been a favourite of ours. We stayed at Pointe Estero a condominium right on the beach. I can heartily recommend a road trip such as this and look forward to doing it again sometime. You can see so much more of the country this way.

    Why the London Riots Created a Greater Business Travel Threat Than a Terrorist Attack

    Introduction to the London riots threat

    If you have business travel to London, you need to read this article. In this article you will discover why the London riots created a greater travel threat than a terrorist attack. We will examine the threat posed by the London riots and demonstrations, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays, disruptions and changes. At the end of this article, you will have a specific understanding of the required business travel management response and awareness as to why this will happen again.

    The London riots and demonstrations has resulted in one of the largest business travel disruptions of 2011.

    London Riots and Demonstrations

    The London riots and demonstrations have come as a complete surprise to many. It is not a unique event and certainly not unique to the UK. The scale, violence, fire and failure of the authorities is often something expected in other countries but the lack of preparedness for destinations like the UK is common and widespread. Therefore, the lack of preparedness and last-minute scramble to respond and the inability to avoid major business travel disruptions are widespread as a result.

    Due to the footprint of disruption, many routes and modes of transport have been negatively affected. Simple commute from the airport, trains and ports to planned accommodation options have been altered and continuous review of hazard or threat assessment are required. Furthermore, travel support providers such as taxis, hotels, restaurants, emergency services an other basic amenities have also been affected, to varying degrees.

    Travel and risk managers need to immediately identify:

    • Affected areas,
    • Degree of threat,
    • Affected and exposed (inbound and outbound) business travellers,
    • Arrival/departure points,
    • Safe and non-affected areas,
    • Mitigation or eradication options,
    • Cost of implementation,
    • Funds available,
    • Emergency support,
    • Accommodation options,
    • On-going or developing events,
    • Social or non-business activity,
    • Insurance claims and compliance requirements,
    • Cancellation criteria,
    • Resumption of travel criteria,
    • Extended event plans,
    • Travel alternatives (domestic and international)

    The London riots have affected multiple support systems related to business and leisure travel. Any leisure travel disruptions will further compound business travel threats such as decreased accommodation options, airport congestion and increased public transport demand. Even simple actions like withdrawing money from an ATM will prove a challenge and compound the hazard/s.

    The London riots have had a prolonged affect on UK business travel sector, far greater than the majority of terrorist attacks. Further affects such as planning and preparation for the 2012 Olympics will also contribute to the lingering affects.

    A lack of planning and subsequent response capability by businesses could constitute a failure of duty of care, due diligence, corporate social responsibility, workplace health and safety or other related legislation.

    Terrorist attacks less of a threat than London riots

    With the exception of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, most have limited travel disruption and only affect a narrow band of travelers. Inclusive of the Mumbai terror attack, terrorist attacks typically have clearly defined threat elements (terrorist, bombings, gunfire, etc) whereas the London riots is a constantly changing and unclear threat. Most business travelers will be unprepared for such decision-making demands and lack sufficient experience to make consistent and safe decisions.

    Most contemporary business risk management systems focus on location and plausible event threats, then seek to inform or prepare travelers for the best results to mitigate or eliminate the hazards and threats. Therefore, the bulk of business travelers will not be prepared or educated on how to respond in London, with such wide spread disruption and threats. Few will have residual knowledge from information and preparation for such events in other locations, considered more likely to be medium to high risk. Many of the supporting business travel management departments and managers will be equally unprepared and resourced.

    A terrorist attack and other similar violent crimes would have a much smaller footprint of disruption, not affected such a wide business travel demographic, not affect business travel support providers so comprehensively or have such a prolonged impact on all exposed.

    Routine travel delays, disruptions and changes represent one of the most persistent and probable travel risk management issues.

    Travel delay, disruption and changes

    Change management and the decision-making involved is one of the most commonly accepted workplace hazard concerns. This is equally relevant to business travel and business travel threats.

    The instinctive and guided response of travelers to any delay, disruption or change can significantly affect the outcome of any spontaneous or new hazard as it presents. Particularly when this is the first level of response, before support options and resources can be activated or come into affect.

    Travel delays have been triggered due to airport and airline workers unable to get to work, taxi drivers not able to refuel vehicles, hotels and staff overwhelmed, business travelers unprepared and convergence of business and leisure travelers upon all available exit travel nodes.

    Access to information, at all levels, the ability to consume and process all the options and explore alternatives is imperative in this and similar travel disruption events. Crisis leadership will succeed more frequently than simple crisis management, to which are dependent upon timely and accurate information from all available resources.

    Unfortunately, many will fail to fully understand the gravity of the events, the threats posed and respond or prepare accordingly. While many others exposed will chalk it up to another force majeure or random act that is just part of the rich experience of international travel. Courts, business travelers and peer review increasingly do not share this flippant view.

    This scenario and lack of preparedness has been played out numerous times in recent history. Volcanos, volcanic ash affects, Japan’s tsunami, airport closures, airline failure and many others have caught business travelers and managers alike unprepared. This disturbing trend will continue.

    Conclusion: London riots threat

    You should now see why the London riots have a far greater impact and threat to travelers than you may have originally thought. We have examined the business travel threat posed by the London riots, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays. You now have a specific plan for this and similar events and the required business travel management and response. This will happen again. Perhaps not in London, perhaps not a city wide demonstration but this kind and scale of business travel disruption event will happen more than once before the end of 2011. Review your plan and make the necessary enhancements now.

    School Bus Safety – What To Teach Your Kids

    Over 20 million children nationwide ride the school bus every day. While school buses are regulated to some extent by federal law, not all states have the same safety standards. For example, New York, New Jersey, and Florida all have state laws in place which require school buses to have lap belts installed for student use. No federal law exists, however, which makes this a national standard. In fact, the debate over seat belts in school buses has been going on for years.

    That being said, school buses do not have a bad safety record. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses have some of the best safety records on the road in terms of deaths per distance traveled – just 0.2 deaths per 100 million miles. Furthermore, while some 30,000 people died in passenger vehicles crashes during 2004 alone, only 71 school bus passengers have died in accidents in the past eleven years combined.

    Of course, as scintillating as the statistics may be, no one can argue that they are perfect. Children are society’s most valued resource, and it only takes the death of one child to make a significant impact on a family and community. One must also consider that many more children die as a result of being hit by buses than do while passengers on a bus. Even though bus drivers are required to undergo safety training and to take extra precautions due to the nature of their job, accidents happen. Nearby drivers may also be at fault. Despite laws which require motorists to stop for school buses, thousands upon thousands of irresponsible drivers ignore these laws daily, creating a serious safety risk for children getting off the bus.

    As a parent, one of the best things you can do is reinforce bus safety guidelines with your child. Even though such rules may already be communicated in school, children often look to their parents to give the final word on issues. Be ready to answer questions your child may have, and make sure he or she understands how to be safe around buses.

    – When waiting for the bus, stand several feet away from the curb. Do not enter the street or attempt to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and opened its doors.

    – While riding the bus, do not distract or otherwise aggravate the driver. Keep backpacks, lunchboxes, and other objects out of the aisle, as these create tripping hazards.

    – When getting off the bus, use the handrail and watch your step. Try not to cross in front of the bus. If you must do so, walk several feet ahead of the bus and wait for the driver to signal for you to cross. Watch out for passing motorists when crossing the street.

    – Never, under any circumstances, crawl under the bus. Not even to retrieve lost property.

    Teaching your child to respect these safety guidelines can reduce the chance of a devastating accident on the bus, at the bus stop, or at school.

    How to Become a Group Leader and Travel Free

    If travel is your passion, and you can’t visualize yourself sitting at a desk all day, answering question about travel destinations which you would rather be visiting, becoming a Group Leader, may be your best solution.

    The cruise line industry caters to the group sales methodology to fill up cruise cabins. Most of the major cruise companies will provide a free cruise for a Group Leader who sells 8 cabins or 15 full paying passengers. Some cruise companies require the group leader to pay for taxes, fees and upgrades. Smart group leaders, usually will book themselves, into an Interior cruise cabin. That way no one in the group has a less expensive cabin.

    The Group Leader can sell his/her cruise or, cruise for free. This option is what makes the group leader’s opportunity so popular.

    Experienced Tour Conductors, usually generate multiple methods to market their cruises or group travel events. The most common way is to locate established groups, who want to save money by traveling together. Other successful groups include special interest travel.

    Because the majority of Group Leaders are not, travel agents, they may have regular jobs, and belong to social organizations and church groups which puts them in touch with hundreds of potential travelers.

    There are a number of ways to get started as a Travel, Group Leader. If you are a junkie traveler, you can use your own experiences to build your confidence and your sales.

    If you have a limited travel background, yet travel is a passion, you can take a home study course, or enroll in a couple of classes at your local junior college. There are also courses online, which are extremely affordable. Travel is a billion dollar industry and there are many options for learning different phases of the travel industry.

    My own path through this maze was to enroll in a UC Berkeley Extension (Berkeley, Ca) course, on Group Travel. My instructor was one of the most successful group travel professionals in the country, at that time. My next step was to volunteer as a group leader for a social club who was attending an annual ski summit in Vale.

    It is not necessary to spend lots of money on schooling be become an effective Group Leader. However, it is mandatory that you learn everything you can about your destination and the travel involved.

    Once you have secured a basic knowledge of the type of group travel you want to offer, you can then seek out a host agency. A Host Agency is a licensed, bonded travel agency which allows travel agents or outside travel agents to book travel using their company name. There is a split in the commission, as the host agency is the legal business which allows you to book travel for your clients. Most host agencies charge a fee, and an annual fee, but not all. Fees for joining a Hosting Agency can range from zero dollars, up to $500.

    Another option is to contact your local travel agency and let them know you want to work as an outside agent. Be prepared to explain what types of travel you want to offer and to what type of groups you want to specialize in. The agency owner, or manager, will provide you with the commission structure, if any, policies and procedures. Some travel agencies only offer free travel to group leaders, while others offer, free travel, and commissions.

    When first starting out, it is almost always better to join a group in process, or, create a fun, 2 day trip, to get experience. My own experience included learning the procedure for a particular cruise ship. For about 5 years, every time a Princess Cruise ship docked in San Francisco, I thought I should further my travel education and be aboard ship when it cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge and out to sea. My efforts landed me in the Captain’s Circle and qualified me as a Platinum Cruise Member.

    It is easy to find clients. Below is a list of ways to market your travel events.

    1. Informing your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members, club members, organizations, friends of friends, twitter pals, and your personal email buddies, is a great way to find new clients.

    2. The second best way is to invite friends, neighbors over for a travel party or a cruise party. Ask the cruise line or the resort, for a video tape and free promotional material to share with the guest. Provide guest with snacks and (cheap) wine. Keep the wine coming! No need to be aggressive. Travel sells itself, especially, if the destination and price is of interest. You can provide your clients with a bottle of fine wine aboard ship.

    Remember to ask for a deposit. Stay focused, your job is to provide information and collect checks. Ask friends to sponsor a travel party. The more parties you have, the more people you sign up. It’s that simple!

    3. Make announcements at your church and your organization. Include the information in the church bulletin or your organization’s newsletter, as many times as possible.

    4. Have flyers made up, but not before you have business cards printed, with your name, contact numbers, email address, name of travel event, dates and starting cost.

    5. Distribute flyers, at public places or public events.

    6. Use classified ads, online and offline to promote your travel event.

    7. Pass out your cards, everywhere you go. Doctor’s office, cleaners, grocery store, beauty shop, stores where you shop, your children’s school, your favorite neighborhood bar, and eating establishments.

    Paper work is extremely important and without it, nothing happens. Paper work must be completed correctly and forwarded to the host agency or travel agency in a timely manner. Failure to do so could result in an ugly situation, which could escalate into a legal battle.

    Checks should be made out to the host agency or the travel agency. Even if the travel agency says its OK for your clients to make the check out to you, don’t do it. Get you commissions from the host agency, unless you have a Seller of Travel license. One you turn in your deposits and payments, the host agency or travel agency, will provide you with your commissions, based on your agreement.

    Outside travel agents usually work under an Independent Contractor Agreement and are issued a 1099-MISC at the end of the year.

    Improving Travel In Our National Parks: The Transportation Scholars Program

    As the population of the United States continues to increase, so do transportation issues in our national parks. In the past three decades, park visitation has jumped more than 83 percent; almost all of these additional visitors have traveled to and through the parks in privately owned vehicles. Roads and parking facilities that were once adequate are now overwhelmed, especially during peak travel seasons.

    The resulting congestion both degrades visitor experiences and imperils the natural and cultural resources the National Park Service (NPS) is committed to protecting. The result is further strain on an agency already stretched by small budgets and over-worked staff.

    In 2001, in an attempt to help the NPS find innovative solutions to this problem, the National Park Foundation (NPF), the Ford Motor Company Fund, and Eno Transportation Foundation teamed up with the NPS to establish the National Park Transportation Scholars Program. Today the program continues under the guidance of the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration, the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks and Technical Assistance Center, and the Eno Transportation Foundation.

    The Transportation Scholars Program provides parks with transportation professionals who assist in developing transportation systems to help parks reduce traffic, congestion, and pollution while improving park visitor experiences. The Scholars Program pairs transportation professionals and graduate students with NPS staff seeking expert assistance with projects involving transportation planning and analysis, public outreach, intergovernmental coordination, environmental impact assessment, and other transportation-related tasks. Assignments generally begin in early summer and last either six or twelve months.

    The Transportation Scholars Program provides the Park Service with much-needed transportation expertise at a fraction of the cost of hiring consultants or bringing on full-time staff. The Parks derive significant advantages from having Transportation Scholars located on-site versus using off-site assistance, and Scholars benefit parks by serving as single points of contact on transportation matters for consultants, contractors, and local communities. Scholars also bring a fresh perspective to the Park Service, while taking away valuable personal and professional experiences.

    Jacqueline Lowey, Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) from 1996 to 1997, and Deputy Director of the NPS from 1997-2001, conceived the idea for the Transportation Scholars Program. “I think that transportation is absolutely key to protecting park resources,” said Lowey. “Transportation is the nexus of how you preserve parks while enabling visitors to experience the parks’ incredible natural and historical treasures now and in the future.”

    To be eligible for consideration, parks must have a specific transportation-related project ready to begin or already underway. A committee made up of representatives from the NPS, the NPF, and the Eno Foundation reviews park applications that meet these basic requirements; final park selections are made by the NPF’s Board of Directors.

    Parks with projects connected to well-developed, long-term transportation plans and involving innovative approaches to addressing park transportation issues are given priority. Examples of such innovative approaches include projects incorporating alternative transportation systems, community involvement, sustainable transportation, transportation master planning, multi-modal access, and non-motorized transportation. The scholar selection process is administered by the Eno Foundation, which assembles a selection panel with representatives from the NPS, the USDOT-Federal Lands Highway, and other organizations with a transportation focus. The panel reviews the project proposals of parks selected by the National Park Foundation, and matches the best qualified candidate with each project.

    Transportation Scholars have come from a diverse range of educational and professional backgrounds; several have been working professionals in transportation-related fields. Others have been graduate students pursuing PhD or masters degrees in civil engineering, landscape architecture, urban planning, public policy, and business administration. Most Scholars are given assignments of between 3 months and 1 year, though some have worked for the same park for multiple years.

    At the end of their term, the scholars are required to submit a report to the NPF detailing their accomplishments, providing guidance to NPS decision makers, and describing the significance of their findings for other park units and the larger transportation community.

    Group Travel Planning and Traveling Tips

    Thinking about traveling with a group? Group travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to see the world and visit popular destination sites; not only is the vacation care free, but you can make lifelong friends on the way! If you are planning on experiencing group travel for the first time soon, here are some traveling tips to help you have the best group vacation experience.

    Have Group Will Travel

    Did you know that many group travel companies love it when you already have an established group to travel with? If your church society, school class, hobby club, social group, or extended family and friends want to take a vacation to an exciting destination together, tour operators are happy to handle all the details so your group can travel simultaneously without the hassle of planning the vacation, gathering payments or handling travel documents. This is one of the best ways to travel with a group since you already know the members of the organization, share a common interest and nobody in the group has to handle the tedious details!

    Finding the Best Group Travel Services for You

    The best group vacation company is the one that meets your needs and provides you with the vacation experience you were looking for! There are all types of tour operators such as adventure travel services, group travel for singles, and senior group travel companies. First, pick a travel company that is specialized in the type of travel you want (unless you already have a group of people to travel with). Then make sure the tour operator is respected and well established in providing escorted vacations. Just because a company claims they have led groups before does not mean they are an established tour operator! Just think, you are leaving all the details and traveling plans up to someone else; that is a lot of responsibility and your happiness is on the line! Make sure you pick a respected, established travel company that is specialized in the type of travel you are looking for and has built relationships with its travel partners from years of doing business together.

    International Traveling Tips

    If it is your first time traveling overseas then learning about the country you are going to visit is important even when traveling in a group! Simple things like charging your phone might be challenging if you are traveling overseas. Escorted travel companies will try and alert you about native customs and give you international traveling tips, but you might also want to learn the basic “hello” and “goodbye” greetings as well as how to say “yes,” “no” and “thank you” in the native language of the countries you will visit. Don’t forget to pack your passport and any additional documentation you might need for medical purposes; it is good to bring the phone numbers of your home physician in case your medical history needs to be accessed while on vacation.

    Unfortunately, going on vacation is a treat that most people only get to do once a year! Group travel can be very rewarding and allow you the comfort of experiencing a foreign land without the feeling of being alone. Tour operators also make sure you have the best travel experience possible so that your escorted vacation becomes your dream vacation.

    Why the Timing is Right – Become a Travel Agent

    Why the sudden surge in interest for the travel industry? Here are a few facts to consider when looking at a travel career as a career option.

    Here are the facts:

    1. Travel is a $7 Trillion dollar industry expected to double to $14 Trillion within the next decade.
    2. This lucrative industry is currently growing 23% faster than the global economy.
    3. A key factor in this growth phenomenon is the stream of baby boomers that are retiring, or getting ready to retire.
    4. Baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 1 every 8 seconds.
    5. Travel was rated the number one thing these baby boomers intend to do when they do retire.

    When considering a career in the travel industry, there are several options available for those looking to work from home.

    There is an increased demand for qualified travel agents, due to the explosive growth of the industry as a whole. To become a certified travel agent, your options are not limited to the traditional brick and mortar setting. Many reputable travel agencies now offer options for the individual looking for a legitimate home based business.

    While doing your due diligence in researching whether this industry is a fit for you, consider that there are excellent income opportunities available to work from home.

    If your goal is to work as an independent travel agent from the comfort of your own home, consider working as an online travel agent.

    Here are some companies that you can research, that offer excellent training. Some of the companies will hire you as an employee, while others offer the freedom of being your own boss, and setting your own hours.

    Do your due diligence!

    1. Research each company carefully, and make it a priority to understand the compensation plan.
    2. Know what training is available, and whether the company will offer you the opportunity to become certified.
    3. Does the company have IATA, IATAN, ARC and CLIA affiliations?
    4. What is the initial investment? Are there additional costs associated for licensing, or becoming certified?
    5. If you are considering a work at home position, what kind of support is offered?

    Are you a right fit for the travel industry?

    Lets break down the qualifications that will determine whether you are suited for this challenging, but rewarding career.

    Travel agents should have a minimum of a high school diploma.

    Travel agents should have a love for travel. Enthusiasm and a love for working with people are crucial elements for success in this industry.

    Travel agents should possess excellent multi-tasking and organization skills.

    Great communication skills, as well as computer skills are essential.

    Travel agents should possess a professional, courteous demeanor when working with suppliers, and the general public.

    Attention to detail and accuracy are very important. Some sales ability is very helpful as well.

    Now, the benefits of becoming a travel agent

    The benefits of becoming a travel agent are many. I have listed the top three.

    Travel agents save up to 80% on travel to many of the worlds exclusive resorts and destinations. These discounts include, but are not limited to:

    Complimentary upgrades Hotel room upgrades and discounts

    Car rental discounts and upgrades

    Cruises

    Theme park discounts

    Vacation Packages

    FAM trips, also known as familiarization trips. Suppliers want travel agents to have first hand knowledge of their facilities, so that the travel agent can make a recommendation based on personal knowledge and first hand experience.

    The supplier will offer discounts and other perks, and roll out the red carpet to ensure the travel professional has an outstanding time.

    Tax Benefits for individuals who chose to do this profession as an independent travel agent. Consult your CPA or tax professional for more information regarding this benefit.

    Summary: How Do I become a travel agent?

    In summary, becoming a travel agent can be a lucrative and rewarding career. Should you decide that you possess the skills and abilities needed for success, you can look forward to a promising career.

    Get Started: Do a search online using the keywords: become a travel agent, how do I become a travel agent, or online travel agents.