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 2017

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.

How Cheap Budget Travel Online Experts Can Help You on All of Your Travel Needs

More considerable travel savings are given to the best travel planner. Oftentimes, the best planners are those who hire travel agents. There are lots of cheap budget travel online experts who can help you on your travel needs. With their help, you will be able to obtain the best travel deals, save money and prevent problems in your chosen destination.

A wealth of information on cheap travel deals is available on the Internet. Because of it, you can easily compare different travel deals and prices. Excellent budget travel online experts can not just offer you great perks that can help you save hundreds of dollars but they can also help you save time in planning and booking. They can also inform you which airlines or cruises charge the less and how you can avoid other travel charges.

Consulting and hiring affordable budget travel online experts is truly rewarding, since they could get special hotel accommodation rates and have the skills to negotiate a cheap vacation package that would enable you to save both time and money. Also because of their expertise, you will be able to have a more enjoyable vacation or travel experience. These people often have access to cheap hotel deals, airfares and other travel perks that average travelers cannot simply obtain on their own.

Oftentimes, most budget travel online experts get bombarded with lots of travel promotions that sometimes you can even get travel packages for as low as a hundred dollars. At a minimum, budget travel online experts can book you tickets to your specific destination. Most of them typically focused on air, sea and rail travel as well as on other options available. They may also prepare a car that you can rent along with other services like arranged arrival meals and airport or dock pickups.

Budget travel online experts also have more to offer. They can even provide recommendations regarding immunization and preventive medicine routines that may possibly be required when traveling in different countries. These experts can also be of great help in organizing passports and visas, ensuring that their clients move effortlessly during their trips.

Some budget travel online experts can also suggest and recommend language classes and other travel arrangements, while others may give helpful tips and hints for their clients to make sure their clients will be able to experience an enjoyable trip. A travel expert who specializes on things like business travel may take account of travel itineraries that are customized for business people like well-organized tours and accommodations that include services like Fax machine usage and Internet access.

Budget travel online experts usually sell themselves based on their abilities to organize intricate and enjoyable trips, whether it could be whirlwind tours or relaxing luxury cruises. With lots of websites offering the services of these experts, you can surely find one who is experienced and knowledgeable in all of the eccentricities of the travel scheme and a trip can at times run more slickly with an expert at the helm.

Finding Costa Rica Travel Info

If your wanderlust is pushing you towards the direction of Latin America, then it is very likely that you have looked at Central America. You probably have also looked at Costa Rica travel info for help in planning your vacation. If you are not all familiar with this beautiful tropical paradise then this is the place to start.

Costa Rica is located in the middle of Central America. It has Nicaragua to the north and Panama on its south; while it has the Pacific Ocean on it west and the Caribbean Sea on the east. The main regions of it are: Guanacaste, Nicoya Peninsula, Central Valley, Central Pacific, and Caribbean Costa Rica, Plains of the North, South Costa Rica and Cocos Island National Park.

It has two major international airports that service the country. One is the Juan Santamaría Airport which is accessible to 3 cities: Alajuela, Heredia and the capital city of San José. The other one is the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport which is located in Liberia in the Guanacaste region of the country.

In addition there are lots of domestic airports scattered all over the country. There is one each in Limon City, Barra del Colorado, Tortuguero, Pavas, and La Fortuna. There is five domestic airports in South Puntarenas namely: Carate, Coto 47, Drake Bay, Puerto Jimenez, Palmar Sur, and Golfito. For North Puntarenas, they have the Tambor Domestic Airport and the Quepos Domestic Airport. For Guanacaste, aside from their international airport in Liberia, they also have domestic airports in Tamarindo, Nosara, Punta Islita, and Carrillo (Samara).

Another crucial bit of Costa Rica travel info is the location of the major cities of the country. There are the aforementioned and well known cities of Alajuela, San José, Tamarindo and Liberia. Cartago is the first capital of Costa Rica and Jaco is one of the famous surfing spots of the country. Other cities worth visiting are Pochote which is across Puntarenas, Parismina which is on the Tortuguero Canals, Puerto Limón which is the main country on the Caribbean side, and Heredia which is famed for their coffee plantations.

Since Costa Rica is well known as a world class ecotourism destinationf, the country is blessed with many splendid parks that should not be missed when visiting. There is the Tapanti National Park, Cahuita National Park, Corcovado National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, and Chirripo National Park. Tourists can also pave a visit to Arenal Volcano, Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves and to the Pacuare River and Protected Zone. If you are a bird watcher then you will want to bring your life list and expect to double it in size without much effort.

Last but definitely not the least, the beaches should not be forgotten when in Costa Rica. Many aficionados listed the following as the top ten beach spots that should be enjoyed when in the country: Nicoya Peninsula, Manuel Antonio, Montezuma, Playa Tamarindo, Corcovado, Mal Pais, South of Limon, Jaco and Tambor. Surfing is a major draw on many of the Pacific beaches especially during the winter months when Northern storms send great waves south to be enjoyed by both the novice and expert.

The best way to enjoy Costa Rica is to take your time and enjoy it with a smile. That is the only way to get lost in Costa Rica’s Tropical Paradise. Remember if you miss something on your first trip you can always come back for another visit to paradise.

Travel Alert: What You Need to Know About Travel Safety and Security Risk Management

Introduction

If you want to learn about managing the safety and security of your corporate travelers then you will need to read this report.

Specifically we’ll discuss preparation, analysis, management, monitoring and response as it relates to an active and successful travel risk management program.

After reading this article, you should know how to prevent or predict approximately 90% to travel risks and act immediately to improve your own program.

Implementing a successful travel risk management strategy can be one of the easiest corporate actions but the most difficult to get moving.

Too much time is wasted focusing on the wrong areas for assessment and implementation, that results in minor coverage for the major areas of concern.

Here we will simplify the process for immediate action or comparison.

Preparation

Preparation is the primary and key step for all programs, whether mature or developing. Any-and-all information that is collected, especially data, should be consolidated to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Overcoming a “silo” mentally within the organization is also paramount to consolidating.

Intent, progress and resolutions must be communicated to all stakeholders in the most effective medium possible.

Managers should not limit themselves to the more traditional mediums but also include popular social media offerings.

Key messages or content must be track-able or at least acknowledged to ensure potentially life saving information isn’t lost in the vast corporate email inbox or mislabeled as spam.

Each major milestone and change needs to be documented, rated and followed channeled into the communication plan.

Time spent on effective preparation is rarely wasted and will pay dividends, throughout the course of the program’s life-cycle.

Example-Preparation

A relatively small consulting firm, who understood that they had a significant investment in their consulting staff, was able to develop and implement an effective, world class travel risk management strategy in a matter of weeks.

Through a well-structured phase of preparation and mapping they were able to resolve an issue that had consistently been pushed back because they had always assumed the task was insurmountable.

Analysis

Analysis of all key components associated with corporate travel must be conducted.

Travelers

The first and most pivotal is the travelers themselves.

A profile and rating of each traveler needs to be developed.

Questions around health, experience, knowledge, function and even preparation are basic requirements for each travelers threat profile.

With this information managers will be better positioned to make accurate assessments on the overall risk of any journey.

Location

The location visited is the second element.

The threats vary greatly from location to location and generalized ratings are useless if based on such known vulnerabilities.

Trips to a key, developed city warrant different planning considerations than that of a remote location in a developing economic country.

Different cities within the same country may have vastly differing threat concerns too.

Activity

Next is the activity to be undertaken by the traveler.

A conference, factory tour, expedition or client meeting all have differing threats and planning considerations and are not adequately address by a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Support

Additionally, the level of support afforded the traveler is considered.

This is not only those organic support options such as internal support and providers but that of emergency services, infrastructure and so on.

The time it takes for an ambulance to respond can turn a “routine” incident into a potentially fatal encounter.

The assessment and access to support should be inclusive of routine and emergency situations.

Threats

Lastly, all the known or prevailing threats need to be assessed.

You can never know everything but an overall list and impact/potential outcomes assessment needs to be conducted to complete the process if consistent and measurable results are to be expected.

Many threat factors may be seasonal or vary over the course of the month or traveler’s journey.

Example-Analysis

Due to changing economic challenges, a mid-sized company was pressured to seek new business in developing countries and emerging markets.

Until this point they had always been reluctant to venture into such markets due largely to their perception of risk.

Following structured and less superficial analysis they were able to fully appreciate the actual threats and separate the more emotive elements.

Following consultation with managers and travelers, they successfully expanded their market and sought new business with less competition as their competitors continue to lack the understanding and preparation to successfully pursue potentially lucrative opportunities.

Management

The greatest threat to preparation and analysis is an unsupervised or not managed program once the traveler commences travel.

Ownership must be displayed and active management of travelers from a door of departure until a door of return is required.

This must be conducted with frequency of effort and communications to ensure the traveler feels supported and management is across the potential for change and intervention.

This phase is a marathon and not a sprint.

The management of successful programs requires consistency in conjunction with frequency.

Relatively standardized approaches need to be applied to like situations/circumstances for the purpose of efficiency, productivity, safety and cost control.

Demonstrable support is required both within the management group but to all identified stakeholders such as travel management, security, the traveler, families, etc.

Example-Management

A company with tens of thousands of traveling personnel successfully manages the risks and demands of travel with only a handful of people.

Their system and support mechanism is adaptive enough to support individual requirements but automated enough to ensure efficiency by keeping headcount at optimal and minimal levels while leveraging technology.

Their overall strategy is not managed by one department but all departments and stakeholders work in collective unison at each and every stage from departure up to return of the traveler to the office or their place of residence.

Monitoring

Monitoring represents the Achilles’ heel for the majority of travel risk management programs.

Ongoing monitoring of events and activities is required, whether this is carried out by the traveler or higher support function such as HR or security.

Tactical events (those that occur within proximity of the traveler/travelers route) should be scrutinized on a regular basis.

These events are the ones most likely to cause disruption or harm and should constitute the priority of effort.

Wider events or more strategic developments also need to be monitored for change that will impact the traveler or group of travelers.

Tactical events include demonstrations, storms, violence and the like while strategic events include visa changes, political unrest, health crisis and so on.

The actual journey taken by the traveler should be regularly reviewed or automated to report and respond disruption events and threats.

Finally, the individual needs to be monitored outside of the usual performance and reporting requirement to ensure their health and well-being is preserved or unchanged.

Example-Monitoring

Numerous companies have averted crisis and maintained productivity by monitoring developing events.

Changes in weather, strikes, airline delays and even public holidays can occur at short notice and outside of standard policy doctrine.

By keeping “a finger on the pulse” with active monitoring these companies maximize their travel spending and ensure their travelers are highly productive and efficient.

Less vigilant companies who leave the process to static policy and dated knowledge are forced to spend more or suffer unnecessary delays.

Response

Bad things happen to good people all the time.

No plan is complete without a response capacity in support of the affected traveler.

The plan and steps must be painstakingly simple and clear so as to be remembered under the worst of situations.

The plan must be adaptive and simple in implementation so that it can build in complexity and content after the initial activation or call for assistance.

The plan may be infrequently called upon but it should have consistency in application and capability.

All locations, activity, individuals and threats need to be considered and inclusive of the response plan.

Above all, the plan needs to be timely in its application.

A distressed, affected traveler or manager must get the support and collaboration required in the shortest possible time frame.

While the planning and preparation may be measured in days, weeks or months the response should be valued in minutes and hours dependent on the need.

Most companies acknowledge this is not their core competency and therefore part or all of this function is outsourced for maximum return and results.

Example-Response

A “seasoned traveler” from an acclaimed academic institution became unwell while traveling for work purposes.

Despite years of experience and seniority at the institution they had in fact very little knowledge or experience when it came to emergencies or supporting medical services in the location they were when they became ill.

As a result of poor choices, lack of knowledge, no support, limited integration coupled by a litany of local challenges the individual nearly died.

It was only through the swift and successful actions of a concerned spouse, engaging a far more organized process with predictable results, did the individual receive the care and support required to save their life and begin the long recovery process.

Conversely, one company experienced several similar incidents in a single month, however not once were their travelers placed at such grave risk, suffered uncontrolled costs or outright loss of productivity for long periods.

This was all due to a successful and scalable response capacity if and when required.

The Main Travel Safety and Security Threats-Locations and Events

The majority of incidents negatively affecting travelers occur at airports, on the road, accommodation, office/business location, social/leisure locations or result of dynamic change.

Airports

Airports must be included in any action plans or support strategies as it is first/last leg of all journeys and likely to present delays and disruptions ranging from flight delays to targeting by petty criminals.

Accommodation

Accommodation of all kind must be evaluation and included in timely response and advice communications.

Road Moves

Road moves remain the most prevalent and greatest for deadly consequences. Motor vehicle accident rates vary wildly from country to country.

Location

Locations of business activity within the journey plan represent the smallest of impact locations but demand inclusion.

Social and Leisure Activities

Often forgotten with tragic results are social or leisure locations.

This element is likely to be largely unscripted but has a high rate of incidents and events that negatively impact upon the traveler.

Change

The one constant with travel is change.

Elections, violent crimes, attacks an other major news events create change and potential for concern, whether affected directly or not.

Planners and managers need to include this dynamic in the constant monitoring, response and communication plans.

Close

Most agree that travel is inherently risky or laced with threats but far less actually do something about travel risk management as they don’t know where to start or see the task too daunting.

As you can see, it is relatively straightforward to capture 90% of the problem and manage the risk in a few simple steps.

With a methodical and consistent process inclusive of preparation, analysis, management, monitoring and response you too can have a world-class travel risk management program.

Most events and concerns occur in and around airports, accommodation, road moves, office/business locations, change and social leisure locations.

Now you know the key focus areas you have the information and plan to start now.

Even if you already have a plan and strategy, you can benchmark your own approach with this information gathered from years of empirical data, thousands of incidents and insight from thousands of companies ranging from small startup to some of the largest multinationals around the globe.

Travel alert and you truly travel safe.

Go To An Expert Travel Agent Or Directly To The Operator?

Unless you are comfortable with handling your own arrangements directly with travel operators over their websites or your travel selection is just a simple selection from a brochure you should consider finding an expert travel agent for your travel destination or activity requirements. This is not as simple as it sounds as many travel agents are designated as ‘specialists’ which often does not mean too much, except that they specialize in selling certain destinations, activities or named tour operators.

To obtain a ‘specialist’ designation can also be a very simple test set by a tourism office or tour operator and does not necessarily require an actual visit or experience. Travelers should beware of specialists, simply find out if they are experts by asking “have your been there, have you done that, did you buy the t-shirt?” or some more exacting questions, as you are investing hard earned money in your trip or vacation.

In our lifetimes we hopefully spend more on our travel wants and needs than on any other professional or expert in their chosen fields such as lawyers, accountants, plumbers, electricians, builders, dentists, doctors and we certainly choose them very carefully, so why not use the same quality control when choosing a travel agent. Also, as with our other experts, there may be different agents needed for different destinations and activities, so do not necessary stay with one agent for all of your travel requirements unless of course the agency has different experts for different products and services.

There is an understandable element of extra costs when using these experts called commissions and fees but the extra cost is often worth the investment if you really need travel knowledge, experience and expertise. Many travel experts are dedicated professionals who have spent years gaining knowledge of their products and services, gaining experience by visiting destinations, taking part in activities and gaining expertise in the reservation and search systems for better itinerary planning.

They are out there, but not necessarily in your town, region or even country. With the Internet we have the ability to find experts for anything and to compare and check credentials and product quality before committing our investment.

If you, as a traveler, do not need to use an expert travel agent and are comfortable with handling your own arrangements over the internet you have unlimited choices but not unlimited time to do your searches. You also have probably questioned why, if you do your own bookings directly with the operator, that you have to pay the commissions that are normally built in to travel prices to allow for retailer or wholesaler percentages, and rightly so. Are you getting a fair fare price when you go directly to operators and if not why not?

Not as simple an answer as it seems. Travel Wholesalers and Retailers are needed to market, promote and represent travel products so that travelers have the opportunity to view the myriad travel choices around the world. Without them many of us would never know the choices available to us so, when you have found your expert you should be loyal to them for yourself and also recommend and refer their expertise to others.

Travel Operators often have a predicament that if they show a two-tier price on their websites, one for buying from travel agents and a lesser price for direct bookers, that this could cause a rift in the supply chain and should therefore be protected for the benefit of the industry and the consumer in order to ensure that certain travel selections are available.

To overcome this predicament needed a new and completely different approach to both protect the traditional supply chain and to ensure that direct booking travelers get fairer fare prices and protection from unnecessary costs. The new innovation is Top Travel Vouchers from Top Travel Sites, a system whereby the operator still incurs the payment of a commission but most of that commission is then rebated to the direct-booking traveler.

At present there are hundreds of these vouchers available for purchase from operators around the world and each purchaser is offered a 100% money back guarantee, with some restrictions, but there is also a refund if the traveler is unhappy upon completion of their travel.

This service is in the early days of building a voucher inventory but with the growth of travel by direct bookings it does offer travel operators who want to encourage direct bookings and also to protect their relationships with wholesalers and retailers a new opportunity and method of representation for their products.

For the many thousands of travel providers and operators around the world who are not large enough to get representation by wholesalers and retailers there is now an opportunity to use this service by building an attractive savings incentive into voucher offers to encourage travelers to handle their own arrangements directly with the operator.

The Best Ways To Keep Your Money Safe Whilst Travelling

Most travelers know how to find the cheapest airfare or hostel room. But when it comes to how to travel with your money and how to access it, most travelers have a thing or two to learn.

There is no single best way to travel with your money or to make sure it is always accessible.

Travel Security Products

You must make sure you always have access to money overseas, and the best way to do that is by keeping your cash, ATM cards or travelers cheques safe with travel security products. The most popular are travel money belts, combination padlocks, security cable locks, and mesh security products. Be sure to plan ahead and purchase these products before leaving home.

Cash

You will need easy access to your cash, but it is not a smart idea to carry a large amount of cash around with you. It is also not a good idea to carry the bulk of your travel money around with you in cash form. If you get mugged or your luggage stolen, your holiday could be ruined.

You should disperse your cash around when traveling. Some should be placed in your wallet, also in your travel money belt. But you should keep a spare $100 or 100 Euros hidden in your backpack. This way if you do get mugged, you will still have money to tide you over.

A small supply of local currency is important to have when you arrive in a new country. You will be able to pay for transport to your accommodation, and also buy something to eat. If you are traveling in a third world country always pay for items and bargain for items in the local currency. You are less likely to be ripped off!

Credit Cards

A credit card should only be used as a back-up option to access your money when traveling. You will get charged large transaction fees to withdraw money in another currency. If your credit card gets stolen, your details could be used to steal your money and essentially ruin your vacation.

Always have the details of your credit card company, so that you can contact them if something goes wrong.

However, if you look after credit card, it can be very useful. It can be used to book flights, accommodation and tours online. It is also reasonably safe to pay for hotels and meals at well established and quality businesses.

Travelers Cheques

Travelers cheques are not very popular any more with any traveler. They cost you to make and they cost you to access your money. Often banks will give you a worse exchange rate when converting you travelers cheques. Using an ATM is a lot easier now that they have become universal.

On the upside, if yo lose your travelers cheques, you may be able to contact the nearest office of the issuing authority with the numbers on your not redeemed cheques to get them replaced.

ATMs

You can find an ATM just about anywhere now. They are by far the most convenient way to access your money when you are traveling. You must make sure your ATM card is authorized for use overseas before you go.

You are smart to travel with a spare card, just in case you lose your only means of accessing your money. Remember, you may be charged overseas transaction fees and conversion fees from your bank.

Cash Passport Cards

These are becoming a very popular option now with many travelers. You buy this card before you leave home, and place your funds on it, but in the currency of the country you are traveling to. The most popular currency cards are US dollars, UK pounds, and Euros.

Once your money is on the card you can access it anywhere from an ATM. This way you wont be charged conversion fees.

What should you do?

You should travel with a variety of options to access your money. Choose the best option for you that makes you feel comfortable. Remember, you can always get someone to transfer money to you internationally anywhere if you run out!

What not to do?

Avoid carrying large quantities of cash, when you use an ATM separate the money into smaller amounts and hide them around your backpack, pockets and wallet.

Do not give your credit card details to anyone.

Do not use your credit card to with draw money at an ATM. It will cost you so much money in fees!

School Bus Drivers Can Text and Drive in Some States

In the early morning hours of every school day, youngsters board a yellow and black bus and head to an exciting day at school. We rely and trust that knowledgeable and responsible school bus drivers will deliver and retrieve our children each day, with safety as their number one priority. According to the American School Bus Council, each school bus equals 36 cars, which means that children have a better chance at a safer ride to and from school rather than riding in a standard vehicle. Even the safest, most law abiding drivers are at risk for being involved in an accident with a distracted driver. Taking your children out of the backseat and on to a school bus should be a safer alternative, but recently in some states, school bus riders are at risk of being involved in an accident caused by distracted driving. The distracted driver? The trusted school bus driver.

Laws Against Texting and Driving

According to the U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving, currently 41 states ban text messaging while driving and for good reason. No one, regardless of what they think or say, is good at texting and driving. Texting and driving, as separate actions, require visual, manual, and cognitive attention. Choosing to combine the two actions, at the same time, is a potentially lethal decision. While many drivers may argue that they have texted while driving without an incident to date, we all know it only takes one small incident to change life forever. Some drivers are self-proclaimed multi-taskers, boasting at their ability to drive the kids to school, while drinking piping hot coffee, texting co-workers, and keeping the car within the speed limit.

Studies show that multi-tasking doesn’t really exist. When you try to do more than one thing at a time, your brain struggles to prioritize the task at hand. For example, when you are driving, your visual attention is on the road, your manual attention is on the wheel, and your cognitive attention is in tune to driving. Once you hear the beep of a text notification, your brain suddenly “switches gears”. Your eyes may remain on the road, your hands may be on the wheel, but you are suddenly thinking about the text message and who may have sent it. The alert nags at you until you reach into your purse and check your phone, causing you to take all attention from driving.

Considering all the potential dangers of texting and driving, why are the school bus drivers in particular states allowed to text while transporting dozens of innocent children? Against the Golden Rule?

In September, a student, riding the school bus, took a video of the bus driver texting while driving. At one point, the driver was using her knee to control the wheel and struggled to stay within her lane. While the driver was suspended, the video footage has left many parents feeling uneasy, rethinking their morning transportation plan. While those states that allow it ban texting while driving, school bus drivers are allowed to text if the messages are work related. Even if school bus drivers pledge to use their cell phone for work related information, who will monitor to make sure the term “work related” isn’t be used loosely?

More importantly, how would a cell phone interfere with a bus driver’s performance? A school bus driver’s occupation can be rewarding and stressful. Safely transporting children is the main objective of the job, which doesn’t (and shouldn’t) allow for error. In addition to being a safe driver, according to United States Department of Labor, bus drivers are expected to have good customer service skills, be in good physical, mental and emotional health, have patience, good hand/eye coordination, and excellent vision and hearing. If a driver becomes immersed in “work related” text messages, he/she cannot perform the following important tasks:

Watch traffic and people carefully to ensure the safety of children getting on and off the bus
Take care of the needs of children with disabilities
Keep order and safety on the school bus
Understand and enforce the school system’s rules regarding student conduct
Report disciplinary problems to the school district or parents

Although texting laws have a few exceptions, it is safer and smarter to adhere to the “no texting and driving” law rather than trying to read between the lines or slip through a loophole. Texting and driving can injure, kill, and change your life in a matter of seconds. The next time you walk your child to the bus stop, will you trust her life in the hands of a texting bus driver or will you drive her to school, risking the busy roads filled with distracted drivers?

School Bus Accidents – Rare, But Still an Issue

The accident rate for school buses is thankfully, very low. Considering the sheer volume of school buses that transport children to and from school daily, school buses are relatively very safe. This is probably due in part to their large size and design, and the lower speeds in which they tend to travel. However, motor vehicle accidents do still occur on school buses, and when they do, the consequences can be overwhelming for everyone involved.

The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science and Engineering reports that there are approximately 6,000 injuries and 20 deaths annually in the USA due to school bus accidents.

School bus designs have not been changed since 1977, which means that many of them are not equipped with seat belts. Although 3 states – New York, New Jersey and Florida – require new buses to have seat belts, only New Jersey and Florida actually require riders to use them. Safety advocates have been fighting to make seat belts and seat belt usage a standard in all new buses across the country.

Out of the estimated 20 deaths that occur annually due to school buses, an incredible 15 of them are due to children being run over by the buses in the process of boarding or exit them. Safety laws have been implemented in all states to remedy this problem, but pedestrian accidents still remain.

The issues surrounding school bus accidents can become quite complicated. Personal Injury Lawyers / Accident Attorneys who have experience with liability laws can be very helpful in sorting out the legal matters surrounding this type of accident. Many factors must be taken into consideration when deciding fault in a school bus accident. Although infrequent, school bus accidents do occur, and a lawyer specializing in school bus accidents can help determine the negligent party and assess any damages that may be claimed.

Secrets Of A Travel Mom

In this article, I will be comparing the various ways a family can have the highest quality vacations for the lowest prices. I will compare various travel memberships, and buying a timeshare, so that you understand what is out there and choose what would benefit your family the most.

Traveling with kids can be more work than fun sometimes, so having accommodations with a kitchen and separate bedrooms can be the difference between enjoying a vacation and coming home exhausted.

There are several options for families to access luxury resorts around the world without paying the rack rates.

The first and most well known is to buy a timeshare or even better, to look for a timeshare resale. The problem with timeshares though, is that it is a commitment and there is normally a high upfront cost to become a member of around $10,000 or more. Timeshare owners must pay yearly maintenance fees that normally average about $700 or $800 and they get a week at a specified resort, or a couple weeks if they are using points. They do have the option of using other worldwide resorts by simply paying RCI or Interval International (the largest exchange companies) an exchange fee each time they do so. Exhanges fees are normally around $163 per exchange. For many families, owning a timeshare can improve their travel lifestyle, but there it is a longterm commitment and there are alternatives.

There are several travel memberships on the market now that offer equally, if not more value than buying a timeshare or timeshare resale. Most of them are home business opportunities that pay members to promote their company, instead of dragging people to timeshare presentations and paying sales people.

Sometimes the fact there is a business opportunity attached to a travel membership can turn people away, but it you look past that and look at what the memberships offer, you will usually find better value that if you buy a timeshare or even timeshare resale.

There are two travel companies that stood out for me when I was doing my research.

One is called Global Resorts Network and it offers families three different membership options. Their highest level offers 20 weeks vacation per year (at $398-$799/week) for a one time membership cost of $12,500. They also have a membership that offers 10 weeks per year for one time purchase of $4,995. Their lowest package gives 2 weeks per year and costs $1,995. TheyGRN use RCI as one of their travel providers which is the largest provider of timeshare properties in the world. When booking a vacation, members must make a request manually to head office.

World Discovery Club is a newer company that opened it’s doors at the end of 2011. Although their website and marketing is not as fancy, their product is solid. They also use RCI as their main condo provider, as well as a high end provider of private villas and private vacation homes for travelers with a hearty budget.

World Discovery Club has six different membership levels and members can browse inventory and book directly through their own website.

Their lowest membership is a 1 year membership for $497 and gives members to unlimited weeks ($199 up to $1200, depending on the resort and season). The average week seems to be between $355 and $698.

The next level is a 10 year membership for $1497.

Then they have a 50 year membership for $2497, which includes one $497 membership to give away. In my opinion as a travel mom and someone who has actually sold ‘real’ timeshare in the past, is the best value as a travel membership for families.

The top 3 memberships are all 99 year membership and come with more benefits, and more to give away the higher you go. They are $6497, $12,497, and $19,995.

I am not sure who would purchase the top two memberships, unless they were business people who had a lot clients, staff, or extremely large families they wanted to give vacations to.

Comparing apples to apples, I found that World Discovery Club had the best value as a product in itself and the most availability.

As a business opportunity, Global Resorts paid higher commissions to their sales reps, but their payplan did not offer any leverage. On the business side, World Discovery Club’s commissions were a little lower, but they have a multi-level apsect to their payplan, which in the home business industry is important because it ensure that your upline with help and support you better..

Both Global Resorts Network and World Discovery Club are good options to buying a timeshare because they are less expensive and offer more flexibility. Unlike timeshare, neither of the travel companies mentioned above, have any yearly maintenance fees or exchange fees, which is nice for those who do not want the commitment or contracts that you get when you buy a timeshare or a timeshare resale.

Although not as flashy to look at, World Discovery Club seems to be a ‘hidden gem’ in the travel world.

Online Travel Agent Secrets That Saves Clients 100s to 1000s of Dollars Off All Travel – Part 1

Cheap airline tickets, family vacations and last minute deals found on major search engines like Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, and many other highly advertised websites don’t save you much compared to personal online travel agents, no matter what travel deals they claim to offer. If you aren’t saving at least $50-$100s of dollars per hotel, per vacation package, then you really aren’t getting the best vacation deal.

Did you know that cheaptickets and Expedia is owned by the same company? You are still getting sold by the same company. The travel deals, vacation and family package you thought were money savers really aren’t. They’re all selling commercial rates. Huge online travel agencies capitalizes off the average consumer’s ignorance when it comes to traveling, because they know the industry. Which is why working personally with a good travel agent, closes to gap. Travel agents and travel agency will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your typical Disney and ski vacation, last minute vacation, hotels and major airline tickets if you find a good one.

Travel agents generally get all the specials first hand that the travel industry releases before they reach the general public. Generally we get wholesale rates on major international travel that’s never released to the public, only travel agents. Saving customers $300+ dollars on a vacation packages within 2 weeks notice are really all within a travel agents daily work day. Cheap airline tickets and guaranteed cheap hotels rates are always within grasp by a travel professional.

With the internet being the number one source for travel bookings(82 percent of all travel) it’s best to work with an online travel agent that has their own travel business because of the savings you’ll always receive if their true professionals of travel. Three good reasons to book family vacations and more through travel agents are:

#1. Hotel discounts: For instance, using a personal travel agent’s online travel agency, some may able to guarantee you the best rate 110 percent, all the time. How many other online travel agencies gives you those rates all the time. Plus having access to a good travel agent, you can find immediate access to unpublished hotel discount rates only available to agents. Exclusive travel agents with these insider secrets are always savings their clients hundreds of dollars.

#2. International travel: Airline consolidators only work with travel agents. They publish international and some domestic unpublished airline fares to travel agents only and sometimes at thousands below commercial rates. And before this, you thought you were saving money.

#3. Promotional Rates. Last month a travel agent ran a special from their company where two people could travel free for one entire year across the globe as many times they wanted. It’s over now, but its countless promotions like these that you will receive and immediate access to if you work closely with a travel agent. Getting specials on an all-inclusive honeymoon vacation for 5 days at $409, are just one of many specials certified travel agents gets easily. Talk about travel deals.

Yes, it’s true the old travel agency days are gone, but the use of having your personal travel agent, priceless! If the agent has their own online travel business and sounds professional, use them for all travel needs, they’ll really save you thousands.

Travel Insurance For Europe – Safeguarding Against Emergency Expenses

Adventures in far flung destinations including Europe can be full of excitement, beauty, history and culture, transporting travelers blissfully away from their daily routines. However, there are times on such journeys when the unexpected happens, and the impact of injury or accident can be much more substantial than if the same incident had occurred stateside. Travel insurance for Europe is available to travelers who will be visiting the EU zone and might need special care from European doctors or healthcare providers during their visit. Specifically, this type of coverage can help alleviate the danger of incurring massive financial harm due to unpredictable events while traveling in countries like France or Germany where health-care systems are often very similar due to EU-organized regulations. This is something everyone venturing to Europe should investigate prior to their voyage. European travel insurance plans are specifically designed to cover countries like France, Spain, Germany, and Greece. Since health care plans and systems are unique to regions and continents, a European travel insurance package will cover very different things than one for, say, South America.

Some travelers may be surprised to learn that the personal insurance coverage they enjoy at home may be inadequate protection while they are away in Europe. For example, travelers who engage in certain types of hazardous recreation such as scuba diving and mountain climbing may learn the hard way that their coverage has been negated by such activity when done in foreign lands. It is also important to note that even when traveling within a country with a nationalized system of healthcare — especially in the Euro Zone — a traveler may be wholly ineligible for free or low cost medical treatment in the case of accidental injury, which is often provided only to citizens. The European Union has done a very good job of organizing special travel insurance systems so that travelers can feel safe within their borders. This is much like the opposite arrangement where a traveler from Europe might come to the United States of America. Regardless of what state that individual mind find himself or herself, then he or she can still get great coverage. Likewise for you, it’s important that regardless of what European “state” you find yourself in that you can rely on quality coverage.

In some of the European areas outside the EU zone, for example, foreign medical practitioners and facilities may be utterly unwilling to negotiate with a traveler’s domestic insurance carrier for payment of expenses incurred due to accidents abroad. In such cases, upfront payment may be demanded prior to service. In the event appropriate treatment is unavailable in a particular location and medical evacuation is required, a tourist’s conventional domestic insurance policy may not cover the cost, which can be significant. Because of these reasons and more, travel insurance Europe is a worthwhile subject of inquiry for all seeking to venture abroad. This is important to keep in mind if your European travel plans might lead you outside the EU zone into countries like Switzerland or Norway where EU coverage may or may not apply.

Aimed at offering financial compensation for unanticipated expenses attendant to overseas travel, European travel insurance is obtainable in a wide array of types and levels, depending on the type of journey intended by the insured. Trip duration, itinerary items, and destination region all are factors in determining the type of coverage that will be made available for purchase. Often, policies covering shorter trips may be selected concurrently with the travel reservations. However, a more expansive policy of longer term may be advisable, and such coverage can also be found. Large insurance companies, cruise lines, travel directors are all viable conduits for purchasing this type of product. European travel plans are much more common as a package these days, especially since many Americans and Canadians travel to the EU region during periods like Spring Break and summer holidays.

Travel insurance for Europe is also often typically categorized by the sort of tourist to be covered. Like the EuRail pass system, European travel insurance can sometimes organized by euro-regions and country packages. For example, you might be planning only to visit Mediterranean countries like Italy, Spain, and Portugal, but not northern Euro countries like Holland and England. These customized European packages are a great way to save money! Adventurists, students, business travelers and vacationers all have different insurance needs, and policies are available that reflect that fact. Travel insurance often addresses expenses relating to emergency medical circumstances, dental services, accidental death or injury benefits, and where necessary, funeral costs when death occurs abroad. Exclusions common to this type of policy might include preexisting health issues and any injury or death occurring as a result of drug or alcohol usage.

Please keep in mind that European travel packages are very different from generalized worldwide travel insurance combo packages where multitudes of countries and regions are included at a discounted or “bulk rate.” In many cases, you are far more likely to get higher quality coverage from the European bundle packages because they provide specific coverage measures for the Euro-zone.

Europe Travel Review

The reason to travel to Europe may be different for each traveler, but a few of the common reasons are: Cultural Opportunities: For those interested in museums, arts, history, music or theater Europe travel offers nearly endless opportunity for cultural activity. From London to Paris to Rome to Amsterdam travelers can enjoy some of the most exciting cultural opportunities the world has to offer.

Landmarks:

People like to visit and associate themselves with something (or someone) famous. Europe travel destinations are rich in famous landmarks. Some of the most well known landmarks of the world, from Big Ben, to the Eiffel Tower, to the Coliseum are located in Europe.

Roots:

People like to visit the countries of their ancestors. Ancient European were wanderers who put up stakes in destinations around the world. Their descendants are now traveling to Europe to return to their roots and see the places their forefathers once called home.

Variety:

Where else can you enjoy such a diversity of culture, climate and geography over such a small distance A traveler to the US will notice relatively small changes when traveling from L A to New York City, a flight of approximately six hours. Language is the same, food is similar, and culture is not remarkably different. However, a two hour flight from Zurich, Switzerland to Athens, Greece , will reward the traveler with an enormous difference that is immediately obvious. Everything from language, food to lifestyle is completely and utterly different. Distances in Europe are relatively small and cultural variety is large. This gives the traveler to Europe the opportunity of easily enjoying a diverse range of cultures and lifestyles by making a relatively low investment of time and money.

Transportation:

There is no place more convenient for a traveler, than Europe Transportation is arguably the best in the world. Europe is well known for its remarkable train system and train passes which offer travelers the opportunity for international travel at very affordable rates. With more and more discount airlines available, Europe travel is becoming less and less expensive. Once you arrive in a major city, there is usually a local metro or streetcar system to take you anywhere you want to go. The ease, comfort and economy makes Europe travel very attractive and convenient.

Health:

When traveling in some regions of the world, travelers must consider if there are any local illnesses that they may be exposed to, if vaccines maybe required and if they fall ill, will they receive proper medical treatment. Most European destinations have excellent water supplies, low rates of infectious diseases and some of the best healthcare systems in the world.

Safety:

Travelers are always easy prey for criminals. However in most European countries your hotel room is not only safe from burglary due to security but is also equipped with a safe European police departments are usually efficient and violent crime is generally lower than in many other areas. But one should always remember when exploring new destination never loose sight of your money and documents.

When is the best time to travel Europe:

May, June, September, and October: These are the perfect months to enjoy southern Europe. Greece, Turkey, Spain and Italy are the best destinations in these periods. The climate at this time is usually ideal and the crowds are relatively thin. International flights are usually less expensive than the peak fares of summer. In the peak travel months of July and August, these destinations may be too hot, too crowded and too expensive for many travelers. July, August: This is the best time to visit Northern, Central and Eastern Europe and go to such countries as Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic. However, this period offers the best climate conditions and many of the locals will be on holiday in southern Europe during this period November to March: Europe is cold during these months. While you may find travel bargains at this time, you may spend a lot of your travel time indoors. The only exception to this is the Canary Islands. Although part of Spain, the Canary Islands are located off the coast of Africa, and enjoy moderate climate year-round. With all of the attention paid to destinations like London and Paris, few people really put much thought into Eastern Europe travel when they are making their vacation plans.

Besides the well-known sites in the Czech Republic and Greece, Poland and Lithuania also offer exciting possibilities. One of the great thing about Eastern Europe travel is that you don’t have to choose one destination exclusively. In general, the public transportation is good enough and cheap enough in that part of the world that you can get from one country to another with relative ease. Basically, Eastern Europe travel offers you the luxury of exploring a whole region rather than settling on one single country. If, however, you are going on a first Eastern Europe travel trip, you should be prepared for culture shock Customs are still familiar enough to not be totally alienating, however, things are still noticeably different there. The fact that it is so affordable, however, more than makes up for this. If you can find cheap airfare to Eastern Europe, You can take your trip for almost nothing. Travel Is Interesting and Entertaining. It’s not a zoo where you look into the cages. Meld with the European to enjoy your travels.

You don’t have to visit museums if you would rather go on a balloon flight or go to a bull fight or sit at a cafe and meet someone new. As an example, one of the most highly recommended items in all of the popular travel guidebooks, TV travel shows, and guided tours is the Amsterdam Canals Boat Excursion. I took this ride and I have a different opinion. You’re stuffed into this long boat with a curved plexiglass roof, you and 80 other tourists. In four languages, over a miserable speaker system, you listen to a tape recording of stupendous facts and statistics about the places you are floating by. Good luck ever finding these places again as you walk around. I was not the only one bored on board. On top of that, it seemed that the boat was going to be swamped by a huge freighter when it got out in the middle of the harbor. What in Amsterdam name were we doing out in the harbor ? On the other hand, one of the most fascinating exhibits in Europe is usually left out of the popular guidebooks. Sins of omission are far from the major problems with these books. Virtually every one I open has errors so stupid that the only possible explanation is that the author did not go to the place mentioned.

Official Tibet Travel Guide – Must-See for Beginners (Part 1)

Climate of Tibet:

1. How’s the climate in Tibet? Is it hot in summer? Is it very cold in winter?

Tibet is in a high plateau, and it belongs to typical downy special climate. Climates are quite different in different areas of Tibet. The eastern Tibet which is at a lower elevation is warmer than western Tibet. In some mountain areas, there are four seasons at the same time in different altitude. The weather in a day varies greatly, too. The night is cold while the day is warm. It spans 12-15 degrees centigrade in a single day.

Climate in southeastern Tibet including Nyingchi and Chamdo is balmy with an average temperature of eight degrees centigrade; while in western Tibet (Shigatse and Nagqu) is quite cold with an average temperature below zero degree.

However in the central area of Tibet, the climate of Lhasa and Tsedang is more favorable for traveling. Travelers can visit these two areas all year around, not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter.

2. How is the road condition in rainy season in Tibet? Need I take any rainproof with me?

The rainy season in Tibet is mainly from June to August and it does have a very bad impact on the roads. However, there are many track maintenance workers and local army would also give help to restore the roads. Generally speaking, it only takes a few hours to make the roads feasible again. As for the rainproof, you are suggested to take raincoat, rain-proof trousers and shoes if you want to trek, climb the mountain or ride a bike. If you have group tours organized by some travel agencies, usually you don’t need to take rainproof with you, because Tibet often rains at night and the weather is quite good in the daytime. Besides, the tourist bus is always along with you.

3. What is the best time to travel to Tibet?

Generally speaking, early April is the beginning of travel season, which lasts to mid-June when a large number of Chinese travelers rush to Tibet for summer holiday. Late June to the end of National Holiday is the peak travel season when some important festivals held in Tibet, like Shoton Festival, Gyantse Dawa Festival and Nagqu horse riding Festival. After mid October, Tibet turns to winter and as the visitors reduce greatly, more than half of hotels are closed for the poor reservation.

As for the best time to travel, it depends on your travel requirement.

1. If you want an extremely cheap price, go to Tibet in winter, from December to next March. All the things are quite cheap; even the tourist sites offer 30-50% discount on entrance fee. Hotels are cheap, too. You can enjoy 5 star hotels with less than 100USD including breakfast. Compared with traveling in August, the cost of a winter tour is only 50%-60% of a summer tour. Because of the poor amount of visitors, the Potala Palace allows you to spend even a whole day in it. Besides, the monks are not busy and have spare time to chat with you.

2. If you like trekking, do it at May or September when the monsoon will never bother you and the weather is balmy and pleasant.

3. If you love Mt.Everest and want to see the clear face of it, try to avoid the rainfall season and foggy weather.

4. If you love to visit the grass land in north Tibet, do the tour in July when the flowers bloom in vast grassland and groups of yak and sheep, Tibetan nomad tents spread all over the grassland.

5. Those who want to drive to Tibet through Sichuan-Tibet highway should avoid the rainy season. There will be mudslides, cave-ins and mire on certain sections of the road, blocking the passage of vehicles.

About high altitude sickness

1. What is high altitude sickness? What’s the symptom of high altitude sickness?

High altitude sickness may occur at high altitudes (over 2700m) due to the decreasing availability of oxygen. It usually occurs following a rapid ascent and can usually be prevented by ascending slowly. Symptoms often manifest themselves six to ten hours after ascent and generally subside in one to two days, but they occasionally develop into the more serious conditions. Common symptoms of high altitude sickness include shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance.

2. How to avoid or relieve high altitude sickness?

  1. Keep a good mood, don’t be too excited or be too worried about high altitude sickness. Before visiting Tibet, get as healthy as possible, both physically and psychologically.
  2. Take care of yourself and avoid catching cold before going to Tibet, and not to take shower at the first two days after you are in Lhasa to avoid being cold, or you will easily suffer from altitude sickness under weak physical condition.
  3. Do not drink any alcohol on the first two days when you are in Tibet. Drink plenty of water and eat light, high-carbohydrate meals for more energy.
  4. Do not run, jump or do some taxing jobs at the first two days. Being peaceful and having a good rest are important.
  5. Once you have the symptoms of altitude sickness, take some medicine (it is said that it’s helpful to have some butter tea if you can adapt to the flavor of it) and don’t go higher. Medication and oxygen also help to prevent altitude sickness. Mild altitude sickness symptoms can be treated with proper medication. If medication and oxygen do not relieve the symptoms, go to hospital or evacuate immediately to a safe altitude!
  6. Oxygen can help you relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness, but do not use it too often in Lhasa while your symptoms of altitude sickness are not serious. If you feel chilly or feel very uncomfortable, you should go to the nearest hospital available in the area.
  7. In addition to the normal medications for traveling it is advisable to bring high altitude medication. Seek suggestions from your doctor.
  8. Tell your tour guide quickly if you don’t feel well and follow the guide’s advice.

3. What should I do if I have high altitude sickness after arriving in Tibet?

There are hospitals in many large cities in Tibet. You may adapt to mild high altitude sickness by yourself slowly and you may go to hospital if it is serious. After you have already had high altitude sickness, you should rest well, do not move too much, keep eating, drink some water with black sugar or take some medicine. If the high altitude sickness is pretty severe, you should go to hospital, or descend to some lower places, or leave Lhasa immediately. High altitude sickness shall disappear after you descend to certain altitude and it has no sequel symptoms.

4. Is high altitude sickness more serious if going to Tibet by plane than by train?

Exactly, but both means have their advantages and disadvantages. You are more likely to have high altitude sickness because you don’t have enough time to adapt to the plateau environment gradually if you go by plane. The altitude change is directly from several hundreds meters to more than 3000 meters. While, if you go to Tibet by train, you can adapt your body to the high plateau environment slowly and gradually. Then, you may relieve or avoid high altitude sickness.

5. People with what kind of diseases can not go to Tibet? Do I need physical practice before traveling to Tibet?

People with the following diseases can not travel to Tibet:

  • People with all kinds of organic heart diseases, severe arrhythmia or resting heart rate over 100per minute, high blood pressure II or above, all kinds of blood diseases and cranial vascular diseases.
  • People with chronic respiratory system diseases, medium degree of obstructive pulmonary diseases or above, such as bronchus expansion, emphysema and so on.
  • People with diabetes mellitus which is not controlled properly, hysteria, epilepsia and schizophrenia.
  • People with bad cold, upper respiratory tract infections, and body temperature above 38F or below 38F while the whole body and the respiratory system have obvious symptoms, are not recommended to travel to Tibet until they’re OK.
  • People who were diagnosed to have high altitude pulmonary edema, high altitude cerebral edema, high altitude hypertension with obvious increase of blood pressure, high altitude heart diseases and high altitude polycythemia.
  • High risk pregnant women.

If you are not sure about your body condition, you may have a physical examination. But you are not supposed to do more exercise before going to Tibet, for exercising will give more burdens to your heart and you’ll need more oxygen, which may easily cause high altitude sickness.

6. Why can not people with cold go to Tibet? What should I do if I catch a cold in Tibet?

Your immune system shall be weak if you catch a cold and you may suffer high altitude sickness easily because of it. Besides, severe cold may easily turn to some more serious high altitude diseases, especially pulmonary edema, which is very dangerous. So you are not supposed to travel to Tibet before you get rid of a cold.

While, if you catch a cold in Tibet, things might not be so serious, because your body has already, to some extent, adapt to the plateau environment and you can go to a doctor and take some medicine

Permits & certificates

1. Are there any limitations or restrictions imposed on foreigners to travel to Tibet? How about overseas Chinese, Taiwan Compatriots and Hong Kong and Macao compatriots? How to handle it and how long does it take?

There are some special requirements for foreign travelers to Tibet. Firstly, foreign tourists to Tibet must be organized by travel agencies, with confirmed routes. Secondly, a Tibet Travel Permit issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau is indispensable. The Tibet Travel Permit must be obtained before they head to Tibet. What’s more, foreigners are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet by their own, even with the travel permit. They must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide. Tibet travel permit is also required from overseas Chinese and Taiwan Compatriots, while Hong Kong and Macao compatriots can travel to Tibet like other Chinese citizen with valid Home Return Permit. Foreigners, overseas Chinese and Taiwan compatriots can apply for Tibet travel permit from Tibet tourism bureau or certain qualified travel agencies with valid passport (copies), visa (copies) and job certificate. Usually, it can be obtained in one week and 2 to 3 days if you are in urgent need.

2. What is Tibet Entry Permit? How to get a Tibet Entry Permit and what documents are required to get it?

Tibet Entry Permit, also known as Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit or Tibet Visa, is the basic document for foreign travelers to enter into Tibet. No foreign visitor can visit Tibet without holding the Tibet Entry Permit in their hands. Foreign tourists are required to show both their Chinese Visa and Tibet Entry Permit when they change for the boarding passes of flying to Tibet or board trains to Tibet.

Tibet Entry Permit is officially issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, in purpose of restricting the numbers of foreign visitors. With this permit, foreigner tourists can travel in Lhasa region including Lhasa city, Yamdrok Lake, Ganden, Tsurphu, Namtso, Drigung Til and Reting.

Tibet Entry Permit is not available for independent travelers. Foreign travelers have to travel in tour group and ask legitimate travel agency to apply Tibet tour for you.

Documents required:

You can get Tibet entry permit (TTB permit) by sending certain qualified travel agency the first page of your valid passport and a copy of your Chinese visa by fax or by email, and state clearly your occupations (Foreign journalists and diplomats are not allowed to go to Tibet as a tourist). If you are Taiwan Compatriots, send us the copies of your MTP-Mainland Travel Permits or called Taiwan Compatriot Entry Permit/travel document (commonly known as “Tai Bao Zheng”), and tell us your occupations.

If you are the citizens of Hong Kong and Macau SAR, China Re-entry Permit for Hong Kong & Macau Compatriots is enough to travel in Tibet. You are not required to apply for the Tibet Permit.

Pay attention: If you are planning to travel to places officially closed to foreigners in Tibet, an Alien’s Travel Permit is required.

3. What is Alien’s Travel Permit?

Except Tibet Entry Permit, an Alien’s Travel Permit is required if you are planning to travel to places officially closed to foreigners in Tibet, such as Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery, Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasorovar. Alien’s Travel Permit is not needed for places in Lhasa region, towns of Shigatse and Tsetang, or nonstop travel on Friendship Highway.

Alliens’ Travel Permit is required to visit ‘unopened’ areas. Which is issued by the police (Public Security Bureau, “PSB”). Usually you can apply for it once you arrive at Lhasa. For tour groups, our guide will ask you for the passport and TTB permit and submit it to the Foreign Affairs Section of PSB for the Travel Permit. It normally takes several hours and the cost is 50 CNY/person. If you are an individual traveler, you need to join local tours to ‘unopen’ areas, and the local travel agencies will arrange the PSB for you as well. Pay attention, there is no travel agency can provide ‘PSB permit-only’ service.

Notice: If you want to do a Tibet overland tour from Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai or Xinjiang province to Tibet, you must got the PSB permit before your tour starts.

4. Which parts of Tibet are listed as the closed areas?

At present, you have to apply for a Travel Permit if you are planning to visit the following places:Tsedang: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Trundruk Monastery, YumbulakhangShigatse: Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk MonasteryGyangtse: Pelkor Chode Monastery & Kubum StupaNgari Region: Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, Tsaparang, Years, etc. Nyingchi Region: Basum-tso, Pomi, Rawo-tso, etc.Chamdo Region: Chamdo, Riwoche, Tengchen, etc.

5. Are there any other certificates and permits may be required in Tibet?

Except Tibet Entry Permit, Alien’s Travel Permit, there are Military Permit, Foreign-affairs permit and other permits which may be required when traveling in Tibet.

Sensitive border are as such as Mt Kailash and eastern Tibet also require a military permit and a foreign-affairs permit. For Tholing and Tsaparang in western Tibet you will also need a permit from the local Cultural Antiquities Department. All these will be arranged by our travel agency one month before you enter Tibet. The Military Permit is issued by troop while the Foreign-affair’s permit is issued by Foreign affairs office in Lhasa. It normally takes 10-15 working days to get them all.

6. How to deal with the visa from Tibet to Nepal? Can I apply for Nepal visa in Lhasa? Is it fast? Shall I be denied?

Nepal has two embassies in China: one is in Beijing and the other is in Lhasa. It is easier and more convenient to handle the Nepal visa in Lhasa as long as you conform to the certain procedures. And there are seldom any cases of denial. But the visa officers don’t work at regular time, so you are recommended to stay several more days in Lhasa to apply for Nepal visa and it is more secured if you handle the visa first after you arrive in Lhasa. The general consulate of Nepal is in Lhasa, near the Norbulinka Park. Normally you can get the visa in the afternoon of the next working day if you submit the application and necessary documents in the morning of the first day. The time to submit document is from 10am to 12am, Monday to Friday. So, you need plan a couple of days in Lhasa to wait the visa. The time to get visa is usually at 4pm, once you get the visa, you can fly to Kathmandu or set out to Zhangmu border by cars or by bus.

To apply for Nepal visa in Lhasa, you need prepare the original passport, 2 passport size copies and complete a form. Your passport must be valid at least for the next 6 months. There are three kinds of visas according to period you plan to stay in Neal, the 15 days, 30 days and the 3 months. If you are going to stay more than 15 days in Nepal, it is better to get the visa in Lhasa, as the border office issued 15 days visa only and it is relatively expensive to extend the visa in Kathmandu or Gorkaha.

You can also get Nepal visa at the border. Not far away from the Friendship Bridge, you can get the arrival visa of 15 days stay at the border office with 25 USD. You need prepare a passport size photo and complete a form as well.

What to Pack:

1. What drugs to take when traveling to Tibet?

In the first few days after arrival in Tibet, you may experience some degree of altitude reaction. Colds, insomnia and digestive disorders are common. Take an adequate supply of any prescription medication you use regularly, including medicine for cold, headache, stomachache, and insect bite, diarrhea and so on, like the Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Antibiotics, throat lozenges, nasal decongestant and vitamins etc. Most over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin and anti-diarrheal pills, are available in Lhasa, but are more difficult to obtain outside of urban areas. It is advisable to take anti-altitude sickness drugs to cope with oxygen deficiency. Bring diamox pills which are believed to be able to prevent the altitude sickness effectively. Please consult your doctor prior to your travel to Tibet.

2. What food to take when traveling to Tibet?You may take some chocolate, dried beef, hot pickled mustard tuber, biscuit and other food and snacks you like. You’d better take food with high calorie. You may also take some gum with you, which may help relieve the symptom of syrigmus and headache. When traveling to remote areas of Tibet it is a good idea to pack some food, snacks, and drinking water. It is not always easy to find food or drinkable water in these areas. Water purification equipment, such as hand pump filters, is not necessary, as bottled mineral water and thermoses of boiled water are available everywhere throughout Tibet. Water purification tablets can be useful during trekking. It is a good idea to take a good quality multivitamin to supplement your diet since a supply of vegetables and fruits may not be readily available.

3. The necessary commodities you should take when traveling to Tibet Necessities: sunglasses, hat, sun cream, skin cream, lipstick, long sleeve clothes, sweaters, Passport, visa, money, credit card, camera, film, batteries, toiletries, cosmetics, knife, watch, day bag-pack, big travel bags (soft luggage), water bottle, journal, reading book, writing materials, binoculars, family pictures and snack foods.

4. What kind of clothes and shoes should be taken when traveling to Tibet?

Clothes

The temperatures change greatly on the altiplano. In the north part of Tibet, people wear thick coats all year round (including July and August which are the hottest months in most of the areas in China). The highest temperature is 4-5 degrees centigrade in northern Tibet. It also snows in July and August.

The temperature difference in a single day is big. In Lhasa, the temperature in July arrives at 30 degrees centigrade at daytime, but falls to 10 degrees centigrade at night. Sometimes it will snow or sleet at night, so you’d better take some down garments (those with hats will better), woolen sweaters, warm gloves, warm and wind-proof shoes and socks. Wearing several layers of clothing that can be easily added or removed is the wise choice since temperatures may vary greatly within a single day.

Most hotels in Tibet have no central heating. The air-conditioners in single rooms do not work well in the cold night. In winter, from November to next March, of course you need bring down jackets, warm sweaters, gloves, warm pants, woolen hats. It is very cold in the morning and evening. In summer, wearing a T-shirt in day time but the Jacket is necessary at hotel in the morning and evening.

During the peak tourism season, April, May, September and October, you need to prepare T-shirts, overcoats and jeans, warm sweaters. Besides, frequent rainfall in this season makes waterproof clothing and raingear absolute necessities.

Even in summer, a down coat is necessary for those who are traveling beyond Lhasa and Shigatse into more remote areas such as the Everest Camp. A windbreaker plus a sweater will work nicely for strolling around Lhasa in summer.

Other essentials to pack include four or five pairs of cotton or woolen underwear, four or five pairs of woolen socks, long sleeve cotton or lightweight wool shirts and T-shirts. Women should avoid skirts or dresses.

Also, whenever you visit Tibet, if your plan includes overnight at Everest Base Camp or Namtso Lake, or a several days outdoor trek in mountain area, to keep warm is very important. The winter clothes are a must. However, you do not need to worry too much about clothing, you can buy any kind of clothes you need in Lhasa and clothes is quite cheap.

Shoes

It is very important to have a strong comfortable pair of boots, especially your travel covers remote area and you have to walk for a long distance. For example, if your travel reaches Everest Base Camp, you need to cover 8 km from Rongpuk Monastery to EBC and back. Lightweight boots are fine, but Tibet can be wet and we will do extensive walking, so make sure your shoes fit well and are suitable for cold and puddles. You should also have a pair of comfortable and tough sandals.

5. What certificates and documents should I take with me when I travel to Tibet?

Of course you should take your passport, China visa and Tibet travel permit with you. Or you won’t be allowed not even to get on the plane or the train.

There are overall four documents required for foreign tourists who want to travel freely in Tibet:

Chinese Visa – you can apply for in Chinese Embassy in your country;

Tibet Entry Permit – It is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau and is a must for foreigners entering Tibet;

Travel Permit: It is required when you are planning to travel to the closed areas in Tibet, and you can obtain it after you arrive in Tibet

Military Permit – you have to obtain if you are planning to travel to some military sensitive areas.

7 Steps to Landing Great Travel Nursing Jobs

Travel nursing jobs. The title alone can spur excitement for many working in the nursing profession. But how does one start a travel nursing career? Whether you’re a registered nurse or just someone who is starting nursing school, the path to landing a thrilling travel nurse job can be confusing. This guide will help describe the steps necessary to starting a great career filled with wonderful nursing jobs and experiences.

Step 1: Choose a Staffing Company that Offers Travel Nursing Jobs
Choosing a medical staffing firm is the first step to starting your career with travel nursing. There are a lot of medical staffing agencies in the United States that a budding travel nurse can choose from, and it’s important that anyone who is looking forward to great travel nursing jobs do the appropriate research. Ideally, you want to partner with a medical staffing agency that best suits your needs. Here are some things to keep in mind when researching travel nursing companies.

o Find medical staffing firms with a track record. Established firms will often have the best connections to great travel job opportunities. Those that have been in business for a number of years will often have the largest selection of travel nursing jobs.
o Partner with staffing firms who listen to you. That means they’ll be on hand to listen to you when you tell them what you want. If you want the best travel nursing job, then you’ll want to connect with recruiters who will be receptive to your personal needs and professional ambitions. Be wary of medical staffing recruiters who try to pressure you into taking travel jobs in locations where you are not interested.
o Search for staffing companies who are interested in helping your career thrive. These companies will help you line up the travel nursing jobs that will let you advance your career quickly. Some medical staffing agencies will also be able to connect you to continuing education resources and other programs that will let you develop your professional skills.
o Talk to others who are travel nurses. You can find travel nurses in online forums or in person. Ask them what medical staffing companies they would recommend.

Step 2: Apply for Travel Jobs
Many medical staffing recruiters make it easy to apply online. Keep in mind that simply completing an application for a travel RN job doesn’t require you to work with that agency. The experienced and recommended staffing agencies make their applications available for free.

Step 3: Talk to a Medical Staffing Recruiter
When your application for travel nurse job is accepted, you’ll be assigned to a single member on the staffing recruiter’s team. This is the person you’ll be working with to find the right travel jobs for you. A good nursing staffing agency will partner you with a recruiter that’s interested in matching you with the jobs that will help you advance your career.

Step 4: Select your Travel Nursing Job Assignments
Think about where you want to go for your travel assignments. Also consider the type of facility where you want to work. Would you prefer to take a travel job in a large hospital or a in a smaller, private practice? You will discuss the advantages of each assignment with your travel recruiter, and you’ll talk about the requirements of each travel nursing job position.

Step 5: Conduct a Telephone Interview with Your Preferred Facility
After you narrow down your travel nurse job opportunities, you’ll need to conduct a phone interview with someone at the facility. The person who conducts the interviews for travel nursing jobs will usually be the nursing manager. Your recruiter should give you a few interview tips to help you land the travel job you want.

Step 6: Accept Your Assignment
After a successful travel job interviews, you’ll likely to be offered an assignment. If there are any credentialing or licensing requirements for the travel nursing job offered, your medical staffing recruiter should help you iron out all the details. You should also expect to be contacted by housing managers who will be able to arrange a living space.

Step 7: Start Your Adventure with Travel Nursing Jobs
Prepare your luggage. Make a list of what you need to take; go shopping for clothes and any other items you may need. Then it’s time to leave. But don’t worry if you run into any problems you may encounter at your travel nurse job. Your recruiter should be keeping in touch and will be able to help you with anything you may need.

Will One Be Successful With a Travel MLM Opportunity in This Economy?

Question: What would you do if you had more time and money?

Chances are, travel is one of those things you would love to do.

Given the current economy, people want to make money and to save money. Some will cut back on their most pressing needs, and others will go totally frugal.

We cannot argue, travel is something we would all love to do.

Given the size of the industry, people will no doubt still travel.

However, your choice of travel MLM business opportunity, as well as your own individual traits and characteristics will decide whether you find success or not.

Given the various travel MLM organizations around, such as Global Resorts Network, Coastal Vacations, Your Travel Biz, and so many others, you have so much choice in what company you choose to join.

The price point of whatever travel product or service you choose to advertise will however influence how well you may eventually do.

People will definitely be hunting for a bargain as they look to save on vacations and taxes for themselves and their loved ones.

So the low-end travel products and services will bring in the masses. These have universal appeal, and of course have to be better priced MLM travel products and services than what consumers are already buying, without sacrificing quality.

The mid-point and high-end opportunities and products may be viable, though perhaps a little more difficult.

For business builders, given the large size of the industry, there are definitely many opportunities that can be exploited, again with price being a major determinant.

World over, the baby-boom age band is nearing retirement. It’s been proven that for the most part, people in their later years spend more money in certain industries, particularly, healthcare and leisure travel.

A travel home business opportunity, if well positioned, can be a perfect offering for this generation. Not to say this is the only target market of course, as you also have budget travelers, adventure travelers, people seeking timeshare alternatives, corporate travelers, and many others.

Travel is something everybody does. They either book with you or Expedia, Travelocity, of one of the other travel providers.

In some cases, a travel business opportunity can provide more competitive fares than traditional travel companies and search engines, because of their bulk-buying concept.

A travel business opportunity will offer you multiple ways to earn money upfront, while you build a residual income. You can market cruises, vacations, holidays to dream destinations at dream prices, as well as conventional travel.

Some of these opportunities offer an option to become a travel agent or consultant, and market leisure travel at very competitive rates for the most part.

Success with travel will depend on your offering something that offers the customers usefulness, or helps them create or save money without too much hassle or difficulty.

Travel is a broad and very competitive industry, but targeting a small niche within this industry, gives you focus and can lead to greater success that trying to take the whole market.

Travel network marketing companies carve out niches within the broader travel industry. In marketing travel, it may well be wise to choose a company that works within a niche that best suits you, and that shows signs of growth in the years ahead.

Travel is not a difficult concept to explain. Compare this to other industries, where you have to explain technicalities and complexities involved with the products (science and formulas behind them).

The easier the product is to talk about, the easier it is to duplicate.

While there will undoubtedly be so many ways to market your travel MLM business opportunity, it will all depend on the effort you put in, as well as what the best market for you is.

Champions Online Travel Power Guide

Champions Online does not include mounts like many other MMOs, it does however include a large variety of travel powers, allowing you to get around in a way fitting to your hero. Nearly any concept can have an appropriate travel power, and Cryptic has been adding new skins for travel powers every once in a while, enabling for more specific concepts to have a better matching way to get around.

This article will only be discussing the travel powers themselves and not the Advantages that can be accessed for some of them by spending Advantage Points.

At level 5 you can choose your first travel power, with a second being available at level 35. When it comes to getting around the various zones in CO, having a way to travel through the air is much more convenient than being stuck on the ground. Since you can get 2 travel powers I would recommend at least one that lets you travel through the air, even if it doesn’t fit your character’s concept. It’s not necessary to do so, but it’ll make it easier to travel through certain areas, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the various zones.

With the exception of Teleportation and Tunneling, all travel powers have multiple stages resulting in various speeds. In combat or without charging is the slowest and gradually building up to the 3rd and fastest stage, which can be accessed by fully charging the travel power. Jet Boots are the exception to this as it uses 3 stages but can not be charged.

All travel powers that have a graphical effect to them can be colored to some extent by gold members. Silver members are stuck with the default look.

Flight/Fire Flight/Rainbow Flight – Probably the most iconic super hero way to travel as many classic comic characters can fly and is an easy way of seeing someone who has super human abilities. in CO flight offers great maneuverability and moderate speed. Flight has no real noticeable graphic, but many types of wings will flap or glide while flying.

Fire Flight is the exact same as flight, except your character is on fire.

Rainbow Flight is an exact copy of flight, except your character leaves a rainbow trail while flying and has a multi-color glow at their feet.

Super-speed/Light Speed – Super-speed is the fastest base travel power. It mainly enhances run speed, but provides a bit of extra jump height and makes it harder for enemies to notice you, which is handy as you’ll likely be passing by enemies fairly regularly as you travel. While you have to go around buildings and other obstacles, the speed of it generally makes up for it if you know your way around.

Light Speed is an exact copy of super-speed, except your character leaves a Tron-like light trail behind them.

Teleportation – Teleportation is one of the more unique travel powers and also one of the most active ones. Unlike the other travel powers, teleportation can’t remain active, but rather by activating it you get a short period of time where you get a very maneuverable flight as well as gaining stealth. After teleportation ends you remain stealth a few seconds and slowly fall towards the ground and can choose to reactivate teleportation right away if desired. Traveling long distances requires hitting teleportation each time it fades, so is more involved than other travel powers for traveling. If you enter combat shortly after using teleportation, you get a 10 second cool down before being able to teleport again.

Teleportation is currently bugged and will not always grant slow fall when you exit a teleport. This can cause you to take fall damage if your character hits the ground before teleporting again.

Super-jump/Rocket Jump – Super-jump gives your character the ability to jump really high and fast. Super-jump offers a good in between for characters who don’t want fly but don’t want to be stuck on the ground either. Generally it’s fairly safe as even if you land near a ground of enemies, they’ll rarely get a chance to react before you’re out of distance, but it does occasionally happen that one or more enemies will hit you. You have to hit your jump key in between each jump, so it’s a bit more involved than most other travel powers. It’s also a bit more difficult to use indoors as there isn’t much room to jump in some places and there may be objects such as pipes that you can run into, slowing you down.

Rocket Jump is exactly the same as super-jump, except your character is propelled by rockets on their feet.

Acrobatics – Acrobatics is a run and jump increasing travel power, where both fall in between super-speed and super-jump. At rank 1 it’s probably the most difficult to travel with power as it’s not too fast and you can’t jump high enough to get over medium size obstacles. It also doesn’t grant any stealth like super-speed does, so you’re more likely to take damage while traveling. At higher ranks it works a lot better for traveling, but still remains kind of weak compared to other alternatives. It is one of the best to use in combat for increased maneuverability.

Tunneling – Tunneling causes your character to go underground and move at an increased speed. It can allow you to pass by enemies without them noticing you, but you will continue to take damage from DoTs or attacks that were incoming even after you’re underground. Tunneling can not travel pass obstacles in the ground, no matter how small. This makes it fairly difficult to use and really only worth taking if it fits your character. Despite your character being underground you still have to maneuver around all obstacles, even small ones that can normally be run past or require a tiny hop to get over. It’s not very fast either and takes a few seconds when activating or deactivating the power.

Swinging – Swinging is another fairly active travel power. Once activated, your first jump will send you high into the air and pressing and holding jump after that will cause your character to grapple into the air and swing forward. If held your character will continue to swing back and forth and if jump is released your character will release their grapple and go in whichever direction they were swinging at the time. This allows you to adjust your height and speed depending on when you release. If going for speed it is fairly fast, but does requiring timing your jumps properly. It does not require anything to grapple onto, you automatically grapple even the air and can essentially fly with it. It’s very limited use indoors as you don’t have much room for swinging and can easily run into objects.

Hover Disk/Earth Flight/Rainbow Flight: Cloud – These powers give you a less maneuverable version of flight, but give your character an object to stand on. The object is just for show and serves no special person beyond it’s look.

Hover Disk gives you a sci-fi/tech style disk to stand on. It also has the benefit of being slightly faster than flight and the other two powers, although I believe it is slightly less maneuverable.

Earth Flight gives you a piece of earth to stand on, which varies in appearance some depending on where you use it. If you’re in the air when earth flight activates you get a cloud instead.

Rainbow Flight: Cloud gives you a cloud fairly similar to using Earth Flight in the air, except it’ll always give the cloud and the cloud has a rainbow trail similar to rainbow flight.

Ice Slide – Ice Slide is probably the most advanced travel power to get good use out of. When using it your character stands on a piece of ice and leaves an ice/water type trail behind them. It’s base speed is similar to hover disk, however, it is capable of being the fastest travel power if used properly. Also, unlike other flight powers, ice slide will slowly fall to the ground if you’re not moving up. Traveling up slows your speed a bit, but traveling down increases your speed. With the proper technique you can get great speeds with it.

Jet Boots – Jet Boots are very similar to flight, except instead of being able to charge them to full speed, they always start at their slowest speed. In exchange for that penalty though, jet boots are a decent amount faster than flight. They also offer pretty good maneuverability as well. When using this travel power, your character has a colored flame beneath both feet. This is my favorite travel power overall as it offers good speed and maneuverability and not being able to charge it is a very minor penalty.

Travel: The Perfect Industry for Career Options During Challenging Times

if has a simple rule of finding what your true passion is and once in place success will soon follow. Travel is my #1 passion in life and that passion is fast becoming a viable career option for myself and many fellow entrepreneurs.

I have a business background in Graphic and Web Designs and my Plan B revolves around my true passion in life. I love traveling to exotic locations and did my homework for side career options and very lucky to have aligned myself with a business partner out of Plano, Texas that has a three level membership package with a four income stream compensation model that includes the opportunity for high producing associates to have their monthly car and house payment covered. In simple terms: get a piece of the largest industry in the world and create financial security for your family.

The membership packages includes a High Level Travel package that features getaway packages at world class locations tied into bonuses that includes medical evacuation insurance. All three have unique benefits with members able to access unforgettable travel programs at pricing that previously had only been in play for the elite members of society. It offers to members dozens of pre-planned vacation package packages at wholesale pricing via a proprietary search technology that combines high-tech and high-touch to take members to the next step in travel… great pricing and less stress is the combination that is causing travelers world wide to bookmark my travel website.

The back end of the package is the ability for entrepreneurs to become part of the annual $8 trillion travel industry marketing a very easy to duplicate business model backed by some of the finest direct sales and personal development training in the world today. We have the training and marketing materials to allow anyone that is coachable and driven for success to create a lucrative income marketing world wide from the comfort of their very own home based offices.

The travel industry is on an estimated growth pattern estimated to double its current pace in the next 4-6 years. CNN Money stated that travel accounts for 43% of all online spending. $8 trillion dollars of annual revenue is what makes the travel industry such an attractive option. I know the travel industry in detail and once people understand the magnitude of this industry and how just grabbing a small piece of that pie can turn their lives around financially the interest level rises dramatically.

The business model that has taken worldwide offers three levels of membership packages featuring great vacation packages with the best in pricing options and implementation of the best in technology to create a stress free environment. “From a scenic tour of ancient Castles in Scotland to a romantic getaway in the Caribbean I can offer a complete A-Z menu for travelers that includes bonuses such as the best in Concierge Services….. Truly THE BEST option in play today for travelers big and small who want the finest in pricing, services and bonus features.”

Imagine being part of this exciting industry and one of the reasons that interest level is so high with so many great individuals from previous careers as direct sales reps to CEOs of national companies. The training is hosted by some of the best Direct Sales trainers in the world and includes award winning three and five day workshops that were created to help all associates not only become the best in sales functions but also to help them create an overall balance in their lives to allow them to create the desired harmony in their lives that sadly is missing for so many right during these very challenging times.

Individuals in a serious search for a new career option will find being in the travel industry is fast becoming THE STANDARD with serious minded entrepreneurs.

The Truth About Government Travel Advisories, Warnings and Alerts

If you’re like most people and you believe that government travel advisories, warning and alerts represent the most accurate advice for business travelers then you are terribly mistaken.

Here are the key elements that all business travelers and travel managers need to know regarding the validity and application of government travel alerts and travel related advice. Knowing and understanding these few simple issues will save your company unnecessary travel delays and disruptions under almost any circumstance. The main points to always consider in the wake of a renewed or updated advisory, warning or alert is the target audience, specific government resources, commercial relevance and the avoidance of evacuation scenarios.

The primary demographic for government advisories are first time travelers, backpackers, families and anyone else with little to no prior traveling experience and preparation or the lowest possible denominator. It is this group that governments aim their advice and analysis towards with the belief that if this group is adequately informed, then all remaining demographics will be covered. Unfortunately this results in an artificially low benchmark for all travelers not within this group.These other groups depend upon travel for business productivity, management and administration and the more likely to have their travel plans altered unnecessarily due to many government alerts. This is in part due to corporate risk avoidance (in the belief the government travel advisories are adequate) and insurance companies bench-marking many of their travel policy exclusions on that of government travel advice (again, in the belief the government are catering to their needs too). Unless you are a first time traveler, significantly inexperienced or lack appropriate business support while traveling, then the majority of government travel advice does not apply to you.

Detailed examination of dedicated resources aimed at travel related advice and content typically reveals little more than a handful of “specific” resources. That is, someone or department dedicated solely to the collection, analysis and dissemination of commercially relevant travel advice. Most government resources are “shared” services when it comes to travel intelligence and advice with general non-government travel a very small increment of their overall mandate. Smaller countries have no dedicated resources and simply “share” the advice from coalition partners or more populace countries, further diluting the relevance to their citizens. Most continuous travel advisory services, provided by a government, are little more than a chronology of publicly available media updates. While resources are limited in the first instance, it is the lack of commercial experience that constitutes the greatest flaw to government travel advisories.

What little resources there are that are aimed at travel intelligence typically lack any direct commercial experience. Therefore, all their apparent advice is predicated more on the interests of the government (resulting in censorship, omissions and politically correct publications) than that of any business sector or commercial demographic. When you have soldiers, government agents and police officers commenting on matters relating to commerce and business travel, you get little actionable advice due to their inability to put into commercial context the impact events may have from a purely commercial perspective rather than a transnational or political viewpoint.

Behind closed doors, most governments admit they do not maintain nor posses the resources (assumed by most of their citizens) for large scale evacuations from any corner of the globe. Regrettably many travelers have grown to assume that complete failure to take responsibility for their own safety and security while traveling will always be compensated by the government’s ability to swoop in and save then if they should so choose. This is wrong and very dangerous for those with such a belief. For those governments that would even consider an evacuation of their nationals (not very many) they will often go to great lengths to advise their citizens to leave or make personal arrangements long before any government is forced into acting. Landing troops or foreign government elements in someone else country is always the choice of last resort and highly prone to complications, even if it were possible.

Anything published by a government will always have the country’s national interests such as economy, trade and diplomatic relationships carefully considered before release. Anything that may threaten such strategic goals is likely to be withheld, including government travel advisories, warnings and alerts. Now that you understand the importance of being self sufficient and discerning when it comes to government travel advice you will waste less time placing priority on such updates and focus on more commercially relevant inputs. As a result, your company travel risk management process will be far more resilient and less impacted by the stop/start affect created by government updates, warnings and alerts. You may also now identify gaps that need to be filled by insufficient commercial content from government sources.

Government travel advisories, warnings and alerts focus on the wrong target demographic, lack the appropriate resources, have little commercial relevance and seek to avoid last minute acts such as evacuations. Now that you too are aware of these limitations you should be better positioned to make business decisions in the wake of crisis, emergency and dynamic events that affect a location and your business travelers. Business travel risk management is a commercial process and can only be achieved with appropriate commercial products and services.

Elements of a Strong Corporate Travel Program

In order to make the most of your corporate travel budget, it is critical to plan for leveraging your program for all it is worth. Telling travelers to select the lowest logical airfare is just not enough. Here are the elements that should be considered when planning or evaluating your travel program.

1. Travel policy

A well written and disseminated travel policy is the foundation of any good travel program, and I am consistently amazed that so many corporations have such an outdated and poorly conceived travel policy, if they have one at all. It is not difficult to find a well written policy. One can be found online quite easily. All that remains is that it is edited to reflect corporate culture, and disseminated within the company so that everyone understands and agrees to follow it. For this reason, it is a good idea to have everyone sign a copy of the travel policy to ensure that it is read, understood and owned by all company staff. I suggest that everyone in the company signs a copy of the travel policy, whether they travel or not. They may change positions in the company later and be required to travel. A travel policy need not be long or complex. Some of the best travel policies I have ever seen were only a few pages long.

2. Centralized travel internally and externally

Many companies do not centralize their travel program, and they pay a price in terms of a loss of expense reduction opportunities and internal efficiencies. Many companies that do not centralize travel have a fear of requiring travelers to do something they may not want to do, along with the idea that centralizing travel will require hiring a Travel Manager. Both of these may be legitimate concerns but they do not have to be in most cases. By requiring travelers to book centrally, you are not necessarily causing them to lose flexibility. You can centralize travel while still allowing travelers to book on their own, either with a travel agency of your choice, or online through a provider that you have partnered with and have confidence in. By assigning someone with the responsibility of overseeing travel, you are getting a single point of contact both internally and externally for travel issues. If your company spends less than $1 million in air travel, you probably do not need a full time travel manager. In these cases, travel oversight can be given to the finance department, human resources, or even an executive level assistant. Here is a look at the advantages to be gained by centralizing travel.

When you centralize travel with a single agency, you gain in a number of important ways. You will have a single point of contact for problems while travelers are on the road, and you will have one entity to go to for all your travel needs. This eliminates the problem of consolidating a travel report from among several sources. By bringing travel together, you will gain significantly from economies of scale. If you can measure total travel among various divisions or locations, you can get more for your money from travel suppliers. This will allow you to gain more from airline soft dollar programs, which means more free tickets and upgrades, get a higher percentage discount from our preferred airline, and get better negotiated rates from your hotel and car contracts. Your fulfillment costs will decrease as well, as your travel agency will often discount their fees for a higher overall volume of travel.

3. Mix of online booking and personal service

This is an addendum to the previous element, which calls for centralizing travel with one travel agency. This is important, but in doing so, you need not require travelers to use an online booking system, and you need not require travelers to call the agency directly. By offering travelers the option of doing either, you are accomplishing several goals. You will reduce your fulfillment costs, as online booking is cheaper in terms of a service fee. By giving travelers the option, you are giving them a sense of control, thereby increasing morale and standing a better chance of a high adoption rate. Thirdly, you leave open a best practice of using your online booking engine for less complex itineraries, and allowing senior executives, frequent travelers, and complex itineraries to be booked directly with a travel agent that can offer a higher level of service and a better overall travel experience where it is most warranted.

4. Look under every stone

While the bulk of most travel programs revolve around the air budget, there are several other areas one can investigate to find savings opportunities. There are a couple of more obvious areas to look, such as negotiated hotel rates at your favorite hotels, or car rental discounts with a favored supplier. Often your travel agency will already have discounted rates through consortia affiliations and agency car contracts. There are also some less common areas that should be investigated. For example, if ground transportation is a concern, most suppliers will offer discounted rates and a direct billing option. Direct billing arrangements with hotels and car rental agencies are also a great way to increase efficiencies and make the job of the accounting department easier.

5. Leverage hard dollar and soft dollar contracts

Most major airlines today offer hard dollar discounts as well as soft dollar incentives in exchange for company loyalty to their product. If your travel program is over $1 million in air spend, you can secure a discount off of the lowest fares of your carrier of choice in return for a market share commitment. For your secondary carriers, or if your volume is less than the minimum required by the airline, you can enter in to soft dollar programs for free tickets and free upgrades, as well as traveler status enhancements or airport club passes. These programs require little in the way of volume, but they are not well publicized so you may need to hunt for them or ask Baker Travel or your current agency to point you in the right direction.

6. Do not neglect hotel volume

Hotel volume is sometimes overlooked but it should not be. Negotiated rates can be had through your travel agency or directly with the hotel properties of your choice. Individual hotels near corporate locations will negotiate discounted rates for you in exchange for a minimum room/night commitment. By utilizing a travel agency, you are likely to receive discounts of 5% to 50% on thousands of hotels worldwide.

7. Have at least one car rental contract

Rental car contracts are easy to enter into and require little in the way of commitment from the corporation. Choose a partner that has airport locations and a reputation for excellent customer service. You can save 5-10% very easily and can also negotiate frequent renter membership for all your employees. This will make them more efficient and enhance morale. You can also enter in to direct billing agreements at the same time that can make the jobs of your travelers and accounting staff much less stressful.

8. Understand group and meeting contracts

Airlines and hotels will discount your fares and rates when you have groups traveling together or meeting at a single destination from multiple points of origin. These meeting contracts can bring you airfare discounts of 2-10%, and if you have enough travelers on a single airline, you may be able to negotiate for free tickets to be awarded at contract completion. The minimum requirement is usually 10 travelers going to the same place at the same time. Some airlines have higher minimums so be sure to ask before a contract is generated. Hotels will discount their rates in a similar way with a minimum of 10 room nights. These discounts can range from 10% to a much higher discount depending upon occupancy rate and seasonal variances.

9. Use reporting to consistently improve metrics

Well managed travel programs require constant monitoring and financial controls to be properly leveraged. Insist on timely and customized reports that can be designed to bring you the information you need most. By receiving regular reporting on traveler behavior and provider contract performance, you will be in a better position to fulfill contract obligations, achieve cost reduction objectives and see where opportunities for future savings may lie.

10. Use all avenues to enhance traveler comfort and efficiency

Lastly, any well managed travel program will take in to account the comfort and productivity of their travelers. When travelers are comfortable, they can focus on their main priorities that help propel your business forward. If travelers are happy, they perform at a higher level. Ask if your travel agency can upgrade traveler status on a preferred airline. Look in to purchasing blocks of airport club passes so they can be used strategically during long and complex itineraries. There are many ways to reward travelers for the difficult and often grueling chore of travel. These kinds of rewards generate feelings of loyalty and increased productivity and efficiency.

If you would like to learn more about how your company can better leverage their travel program to benefit your bottom line and the satisfaction of your executive level, feel free to contact me. I am delighted to point you in the right direction.

Why Not Outlet Pricing for Travelers?

The proliferation of ‘factory outlets’ or ‘manufacturer-direct’ prices has become common place, but are we getting true ‘outlet or direct’ prices?

The middleman, agent or even retailer is suffering in our modern internet-based environment and big-box stores which appear to offer rock-bottom prices but still make enormous profits are commonplace.

The world of agents from insurance to travel to financial are feeling the crunch as they are rapidly being considered as expensive cost overheads by the producer, provider or manufacturer.

The airlines started the demise of the travel agency system when they started eliminating agent commissions and over-rides and turned to online booking systems aimed directly at the consumer, forcing some retail agencies to charge additional booking fees. Now you can find airline reservation sites charging fees for online seat selection plus anything else that they can get away with. Are the savings they are making being passed on to the consumer?

Insurance companies began advertising for direct dealings as did banks with their development of in-house financial planners (not at all independent, but merely another name for a bank products salesperson). Are they keeping the old commission for themselves or do they pass on the savings to the consumer?

Let’s focus on one of the consumers’ largest expenditures over a lifetime – recreational travel, business travel, vacations and trips and the Retail Travel Agent or Agency:

1.These were really needed before the consumer could access websites from B&B’s to Hotels,
Luxury Lodges and Tour Operators or if you wanted to pick up an expensive glossy brochure.
2.These were really needed before travel providers and tour operators enabled the consumer to
book directly with them on the internet with reservation systems and booking requirements that required little training or expertise.
3.These were really needed before airlines promoted their own booking services and became more greedy for any extra percentage or fee and wanted to be rid of travel agents as expensive and redundant overheads.

Now, these agents are only really needed if travelers want knowledge, experience and expertise of specific destinations, activities or tour companies, or of course, those travelers still not using the web.

Let’s not feel too sorry for retail agents as top-notch travel consultants are essential to travelers who have complex itineraries or who are venturing to the lesser know areas of the world. All is not dark for travel agents with knowledge, experience and expertise as consumers who need these professionals now have access to them with the web wherever they may be located and no longer need to use local agents unless they have the requisite skills. But, they still have to be found as they may not be in your local area or even in your own country.

There are various forms and levels of travel middlemen – Inbound Tour Operators, Wholesalers, Retail Agencies, all of which earn a percentage from the original travel provider for their advertising, promotion and sales efforts, these percentages can be anywhere from 10% to 25% or even more! When you see a travel advertisement offering $200 off per person and you book through a retail agent, you are still paying the commission, so by booking directly with the operator you should get the special offer and also save the commission.

Some travel operators already offer their products directly to the consumer but at the same prices as the consumer would get from a retail agent. Fair enough if these providers do not use middlemen but if they also sell through retailers their prices should be ‘net of commissions’ for direct bookers and ‘retail’ for agency sales.

When the consumer goes directly to the travel provider these middlemen percentages should not apply but the provider is sometimes in a predicament. To show a net price and retail price on their website could deter the middlemen from handling their products. Until now.

Travel providers are now able to offer net prices directly to consumers by using the TopTravelVoucher services. This website is in effect operating as a travel agent who does not sell travel on behalf of travel operators, but generates travelers who go directly to the providers for information and bookings. As the website does not need bricks and mortar offices, expensive glossy brochures, familiarization trips and computer reservation systems plus all the other paraphernalia of operating a travel agency, it is able to rebate sales commissions to travelers as a reward for handling their own arrangements directly with the travel operators.

This innovative consumer travel service offers travel discounts in over 70 countries to travelers who purchase their deeply discounted TopTravelVouchers. They offer their services to the global travel trade community and to the global traveler. They do not charge the travel trade for any promotion services and allow multiple listings for any kind of travel product as long as the consumer gets net pricing.

The consumer does not have to buy before seeing the travel offer and can also buy the vouchers to be used as gift certificates. All vouchers come with a 100% money back guarantee and even if the traveler is unhappy after completion of travel the monies for the vouchers are still 100% refundable.

At present you can get TopTravelVouchers for Escorted Tours, Eco Tours, Adventure Tours, Small Boat Cruises, Lodges, Resorts, Hotels, B&B’s and new products are arriving on a daily basis.

Some tours offer a flat percentage off of the retail price while other vouchers have a fixed value. One voucher for a Greek Cruise has a value of 1,500euros and can be purchased for only $100usd and there are many escorted tours around the world offering a 10% discount on the tour price, which can be significant depending on length of tour and number of travelers. If you have a family or group of travelers you can often buy a voucher for each person (there is a particular 7 day Thai River Rovers cruise that appeals to me if I can find a few friends to join the charter).

So now, no matter where you live or where you want to go, you can book discounted travel from your home, cyber-cafe or laptop anywhere in the world. You could be in the offices of a tour operator and go online and get a voucher and then hand it over to get instant savings. Not bad eh?

This website and concept is a first for the internet and with the support of the global travel trade from the smallest of travel operators to the giants, it can only grow larger with expanded product selections and savings as this aspect of internet travel is on a seemingly endless growth path.

Travelers who go directly to travel websites must do their own due diligence, talk free with skype, 800 number, or email with the operators, read testimonials, check the latest pricing and last minute deals, make a booking and check for deeply discounted TopTravelVouchers in order to get fairer fare prices. If your tour operator does not offer a ‘net of commissions’ tour price when you do your own bookings, ask for it or suggest they start to offer these vouchers and you will start saving on your travel.

Although this service is not yet a household word for travelers the TopTravelVoucher service is on the way to making a difference in that we can now find true outlet prices for a lot of travel choices directly from tour operators, wholesalers and even retail travel agents who often operate their own in-house tour programs. All want to expand their reach to the ever expanding international client base of travelers comfortable with handling their own travel arrangements and who all want fairer fare prices.

Best Traveling Experience at Affordable Cost

We like to freshen after long days of work, sometimes we fed up with our daily life. Busy and hectic life is not always good, our mind and soul needs some refreshments. Sometime, we need to break free and go for some refreshing travel.

Traveling to the new places and within different people and culture gets your body and mind re-energized. There are several time for travel You can go for weekend travel, a week travel or a months long travel. Some might like adventure travel and some like to explore new culture, food and traditions. One can choose nature of their travel according to time frame and interest.

For instance, we can categorize travel into two different segments, one is inbound traveling and other is outbound traveling. In bound travel refers to traveling inside one’s country, where outbound travel is traveling to another country. People do not only travel for fun, they travel sometime for business purpose too. For instance, meeting new corporate parties or to explore new business ventures, for this one needs everything that business class service has to offer. You are recommended to choose a dependable travel company or travel tour operators, who have a long experience of organizing, otherwise your time and money can go waste. You can also get advice from family members or friends who already have an experience of traveling that place in which you are going to.

Before deciding, you need to keep in mind many things such as booking a flight, train ticket to go to another country or city, booking a hotel or suite where you are It is a wise decision to book all these from a certified travel company or tour operators, they will manage all your traveling needs according to your requirements including hotel booking, flight, train ticket reservation, excursion or tour packages. You have to plan or book your travel in advance otherwise it can be problematic to get tickets and everything gets high-priced in the last minutes, as you know.

Before going for a vacation to another country there are few things you must ensure to check first-hand, about passport and visas, travel insurance, custom rules and regulations of visiting country and also the weather conditions. You must bring appropriate clothes according to the weather condition of the new place, if you gather information about customs, religions and society of visiting new place or country it will be very easy to travel as you are well aware of the situations.

Choosing a responsible and experienced travel company which provides the lowest ticket pricing and lowest travel package cost makes your travel pleasant and memorable.

Keeping Upholstered Home Furniture Clean and Presentable

Aside from regular cleaning, the simplest way to maintain the furniture in your home in its most presentable and serviceable condition is to use them with as much care as possible.

In households that have young children and pets, this can be a very challenging task. Chairs, couches and sofas are meant to be sat on – not stood on or jumped on. It is not a venue for rough housing with the family dog. Nor is it for wiping popcorn buttered hands on. But unless you’re maintaining a spinster lifestyle, inevitable mishaps like stains and spillages cannot be avoided.

To maintain furniture upholstered in fabric, it is best to do spot-cleaning as soon as an “accident” happens. Just spray on and scrub in a cleaning solvent on the stain and wipe off with a dry cloth or paper towel. For dust and grime that seem to settle in the fabric from normal daily use, home shampooing on a regular basis is recommended.

Leather and vinyl only need to be wiped clean with a sponge dipped in a soapy solution. Use a soft bristled brush to get stubborn grime off if necessary. Wipe off with a soft dry cloth. Leather needs to be moisturized to retain its sheen. In lieu of commercially available leather moisturizers, colorless shoe polish may be used. Apply the polish evenly, then buff and polish thoroughly. On the other hand, oil-based products should never be used on vinyl as these may cause the material to become brittle.

To avoid nicks, scratches and snags, make sure the furniture have ample space around them. Do not place them flush against the wall or other furniture unless they were designed to do so. Maintain a fair distance from heating vents and direct sunlight. Try not to eat messy, dripping food around upholstered furnishings. Otherwise, be prepared to soot-clean right after your meal.

Of course, hiring a professional cleaning service is always the best choice. Most services have a pick-up and delivery option. Some services will clean your furniture right in your home. If the cleaning required is a hefty task, like a major spill on light-colored upholstery, these are the people to call. They’ll know what cleaning agents or solvents to use that won’t damage the fabric’s design and color. But still, unless your home furnishings are the expensive heirloom type or made by a known designer, these services may also cost a paltry sum.

Learning English in an English Speaking Country

Those of you who have spoken to fluent or native English speakers will have heard them tell of the benefits of learning English in an English speaking country. The advantages of this are obvious. Providing you live with, or have daily communicative contact with English speakers, there is no doubt that this will enhance and speed up becoming a good English speaker. You will find yourself in typical everyday situations, where you need to understand and communicate in English. You are likely to find yourself in embarrassing situations, where you make mistakes, frequently misunderstand, or fail to understand completely. This can often lead to frustration and create an urge to try harder and commit more time to learning English. This can often have very effective results.

Learning English in a non English speaking country

Sometimes, learning English in an English speaking country is not possible. Instead, you have to do it whilst remaining in your home country. However, the results are often somewhat different. Input is often restricted to what you are exposed to in the classroom. Progress can often be slow and you will often find enthusiasm wanes after the novelty has worn off. This is because outside the classroom, there is no need to converse in English. The closest you get to this is through completing your homework, but often you will find this becomes a chore. Unless you are blessed with dogged determinism and enthusiasm, many of us will forget all about learning English until we step into the classroom again the following week.

Other benefits of learning English in an English speaking country

Not only does learning English in an English speaking country improve your general language learning experience, it also exposes you to other important factors attached to language learning. This includes the culture, the people and the overall functions of how certain countries do things. You will become familiar with the food people eat, when and how they eat, how people spend their free time, what people choose to spend their money on and how much things cost. The list is endless. It can provide you with an opportunity to really see how English speaking people live and provide you with an opportunity to see if you would like to live and work there yourself either permanently or temporarily in the future.

Making English speaking friends

If you spend a lot of time learning English in an English speaking country, you are very likely to make friends with native English speakers. You will go out with them, eat with them and experience all the things that they experience in their daily lives. This kind of interaction is especially good for learning the more informal aspects of the English language, like accent and dialect, proverbs and other “-ism’s” found in the English Language. You are only likely to learn these if you hear them spoken by a native speaker and are comfortable enough to ask what they mean. This is a very important part of becoming a fluent English speaker, as there are hundreds of these that are used frequently in everyday conversation among native speakers.

How to learn English in an English Speaking Country

Many of you will be thinking this is easier said than done. Going abroad costs a lot of money, and even once you’re there, issues of where you will stay and what you will do whilst learning to speak English will be on your mind. Fortunately, there are many schemes in place to facilitate this process.

8 Different Ways Different States Treat Divorce

You’re thinking about divorce – maybe you need to give some thought to where you live. Divorce laws differ widely from state to state. Here are 8 examples that will show you just how different divorce laws can be.

  1. Want To Get Out Of Paying Alimony? Well, if your spouse has been unfaithful, you want to be living in Georgia. Georgia law allows adultery as a bar to paying alimony. Make your case and alimony will not be awarded.
  2. Want To Get Even? Let’s get back to that unfaithful scenario. In 7 states you can still sue a homewrecker for “alienation of affection” if another person has stolen your spouse from you. New Mexico, Illinois, Hawaii, North Carolina, Mississippi, Utah and South Dakota are where you want to be if you want to sue. In some of those states, the name is “criminal conversation”.
  3. Want A Fast Divorce? You may think that Nevada is the state for a quickie divorce. Think again. In New Hampshire you can be divorced in a single day. You both just cross the border and stay in New Hampshire – that’s taking up residence. There’s no minimum processing time or minimum residency requirement. You can “move” to New Hampshire on Wednesday and file on Thursday and be divorced.
  4. Not So Fast? Then try Vermont. In Vermont, you have to have been residents for at least a year. You must undergo a six-month separation, living apart during that time. Meet those requirements and the judge will grant the divorce. But, wait! It’s not final for another three-months!
  5. Find Fault In Idaho. If your spouse is a boozer and you’ve had enough. You can file for a fault divorce on the grounds of habitual intemperance.
  6. Murder She Wrote – Or He Wrote. If you want grounds for a fault divorce in Tennessee, you just have to show that your spouse has tried to murder you “by poison or any other means showing malice.” Yikes!
  7. She Has A Headache Or He’s Not In The Mood. And, that can be ground for a fault divorce in North Dakota where “persistent refusal to have reasonable matrimonial intercourse” lets you file for a fault divorce.
  8. Still Seeing Each Other? In Delaware, a divorcing couple can continue to live together, but they must be in separate bedrooms. However, sex is allowed if it I an effort “to achieve reconciliation”.

You can see how different divorce laws can be – and that’s one reason why you want an experienced divorce lawyer on your side. You want an expert divorce attorney who understand the laws in your state and can help you make the right decisions within those boundaries.

Tips to Arrange Your Home Furniture

We all use furniture in our house, but only few of us know how to arrange the furniture for perfect appearance. Here, I am going to discuss some tips on how to arrange home furniture.

Tips:

Measurement: Before going to arrange the furniture, first you need to measure the room and hallways, stairs, etc. Measurement tapes can be used for it, but if you do not have it, you can measure by your foot. This thing must be taken in consideration even before the purchase of the furniture.

Variety: Though many people do not agree it, but I would say that adding different variety furniture in single space gives it a more pleasant look. It actually adds a visual interest to the space. You can try variety in colors, shapes of furniture, etc.

Use of Scaled Pieces: Scaled pieces are good to create balance. When used together, they not only add serenity in the room, but also help in creating a harmonious atmosphere in the room.

Furniture Balance: Balance within furniture items are generally of two types: symmetric and asymmetric. Symmetric arrangement means the use of similar kind of furniture together while asymmetric arrangement is the use of two different kinds of furniture next to each other.

Think like an Artist: Use an artistic approach to design the room. Think like a painter, make a rough sketch of the room as you want to see it, and process to design. For help, you can visit the internet for some good interior design pictures that will help you in creating an imagination.

Analyze the Depth in Artwork: This is also an important factor that can be used to choose the proper interior of the room. Take your room as an artwork and analyze its depth. To do that, you can stand at the room entrance and then look into the room near-to-far. This will give you an analysis of the depth of the room.

Divide and Arrange: if your room is much bigger, you can take it as smaller parts and then design each part separately. You can arrange furniture in each part according to need, but you should make sure the completeness of the room when different parts are viewed together.

Completeness: While making furniture arrangement, you must also make sure the completeness of the arrangement. Your furniture must perfectly comply with the interior of the room and they must form a completeness altogether.

Creating Various Fashion Styles With an Ideal Purse

It is undoubted that a fantastic purse can help to set a woman apart from the others in the crowd in a great way. Usually, the most suitable purse for us is not necessarily the most fabulous one, but the one that agrees with our own styles and personality. With an ideal purse, we can be inspired to create various fashion styles, exploring as many possibilities in the purse as possible. Thus, it is vital to select the right purse.

Considering the relationship between the purse and your body figure, you should pay attention to the shape and size of a purse to see whether it can flatter your body figure well or not. Generally speaking, a wide purse with a long strap can be an ideal choice for women who have big breasts and hope to draw attention away from the chest. For petite women, small sized round purse can be great. On the other hand, the way you carry the purse can also affect how your body shape look like. For example, if you want to look taller, then you should choose a bag that hangs lower than your waist.

The color is also a key factor that you should think about when choosing a right purse. If you are good at color matching, you must have paid great attention to the choice of accessories’ colors, which play an important role in creating a wonderful fashion style. When you pair the same clothes with purses in different colors, as a result, you can get all kinds of interesting and exciting styles.

You can get a lot of fun by exploring the many possibilities of the purse in creating various great fashion styles. However, not every purse can display the potential to match all kinds of ensemble, but only the one that suits you most can provide such a potential.

Delicate Home Furniture

Assessing the values of delicate home furniture

Sometimes the home owner might make the decision to purchase some modern home furniture such as the supremely elegant black dining room dinette set that is available in home furnishing shops and on the internet. This piece of furniture will make meals the occasions that they need to be. That means that if you are entertaining there is no need to worry about the kinds of things that you are going to use. The efforts can be saved for the other items such as cutlery and cooking utensils. The use of the supremely elegant black dining room dinette set that is available in home furnishing shops and on the internet is therefore a great achievement for the home owner.

This type of furniture will cost somewhat more than the standard items that you use in the home. It is an investment in the kind of lifestyle that you wish to create for your family. It is reasonable to expect that you will get the best quality when you decide to go for the supremely elegant black dining room dinette set that is available in home furnishing shops and on the internet. In the true style of the age, this is a system that tends to work very well with modern settings. You simply configure your home in the way that you want it and then wait for the results. You are almost guaranteed satisfaction when you purchase the supremely elegant black dining room dinette set that is available in home furnishing shops and on the internet.

The homes that decide to buy the item will be please by their purchase of the supremely elegant black dining room dinette set that is available in home furnishing shops and on the internet. It is a delicate balance that includes looking at the item and then trying to fit it within the home settings. If it appears that the furniture is not going to make the grade then the clients can try to find alternative solutions. The end result is that the furniture is merely one of the choices that they can make. Using this sort of set will ensure that you are well served by the supremely elegant black dining room dinette set that is available in home furnishing shops and on the internet.

Some people might be concerned about using the item because they believe that purchasing the item will cost them too much. For it is not worth it to buy the supremely elegant black dining room dinette set that is available in home furnishing shops and on the internet. They would rather spend the money on alternative projects from which they can expect some sort of compensation in the long run. This might be the wrong way to go about things because the purchase of the item is not about money. Cost are not too important when buying the supremely elegant black dining room dinette set that is available in home furnishing shops and on the internet.

Summer Hip Hop Music 2013

Get ready for the newest hip hop releases. Summer 2013 has officially arrived and we’re gearing up to give you the business of the new music artists’ releases!

Now before we continue, let me just make clear that a lot of rumors have surfaced as to exactly what is about to go down during this hot, sticky, and sexy season.

For starters, Lil Wayne’s songs and other new hip hop music releases will be served handsomely on a platter via your local favorite Summertime radio station, that is. Besides, who would’ve really doubted Lil Wayne songs as yet another regulatory bypassing of judgmental fodder for submissive temporary airplay? Not us.

Besides, the boy has been among the top hip hop artists since he killed audiences with those none other than dare I say who? If you guessed TT Boi a.k.a. Sir 2 Chainz, then you guessed right my friends. Remember back in the Spring of ’07 when we all couldn’t wait for the newest hip hop releases? Ever since that historic mind-blowing period for Playaz Circle, 2 Chainz has gone on to become seemingly out of nowhere literally one of top music artists to date.

But that’s not all, because my sources inside tell me that this summer’s newest hip hop music will be an ever so eventful one considering the likes of the classic duo even once more collaborating.

Just in time. Right on the money, huh? Pssst… we hear this one’s aiming to be a classic.

In other rumors of new hip hop music, Rocko’s not at all in any type of a hurry to take a break thus far in getting off of his wave. After all, so is everyone else riding it out along with him. Definitely be on the heavy lookout for one of his brand new music releases around midway through this hot Summer season.

Oh yeah, and for all you doubters and forgetful types out there, guess which hip hop music artist is making a steady and long-awaited comeback? Younger shorties prepare to pinch yourselves accordingly, for you may not know who this is.

Just not too long ago, the former Cash Money record label signee, known to other artists as Young Turk, was released from prison on what had foully appeared to be trumped up felony-related charges upon him and other music artists as of late.

We hear that Turk is currently back in the lab perfecting and fine-tuning his “oh so” Lil Wayne-ish like craft effortlessly for a sharp and secondarily memorable return.

We wish him well.

*On a sidenote, we also heard unconfirmed rumors of Young Turk once again collaborating with his former group mates Weezy and Juvenile for an official Hot Boy’s reunion.

Hip Hop music artists Hot Boys Young Turk and B.G. were both incarcerated due to what apparently led to the former groups fallout, among other unsolved issues. The new hip hop music releases that are slated for this year’s Summer should be on smash to say the least.

Without giving away all of the goods, I must say that fellow west coast artists will become very active once again this Summer in the newest hip hop music scene. Big up to all of the new music releases coming from up out of the new west. As fans, we need a breath of fresh air, for sure and most certainly.

Well, that about wraps up the lowdown on this year’s Summer 2013 annual music artists and upcoming new music releases. Definitely keep an eye out for the west coast as mentioned for the west will certainly provide this Summer’s classic club bangers and newest hip hop music. Turn up!

Bikini Waxing Styles – Waxing Trends and Fashion Styles

What we do about our body hair changes with the trends and fashion just like the length of our skirts. The seventies, it was way cool to just leave your hair natural. If you had a lot of pubic hair, so be it. It was considered sexy. Now, though, it is becoming more fashionable to have less hair – less on your bikini area, especially. And not only is it more common to get rid of hair, there are now several acceptable bikini waxing styles – waxing trends and fashions – from which to choose.

You can choose to keep most of your pubic hair and simply wax the hair that grows beyond the part of your body that is covered with your bikini bottom. This is, of course, the easiest, quickest, and least painful bikini waxing style.

You can also choose to keep just a small strip of hair running right up the middle of your triangular private area. This simply involves waxing more of the area. Because you are getting into a more sensitive area, this can be a bit more uncomfortable than just waxing the bikini line.

You can also choose a Brazilian wax. The Brazilian waxing trend and fashion is becoming more and more common; it’s always been common in Brazil – hence the name – but lots of American women are opting for this, too. A Brazilian wax is the bikini waxing style that removes all the pubic hair. You can get it done at a salon or do it yourself with a kit you can buy at the drugstore.

Probably the most interesting bikini waxing trend and fashion, though, is creating designs in the pubic hair area. You can get a template of a simple design such as a heart and either wax only the heart shape or wax every bit of hair except the heart shape. If you wax the hart itself, you will have a heart in the middle of your hair. If you wax the rest of the hair, you will have a little heart hair and no other hair in the bikini area.

Top 3 Travel Trends For Today's Travel Agent

You must be the change you wish to see in the world

1869-1948, Preeminent leader of Indian nationalism

Trend #1 – The Internet

Everybody knows that the internet has changed virtually everything… especially the Travel Industry. Online giants like Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz have revolutionized travel. Even Travel Agents & Agencies are booking online while the general public searches and buys their own vacations online. In fact, it’s estimated that 82% of all travel is now being booked online. Travel is one of the most researched topics on the internet… and also the most profitable.

The internet is simple, seamless and the perfect medium for the travel industry. We just point, click, and pack our bags. Before the internet, however, an agent’s bread & butter was commissions earned with business travelers… predominantly flights. American Airlines was the first to pull the plug on paying commissions on flight purchases as the internet started coming into its own and more business travelers were finding better deals online.

Since 1997 well over 200,000 agencies went out of business. Over 1 million travel agents lost their jobs to the internet. That number grew after 9/11. The days of brick & mortar very quickly got taken over by click & order, making for a far more efficient system. However, those very few agents & agencies that could foresee the positive impact the internet could have for them, jumped right into the explosive opportunity that the internet introduced, to maintain as much of their client base as possible. Very few, a decade ago, opted to go with the flow of change. Today, everyone understands that the internet is here to stay. When we are adaptable to change, we flourish… and profit.

Because of the internet, the online travel agent is also home-based. Because of the tremendous opportunity, continuous industry growth, and #1 industry training, today’s travel agent is your mother, cousin, aunt, neighbor, best friend, etc. and earning 60-100% of the vendors commission. It’s for everyone.

Trend #2 – Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing has been and always will be the best way to market anything. Statistics prove that 80% of all vacations (most anything really) are taken because of a recommendation from a friend, family member or co-worker. Think about the last time you came home from a vacation. Did you keep it a secret? No way! We talk about it for 2 months before leaving and talk about it for 2 months after we get back! And we show everyone pictures and videos! And we recommend the destination and hotel to everyone (or not) and tell them where we bought our terrific deal!

Familiarization trips (FAMs) play a huge part in word-of-mouth marketing. The only way for agents to really learn about what they sell is to experience it first hand. FAMs are put together by cruise lines, hotel chains and destinations worldwide. They usually include accommodation, tours, meals, shows, transportation, etc. Prices are slashed making it affordable for agents to travel multiple times a year… VIP!. The vendors roll out the proverbial red carpet for agents when they arrive. They’re given the most exclusive experience possible because vendors know that when agents return home… they’re going to talk about it!

The average person will purchase his vacation online at retail, once a year.

Agents will travel multiple times a year, all over the world as far and wide as they want to go, for pennies on the dollar. For this, FAMs continue to be one of the major perks today for agents in the industry.

Which takes us to…

Trend #3 – Home Based Business

Travel students, Baby Boomers and everyone in between are bringing travel home!

Leading agencies smart enough to follow the internet trend, have gone online and now offer just about anyone the opportunity to be professionally trained to operate and sell travel from home!! Woohoo!! That’s right! YOU can sell travel from the comfort of your own home and get paid!

Doesn’t it make sense that if you’re going to travel anyway (especially as much as the Boomers), that you buy it from yourself and get paid? Or get paid commissions on the trips your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers are taking already? Of course! Most people will do business with someone they know & trust. You may as well be that person, right?

Agencies quickly caught on to the franchise phenomena online and have opened up the opportunity to just about anyone with a valuable work ethic who is willing to learn. Coupled with word-of-mouth marketing… you’ve got a winning combination! The more knowledgeable you become, the more perks, FAMs, FREE trips, upgrades, etc, become available to you… cha-ching!

I’ve been selling travel for years. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a travel industry professional. For more than two decades I’ve been asked “How did you come by this work?”

But I also get asked, “What’s the best place to go for our honeymoon?” or “Can you recommend a Caribbean cruise itinerary?” or “What hotel should we stay at in the Mayan Riviera?”

Hey, it’s not rocket science!! If I have the answers and I can get paid for the sale… Hello??

The internet made it possible for me to have my own online agency and benefit even more from the extraordinary perks available to travel professionals! Being online means I don’t really even have to be home. Because my business is online, I am accessible to the world, 365 days of the year, 24/7! Friends and family can book all by themselves while I’m hiking with my dog! I can even book flights or all-inclusive vacations right from my BlackBerry!! WOW! So my home-based travel business is really my mobile travel services!! Super cool!!

We must not forget the amazing benefits that come with owning a business from home as well!

Aside from the obvious travel perks, just about every family vacation now becomes a FAM. As professionals, when we take a few minutes to inspect and ask questions about the accommodations, tours, restaurants that we ourselves are experiencing while on vacation, we’re really educating ourselves for our customers. So our personal vacation now becomes classified as a business trip… and an expense that we can write off! Super cool, again!

On a personal note, I’m only 45 seconds from my bedroom to my office!

It’s a beautiful thing to be able to work from home, anywhere in the world, to have your own business and to qualify for such incredible travel-insider perks. Retirees, at-home-moms, students on the run… it’s available to just about anyone with a can-do attitude, has a strong work ethic, loves to learn, and is highly self-motivated. A few hours a day can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars! No bosses, no limits!

A Unified Theory of Time Travel

Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity suggests that time travel to the past is possible via rotating wormholes and/or black holes. The actual technical practicality of actually carrying out such journeys need not concern us since this essay is in the realm of the thought experiment. Now Stephen Hawking says time travel to the past is not possible because he proposes that there is such a thing as a yet undiscovered Chronology Protection Conjecture that prevents this and thus makes the world safe for historians. I’ve come up with a unified theory of time travel into the past that incorporates Einstein’s general theory of relativity; Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture, along with other assorted bits like parallel universes that are thrown into the mix.

Time travel is a staple in sci-fi stories, novels, films and TV series. And, time travel is possible – in theory. We all know about journeying to the future which we do at the rate of one second per second whether we like it or not. Apart from that, if one travels at close to light speeds relative to your place of origin then you can travel to the distant future (with respect to that place of origin) without aging an equivalent number of years (the twin paradox). Travel to the past is apparently allowed too, via the weird physics inherent in rotating worm holes and maybe Black Holes which is where Einstein’s general theory of relativity comes into play. The problem there is that relativity theory predicts worm holes, if they exist at all, will exist for nanoseconds and be very tiny to boot, and thus not very useful in the foreseeable future for the purposes of time travel. Because we don’t know exactly what the inside of a Black Hole is, and where it leads, if anywhere, current thinking suggests that jumping into Black Holes are a more useful means for committing suicide than for traveling to the past, but the jury is still out on that one.

Anyway, the fun bit about time travel is the various paradoxes that arise, the most famous one being the grandfather paradox. That is, what if you travel back in time and kill your grandfather before he sired your father (or mother). If you did that it means that you could never have been born, but if you were never born you couldn’t go back in time to kill your ancestor. This is the sort of stuff sci-fi authors (and philosophers) love – ditto physicists! My favorite time travel paradox however is the one where you get something for nothing. Say you have this edition of “Hamlet”, and you want Shakespeare to autograph it. So back you go in time to Shakespeare’s era. You knock on his door, but the housekeeper says he’s out for the day but if you leave the book he’ll autograph it and you can come by and collect it next morning. When Shakespeare comes home, he sees the book, reads it, and is so impressed he spends the night making a copy. You come back the next morning, collect your now autographed edition of “Hamlet”, and return to the present day with your now very valuable book. The question now becomes, where did the original “Hamlet” come from? You didn’t write it; but Shakespeare didn’t either as he plagiarized your copy which he then passed it off as his own work.

Another favorite is you meeting yourself. Say you’re 50 and not all that well off. You get the brilliant idea to travel back in time and convince your younger self to invest in some stocks you know will pay off big time later on down the track. And so it comes to pass that your younger self so invests, and becomes filthy rich, only, in leading such a high life, dies of a heart attack at the age of 45! Or you always regretted not proposing to the love of your life when you were young, and thus go back and convince your younger self to muster up the courage and do so. He does, but as they fly off on their honeymoon, the plane crashes with no survivors. Sometimes you don’t know when you’re well off.

Or if you can travel back in time, then of course others can to. Naturally there’s going to be lots of people interested in particular events, maybe even at the time, seemingly trivial events (yet which turn out in the long run to have had major impact(s)). And so you might have any number of people going back to particular historical focal points, each with their own particular agenda (most of which will be mutually exclusive), and ultimately causing havoc. I mean if person one goes back and influences an event producing a new outcome, then person two might go back and has a go at that result and things get altered again, which will then prompt person three to go back and influence things more to his liking, etc. In other words, history would never be fixed, rather always be fluid. The world is not safe for historians. Since we believe that history (or the past) is fixed, then that what’s written on your history book page today will not alter overnight. Thus, you have probably concluded that time travel cannot happen, will not happen, and has not happened, however much you yourself might wish to go back in time yourself and change something. (Don’t we all really wish some past something, personal and trivial, or perhaps something of major significance could be changed and you’d be that instrument of change?)

Its paradoxes and situations such as the above that prompted Stephen Hawking to postulate that there is as yet an undiscovered law or principle of physics which prohibits time travel to the past – he calls it his ‘Chronology Projection Conjecture’. Since we have never seen, according to Hawking, to the best of our knowledge at least, any time travelers – tourists or historians – from our future, he’s probably right.

So, putting it all together, here’s my theory of time travel: my unified theory of time travel, at least to the past.

Relativity theory has passed every experimental test thrown at it, so the theory isn’t in much doubt and one can have a high degree of confidence in what it predicts, even if that prediction is currently beyond any experimental test. Relativity theory allows for time travel into the past, but, IMHO, only to parallel universes (otherwise known as alternative or mirror or shadow universes) where no paradoxes can happen.

Why only parallel universes? The ways and means by which you can use relativity theory to time travel backwards involves rotating Black Holes or wormholes. There are serious reasons behind the speculation that what’s on the other side of a Black Hole and/or wormhole is another universe. So, therefore it’s relativity’s time travel allowance, but probably to another universe. The Black Hole or wormhole ‘exit’ isn’t within our Universe.

Whatever you do in that parallel universe is predetermined. It’s fate. It’s destiny – all because causality rules. Therefore, there are no unexpected ripple effects other than what was destined to happen. You were meant to be there and do what you do. Therefore, there will be no paradoxes arising.

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has proposed his Chronology Protection Conjecture that prohibits time travel to the past within your own universe because of the possible paradoxes that could arise. Why can’t you go back in time in your own universe? That would mean that at a specific time and place you both were not (originally) and were (as a result of going back) present. That’s a paradox. And if you were to travel back in time to a set of time and space coordinates you were actually originally at, then there would be two copies of you occupying the same space at the same time – also a paradox.

But take the grandfather paradox. If you go back in time and kill your grandfather, but your grandfather in a parallel universe, then you don’t prevent your existence, just the eventual existence of yourself, your other self, in that parallel universe. In the case of Shakespeare and “Hamlet”, you gave your copy to a parallel universe Shakespeare. In your original (our) Universe, Shakespeare is still the legitimate author.

Once you time travel from your universe A, to parallel universe B, you can’t return again to universe A because of Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture – paradoxes could arise. However, you could go from parallel universe B to parallel universe C, but, hence never return to either universe A or B – Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture again.

Perhaps some people you’ve seen or known or heard about might be time travelers from a parallel universe’s future. If they then time travel to another parallel universe, then that might account for some missing persons’ cases!

In short, we can time travel to other parallel universes but not to our own; entities from other parallel universes can visit our Universe. No paradoxes need arise. Both Einstein (relativity) and Hawking (Chronology Protection Conjecture) are satisfied and happy campers.

Is that right? No, it’s wrong!

There’s still one very nasty loose end here. What’s to prevent those from a parallel universe meddling and altering our time stream? It’s not enough for them to have a Prime Directive against that – we all know Prime Directives are meant to be broken! So, it looks like Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture must apply to those visitors from parallel universes to our Universe as well. I mean what difference does it make to your existence whether you travel back in time within your own universe and kill your mother before you were conceived, or some serial killer escaping from a parallel universe to our Universe who kills your mother before you were conceived – even though in the latter case there’s no paradox, you still wouldn’t have been conceived of here in anyone’s philosophy!

OK, so relativity allows time travel back in time, but only to parallel universes. The Hawking Chronology Protection Conjecture not only prevents time travel paradoxes in general, but it also prevents parallel universe time travelers meddling and altering our timeline; ditto we humans time traveling to someone else’s parallel universe. But how would the Hawking Chronology Protection Conjecture actually accomplish this? My best guess is that parallel universes aren’t in phase – they aren’t polarized or synchronized in-phase like a laser beam, or the light that passes through your polarized sunglasses – otherwise we’d have some rather hard evidence of them; certainly way more than we do now.

So, if we go to parallel universe B or those from parallel universe B visits us, we’ll, or they’d be respectively out of phase with respect to the universe they are now in. Translated, they, or we, could look, but not touch for all practical purposes. I say for all practical purposes as now and again what’s out of phase (high probability – the usual state of affairs) will sync into phase (that’s rare). But the in-phase times are so few and far between, and last for such a brief duration that it’s unlikely to result in any inadvertent or deliberate timeline alterations. That’s my rendering of the Hawking Chronology Protection Conjecture – he could well have other ways and means in mind.

So another way of putting this is that time travelers would be spectral or ghost-like in their host universe, and maybe that’s where our traditions of ghosts and other things that go bump in the night come from! This is much like the parallel universe ghost or shadow photons that are conjectured to explain some highly mysterious aspects or phenomena contained within the famous quantum double slit* experiment. Now an obvious question is how do all the parallel universe ghost photons get into our physics labs where double slit experiments are carried out? I mean there are no local macro Black Hole or wormhole exits present – are there? Yes in fact there are! Not a macro wormhole, but a micro wormhole – actually wormholes. Theoretically, micro wormholes should exist all around you. It’s just that they are at quantum levels – incredible tiny; way subatomic in size. And they exist for just nanoseconds before collapsing. They are just part of the quantum foam** reality at super microscopic levels, a reality at the level where all things exhibit the quantum jitters or quantum fluctuations. Thus, every second of every day, everywhere, there are little quantum gateways – quantum sized wormholes connections between universes which quantum sized particles – like photons – can traverse! From the standpoint of the double slit experiment, it doesn’t matter whether the parallel universe’s ghost photons came from the past, future or present – just as long as they are, indeed, present!

Now you may think it would be easy to detect these ghostly photons. Just put a photon detector in a totally dark and sealed room. Well, not quite so easy. Some photons can pass through ‘solid’ matter. X-Ray photons anyone? Radio wave photons pass through the walls of your home. If you look at a bright light, you’ll still see light even if you close your eyes. So, your photon detector in your dark and sealed room could easily detect our local variety.

The ghostly bits aside, parallel universe time travelers (or even ordinary time travelers from within our Universe assuming Hawking is wrong)) might explain the sometimes uncanny, often incredible look-a-likes that we all seem to have. A long shot to be sure, but something interesting to ponder.

There’s still one more problem on the horizon. Just because a macro Black Hole or wormhole plunks you into a parallel universe (and of course you’ve got to be able to survive the trip itself which might be problematical), doesn’t mean you’re going to be with spitting distance of your ultimate destination(s) – say a parallel Earth(s). So, time travelers might also need more conventional transport – like Flying Saucers (okay, forget the saucers – like spaceships with fins and rocket motors). But then what’s really there to distinguish a visiting time traveler from a parallel universe from say a run-of-the-mill extraterrestrial from within our own Universe? Maybe you could just put out the welcome mat for both options!

One final thought. Could there be a Clayton’s time travel? – Time travel without traveling in time? At the risk of making Einstein turn over in his grave; I’m going to propose a universal NOW across all universes. Now I know that NOW, when it comes to observers, is a relative thing. An observer in Martian orbit sees Mars’ NOW somewhat before you on Planet Earth sees the same Mars’ NOW because the speed of light is finite. And relative motions and velocities complicate what is NOW. But, I propose (a thought experiment remember) to instantaneously freeze-frame the entire collection of universes’ NOW. Everyone and everything everywhere comes to an instant standstill. Right! We now have a universal NOW that we can study at our leisure (the freeze doesn’t apply to you and me – we’re outside the space-time continuum).

Let’s focus on that subset of all parallel universes – all parallel Earths and time travel between them. Now there’s no reason to assume that all parallel Earths are identical in all aspects. Indeed, some parallel universes may not even contain a parallel Earth! There maybe some parallel Earths identical or so close to identical to our Planet Earth as makes no odds – abodes you’d feel right at home in. Other Earths would differ in various ways, some minor, some major. Still others might be really weird and alien, as in having evolved a dinosaur society, civilization and technology. There was no parallel asteroid impact 65 million years ago; thus no human beings around the traps 65 millions later.

Your subset of parallel Earths would show near infinite diversity in infinite combinations. I say ‘near’ because you can only stretch the term ‘Earth’ or ‘Earth-like’ so far and no farther, before it’s not Earth or Earth-like. A 100% oceanic world is not Earth. If a parallel ‘Earth’ has Venus-like temperatures, it is not Earth-like. If it has a density approaching that of a neutron star, it is not Earth-like. If it has no life on it, even though in all other respects it is a near carbon copy of our Earth, it is not Earth-like.

Now it’s back to the NOW subset of parallel Earths and Earth-like abodes. There’s no reason to assume that evolutionary development; that evolutionary development rates would proceed in each and every case in an identical fashion. Some parallel Earths would still be in the dinosaur era (if they had dinosaurs of course). In some parallel Earths, cavemen and saber tooth tigers rule. In others, it’s Biblical times, or Medieval times or the era when Britannia ruled the waves. Others in our absolute NOW, on yet other parallel Earths, or parallel earthlings, might have just invented the wireless or landed on their Moon (if they have one). On some parallel Earths it may already be what to us will be the 23rd or 24th Century with interstellar warp drive capabilities at hand – and even way beyond that. So, you could seemingly travel to the past and future while actually remaining in our NOW. You’ve traveled in time without really traveling in time, or, time travel without the paradoxes – but maybe that spoils all the intellectual fun of contemplating time travel in the first place!

*The problem solved here is how can you get a classic wave interference pattern behind two slits you fire photons through; even when you fire the photons at say a rate of one per hour? Who you gonna call – ghost photons of course to the rescue.

**Quantum foam – the world may look pretty smooth from a distance, but as you keep magnifying the finer details, the micro world gets ever so slightly bumpier. Close in some more and things get rougher still, until at quantum level everything is a seething cauldron of tumultuous activity. It’s like the sea that looks perfectly smooth and tranquil from Earth orbit, but at rowboat level, you’re terrified as that 50 foot wave comes crashing down on you.