Renting a Party Bus

A party bus comes in handy for many who want to go out at night and party. A party bus is mainly used for personalized trips, drop offs, weddings, proms, bachelorette and bachelor parties, city tours, birthday parties and picks ups from various nightclubs and bars. A variety of party bus rentals have party limos such as exotic limousines, antique limousines, exotic limos, standard limousines, party buses and L Series cars that one can rent out.
The advantage of renting a party bus is that one can move from one place to another easily without worrying about driving and safety issues. This is because most of these come with chauffeur services. Most party limos have limousine features that are reliable hallmarks of success such as AM/FM stereos, a CD player, upgraded seats, luggage partitions, laser lights, on-board restroom and power window locks Whether one needs a party bus for a corporate trip, bachelor or bachelorette party, they can always rent out a party bus which comes in different shapes and styles and let the professional drivers do their job. Renting a party limo saves one the headache of arranging for transportation later on in the night.
A party bus can be rented for a day, week or month. A party bus that is hired for more than a day is charged a daily rate or mileage rate. Chauffeur tips and overnight sleeping arrangements are not included in the price. Reservations for a party bus need to be made as quickly as possible especially during the summer. Sometimes a deposit is necessary to make a reservation and is usually applied to one’s overall charge.
When hiring a party bus from party bus rentals, one should ask a number of questions and make sure they fully comprehend all deposits and costs. Research should be carried out about party bus rentals and their policies in case a breakdown or accident occurs. Evidence for liability insurance must be obtained and one should ensure that the party bus has an operating license. Tour bus and party limo operators must have their licenses registered and displayed on their vehicles. It is important to know the number of passengers the party bus can hold. Having completed one’s research on party bus rentals and the services they offer one can easily pick a party bus that meets his or her needs. It is necessary for anyone who experiences problems when trying to obtain the best party bus to do earlier planning and seek out help from executives of party bus rentals. These executives will ensure that the party bus rentals offer efficient and quality services. Their profound experience and knowledge in handling party transport will ensure that a party bus travel goes smoothly.
It is very important to correctly estimate how long one will use the party bus for billing purposes. Most Party bus rentals will require this information to bill upfront. Others may require that the bill be paid at the end of the night. In both cases, time must be properly managed to avoid additional penalties for late returns. It is essential to note that most party bus rentals have party buses and limos for every occasion and therefore they come in handy.

California Travel Medical Insurance

California is situated in the western part of United States. It is a well-populated state and people in California are in the farming industry. Californians are known to travel either within the country or go for inter continental trips. They travel for both business and pleasure. The mode of transport varies from a rented car to luxury jet liners. Most of the travelers have an insurance cover. This is to ensure peace of mind for the traveler, in the eventuality of any medical emergency during travel or at a foreign place. Insurance companies that provide travel medical insurance assure worldwide service. Travel medical insurance insures or covers against a specific loss, occurring due to medical emergency during travel in return for premiums paid.
Most of the insurance companies provide round the clock assistance worldwide. Accidental insurance is included in travel medical insurance. In case of an accident in any part of the world, these companies cover for expenses incurred. Travel medical insurance can be applicable for an individual, family, or a group. Many of the companies provide political evacuation or a medical emergency reunion. Comprehensive plans are available such as the international term life insurance policy. There are many countries that specify coverage for travel medical insurance. Insurance companies in California are able to cater to the needs of people at an international level. They offer surprisingly affordable coverage for minimal premium rates. Some of the plans do not require medical history or medical examination. These plans offer a long-term benefit to the insured and his family.
It is highly advantageous to be covered under a travel medical insurance as this takes care of an important aspect of travel ? medical expenses. The insured person can travel without carrying the burden of an eventuality of illness or hospitalization during travel. Claims to medical insurances for travel are settled immediately, and some plans take care of the expenses directly with the hospital, the insured is admitted to. Consultants from Californian insurance companies can suggest appropriate plans fitting needs of the traveler.

Excellent Thailand Travel Info For Your First Step in Thailand

If you plan to travel to South East Asia you should definitely consider taking a trip to Thailand. Thailand is one of the most beautiful countries in Asia and there are millions of tourists visiting Thailand each year. This article will provide Thailand travel info to anyone who interests in this charming country.
First is the time for your visit. The most popular time to visit Thailand is between November and March. This is not only the pleasant temperature the country has, but also this period is the main season for festivals in Thailand. You will be having lots of fun participating in the Loi Krathong and New Year festivals.
However, if you come at the end of this period and stay longer until 13-15 April, you will be able to experience some extra fun with the extraordinary water festival, called Songkran in every part of the countries. A little tip is that if you expect to enjoy this Songkran festival in Pattaya, you will have to stay a little longer as Songkran in only pattaya is held during 17-19 April each year.
This period is also Thailand’s peak tourist season. As a result, if you want to avoid crowds and expensive room rates, you should choose the least crowded months like from April to June or September to October.
Although the rainy season is not a very pleasant time to visit the country, you should not dismiss this season entirely. The temperature is much cooler and tourists are fewer and the landscape is green and lush. The most important thing, there are great deals of accommodation and other services during this time.
Once arriving Thailand, most people are like to visit Bangkok as the first start as this is the main transit, Suvanabhumi International Airport, where people step in this country. Bangkok is a city you should not miss in your trip. You will be amazed at the unrestrained glory of the city. There are countless shopping centers to satisfy your shopping need.
Moreover, Bangkok is the place where tradition and modernity intermingling with each other. You will be able to visit a typical Siamese village when you step outside of your affordable world-class hotel. You will be able to buy famous brand-names from sky-high shopping centers as well as participating in an open-air market. You can choose to eat the popular Thai food either in a luxurious restaurant or street-side market.
The excitement of the city will keep you alive. There are many shopping centers that open all night long, enabling you to wander around if you cannot sleep. You will never feel bored when you are in Bangkok. Hope this Thailand travel info will help you for planning your first step in this country and wish you a happy trip in Thailand.

Dynamic Packaging for Travel and Hospitality Industry

The concept of Dynamic Packaging is to bundle all the components chosen by the aspiring traveler and create one reservation. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer.
To a traveler, there is nothing better than a one stop shop for his traveling needs. The Dynamic Packaging Engine uses a travel component inventory and prices. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features. Rules also determine how the final retail price is computed.
CAPABILITIES
A typical dynamic packaging application will need the following capabilities:
1. Search and Availability
2. Memberships
3. Shopping Cart
4. Booking and Reservations
5. Payments
6. Cancellations
SEARCH AND AVAILABILITY
A traveler always seeks a destination. Even though he may well be aware of where he needs to go to, he will search for the most appropriate place to stay and enjoy his visit. The search starts with a Transportation and Travel components, Hotel Property, Leisure Components. The search therefore has to be divided geographically to include destinations and neighboring destinations that meet the search criteria. An example search could be travel to New York City, stay at Stamford, Connecticut, Golf at upstate New York. Clearly the Dynamic Packaging engine needs to know the dates of travel, from and to destinations, closest airport to hotel, rental car or other desired ground transportation from selected airport to hotel and access to tee times at the neighboring golf courses. Like the traveler, businesses also seek travel related information.
Travel Agents, Call Centers, and Meeting Planners need packaged information on behalf of their clients. Such a search is riddled with rules and complexity. Besides, the customer needs to have choices that can vary from comfort to price and everything else in between.
1. Proximity: The search uses parameters that can narrow down possibilities yet offer extended possibilities. In our search example, Westchester Airport would have been the best choice. La Guardia airport would be an ideal choice. JFK and Newark and Teterboro are the next choices from a distance to Hotel point of view.
2. Fare and Rates: The traveler will look for the best fare. In our example though Westchester is close to the hotel, offers limited Airlines and perhaps not the best fares. Some fares maybe very attractive, however when it comes to flexibility and cancellation they are not the best. Flexibility of change, penalties associated with change and cancellation are important factors to include in the search results.
3. Travel Times: That’s another important factor for the business traveler. How many flights are there to the airport and at what intervals. Check in times and total time to travel also helps in determining his choice. Therefore non-connecting and connecting flights with layover times need to figure in the search.
4. Accessibility: Another key factor often not paid attention to is accessibility. Physically impaired travelers, people who need meals on a flight, wheelchair access, and quick access to rental cars or trains or ground transportation play a very important role in travel. Do the hotel(s) have wheelchair access? Is it possible to get ground transportation to destined hotel that has wheelchair access?
5. Amenities: Does the hotel offer standard amenities like restaurants, swimming pool, health parlors, spa, fax and printing, broadband Internet access etc? Similarly does the rental car come with GPS, insurance, inter state travel? Does the Golf Course allow only cart access? Are ski rentals available near the resort? The inclusion of amenities in a search result ensures the traveler is not in for surprises at the first lap of travel.
6. Prepackaged: You want to travel, stay in a semi luxury hotel, play golf, why search for each individually. A prepackaged deal would also be more attractive than customizing the travel. Perhaps cheaper.
Travel should be far from being hostile. It is after all a home away from home. A home is a pivotal source for living and entertainment. One uses the home and its peripheral surroundings to make the best of living. The travel destinations and the mode of travel should be as non hostile and as hospitable as is possible. A dynamic packaging should offer a wealth of choices to the traveler yet not inundate the traveler with so much information that he/she is nervous wreck at the end of an itinerary creation.
ACTORS
From the above description one can determine who the obvious actors are in this case.
1. The Traveler
2. GDS (Airlines and Hotels Rate Distribution)
3. Airlines
4. Car Rental Companies
5. Hotel Central Reservation
6. Tour Operators (Buses, Ground Transportation)
7. Proprietary Aggregators (like Golf, Ski etc.)
MORE ACTORS
The Dynamic Packaging should be capable of extending the services for business-to business operations. Which would imply that our actors now are?
8. Travel Agents and Meeting Planners
9. Call Center Agents.
SHOPPING CART
The key item in dynamic packaging is the Shopping Cart. The results of search can be selected and added as line items in the shopping cart. It bundles all the components chosen by the traveler to create one reservation. This shopping cart based vacation builder allows comparison shopping of packages that can include plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, insurance, attraction tickets and other features. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features.

Travel Insurance Options for Traveling Abroad

Travel insurance is just one of things that are necessary when traveling abroad. Travel insurance can be a very practical solution to providing protection for unexpected emergencies while traveling. This type of insurance protects your investment and allows individuals to travel with peace of mind. There are several options available for going abroad depending on the length and type of trip. Travelers can easily compare plans from leading providers, receive quotes and purchase a plan instantly. Travel insurance can insure against unexpected illness, injury, employment loss, luggage loss and more.
It can provide coverage for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption. This insurance provides coverage due to unforeseen illnesses or death. Pre-departure trip cancellation insurance provides protection in the event of the traveler having to cancel flight or hotel reservations due to an immediate member of the family’s death or illness or other covered events. Trip interruption insurance provides benefits if the traveler is unable to continue the covered trip after departure due to covered events. As an option, there are companies that also provide policies that cover cancellation for any reason.
Another option available for travelers insurance is for medical emergencies. This type is beneficial particularly when visiting abroad. Insurance for medical emergencies will provide coverage for doctor visits, medication and even evacuation for medical emergencies. This is particularly important for individuals with chronic conditions or those traveling to underdeveloped countries. Travelers may also have the option of insurance that will provide coverage for tickets that are not refundable and the trip has to be cancelled. Some insurance will even cover missed flights, which can be, a life saver due to delays and overcrowding.
Baggage protection is another type of insurance available. This type of insurance covers direct loss, theft, and damage of your luggage during the covered trip. Travel Accident Protection is another insurance choice that is available. This type of insurance provides coverage for accidental death and dismemberment. This type of insurance provides protection if the traveler is injured in an accident and suffer a loss while covered under this type of plan. A comprehensive travel insurance plan is a great option and a very popular choice for vacationing abroad. This option can provide a wide range of insurance coverage and may even allow travelers to choose what options to incorporate which is why it such a popular choice.
There are several types of companies that offer insurance for travelers. Most travelers prefer to purchase this insurance directly from travel insurance agencies or companies. It is also offered by most companies that offer tours as they generally offer insurance to their clients. Major cruise lines as well offer the option to purchase travel insurance. Cruise line operators usually offer a host of plans to travelers when they schedule a cruise. Travelers can purchase insurance from a travel agent which is very convenient to purchase travel and insurance in one place.
Once you think about the high price of travel and the low price of insurance, this type of insurance is a very reasonable investment. There are plenty of things to worry about when traveling but by protecting your vacation plans with affordable traveling insurance, unforeseen events do not have to be one of them. Since it is not possible to foresee what may happen during travel, a insurance plan is a great value. Travel insurance can slash your losses in numerous situations.

Productivity Tips for Travelers – How To Be A Productive Road Warrior

You have seen them, they all look alike, the regular ‘road warrior’ with their determined expression, wrinkle proof suit and pulling a beaten up carry on bag…whether you travel a little or a lot with your company there are many ways you can boost your personal productivity when you travel. These before, during and after strategies will help you maximize your time, limit your stress and overall increase your travel productivity.
Before You Travel
Buy the tools – you wouldn’t build a house without the right tools, travel is no different. To be a productive traveler you want to ensure you have a variety of tools to assist the comfort and productivity of your trip. Tools to consider purchasing are quality luggage, Ipod, noise cancelling earphones, soft briefcase and GPS system.
20-22 inch Carry On expandable luggage – I like Briggs and Riley, it is durable, light weight, expandable, self healing and well made. These are allowed in the US and other countries as carry on baggage. When you are buying luggage look for features such as pull along, strong wheels, stability foot on the bottom (in case it gets too heavy), external zippers (to hold travel documentation and the Ziploc toiletry bag) and also make sure the pop up handle is a ‘one pull’ action.
IPOD or MP3 – this is not a luxury, this is a requirement for any travel. I have a created a selection of play lists, including one with very relaxing music so that when it is time to sleep I can turn to this group and fall asleep.
Noise canceling earphones – these are a little bit of a luxury, but I wouldn’t travel anywhere without them. My husband previously flew many long international flights and he turned me onto this great invention.
Briefcase – I like a soft tote briefcase that allows me to include personal and work related items. My favorite is from Coakley Business Class (sorry guys these are just for women) and they are the best travel briefcase I have ever found (and you can use it everyday!). For the gentleman, try the soft Samsonite one, it has great suspension in the shoulder strap. When looking for a brief case also make sure it has the feature to be able to slide it over your carry on luggage (many have a soft strap or a zippered section to allow you to do this).
GPS (Global Positioning System) – this was the best gift I ever got! They are now getting smaller and smaller and are perfect to plug into your rental car when you arrive in another city. Also when we were in Italy last year we downloaded the European maps and it was great fun to get around tiny little towns. I have named mine ‘Bella’ – she keeps me company when I am driving late at night or in a city where I don’t know my way.
Consider clothing – When you are regularly on the road I suggest a few strategies to help make your life easier for both packing and arriving looking together.
Travel Outfit – Create your own travel outfit, yes it can be the same every time. Mine is a pair of black pants, black top (I have a short sleeve one for summer and a long sleeve one for cooler months), pantyhose and a pair of black patent leather flat slip on shoes. I wear the same silver jewellery with it all and I know when I arrive at the security line I don’t have to remove anything (except my shoes) – that is why pantyhose (or socks) are good when you have to take off your shoes. The fabric of this outfit doesn’t crease and is comfortable (which makes a huge different on those long flights).
Airport shoes – think about the quality and make of the shoes you wear to the airport. I suggest slip ons of some description so you are not awkwardly trying to tie up laces or straps. Also ensure they are comfortable and well made as you often have to walk long distances between gates or to the parking area.
Carry a pashmina – for the ladies, I recommend you invest in a dark colored pashmina that has many uses. On the plane it is a great blanket (and so many airlines in the US don’t supply pillows and blankets). When I rent a car it becomes a booster seat for me (he he). When I have to sit on an airport floor (yes I have done that living here in the US) it is great to place on the floor … oh and yes I can wear it if I need to keep warm.
Jewellery – wearing the same silver jewellery when I travel I know I can wear it the next day and I can walk through the screening area without having to remove it. It simplifies the process and speeds up the line.
Belts – if possible, don’t wear an outfit that requires a belt as it is only one more item of clothing you have to remove at the airport line.
Productive Packing – there are many opinions on what to pack and I find the most productive way for me is having a series of pre-packed bags. This includes luggage, carry on plane survival kit, brief case, make up and toiletry bags.
Pre-packed luggage contents includes:

  • Ziploc toiletry bag
  • Underwear
  • First aid items (band aids, safety pins and head ache tablets)
  • Make up bag
  • Gym gear
  • Clothes brush (I have a long haired cat and her fur seems to make its way across the world with me)
  • Book of interest
  • Cell Phone charger
  • Laptop power pack
  • Stamped stationery (note cards and envelopes)

Carry on plane survival kit contents include:

  • Ipod
  • Noise cancelling earphones
  • Spare battery for noise cancelling earphones
  • Lip balm
  • Eye mask (for those long flights)
  • Pen
  • Eye drops
  • Travel size toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Breath mints

Make up kit – ladies if you travel a lot I suggest you buy a full set of make up and make up brushes and tools and keep them in a separate make up bag so you never have to go looking for something and you never forget something on your trips.
Ziploc Toiletry Bag contents include travel sized:

  • Decanted shower gel
  • Skin care
  • Hair care products
  • Travel sized perfume or aftershave (most brands now supply a smaller size compliant with airline safety standards)
  • Toothpaste
  • Spare contact lenses

Many department stores and pharmacies carry a range of travel sized products. I was fascinated when I was in Sephoria in Times Square recently that the merchandising near the payment counter had changed significantly and provided 50+ choices of regular band products in travel sized convenient containers.
Plastic helps – My friend Camille was an airline goddess for many years and gave me this great tip, using the plastic you receive from your dry cleaners around your clothes helps avoid creases.
Duplicate copies – to be more productive (and for a few extra dollars) consider investing in duplicates of everything you travel with. If you are a regular traveler, having a pre-packed bag will allow you to leave with minimum notice and save time and stress before any trip. On your list of items to buy you could include:

  • Toiletries available in travel size
  • Brushes – make up brushes, hair brushes or combs
  • Cell phone charger
  • Laptop power pack
  • Make up
  • Stamps and stationery
  • Spare items i.e. pantyhose, clothing brush.

Choose your seat – I like to sit in an aisle seat so I can get in and out and I don’t feel cramped by others. For longer flights (especially the red eye), my friend Shawn books the window seat so you can lean against the window to sleep, choose your seat wisely. If you have an option of an exit row choose this seat as it gives you more leg room. You may like to check out – it is a great website to see exactly what your seat will be on most major airlines.
Pre-print your boarding pass – whenever possible go online 24 hours before you fly and select your seat and print your boarding pass. This will save you time in the long lines at the airport check in and also help you find the seat you want.
Join airline clubs – if you fly frequently to same cities join the airline programs of those major airlines so you can also gather frequent flyer miles for all your travels. You may be able to use them for a fun trip with those you care for later on.
Join airline lounges – if you fly with the same carrier regularly to invest in a membership for that lounge so you have a quiet place to snack, get changed or to catch up on reading. I noticed in Australia this was a great use of money and well worth it however in the US the gates and lounges are so spread out and there are so many options to travel with different airlines this hasn’t been a worthwhile investment for me here, however if you fly the same airline every time it might be worth it for you.
Create a one page itinerary – create a one page template that includes your confirmation codes of all flight details, hotel and rental car information. Include on this template all your frequent flyer clubs and associations also so that if you arrive and they haven’t included this in your booking you can quickly get credit for your travel.
During Your Travel
Allow extra 30 minutes – add at least 30 minutes onto any amount of time you think it will take you to get to the airport or park. This additional time will save you stress if you are stuck in traffic, can’t find a car space or the security line is longer than you expected. If you have pre-packed a book or magazine you can use that 30 minutes to read or to connect with a friend or client.
Know the Parking Garage – if you regularly travel on the same airline, know the shuttle system or design of the car park so you can get in and out quickly.
Take your ticket – when you receive a parking receipt/ticket on your arrival place it in the same compartment of your bag or briefcase so you know where to find it upon your return.
Write the parking space on your ticket – in the US the parking garages are so big that I always write the color and space on my parking receipt so that when I arrive back after a few days away (often late at night), I can quickly find my car and not waste time wandering around the parking garage.
Ground transport notice – when you enter an airport, notice where the taxis, rental car shuttles or parking garages are. This will save you time when you return and allow you to quickly make your way to the next place.
Regular rental – Use the same rental company each time you travel will also boost your productivity because you will expect a certain standard each time you fly. You might also consider joining their frequent customer program too. I like using Enterprise because they are affordable and also each time you arrive they look so happy to see you and they pay attention to small details including water bottles in the car and also pre-printed local lists of radio stations and areas of interest.
Play music – by creating different play lists on your IPOD you will enjoy your travel more if you can listen to music and block out the noise around you. This is effective in the airport lounge, at the gate and on the plane. You might also like to include a CD in your packing checklist for the rental car.
Getting through security – there are several tips to help you get through the line faster:

  • Wear an outfit that doesn’t require any removal of items or have any metal.
  • Place your cell phone and keys into your briefcase or purse before entering the security line.
  • Keep your Ziploc bag of toiletries in an outside zippered compartment for quick access.
  • Get your laptop out of your briefcase before you reach your place in line.
  • Place your laptop, shoes and toiletries in one container on the security screen belt.
  • Keep your boarding pass and photo identification in your hands.

Check in or carry on – I always carry on luggage (up to a five day business trip), I have learn to pack well and have invested in a minimum number of outfits. I think there is so much time wasted waiting for luggage (not to mention the concern it may not arrive with you!) wherever possible try and carry on luggage for your business travel.
Laptop … or not – if your trip doesn’t require you to take your laptop, leave it at home. It is one less thing to juggle through security and some laptops add significant weight to your briefcase. Leave it behind if you can. If you have to take it with you consider buying a smaller, light weight model one that is easy to use and you can balance in small places. You do pay more for smaller, lighter models but it is money well spent.
Keep a reading file – as you collect articles, newspapers or journals you want to read, take them with you when you travel. Each week I receive the Philadelphia Business Journal and I take it with me on the plane to read and enjoy. It is a paper that keeps my interest and small enough it doesn’t crowd the person beside me.
Buy bottled water – part of my routine as soon as I get through the security line is to head to the nearest store to buy 2 bottles of water. During the flight it is essential to drink water to keep you hydrated, two bottles allows me to drink before the plane arrives (has been helpful when there are large delays) and during the flight.
Eat healthy – many airlines don’t supply quality food on board so try to find healthy solutions within the airport to satisfy your hunger. You may also like to buy something to eat on board for longer flights so you are snacking on healthy items. I like to travel with a bag of almonds and pecans so that I always have a yummy (and healthy) snack available. AS you are flying from the same airport each week, become familiar with the food offerings inside the terminal so you can quickly find something you enjoy eating.
Hotel routine – no matter what time I arrive at a new hotel I have the same routine. I open my suitcase, remove my suit and hang it on a hanger. If it has gathered small creases in the travel I take it into the bathroom, hang it up and turn on the hot shower to create a ‘steam room effect’ and this removes any creases. Now for my Australian readers who are experiencing a drought right now that seems very wasteful so you may want to hang these clothes while you are showering the next day to avoid water waste. You might like to take this opportunity to iron your clothes instead. I then plug in my laptop, set up my cell phone charger, set my alarm and pull out the documents or reading for the next day. By having the same routine each time you will be productive and not forget important details (and you save time in the morning also).
Exercise – if you don’t have a gym in the hotel consider either taking a walk outside at the beginning of your day or exercising in your room. I often place a towel on the floor and then do a series of stretches, yoga, sit ups and push ups. You can establish a routine especially for travel that doesn’t require any equipment i.e. push ups, sit ups, squats and any yoga.
Call a client – you often have down time in the airport so it is a great time to reconnect with a client or colleague. I use this time to touch base with important people in my life and it becomes part of my business development time.
Be strategic – time in hotel rooms can be lonely or unproductive so I use this time to design new products, review my business plan, catch up on reading and design new models or programs for my business. Some of my best ideas have come while sitting in my hotel room – use this time for strategy and thought space instead of turning on the TV to keep your company.
Stay connected – when you arrive at your location notify someone important to you. I like to call my husband when I have arrived in my hotel so he knows I am safe and sound and I get to hear his voice. Calling your family or friend is a great way for you to keep connected on the road.
Write thank you notes – because I carry stamped stationery with me when I travel, I use the flight home to write notes to people I met during my trip. When I arrive my next destination I post them. It is a great way to reconnect with people after you have met them and is a productive use of flight time.
After Your Travel
Know the quickest route home – understand the quickest and least traffic congested way to get out of the airport so you can be home with those you care for in the smallest amount of time. Where I live there are 2 major ways home and if you take the wrong one at some particular times during the day it can add up to an hour to your ride home (not so much fun after a long flight) so know which ways are best at different times during the day.
Unpack quickly – if you arrive home early enough, unpack your bag, refill any necessary toiletry items and allocate clothes for washing or dry cleaning.
Refill and replace – update any items in your ‘pre-packed’ toiletries or luggage that need attention to save you time for future trips. Note any additional items you may have forgotten on this trip and place them in your luggage so you don’t forget them next time.
Debrief your trip – recall any items you missed, notice things that you enjoyed or frustrated you and make the changes that are within your control. Each time you travel you may learn something new that will help you save time or save you frustration for your next travel experience.
Thank your team – if you have an assistant, let them know what went well about the trip and any enhancements you would like to make for your next trip. Thank your travel agent for the trip planning and also let them know if something didn’t go well and discuss how to fix it for the next trip. Thank your client for the opportunity to work with them. If you experienced great service at some point in the trip take the time to email or write a thank you note to that organization. The simple art of thanking people is often overlooked but is one of the most powerful things you can do to boost your productivity and make someone else day!
Gather your receipts – there is so much paperwork collected on trips including boarding passes, rental agreements, and food and hotel receipts. Keep this in a central place when you travel (I take a clear plastic folder for this very purpose each time I travel). When you arrive home quickly sort through the paper, action business cards and file any receipts or keep them aside for your clients. Process all your paper within 24 hours.
Action business cards – if you have met new people during your productive trip take the time to now action those cards. You might like to write a ‘nice to meet you’ note, scan them and add them to your database and write a note for any follow up action required. Following this process diligently each time you travel will avoid piles of business cards gathering on your desk (reminding you of action you haven’t taken!)
Be grateful – if you are traveling for business it means you have a successful job that is supporting you and your family. Stop hating it and start enjoying it. Giving thanks for the opportunity to see new places, meet new people and share your experience is a privilege.
Change your language around travel, enjoy it, embrace it and you will be more productive! Next time you see another road warrior smile at them and let them know you understand. You can be more productive every time you travel by applying these before, during and after you travel strategies… now where am I off to tomorrow?

Truth in Travel Pricing

None of us should be surprised at these quotes from a travel article in the TimesOnline (Oct 2008) by Stephen Bleach:
“Massive discounts on cruises were exposed as a con last week after leading line Fred Olsen admitted it had not sold a single cruise at full price for a year.”
A further quote from the managing director of the line, Mike Rodwell:
“the big American operators started it and the rest had to follow.”
Another surprise. On the same laptop page as this excellent article were three Google ads offering:
“Cruise Deals. Search The Top Online Cruise Deals. Read Reviews & Book Online Today.” Followed by:
“Cruise Discounts 75% Off, All cruise lines, all destinations.” And another:
“Huge Alaska Cruise Sale, Free Upgrades, Exclusive Deals & More with Guaranteed Lowest Prices!”
The travel operators behind these advertisements must think the traveling public is naive or even stupid but they would probably not use them if they did not work.
Also, these Google ads were run against a very negative, but truthful article about misleading advertising for cruises.
The traveling public continues to be treated with disdain by travel operators and advertising companies, not only by cruise lines and airlines but by all types of travel suppliers. What could be more misleading and false advertising than an airline advertising their fares in headlines that shout out:
“$49. one-way to Smithville” IN LARGE PRINT, and then:
‘based on return purchase, plus all taxes, surcharges for fuel, surcharges for security, checked baggage is extra, seat selection fees, and on and on and on.” And by the way, have fuel surcharges been reduced enough?
Not only cruise prices and airfares but also consider hotel pricing that often requires much investigation as regards the offered discounts:
“75% off! But off of what? A rack-rate that is rarely charged?
And, why can you often get cheaper rooms at an online reservation office than at the hotel front desk even when you are in their lobby and ready to book?
Next in line for pricing questions could be the packaged holiday market. How many of these are sold at the brochure price? Or, as with the above cruise line, are packaged tour operators simply following the lead of others?
Not only is the public being mislead by questionable advertising and pricing practices but once captured by a cruise line, airline or packaged resort operator they can be open to additional gouging whilst on-board the ship, aircraft or resort.
Apart from the on-board costs of alcoholic drinks which should be at duty-free prices (i.e. cheaper than onshore). Extras, such as shore excursions can also be more expensive when purchased on-board rather than ashore or even pre-departure using the internet. Similarly with resorts that have onsite booking agencies for off-resort activities. The prices are often cheaper when purchased directly from the operators or again at pre-departure directly over the internet. Airlines however, who are charging for all sorts of basic amenities from blankets, pillows, soft drinks and soon even water may not be free, have a more captive audience (the movie, ConAir comes to mind) and will continue to be the most reviled part of the travel experience.
There is hope for the future but so far only in Europe. In 2009 new rules for advertising standards will come into effect offering more protection for travelers. We must hope that these new rules will eventually spread to the rest of the world with further improvements to protect consumers worldwide.
In the travel industry. Where has the originality and creativity gone? Where are the leaders? Where has “lead, follow or get out of my way” gone? Only the followers know.
Another aspect of travel pricing is when consumers want to handle their own travel arrangements directly with the operators of hotels, lodges, tours and transportation. The pricing should reflect the fact that the products are being purchased directly from the source and not at the retail level. In other words, reduce the price by the commission that would have been paid to an agent, broker or retailer and give the traveler a direct booking discount. This action could encourage more travelers to make their own direct bookings, leading to more business and a competitive edge for the operator.
Of course, the traditional distribution channels have to be protected as many consumers require help and assistance and as yet not everyone has or wants the internet.
Travel providers do not normally show different prices on their websites as this could lead to potential clients seeking advice at the retail level and then booking directly with the operator to get a discounted price. It is unfair for retailers to lose their commissions when they have performed services for their travel-trade clients.
Consumers on the other hand, if they do not need expert advice or booking services, should have the opportunity to go directly to the source and get a direct booking discount.
Originality and creativity has returned to the travel industry. Travel providers are now able to offer travelers a direct booking discount service by using a new travel voucher system that has been introduced. With a website and the internet they can now reach out to the global travel community, not just travel agency or local traffic.
Any travel operator, from the smallest b&b to the grandest lodge or luxury tour, can offer this service. The voucher values represent the normal commissions that would have been paid out to sellers of travel but now will be given back to the buyers of travel. And, the discounted price does not have to show on their websites.
The service is leading with this new initiative and now wants to promote the thousands of small travel providers and other businesses around the world that do not use selling agents and therefore do not have sales commissions built into their pricing. The operators of the voucher service suggest that lower yields with higher volumes of direct booking discount travelers may achieve better overall returns.
Members of a new online travel club can get these vouchers free with membership and non-members can purchase them at deep discounts to their face values at another similar website. At present there are vouchers covering travel in over seventy countries from b&b’s to adventure and luxury tours.
The Club operators say that they do not charge businesses for listing their services as long as they participate in issuing vouchers enabling members to get direct booking discounts.
There are many directories linking the world of travel to the world of travelers but this new concept offers a directory with discounts on every travel selection if you are willing and able to handle your own travel bookings and arrangements directly with the listed operators.
The club operators are aware that many travel operators will continue to adhere to the business style of Mike Rod-well of Fred Olsen Lines and will continue to follow rather than lead and it is unlikely that they will ever be represented by this travel club. They are also aware that there are enough independent travel businesses that will find that their new business style of expanded selections and direct booking discounts is a better way of offering travel directly to consumers around the world.

Yosemite is a California Travel Treasure

Roughly 175 miles from San Francisco, San Jose or Sacramento and about 300 miles from Los Angeles, Yosemite National Park affords a California vacation experience you’ll never forget. If you’re traveling here from out of state, the closest airport to the park can be found in Fresno, which is about 55 miles from the park’s southernmost entrance (near Oakhurst).
While you’ll find unparalleled opportunities for outdoor activities like camping, hiking and fishing here, you won’t be disappointed even if your tastes tend more along the lines of “civilized” activities like photography, learning about the valley’s cultural history and enjoying gourmet meals at the magnificent Ahwahnee Hotel.
If at all possible, plan your trip during April or May. In addition to missing the summer visitor onslaught, these months typically offer incredible wildflower and waterfall displays. Fall is also a good time to visit, especially if you enjoy trout fishing (September through December is peak season). Most of the park’s trees are of the evergreen variety, however, so you shouldn’t necessarily expect a terrifically colorful autumnal show.
In the winter months, you may enjoy skiing at Badger Pass, California’s oldest downhill skiing area. Be sure to keep apprised of driving conditions, however, as chains may be required. Highway 140 through Mariposa offers the lowest-elevation route into Yosemite Valley, and it is the least likely to be affected by snow and ice.
If you visit in June, July or August, be sure to pack some extra patience, as it is typically extremely crowded during the summer months, especially on weekends. Actually, plenty of patience and keeping apprised of conditions are good ideas for any Yosemite visit, no matter the season.
A free shuttle bus system operates year-round in the valley, and visitors are encouraged to use this system since parking at several park destinations during the peak season is often nearly impossible to find. The shuttle system is free (included in the park entrance fee of $10/person or $20/car at the time of this writing; see the National Parks System site for more details). It is also pleasantly open air and easy to hop on and off.
Even if you’re just visiting the park for a day, some other things you may want to add to your “to pack” list:

  • An extra memory card for your digital camera or extra film
  • Plenty of battery power for your camera
  • Sunscreen (frequently apply SPF 30 or higher throughout the day)
  • Plenty of water for everyone in your party
  • change of clothes (shorts/slacks, t-shirt/sweater, socks) for variable conditions

A “don’t miss” feature of Yosemite National Park is its Giant Sequoia groves. There are three separate groves: the Mariposa, Tuolumne and Merced. The Mariposa Grove is the most popular and is the largest, too, containing about 500 mature trees. (Giant Sequoias are also known as Sierra Redwoods, but should not to be confused with the Coastal Redwood found in a separate range along the state’s coast.) There is limited parking at the Mariposa Grove, and you should plan your visit for either early morning or mid-to-late afternoon. During summer months and spring and fall weekends, the Grove parking lot is usually full by 10:00am, and parking often doesn’t open up again until after 3:00pm. A free shuttle bus runs from the Wawona Store to the Grove during the peak summer season.

California Travel Agents – Film Choices

These days, California travel agents give trips of vintage films for movie fanatics. A lot of devoted followers normally acquire this trip since they’d like to learn more about the filming and filming of their favorite motion picture.
The 1978 thriller movie sends chills to its audiences, rearing their worry of shark attacks. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Jaws is a hit classic. Everyone is aware of the heart pounding music upon seeing the shark fin, knowing that it’s going to attack. It’s surely a must see plus a hair-raiser to the old and young alike. It is therefore successful that a lot of folks grown phobia in the wide open sea, believing that sharks might strike their fishing boat as well as cause it to capsize. This movie is such a hit that the ride in Universal Studios is dedicated to this movie. Ask California travel agents about it.
The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 musical film by Victor Fleming. It talks about the ventures of Dorothy who flew to Oz mistakenly, met new friends and in the end conquered the Wicked Witch of the West. The fantasy in the script and high level of musicality involved in the film makes it wonderful especially for children who want their imagination to be involved. Also filmed for kids, E.T., an American science fiction movie by Steven Spielberg and produced by Universal pictures became a hit and had become the most financially outstanding movie of its time. Experts highly recognized it because it speaks about a “timeless story of friendship”. Like Jaws, E.T. has also a ride in Universal Studios taking children to flying bike rides. Call California travel agencies about it.
Released in 1942, Casablanca made it to the list of “one of the best movies of all time”. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, this movie won 3 Academy Awards which includes Best Picture. The lines are legendary that everybody knows “Here’s to looking at you kid” was cited by Rick to his leading lady. Another great story is about the Trapp family. Sound of Music is the film all kid knows the songs. It has popular songs like “My Favorite Things” as well as the theme song “Sound of Music” titled after the movie. California travel agents often have tours dedicated to both of these films.
These are only 5 of the thousands of films filmed in California. Many of them are worth looking at. Although it is excellent to see them on silver screen, it’s even better to go to the actual places when the movies were shot and California travel specialists will make this happen. By providing film tours designed for enthusiastic moviegoers, California travel agents showcase the success of the Golden State in the movie industry.

Are Travel Agents Old School?

It appears you can’t stare at the TV for 60 minutes without seeing a notice with William Shatner discussing Travelocity or that senseless dwarf discussing Orbitz. These travel sites have been extremely effective at encouraging voyagers to book their own particular carrier and lodging reservations on the web. So with this colossal push from the web to assume control over the travel business, one needs to ask, “Are travel agents old school?”
In the event that you have searched for some of these travel web sites, you have watched that they are stunning in the assorted qualities of travel choices that they make accessible. As a business traveler, be that as it may, your requirements are fairly unique in relation to the run of the mill aircraft traveler.
There are some certain administrations and genuine help that a living and breathing travel agent can give that basically can’t be duplicated by a computerized site like Travelocity or Orbitz. Some of those administrations that a prepared business traveler would be unable to live without having…
A Travel Agent will give you…
– Focus. You as a business traveler are not orchestrating this excursion for excitement. You have particular business goals as a main priority. So on the off chance that you should remove time from planning for your business assignment to stress over travel agendas, lodging and rental auto reservations and so forth, that is time that you are not being beneficial for your business.
When you get the chance that you can call a skilled travel agent who knows your travel profile well and delegate those courses of action to that agent, they carry out their occupation in finding only the right facilities for you and you are liberated to do what you excel at, spotlight on your business and the up and coming business trip.
– Economy. It is hard to find that harmony between finding the housing that fit the requesting timetable of a businessman out and about and is conscious of the organizations travel spending plan too.
On the off chance that you utilize a computerized online travel administration, you may need to relinquish accommodation, timetable or area for economy.
A decent travel agent will endeavor to get you the right schedule while getting as close the corporate travel cost confinements as would be prudent. Furthermore, they will do it without taking up a considerable measure of your time.
– Back up. You needn’t bother with help if your excursion goes totally as arranged. Be that as it may, in the event that you experience issues out and about, you can wind up in need or rescheduling flights and finding new lodging to work around scratched off flights, climate issues or other surprising intrusions to your arrangements.
These travel debacles are not aware of your tight due dates to meet your business objectives. In any case, you have a travel agent who is committed to giving you administration, he or she can locate those option courses and assets to do whatever they can to get you to your destination so you can direct your business on time.
– That individual touch. You may have travel inclinations that you need to accomplish with every outing you take. A travel agent has your profile and your travel history so they can do what they can to suit your inclinations.
Yet, in addition, when you have particular unique needs, for example, an eating regimen constraint or a requirement for convenience because of an inability, it will be a travel agent that sees to it that your needs are accommodated and you are well dealt with out and about.
– No Complications. In the event that your travel agenda includes making associations with different business accomplices who are going from various workplaces, complex travel calendars and schedule challenges that just can’t be depicted to the nonexclusive screens of an online travel administration, you can disclose these inconveniences to your travel agent and they can work with other travel agents attempting to arrange the meeting and see to it that your agenda meets your prerequisites.
While the online travel administrations do give a profitable and moderate other option to the general voyaging open, it is anything but difficult to see their confinements on the off chance that you are attempting to book a trek that is dubious or in the event that you have particular needs that the screens don’t suspect.
That is the reason working with a human travel agent ensures that this travel proficient person will devote themselves to the assignment of ensuring your excursion attempts to your details and that you get to your destination prepared to lead in business and be fruitful in your accomplishing your objectives.