New Zealand Travel Info – Part 3

In this third article we will know more about New Zealand – Heaven on Earth for sure.
Transport Options:
Getting around New Zealand is very easy and safe. There is good public transport connectivity between different parts of New Zealand. However for tourists the best mode of transportation is Self Drive in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s domestic Airlines Jet Star and Air New Zealand covers almost all the parts of New Zealand through air network.
Apart from the standard airlines, you also have lot of chartered flight options to go from one place to another.
Other option is a very well planned coach network. New Zealand is well connected with coach network across the country. There are various options of Hop – On and Hop- Off bus for one destination to another. You also have option of adding or clubbing the sightseeing packages in to your bus pass.
Third option is the Ferry. If you all remember, there are two major islands of New Zealand, North & South. The Ferry runs between Wellington & Picton. It is a 3.5 hours sail through beautiful waters of Marlborough Sounds. Amazingly, you can also carry your entire car or even motor homes as well through the Ferry. It is once in a life time experience and one should never miss it if you are in New Zealand.
Last option is the train service. However it is not widely spread across the country. There are couple of major train journeys.
1. The Northern Explorer: Runs between Auckland & Wellington. Travel time is approximately 10.5 hours
2. Tranz Alpine: Runs between Greymouth & Christchurch. One of the top 10 train journeys in the world. Approximate travel time is around 4.5 hours and one should not miss this one. Absolutely must do activity.
Driving in New Zealand is one of the best and safest options to travel through the country. Rental cars of different categories are easily available across the country. However one should keep in mind that most of the car rental company needs a valid Credit Card of the person who is renting the car.
Minimum age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 and the charges are different if you are below 25 years of age. Also an Indian Driver’s license is valid and recognizable and you do not need an International Permit to drive in New Zealand.
Can it get easier than this?
Catch you in next article with some more useful information on New Zealand.!!

Devising An Efficient Public-Transport System In South Africa

The background for this article was derived from a speech made by Wrenelle Stander (Director General: Department of Transport) to public-transport role players and stakeholders, in 2004. Subsidies, Ms Stander said, “must be viewed within the context of passenger transport funding rather than as an isolated service for poor people. Both needs and funding must be weighed against what is possible”. She conceded that making eventual choices, on this basis, might not be easy.
The status quo
Currently, minibus taxis are the dominant mode of public transport, serving 64% of the 3.8 million workers using public transport. There are, in fact, roughly 9.8 million workers who travel regularly. We can deduce, from these figures, that 6 million workers provide their own transport.
Minibus taxis currently receive no subsidies. Train services are subsidised and are used mainly in metropolitan areas, to serve roughly 24% of public-transport commuters. Subsidised bus transport services 42.5% of the public-transport commuters in rural areas.
74% of the country’s households have no private transport available to them. In rural areas, 62% of the households believe that public transport is either not available, or is
too far away for convenience. Of metropolitan households, 46% are dissatisfied with its proximity.
Public perceptions, though, may not accurately reflect true need and more detail is necessary to providing practical input. The minibus taxi industry, to a large extent, has fulfilled the needs dictated until now, and no vehicle of any sort profits by running half empty. If not even a taxi service exists there may be insufficient call for frequent public transport. A less regular, but committed service, may suit the situation.
Poor service options
Public-transport users are otherwise dissatisfied with the options they have. 48% who use taxis are unhappy with the overall service, as are 42% of the train users and 31% of those who travel by bus.
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Train dissatisfaction has been voiced, as follows:
· overcrowding, 71%;
· lack of security between home and the stations, 64%;
· lack of security on the trains, 62%, and
· unsatisfactory toilet facilities, lack of punctuality, lack of off-peak frequency and the long distances that commuters must walk between their homes and the stations (over 50%).
Dissatisfaction with bus services were categorised thus:
· a lack of facilities at bus stops (74%);
· passenger overcrowding, 54%, and
· off-peak lack of frequency, 50%.
More than 50% of taxi users were unhappy about high fares, passenger overcrowding and driver behaviour. Other concerns noted were:
· the lack of facilities at taxi ranks, 64%;
· the poor roadworthiness of taxis (59%), and
· the imminent danger of accidents (67%).
No complaints by own-transport users were included, though Minister Trevor Manuel recently made no secret of the fact that traffic congestion was seriously impacting on his ability to get to work at a reasonable hour.
Exercising restraint
Ms Stander made the point that the majority of South Africans do not have regular access to either private or public transport. She used the example of scholars to clarify this:
· scholars number 15.7 million, which means that there are over 60% more traveling regularly to educational facilities than the 9.8 million workers who also travel regularly;
· 12 million (76%) of these walk to school. 75% of these can make the two-way journey, on foot, within one-and-a-half hours, but roughly 550 000 children spend over two hours a day walking;
· 9% of school children use taxis to get to school; another 9% travel in cars, and
· 73% of white children travel to school by car, while only 3% of black children do.
While the intention, here, may have been to infer that white school children have superior facilities at their disposal, the point should, in fairness, be made that, quoting a figure for car usage but none for rail, buses and walking for white children, is misleading. Also, without taking into consideration why children use particular transport modes, a true picture does not emerge.
How far is too far to walk? No one enjoys a long walk with heavy shopping or other parcels, but door-to-door vehicular transportation may cost this nation its health. A half-hour walk, twice a day, for adults, is considered advisable and children should exercise for no less than that – two hour’s of low-impact exercise is not extreme.
During November 2004, news headlines bewailed the fact that in schools where PT and sports are not actively promoted, children are not exercising enough. Walking a reasonable distance is a healthy alternative. It is more important to ensure that those children, who walk long distances, have food in their tummies. The provision of school meals, might offer better options. The pitfall here is to avoid abetting corrupt practices, which may make dealing directly with manufacturers a better option.
Where distances take in excess of forty-five minutes (one-way) to walk, scholars would be better peddling to school than using motorized transport. The manufacture of an initial 550 000 bicycles would provide much-needed jobs, but the recipients would then need income for repairs and maintenance and might need to form cottage industries making postal and grocery deliveries in their areas, to this end.
Safety first
Would scholars be safe riding alone? If not, surely safety is the main reason that people require better public transport? Whether people live rurally or in urban situations; in townships, informal settlements or up-market suburbs; whether they walk during the day or at night, they risk the loss of possessions or their lives.
My teenage, rugby-mad son avoids walking routes and distances, in Durban, that I regularly tackled twice a day in my youth. His need to be fit is more than mine ever was. The difference? Where once it was safe to walk, it is no longer safe even to drive a car, let alone walk. When he was younger and at school in Gauteng, children were not allowed to ride to school on bikes, because too many had been hi-jacked.
Suburban, working parents with cars are more able to choose between schools than rural parents. They easily drop their children off en route to work, without significant detours. Cars that enter the city limits with only one occupant may have left home with up to five – school runs and car clubs have become part of middle-class culture and some families still boast two parents, who may work some distance apart.
But “single occupant cars” are considered “inefficient road users during peak times” whereas those who share vehicles, walk, ‘cycle or use public transport are considered more socially deserving. I don’t quibble with that, but the logic used to come to this conclusion may be incomplete and deserves, I suspect, more consideration.
Few of the 73% of white children transported by car are picked up directly after school. Many join extracurricular activities or childcare groups until their parents’ working day allows them to collect their children on their way home. For many white children, the school day runs from 6:30 until 18:30. Safety is again pertinent; few families still afford full-time assistance and children, returning to empty homes, are vulnerable.
Financial limitations
Preliminary results from the National Household Travel Survey, Ms Stander continued, indicate that: “low household incomes, even in the richer provinces, constrain the affordability of public transport services”.
· Users who do not travel daily, may need to be able to move about in search of work and to shop;
· 5.8 million households (nearly 47%, of which 3.1 million are rurally situated) run on less than R1 000 per month. Financial resources are obviously strained in these circumstances, and
· a further 2.85 million households manage on R500, or less, per month and half of these spend more than R100 of their earnings on public transport.
There are, it seems, 10.7 million workers in the country. 9.8 million workers travel to work regularly, so it must be presumed that 0.9 million workers work out of their homes, live on employer property or work on a contractual basis for short periods.
Of the 9.8 million regular travelers, 32% (roughly one-third) use cars, 39% use public transport and 23% walk. Worker transport, Ms Stander maintained, is then characterized by a mixture of “car dependency, public-transport captivity and walking dependency”. Her choice of words is interesting.
The curse of congestion
A specific problem that faces the viability of future transport systems is growing urban congestion. The number of vehicles that enters cities during working hours must be reduced – funding must be channeled into “public transport and non-motorised transport initiatives”.
Facts that appear to be entirely relevant (and thought-provoking) include:
· the increase of rural to urban migration, over the last ten years, has put undue pressure on suburban, peri-urban and inner-city facilities;
· city populations and industry have decentralized and spread, which makes the provision of efficient public transport a far more complicated issue than it was thirty years ago;
· middle-income families have had to come to terms with high levels of suburban congestion;
· income earners of all levels have had to deal with these issues independently, and
· these trends have undermined the efficiency of cities.
74% of South African households did not have access to a car in 2003 but it is difficult to agree with Ms Stander that the transport needs of middle class, urban, car-owning households were provided for, previously, and still are. Had middle-class, urban needs been adequately addressed, surely those households would never have felt the need to own a car, let alone, in some cases, become two-car families.
The middle classes very often financed their own needs in the past. There was no ultra-cheap housing available in white areas and the authorities would have made short work of tearing down shacks erected on private property – building regulations had to be adhered to. Housing subsidies did not exist, except for parliamentarians who commuted to Cape Town annually and programs to benefit public servants.
High numbers of inner city and suburban flats were necessary for people who paid far higher rentals than those who lived in townships and subsequently could afford neither their own homes, nor transport. They lived close to schools and their jobs. Only once they could finance private transport, could they, in turn, look for better-paying jobs any distance from home.
Up-grades in living conditions usually resulted once breadwinners had vastly improved their working circumstances. It was not usual, until the ’90s, for young married couples or single people to own property. As a woman, I was granted my first bond by a bank, at the age of 38, despite the fact that I had kept two jobs for most of my adult life and was considered financially stable.
I am not, in any way, trying to suggest that white people did not live considerably easier lives than others. It is though, a fact, that the middle-class suburban areas that ‘mushroomed’, incorporate various facilities that were intended to enable people with various levels of income, to co-exist. The discipline that most facilitated this state of affairs was urban planning.
I totally agree that Apartheid policies brought about inequalities and settlement patterns for which the majority of the population still pays a social price. As Ms Stander stressed, long-distance commuting, for low-income workers, has left a legacy of spatial dislocation:
· poor people travel long distances at high cost;
· their needs have not yet been met;
· many walk in unsafe and unpleasant conditions;
· our high pedestrian death toll must be addressed, and
· a preference to locate to informal housing that is closer to schools and amenities (to reduce long-distance travel) exacerbates already untenable situations.
That Transport expects to turn all these conditions around seems to put illogical strain on the Transport systems. Lack of urban planning is as much responsible and should contribute to the effort by situating industrial and manufacturing opportunities close to low-cost housing estates. Schools and amenities would then also need to be conveniently placed, nearby.
Subsidizing the needs
Bearing the legacies of Apartheid in mind, government plans must take into consideration that:
· transport infrastructure implementation should complement existing infrastructure, and use flexible and incremental technologies;
· public-transport subsidies must serve as social investments in support of economic development;
· limited funding is available to reinvest in public transport systems that promise higher costs for people who can little afford them;
· Given the rural and urban needs of a growing economy, reinvestment and the expansion of public transport systems must ensure more efficient and productive settlements, such as safe, off-peak and after-hours public transport to cater for shift workers, working students, scholars, etc., and
· the challenge is to expand social investment to benefit economic development.
During the 2004/05 financial year, subsidies amounted to roughly R4.5-billion. Road-based (mainly bus) subsidies equaled R2.1-billion and commuter rail (addressing the needs of roughly two million, mostly urban, workers with incomes around R2 000 per month) received R2.4-billion. Both must still be considered potential beneficiaries.
Controlling car use in metropolitan areas, promoting public transport in all areas and catering for the safety and infrastructure needs of the 2.26-million workers and the 12-million scholars who walk (half in rural areas) remain important to Transport’s brief.
Any proposals, Ms Stander, explained, will need to take into consideration: that public transport subsidies should enhance the access and mobility needs of all people, where commercial fares for the provision of essential services are not affordable to its passengers; benefits awarded will need to justify the subsidy costs incurred, and that market failures would result in service providers being unable to provide essential services in a viable manner.
Groundwork approach
How much pertinent information and research was omitted from Ms Stander’s speech, is impossible to estimate, but some situations would have benefited from clarification. It is hoped that proposals will not be accepted before they are explored and discussed at more length and in conjunction with all the others received.
Taxi re-capitalization will now exchange owners’ vehicles for R50 000. With this subsidy, owners are free to invest in the vehicle of their choice, as long as it follows the legislated, safer specifications. They may also use the money for any other purpose they choose. In sizeable organizations, owners may prefer to develop a different line of business or retire on the proceeds.
When this does happen, it should be noted that those payments will not have subsidized the taxi industry, only the scrap-metal industry. Until the process has been completed, we will have no idea how many of the new taxis will become available to fulfill the country’s needs and how many taxi drivers will still have jobs. This state of limbo may seriously impinge on other decisions.
Worker obligations
Many workers are also obliged to have their cars with them during the working day because their vehicles are part of their gross salary package, used to drive to meetings or make deliveries at the behest of the employer. The public-service subsidized car scheme illustrates: the number of subsidized cars multiplied by four between 1999 and 2002. Officials are expected to use these cars to employer advantage.
Can the government afford to ask its officials to leave their subsidized vehicles at home on a regular basis and can it justify the cost increases over the same period: from R81-million in the 1999-2000 financial year, to R213-million in 2001-02? This increased spend infers the delegation of subsidies to an elite few and possibly causes more disruption in Tshwane (Pretoria) than the taxis that have lately been given specific routes to follow in that city. Other provincial capitals must also be affected, to a lesser degree.
Were the Department to investigate the figures for people who claim their vehicle expenses for business purposes from the South African Revenue Services, it would have a good idea of how many cars must use the city road networks daily and the number of vehicles that must be accommodated daily within proximity of their jobs.
Safe bets
If safe parking facilities could be made available at safe railway stations and safe public-transport ranks, many would consider the options as long as both train- and bus-transport were also safe, affordable and their vehicles were not necessary to their jobs. At the other end of their trip, workers would need to know that they could walk safely from drop-off points to their offices (and back) with brief cases, lap-top computers and other working equipment, even after dark.
Until this is so, punishing car users without improving safety conditions, is a ‘cop-out’. For this reason, Ms Stander’s wording “car dependency, public-transport captivity and walking dependency” might read more honestly: ‘car, public-transport and walking captivity’.
In essence, those who use their own cars are saving the country a fortune in public transport costs; those who use public transport deserve safe and affordable options and those who do walk, should have better conditions in which to do it. All these reflect, to varying degrees, on crime prevention and are not wholly Transport concerns.
None of which offers any solution to the problem of inner-city congestion, but does appeal for a less punitive approach. Our public-transport systems will not be considered efficient until they encourage those who do own cars, to leave them at home. Commuters cannot make this call; it rests, instead, on the ingenuity of Transport, the tax system, urban planning and law-enforcement. It also calls for consultation and co-operation on a far greater level than has yet been implemented.
Non-motorized initiatives
Using Durban as an example: vehicles cannot feed from the inner southern suburbs to the northern ones, without going through the city. Commuters needing to travel to the other side are forced into city congestion, with no options – the M4 stops as one enters on one side and begins again on the other. Providing a viable option to avoid the city would greatly reduce congestion, but would also prove costly; definitely a non-motorised transport initiative, though.
Provision of creatively situated, decentralized taxi ranks and bus termini might also reduce congestion to an enormous extent. Train journeys into the city do not offer a destination close to either shopping, office or beach facilities and secondary public transport becomes necessary.
Bus, rail and taxi services should, perhaps, not duplicate each other, but rather run more efficiently over shorter distances. For instance, if bus services could be initiated on Johannesburg’s ring road, taxis could ferry workers throughout the suburbs – from and to every off- and on-ramp, where bus stops could be situated. Taxi services continually circling on feeder roads next to freeways and across bridges some distance apart, could reduce the need for pedestrians to run across busy traffic lanes.
In many cases, though, the necessary feeder roads still need to be built and, ten years into democracy, the past can no longer take all the blame. When an electricity sub-station in the western suburbs of Johannesburg recently caught alight and left suburbs without electricity for four days, blaming those who laid the original lines sixty years ago, was not constructive.
Sixty years ago, who could have guessed what progress and expansion would occur and how many homes, shops and industries those electricity facilities, would be expected to service? It seems clear that each municipality will need an individual plan to service its immediate industrial, business and shopping areas.
Transport subsidies also cannot be expected to improve the lifestyles of those who live below the breadline, in any noticeable manner. What those people most need, are jobs and increased incomes. Let us deal with the realities, to the very best of our ability.

For Worry-Free Travel, Travel Agents Is the Solution

There are a plethora of full service travel agents who prepare the itinerary of the traveler from researching, planning to purchasing an entire trip to ‘Discover India’. The tour packages are at a discounted or subsidized rate due to channel partners that comprises of economic luxurious hotels, airlines, railways, transporters so on and so forth. Almost all of the travel agents cater to the needs of one and all – from single men & women, to families and clubs going on vacation or a weekend getaway at short notice, whatever the need the travel agents are ever ready to ensure that their clients are satisfied.
Most of the travel agents in Kolkata have expert tour operators on board who are capable of understanding the subtle nuances of the travel industry and therefore personal attention is given and most of them can speak English fluently. Intending travelers are able to access directly an assortment of travel packages which are affordable for middle class families who might be planning a trip to India.
By virtue of researching continually on travel destinations in India that are safe and secure, travel agents have been offering travel packages that are economical so as to ensure that sufficient funds are available for travelers to perhaps buy gifts for their loved ones as well. Almost all travel agents offer value added services, bus and car rental for example, train and air tickets, hotel booking and other ancillary tour and travel services at competitive rates.
Travel agencies in India are professionally managed and particularly so for foreign tourists be it groups or individuals. Travel packages are priced in a way so as to fit any budget that any traveler would be able to avail. Travel agency as a business grows exponentially because of the dedication of the team of tour and travel agents. All travel agencies have channel partners throughout India and the IT infrastructure of the agencies have been upgraded to offer further benefits in the days ahead. The reason behind the enhancement of the infrastructure is to make sure that the service that they are offering is one-of-a-kind. It’s no wonder that hordes of foreign tourists revisit India as they are delighted by the services provided by the travel agencies which by their own admission is absolutely phenomenal.
India is a land where the dichotomy of rags and riches is omnipresent and often can be seen alongside each other. It is a testament of the social and economic inequalities and divisions. Nonetheless it is a land that is worth exploring as it offers variety of breath-taking and idyllic scenic beauty in every nook and cranny. From the snow-capped mountain ranges of the Himalayas with their peaks so high up in the sky that it would appear they have gone beyond scraping the sky and are reaching for the heavens. To Rishikesh on the river Ganges in northern India is an ideal locale for white water rafting.
Goa is a much sought after destination as well for those looking to bask under the sun and have a suntan or are enthusiastic about all night long beach party under the moonlight and the starlit sky along with entertainment by the best music bands. Kerala is also a suitable locale for river cruises on the natural backwaters in the midst of coconut palms that seem to whisper, the beaches full of white sand, herds of elephants, and lush greenery everywhere that seem to seduce as they pass by on lazy sunny afternoons.
A ride of a lifetime on the Palace on Wheels perhaps would indeed prove to be a dream come true as the scenery of Rajasthan would enthrall anyone. After being mesmerized by the breath-taking and amazing natural beauty of Rajasthan one would have to head back to Delhi to visit Agra and the Taj Mahal in particular which must be seen if one is in Agra besides the Agra Fort. One could relish the idyllic beauty of the “queen of hills” Ooty, or have soul-searching and spiritual experience at Haridwar and Rishikesh. Last but not the least, the Royal Bengal Tiger, the pride and joy of West Bengal can be seen in the wild at the world’s largest Tiger Reserve.
For travel without any worries it is advisable therefore that all travel requirements be fulfilled by reputed travel agents. The travel agents are ever so eager and willing to cater to the myriad needs of travelers who find it extremely convenient to be able to have an agent take care of everything that is necessary to ensure that a traveler does not have to worry about anything whatsoever.

Why Do You Pay Commissions When You Do Your Own Travel Bookings?

When you buy a travel package, tour or service your price may include a number of levels
of commission added to the original pure cost of the product direct from the supplier.
To give an example of such:
Let’s take a tour operated in Australia at a cost direct from the operator of say $1,000:
1. This tour may be listed with an Inbound Tour Operator.
2. The ITO buys for $1,000, marks up 10%, sells to Wholesaler, tour price now $1,100.
3. The Wholesaler buys for $1,100, marks up !0%, sells to Retailer, tour price now $1,210.
4. The Retailer buys for $1210, marks up 10%, sells to Traveler, tour price now $1,331, (prices changes if percentages are higher, or less if the ITO is not in this equation) (without the ITO the retail price would be $1,210 at 10% or $1322 at 15%).
The commission element, without the ITO at 10% mark-up is $210 per tour per person (21%).
The commission element, without the ITO at 15% mark-up is $322 per tour per person (32%).
So the Traveler pays variable levels of middleman commissions.. When you have 2 or 3 or a family of travelers, this is a considerable amount of cash and if you have a tour costing in excess of $1,000, just do the math.
Similarly, brochure prices have commissions built in to them for the retailers of 10 – 25%.
If a consumer goes to an Outlet Store they expect outlet prices, if they go directly to the Manufacturer they expect ‘go-direct’ prices, so why not handle travel arrangements in a similar way?
Because, it is only fair that each level of the product sales cycle earns revenue for the business involved and these businesses are necessary and needed to ensure that some products are marketed, promoted, brochures and sold to consumers around the world who may not be comfortable with handling their own bookings and need the assistance of an expert professional travel consultant.. However, with the growth of the internet and the ability to now find the source of travel products, travelers who handle their own arrangements should get a fairer deal on the pricing as a middleman is not needed in the purchasing process.
It does not make sense for most travel operators to show different prices on their websites, Retail, Wholesale or Internet Direct etc as this could undermine their supply chain by deterring the efficient middlemen from representing their products, so we have to find a way for all of the ‘do-it-yourself’ bookers to get a fairer price.
There is a way. A new service has been introduced that enables travel operators to encourage and reward travelers who are comfortable with direct bookings and for them to get a fair price break for the commission no longer required to be paid out. The new service, operated by TopTravelSites, offers TopTravelVouchers for sale that have values equivalent to, or more than the commission elements on the operator’s travel products. These may be purchased by travelers at very deep discounts to their redemption values, getting closer to the direct cost price of the travel product for the consumer… think outlet pricing or go-direct deals.
The Travel Operator still incurs the commission cost by issuing a toptravelvoucher but the beneficiary of the price break is the traveler, not the middleman. By encouraging and rewarding travelers, the operators should get more traffic to their websites.
TopTravelSites can be compared to a retail travel company but it does not sell travel. It only introduces travelers to operators involved with the program and invites them to go directly to the travel websites of its clients. If travelers want to do business directly with the travel providers on the site they can get a price break by purchasing toptravelvouchers online at prices of $30, $50 or $100usd (or equivalent foreign currency). The vouchers have a 100% money-back guarantee and if, after the travel has been completed, the traveler is unhappy with the product, the cost of the voucher is reimbursed and redress is sought from the operator.
Hundreds of vouchers are currently available and new vouchers are being added each month but when you see a voucher valued at 1,500 euros for sale for $100usd it may not be long before you will see thousands of choices. Many other vouchers are available and can be
purchased by single travelers, groups or families, leading to very healthy savings for all ‘do-it-yourself- bookers.
Many travel operators will continue to only sell through a supply chain but this is a program that could be added to their marketing options in the future but there are thousands of travel businesses around the world that want to improve their representation and for their services to be seen by a wider audience of travelers. Most travel operators would always be willing to pay a commission on sales and so this site should appeal to them. It will attract travelers who are comfortable with booking their own arrangements as they are being rewarded by rebated commission and as long as the site operator keeps to low overheads (no bricks and mortar stores or expensive brochures) they will be able to continue rebating commissions to self-booking travelers.

Long Term Travel Insurance Is All Important For Long Term Travelers

For most businessmen and their associates, travel is an important part of the business. It is in traveling that they get the chance to meet investors, clients and promote their company. Many business executives choose to meet their prospective clients outside their home country to impress them. These are the businessmen that love to show off their traveling capacities. Aside from businessmen, some housewives also tend to travel a lot nowadays. In the past decade, the majority of travelers are men and it is still true today but it has been notable that there is a vast increase in the percentage of female travelers. One of the reasons is that since there are many men who work abroad, they barely get the chance to see their significant other.
Therefore, it is the women nowadays who do traveling to visit their husband for some tender loving care. Also, a certain percentage of the overall travelers include students. More and more students are encouraged to leave their country and seek education in another land. For some, they do this to lessen their expenses since studying in another country is cheaper. Say for example, many Koreans, Japanese and even Indians are studying English in the Philippines because it is much cheaper than their motherland. On the other hand, some Filipino students choose to study abroad in order to be more competitive with the real world. Other countries also have many different specialties when it comes to education. The Philippines is well known for its world class facility, the International Rice Reserve Institute while Harvard is best known for its Law and Economic courses.
Whatever the travel’s purpose is, still, many travelers are vulnerable to the perils of loss of baggage, medical needs, and all the others that come in between. Long term travel insurance is the answer for travelers who stay in a place longer than the usual leisure travel. Some of the packages are valid for one hundred eighty days to three hundred sixty five days. Of course, the package is all up to the consumer. This type of travel insurance must be bought directly to a reputable insurance company. A well known insurance company that provides long term travel insurance is the 1Cover Travel Insurance. They are always ready for inquiries regarding long term travel insurance. They understand the needs of every traveler and are always willing to cater to their client’s insurance needs. They also give quotes for those who are interested in getting insurance.
In conclusion, it is very much obvious that long term travel insurance for long term travelers is all important. Perry Wilson quotes, “The world is so accessible now, even more so than 10 to 15 years ago and gap years have grown so popular that employers are becoming increasingly flexible in allowing employees a few months off to travel. However when you are older you have a greater number of responsibilities than those of a younger age so taking out a good backpacker travel insurance policy is as necessity.”

Transport Your Vehicle At A Low Price With Auto Transport Services

If you want a company to move your vehicle, you will need to engage in some serious research first. A simple internet search term for “auto transport discount” will reveal thousands of hits and it is your job to find the best ones. However, unless you really know what you are talking about, how do you recognize with auto transport discount offer is genuine and which one should not be trusted with a raw egg, let alone your vehicle? One great thing is that simply by looking into the different companies that are around, you will already learn a lot of about methods of transportation.
Finding Quotations For Auto Transport Discount
As stated earlier, the best way to learn about transporting your car is by contacting companies. However, as also stated before, an internet search will present you with thousands of hits and you probably don’t have the time to try them out both. People usually presume that the hits that appear on the first page are also the best. They usually are, but you should not accept this blindly. It is possible that the owner of the website is better at SEO marketing than he or she is at offering auto transport discount. So, unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as contacting the top five companies and hoping for the best. So how do you get a shortlist of companies that you can ask for quotations? Using common sense is generally the best policy. Look through the results for auto transport companies that you have found and think about which ones strike you as genuine and which ones do not. As stated earlier, most of the really good companies offering auto transport discount do manage to get on the first page of Google, so realistically you only have to sift through those results, or perhaps go to the second page as well. Take a look at the websites and dismiss the ones who have a website that is poorly designed or poorly written, as well as those that are too flashy. That is a very common sales gimmick and quite simply not what you should be looking for. Hopefully, once you have completed this, you should be left with no more than five different companies offering auto transport discount and with a bit of luck, the best nationwide car transport service is among that. Getting five quotations is always the best policy, because it allows you to really compare the different offers and find out who offers the best value for money. Always remember that value for money does not mean cheap. Speak to each of the companies you are considering and tell them about the vehicle that you want to have transported. Ask them how they intend to transport it. This will allow you to get a good idea of the methods employed by companies offering auto transport discount. Always ask why they choose a specific method, as this will give you a better idea of what seems safest to you.
Using The Online World Even More To Find The Best Nationwide Car Transport Service
You can actually use the internet to your benefit even more. As shown, the internet should already help you to find the best nationwide car transport service, but it also allows you to have a wider search range. If you were to use the yellow pages only, you will be limited to your geographical area and this is not necessarily the best auto transport discount that is out there. Not just that, if you were to purchase a vehicle that is far from your geographical area, it will make much better business sense to use a company that is nearer to the location of the vehicle, rather than your location as this will usually work out cheaper.
Using the internet will also help you to keep costs down significantly. A lot of companies claim that if you can find the same like for like quotation at a cheaper price, they will match it or even go below it. True, this can add some time in your quest for the best auto transport companies, but we live in difficult economic times and getting the best deal on something is very important. Also, the internet may even provide you with price comparison websites for auto transport discount, where you will be able to find the best price at just a glance. Remember, however, that finding the best price does not necessarily give you the best possible company so make sure you still check the companies out one by one. Last but certainly not least, finding a company online and booking your car transport online may give you even further discounts. Clearly, the internet is your best friend in the search for auto transport discount. Make sure you use it to the best of your advantage.
What To Expect From The Service
Armed with all this information, you should be able to find the best value for money on your auto transport service. But what can you expect from an auto transport company? What service will you receive and what will they actually do? An auto transport company is able to transport vehicles from one location to another. This can be beneficial if you work for a salvage company or own a scrap yard. Or perhaps you have seen the car of your dreams on the other side of the country and don’t actually have the possibility to go out there and drive it back yourself. An auto transport discount service is there to load up your vehicle or vehicles and drive it to whichever destination you want. The vehicle is securely strapped on the back of a truck, together with any other vehicle, and is taken to its destination. The best nationwide car transport service will always be happy to explain further details about this to you. Don’t confuse auto transport discount services with tow trucks. A tow truck tows a car over a relatively short distance. This can be because they have committed a parking violation or because they have broken down alongside a road. Whichever the case, the key here is that this service is not applicable for long distances. After all, you couldn’t tow a car all across California for example.
The Bottom Line
Basically, you should never feel rushed in making a decision. An auto transport company tends to transport an item that is generally of high value. A car, after all, is not a cheap toy that can easily be disposed of. Make sure you pay very close attention to all the quotations you receive. Read all the small print on any details that you get sent from the auto transport discount company. Think about such things as what sort of insurance they have, what would happen in case your vehicle arrives damaged, what would happen if they don’t arrive on time. If your car has to be transported over very long distances, make sure that the auto transport discount service has measures in place to protect the health and safety of their drivers. Do they have machines installed that force the trucks to go no faster than a certain speed? What arrangements do they have in terms of working hours? Also look at the company’s history. Have they had mainly satisfied customers and if not, what were the complaints? When looking at the complaints that an auto transport company has received, it is not so much about the content of the complaint, it is about how the company has responded to this. Remember that there are people out there who feel complaining is a national sport, which makes it clear that the reaction in dealing with any complaint is far more important.
You should now be armed with all the information that you could possibly need to find the best auto transport company. Always remember that it is good to look for an auto transport discount, but that price should not be the main driver in finding the best nationwide car transport service. Indeed, what is important is that the auto transport discount company that you intend to work with is safe and experienced in dealing with what you need. Do they know the vehicle or vehicles that you want transporting? Do they understand how to keep things safe and secure? Do they protect their staff? Do they have a good track record? For one last bit of security, you could once again use the internet to find reviews on the different auto transport discount services that are out there. Do make sure that these reviews are independent and not actually from the company itself. Also, don’t trust the reviews you read on the company’s website. They are highly unlikely to post anything on there that is highly negative. This doesn’t mean that the positive reviews on the service aren’t genuine. However, they will not give you the complete picture of customer experience. Never be afraid to ask questions, a good company should be happy to answer any query.

At Your Own Risk – 10 Countries Where Travel Insurance Won’t Be Able To Help You

The foreign and commonwealth office draws up an extensive list of countries that should not be traveled to quite regularly and it is from that our, and other global travel insurance providers’, underwriters decide which countries travel insurance should be provided for. We look at the government travel advice and decide from that whether or not we can provide insurance to travelers.
Although global travel insurance does, by its nature, cover the majority of the world, the current climate ensures that there are some places where the likelihood of incident means that UK travel insurance providers are unable to offer protection. Thankfully, the list is clear of the majority of popular holiday destinations, and you’re unlikely to have your big holiday plans affected. The most likely group to have their travel plans altered by the foreign office’s travel advice are business travelers.
The foreign office’s travel advice is not to travel to the following countries, even if it means losing business – the risk from the war-zones listed below is just too great to make the reward worth the danger:
Here’s our top 10 countries to avoid traveling to, and the reasons for the high risk factor! The risk is far from conclusive (the foreign office’s travel advice lists many more countries), but to me, these are the ones that all travelers should avoid like the plague:
10) Liberia
Economic hardship in Liberia is currently making outbreaks of violence common, and foreigners (especially westerners) are at risk targets due to their affluence. This extra likelihood of incident ensures that no UK travel insurance provider would risk offering you cover if you choose to visit Liberia
9) Nepal
Occasional acts of terrorism and political violence in urban areas make Nepal off-limits for those who want to get travel insurance. In September this year, three nearly simultaneous bombs went off in the capital of Kathmandu, killing 3 and injuring many innocent bystanders.
8)Haiti
Haiti is considered off limits to many travelers on account of the high risk of kidnappings and civil unrest that is prominent. At the time of writing, there have been 12 kidnappings of American travelers in 2007 – mostly criminal in nature. In the past, these kidnappings have ended in physical and sexual assaults and shootings. The potential for spontaneous protests and demonstrations has also been known to result in unexpected violence, day or night. It’s no surprise that the government’s travel advice is not to travel here!
7)Yemen
Due to the high levels of terrorist activity in Yemen, westerners are advised to steer clear of Yemen. If this is not possible, then all travelers are encouraged to stay vigilant and to keep a low profile to avoid attacks or kidnapping. The situation is so grave that the US Embassy often restricts American citizens from certain hotels, restaurants and shopping areas.
6)Israel
The Gaza Strip and West Bank has seen immense violence in recent months between Israeli and Palestinian factions, and shootings, kidnappings and violence demonstrations have occurred in each. The region’s continued instability makes travel to Israel widely recommended against – the risk of abduction or worse makes travel insurance impossible to obtain.
5)Democratic Republic of Congo
The democratic republic of Congo remains one of the most dangerous places to travel in Africa, where violence, neglect and corruption has left the country distinctly damaged. Fighting erupted in the streets of Kinshasa in March this year, and the situation remains volatile despite the immediate threat of violence calming down. Travel outside of Kinshasa is difficult and dangerous with security, especially in the north and easy, being unstable. Any traveler brave enough to travel to the Congo should be extremely cautious, avoid the North Kivu district which is the backdrop to armed conflict between government troops and army rebels, avoid crowds and keep a close eye on local media.
4)Burma (Myanmar)
While the human rights situation makes Myanmar an ethically uneasy place to visit, currently there is a lot of personal risk involved as well. Throughout September, the anti-government protests sparked a violent crackdown from the authorities and made international headlines. Although the dusk-til-dawn curfew imposed in some of the towns has been lifted, it still remains an uncertain time to visit the country and you’re unlikely to find any global travel insurance company who will insure you.
3)Colombia
Colombia remains one of the most dangerous places to travel in the world thanks to the crime the country suffers from. The illicit drug trade in urban areas such as Cali and Buenaventura means that there is often a high risk of violence, while the more rural areas expose visitors to the country at risk from narcoterrorist groups who will often kidnap civilians to use for ransom or to gain media attention. Naturally UK travel insurance companies are loathe to insure travellers who choose to ignore these warning and travel to Colombia anyway.
2)Afghanistan
With the war on terror in Afghanistan still fresh in the mind, it’s no surprise that the country remains a big no-go area. Western tourists are obvious kidnap and assassination targets, as many of the disbanded Taliban and Al-Qa’ida forces remain at large and hostile to the new regieme. Additionally, the country remains unsafe due to tribal groups, explosive devices, landmines, military operations and acts of terrorism. Unsurprisingly, the government’s travel advice is to avoid traveling here at all costs!
1)Iraq
Given the high profile nature of western kidnappings by various insurgent groups, and the regular acts of terrorism and hostility to Western troops, it is no surprise that no travel insurance companies will insure travelers to the troubled country. The instability is caused by various groups – Ba’ath regime remnants, transnational terrorists and criminal elements have been known to attack convoys en-route to venues, hotels, restaurants, checkpoints and police stations.
While holidaymakers are unlikely to be affected by these less touristy locations, their riskiness means that business travelers will have to forgo their travel insurance if they are unable to cancel their trips.

7 Best Online Travel Communities

True, Tripadvisor, Frommer’s and the Lonely Planet are some of the best online travel communities going, but they’re far from the only ones amongst the greats. So go on, expand your travel community horizons and check out our 7 Best Off The Radar Travel Communities:
1. Travelistic
From YouTube to Hulu to Yahoo, were a video obsessed bunch. Travelistic has cleverly taken this to head and created a travel community wholly centred around video.
Log on and you’ll find over 10,000 user submitted travel videos, to view, comment on and inspire your future travels. Want to visit the Great Wall? Journey to the top of Everest? You can do it all on Travelistic, without ever leaving home.
2. Igougo
A masterful all in one travel community, where you can plan your trip, compare flights and hotels and share your travel experiences with the world.
Just type in a destination and you’ll be instantly connected to a plethora of photos, reviews and users who have traveled or reside there. When you’re ready to go, create your very own trip journal and give back to the community by sharing your own travel experiences.
3. Trip It
Less of a travel community and more a travel service, Trip It is perfect for the organization nut in all of us. Just enter your flights, hotel stays and destinations and let trip it create an optimized travel itinerary for you in seconds. Never miss another plane or train again.
For those who truly want it all, upgrade to the pro version and Trip It will automatically alert you if there are changes or delays in your travel plans. That means less time at the airport, and more time at the beach.
4. Dopplr
Create a map with the dates and location of your travels; share it with the Dopplr community, check out other’s maps, then meet up with those whose travel plans overlap with your own. If you’d like to keep your location a secret from some (mom, dad, a raging x), don’t worry, you can control who can and can’t see where you are.
Along the way you’ll get a wealth of location specific travel information, so you’ll always know where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. Taking the thinking out of traveling, we like that.
5. Travbuddy
Travbuddy’s got all the ingredients that make for a killer online travel community; helpful forums, honest reviews, stunning travel photos and a dedicated membership 1.5 million strong.
Travbuddy ups the ante by giving you your very trip blog, allowing you to easily post your stories, pictures and reviews as you go. There’s even a built in mapping feature that builds a map of your travels as you venture across the earth.
Wherever, you’re headed, this is one buddy you don’t want to leave behind.
6.Travelers Point
Besides being a great place to plan, book and share your next trip, Travelers Point has hands down one of the best travel resources on the web; wiki travel guides.
These 100% user created and edited travel guides, give you the collective wisdom and travel experiences of over 250,000 members, right at your finger tips. From country and city guides, to travel health and safety information, you’ll find everything you need to get in the know, before you go.
7. Travel DODO
Travel DODO takes travel reviews and puts them into a fun, easily digestible format, Travel Do’s, and Travel Don’t.
Want to find out which restaurants, hotels and attractions are best avoided in France? Just click on the location on the interactive map, and you’ll be given a list of places to cross off your list (travel don’t), so you spend your valuable vacation time wiser.
Frankly, you’d be a DODO, not to check up here before you GOGO.

Eco Travel World Wide

Although the words Eco travel have been popping up a lot more over the past few years, its definition is often misunderstood or not known at all. Possibly you have also heard the word Eco tourism and they are used interchangeably because of their common definition. So what do they mean? Eco travel is planning a responsible vacation to places that conserve the environment. They also contribute to the well being of their community while practicing ethical policies.
The amount of interest in Eco friendly travel has soared, as people become more and more aware of environmental issues. Recycling and reducing vehicle emissions. Lowering the use of energy all makes a difference. Now your Eco travel vacation can also make a difference.
There are different things to look for to know if the vacation your are planning is environmentally and socially friendly. Let’s say for an example you went to a resort. You would check if they use environmentally friendly, recycled products? Are they committed to preserving their wild and marine life and the environment? Increase knowledge of local community and benefits socioeconomically and affordability? Not using wasteful products to make the area more attractive? Do the profits go back into the community? Do they employ local people and pay them fair wages, which is referred to as fair trade? These are all things to consider before deciding on your destination
Government and local communities are starting to work together to conserve their environment while providing much need employment in the area. There are many programs now available to help people in the tourism industry and program directors increase their knowledge of Eco travel, Eco tourism. Consumers that are ethically aware of fair trade have drastically increased sales in the tourism industry by over 50% on any given holiday.
There are now a wide variety of areas in different Countries that offer Eco travel vacations. The industry has grown so much over the past few years that it has become difficult to choose which one. From Costa Rico to Hawaii to Antarctica the choices are endless. Be aware of conservation of our environment and make Eco travel part of your next vacation.

Italy Travel Info – Plan a Better Trip

Italy is a hot vacation spot and there is so much to see you can get quite overwhelmed planning your vacation. Everybody feels compelled to hit the big three, Venice, Florence, and Rome. These are incredible cities with many great sites to visit and famous objects (art, architecture, etc.) to see. Here’s some Italy travel info to help you plan a better trip.
Here’s a simple fact, you cannot see everything in a single vacation, and the attempt to do so becomes very stressful, robbing you of the fun and excitement you planned. The thousands of years of history found in Italy (about 5,000 years of civilized history to be more precise) make it impossible to absorb in a few days, weeks, or months. You need to decide what you really want to see and build your trip around this rather than try and see everything. I would like you to think about a better way to see Italy with less stress, less expense, and more enjoyment. How? Plan your trip and get out of the major tour cities and into the lesser strained hill towns and fortified villages.
Say you are planning a trip to Florence. Identify the top three to five sites you wish to see and give yourself two or three days to see them. Once this is scheduled, take out a map of the region and start looking at the many incredible sites within a couple of hours of Florence. The big secondary sites include Pisa (worth a half a day at least), Lucca (also worth at least half a day), and Montecatinni (a spa town with open markets, grand parks, and an ancient hill town overlooking the town below). To the south of Florence are such well known sites as Siena (easily worth a full day), San Gimingano (get here early to avoid the crowds), and Volterra (worth at least half a day and one of the most interesting of Tuscan hill towns).
By picking day trips to one or two of these other towns between your planned excursions in Florence will allow you to experience a more intimate Italy. Enjoy a walk along the curtain wall surrounding Lucca (the wall is now a park and trail), then pop over to Pisa for a gander of the Tower, Basilica and more white marble than you have ever seen in one place. Another day you can stroll the narrow medieval streets of Siena, Then head on over to Volterra and explore the Etruscans, Romans, and the architecture and fortifications of a typical walled hill town.
Each of these towns is rich in history and tradition and will give you a better sense of rural and small town Italy. Each of the big three have dozens of great secondary sites nearby, all worth a visit, making planning trips as described above easy and fun.
Relax and get in sync with the slower pace of rural Italy, wander the myriad shops and cafés, and watch lovely sunsets or sunrises. A trip to Italy should be fun, relaxing, and truly a trip of a lifetime. The true beauty of Italy is that you can have several of these “trips of a lifetime”, never seeing the same places twice (unless you want to, I know we have).