10 Tips to Buy the Smartest Travel Insurance Policy

Why invest in travel insurance?

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

Buying travel insurance online

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

Tips to buy online travel insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Advantages Of Using A Car Rental When Traveling

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

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

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

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

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

Of Taxi Games and Fishy Games

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

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

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

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

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

By And Large, Business Travel Is Not A Pleasurable Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– 43 percent comprising of business travel made by individuals,

– and 29 percent for corporate meetings.

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

– Washington, D.C.,

– New York,

– Los Angeles/Long Beach,

– Chicago,

– Atlanta,

– Boston,

– Houston,

– Minneapolis-St. Paul,

– Detroit,

– and Dallas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frequent Flyer Miles, Automatic Upgrades, and Comfortable Seating:

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

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

Getting Value for Money:

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

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

Kennedy Space Center in Florida

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

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

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

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

Travel Insurance FAQ

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

What is travel insurance protection?

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

Why should I buy travel insurance?

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

What is the coverage for travel insurance?

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

How much does travel insurance cost?

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

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

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

What is the medical care coverage?

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

Does travel insurance cover business trips?

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

How long will travel insurance provide coverage for me?

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

When is the best time to buy travel insurance coverage?

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

What will happen if my money is lost or stolen?

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

Closer To Truth: Is Time Travel Possible?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t be fooled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taxi 'Recap' – The Short Version; Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Potted history

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

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

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

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

Entrenched industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Initial plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safety first

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The scrap metal deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does Travel Insurance cover?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where can I purchase Travel Insurance?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Important Question

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

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

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

Single-Country Insurance Strategies

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

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

But how, exactly, can you find local insurance?

Well, you have two options.

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

Multi-Country Insurance Strategies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Types of Travel Insurance Do You Need?

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

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

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

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

Travel Website Dictionary

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Things To Consider Before Choosing An Auto Transport Company

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

Check for Adequate Insurance

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

Have your Vehicle Inspected

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

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

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

Minimum Requirements for Non-Working Vehicles

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

Should You Use A Broker?

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

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

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

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

How Much Will It Cost?

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

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

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

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

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

General Tips

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

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

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

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

Top 7 Tips to Achieve Success With a Travel Blog

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

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

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

Given below are seven tips that you can use –

#1. Share Unique Experiences

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

#2. Learn to Write Well

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

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

#3. Become an Avid Reader

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

#4. Take Attention-Grabbing Pictures

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

#5. Be Consistent

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

#6. Stay Genuine

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

#7. Pay Attention to SEO

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

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

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

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

Bus Travel Service – On the Rise After Decades of Decline

Brief History

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

Rising Bus Travel 

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

Travel Planning

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

Contribution Factors

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

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

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

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

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

Bus Budget Travel

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

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

Bus Travel Training

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

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

The New Face of Modern India in Travel & Tour

Today, India has the potential to become the Global Super Power. Now, India is the 2nd fastest growing economy in the world after China with the growth rate 8.5%, and by 2013 we will beat China and will be on the 1st Position. India is territorially a large country, geographically a peninsula with a strategically dominating view of three major seas which could potentially provide a basis to control ship traffic from the Indian Ocean to Pacific Ocean by putting toll gates at the Malacca Straits, a long continuing civilization (over ten thousand years), a large and young population(average age of 29 years as compared to of China of 38 years, and Japan of 47 years)- which is termed as Demographic Dividend, and as proven inventors of cutting edge scientific discoveries in mathematics, astronomy, surgery and recently in high quality IT software. At present India has demonstrated innovative capacity in Chip design, Thorium reactors, Biotech, and pharmaceuticals.

Travel & Tour is also the fastest growing industry in India. India tourism is gradually increasing every ending year. Nowadays, Indian people are traveling all around the world. The way of traveling by Indians is slightly different, preferring the luxury travel & tour.

Organizers of the recent Travel and Tourism Fair (TTF) in Ahmedabad conducted a survey among Gujarat attendees, and results showed a significant number of Indian tourists prefer luxury travel and accommodations.

TTF found that one-third of those surveyed had an average travel budget of Rs 80,000 as reported by the Times of India. Foreign tourism departments in attendance have taken notice of this trend and are offering more options for Indian travelers seeking upscale opportunities.

“Switzerland provides tourists an option of staying together in fully furnished homes or chalet with a kitchen where one can cook one’s own meals,” Swiss travel agent Puneet Sehgal told the news source. Sehgal also noted that at least 400 Indians choose Switzerland for group vacations each year.

Japan has been focusing promotions towards Indian tourists, specifically for theme parks. One Japanese travel agent at the fair told the Times of India that Osaka’s Universal Studios is a major attraction for Gujarati.

More than 15,000 people attended this year’s fair, including exhibitors from Egypt, China, Dubai, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and many other nations.

Celebrations times for Travel Industry…

Travel Magazine has been informed there has been an increase in Package Holiday bookings this year compared to last year even though we are still in a trick economic climate. High Street Travel agents such as First Choice and Thomas Cook are celebrating after people looking for Holiday Deals in September helped increase bookings this year by 75% compared to booking for holidays last September.

Some of the leading travel agents like Lets Travel India have been offering value deal holidays to help increase trade after the industry predicted early this year that the travel industry could suffer due to the unstable economic growth in the UK.

Some of the top selling destinations which have helped increase trade for travel agents have been Canary Islands, India Tour and Spain with people looking for cheap package holidays as a large number of families could not afford holidays last year.

Wise holiday makers have been keeping an eye on travel agents such as Lets Travel India to search for cheap package holidays after the company announced they were slashing prices on a large number of their holidays, while other holiday makers have been booking their own cheap flights and booking hotels abroad via the internet reducing the cost of their holidays.

It was feared that a large number of travel agents would see themselves left with thousands of unsold holidays but with holiday makers looking for cheap deals after leading travel agents were forced to reduce their package holiday prices, this fear has now been reduced and travel agents are now claiming most of their unwanted holidays for September have been sold.

The Indian travel industry is doing well with Indian flights. After having suffered from a somewhat slow season in 2008-2009, once again India is leading travel industry to the front, taken lime light and is seeing a growth in its travel industry of what is expected to be between 5-6% & 1-1.5% higher than the global average.

There are two reasons behind this boom: one is the upcoming Commonwealth Games being hosted in Delhi in October & 2nd one is the Indian government efforts to boost the travel industry through improvements to international travel services and accommodation. This includes the completion of Terminal 3 of Delhi’s International Airport. The terminal is now the sixth largest in the world with a capacity for 37 million passengers per year. For the tourist and business travelers, this means shorter queues, more comfortable lounge areas, plenty of shops and increased flight offerings from UK airports including Birmingham, Belfast International and direct from London Heathrow as airlines bolster the number of Delhi-bound flights.

In anticipation for the Commonwealth Games, the Indian government has also been giving the city of Delhi itself a major facelift; to such a point that professionals within the travel industry are anticipating that Delhi is quickly becoming a top contender as a one of the major travel destinations for world tourists.

Of course, with all of this attention focused on India, destination-bound airlines and hotels are offering tempting fares and fabulous budget accommodation prices for Delhi bound tourists and business travelers – both in October during the Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi and beyond.

The Health Benefits of Humor When Traveling

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

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

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

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

Do Travel Agents Get Free Trips? Part 2

Yes: travel agents DO travel for free

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

Booking Groups Could Get You a Free Pass

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

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

Travel Contests

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

Travel Perks can be Good

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

Agents Travel Free in the Long Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Driving Safety Near a School or School Bus

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

Picking up or dropping off children at school:

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

Driving in a school zone:

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

Driving in the vicinity of a school bus:

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

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

Explore Outdoor Bonanza Vacation in Phoenix

Family vacation gatherings and out-of-town adventures are the usual activities that most children and their parents enjoy during summer or semester break. These are the moments that they are able to spend each other’s company and have more time to interact to each other.

Even adults enjoy these times by taking a time-out from busy office work and away from the daily noise and on-the-go ambiance of the metropolis.

A busy life at school or in the office makes us feel stressed most of the time. Whenever we are given the chance to unwind, let’s take this opportunity by thinking better ways to make our vacation productive and enjoyable. Sometimes, staying at home is boring and limiting.

Indoor routine like cleaning your room, sleeping, or watching your favorite DVDs may somewhat be ordinary. Surfing the net, chatting or calling a friend may not be enough to spend a memorable vacation. Why not go somewhere? Visit your ideal resort or any place that you like? If you have the budget, grab your bag and do the packing. A variety of choices are available in the net. All you have to do is pick a location closest to your heart.

If you are looking for a sunny location with a desert-like atmosphere, Phoenix, the largest city in Arizona, may interest you. Its location in the central part of Arizona near the Salt River Valley makes the city popularly known as the “Valley of the Sun.”

Phoenix has an estimated population of almost three million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, along with other cities such as Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe and Mesa, making it the fifth largest city in the U.S.

For first timers who would visit the place, don’t worry it is very easy. The frequent visitors who come from the east or west take their car using the Interstate 10 as their common route. If you still need guidance in planning your route or in taking other possible routes. Don’t forget to bring your water jars while traveling, especially during summer months or hotter days to avoid dehydration.

Traveling by air is also fun and fast since Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is made available to service 20 airlines, especially visitors from UK using British Airways with six times a week nonstop flights.

Other airlines include Air Canada and Aero Mexico. All you have to do is to visit these airlines’ websites and make early bookings to make sure that your vacation will be set to your planned date.
Information about on-going flight schedules in San Francisco is available by calling the hotline number at 602-273-3321.

Rail terminals in Tucson and Flagstaff can also be used as means of transportation when visiting Phoenix. When you are already in the place, hotels, resorts, museums, restaurants and other places can be reached using several bus routes. For customer care concerns and other queries, you can call 1-800-872-7245 for specific details.

As a customary practice for foreigners in Phoenix, tipping is made for taxi drivers and staff of hotels, restaurant and others in U.S. at 15% rate.

In Phoenix, the sunny days from November to April are the best time to visit the place. During these months, resorts are full of vacationers in the valley and enjoying the popular outdoor activities like golfing, hiking, hot air balloons and scenic sightseeing in the deserts and mountain towns.

Other lovely places to visit are the world-class restaurants, hotels, museums, shopping centers and sports arenas. With all these things to look forward to, you will never miss to consider Phoenix as your vacation destination.

Money Saving Solutions For Living in Apartments

Only Visit Cheap Ottawa Apartments

Although this article is about saving money while you’re already living in an apartment, this tip is important enough that it still belongs here. You shouldn’t rent an apartment you can’t afford! Live below your means.

When you’re beginning your apartment search, create a budget, find a maximum amount you’re willing to pay in apartment rent, and don’t go over that amount – no matter what! You can visit apartments that are a bit over your budgeted number, but only if you think you can negotiate down to under whatever maximum you’ve set. And if you do visit the apartment but you can’t negotiate down, nix the apartment from you’re list.

Pay Yourself First

You might have heard this saying before. This tip can be applied to any one looking to save money. Whenever you get a paycheck, pay yourself first. Before you buy clothes, before you pay your apartment rent, put a little away in a savings account or an investment where you’ll never look at it or touch it.

The saying comes from the book, The Richest Man in Babylon. The book recommends putting away at least 10% of your total earnings. After you do that, and after you do things like pay off your apartment rent, you can do whatever you want with your money, guilt free!

Do It Yourself

One of the advantages of an apartment is that if there’s ever a problem with the apartment itself, or the appliances that came in the apartment, you can ask the landlord to fix it (assuming you’re renting an apartment from a reputable apartment rental company. However, for all the other stuff (your computer, your furniture, etc.) you’ll have to pay someone to fix it, or learn to do it yourself; same goes for decorating. Learning a few trade skills can save you a lot of money while you live in your apartment. They’ll also help if you make the switch from renting Ottawa apartments to owning an Ottawa home!

Make Use of Your Apartment Kitchen

It’s easy to spend a lot of money eating out. But if you cook at home, in your apartment, you’ll save lots of money very easily. The more you cook, and the more you shop for groceries, the easier it’ll be to know which foods are cost-effective, and which ones are a bit too expensive for your “taste.” Most apartments come with basic apartment appliances like a fridge and a stove.

Don’t Leave Things On

If you pay for utilities, you should be extra vigilant about letting anything run longer than necessary. Don’t leave a light on if you’re not in the room. Don’t let your computer “sleep” overnight – turn it off! If you pay for water, don’t take extra long showers.

Here are 12 more tips to lower your apartment electric bill.

In apartments it can get pretty cold during the winter. If you don’t want to blast your heat up, then you should close your apartment windows, and make sure they’re not letting cold air in. Tape can fix this, and heavy curtains can also help. As well, make sure your radiator isn’t covered up by furniture.

Use the Library

If you’re in any apartments near Universities or other schools, you likely have access to a library. Use it! Besides, how much space do you really have in your apartment for more books or DVDs? Speaking of which, many libraries offer DVD rentals, and you should check out the selection at whichever library is nearest to your apartment.

Here are the public library locations; their main library is near downtown apartments. But as you’ll see on the map, there’s almost always an ibrary near you – and that’s not even counting the student libraries around.

What Is Multi Trip Travel Insurance and Who Can Use It?

Those who love to travel try to visit as many places as they can during their travel. During their travels it is best if people take advantage of insurance so that they can be protected while they are in transit. The kind of insurance that avid passenger may need is the multi trip this insurance compared to purchasing for each trip.

This multi trip travel insurance can be applied to numerous travels, so instead of having a separate one for each flight, this is more sensible. Insurance for multiple trips is also referred to by agencies as annual this insurance or yearly this insurance because all your traveling for this entire period will be covered. No matter how many trips you take, this policy will still suffice.

Any trip you will be taking in the span of one year can be insured with the multi trip insurance. At least now you will not have to worry about anything when you travel like emergencies and accidents. You should look into this kind of policy if you are a person who travels more than three times a year.

There is an added bonus when it comes to annual travel insurance when you are used to traveling with your family. When traveling with children policies of this kind typically provide free coverage for up to four children. This insurance plan is inexpensive and can provide the needed coverage for the whole family.

The need for this insurance might still be questionable to some. People may be in a weak position at this time. Being away from home, this will give travelers the security and protection they need.

Paying for medical expenses in another country can cost a lot of money so it is best to get travel insurance. One other purpose is when accidents may happen that are out of the travelers hands. It is also essential that you have travel insurance so that when you lose some belongings you will be covered.

It is essential that travelers get annual this insurance. Aside from being able to have insured travels for up to a year, there are still a lot of advantages travelers will receive from multi trip travel insurance. Sometimes, there are companies who give out free ski insurance along with the coverage already included for the four kids under the age of 18.

Yearly travel insurance has both international and domestic travel insurance and a traveler can get both. A travel will spend less if he gets the multi trip travel insurance. This is also much saving when a person takes more than three trips on a year with all the coverage that the trip would require.

There is a lot to gain from multi trip travel insurance by contract workers and those who always travel. The jobs of these people require them to travel a few weeks each time for a project. This insurance plan will allow them to save a lot of money.

Remember that if you travel often, never go for those separate insurance policies because they amount to a lot of money. As a cheaper substitute, have a look at multi trip travel insurance. With all the free coverage in store for you and your whole family you will also get the chance to save money.

Why Go For Natural Health Treatment and How Does it Work?

Natural health treatments have acclaimed much popularity these days as it has the amazing ability to handle all sorts of health conditions. Proper natural treatments can heal mental as well as physical illness and ailments such as insomnia, stress, lack of energy and immunity, cardiovascular problems, and recently even cancer. Basically, natural health treatment is done with two aims in mind:

  • Attaining good and healthy life.
  • Harnessing specific ailments and diseases.

Both these aims can be achieved easily with the use of high quality herbal health care products.

The present lifestyle of the people has impelled them to depend on nutritional supplements since there are wide gaps in the intake of nutritional diets. Health nutritional supplements work as a compliment to the healthy food and hence provide a better healthy life as it fulfill the lacking vitamins, minerals, amino acids, calcium and several other essential components of the body. It is a treatment that works with the natural recuperative powers of the human body and thereby adds on to the overall good health of a person.

Natural health treatment is known to cure problems related to men, women, and children whether it is weight loss, deficiencies and disorders. The treatment of the herbal health products can aid in maintaining healthy mind and body.

How Do These Supplements Work In Getting Rid of the Ailment?

  • The natural health supplement removes harmful substances from the body such as chemical poisons, environmental toxins, and detrimental organisms like parasites, bacteria, and viruses and so on. In short, these herbal products have the ability to detoxify the body completely.
  • Filling up the gap of the nutrition in the body. Herbal health care products are rich in nutrition and hence they provide the body with effective nutrition in the right proportion.
  • It enables the body systems to work efficiently and energetically. The health nutritional supplements have direct effect on the nervous system, lymphatic system, elimination organs, and blood circulation and so on.
  • The herbal healthcare products strengthen the immune system of the body as well as it contains several nutritional components.
  • It affects the mind in the most positive manner and thereby relieving the mind and body from stress and exertion.

As it is popularly said that healthy mind rests in healthy body, herbal health care products and natural health treatments help in keeping mind and body fit and fine.

Taxi Medallions For Yellow Cabs of New York City

The Taxi Medallion of New York City

The New York City Taxi Medallion is an interesting form of property. It represents a transferable right granted by the City to pick up passengers, but through regulation the dollar value of this right is now nearing a million. In Fact, Some of the Richest Workers In America are Taxi Drivers In New York City.

Trading in the price range of $600,000.for the individual medallion, and almost three quarters of a million for the coveted corporate or “mini” fleet medallion, the New York City Taxi industry has seen its overall value increase by almost five-hundred percent since the turn of the century.

The Taxi Medallion is a special license plate affixed to the hood of a New York City Yellow Taxi cab. It represents the license for picking up passengers from the streets. No other transportation service has this right.

The medallion system began in the 1930’s. In the 1960’s all medallion taxicabs were required to be painted yellow.

The medallion number is must be clearly visible on the taxicab roof light, license plates, as well as on the door exterior, and in the vehicle interior.

There are different types of “Medallions”. The individual, the corporate or fleet medallion, and the Handicap Access Medallion.

The individual medallion requires the owner (post 1990), to operate the yellow taxicab 210 nine-hour shifts per year. This underlying requirement guarantees the availability of taxi transportation. It is not unusual for two taxi drivers to form partnerships and share the medallion, or for an individual owner to lease out the taxi for the shifts he is not working.

The corporate or fleet medallion does not need to be operated by the owner. In fact, the owner need not have a NYC Taxi operator’s license at all. The fleet medallion can be leased, and often is on a shift-by-shift basis, twice per day, for as much as $140 per twelve hour rental.

There is a network of brokers and agents who manage and lease taxicabs and medallions to independent taxi drivers under daily, weekly, and long-term arrangements for investors.

As an investment, the most interesting aspect of the New York City Taxi Medallion is the anti-cyclical valuations. In2009, as the US and world economies are shrinking, medallion value is soaring.

When banks and stock brokerages, construction companies and retailers lay off workers, one of the first places the unemployed workers seek income is in the taxi industry. So, as the general economy suffers the number of available taxi cabs shrinks as more people seek them and those already working are forced to work more shifts as competition for fares increases.

There are a limited number of medallions. Currently just over 13,200. This number was constant at 11,787 for more than sixty years when in the 1990’s then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani approved NY City Taxi & Limousine Commissioner Christopher Lynn to conduct three auctions, selling four hundred medallions.

The sales netted the City approximately one hundred-million dollars. The politics behind the sales was very intense and telling, as shortly after the sales were completed the industry applied for and received a rate of fare increase. After a few short years another proposal for new medallion auctions was approved by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The successive medallion sales created slightly more than one thousand-forty new medallions. During these auctions the Handicap Access Medallion was introduced at a substantial discount to regular market prices. This was to entice owners to pay the extremely high price of retrofitting vehicles with automatic ramps to accommodate wheelchairs. They were all sold, and on a percentage basis have risen in value more than other medallions.

Is it Still Safe For Your Child to Ride a School Bus?

Riding a school bus to school in the mornings and the afternoons has been a tradition for many years now. It has always been a concern for parents on the first day their put their child on the bus because they worry about whether or not they will be afraid or if their safety should be a concern. Usually after the first couple of weeks it becomes routine and most parents never give it much thought after that.

However, in recent years there are a number of reasons that parents are having to be cautious when they have children that ride a school bus to and from their schools. This is because in recent years especially, there has been an alarming increase in the number of children that fight on the bus even as the bus drivers watch in their rear view mirror. There have been many serious incidents where children have been ganged up on by several other kids at one time.

Another concern that has just recently came to light is the risk of a child being molested on the bus by other children on the bus. Older students have been found guilty of molesting smaller kids as they ride to or from school. This is such a serious concern and fifty years ago such a thing occurring on a school bus would have been unthinkable.

There have also been incidents where small children have been accidentally left on the school bus in the morning after the run has been made. It is the responsibility of a bus driver to walk the entire length of the bus after each route has been finished to make sure there is no one left on the bus. Evidently this is not a practice all bus drivers care to make sure they do because when the bus is taken to a temporary parking place until the afternoon route, they were surprised to find a small child had fallen asleep in the morning and had been left on the bus all alone for the entire day. This can be a very dangerous and scary situation when a five or six year old wakes up all alone and is made to sit for hours in hunger and sometimes cold or very hot temperatures in a closed up and empty bus.

Even though the aid of cameras have been installed in many school buses around the country, these types of incidents are still continuing to rise overall. Parents need to take the time to get to know their child’s school bus driver and find out how responsible they might be. Be sure to ask your child about what is going on their school bus and if there are any suspicious things happening that they tell you about, take it to the school principal or even the school board to make sure your child’s bus ride is as safe as possible.

3 P's to Relieve Parent Stress While Travelling With Kids, Toddlers, and Young Children

Traveling with “little ones” can be one of the most joyous events of all-it can also be one of the most stressful. Parent stress is usually high when traveling with small children or toddlers as children in this age bracket have multiple needs, short attention spans and are easily bored or agitated when cooped up for a long time. Traveling with children can be stressful, but with enough preparation and forethought you can ensure a relatively tears-free trip, for both you and your child.

Here are the 3 P’s to prepare you before traveling and alleviate parent stress:

Plan:
Planning… Planning… Planning, there is no escape from this. If adventurous, unplanned holidays gave you a high in the past remember one thing – they have to be forgotten when you have kids – else you will only create more parent stress. There are ways to reduce anxiety when traveling with little children, though it takes meticulous planning in advance and flexibility during the trip. Planning involves:
o deciding where to go to,
o how to go,
o what to do and know about the place you are visiting and
o how to be prepared for the travel.

For deciding where to go, ask your travel agent for family-friendly suggestions. See your doctor about vaccinations beforehand. The most important step is to decide how to travel. Take all the pros and cons of different modes of travel before deciding the mode of travel. Depending on the mode of travel, plan for stuff like breaks, overnight stays, availability of airport transit facilities etc so that you and your child are comfortable.

An important tip to relieve parent stress while traveling is to ensure that you have enough rest breaks. Do not jam-pack the trip with lots of activities; have days of relaxing so that your children do not feel very tired. Keeping your trip as simple as you can and it will reduce the number of problems.

Prepare:
Once you are through with planning a trip the next step is to prepare for the trip. This step involves actually mentally, physically and emotionally preparing you for the trip. Once you have decided on the place to travel and the mode of transport you will need to prepare for the following:

o How do you prepare for the place you are visiting?
o What sort of accommodation you want?
o What to bear in mind and prepare depending on the mode of travel?
o What do you need to carry with you?

Preparing for the place you are traveling requires you to know about the facilities that the place provides like supermarkets, availability of key food and hygiene brands required for your child, availability of medical care, what to avoid eating and drinking, where to avoid visiting etc. This research will help you to be better prepared for the trip and you would know what to expect.

The most important preparation is for the mode of transport. If you are traveling by air or train remember to:
o Purchase an extra ticket if you can afford, else request an aisle seat, which can give you more mobility and quicker access to your seat when boarding and de-boarding. Also, in case of air travel ask for bulkhead seats or seats near an exit to give your child a safe spot to play on the floor.
o Schedule the flight during night so that your baby sleeps most of the time.
o Allow more time for security checks, getting to the gates or your platform at the station, and unexpected events.
o Bring nutritious snacks for your kids and for yourself; you don’t want to be caught hungry with no food options in sight.

When traveling by car:
o Use appropriate restraints, such as seat-belts or car seats.
o Don’t stack items in a way that they fall all over if you have to brake suddenly.
o Use shade cloth to keep the sun from shining in your child’s face or wear sunscreen.
o Be prepared for plenty of toilet and rest stops are taken to reduce motion sickness. This needs to be planned in the travel. Also check with your doctor on the drugs you can give to your child to reduce motion sickness.

The last step in preparation is to decide what you should carry with you when you travel. Here the key tips are:
o First aid box containing items such as baby paracetamol, thermometer, anti-itching lotion, oral re-hydration preparation and band-aids. Also pack sunscreen, hats and insect repellent.
o Take sterilizing equipment if your child is bottle-fed.
o Pack, lots of toys that keep your child busy and not bored. Also avoid too much of sharing between kids, which can lead to quarrels.
o Prepare to carry loads of nutritious snacks and food when going out for sight seeing.
o Take your own stroller or pram, even though it is bulky.
o Take some familiar items from home – blanket, stuffed toy – this will keep your child occupied and give them some comfort.

Pursue:
The final step to relieving Parent Stress, while traveling is to pursue your plan and execute on it when you are on vacation. Before you even embark on your travel, if the baby is sick, postpone the travel – if they get sick during the travel try and cut the travel short. Actually visit the doctor and get all vaccinations and clear all doubts regarding the place you are visiting.

Before traveling, to help pack for the trip and to keep your child’s various supplies organized, it might be a good idea to make a personalized travel box for each child. If traveling by air, feed your baby or child when starting and towards end of the trip, as the frequent swallowing can help prevent the build-up of pressure inside the ears. Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids to reduce the risk of dehydration. During the flight, stick to smaller and more frequent feedings. Also supervise flight attendants when they heat your meals for the child.

If traveling by car, make sure your child eats something before traveling, but avoid heavy or greasy foods. Entice your child to look out the window by pointing to several things along the way. Also try and have a few surprises up your sleeve, like a travel toy or game that can be opened only after you begin your travel. This will avoid boredom in travel for kids especially when doing long haul flights or long road/train journeys.

Once on holidays, take all precautions when visiting new places – like not leaving the child unattended, being vigilant about the potential dangers of unfamiliar places, such as not fenced swimming pools or balconies. Try to keep a little bit of familiar mealtime routine so that the kids do not get cranky. Ring ahead and check out for availability of children’s menu to avoid surprises and for younger kids prepare them to eat “jarred” or “tinned” baby food as fresh food might not always be available. Wherever possible, use disposable items and use any babysitting facilities at your hotel so you can have a break.

The most important thing, however, is to be flexible! Your baby won’t be able to have the same sleeps, so if you think the baby is tired, take a day off. Use the extra days you have planned to relax and don’t pack them with more travel.

For kids above five years, you can allow them to choose some items to pack or provide them with a choice of seat or allow them to move around the platform or terminal while waiting for next train or flight. This will help them gain a sense of control in the experience and they will be lot better behaved and less bored. Finally maintain a cool head during the trip. Remember to focus your attention on the trip itself and all the fun that comes with it, rather than on the hassles of travel as these hassles are short lived. This way you can have a wonderful time with your family.

Emo Fashion of the Present

Emo fashion has changed over the years. While there are some basic generalizations across the board, the emo fashion style has changed from a pretty tight dress code to a much more relaxed style that encompasses a variety of different elements.

It’s still a popular trend among emos to flat iron their hair as straight as humanly possible. The dramatic side swooping band covering one eye is no longer a huge trend in the emo culture, though many still have long bands going across one side of the face. A few additional hairstyles have been added to the repertoire of guy emo hairstyles, like spiking the back of the hair. The female emo hairstyle hasn’t changed much and still retains its Elvira like appearance.

While many emos still dye their hair black, it’s no longer a hardcore requirement for the style. There are quite a few emos out there that dye their hair platinum blonde instead. It seems to have become more about how you wear your hair than what color your hair is. The newest hot female emo hair accessory is multi-colored hair extensions. In fact, coloring part of your hair a radical color was quite the trend for a while.

Fewer emo guys wear guy liner now than when the emo trend originally became popular. Like many of the original emo fashion trends it has faded into the background.

Tight clothing is still very much in style with the emo culture, though much of it has taken a more modern look. Stripes are popular in emo fashion as well as stars, hearts, skulls, nautical stars, and sparrows. Emo females typically wear more trendy fashion as opposed to the original vintage style.

Piercings have also seen an expanded horizon. Many emos have gone from a single lip piercing to snake bites. Hip piercing has also recently become popular.

There’s really no telling how much more the emo fashion style will evolve. Unlike many other fashion styles the stability of emo culture changes as time passes. Some imagine that it will fade out completely with time. Until it does though, it will certainly be interesting to keep an eye on the rising and falling trends

Top Reasons To Look Into Party Bus Rentals

Planning a big night on the town can turn into a big pain in the neck when more than a few people are involved. Between selecting where to go and what to do, few adults have the time to think about who will serve as the designated driver or drivers. When party bus rentals are considered, this concern is eliminated and quite a few other perks are delivered, as well.

Looking into party bus rentals makes sense for everything from prom night to bachelor parties and beyond. Whether the party is in Los Angeles, Las Vegas or elsewhere, these buses can really help ensure the fun continues without any hassle.

Some of the top reasons to look into party bus rentals for small-to-medium-sized parties include:

· Convenience. It is often much easier to look into party bus rentals than to try and figure out who will do the driving. When these services are used, it is even possible to make arrangements for everyone in the party to be picked up and then dropped back off at their own homes at the end of the evening. It doesn’t get easier than that.

· Onboard entertainment. The rules of the road for drinking in regard to party bus rentals might vary from state to state, but the fact of the matter is the fun can continue en route. With many party bus rentals offering onboard restrooms, TV/DVD combos and rather nice sound systems, getting there can be half the fun.

· Professional drivers. Party bus rentals always come with professional drivers at the wheel. This takes worry out of the proposition and puts the burden of dealing with traffic on a pro who knows how to handle the job. In big cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, this can be a real big hassle that’s instantly removed. In some cases, party bus rentals come with drivers who also know how to jazz up the ride by providing tour information, onboard entertainment and more.

· Logistical simplicity. It is infinitely easier to put an entire party onto a bus and have everyone stay together at multiple stops along the way. When party bus rentals are used, everyone arrives at the same time.

· Economical. In most cases, it is very economical to look at party bus rentals versus driving a number of private vehicles. When the hassles that are removed from a party are considered, the cost savings really can amount to a lot.

· Safer. When adults are looking at party bus rentals for big occasions, it is generally just plain smart and a whole lot safer to let someone else drive. This ensures that everyone can have a good time and leave the concerns about drinking behind. When door-to-door service is added into the mix, the benefits really add up.

Party bus rentals in California, Georgia and elsewhere make a great deal of sense for small parties and large. When getting there is half the fun, these rentals can very much shine.

Prenuptial Agreements – The Before Marriage Divorce Contract

A prenuptial agreement, also called a “pre-nup”, or “premarital agreement”, is an agreement made by couples planning to get married. The pre-nup governs how issues such as dividing marital assets, and alimony will be dealt with if the marriage should end in a divorce.

Without a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, a divorced couple’s property will be divided and any maintenance awarded in accordance with Nevada statutes and case law. Any couple looking to save themselves from the circus called, divorce court, should seriously consider a pre-nup. Such an agreement is especially important if one or both parties are on their second or subsequent marriage, if they have children from a previous marriage, or have significant personal assets which they do not want to be subject to the whims of a family court judge.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Divorce Court?

Yes, unless there are defects in their negotiation or content. Originally, most states would not enforce prenuptial agreements because they felt such agreements were “in derogation of marriage”, meaning the agreements work against the principle of married for life. However, in the early seventies, following other states, Nevada held prenuptial agreements to be generally enforceable in, Buettner v. Buettner, 1973. So your agreement will be enforceable if it is properly done.

Why Draft a Prenup?

The most important reason to draft a pre-nup is to save you time and money, if your marriage ends in divorce. By agreeing to terms now, when you love each other, the divorce tends to run simpler, when the bliss has worn off. With a prenuptial agreement you know how things are going to be divided. Giving you peace of mind and costing you drastically less money in divorce attorney fees.

Pre-nups are not romantic. Approaching the conversation is a buzz kill. Most couples find it difficult to discuss the ending of a marriage. You’re in love, and going to be married forever. Why would you need a divorce agreement? Because like life, divorce happens. You have less of a chance of finding your home on fire, and yet you buy home insurance. Signing a pre-nup is not dooming your marriage. Many couples feel siging a pre-nup solidifies each other’s marriage commitments.

What’s in a Prenuptial Agreement?

In 1989, Nevada adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreements Act (UPAA), which can be found in the Nevada Revised Statutes at Title 123A. Under the UPAA, parties to a prenuptial agreement are allowed to agree with regard to:

1. Rights of property which the parties already have or might acquire during the marriage;
2. Any rights to buy, sell, lease or mortgage such property;
3. The disposition of property upon separation, divorce, or death of one of the parties;
4. Alimony; and
5. Any other rights and obligations of the parties which are allowed to be governed by private contract, i.e. are not governed by statute.

Separate property is the main focus of most prenuptial agreements. If you are coming into a marriage with real estate, retirement accounts, or cash, you might want to keep these assets separate from your community property. Community property is divided equally if a divorce happens. Separate property is not divided. A pre-nup often includes a waiver by both parties of any rights in property the other spouse acquired before the marriage. This is important if you who wish to preserve the assets they bring into a marriage.

Couples can also agree that property acquired by one partner after the marriage, which would ordinarily become community property, will remain the separate property of that spouse. For example, you might be halfway to earning a huge bonus, stock options, or maybe a future book deal. By agreeing these assets are to remain separate property you limit this argument in court.

A pre-nup may include language about limiting alimony (aka spousal support) in the case of a divorce. We are even seeing an increase in “fidelity clauses” being linked to spousal support. If a spouse has an affair the spousal support can be limited or increased, depending on your wishes. However, if the elimination or modification of alimony for a spouse results in that spouse needing public assistance, a court may disregard this portion of the agreement.

Two subjects of major concern to many couples contemplating marriage cannot be governed by prenuptial agreements: child custody and child support. By Nevada law, a court must decide these matters based on the standard of the best interests of the child and specific factors at the time of the decision. A premarital agreement signed before children are born would be unable to discuss the future factors. So, any private agreement between the parties on these subjects will not be binding.

When are Pre-Nups Not Enforced?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between spouses. Like all contracts, in order to be binding, an agreement must be entered into by both parties knowingly and without any coercion, duress or fraud. Because of the closeness of the relationship between engaged persons, courts scrutinize prenuptial agreements especially closely.

First, the agreement must be entered into voluntarily. This means the agreement is not valid if one of the parties executed it under “duress,” a legal term meaning “pressure.” Agreements are often executed under some type of pressure; therefore, not every type of pressure will constitute duress.

While threats of physical violence or blackmail would clearly constitute duress, time between signing the agreement and the wedding date is the biggest culprit. Courts will void a pre-nup because the bride felt pressure to sign a pre-nup three days before the wedding. The typical cause being the emotional stress of having to cancel the wedding, and explain to hundreds of guests why the wedding was canceled. It’s not a gun to the head, but just as scary for some.

The threat of calling off the wedding is not always enough to be duress. Most courts reason that a party has a legal right to call off a wedding at any time. The courts look for other factors such as the unavailability of legal counsel for one spouse, or a one-sided agreement. For more examples of what constitutes duress, see “Voluntary Consent in Prenuptial Agreements”.

It is advisable for couples to allow plenty of time to negotiate and draft an agreement. To avoid the issue of duress being raised in the event of a divorce, couples should again allow several weeks, and even a month or so before the wedding date, for the process of negotiating and executing the agreement. Each side should also consult their own attorney.

Second, the agreement must be entered into “knowingly.” The UPAA requires that both parties be provided a “fair and reasonable disclosure” of the property and financial obligations of the other party. This means that income, real property, bank accounts, investments and all debts must be disclosed. This requirement underscores the advisability of allowing adequate time for consideration of the agreement.

The Nevada Supreme Court has held that where the husband failed to make the disclosures necessary to permit the wife to make an informed decision with respect to the premarital agreement, the agreement is invalid, Fick v. Fick, 1993. The court held that an incomplete list of the husband’s assets, given to the wife shortly before the wedding, and on the basis of which the wife signed the prenuptial agreement, did not constitute full disclosure.

Third, the agreement must be entered into without the presence of fraud. Fraud occurs when a party deliberately or negligently misleads the other party. Obviously, deliberately misstating or concealing one’s financial information would constitute fraud. However, as stated above prenuptial agreements are held to a higher degree of scrutiny than regular commercial contracts; courts require a high degree of honesty on the part of each party, called a fiduciary duty to the other party. Therefore, if the resulting agreement is excessively one-sided, courts will presume the existence of fraud, and, unless this presumption is rebutted in court, will invalidate the agreement.

In Sogg v. Nevada State Bank, the Nevada Supreme Court concluded that a premarital agreement would be presumed fraudulent where it left a wife with no resources or means of support in the event of a divorce, and where the wife probably would have received more under the community property laws of Nevada were it not for the premarital agreement.

The presumption may be overcome by a showing that the party claiming disadvantage was not in fact disadvantaged. Factors to consider include whether the disadvantaged party (1) had ample opportunity to obtain the advice of an independent attorney, (2) was not coerced into making a rash decision by circumstances, (3) had substantial business experience and acumen, and (4) was aware of the financial resources of the other party and understood the rights that were being forfeited.

The court in Sogg, held that where the premarital agreement was drafted by the husband’s attorney, the wife was never given an opportunity to obtain the assistance of her own counsel, was not given a copy of the agreement until the morning of the wedding, and the wife’s business experience was scanty. The court held that the presumption of fraud was not overcome, and the agreement was invalid.
Fair Pre-Nups

A contract is “unconscionable” if it is so one-sided as to be fundamentally unfair. In some states, a prenuptial agreement will be upheld even if it is one-sided and is a bad bargain for one of the parties, as long as it is made voluntarily and with full disclosure by each party. However, the Nevada Supreme Court doesn’t lean this way. In the Fick case, the court took into account the results of the agreement. It invalidated the agreement partly because the agreement eliminated alimony for the wife, which she would have been entitled to, and gave the wife much less community property than she would have received under community property laws. This indicates that Nevada courts will look at the substantive outcome of an agreement in determining fairness and validity.

It is apparent the reasons prenuptial agreements will be rendered unenforceable tend to overlap. In practice, facts which indicate there was not adequate disclosure by a party or which indicate the presence of duress may also be used to find fraud, unconscionably, etc. The overall lesson for couples is therefore: allow sufficient time for negotiation; have separate divorce lawyers available for both parties, disclose all assets, financial information and anything else the other party might reasonably want to know, and to attempt to treat the other spouse as fairly possible.