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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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 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 Insurance FAQs

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

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

Q: What should I do before going abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prominent Architects in Phoenix

Working with outstanding Phoenix real estate agents is one of the best ways to find the perfect Phoenix homes that will best meet you and your family’s needs. Once a Phoenix realtor understands the type of property you wish to purchase, he or she will apply that criteria when searching every Phoenix real estate listing until the best property matches are found, thus saving you time and money. As you begin settling in, you will have ample opportunities to explore this beautiful city. Phoenix is home to several prominent architects whose talent is on display in remarkable buildings in Phoenix that they have designed.

Phoenix-based Gould Evans Associates, LC + Wendell Burnett Architects were honored with the 2007 American Institute Honor Awards for Architecture for their design of the Palo Verde Library/Maryvale Community Center owned by the City of Phoenix. The connection of the mind and body was used as a design theme that features two equally sized “volumes,” which are lit at the bottom and top, so you can see the activity going on inside from the outside. The library is housed in one side, and the gymnasium in the other. Care was taken to incorporate “green” building products, including floor tile made from recycled tires and cork, while walls were made from oriented strand board made from recycled wood. Formaldehyde-free insulation was also used.

The award-winning Phoenix architectural firm of richard + bauer Architecture was the design organization that created the Meinel Optical Science Research Building for the University of Arizona in Tucson. Principals James Richard, Kelly Bauer, and Stephen Kennedy’s building features a concrete wall that is covered with red-bronze copper treatment to relate in tone to bricks used on the campus. To give the feeling of a darkroom, openings allow light into the building, and the light plays off the rooms within. For their work on this important building, richard + bauer Architecture were also awarded the 2007 American Institute of Architects Honor Award.

There still occasionally come on the Phoenix market vintage homes designed by Ralph Haver. Haver was a prominent Phoenix architect in the 1950s who made his mark in contemporary-styled single-family homes. His designs often feature window walls, clerestories, beam ceilings, carports rather than garages and a low pitch to the front facing gable roof style.

Probably the most famous architect in American history has his foundation in Scottsdale, and that is Frank Lloyd Wright. Known for organic architecture that allows the building to fit into the context that the land itself provides, Taliesin West in Scottsdale is where Wright had his home, his studio, and was the site of his architectural school. Archives of Wright’s work are housed at the Foundation as well.

Choosing Right Home Furniture

A house without furniture often sounds like a flower without fragrance. Furniture takes away the emptiness of a home, and makes it attractive and functional. For those reasons, it’s important to choose the right furniture items that function, add to the appeal, reflect your taste, and provide a great value for the price. It turns out not too many shoppers exhibit satisfaction when they are exploring choices for quality home furniture. One of the major reasons for this dissatisfaction is the lack of priorities that a shopper must set to determine what exactly to look for. Also is there a group of buyers who finds it a nerve-wracking task to select right furniture for their homes out of the multiple choices being offered by internet today.

If you have happened to be facing any of the afore-identified situations, you should seek some guidelines for a better understanding of finding and buying good-value furniture and accessories. Below is brief list of points-to-note to be kept in mind and considered before going on a shopping spree:

Room and requirements: Every house comprises different rooms; the main being living room, drawing room, dining room, guest room, and TV lounge. Each room requires different furniture items for its distinctive classification. For instance, a dining room requires to be filled with a dining table set instead of sofa set whereas a bed room needs to be graced with a dressing-table set instead of a utensil storage cabinet. It is important to determine what room requires what kind of furniture.

Similarly, if you intend to buy a sofa or a cabinet, create an appropriate place for it in your home. A sofa fits well in a living room or a drawing room whereas cabinet should find its way to a bedroom or kitchen depending upon its use.

Furniture replacements: If you decide to redecorate your old home by replacing its furniture with a new line, do it systematically. Choose the living room to begin with, for being the most occupied place of your home. This is where your family members or friends sit, relax, chat and enjoy. Make sure you find and buy living room furniture items in colors and designs that match with the colors of walls and/or floor of your room or house. Once done with your living room, go with the redecoration of a guest room, drawing room, dining room, so on and so forth.

Furniture size: Consider room space before settling on any furniture item. If your room is too large, choose mirrored furniture which will make your room look small.

Wholesale living room furniture: Go for online stores of wholesale furniture where you’ll have more chances to get your favorite furniture pieces at the most competitive prices and get discount deals on your purchases.

A common misconception attributed to cheap furniture is that it is neither durable nor reliable. If truth be written, cheap furniture is the line of furniture that is offered at a cheap price. Quality remains the same though. Hope, you are pretty sure how to choose and buy right furniture for your home now!

Why Travel Solo – My Reasons For Travelling Solo

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

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

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

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

Avoid The Drama Of Others

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

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

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

Indifference Of Ideas

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

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

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

Living In Close Quarters

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

Be Who You Want

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

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

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

School Bus Safety Tips For Drivers and Their Children

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

Take note of the crosswalk/school zone sign.

 

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

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

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

Slow down.

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

Visibility.

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

Backing up.

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

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

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

Tips When Buying Home Furniture

When buying for home furniture, there are a lot of tips that you need to be aware of in order to get the best out of the quality and from the price. There are numerous stores that sell furniture for the home and you may get confused on which place is the best for you. It is never recommended to buy the first furniture that you like. Always look for more items and selections first so that you can make sure that what you are buying is the best in the market.

The bedroom is one place in your home that you may want to redecorate. When choosing home bedroom furniture the best tip to follow is finding the best and the most comfortable. The bedroom is your private sanctuary and it is very important that your bedroom furniture is comfortable. For instance, when you are buying a bed for your room, choose the one that you find at ease with. Do not be afraid to test out the bed, its foam and how it feels once you lay on it. Also do not forget to measure the size of the bed that it can fit perfectly in your room. For the home bathroom furniture, choose the ones that can fit into the space of your bathroom. Keep it elegant and simple.

For the furniture in your home, the trick is finding the perfect design and color that can match your place. One home furniture store can carry countless furniture that have different color, designs and materials to suit your home. Some of them may have offers of making made to order furniture if you cannot find the design and the color that you want. These made to order furniture may cost more than the regular ones in the store, but if you have the budget and you are willing to wait, this could ensure that you will get the furniture that you want. When shopping for home furniture, it is important that you are getting items that are of good quality. You may want your furniture to last for years. Paying for cheap but low quality furniture will only cost you more in the long run because you will need to repair or buy new furniture from time to time.

When choosing the sofas or armchair of your living room, the rule is like that of the bedroom, choose the sofa or armchair that can give you comfort. Your guests or family will be sitting in these sofas when you get together or watch television, a comfortable sofa means a lot. Also make sure that the sofa can match your room color. It does not have to be the same color, but something that can compliment your home. There is also other home décor furniture that you may want to add like coffee tables, side tables or a small chair or tea table. These are good furniture to add to your room if you have enough space. Overcrowding a room with furniture is never a good idea. It will only make your home look smaller and disorganized.

Travel Pre And Post Internet

Travel Pre Internet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Post-Internet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Health, Medicinal Benefits of Garlic – Part 1 Getting Heart Healthy!

Part 1: Health, Medicinal Benefits of Garlic:

There are many reasons that adding raw garlic to your diet will increase your health. In part 1 of this article you will learn 10 facts about how garlic affects your health.

1. Garlic supports a healthy heart. It can help you lower your bad cholesterol levels, and prevent hardening of the arteries, among many other benefits for your heart.

2. Organic garlic has a higher amount of sulphur in it, and the higher this amount the more health benefits there are.

3. Garlic that has been aged has more antioxidants than garlic that is not aged.

4. Garlic can be used in diabetics to lower blood sugar, or continue to keep it low.

5. Too much garlic can cause irritation to your bowels.

6. One of the compounds of Garlic can be used as an anti-fugal.

7. Microwaving garlic will completely kill the antibiotic and anti-fungal properties of it.

8. By crushing fresh organic garlic you will get the most medicinal use out of it.

9. The fresher the garlic and the freshest chopped or crushed the more taste you will get out of it.

10. Garlic has been used for over 5,000 years for medicinal purposes, starting in India.

From reading this you can conclude that by buying raw organic garlic bulbs and only opening them right before you crush or chop them for immediate use, you will get the most medicinal purposes out of your garlic. The smaller the garlic pieces when you are done chopping, mincing or crushing the more of the healing components you will get out of it, these components are activated when you cut the garlic, as time goes by the benefits will diminish, that is why it is very important to only get the garlic ready just before using it. You may also want to note that by using garlic this way you will get more taste out of it, so you can actually use less.

Benefits of Collaboration in the Luxury Travel World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Basic Elements of Style

Wearing the latest in fashion is what every one of us likes to do. But it is very important to carry the clothes in style. Having a great wardrobe is definitely essential but some basics of style should also be adhered to in order to make a striking fashion statement. There are lots of online wholesale apparel shops that cater to the fashion conscious generation. But apart from stocking up a fantastic collection, there are a few other issues that need to be paid attention to.

• A well groomed appearance is very essential in order to carry any ensemble with style. Nobody looks good with straggly, greasy hair, chewed up fingernails, gross skin, unplucked eyebrows, and leg stubble.

• Taking good care of your clothes is also very important. Well maintained clothes are the basic requirement of carrying off any stylish look with elan.

• Over usage of accessories can kill any fashionable ensemble. It is always best to make minimum use of accessories so that they can act as a compliment to the basic outfit and add some style.

• Try to choose outfits based on which colors and styles look nice on you. It is a good idea to match what you are wearing with your own personality. This helps in bringing out your true colors and helps you look and feel great.

Each year new fashion trends are born and it is time for the old ones to retire. Though it is definitely a great idea to go with what is in vogue, but at the same time you should keep an eye out for the comfort factor as well. Comfort and style goes hand in hand and choosing apparel based on how comfortable you feel wearing them is the smartest decision. Fashion trends appear unexpectedly and fade away even quicker than they appeared.

There is no limit to the permutations one can think of in terms of mixing and matching clothes and creating a style that is comfortable yet elegant. If you want to achieve a great look, be in line with new fashion styles that are influenced by different seasons. In recent we have seen the rise of new brands as well as the comeback of some old fashion trends. To wear something different and with style is to create fashion and with a bit of creativity you can come up with unique combinations that can become a personal fashion statement.