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7 Different Types of Travel

The Package HolidayThere are as many types of travel including combinations of the types listed here. We choose our travel destinations and types of travel based on many factors. There is no right or wrong way for everyone. Consider the options and just go for it and enjoy the sights, sounds, small and excitements of new places.

1. The Package Holiday

The most common type of leisure travel is the package holiday. How good is it when all the planning is already done? Simply pick up the brochure or search the internet and there it is. Call your travel agent, make the booking and pay the price. The most difficult part is the waiting!

There are many value options in package holidays with many options as to length of holiday and the activities during the holiday.

2. The Group Tour

There are many different types of group tours – from a bunch of seniors to a bunch of teenagers and everything in between doing almost anything that is available. Choose your group tour wisely as you will be spending many days with your fellow travellers. Group tours are usually organised like packages holidays and they have the advantage that usually the group leader adds value to the experiences in many ways. Another advantage of a group tours is that there is a good chance that you will meet like-minded people who many become lifelong friends.

3. The Weekend Getaway

Busy workers may only have short weekend opportunities to travel. Take a weekend getaway where the travel distance is not that great but the benefits of going someplace new is not diminished. Take the opportunity of last-minute bookings, if you like a mystery.

4. Family Reunion

Visiting family or friends can be so much fun (hopefully). Usually staying with family and friends requires only travel arrangements to and from the destination. Who better to show you around than someone who lives in the place that you are visiting – get the insider information.

Accommodation options may also include apartments rather than hotels.

5. Event Travel

Event travel refers to traveling to a particular event, like a sporting match, a concert, an exhibition, a festival etc. The time and place is set and most likely for popular events – book early and expect to pay a little more. Enjoy and event and meet people who have similar passions.

6. Long-Term Travel

The number of travellers who travel for long periods of time is increasing. The type and style of travel will depend on financial position. Backpackers to seniors are in this class. Many seniors opt for long-term cruising as a lifestyle. Long-term travellers have the opportunity to understand the culture, art, history and people of a place well

7. Business Travel

Finally the business traveller. The best thing about traveling for business is that usually someone else is paying the bills. Choice of travel is set by the payer of the bills but generally there are evenings and weekend s to enjoy.

In conclusion, irrespective of the type of travel, there are so many places to see and so many activities to take part in. Take the opportunity no matter what, then enjoy and return home a little different.

 

10 Steps for Traveling Europe Cheap

Traveling Europe CheapChances are you searched for plane tickets on at least one occasion and thought I guess it will still be there when I’m 65 and retired. Don’t be discouraged! I am going to explain how you can travel to your European dream country for less than you imagined possible.

Step 1. Forget about your exact travel plans

The quickest way to make your trip as expensive as possible is to narrow your search to something incredibly specific.

For example, just because you have a four day weekend on Easter doesn’t mean its a good time to travel. Open yourself to being flexible on the dates you travel, the locations you travel to and what kind of places you stay at. The more flexible you are, the cheaper the travel will be.

Step 2. Determine where it is that you really want to visit.

I know I just said to be flexible but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose where you want to visit, it means you have to be open to getting there ways you didn’t anticipate. If you want to visit Dublin more than anything, don’t search for flights from the US to Dublin only. Chances are you can find a plane ticket from the US to another European city for much much less. Then you can book another short flight to Dublin for less than $80 roundtrip. It’s a great way to see a bonus country as well!

Step 3. Determine which city you will fly out of

Flights to Europe vary tremendously in price depending on which airport you’re flying to, leaving from and the dates of travel. So a good first step may be to determine which airport you are going to fly out of. If you live in a big city such as New York, Boston or Los Angeles, lucky you! You’ll find the cheapest flights to Europe from these cities. If you don’t live in these cities, chances are you’ll end up flying through them to get to Europe. So if you can drive to one of those cities, that may be a cheap option. Otherwise, consider booking a flight to one of those cities from your hometown. Although it seems strange, you may get cheaper flights by booking each leg individually rather than booking a ticket from your home to your destination.

Step 4. Determine the cheapest European city to fly to

The easiest way to do this is to check websites that aggregate all of the cheapest airfares so you don’t have to search through hundreds of flights yourself. Some sites allow you to type United States or the city that you know you will be departing from in the “from” field. In the “to” field, try choosing “everywhere.” Then scroll down the resulting list looking for the first/cheapest country in Europe to fly to. If for example, Norway comes up at $340 and France comes up at $380, then it’s probably worth it to just choose France if that’s your desired destination; however, if the difference is more than $100 I would choose the cheapest airport first. The annoying thing about Skyscanner is that the deals are often no longer active and sometimes you also have to search through many dates looking for the cheapest to travel on. But, patience is key and it’s how you find the cheapest flights. Another word of advice is that sometimes the flights are through travel agencies and it is probably worth it to search for reviews on the agency before booking your ticket, keeping in mind that happy customers rarely write reviews. But if the agency has one out of five stars, that may be a clue to pass.

Step 5. Find an inter-European flight to get you to your European dream destination

One thing most people don’t realize is that to fly from one country in Europe to another is dirt cheap.

I have flown across Europe for $14 one way. No joke. I have never paid more than $60 for a flight within Europe. Use Kayak.com to find a flight to your actual destination from whatever country you ended up in booking the cheapest flight to Europe.

Step 6. Now that you’ve arrived, find a cheap or free place to stay

Everyone has their own idea of a dream vacation. If yours is staying in the Ritz, then I’m surprised you read this far through this article. For most of us, we just want to stay somewhere decent while enjoying everything Europe has to offer. I have never stayed in a dump in Europe. I don’t want to and I’m just not that desperate. Accommodations come down to four options: hotel, rental, hostel or Couchsurf.

    • Hotel. Staying in a hotel is a safe way to go and if it’s your first time to Europe or you’re not much of a risk-taker, then this is probably the route you want to take. Hotels depending on where you are visiting range from $20-$200 per night so you might want to keep that in mind when choosing a destination. I wouldn’t advise staying in Monaco unless your oil company is seeing record first quarter profits but staying in nearby Nice might be an option. In other words, keep your options open.
    • Rental. Booking a rental room, apartment, villa or house is also a safe bet but can be a little more complicated than just checking into a hotel. Sites like Homeaway and Airbnb offer some really unique locations and I have to say, some of my favorite places I have stayed in Europe were rentals. From a villa on a winery in Tuscany to a secluded mother-in-law in a quiet neighborhood outside of London, I really enjoyed staying in rentals and the price is often much less than staying at a hotel if there is a group of you that can share the cost.
    • Hostel. The word hostel brings up thoughts of scary movies but the reality is that the difference between a hostel and a hotel is sometimes indiscernible in Europe. Sure there are hostels where you get a bunk bed in a room with five other travelers and for some people this is exciting and interesting! But just because bunk beds aren’t your thing, doesn’t mean you should rule out everything that has the word hostel in the title. I have stayed at some “hostels” which were just as nice as a hotel.
  • Couchsurf. If you are really on a tight budget or if meeting local people is really important to you, there’s no better way than to Couchsurf. If you have no idea what I am talking about, visit the Couchsurfing website. Essentially, the site lets you request to stay with someone who is wiling to host travelers at their home for free and vice versa. People leave reviews on the travelers and the hosts so you can have some assurance they are reputable. This of course comes with risk and safety precautions should be taken. In addition, you should always have a backup plan in case the situation doesn’t work out.

Step 7. Eat cheap.

I’m focussing on the necessities of visiting Europe: travel, lodging and food. There are of course plenty of other ways to spend money but these are the things you have to spend money on, food being one.

Food is amazing. I love food and the first couple times I went to Europe I was disappointed because I randomly wandered into restaurants and most were subpar. This all changed when I started checking TripAdvisor for restaurant reviews, that’s all it took to make every meal out amazing. This wasn’t so much a saving money tip as a general word of advice. However, TripAdvisor does let you search by general price of restaurants so $ is cheap $$ is moderate $$$ is getting expensive etc.

Here’s a money saving tip: buying groceries in Europe is usually very inexpensive. So if you have booked an apartment with a kitchen, take advantage of it! Go shopping at a local market and buy some new strange foods to cook! If you’re on a road trip, get some sandwich stuff to save a few bucks.

Step 8. Realize there are still more expenses

Even though travel, lodging and food are your main expenses, there are of course going to be others. Things to think about include, transportation once you arrive, fees for attractions and souvenirs.

Options for transportation include taking public transit. Most European cities have fantastic and inexpensive public transportation that can be purchased using local currency or a debit card at a kiosk. Note that American credit cards often don’t work at these as you need a chip and pin number.

Renting a car is a great option if you plan on traveling outside of the cities, it’s usually quite affordable and gives you ultimate freedom in mobility. Trains, although charming, are not usually a cheap way to travel across Europe. Flights are much less expensive and quicker. But if you are in love with the idea of seeing the country side by train, then it’s worth giving a try. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Eurorail website for a fee. Or if you’re more flexible and feeling like it’s worth the risk, you can purchase them in person at the rail station for usually quite a bit less.

Step 9. Travel light

Although you might not think that traveling light will save you money, believe me, it will. First of all, every airline is going to charge baggage fees. So each leg of your flight is going to cost you $25 to $100 for each bag. That adds up fast. Secondly, if you have two suitcases, you are going to fill up two suitcases full of stuff that you probably don’t need. Thirdly, taking cheap transportation like the metro becomes frustrating and impractical when you’re hauling around two unwieldy bags. Fourth of all, your bags have to be with you at all times or in a hotel, so if you plan on checking out in the morning and going to another city, you won’t be able to do anything until you get to your hotel and check your bags in. All in all, it’s just a huge pain to carry a bunch of stuff around Europe with you. My advice, and I can’t stress this enough, is to fit everything into one backpack. I have a 50L backpack and it had everything I needed for a month and a half in Europe. Yes, there are places to do laundry in Europe as well. If you’re saying, well you don’t understand because you’re a guy. I traveled with two young women and they both fit everything into a backpack. If you’re saying you don’t understand because you’re young, I traveled with my mother to Europe and she fit everything into a standard size school backpack! You can do it too!

Step 10. Always plan for the worst and hope for the best

Whenever I travel to Europe I plan out my expected expenses and round everything up. I also plan for at least $200 of unexpected expenses. In the end, my expenses are always well below this number but I don’t want to ever end up in the situation where I’m overwhelmed by the cost.

Conclusion

In 2,000 words I have given you the condensed Europe-on-a-budget-guide. There are of course lots of other things to think about when booking your Europe trip but the most important thing is to just do it! Find those cheap airline tickets to Europe and book them. You can fill in all the blanks later, don’t try to plan everything out before getting your tickets and don’t try and plan every second of everyday. Leave time to be spontaneous and immerse yourself in the European life.

International Escape brings the very best international travel deals online to one place. Finding cheap flights from a specific airport to a specific airport isn’t always possible but by broadening your destination choices, you can find flight and hotel deals that you never dreamed possible. InternationalEscape.com does the dirty work of sorting through hundreds of thousands of daily flights to find those unbelievable deals. Fly from Los Angeles, California to Oslo, Norway for only $340 round-trip, yes these deals do exist! You’ll find them featured on the “Deals” page.

In addition to helping travelers find the very best deals on international flights, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, so I am traveling these very deals and bringing my experiences to you on the “Inspiration” pages of InternationalEscape.com. My hope is that these inexpensive travel deals will inspire others to pack their bags and make that international escape they’ve always dreamed of!

4 Travel Tips Before You Board Your Flight To Toronto Canada

Flight To Toronto CanadaWhether you are traveling for business reasons or for that well-earned vacation, traveling to your destination can sometimes be a stressful experience. Being well-prepared can be the key to a hassle-free, stress-free travel experience. Being well-prepared can make a significant difference between a quality experience and an experience that can negatively affect your entire trip. Before boarding on your next flight, try these 4 hassle-free tips that will make your travel experience a little more enjoyable.

Call your credit card company before leaving

Traveling with credit cards can offer you a convenient and secure way to make transactions overseas, but without proper preparation, this convenience can turn into an inconvenience that will negatively affect your entire trip. Because most banks and credit card companies keep track of spending patterns, your transactions during your trips may be interpreted as suspicious behaviour. Whether you are traveling internationally or domestically, traveling outside your usual radius can lead to red flags for the credit card company. Transactions interpreted as suspicious can lead to a locked bank account, leaving you without access to financial means in a foreign country.

In order to ensure that your card in not unexpectedly denied and that you always have access to your funds as you travel, consider notifying you bank if you plan on using your credit card when you travel. The credit card company’s contact information can easily be found from the back on the card.

Notifying your credit card company also helps protect you from real credit card fraud while you are away. Because you bank has been notified of you travel plans, they will be alert when any fraudulent or unusual transactions from your account occur while you are away.

By contacting your bank, you can find out what charges you might inquire when you make transactions abroad. Many card banks charge fees for foreign transactions. In order to avoid or reduce such charges, by notifying your bank you are also able to check and find out what offers they provide to travelers. In some cases, you can check if you can get your purchases charged in your domestic currency to minimize transaction fees.

Also, by notifying your credit card company that you will be traveling, you can find out if your card offers travel-related perks such as waived language fees, priority boarding or access to airport lounges. The Toronto Pearson Airport has several business-class lounges that offer unique features. By contacting your credit card company before-hand, you can check if you are eligible for any special offers. This can make a difference between a typical travel experience and a quality experience. So, before you board on your next flight, a few days before you leave, call your credit card company and notify them of your travel plans.

Create a go-to packing list

Traveling anywhere can be a challenge. Knowing what to pack and trying to figure out what to bring can be a hassle. Being well-prepared can make the packing experience a lot smoother. A tip is to create a go-to-packing list. Especially if you are a frequent traveler, consider creating a go-to packing list that you can utilize every time you are preparing for a trip. Not only can doing this save you time from creating a new list every time your travel, reducing your stress, but it will also save you money. Rather than forgetting an item then having to make a purchase overseas for an item you already have, your go-to packing list will ensure that you have packed all the necessary items you need.

It also saves you more time from trying to figure out or recall what items are and are not permitted in checked bags. Your go-to list will ensure that you have already checked the language requirement adhering to the airline guidelines. The Toronto Pearson Airport provides a complete up-to-date list on restricted items. You can compare that to your go-to list to ensure that everything you pack meets the guidelines. It not only makes your packing experience easier, but your boarding experience less stressful.

Have a few copies of your packing list and keep one in your bag. This not only saves you time form creating a new list each time you travel, but when traveling back you can compare the list you have with the items in your bag. This way you can make sure that the items you came with will be re-packed in your bags. It will be a checklist of things to make you brought with you that you need to bring back. This will save you more money because of the checklist you will not forget items requiring to repurchase them when you get back home. This bring us to the next tip regarding your language.

Use language Identification

The Toronto Pearson Airport suggests you make sure that all your language has the proper identification. A tips, is use a colourful or noticeable identification tags on your language. This will help you language stand out among the sea of other language, making it easier to spot your language when it is time to retrieve your items. For security reasons, it is advised by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to use your work address if possible.

Another identification tip from the Toronto Pearson Airport is to make sure that your travel documents are ready as you approach the kiosk. Canadian flights require passengers to have valid identification of identity confirmation.

Arrive Early

Whether you decide to check-in at the counter, use the kiosk or online service (to save time), the Toronto Pearson Airport offers handy tips that will make your travel experience easier; arriving early. For domestic flights, the Toronto Pearson Airport recommends that you check in at least 90 minutes before departure. To save on time, you can also check in from home at least 24 hours before boarding your flight.

To ensure that you arrive on time for your flight use reputable transportation service that not only has quality transportation vehicles, but also values customer service. Hiring transportation, such as a taxi or limousine is a great way to make sure that you arrive on time, but stress-free because you do not have to worry about parking. Hiring quality service transportation to the airport can add to your travel experience.

Not only will a company that value customer service respect your time and ensure that you arrive in a timely and safe manner, but it will make your overall experience less stressful. With multiple ways of contact include smartphone application; you can have a stress-free travel to the airport.

 

5 Travel Tips for Senior Citizens

Tips for Senior CitizensTraveling and exploring new places is the best thing one could do in the leisure time. There is no age-limit to travel, you can simply take a trip whenever you feel like doing so. It is a great stress buster and an activity that makes you spare time for yourself and your loved ones too. Just like everyone else, senior citizens also have a desire to discover new places and destinations and the availability of endless time can make their trip all the more interesting and fun-filled. Though it’s the best time and opportunity to make unforgettable memories, but there are certain things which should be followed before planning an excursion. Here is the list of the travel tips for senior citizens that could help them take an amazing vacation, which they can cherish for the rest of their life.

1. Research and Plan Carefully: The first and foremost tip for the senior citizens is planning their trip attentively. Doing a research beforehand will help you in making the best of your time. From choosing a destination to booking the tickets and finalizing the accommodation; each and everything should be done warily. You can even take help of some agent/travel expert who can provide you extraordinary deals for your travel and make it hassle free.

2. Stay Connected: Once you are done with all the planning, do not forget to inform your dear ones about your vacation. It is advised that keep in touch with your loved ones all the time during the trip so that if there is any kind of problem, they know about your location and reach on time for your rescue. Also, staying in contact with the people who care about you will make feel good and comfortable, thus giving you a joyful trip.

3. Keep a check on your Travel Documents: While traveling, make sure that all your travel documents, passport, visa, travel insurance, etc. are kept in a safe place. You can print a copy of all the documents as you might need them anytime during your travel. Keeping all the documents handy will help you keep an eye on them. There are many other people traveling with us so staying alert and careful will help us protecting them from being lost or get stolen.

4. Get a Medical Checkup before leaving: Taking a medical check-up before leaving for your destination not only gives you a pleasant journey, but also helps you in knowing about the issues which may spoil the fun of your holiday. Even if there is any ailment or disease that comes up after the checkup you can carry the required medication which is a better option rather than ignoring your health. So, make sure you are undergoing a medical check-up properly to avoid any kind of emergency.

5. Be a Smart Traveler: A smart traveler is one who always takes care of all his luggage, belongings and of himself too. Collecting all the relevant information regarding the destination, itineraries, flights and everything about the trip makes you a smart traveler. To reduce the stress, it is better to pack light and carry what is necessary. Also, plan your trip in advance so that you can collaborate with other people of your age and travel in a group.

How to Choose the Right Travel Credit Card

Travel Credit CardTravelling is one of the passions shared by most people on this planet. People travel for the purpose of business and to explore new destinations. Traveling provides people with an opportunity to explore new cultures, cuisines and experience new languages. Given that traveling is an integral part of the lives of most people these days, many credit card issuers offer cards that come with a variety of travel benefits.

If you are someone who travels on a frequent basis, you will benefit from applying for a travel credit card as it will provide you with access to exclusive offers, promotions and deals that will make traveling a more rewarding experience for you.

It is a fact that there are too many travel cards available these days and so it becomes a daunting task to choose the right credit card for traveling. Here are a few tips that will help you in making the right choice:

1. A good sign up bonus – most cards come with different types of sign up bonus and in the case of travel credit cards, the cardholders are offered with free air miles or a free air ticket when they use their card for the first time after receiving it. You should make sure that the card you opt for will offer you with a huge sign up bonus preferably in form of air miles so that you can redeem the same for your travel bookings.

2. More air miles for your money – earning air miles is one of the main reasons behind applying for a travel credit card and so the card that you opt for should apply you with more air miles for your credit card expenses. For example, every time you spend a dollar on the card, you should be able to earn at least 1 air mile. If the credit card cannot offer you with sufficient air miles for your expenses, it will not be very beneficial to you.

3. Airport lounge access – the travel credit card should also offer you with complimentary access to Airport Lounges so that you can travel with luxury and comfort. Since most of the top credit cards for traveling offer complimentary lounge access to the customers, it will not be very difficult for you to apply for such a card.

4. Travel Insurance – another feature that you should look for when applying for a new travel credit card is free travel insurance. If you are provided with travel insurance coverage, you can travel in peace as you will be assured that the insurance policy will provide you with the required support in case something bad happens when you are on a trip.

5. Low annual fee – even if the card offers you with a wide range of features, it will be futile to opt for the card if it comes with a high annual fee. The annual fee charged for the travel card should be low so that you will not end up spending a lot of money to avail the benefits offered with the card.

6. Wide acceptability – it goes without saying that the travel card has to be widely accepted so that you will not have any problem using it when you are on a vacation or a business trip. The acceptability of the card should not be limited to only a handful of merchants.

9 Questions to Ask Before Travelling

Ask Before TravellingWhen planning a holiday or a tour, it is best to understand what you are letting yourself into. Try to understand the offer and any hidden challenges in travelling, particularly international travelling. A reputable travel agent can help direct you to the right places. Here are some questions to ask.

1. What passport and visa requirements are there for traveling to a particular destination? Most governments have information about their passport and visa requirements. Make sure that your passport is current and meets the validity period of the country that you are visiting. Request visas early as some visas take up to three weeks to arrange and need detailed information.

2. When is the best time to travel to a particular destination? Discover when the “best value options” are available and confirm that your particular interest is available during the time of travel. Check for any “great value package deals” that include flights, accommodation and tours. The greater your flexibility in travel time, the more likely there is that there are package deals for you.

3. What are the dangers or hazards in travelling to a destination?And what are the risk mitigation strategies that are in place? Where can I find detailed advice on what I need to do to remain healthy? Try to understand what is different.

4. What is the currency? And where is the best place to exchange money? Am I better to use a credit card? Your bank will be able to give good information on the money side of things.

5. Do I need Travel Insurance? Most governments will advise that “if you cannot afford travel insurance you cannot afford to travel”. There are many avenues for travel insurance – travel agents, insurance brokers, health funds etc. Tell your potential insurer where you are going and what you intend to do there. to help achieve the most appropriate policy.

6. What vaccinations do I need? There are restrictions on some countries for those who have not been vaccinated. Consult your doctor or a travel doctor for the latest recommendations. Take your detailed itinerary with you to the doctor.

7. What flight options are available? What time of day do I leave and what tome of the day do I arrive at my destination? Are their direct flights? If not, are there stopovers? What is the best value?

8. Are facilities for disabled travellers or travellers with challenges available? Ask about the particular challenge that you face.

9. Are there any special requirements for traveling to a particular destination? Are there any cultural or social behaviours that apply?

In summary, this is a short list of questions that will help any traveller understand some of the hidden information about holidays.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Criteria to Select Travel Websites For Your Travel Planning

Travel WebsitesWith the world now becomes a global market place, travel is increasingly turning into the number one activity that people do on a regular basis. Equipped with rapid internet penetration at travel destinations around the world, people are making travel arrangement online.

Websites such as priceline.com, travelocity.com and cheaptickets.com all of sudden attract high interest to savvy travelers who are looking to plan their travel at convenience.

Besides the above three travel websites, there are numerous sites that specialize into different market niches.

Like the old saying ‘don’t put all your eggs into the same basket,’ selecting one travel website for all your travel needs is unnecessary. You should find the best site that meets your objective. After all, competition is always good for customers.

What question should you ask yourself before jumping into the one travel website? Here are a few criteria that you should consider when selecting travel websites:

1. Objective

If you take a step aback a little bit and ask yourself your current travel situation, you should be able to find out what the real goal is at that time.

For example, if during holiday you unexpectedly receive news that one of your close relatives just passed away and you need to be there the fastest way possible, how do you make your travel arrangement?

Would you still go to priceline.com and bid for the lowest fare – or hit for ticket at lastminute.com right away? Priceline.com specializes in the lowest fare on bidding situation, so it will take a certain while to get the best deal. However, if you go to lastminute.com, you will be able to get the lowest fare at the last minute.

Under other circumstances, bidding through priceline.com can be more desirable than lastminute.com.

Forget about purchasing directly from the airline company. It costs more for them to serve your purchase – customer support, advertising, maintenance and all the sales overhead are incurred to fulfil your purchase. This translates to higher ticket price for customers.

On the other hand, travel websites acting as ticket middlemen purchased tickets at wholesale price. They are in competition with other travel websites to attract you to their websites. More competition translates to a better pocket for customers.

2. Country

Next tip is about the country you are visiting. Each country has a specialized or national travel websites that cater to foreigners.

For example, if you travel to the Great Britain or Paris, the national travel association offers unlimited entry pass to visit a multitude of attractions at one price. If don’t know about this offer and purchase tickets at a number of independent websites, you are guaranteed to spend more money, time and hassle.

On other occasions, if you travel to unfamiliar developing countries where infrastructure is not as adequate, it is better to make your arrangement via a trusted national agency who has long been in business.

3. Trustworthiness

Purchasing online is essentially the same as purchasing offline. The difference is security and convenience. Now that you are aware of the convenience, I will explain about security.

Online travel websites need to be secure and trustworthy. I am not talking about fraud only. From handling promotion, sales process to customer support, the company needs to be able to demonstrate its strength in doing business online.

I would typically look for Better Business Bureau (BBB) sign, investigate how long they have been in business, what guarantee, terms and conditions that the company holds before landing on one travel website.

Another indication is browsing through customer testimonials. Although they might be orchestrated, reading testimonials is a great way to understand the products and services of the company.

4. Savings

For budget-conscious customers, saving money on flight is definitely a win. The best advice is to plan your travel way in advance. Take advantage of pricing comparison websites or recurring promotions from each travel websites.

However, if you are on a time or budget constraint, knowing what website to baseline from will be beneficial. Again depending on your situation, I would recommend you start with priceline.com and bid for the lowest price. In parallel, you would go to special niches websites such as lastminute.com to shop around for ticket pricing.

For business flyers though, they are prepared to pay a higher fee for their ticket price. Business customers usually fly during weekdays and make last minute arrangements. The airline companies know this – that’s why last minute tickets are costly.

5. Uniqueness

The last important factor to select the best travel websites is how unique they are, compared with other websites.

Some websites are more user-friendly and informative; some others are very clunky yet professional. Finding what makes each website ticks will play well in your decision.

Availability of travel guide or blog is also crucial in my opinion. It shows that the company cares enough not only to sell the best priced tickets, but also the best total value experience.

In conclusion, selecting travel websites that suit your particular travel situation is important. Due to a heightened competition, customers will find the best value to their dream travel experience. Taking the time to understand which website is good at which niche will be beneficial in both short and long run.

Milton Wongso is an avid blogger specializing in reviewing travel sites for travelers. Milton reviews travel sites for the best value that makes your traveling experience memorable. Unlike other websites, Milton gives recommendation about how to choose the best travel sites for your unique travel situation.

Travel Tips For Consultants

Travel Tips For ConsultantsTravel is a fact of life for most consultants. Many spend 45 weeks on the road every year, and some say they wouldn’t want it any other way.

We know one married couple where both are traveling consultants. They often joke that they should write a book called “Marriage on Three Days a Week” because they only see each other from Thursday night to Sunday night most weeks. Of course, they take great vacations with all the frequent flier miles and hotel points, and neither one is left at home to manage the household while the other dines in restaurants every night and comes home expecting all the chores to be done.

Like many others, they have learned how to be comfortable on the road so that their travel schedules are a source of new experiences and great stories instead of a hardship. If you learn how to be comfortable in your environment, you’ll do better work and last longer in this demanding field.

There are two types of consulting roles, from a travel schedule perspective. One type of consultant is the real Road Warrior who is in a different city each week, often visiting two or three different clients and staying only a couple of days each place. The other type travels to the same destination every week to work on a long-term engagement over several months. Which type of travel schedule you end up with depends as much on your personality as on your skill set.

No matter which type of travel schedule you have, there are some seemingly small things you can do to make yourself significantly more comfortable on the road.

Enroll in every frequent flier and hotel points program you can. The biggest perks in business travel come when you get a free family vacation later. All those trips to Pittsburgh might buy you a trip to Honolulu or Prague or wherever your heart leads you.

Whenever possible, use the same airline and hotel chain for every city. This helps you rack up the points faster, and it also establishes a level of comfort and familiarity for you from the moment you arrive in the city. Not every Marriott is exactly like every other Marriott, but there are enough similarities between them that you will begin to feel at home quickly.

Packing for Travel

Develop a routine for packing. Make a checklist that includes everything that you know you’ll need for any trip, including items like toothbrush and cell-phone charger. Go over the checklist every single time you pack a suitcase.

If you don’t follow this advice, you will eventually end up spending $200 on a “charge everything” device and using a hotel toothbrush that will rip your gums out.

  1. Always assume you will have to carry your luggage yourself. If you aren’t sure you will need it, don’t take it. You can always buy one there. (Don’t accept engagements in locations that don’t have stores.)
  2. Pack something comfortable to wear in your hotel room and clothes you can wear to work out.
  3. Plan to sleep in something you don’t mind being seen wearing in public. In the event of a fire, hotels will evacuate two floors above and two floors below, even if it’s just a small fire in a trash basket. That’s what that loudspeaker above the bed is for.
  4. All luggage looks alike. Make your bag easy to spot on the carousel and less likely to be stolen with a few strategically placed strips of duct tape or a big pink bow.
  5. The military knows that rolled clothing does not wrinkle. Don’t fold it, roll it. Turn jackets inside out, fold the collar up and press one shoulder inside the other.
  6. Think about what you pack from the perspective of Customs and Airport Security. For example, many airlines will not allow you to carry steel-tipped darts in your carry-on luggage. (Yes, one of us learned this the hard way. Not the one you think.) Carry all medication in the original packages, particularly prescription medication.
  7. Purchase two of everything you use daily, like cosmetics, razors, toothbrush, etc. Leave one set at home. Pack toiletries once and leave them packed. This way, you don’t have to worry that you forgot something essential and will not notice until the middle of the night in a strange hotel room. When you run out of something on the road, replace it. (This is easier if you use common brands that are sold nationally.)

After only a few weeks of travel, you’ll know exactly what you need to pack and what you don’t.

Hotel Living

If you are traveling to the same city every week, pick a hotel that you are comfortable in and make friends with the people at the front desk and in Housekeeping. If you can commit to a certain number of weeks, they might even give you a break on the room rate, which is also good for your customer.

Once you’ve tried two or three different rooms in different parts of the hotel, you’ll begin to identify specific things you like or dislike. Within a few weeks, you’ll probably have a favorite room. Don’t be afraid to ask for it every week. Staying in the same room every week can increase your sense of comfort and it’s easier to remember what room you are in. Every one of us has been frustrated at least once by trying to open a hotel room door, only to realize that the key doesn’t work because this is the room we were in last week, and we have no idea what room we have been assigned this week.

If you followed our instructions for packing and bought duplicates of all your toiletries and travel needs, you can check a suitcase with the bellman over the weekend instead of carrying it home with you. Leave your laundry with a dry cleaner over the weekend and come back on Monday to a fresh wardrobe without carrying a bag with you to the airport. That’s freedom!

Make friends with the people who have control of the food. If you are eating all your meals off the Room Service menu, you will soon get bored with the choices. Encourage the person who answers the Room Service line to give you suggestions.

When Christine was working in one city where it wasn’t considered safe to leave the hotel and wander around at night, she called the Room Service number one night and said, in the most pitiful voice she could muster, “I’m hungry and nothing on the menu looks good tonight. Help me!”

The Room Service voice laughed and said, “Miss Lambden, don’t you worry. After all these months, I know what you like. Let me surprise you.”

In addition to the best steak and the freshest salad ever served by Room Service, the waiter brought a glass of red wine and said, “The chef said to tell you that he knows you don’t like red wine, but this is special. Try it with the steak. Alternate one bite of steak with one sip of wine.”

She still talks about that steak. After that night, she never had to look at the Room Service menu again. When she called, she would say, “Maybe a fish tonight?” or “I’m in the mood for something chocolate.”

Remember, if you are tired of the hotel menu, just imagine how the chef feels.

Since you can’t eat all the time, here are some other ways to fill an evening in a hotel room:

  1. Call your mother.
  2. Read.
  3. Go to a movie.
  4. College libraries are often open late. Learn something.
  5. Work out. Remember the Freshman Fifteen in college? The life of a consultant includes too many meals in restaurants and too few long walks in the park.

If you exercise at home, try to exercise the same way when you are traveling. Find out if it’s safe to walk/run outside near the hotel. This is also a great way to find the neighborhood restaurants and pubs that the travel books don’t know about.

If you exercise in a gym at home, stay in a hotel with a gym and use it. If there is no gym available in the hotel, remember that many national chains have memberships that allow you to work out in any city. Like national hotel and restaurant chains, gyms are a great way to find familiar surroundings in an unfamiliar place.

Exploring new cities is a great way to get exercise and enjoy your time on the road. See the sights. Shop. Ask the people at the hotel and at work what you should be sure to see while you are in town.

We know one consultant who managed, in one year, to see Niagara Falls (working in Buffalo), the Arch in St. Louis, the Napa Valley wine country, six shows on Broadway, and Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break.

Did you know that Kansas City is the City of Fountains? In the winter, the city slowly freezes some of the fountains so you see frozen ice where water flows in the summer. Just beautiful.

Did you know that you can visit the Budweiser Clydesdales at Grant’s Farm in St. Louis? If you think they are fun to watch on Super Bowl commercials, just imagine how magnificent they are up close.

These opportunities may not present themselves again. Don’t spend every evening in your hotel room.

Every city has something unique to offer and the people who live there will be happy to help you discover what is wonderful about their hometown.

Single Life on the Road

The constant-travel lifestyle is often more appealing to single people who do not have a family at home waiting for them each week. For these consultants, the only challenge is finding a way to maintain a home when you aren’t there during the week.

Here are some tips:

  1. Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail once or twice during the week.
  2. Install automatic light timers in your house. Install motion sensor lights outside. This makes it look like someone is home and protects your stuff. (It also makes bats and possums find another yard to live in, but that might just be an Austin thing.)
  3. Hide valuables. Burglars know all about looking in the freezer for your jewelry, but would they think to look in that bag of potting soil in the garage? Hint: Tell someone you trust where you hid them…you’ll remember all the great spots you considered, and you’ll forget the one you picked.
  4. Splurge a little with all that money you are making as a consultant and hire a maid service to come in and clean your house while you are gone. If you have a lawn, hire a yard service, too. The last thing you are going to feel like doing when you finally get home is housework, and you’ll be happier in this job if you don’t feel that you are neglecting chores.
  5. If possible, have a trusted house-sitter stay in your house. Then you won’t have to worry at all.

In addition to maintaining your house, a single person on the road has to maintain a social life. When you are out of town all week, it’s easy to find yourself excluded from your friends’ conversations about plans for the weekend. You have to work harder to maintain those friendships at home, especially if you are also forming new friendships in the city where you are working.

It’s not totally unheard of for consultants assigned to the same client week after week to form friendships, or even romantic attachments, in the city where they work. Having bonds with people all over the country can be a huge advantage professionally because your network is expanded to include all of their colleagues, as well.

Don’t date someone in the client company. This can get messy. (Yeah, we know. Your situation is different. You’ll handle it like grownups. We’d like to believe this, but in our experience it rarely works out that way. Even so, this is still good advice for everyone else.)

Married With Children

Life on the road is harder for those who have a family at home. You miss them and you feel guilty about leaving them behind, and even more guilty when you’re having fun without them.

The same tourist attractions that enliven a single person’s travel can make you miss your family even more. You find yourself thinking, “The kids would love this,” or “Niagara Falls by myself? I don’t think so!”

Here are some tips for making travel easier when you miss your family:

  1. Write long letters saying all the stuff you would have said if you were at home. Buy a fax machine for the house so you can send them before you go to bed and the family can read them with breakfast. (We know. Email works just as well. Except it doesn’t. Handwritten letters mean more. They just do.)
  2. Give the hotel’s fax number to your family or set up a personal e-fax number. Encourage letters from home. Also drawings and report cards and anything else that will make you feel closer. Almost all children could benefit from the occasional writing exercise, and most of them already know how to operate a computer.
  3. Buy a small digital camera or use your cell phone to take pictures and make a “Day in the Life” slide show for the kids. Take pictures of your day from the time you wake up to the time you prepare for bed – pictures of your hotel room, your breakfast plate, your cubicle and co-workers, the bookstore you stop at after work, the restaurants you like – everything! (Trust us, they’ll love it.)

Driving in Strange (translation: “New To You”) Places

Weather conditions and driver courtesy rules vary from city to city. In some cities, driving is a brutal competition, and it’s considered rude or suicidal to slow down for a yellow light. Someone will honk at you or run into you. In others, you’ll get dirty looks if you don’t yield and let a waiting car merge in front of you. On most country roads, failure to wave at passing drivers marks you as an outsider.

No matter where you are, these tips will help lessen the impact of driving during your travels:

  1. Get a map when you arrive. If you know where you are going, you are much less likely to end up in the wrong place.
  2. If you rear-end a car on the freeway, your first move should be to hang up the phone. Better yet, go hands-free when you are driving. Best of all, hang up and drive.
  3. Rent your car from the same agency every week and be extra nice. Usually, the same agents are on duty every Monday morning, so eventually they’ll know you and may offer you the cool convertible or the Jag for a week at no extra charge.
  4. Not every state or city has a “right on red” law. Check with the car rental agency or look for a “No right on red” sign before you assume it’s legal in any intersection where you are.
  5. If you are stopped for speeding, running a red light, driving the wrong way, or, worst of all, hitting something, be very polite to everyone involved. Of course, this is true when you aren’t traveling, too, but you have a better chance of making your meeting or flight if you deal with the situation nicely.

In New York or Boston (or London or Beijing), take a cab or public transportation. Some warnings say “Don’t try this at home.” With regard to driving in these places, the rule is “Don’t try this on the road.” In other words, ask someone at your destination or consult a travel guide to find out whether it’s advisable to drive yourself around.

If you are facing your first winter in a snowy climate, ask someone to teach you how to drive in icy conditions before the first blizzard. You may feel foolish, and they will definitely laugh at you, but the first time you feel your car start to slide, you’ll be glad you did.

For us, just saying “I’m from Texas” is often enough to have our clients offer free driving lessons, icy conditions or not.

Air Travel Tips

Since 9/11, keeping track of the rules for air travel and getting through Security checkpoints has become more of a challenge, but the airlines have made a sincere effort to help.

Every airline and airport website has information about security requirements and how much time will be required to get to your gate. Experienced travelers quickly learn to avoid the busiest times of the day and week. In fact, we don’t know a single traveling consulting who would consider flying on the day before Thanksgiving under any circumstances.

Airport websites will also give you information about other amenities that are available in the terminals. For instance, did you know that the Hong Kong airport has showers and rooms where you can take a nap? After a long flight across the Pacific ocean, a shower is a wonderful way to spend your three-hour layover between connecting flights.

The airport in Portland, Oregon, has a great mall. You can get all your Christmas shopping done between flights and have the items you bought shipped home. Oh, and did we mention that Oregon doesn’t have sales tax?

The San Francisco airport has twenty different museum galleries that rotate art, culture and science exhibitions on a regular schedule. At SFO, you can’t avoid being entertained and educated while you travel.

Here are some other tips for making air travel easier:

  1. When you make your reservations, ask for a seat near the front of the plane. Airlines assign seats back-to-front and families traveling with children tend to plan further ahead than business travelers, so the shrieking three year-olds are usually in the back of the plane.
  2. Always request the Exit Row. Children aren’t permitted, and you get more legroom.
  3. Wear earplugs or invest in some good noise-canceling headphones if you plan to sleep. People talk louder on airplanes.
  4. Planes have only 3% humidity, so you get dehydrated quickly. Carry a bottle of water on board. (This will also keep your feet from swelling.) To keep costs and carryon weight low, carry an empty bottle and ask the flight attendant to fill it for you. On international flights, there is usually a water fountain available for passengers to serve themselves.
  5. When they say, “Limit two carry-on bags,” assume they really mean it and be prepared to check everything but your purse, briefcase and laptop. A good alternative if you are in a hurry is to “gate check” your bags. Especially with smaller commuter flights, this means you get your bags immediately when you get off the plane with no stop at baggage claim.
  6. Pay attention to the safety speech every once in a while. Like washing your car to make it rain, it’s just good karma. We’ve asked, and yes, most flight attendants feel just as silly giving the speech as you do listening to it, but the fact that no one is listening just makes their job harder.
  7. To prevent a stiff neck from sleeping on a plane, ask the flight attendant for a blanket, roll it up and wrap it around your neck before you fall asleep. Your head won’t roll from side-to-side, you won’t snore and you won’t look nearly as ridiculous as those people drooling on their neighbor’s shoulder. They make C-shaped pillows that do this, but that’s just one more thing to carry with you. We prefer to travel light.

While you are traveling, do everything you can to make your life easier. When you are enjoying yourself, you are better prepared to perform at work, and you’ll be more successful.

Cubicles and conference rooms are the same everywhere. The work won’t change, but taking the time to make friends with the people around you, at work and at the hotel, will make all the difference in the world to how well you do it.

How To Travel On A Budget And Make Money While Traveling

Cruise ShipMany of us wish to travel the world whether it be to places near and familiar or places way from home and much more exotic. The thought of plane tickets, hotel accommodations and food is daunting but rest assure that there are many ways to travel this beautiful world of ours on a budget and even ways to travel while making money. Wherever your destination (or destinations) may be there are many tricks of the trade that make being a world wanderer a feasible and budget friendly a reality.

While you can still travel on a budget, (we will discuss that in the next section) some travelers prefer to travel while still making an income. Many hopeful travelers rule out the idea of working to travel and working abroad because of a potential language barrier but in most cases that is not the correct scenario. There are plenty of work opportunities where speaking English will actually benefit you and will give you the extra income necessary to explore the world.

    1. Au Pair: We have all seen the job of an Au Pair in a movie or television show. In literal translation, the French word Au Pair means an extra set of hands. Ambitious world travelers can work as Au Pairs for families looking for extra help with their children and light work around the home. An Au Pair is typically a college and above aged person who seeks traveling the world and in exchange is paired up with a host family who provides food and board and a wage as well. There are several programs that can be found online that will pair an aspiring Au Pair with families around the world. Many Au Pair programs offer the option of attending school/university while working with the possibility of traveling even after the contract is expired. Working as an Au Pair is a great opportunity for English speakers because the majority of host families are looking for a Native English speaker to teach their children English. If the idea of an Au Pair sounds thrilling but also intimidating at the same time, make sure to check many resources available online that can help you in your search.
    2. Teach English abroad: As mentioned above, being a Native English speaker can raise your likelihood of finding a job abroad. Teaching English abroad is a great way to be able to travel and make an income. If you have decided that this is the route you want to take in your endeavors to travel and get paid, the first thing you must do is decide your desired country and research the rules of the country for teaching English. Some countries have differing rules, regulations and requirements before you can teach English there. Some countries in Europe even require you to join the European Union. Before embarking on your journey, it is imperative to get a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate in the USA. The TEFL program can also be taken in your desired country after you obtain your certificate. It is important to take a TEFL class in the desired country so that you can meet fellow peers, learn the country’s customs and potentially be placed in a job after the class. The most important thing to remember before embarking on such an important journey is to research, research and then research some more. It is important to know when the peak hiring season is, rules and laws and of course about the culture.
    3. Cruise Ship: The idea of working on a cruise ship and traveling may sound glamorous and alluring but it is a lot of hard work and long hours. Working on a cruise ship also means you must live and coexist with your fellow crew members which may or may not be a problem. There are several job options if you decide that working on a cruise is the route you want to take. Job options range anywhere from child care, restaurant work, bar work, maintenance, customer service and much more. The variety of jobs makes it a great hub for those who want to work and travel because there is literally something for everybody. Working on a cruise has many great perks and can be a great way to travel the world and meet new people so remember that there will be a lot of competition so do your research and make sure your resume stands out.

While there is the option of traveling and working there is also the option of traveling on a budget. Believe it or not, you can travel the world on a very limited budget, granted you may have to give up many luxuries that can come with traveling.

    1. Hostels: Hostels are a great way to travel on a budget and meet new people. Wherever you go in your travel expedition there is sure to be a hostel for you to stay at. Sure some hostels are much nicer than others and some are for the brave but there are options. Here is where research comes in handy again. Before you travel seek to learn information about the hostels where you will be staying, you can also find several reviews online from former guests. When you do your research, you can see the prices of the room, if you will have a private room or communal room and how far the hostel is from all the landmarks you wish to see.
    2. CouchSurfing: The new craze in budget traveling is CouchSurfing. What is CouchSurfing you might ask? CouchSurfing is a social media platform that allows users to literally surf from couch to couch at host’s homes. CouchSurfing is available in more than 10,000 cities world-wide and is free to users. CouchSurfing offers the traveler a place to stay with a host family, it also offers the “couch surfer” a different way to meet new people and new places. CouchSurfing is attractive to many people because they feel as if they are getting an authentic travel experience from a local of the destination and saving money.
    3. Food: Many ambitious budget travelers worry about food costs when traveling. The reality is that if it is done correctly, obtaining food can be extremely cheap and in many instances even free. Many restaurants/cafes all over Europe practice throwing away food at the end of the day. A great way to get free food is by visiting family owned food establishments before close and asking if you may have the food they are planning on throwing away. In many instances they will give you more food than you planned hence you will have food for days while traveling. Another option for obtaining low-cost meals is to shop at small farmer’s markets. Many farmer’s markets in Europe and other parts of the world offer fresh fruits and vegetables at a ridiculously low price. Keep an eye out for fruit stands on the side of the road as well. If you are staying in a hostel this is another great way to save on food as chances are there will either be a communal kitchen you can use to prepare the food you bought at a low price or many hostels provide at least one meal a day withe their nightly price for stay.

It may seem intimidating but traveling on a budget can be done and attainable. You must first concoct a plan and develop your research from there. Seeing the world is a possibility and it can also be your possibility with some drive, determination and hard work. It may take some time to device your final plan but in the end it will be worth all the work when you are looking back at the people you met, the places you discovered and the memories you made.

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