Ten Tips for a Trouble Free Paris Taxi Experience

If you’re visiting Paris for more than a few days, you will most likely have an occasion to use a taxi. Maybe you’ll be using a taxi for your Paris Airport transfer – traveling from Charles de Gaulle or Orly airport to the Paris city center. Or maybe you’ll want to splurge for a night when you visit the Paris Opera. The Parisian taxi system is heavily regulated, so these tips will help to ensure that you’re Paris taxi experiences don’t turn into Paris taxi adventures!

    1. Know how to find an unoccupied taxi – Spotted from down the street, it’s not always easy to tell if a taxi is occupied or not. Luckily, the “Taxi” light on top of the car tells you everything you need to know. The old system (which will be phased out by July 2012) uses a white plastic sign that is either lit or unlit. IF the light is lit (yellowish light), the taxi is unoccupied and you may stop it. If the light is off, the car is occupied, the driver is on a call, or the driver’s shift has ended. The new system, beginning in 2011 uses a white plastic sign with a green light (unoccupied) or a red light (occupied).
  • Taxi Stands – In Paris, certain locations throughout the cities are set up as taxi stands. Whenever you’re ready to get a taxi, simply go to a main thoroughfare and look for a sign next to the street that says “Taxis”. On busy streets during busy hours, you may find a few people already waiting. The rule is first come, first served, so locals will not treat you kindly if you try to jump the queue. Taxis are prohibited from taking on passengers within 50m of a Taxi Stand. So if you are having problems getting a free taxi to stop for you, but they all stop at the end of the street. Take a look and see if there is a Taxi Stand close by.
  • Extra Fees – Taxis are allowed to charge you an extra fee for certain services. Pickups at train stations, airports allow a supplement of up to 1€. Each suitcase put in the trunk (over more than 5kg) maybe be charged 1€. Animals and a fourth passenger may be charged a supplement.
  • Busy Nights and Rainy Days – Be aware that the number of taxis available is regulated and is not necessarily the number that would be available in a free market. On rainy days during tourist season (April – October) in touristy areas and on weekends on the Champs-Elysees after 2AM, it may be very difficult to find an unoccupied taxi.
  • Use a radio taxi – If you are in an out-of-the way location, consider calling a taxi. You’ll pay a little bit more, but you’ll also avoid very long waits in the case of a busy night or a rainy day during tourist season. If you’re in a hotel the reception can call the taxi for you. If not, you can use a service like Taxi G7 or Taxis Bleues.
  • Pay in Cash – Most taxis don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay in cash (Euros). A tip of approximately 10% is standard.
  • Avoid unlicensed taxis – Legal taxis in Paris have a TAXI sign on the roof. From time to time in touristy locations and at the airport you will be approached by people asking if you need a taxi. These offers should be declined. Legitimate taxis stay in their cars and wait for passengers at the taxi stand (including at the airport). The unlicensed taxis could charge you much more than the normal fare.
  • Write your destination address on a piece of paper – Many taxi drivers in Paris only speak French. So unless your French language skills are very good, in order to avoid misunderstandings, it’s best to write your destination address on a piece of paper and hand it to the driver
  • Know the fare system. Parisian taxis charge three different fares: A,B, and C. The A fare is the cheapest, it is valid during the daytime, inside the city limits. The ‘B’ fare is more expensive, it is valid during evening hours and on weekends inside the city limits, and at night outside the city. The ‘C’ fare is the most expensive, it is valid outside the city limits and inside the city limits at night on weekends
  • Take a ride along the river Seine late at night. Driving along the Seine while Paris sleeps is a good way to experience the City of Light. Late one night, between 3am and 5am, take advantage of the opportunity to see Paris in a new way. Ask the taxi driver to drive you along the Seine between Bastille and Place de la Concorde. You’ll be glad you did!
  • Travel Insurance Options for Traveling Abroad

    Travel insurance is just one of things that are necessary when traveling abroad. Travel insurance can be a very practical solution to providing protection for unexpected emergencies while traveling. This type of insurance protects your investment and allows individuals to travel with peace of mind. There are several options available for going abroad depending on the length and type of trip. Travelers can easily compare plans from leading providers, receive quotes and purchase a plan instantly. Travel insurance can insure against unexpected illness, injury, employment loss, luggage loss and more.

    It can provide coverage for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption. This insurance provides coverage due to unforeseen illnesses or death. Pre-departure trip cancellation insurance provides protection in the event of the traveler having to cancel flight or hotel reservations due to an immediate member of the family’s death or illness or other covered events. Trip interruption insurance provides benefits if the traveler is unable to continue the covered trip after departure due to covered events. As an option, there are companies that also provide policies that cover cancellation for any reason.

    Another option available for travelers insurance is for medical emergencies. This type is beneficial particularly when visiting abroad. Insurance for medical emergencies will provide coverage for doctor visits, medication and even evacuation for medical emergencies. This is particularly important for individuals with chronic conditions or those traveling to underdeveloped countries. Travelers may also have the option of insurance that will provide coverage for tickets that are not refundable and the trip has to be cancelled. Some insurance will even cover missed flights, which can be, a life saver due to delays and overcrowding.

    Baggage protection is another type of insurance available. This type of insurance covers direct loss, theft, and damage of your luggage during the covered trip. Travel Accident Protection is another insurance choice that is available. This type of insurance provides coverage for accidental death and dismemberment. This type of insurance provides protection if the traveler is injured in an accident and suffer a loss while covered under this type of plan. A comprehensive travel insurance plan is a great option and a very popular choice for vacationing abroad. This option can provide a wide range of insurance coverage and may even allow travelers to choose what options to incorporate which is why it such a popular choice.

    There are several types of companies that offer insurance for travelers. Most travelers prefer to purchase this insurance directly from travel insurance agencies or companies. It is also offered by most companies that offer tours as they generally offer insurance to their clients. Major cruise lines as well offer the option to purchase travel insurance. Cruise line operators usually offer a host of plans to travelers when they schedule a cruise. Travelers can purchase insurance from a travel agent which is very convenient to purchase travel and insurance in one place.

    Once you think about the high price of travel and the low price of insurance, this type of insurance is a very reasonable investment. There are plenty of things to worry about when traveling but by protecting your vacation plans with affordable traveling insurance, unforeseen events do not have to be one of them. Since it is not possible to foresee what may happen during travel, a insurance plan is a great value. Travel insurance can slash your losses in numerous situations.

    What Are the Benefits of Hiring an Airport Car Service Vs Transporting Yourself?

    When you need to get to or from the airport, there are a number of travel options available. Discover the benefits offered by airport car services so that you can make an informed decision about your airport transportation the next time you fly.

    Air travel can be an extremely stressful experience, especially when you consider the time and hassle it often takes to get to and from an airport on either end of a journey. Working with a private airport transportation service can help mitigate this stress so that you can get to or from your on-the-ground destination with minimal difficulty. Find out what benefits a private shuttle service to airport destinations can provide versus self-orchestrated travel, and consider if airport car services would be right for you the next time you fly.

    In terms of self-directed car travel to or from an airport, driving yourself or having someone else drop you off are the two most common scenarios. While these do offer some cost benefits and a degree of travel flexibility, they also have their shortcomings. In both of these cases, you’re creating the opportunity for a lot of travel-related stress. When you drive yourself to the airport, you’re forcing yourself to focus on driving in a high-traffic area while also trying to adhere to an extremely time-sensitive schedule. That’s guaranteed to raise your blood pressure! Once you get to the airport, you’re also locking yourself into paying for parking for the whole time you’re gone. If you try to avoid the parking cost by having a friend or family member drive you, you still end up engaging someone else in the stress of traffic and the time crunch of an airport run. Many of us take these airport travel stressors as par for the course. However, they don’t have to be. There are other travel options available, such as private airport shuttle services or car services.

    Very often the word “shuttle” may conjure up images of minibuses or vans crammed full of travelers. While those types of airport shuttles do exist, they won’t necessarily reduce your stress load during your travel experience! A door-to-door airport car service, however, will. In this context, the terms “shuttle” and “car service” are used interchangeably to reference a town car or other private vehicle that will get you to or from an airport. The drivers of these cars are fully trained, licensed, and insured, and provide fast, reliable, and, above all, comfortable airport travel. When you engage this type of airport shuttle service, all you need to do is give them the details of where you are, where you need to travel, and what your time frame is. The company will do all the rest, from calculating departure or arrival times to loading and unloading your bags for you. This type of assistance can be especially helpful if you’re in an unfamiliar area, or if you just have a lot on your plate and need to have one less detail to think about.

    Five Vacation Planning Travel Tips to Save You Time & Money on Your Vacation

    Vacation planning is fun and easy so you don’t need to get overwhelmed. The first thing I want you to do is to take a deep breath and don’t panic. If you’ve never done this before, relax. I am here to help you with some simple steps to plan a great vacation.

    1. Determine Your Budget.

    There are many ways to go about determining your budget, but I usually set a price of how much I want to spend (per person) and then go from there to determine how to find the best travel deals based on where I want to go on a cheap vacation. You need to be reasonable regarding what the budget will be for your vacation or getaway. A very realistic and reasonable budget for a cheap vacation is between $800-$1200 per person including airfare, hotel, car rental, food, tips, and airport parking. I’ve traveled all over the country on business and the average budget for a two-to-three day business trip is about the same amount so it’s a very reasonable for a cheap vacation for an entire week (especially when it involves air travel and a much longer stay).

    2. Choose Your Destination.

    Here’s a little insider travel secret. I’ve traveled to some amazing vacation destinations at amazing prices, but I don’t usually choose my destination. The destination chooses me. It can get a little frustrating but I can tell you that if destinations did not chose me, I would never have went to Jamaica and seen a live starfish swimming underwater when I was snorkeling off of a beach in Negril, climbed the Great Wall of China, traveled through the Panama Canal or met a baby sloth at a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica just for starters. I went to those vacation destinations not because I had a deep desire to travel to Montego Bay, Beijing, Panama City, or Puerto Limon, but because I was chasing a travel deal. Now, vacation planning via chasing a deal is a great way to get cheap vacations and save a lot of money. I have been on some incredible trips and gone to vacation destinations I never would have had at the top of my travel destinations “bucket list,” but I realize chasing the travel deal has prevented me so far from going to Tahiti’s island paradise of Bora, Bora (my life long travel dream) and I still want to do the “Sound of Music” tour in Salzburg, Austria. So you usually have a choice: chase the best travel deal or choose your travel dream.

    3. Book Your Airfare, Hotel, and Car Rental.

    When you’re vacation planning, the best way to save hundreds of dollars on your vacation is to book everything together as a complete travel package. I don’t have any technological reason as to why this saves you money, but it does. Feel free to experiment with your own online travel booking engine of choice with this concept by making queries separately and then as a package, but it’s been done before and proven to save you money. I do know that Rovia Travel has the best online price 68% of the time as compared to Travelocity and Expedia according to a recent independent survey by Topaz International so you may want to check them out.

    4. Research Your Vacation Destination & Plan Your Travel Itinerary.

    Researching my vacation destination and planning great itineraries is one of the things that I sort of excel at in vacation planning because I love researching the hot tourist attractions of the vacation destination I’m visiting. I know some people just like to “wing it,” but that lack of vacation planning can really add hundreds of dollars to your trip. There are two great ways to do your research. First, there are so many online tools at the local tourism offices of the areas your visiting that have all the main information at your fingertips, plus many have coupons or travel deals you may not have been able to find in other ways. The second thing I like to do is pick up a great guide book for the destination I’m going to. Frommer’s Travel Guide Books and Rick Steves’ Travel Guide Books for Europe are very well researched and written and these authors update their books almost yearly so you know you have up-to-date information.

    5. Make Two Checklists.

    Now you need to make two checklists for your vacation planning. One is a list of things to do before you go on vacation. This includes finding a pet sitter, getting a neighbor to pick up the mail, calling your mobile phone service to arrange for a text/email package while you’re away if you’re traveling internationally, secure a passport or visa (if you need them), get medical vaccinations if necessary, call your credit card companies to let them know you’ll be traveling and what cities or countries to expect charges to come up on, and things like that. The second list for your vacation planning is a list of things to pack.

    Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you see how simple vacation planning is even for an inexperienced traveler. These are the basics of vacation planning and now that you know how to plan your vacation, we have a lot of extra bonus travel tips my travel website (see below) to help you discover a world of ways to see the world. Bon Voyage and have a fabulous vacation.

    Official Tibet Travel Guide – Must-See for Beginners (Part 1)

    Climate of Tibet:

    1. How’s the climate in Tibet? Is it hot in summer? Is it very cold in winter?

    Tibet is in a high plateau, and it belongs to typical downy special climate. Climates are quite different in different areas of Tibet. The eastern Tibet which is at a lower elevation is warmer than western Tibet. In some mountain areas, there are four seasons at the same time in different altitude. The weather in a day varies greatly, too. The night is cold while the day is warm. It spans 12-15 degrees centigrade in a single day.

    Climate in southeastern Tibet including Nyingchi and Chamdo is balmy with an average temperature of eight degrees centigrade; while in western Tibet (Shigatse and Nagqu) is quite cold with an average temperature below zero degree.

    However in the central area of Tibet, the climate of Lhasa and Tsedang is more favorable for traveling. Travelers can visit these two areas all year around, not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter.

    2. How is the road condition in rainy season in Tibet? Need I take any rainproof with me?

    The rainy season in Tibet is mainly from June to August and it does have a very bad impact on the roads. However, there are many track maintenance workers and local army would also give help to restore the roads. Generally speaking, it only takes a few hours to make the roads feasible again. As for the rainproof, you are suggested to take raincoat, rain-proof trousers and shoes if you want to trek, climb the mountain or ride a bike. If you have group tours organized by some travel agencies, usually you don’t need to take rainproof with you, because Tibet often rains at night and the weather is quite good in the daytime. Besides, the tourist bus is always along with you.

    3. What is the best time to travel to Tibet?

    Generally speaking, early April is the beginning of travel season, which lasts to mid-June when a large number of Chinese travelers rush to Tibet for summer holiday. Late June to the end of National Holiday is the peak travel season when some important festivals held in Tibet, like Shoton Festival, Gyantse Dawa Festival and Nagqu horse riding Festival. After mid October, Tibet turns to winter and as the visitors reduce greatly, more than half of hotels are closed for the poor reservation.

    As for the best time to travel, it depends on your travel requirement.

    1. If you want an extremely cheap price, go to Tibet in winter, from December to next March. All the things are quite cheap; even the tourist sites offer 30-50% discount on entrance fee. Hotels are cheap, too. You can enjoy 5 star hotels with less than 100USD including breakfast. Compared with traveling in August, the cost of a winter tour is only 50%-60% of a summer tour. Because of the poor amount of visitors, the Potala Palace allows you to spend even a whole day in it. Besides, the monks are not busy and have spare time to chat with you.

    2. If you like trekking, do it at May or September when the monsoon will never bother you and the weather is balmy and pleasant.

    3. If you love Mt.Everest and want to see the clear face of it, try to avoid the rainfall season and foggy weather.

    4. If you love to visit the grass land in north Tibet, do the tour in July when the flowers bloom in vast grassland and groups of yak and sheep, Tibetan nomad tents spread all over the grassland.

    5. Those who want to drive to Tibet through Sichuan-Tibet highway should avoid the rainy season. There will be mudslides, cave-ins and mire on certain sections of the road, blocking the passage of vehicles.

    About high altitude sickness

    1. What is high altitude sickness? What’s the symptom of high altitude sickness?

    High altitude sickness may occur at high altitudes (over 2700m) due to the decreasing availability of oxygen. It usually occurs following a rapid ascent and can usually be prevented by ascending slowly. Symptoms often manifest themselves six to ten hours after ascent and generally subside in one to two days, but they occasionally develop into the more serious conditions. Common symptoms of high altitude sickness include shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance.

    2. How to avoid or relieve high altitude sickness?

    1. Keep a good mood, don’t be too excited or be too worried about high altitude sickness. Before visiting Tibet, get as healthy as possible, both physically and psychologically.
    2. Take care of yourself and avoid catching cold before going to Tibet, and not to take shower at the first two days after you are in Lhasa to avoid being cold, or you will easily suffer from altitude sickness under weak physical condition.
    3. Do not drink any alcohol on the first two days when you are in Tibet. Drink plenty of water and eat light, high-carbohydrate meals for more energy.
    4. Do not run, jump or do some taxing jobs at the first two days. Being peaceful and having a good rest are important.
    5. Once you have the symptoms of altitude sickness, take some medicine (it is said that it’s helpful to have some butter tea if you can adapt to the flavor of it) and don’t go higher. Medication and oxygen also help to prevent altitude sickness. Mild altitude sickness symptoms can be treated with proper medication. If medication and oxygen do not relieve the symptoms, go to hospital or evacuate immediately to a safe altitude!
    6. Oxygen can help you relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness, but do not use it too often in Lhasa while your symptoms of altitude sickness are not serious. If you feel chilly or feel very uncomfortable, you should go to the nearest hospital available in the area.
    7. In addition to the normal medications for traveling it is advisable to bring high altitude medication. Seek suggestions from your doctor.
    8. Tell your tour guide quickly if you don’t feel well and follow the guide’s advice.

    3. What should I do if I have high altitude sickness after arriving in Tibet?

    There are hospitals in many large cities in Tibet. You may adapt to mild high altitude sickness by yourself slowly and you may go to hospital if it is serious. After you have already had high altitude sickness, you should rest well, do not move too much, keep eating, drink some water with black sugar or take some medicine. If the high altitude sickness is pretty severe, you should go to hospital, or descend to some lower places, or leave Lhasa immediately. High altitude sickness shall disappear after you descend to certain altitude and it has no sequel symptoms.

    4. Is high altitude sickness more serious if going to Tibet by plane than by train?

    Exactly, but both means have their advantages and disadvantages. You are more likely to have high altitude sickness because you don’t have enough time to adapt to the plateau environment gradually if you go by plane. The altitude change is directly from several hundreds meters to more than 3000 meters. While, if you go to Tibet by train, you can adapt your body to the high plateau environment slowly and gradually. Then, you may relieve or avoid high altitude sickness.

    5. People with what kind of diseases can not go to Tibet? Do I need physical practice before traveling to Tibet?

    People with the following diseases can not travel to Tibet:

    • People with all kinds of organic heart diseases, severe arrhythmia or resting heart rate over 100per minute, high blood pressure II or above, all kinds of blood diseases and cranial vascular diseases.
    • People with chronic respiratory system diseases, medium degree of obstructive pulmonary diseases or above, such as bronchus expansion, emphysema and so on.
    • People with diabetes mellitus which is not controlled properly, hysteria, epilepsia and schizophrenia.
    • People with bad cold, upper respiratory tract infections, and body temperature above 38F or below 38F while the whole body and the respiratory system have obvious symptoms, are not recommended to travel to Tibet until they’re OK.
    • People who were diagnosed to have high altitude pulmonary edema, high altitude cerebral edema, high altitude hypertension with obvious increase of blood pressure, high altitude heart diseases and high altitude polycythemia.
    • High risk pregnant women.

    If you are not sure about your body condition, you may have a physical examination. But you are not supposed to do more exercise before going to Tibet, for exercising will give more burdens to your heart and you’ll need more oxygen, which may easily cause high altitude sickness.

    6. Why can not people with cold go to Tibet? What should I do if I catch a cold in Tibet?

    Your immune system shall be weak if you catch a cold and you may suffer high altitude sickness easily because of it. Besides, severe cold may easily turn to some more serious high altitude diseases, especially pulmonary edema, which is very dangerous. So you are not supposed to travel to Tibet before you get rid of a cold.

    While, if you catch a cold in Tibet, things might not be so serious, because your body has already, to some extent, adapt to the plateau environment and you can go to a doctor and take some medicine

    Permits & certificates

    1. Are there any limitations or restrictions imposed on foreigners to travel to Tibet? How about overseas Chinese, Taiwan Compatriots and Hong Kong and Macao compatriots? How to handle it and how long does it take?

    There are some special requirements for foreign travelers to Tibet. Firstly, foreign tourists to Tibet must be organized by travel agencies, with confirmed routes. Secondly, a Tibet Travel Permit issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau is indispensable. The Tibet Travel Permit must be obtained before they head to Tibet. What’s more, foreigners are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet by their own, even with the travel permit. They must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide. Tibet travel permit is also required from overseas Chinese and Taiwan Compatriots, while Hong Kong and Macao compatriots can travel to Tibet like other Chinese citizen with valid Home Return Permit. Foreigners, overseas Chinese and Taiwan compatriots can apply for Tibet travel permit from Tibet tourism bureau or certain qualified travel agencies with valid passport (copies), visa (copies) and job certificate. Usually, it can be obtained in one week and 2 to 3 days if you are in urgent need.

    2. What is Tibet Entry Permit? How to get a Tibet Entry Permit and what documents are required to get it?

    Tibet Entry Permit, also known as Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit or Tibet Visa, is the basic document for foreign travelers to enter into Tibet. No foreign visitor can visit Tibet without holding the Tibet Entry Permit in their hands. Foreign tourists are required to show both their Chinese Visa and Tibet Entry Permit when they change for the boarding passes of flying to Tibet or board trains to Tibet.

    Tibet Entry Permit is officially issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, in purpose of restricting the numbers of foreign visitors. With this permit, foreigner tourists can travel in Lhasa region including Lhasa city, Yamdrok Lake, Ganden, Tsurphu, Namtso, Drigung Til and Reting.

    Tibet Entry Permit is not available for independent travelers. Foreign travelers have to travel in tour group and ask legitimate travel agency to apply Tibet tour for you.

    Documents required:

    You can get Tibet entry permit (TTB permit) by sending certain qualified travel agency the first page of your valid passport and a copy of your Chinese visa by fax or by email, and state clearly your occupations (Foreign journalists and diplomats are not allowed to go to Tibet as a tourist). If you are Taiwan Compatriots, send us the copies of your MTP-Mainland Travel Permits or called Taiwan Compatriot Entry Permit/travel document (commonly known as “Tai Bao Zheng”), and tell us your occupations.

    If you are the citizens of Hong Kong and Macau SAR, China Re-entry Permit for Hong Kong & Macau Compatriots is enough to travel in Tibet. You are not required to apply for the Tibet Permit.

    Pay attention: If you are planning to travel to places officially closed to foreigners in Tibet, an Alien’s Travel Permit is required.

    3. What is Alien’s Travel Permit?

    Except Tibet Entry Permit, an Alien’s Travel Permit is required if you are planning to travel to places officially closed to foreigners in Tibet, such as Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery, Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasorovar. Alien’s Travel Permit is not needed for places in Lhasa region, towns of Shigatse and Tsetang, or nonstop travel on Friendship Highway.

    Alliens’ Travel Permit is required to visit ‘unopened’ areas. Which is issued by the police (Public Security Bureau, “PSB”). Usually you can apply for it once you arrive at Lhasa. For tour groups, our guide will ask you for the passport and TTB permit and submit it to the Foreign Affairs Section of PSB for the Travel Permit. It normally takes several hours and the cost is 50 CNY/person. If you are an individual traveler, you need to join local tours to ‘unopen’ areas, and the local travel agencies will arrange the PSB for you as well. Pay attention, there is no travel agency can provide ‘PSB permit-only’ service.

    Notice: If you want to do a Tibet overland tour from Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai or Xinjiang province to Tibet, you must got the PSB permit before your tour starts.

    4. Which parts of Tibet are listed as the closed areas?

    At present, you have to apply for a Travel Permit if you are planning to visit the following places:Tsedang: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Trundruk Monastery, YumbulakhangShigatse: Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk MonasteryGyangtse: Pelkor Chode Monastery & Kubum StupaNgari Region: Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, Tsaparang, Years, etc. Nyingchi Region: Basum-tso, Pomi, Rawo-tso, etc.Chamdo Region: Chamdo, Riwoche, Tengchen, etc.

    5. Are there any other certificates and permits may be required in Tibet?

    Except Tibet Entry Permit, Alien’s Travel Permit, there are Military Permit, Foreign-affairs permit and other permits which may be required when traveling in Tibet.

    Sensitive border are as such as Mt Kailash and eastern Tibet also require a military permit and a foreign-affairs permit. For Tholing and Tsaparang in western Tibet you will also need a permit from the local Cultural Antiquities Department. All these will be arranged by our travel agency one month before you enter Tibet. The Military Permit is issued by troop while the Foreign-affair’s permit is issued by Foreign affairs office in Lhasa. It normally takes 10-15 working days to get them all.

    6. How to deal with the visa from Tibet to Nepal? Can I apply for Nepal visa in Lhasa? Is it fast? Shall I be denied?

    Nepal has two embassies in China: one is in Beijing and the other is in Lhasa. It is easier and more convenient to handle the Nepal visa in Lhasa as long as you conform to the certain procedures. And there are seldom any cases of denial. But the visa officers don’t work at regular time, so you are recommended to stay several more days in Lhasa to apply for Nepal visa and it is more secured if you handle the visa first after you arrive in Lhasa. The general consulate of Nepal is in Lhasa, near the Norbulinka Park. Normally you can get the visa in the afternoon of the next working day if you submit the application and necessary documents in the morning of the first day. The time to submit document is from 10am to 12am, Monday to Friday. So, you need plan a couple of days in Lhasa to wait the visa. The time to get visa is usually at 4pm, once you get the visa, you can fly to Kathmandu or set out to Zhangmu border by cars or by bus.

    To apply for Nepal visa in Lhasa, you need prepare the original passport, 2 passport size copies and complete a form. Your passport must be valid at least for the next 6 months. There are three kinds of visas according to period you plan to stay in Neal, the 15 days, 30 days and the 3 months. If you are going to stay more than 15 days in Nepal, it is better to get the visa in Lhasa, as the border office issued 15 days visa only and it is relatively expensive to extend the visa in Kathmandu or Gorkaha.

    You can also get Nepal visa at the border. Not far away from the Friendship Bridge, you can get the arrival visa of 15 days stay at the border office with 25 USD. You need prepare a passport size photo and complete a form as well.

    What to Pack:

    1. What drugs to take when traveling to Tibet?

    In the first few days after arrival in Tibet, you may experience some degree of altitude reaction. Colds, insomnia and digestive disorders are common. Take an adequate supply of any prescription medication you use regularly, including medicine for cold, headache, stomachache, and insect bite, diarrhea and so on, like the Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Antibiotics, throat lozenges, nasal decongestant and vitamins etc. Most over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin and anti-diarrheal pills, are available in Lhasa, but are more difficult to obtain outside of urban areas. It is advisable to take anti-altitude sickness drugs to cope with oxygen deficiency. Bring diamox pills which are believed to be able to prevent the altitude sickness effectively. Please consult your doctor prior to your travel to Tibet.

    2. What food to take when traveling to Tibet?You may take some chocolate, dried beef, hot pickled mustard tuber, biscuit and other food and snacks you like. You’d better take food with high calorie. You may also take some gum with you, which may help relieve the symptom of syrigmus and headache. When traveling to remote areas of Tibet it is a good idea to pack some food, snacks, and drinking water. It is not always easy to find food or drinkable water in these areas. Water purification equipment, such as hand pump filters, is not necessary, as bottled mineral water and thermoses of boiled water are available everywhere throughout Tibet. Water purification tablets can be useful during trekking. It is a good idea to take a good quality multivitamin to supplement your diet since a supply of vegetables and fruits may not be readily available.

    3. The necessary commodities you should take when traveling to Tibet Necessities: sunglasses, hat, sun cream, skin cream, lipstick, long sleeve clothes, sweaters, Passport, visa, money, credit card, camera, film, batteries, toiletries, cosmetics, knife, watch, day bag-pack, big travel bags (soft luggage), water bottle, journal, reading book, writing materials, binoculars, family pictures and snack foods.

    4. What kind of clothes and shoes should be taken when traveling to Tibet?

    Clothes

    The temperatures change greatly on the altiplano. In the north part of Tibet, people wear thick coats all year round (including July and August which are the hottest months in most of the areas in China). The highest temperature is 4-5 degrees centigrade in northern Tibet. It also snows in July and August.

    The temperature difference in a single day is big. In Lhasa, the temperature in July arrives at 30 degrees centigrade at daytime, but falls to 10 degrees centigrade at night. Sometimes it will snow or sleet at night, so you’d better take some down garments (those with hats will better), woolen sweaters, warm gloves, warm and wind-proof shoes and socks. Wearing several layers of clothing that can be easily added or removed is the wise choice since temperatures may vary greatly within a single day.

    Most hotels in Tibet have no central heating. The air-conditioners in single rooms do not work well in the cold night. In winter, from November to next March, of course you need bring down jackets, warm sweaters, gloves, warm pants, woolen hats. It is very cold in the morning and evening. In summer, wearing a T-shirt in day time but the Jacket is necessary at hotel in the morning and evening.

    During the peak tourism season, April, May, September and October, you need to prepare T-shirts, overcoats and jeans, warm sweaters. Besides, frequent rainfall in this season makes waterproof clothing and raingear absolute necessities.

    Even in summer, a down coat is necessary for those who are traveling beyond Lhasa and Shigatse into more remote areas such as the Everest Camp. A windbreaker plus a sweater will work nicely for strolling around Lhasa in summer.

    Other essentials to pack include four or five pairs of cotton or woolen underwear, four or five pairs of woolen socks, long sleeve cotton or lightweight wool shirts and T-shirts. Women should avoid skirts or dresses.

    Also, whenever you visit Tibet, if your plan includes overnight at Everest Base Camp or Namtso Lake, or a several days outdoor trek in mountain area, to keep warm is very important. The winter clothes are a must. However, you do not need to worry too much about clothing, you can buy any kind of clothes you need in Lhasa and clothes is quite cheap.

    Shoes

    It is very important to have a strong comfortable pair of boots, especially your travel covers remote area and you have to walk for a long distance. For example, if your travel reaches Everest Base Camp, you need to cover 8 km from Rongpuk Monastery to EBC and back. Lightweight boots are fine, but Tibet can be wet and we will do extensive walking, so make sure your shoes fit well and are suitable for cold and puddles. You should also have a pair of comfortable and tough sandals.

    5. What certificates and documents should I take with me when I travel to Tibet?

    Of course you should take your passport, China visa and Tibet travel permit with you. Or you won’t be allowed not even to get on the plane or the train.

    There are overall four documents required for foreign tourists who want to travel freely in Tibet:

    Chinese Visa – you can apply for in Chinese Embassy in your country;

    Tibet Entry Permit – It is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau and is a must for foreigners entering Tibet;

    Travel Permit: It is required when you are planning to travel to the closed areas in Tibet, and you can obtain it after you arrive in Tibet

    Military Permit – you have to obtain if you are planning to travel to some military sensitive areas.

    Don't Have Time to Travel to Your Favourite Destination This Year? Think Again

    Believe it or not, our life revolves around travel everyday! When we think of the word “travel,” we would normally think about exotic vacations, airplanes, road trips, our dream travel destinations, all inclusive hotels on a tropical island, you name it! Traveling is simply moving from point A to point B. This includes but not limited to traveling to work, traveling to school or even traveling to a destinations a few blocks away from our home.

    Humans and animals travel for various reasons. During the winter time, some birds such as the Canadian geese, travel south to far as Mexico to escape the cold (humans do that too!), we as humans travel to work in order to make ends meet and the list can go on forever. Not to mention, we travel to other places on this planet to temporarily escape our chaotic environments, then we come back to it rejuvenated. Sometimes we even travel permanently to other destinations for various reasons such as seeking a “better life,” reuniting with family and taking up a new job offer.

    Just about everyone has their own dream travel destination. Many people in developing countries dream about traveling to the USA to taste the American dream; many people from developed cold countries dream about traveling to tropical countries such as Jamaica to taste at least two weeks of sunshine and many others from various regions around the globe dream about exploring other countries that are known to have extraordinary scenery.

    Now unfortunately, many of us don’t get a chance to fulfill our travel dreams in our life time for various reasons such as lack of finances, can’t get the time off from work or just simply having to fulfill other commitments. These common excuses mentioned here are all understandable; however, the truth is you can still fulfill your travel dreams if you work hard at it. The question I have for you is, “How important are these travel dreams to you?” If your dream travel destination doesn’t have any form of priority in your life, don’t expect to be going anywhere soon! Yes, I would certainly encourage you to be realistic with your finances and resources at the same time. If you really want to go on that trip that dreamed about all your life, make it happen!

    Start planning ahead with your family about the family travel plans. If you plan at least 1-2 years in advance, you can make it happen (depending on where you’re traveling). For example, if you’re planning an all inclusive trip to the Caribbean for a family of four, and save at least $200 US or more a month, you’ll be amaze to see how much you’ll end up by the end of the year!

    You may say “I can’t afford this” but think about all the unnecessary things that you’re purchasing and add up how much you can be saving and who knows, you and your family can be able to fulfill that travel dream in less than a year! By saving up from now, you can pay for that vacation with cash without going in to debt if you start saving now. Yes, it’s going to take some sacrifice but at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. It’s good to also plan ahead with your boss when you want to take time off from work. If you own your own business, plan ahead of time to set aside some days off from work.

    Did you know that there are some benefits about traveling? Education may be the first benefit. Yes, traveling can also be a learning experience. A person from a developed country who travels to a developing country may learn how to complain less and appreciate life more in his own developed country. A person from a developing country who travels to a developed country will learn that he can have a “better life” in another environment though this may not be true all the time.

    Traveling to other nations may give you the opportunity to discover developmental and business opportunities. If you’re an entrepreneur or investor who is on a vacation in another country, you may learn about some investment opportunities that may come with great rewards.

    Traveling may be good times to get know your friends and family much better. Not to mention again, it’s one of the best opportunities to relax and escape the stressful world for a while. I enjoy traveling myself and I also enjoy encourage people to travel other places, and even locally. My traveling experience has taught me that there is much more to life than I thought before. In other words, my view about life has changed for the better.

    Happy New Year to you! I hope that you, your family or friends, would be able to fulfill the travel dreams that you have in mind during this year. Remember, your traveling journey starts now by implementing the plans. All the best!

    7 Best Online Travel Communities

    True, Tripadvisor, Frommer’s and the Lonely Planet are some of the best online travel communities going, but they’re far from the only ones amongst the greats. So go on, expand your travel community horizons and check out our 7 Best Off The Radar Travel Communities:

    1. Travelistic

    From YouTube to Hulu to Yahoo, were a video obsessed bunch. Travelistic has cleverly taken this to head and created a travel community wholly centred around video.

    Log on and you’ll find over 10,000 user submitted travel videos, to view, comment on and inspire your future travels. Want to visit the Great Wall? Journey to the top of Everest? You can do it all on Travelistic, without ever leaving home.

    2. Igougo

    A masterful all in one travel community, where you can plan your trip, compare flights and hotels and share your travel experiences with the world.

    Just type in a destination and you’ll be instantly connected to a plethora of photos, reviews and users who have traveled or reside there. When you’re ready to go, create your very own trip journal and give back to the community by sharing your own travel experiences.

    3. Trip It

    Less of a travel community and more a travel service, Trip It is perfect for the organization nut in all of us. Just enter your flights, hotel stays and destinations and let trip it create an optimized travel itinerary for you in seconds. Never miss another plane or train again.

    For those who truly want it all, upgrade to the pro version and Trip It will automatically alert you if there are changes or delays in your travel plans. That means less time at the airport, and more time at the beach.

    4. Dopplr

    Create a map with the dates and location of your travels; share it with the Dopplr community, check out other’s maps, then meet up with those whose travel plans overlap with your own. If you’d like to keep your location a secret from some (mom, dad, a raging x), don’t worry, you can control who can and can’t see where you are.

    Along the way you’ll get a wealth of location specific travel information, so you’ll always know where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. Taking the thinking out of traveling, we like that.

    5. Travbuddy

    Travbuddy’s got all the ingredients that make for a killer online travel community; helpful forums, honest reviews, stunning travel photos and a dedicated membership 1.5 million strong.

    Travbuddy ups the ante by giving you your very trip blog, allowing you to easily post your stories, pictures and reviews as you go. There’s even a built in mapping feature that builds a map of your travels as you venture across the earth.

    Wherever, you’re headed, this is one buddy you don’t want to leave behind.

    6.Travelers Point

    Besides being a great place to plan, book and share your next trip, Travelers Point has hands down one of the best travel resources on the web; wiki travel guides.

    These 100% user created and edited travel guides, give you the collective wisdom and travel experiences of over 250,000 members, right at your finger tips. From country and city guides, to travel health and safety information, you’ll find everything you need to get in the know, before you go.

    7. Travel DODO

    Travel DODO takes travel reviews and puts them into a fun, easily digestible format, Travel Do’s, and Travel Don’t.

    Want to find out which restaurants, hotels and attractions are best avoided in France? Just click on the location on the interactive map, and you’ll be given a list of places to cross off your list (travel don’t), so you spend your valuable vacation time wiser.

    Frankly, you’d be a DODO, not to check up here before you GOGO.

    Taxi Services in Mississauga

    If you need a taxi in Mississauga, you have no need to go to a taxi rank or special taxi stop. Taxis roam the streets looking for fares. So if you hail one, it will stop for you. You are permitted to sit in the front or the back, as you choose. If you need to order a taxi to fetch you at a designated place or at a certain time, you can telephone the taxi company and arrange it beforehand.

    The taxi driver has the right to refuse to transport you if you are offensive or if you are under the influence of alcohol. He may also choose not to transport an excessive amount of baggage, or more than his allowed quota of passengers for the type of vehicle he has. This is typically up to about four passengers. He will expect you to hire a second taxi as well, if you exceed his limits for passengers or baggage.

    Taxi tariffs are standardized in Ontario. In Toronto the initial fee when you get into a taxi is $4-00, and this is $4.25 in Mississauga. Thereafter the meter starts running, and it will cost you 25 cents for every.155 km. That works out at about $1-60 per kilometre.

    Mississauga is the home of the Pearson International Airport. At the airport certain rules concerning taxis and limousines apply. You are permitted to use any taxi you like to drive you to the airport and drop you off, but arriving at the airport on a flight, you are allowed to use only the 360 taxis and 276 limos that are already parked there and have the regulation permits to pick up passengers.

    Many taxi companies have a flat rate to and from Pearson Airport. These fares are usually a little cheaper than the metered rate per kilometre.

    If you have a special preference among taxi or limousine companies you will need to pre-arrange this to allow them time to obtain a temporary permit to fetch you from the airport. If you have special needs, such as a wheelchair enabled taxi or a baby car seat, for instance, you can pre-arrange this with either a taxi company or with the airport itself.

    At the airport the taxis and limousines parked there have standard permitted tariffs that they are allowed to charge you, for different destination areas of Greater Toronto, as well as out of town. Sometimes there is a flat rate to certain areas that are a little cheaper than the metered charge. The average tariff for taxis with permits for picking up passengers at the airport is about $1-45 per kilometre for taxis, and $1-55 per kilometre for limousines.

    Do remember that in a taxi, as in nearly all road vehicles, you are required by law to wear your safety belt. Your taxi driver ought to warn you about this, but he is not required to do this by law unless you are under age, or need help owing to a disability. So if the taxi is stopped by a traffic officer, you could personally face a fine if you have not buckled up.

    What to Pack for Travelling

    This is what I consider to be essential items for any traveler/backpacker. These are items which I have used in my past travels, and have served me well.

    Backpack

    The first most obvious thing for any traveler to decide on is whether to use a backpack or a suitcase. During my first solo travel experience to Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan, I traveled with a backpack. For under 50 I bought a Eurohike 55 litre backpack with a rain cover, which came in handy during the monsoon season! The pack was top-opening, and didn’t really offer much by way of security. I therefore bought a special backpack transit case which I put my backpack into and made it secure from theft, but also made it secure from airport conveyor belts. I had heard that the conveyors in airports sometimes broke clips from backpacks if they were not properly secured, and that some airlines didn’t even want to have backpacks on their airplanes because they were a safety threat. I actually lost the backpack case during the course of my travels, and had to resort to wrapping my backpack in black bin bags and tape in order to prevent the clips from catching airport conveyors. The backpack was comfortable, with some very nice cushioned padding. However, I realized as my trip went on that the pack was a little too large. I had read on many different websites that the smaller and lighter your pack, the more comfortable your trip will be. This is so true. It is not just about how light the pack is for you to carry, but also practical reasons like traveling on packed trains and subways with a giant wardrobe on your back. The backpack was incredibly annoying whilst traveling on busy subways, as I didn’t know if, and how badly, I was bumping into people – but I am sure that I definitely was! However, it was great to have my hands free when I needed to pay for tickets and also carry bags and water bottles.

    Suitcase

    On my second trip to Japan, I decided to ditch the backpack and travel with a medium sized suitcase. I was traveling for 3 weeks, and had planned to move around the country quite a bit. I was worried about the condition of the suitcase’s wheels by the end of the trip, but altogether I preferred the comfort of a nice suitcase. The suitcase takes up the use of your arms, but it does relieve your back. I found time and again that my backpack was becoming too heavy and cumbersome for longer walks; a suitcase, meanwhile, makes walking a pleasure. Trying to find your hotel in the humid and busy conditions of Bangkok with your gigantic backpack is not a pleasant experience. Though, going up stairs is a pain with a suitcase, but with a backpack it is a breeze. This may be important to you as it is best to travel around a Japanese city (and many other Asian cities) via the subway system, and sometimes they have enormous staircases leading to the platforms. The final clincher is that a suitcase makes you look more businesslike and professional; a backpack makes you easily identifiable as a traveler or tourist, and makes you stand out far more. If I entered a nice hotel with my backpack, I wouldn’t be given the same service as if I travelled with a suitcase. I believe that backpackers have a bit of a bad name in some countries, as backpackers tend to be younger people who are more prone to loutish behavior due to letting of some steam after finishing university.

    Daypack

    You don’t want to take your suitcase or backpack with you on your daily walks or excursions, so you need a nice convenient daypack. I actually took a shoulder bag, as it looked more stylish than a small backpack. But be warned, a shoulder bag can give you some irritating neck and shoulder pains if you over pack it with large water bottles or souvenirs. In this instance, a nice mini backpack is better as it transfers the weight evenly on your back and shoulders.

    Travel Insurance

    I always take out travel insurance as you never know what could happen during your trip. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Medical help abroad could cost you thousands if you do not have the correct insurance, so always read the insurance policy properly. When I search for insurance I always turn to comparison sites, such as moneysupermarket. This way you can compare all the different companies offering insurance and their relative policies.

    Skype

    Skype is a free service which allows you to call anyone in the world (who also has a Skype account) for free. The service is completely free when using the Skype-to-Skype service, and the prices are competitive if you want to call mobile phones or landlines. You can use Skype on your iPod Touch, an actual Skype phone or on your laptop. If you are taking a laptop abroad, you can even use your webcam to make video calls, but if you are not taking a laptop, I found that many internet cafes in Asia had Skype already installed on their computers. Skype also allows you to send instant messages, play games and even transfer files. All in all, Skype is a great device which you should be make use of whilst traveling.

    First Aid Box

    I like to take a mini first aid box when I travel. The boxes come in some very nice convenient sizes with everything you could need for your trip. Items can include: plasters, antiseptic cream, insect repellent, and various tablets for common travel sicknesses.

    Clothing

    I will not speak at great lengths on clothing, as I believe this is a personal choice and dependent on different people’s needs. However, I will say that you should always pack light, and think about whether you will ACTUALLY need an item of clothing. Sometimes, I have fallen into the trap of packing far too much clothing ‘just in case’. Whilst traveling in Asia you can always pick up cheap clothing, so there is no need to over pack. The minimum I would take for a month traveling is: 3-4 t-shirts, 2 shirts, trousers, two shorts, swimming shorts, 2 pairs of socks, trainers/sneakers (I would buy some that look formal but are as comfortable as trainers).

    Travel Washing Line

    I take a small washing line on my trips in case there is not enough places to dry my clothes. If you are packing light, you can just wash your clothes more often, and you will sometimes need a washing line for extra space.

    Travel Sink Plug

    I used this occasionally when I stayed in hostels. In some budget accommodation you will not have a sink plug, which makes shaving difficult. The travel plug is therefore recommended if you are considering staying in budget accommodation. Also, even some higher grade hotels have faulty plugs in their bathrooms, so it is generally a good item to take.

    Toiletries

    As a dandy backpacker I have a vast array of toiletries. My toiletry bag consists of: shavers, moisturizers, sun cream, nail clippers, eyebrow tweezers, aftershaves (which I tend to buy from airport duty free), lip balm, deodorant and more!

    Rain Mac

    If you are traveling anywhere that has a monsoon season then a rain mac is a great idea. Monsoon rain is awesome, and can just take you by surprise and leave you drenched. A little rain mac can be scrunched up into a very small size and can easily be carried in your daypack.

    Swiss Army Knife

    I sometimes take this on my travels as it has various useful devices: a bottle opener, scissors, toothpick, tweezers, screwdriver heads and numerous knives of varying shape and sizes.

    Travel Towels

    I recommend taking a large travel towel. These can be folded into an incredibly small size and take very little space in your luggage. They also dry quicker than ordinary towels.

    Camera

    I really don’t know much about cameras but I definitely know that you will need one on your journey. It’s a way of recording experiences that are not possible in any other way. I just bought an 8 megapixel camera in Bangkok – it has served me well.

    Batteries

    You will need these for your camera, so make sure you take enough spares from your own country, which tend to be cheaper than whilst abroad.

    Mobile Phone

    A mobile phone is now a necessary gadget in all parts of life, and is very important during your travels. It is a great device to keep in touch with other travelers, but is also a safety device if you become lost or in danger. Remember to take you charger though, or it will become useless after a few days.

    Backup Sim Card

    Just in case you lose the first Sim card you can just take another Sim, which are usually free.

    Backup Debit/Credit Card

    I would take a backup card just in case I lost my main card. If I lost my main card I could just cancel it and then transfer the money from my main account into my backup account via internet banking.

    Pens and Paper

    You will occasionally need to write things down, such as directions or contacts, and a pen and paper would be very helpful. I would always travel with a mini pen and small notepad in my daypack so that it was easy to get to. You can always use your mobile phone or iPod Touch for this as well.

    Travel Adaptors

    Travel adapters are necessary if you want to charge your iPod or mobile phone. Once you know where you are going, you can find out what converter plug you will need. It will save you having to search around in your destination country. Some plugs are all-rounders and cover everywhere.

    iPod Touch

    My iPod Touch has been irreplaceable during my travels. Not only is it great for watching movies, listening to music and playing games whilst waiting for your flight or on long train journeys, it also has practical uses. By downloading free applications via its Wi-Fi capabilities you can turn your iPod Touch into a hotel or hostel finder, a currency exchange service, a travel guide and much more. I also bought a special, and inexpensive, earphone and microphone set for my Touch, which allowed me to use Skype wherever I had free Wi-Fi. Actually you can find free Wi-Fi everywhere in Southeast Asia: McDonald’s, Starbucks, shopping malls, hotels and even airports. However, I surprisingly found that Wi-Fi access is not so easily found in Korea or Japan, and tends not to be free if it is offered.

    iPad

    I don’t actually own one of these but they just seem to be a large iPod Touch. All the convenience of the iPod Touch being a nice pocket device which is easy to take everywhere is lost on this device. But maybe I am missing something about it.

    Travel Guides

    I love to read travel guides and always take them on my trips. My favorite guides have always been DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. I regularly use DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: Thailand, Japan and Rome to name a few. I found them incredibly helpful, but most importantly I loved the focus on culture and historical sites. The guides are wonderfully illustrated, easy to navigate, and the pictures and captions are beautifully presented. In addition, the historical sections are informative, well illustrated and a joy to read. I would also recommend Rough Guides and Lonely Planet, which I have also used in the past.

    Money Belt

    I originally bought one in order to hide my valuables, but then just used it to hold my bus/train tickets or small change so that it was easily at hand and I didn’t have to rummage though bags or my pockets. The money belt can be used as just a regular bum bag (fanny pack if you’re American) without valuable items and just left on display rather than inside your clothing. I just used it as an extra convenient pocket.

    How Often Should I Travel?

    I once found myself in London sitting on the floor of a friend’s flat, debating my next move. I had been traveling for a couple months and couldn’t decide whether I wanted to visit Morocco or Istanbul next. I had never been to either and both were well out of my normal comfort zone, a combination of criteria that should have insured a feeling of excitement no matter which route I chose.

    Instead, both options felt boring to me. I knew, cultural differences and random unexpected experiences aside, what to expect from my next destination, wherever it was. No matter which location I decided on I would end up in a routine similar to the one I had been on while traveling the past couple of months. No matter how odd the destination I arrived at I knew I’d be able to find my way and do just fine for myself.

    I realized I couldn’t choose between the two options because I quite frankly didn’t care to go to either of them. The growth I experienced on this trip seemed to be at a plateau and no amount of culture shock seemed like it would jolt me back onto the fast track of enhanced personal revelation.

    Debunking the Myth of Eternally Vagabonding

    After a couple months on the road I was tired of traveling and just wanted to go home. Though “going home” presented its own problems as I didn’t have a home to return to. I left with the aim of traveling indefinitely, yet even when I had been back in the States I moved often, leaving one location for another every couple months, sometimes within the same city, sometimes across the country.

    Now, sitting in London, totally ungrateful for the opportunities at my fingertips, I wanted a real home. I thought endless traveling would be right for me but I was wrong, and it became clear the notion of vagabonding indefinitely wasn’t right for everyone. In fact, in all my travels I’ve realized the notion of constant, consistent, endless travel isn’t right for just about anyone. For most of us, travel is a special experience and not the way of life we desire for our day-to-day existence.

    A Quick Caveat

    If most of us weren’t made to travel indefinitely, than how often should we travel, and for how long should we leave home?

    The answer to this question will always be intensely personal and depends on individual factors that are both ephemeral (personal disposition, relationships back home) and entirely tangible (money, work, mortgages and leases). For the rest of this article I’m assuming you’re in the fortunate position of being able to travel whenever you want, for as long as you want.

    What’s the Point of Travel?

    Before you can answer how often you should travel you need to first answer why you want to travel.

    Do you get bored when you stay in one place for more than three months at a time? Do you love surfing and do you want to explore the world’s best beaches? Are you intensely interested in food and do you have a laundry list of native cuisines and restaurants you want to munch on? Do you simply want to see more of the world? Or do you simply want to expand your understanding of the world by experiencing as much of it firsthand as you can? Everyone has a different reason to travel, and knowing why you want to explore the world is a good first step towards figuring out how often you should leave home.

    In my opinion there’s really only one reason for travel, a single reason that lies at the heart of every specific explanation you can give for your wander lust. People want to travel because they want to grow.

    We travel to grow- to grow our ideas of other countries, to grow our ideas of the world, to grow our ideas of what it means to be human, and most of all to grow our conception of who we are and what we want out of life.

    Thinking in Cycles

    If we travel to grow then it makes a whole lot of sense why indefinite travel tends to lose its appeal over time. After a couple of months of traveling you will hit a peak. You will have learned everything you’re going to learn from the trip you’re on and you will have settled into a new routine, a new set of expectations, a new perspective that will eventually become just as rigid as the one you developed back home.

    Humans are adaptable, and while the thought of being able to live out of a single bag in a country where no one speaks your language may seem like the height of adventure before you leave home, after a couple months backpacking in Cambodia you’ll settle in to a life that once seemed an insurmountable challenge.

    Once you hit that wall in your travels you’ll return home and find home life to be challenging and foreign and filled with opportunities for growth and appreciation you never noticed before you left on your adventure. And then, after a few months pass you by, you’ll feel locked into a stultifying routine once more and ache to push yourself by hitting the road once more.

    The answer to how often you should travel sits within the rhythms of growth and adaptation lying within all of us.

    Finding the Right Pattern

    While everyone is unique and everyone follows slightly different flows of exploration and consolidation there are a two patterns for alternating between travel and home life that seem to strike a chord within the greatest number of people.

    • 2-3 months at home followed by 4-6 weeks traveling. Spending 2-3 months at home gives you the time you need to focus intensely on work, on home life, on building relationships, on seeing friends and family, and other similarly domestic activities. 2-3 months in one place also tends to be the amount of time it takes until the average traveler starts to feel the itch to explore once more. 4-6 weeks of traveling is a good amount of time to gain a good feel for one or two locations, making this pattern good for people who are happy seeing a small handful of new locations every year.
    • 6-9 months at home followed by 2-3 months of traveling. This pattern lets you focus very deeply on a specific work project or other type of consolidation-oriented task whose completion you then reward with an extended period of perspective shaking overseas travel. Even the most ardent travel nut seems to find it relatively easy to stay in one place for 6-9 months when they have a passion-driven project to focus on. Once you leave home again 2-3 months is enough time traveling to either get very deep in a new culture (it’s an especially good time frame for learning a language) or to visit a couple new countries in one trip.

    No matter which pattern you choose, no matter if you make up your own pattern, just know that travel is part of a larger life cycle, so find the right cycle that meets your particular needs for both adventure and security.

    Deducting Travel As a Business Expense

    As a general rule, travel expenses are deductible as a business expense as long as the expense is considered by the IRS to be an ordinary and necessary business expense under (IRC section 162). But when you incur a travel expense outside the United States, that is when the rules begin to change. Do not assume that 100% of your foreign travel expenses are tax deductible. And better yet, consult with your CPA during the planning phase of your foreign travel in order to maximize your opportunity for a tax deduction.

    General Rules Regarding Travel Expenses:

    Travel expenses traditionally includes the following categories of expenses associated with at least one overnight stay (i.e. where sleep is required while away from home):

    1. Transportation Costs – Transportation includes airplane, train, bus, car, or ship between your home and business destination. It also includes commuter bus, taxi and limousine transportation.

    2. Baggage and Shipping Costs- This category includes the cost of sending baggage, samples, display materials between regular and temporary work locations.

    3. Lodging Costs – Such costs include overnight hotel stays and temporary housing costs.

    4. Meals – Allowable meals expenses include food, beverage, tips and tax. If the meals qualify for a tax deduction they may be 50% or 100% deductible. Meals between employees/employers are generally not deductible unless a business purpose can be substantiated. In cases in which there is a business purpose, the meal is eligible for a 50% tax deduction. Meals also include customer-related meals in which business is discussed (50% deduction).

    Also allowed are meals related to business-related travel that includes an overnight stay (50% deductible. If the overnight travel is related to an employer-sponsored social or recreational event the meals are 100% deductible. If the meal is related to promotional activities that are made available by the business to the public such costs are 100% deductible.

    5. Cleaning – This category includes dry cleaning and laundry expenses incurred during your travel period.

    6. Telephone – Business calls, fax costs or other communication costs associated with the business travel are deductible.

    7. Tips paid for any travel expense category are allowed as a tax deduction

    8. Other – Other costs related to the business travel might include internet fees, computer rental fees, equipment rental fees, supplies etc.

    Travel expenses must be temporary in nature. What this means is that the travel period cannot last more than one year. If the travel lasts more than one year all of the travel expenses become non-deductible.

    Special Rules:

    1. Conventions – In order for travel costs associated with a convention to be tax deductible, such costs must be directly related to your company’s business and must benefit your company’s business. Conventions outside North America are allowed, however, there is reasonableness test that must be met. Reasonableness is based on the purpose of the meeting, activities taking place at the meeting, activities of any sponsors, homes of sponsors and other material facts and circumstances that the IRS will consider in determining eligibility for the tax deduction.

    2. Cruise Ship Conventions – If the convention meets the ordinary and necessary business purpose test and the reasonableness test then the IRS will permit a tax deduction equal to $2,000 per person, per year for travel expenses incurred in connection with the cruise ship convention as long as the ship is a U.S. flagship and all ports of call are located within the United States or its possessions. In order to deduct cruise ship convention travel expenses the business must attach two written statements to their tax return. Statement #1 must be signed by the business owner. This statement specifies the number of hours each day that were devoted to business activities, total days of the trip and the program of business activities on the ship. Statement #2 must be signed by an officer of the cruise ship convention organization and provide detailed schedules of the meetings and the number of hours the taxpayer attended.

    3. Travel Outside the United States – Only costs associated with the days in which business was conducted are allowed as a travel tax deduction. Business days include days spent traveling to and from the business destination. Days spent on non-business activities are not counted as business days. Weekends and holidays are considered business days if they fall between the business days. Where part of the foreign travel includes non-business days, travel costs must be prorated by dividing the number of business days by the number of total days. This
    percentage is then applied to the total travel costs in arriving at the tax deductible travel expense deduction.

    4. Non-Convention Cruise Ship Travel – The travel deduction allowed for this type of travel is determined by the IRS every year, so it changes every year. IRS publication 463 lists the daily deductible amounts allowed(called per diem rates). You multiply the per diem rate by the number of travel days in arriving at your tax deductible travel expense amount. If meals are a separate charge you are allowed to deduct 50% of the meal costs in addition to the per diem amount.

    Cheap International Travel Insurance – How To Find The Best Plan

    When traveling abroad, one must always take in consideration good and cheap international travel insurance. Travel insurances have now become a necessity when traveling. Many travel companies and insurance companies have coincided so as to make sure they provide the customers with the superb service they truly deserve. There have been many packages that come together with the booking of travels. Several cheap travel insurance can be searched online and offline, through a visit to a well respected travel agency or insurance company. This travel insurance makes sure that a trip is well secured with the assurance that the client will not have to worry about sometimes inevitable situations. Several coverage terms are available for different companies. They key to getting a good deal is through rummaging amidst the plethora of the offers available.

    Being well informed of the availability of the offers is one good way to start a deal. Overseas travel is an adventurous risk which could lead to several uncertain situations as well. Countries have different cultures and even their medical systems are quite different from each other. A traveler may have a medical plan but having one does not assure that the international medical needs will be covered. Aside from these, basically, the two main reasons why a person must get cheap international travel insurance is the fact that sometimes, a trip is cancelled or it is delayed. When this happens, the travel insurance can take care of the expenses to be incurred. Cheap travel insurance worldwide is required for security. It will also provide the client the peace of mind he or she deserves when on the trip. Worldwide travel insurance is a must have for every traveler. An ideal plan covers the trip cancellation, medical transportation expense, baggage loss, delayed departure, curtailment, legal assistance or even overseas funeral expenses. However, carelessness will not be taken cared of by the company. The insurance can be arranged upon the time of booking the trip.

    Most travel agencies offer cheap international insurance on packages. These packages are based on the traveler’s needs and wants. The traveler is therefore always the one in charge. He or she is the one responsible of choosing the perfect plan to suit his travel.

    There are also some travel networks sites on the internet which provide information that is always easy to understand and offer rates that are within your budget. Having cheap online travel insurance can make someone smile without all the worries of unexpected expenses. A couple of them also offer a free and instant quote for the traveler to know what type of insurance he or she is most likely to avail.

    There are several types of travel insurance. There is this thing called the emergency evacuation covering the medical expenses, group travel, annual multi-trip for those who travel on a regular basis, international insurance benefits for families and many more. Global travel insurance is the best way to ensure that the trip will be hassle-free.

    Benefits Of A School Bus Driver Endorsement

    A position as a school bus driver is a perfect job for a CDL driver who wants to work regular work hours and enjoys working with children. Most school bus drivers transport public elementary school, middle school or high school students. These are stable jobs paid for by the various school districts of the counties the driver is employed by. These jobs usually offer good salaries and employee benefits which include health insurance, holiday pay and vacation pay. School bus drivers usually work a set schedule. A typical schedule involves picking children up early in the morning to take them to school and returning to schools in the afternoon to pick them up to return them to their neighborhoods. Drivers can also earn extra money by driving students to special events. Middle schools and high schools often have after school activities which include various sports events. Football games, basketball games and other sports events are often held at different locations through the city. Drivers can earn extra money by transporting the athletes, cheerleaders, dancers, etc. to these games.

    Another benefit of a school bus drivers schedule is that a typical drivers work day starts early. Most children are picked up early in the morning and dropped off at their schools between 7:30a.m. and 8:00a.m. depending upon the schedule set by the school district. Drivers are then off duty until they return to schools in the afternoon to pick the children up and return them to their respective neighborhoods. This allows a sufficient amount of time for drivers to work a part time job or attend classes either during the day or after their work day ends. Some drivers like to use their off duty time to exercise, do chores, or take a morning nap. Whatever drivers like to do with that time, a school bus driver schedule allows them the flexibility to do so.

    To be qualified to become a school bus driver you must receive a Commercial Driver License (CDL) with a school bus driver endorsement. To qualify for the school bus endorsement you must meet specific criteria. Applicants must take and pass a driving skills test in a vehicle of the same vehicle group that the applicant intends to drive. Applicants must also pass the knowledge test for obtaining a passenger vehicle endorsement. The knowledge test demonstrates knowledge concerning the proper loading and unloading procedures with children. This includes knowledge of the safe operation of:

    Stop signal devices
    External mirror systems
    Flashing lights
    Emergency exits and procedures for safely evacuating passengers in an emergency
    State and Federal laws and regulations related to safely traversing railroad-highway rail grade crossings.
    Knowledge of other warning and passenger safety devices required for school buses by County, State or Federal law or regulation
    Other operating procedures and practices required by law but not otherwise specified.

    Many school bus drivers have found their jobs to be very rewarding and a good career choice for them. It is a very challenging career which requires a high level of responsibility as you will be responsible for the safety of a bus load of children in your care. If you are up to the challenge, you too may enjoy a career as a school bus driver.

    The Truth About Government Travel Advisories, Warnings and Alerts

    If you’re like most people and you believe that government travel advisories, warning and alerts represent the most accurate advice for business travelers then you are terribly mistaken.

    Here are the key elements that all business travelers and travel managers need to know regarding the validity and application of government travel alerts and travel related advice. Knowing and understanding these few simple issues will save your company unnecessary travel delays and disruptions under almost any circumstance. The main points to always consider in the wake of a renewed or updated advisory, warning or alert is the target audience, specific government resources, commercial relevance and the avoidance of evacuation scenarios.

    The primary demographic for government advisories are first time travelers, backpackers, families and anyone else with little to no prior traveling experience and preparation or the lowest possible denominator. It is this group that governments aim their advice and analysis towards with the belief that if this group is adequately informed, then all remaining demographics will be covered. Unfortunately this results in an artificially low benchmark for all travelers not within this group.These other groups depend upon travel for business productivity, management and administration and the more likely to have their travel plans altered unnecessarily due to many government alerts. This is in part due to corporate risk avoidance (in the belief the government travel advisories are adequate) and insurance companies bench-marking many of their travel policy exclusions on that of government travel advice (again, in the belief the government are catering to their needs too). Unless you are a first time traveler, significantly inexperienced or lack appropriate business support while traveling, then the majority of government travel advice does not apply to you.

    Detailed examination of dedicated resources aimed at travel related advice and content typically reveals little more than a handful of “specific” resources. That is, someone or department dedicated solely to the collection, analysis and dissemination of commercially relevant travel advice. Most government resources are “shared” services when it comes to travel intelligence and advice with general non-government travel a very small increment of their overall mandate. Smaller countries have no dedicated resources and simply “share” the advice from coalition partners or more populace countries, further diluting the relevance to their citizens. Most continuous travel advisory services, provided by a government, are little more than a chronology of publicly available media updates. While resources are limited in the first instance, it is the lack of commercial experience that constitutes the greatest flaw to government travel advisories.

    What little resources there are that are aimed at travel intelligence typically lack any direct commercial experience. Therefore, all their apparent advice is predicated more on the interests of the government (resulting in censorship, omissions and politically correct publications) than that of any business sector or commercial demographic. When you have soldiers, government agents and police officers commenting on matters relating to commerce and business travel, you get little actionable advice due to their inability to put into commercial context the impact events may have from a purely commercial perspective rather than a transnational or political viewpoint.

    Behind closed doors, most governments admit they do not maintain nor posses the resources (assumed by most of their citizens) for large scale evacuations from any corner of the globe. Regrettably many travelers have grown to assume that complete failure to take responsibility for their own safety and security while traveling will always be compensated by the government’s ability to swoop in and save then if they should so choose. This is wrong and very dangerous for those with such a belief. For those governments that would even consider an evacuation of their nationals (not very many) they will often go to great lengths to advise their citizens to leave or make personal arrangements long before any government is forced into acting. Landing troops or foreign government elements in someone else country is always the choice of last resort and highly prone to complications, even if it were possible.

    Anything published by a government will always have the country’s national interests such as economy, trade and diplomatic relationships carefully considered before release. Anything that may threaten such strategic goals is likely to be withheld, including government travel advisories, warnings and alerts. Now that you understand the importance of being self sufficient and discerning when it comes to government travel advice you will waste less time placing priority on such updates and focus on more commercially relevant inputs. As a result, your company travel risk management process will be far more resilient and less impacted by the stop/start affect created by government updates, warnings and alerts. You may also now identify gaps that need to be filled by insufficient commercial content from government sources.

    Government travel advisories, warnings and alerts focus on the wrong target demographic, lack the appropriate resources, have little commercial relevance and seek to avoid last minute acts such as evacuations. Now that you too are aware of these limitations you should be better positioned to make business decisions in the wake of crisis, emergency and dynamic events that affect a location and your business travelers. Business travel risk management is a commercial process and can only be achieved with appropriate commercial products and services.

    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.

    Travel Agents Are Still In Demand

    Although their are numerous online travel services a traditional Travel agent is as much an important part of the trip as comfort is to traveling! The role of a travel agent has been increasing with the times and today most people are dependent on them for executing most of their travel plans so that they can rest easy and just enjoy their trip.

    It is the responsibility of the travel agent to help and guide the travelers about the constantly changing schedules and airfares, availability of packages for vacation, and a lot of travel information that the traveler may not know about.

    Choosing a reliable travel agent can be an important decision, since how you travel and your comfort will be largely decided by the travel agents. You should verify the information given by the travel agents, to be on the safer side and minimize your travel hassles. In case of International travel, choosing a proper agent becomes more important.

    The right agent should be able to foresee your problems and guide you about them. They should provide information related to customs regulations, important documents like visas, passports, currency exchange rates and certificates of vaccination.

    Many hotels, cruise liners, resorts, and special travel groups make use of travel agents to market their travel packages to the ever increasing rate of people choosing to travel both inland and overseas. Most agents advice you on destinations and make arrangements for hotel stays, transportation, tours, car rentals, etc.

    Information on weather conditions, restaurants, tourist attractions, and other such necessary information are also provided. A good travel agent could also take the trouble of checking out hotel services to gauge their quality of service in order that they can base references on a first hand report.

    With the changing times, the travel industry has seen a big development in terms of Internet bookings and travel related information made available on the net. The number of people using online services is growing. This has resulted in a change in the view of the convenience of traditional agencies.

    A poll result of American tourists revealed that over 92 percent of them generally buy their travel related necessities online. According to these consumers, online travel agencies have cheaper rates, are the easiest to use and offer all the relevant information. A word of caution is necessary for those using the Internet for their travel bookings. Be sure to navigate the site, verify that the agent has a good back-up system.

    Also ensure that there are no added costs that are credited to your credit bills.

    Till a few years ago, travel agents provided free services to their customers. Travel agents worked as agents for airlines, hotels, rental car companies, etc. The agencies worked on a commission basis from these suppliers.

    But free travel agent services began changing as a result of certain changes in the rate of commissions. For example, in 1995 Delta Airlines imposed a $50 limit on domestic airline commission rates.

    Monsters on a Bus

    When I finished my drivers test last week, I was welcomed aboard as a new full time driver for Lisa Motor Lines and given a choice: if I wanted to start trucking that very afternoon I could have an International tractor right there in the yard in Fort Worth. If I didn’t want to drive the International (and who does?) I could have an older, five years, Freightliner tractor…

    …but…

    …The Freightliner was in Tampa, Florida, another reason to opt for the Freightliner. March in Florida, how bad could that be? I’d have to go to Tampa to retrieve the truck…

    …but (and this was the really BIG BUT!)…

    …Lisa would only send me to Florida by bus, a Greyhound, thirty hours from downtown Fort Worth to Tampa. The bus left at 6:00 a.m. the following morning and, God willing, would arrive in the Sunshine State around noon the following day. I hadn’t been on a cross-country bus since I was a kid. It might be kind of fun in a weird sort of a way, I thought. Besides, what could possibly go wrong?

    I presented myself with all my gear (a lot of it) at the Greyhound station in downtown Fort Worth at 5:45 a.m. and was immediately assailed by the driver, a big man who threw his considerable weight around like a wrecking ball. He would not answer any questions from passengers, shouted orders like a drill sergeant and cussed and griped under his breath the rest of the time.

    He yelled orders; passengers had to line up inside the terminal behind a specific door (we were all standing outside at the bus door). When a woman asked him to repeat the door number he dismissed her. “I already said the door number and I ain’t going to repeat it. You better learn to listen better.” He walked off. Later as we were boarding, a young man stepped out of line to throw a piece of paper in a nearby trashcan, the driver yelled, “Hey! When I say ‘all aboard’ I mean get on the bus! Don’t you get out of line again or I’ll leave you here!”

    This bullying of the passengers continued all the way from Fort Worth to Dallas (what, a half an hour?), but I was so furious by the time I arrived at the Dallas terminal I was ready to chew through anything that got in my way. I found the station supervisor. “You need to fire that driver! You need to fire him off this job right now! He’s the meanest son-of-a-bitch I’ve ever met!” The words spilled out of my mouth like too-hot soup, but it was obvious this was not news to the supervisor who just turned and sauntered away.

    The attitude of all the Greyhound employees I encountered, be they drivers, counter help or baggage handlers, was the same. Their sarcasm, condescending attitudes and aloofness were unconscionable! The drivers had all the warmth of vengeful prison guards. When a black woman, just as angry as me, deigned to ask still one more question, the driver retreated to an almost identical tirade about. “I already said it once, I ain’t going to say it again…,” like he had memorized it out of the company handbook, doubtless the very short chapter on Customer Service. But this brave woman wasn’t taking any more lip from the driver. “When I want a lecture I’ll call my mama!” she yelled back, overpowering the driver. “What I want from you is a civil answer to a simple question!” I joined in the applause the woman had earned. The driver was not moved.

    The problem facing Greyhound is not merely one of escalating fuel prices, expensive equipment in poor condition and spotty passenger counts, but one of attitude and if it’s true that ‘manure’ roles down hill, Greyhound’s front line employees are standing in the cesspool created by distant, insensitive and uncaring management. The bad eggs need to be rooted out and fired. If there are any employees left after that house cleaning, they need to know that they’re going to be next ones thrown ‘under-the-bus’ if customer service doesn’t improve.

    The ride was interesting. The bus was sort of clean, kind of like a football stadium right after a big game. It ran well when it was running (it quit three times, once in traffic and the police had to come and stop cars while the driver [a different but equally rude one] rummaged around in the engine compartment).

    The day wore on into night and the array of odd passengers made the trip surreal. It was just as weird to see a well dressed, refined woman with coiffed hair and stylish clothes, as it was to see the grizzled old man in three different plaid pajama pieces, a bathrobe, slippers and a cowboy hat.

    But in the hours when you can only see another passenger in the headlights of a passing car or truck, everybody looks weird. At that hour of the night we are all refugees, monsters who don’t know, don’t want to know, or don’t want anyone else to know where we are. It’s a grim parade with vampire overtones, one that kept us all from restful sleep.

    Tampa came into view as the sun was hovering over the bay in the western sky. Only six hours late – not bad, I was told. I didn’t make any lasting acquaintances, you don’t on a trip like that, only momentary relationships that serve to wile away the daylight hours or to keep the monsters – the other monsters in the night – at bay.

    But unlike our Greyhound drivers, when the sun came up, we passengers turned back into human beings.

    Ask Your Local Travel Guru: What's New on the Travel Industry Wire?

    As a travel guru for many years now, I have seen the travel industry wire adapt in so many ways. As you already know, we now live in a world with instant and infinite amounts of information, right at our fingertips. Like everything else, the travel industry has adapted, grown and cultivated a new identity with our present day world of information. Until beaches start disappearing and people can be teleported across continents, there will ALWAYS be the want and need to visit our regular and new destinations.

    The travel industry plays a substantial role in the global economy. During 2015, the travel industry wire forecasts global GDP to grow by 3.7% and employment by 2.6%. This demonstrates the sector’s enduring ability to generate economic growth and create jobs at a faster rate than the global economy, which is due to grow by 2.9% in 2015. By the end of 2015, the Travel & Tourism sector will contribute US$7,860 billion, 10% of global GDP, once all direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account. The sector will account for 284 million jobs, 9.5% of total employment, or one in eleven of all jobs on the planet. By 2025, the global travel & tourism sector is projected to contribute 357 million jobs and generate $11.4 Trillion dollars. Ask your favorite travel guru and he will show you the various components all contributing to these massive amounts. Let’s check out what the travel industry wire says:

    Hotel Industry

    Among all the sub sectors of the travel & tourism industry, Hotels is one of the biggest fragments. The travel industry wire explains that hotels generated a global of $457 billion dollars in 2014. Your travel guru has most likely coordinated a recent trip within the Intercontinental Hotels Group. The company contributed the highest revenues, earning $22.8 billion dollars. In the United States alone, the total revenue within the hotel industry climbed to $163 billion dollars. The majority of tourists visiting the United States of America (65.1%) choose to stay in a hotel, where the average daily is a healthy $121.30.

    Aviation industry

    Although the major corporations, leading sector, seem to always changing names and planes, the industry cultivated a whopping $783 billion US dollars in 2014. Your travel guru may have whispered about some of the airlines not performing, but the industry continues to grow at rate of 7.4% every year. The travel industry wire indicates that Europeans, Americans, Chinese & Brazilians combine for the highest market contributors.

    Cruise Industry

    Cruises have steadily become a popular choice of travel the past few years. These are an easy sell for your local travel guru… The luxurious ocean liners, offering food, fun & music for the entire family have created a loyal gathering that continues to grow. Due to the growth rate of 6.55% every year, Cruise lines have postured their company growth strategies, by building larger capacity ships, ship diversification, more local ports and more destinations. The travel industry wire indicates that the average cruise traveler spends approximately $1728.00 every year, with over 22 million people jumping on the floating palace. The cruise industry contributes about $39.6 billion dollars in 2014, and is poised for a solid 6-7% increase.

    Online Travel Market

    Any travel guru, coupled with the travel industry wire statistics, will tell you that the online travel industry has EXPLODED over the past 5 years and will only continue to skyrocket. As more and more people use smartphones and as these smartphones continue to develop into personal super computers, the more information we have, the more we want. Online travel revenue reached $340 billion dollars back in 2011, worldwide and 39% consisted of American bookings. Obviously, the deluge of data & information has contributed to the online travel industry, but hotels and hotel broker websites have been the main proponents to this boom. As everything turns to online information, bookings, etc… the travel agencies, travel gurus and everyone associated with the industry has jumped in. Rarely do you see a corporation dependent on the travel & tourism industry, that hasn’t adapted to the online market.

    The Future of the Travel Industry

    The travel & tourism industry is an enormous portion of the global economy and will only continue absorb market share. The travel industry wire explains that the sectors and their respective technologies are developing at a rapid rate, procuring the consumer process into a much easier-and faster encounter. Just ask your favorite travel guru.

    School Bus Safety – What To Teach Your Kids

    Over 20 million children nationwide ride the school bus every day. While school buses are regulated to some extent by federal law, not all states have the same safety standards. For example, New York, New Jersey, and Florida all have state laws in place which require school buses to have lap belts installed for student use. No federal law exists, however, which makes this a national standard. In fact, the debate over seat belts in school buses has been going on for years.

    That being said, school buses do not have a bad safety record. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses have some of the best safety records on the road in terms of deaths per distance traveled – just 0.2 deaths per 100 million miles. Furthermore, while some 30,000 people died in passenger vehicles crashes during 2004 alone, only 71 school bus passengers have died in accidents in the past eleven years combined.

    Of course, as scintillating as the statistics may be, no one can argue that they are perfect. Children are society’s most valued resource, and it only takes the death of one child to make a significant impact on a family and community. One must also consider that many more children die as a result of being hit by buses than do while passengers on a bus. Even though bus drivers are required to undergo safety training and to take extra precautions due to the nature of their job, accidents happen. Nearby drivers may also be at fault. Despite laws which require motorists to stop for school buses, thousands upon thousands of irresponsible drivers ignore these laws daily, creating a serious safety risk for children getting off the bus.

    As a parent, one of the best things you can do is reinforce bus safety guidelines with your child. Even though such rules may already be communicated in school, children often look to their parents to give the final word on issues. Be ready to answer questions your child may have, and make sure he or she understands how to be safe around buses.

    – When waiting for the bus, stand several feet away from the curb. Do not enter the street or attempt to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and opened its doors.

    – While riding the bus, do not distract or otherwise aggravate the driver. Keep backpacks, lunchboxes, and other objects out of the aisle, as these create tripping hazards.

    – When getting off the bus, use the handrail and watch your step. Try not to cross in front of the bus. If you must do so, walk several feet ahead of the bus and wait for the driver to signal for you to cross. Watch out for passing motorists when crossing the street.

    – Never, under any circumstances, crawl under the bus. Not even to retrieve lost property.

    Teaching your child to respect these safety guidelines can reduce the chance of a devastating accident on the bus, at the bus stop, or at school.

    Some Useful California Travel Information

    It is critical to highlight California travel information, given that the state has a reputation for being a hot vacation spot. There is so much to explore in the huge state of CA, including the state’s breathtaking beaches; the Golden Gate bridge; wine tasting regions; Monterey Bay in San Francisco; the San Luis area; and child friendly parks such as Disneyland and Legoland.

    Tourists remain enthusiastic about the breathtaking beaches in CA. Gorgeous beaches can be located all across the state, though Southern CA has a climate that is more suitable than the northern part of the state where going to the beach is concerned. Some of the beaches in CA include Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City, and the gorgeous beaches in Anaheim that surround the theme parks in the city.

    Another well known tourist magnet in CA is the Golden Gate bridge, which is located in the famous city of San Francisco. This bridge has set the backdrop in many films, and it can be seen via an antique fire truck; helicopter; or movie tour. Kids typically enjoy the antique fire truck tour. Viewings of landmarks in San Francisco are usually included in tours of the bridge.

    California is also renowned for wine tasting, especially in San Francisco’s Napa Valley region. While Napa Valley conjures thoughts of grown-ups sipping divergent wines, a region located in the area called Calistoga actually has quite a few activities that are suitable for families to enjoy together. They include Harry Potter activities, a safari, and a train ride.

    Another place to see in CA is Southern San Francisco’s Monterey Bay. It is a lively tourist spot that is home to Cannery Row, which is also the label of a Steinbeck novel. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and a profusion of sea otters sea lions, and whales are just a few of things to see by the bay. Big Sur Coast is not far away from the bay. It is by one of the most gorgeous and scenic dives in the world. Area beaches are breathtaking, but the water in them is cold.

    San Luis is an inexpensive place between Los Angeles and San Francisco that is great to visit in California. There is a great Children’s Museum and Natural History Museum there. Also, a profusion of cheap hotels are located in the vicinity, on top of beaches. An farmer’s market that is free offers many activities including live musical entertainment is a great place for families to enjoy within San Luis.

    Disneyland and Legoland are two of the best known theme parks in the world. People with children are well aware of them, and they both contain lots of kid friendly activities. The drawback where these parks are concerned is the expense associated with going to them.

    The top places to dine, lodge, and go for entertainment can all be found via the Internet. Many online travel sites exclusively cater to these topics, and they can be found through the major search engines.

    In conclusion, there are quite a few things to do in CA, and many places to eat, sleep, and enjoy entertainment in exist around the state. They include the state’s breathtaking beaches; the Golden Gate bridge; wine tasting regions; Monterey Bay in San Francisco; the San Luis area; and child friendly parks such as Disneyland and Legoland. The Internet has a lot of good CA travel information available.

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    Fast Food Statistics – Choices Matter

    Fast food statistics let us know that fast food can be an unhealthy option. A quickie burger is a popular choice among people who don’t want to cook, or who are under time pressures and don’t have time to cook. But instead of buying takeout why not make your own fast meals at home?

    What’s in a Fast Meal?

    Here is a quick statistic on a fast food meal. A cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake have around 1,000 calories. About 17% percent of those calories are from protein, which is not too bad. But around 39% of those calories are from saturated fat and that’s not good. And around 44% are from refined carbohydrates, which is constipating and fattening.

    Too much saturated fat in the diet causes high levels of cholesterol in the blood and risk of heart disease. Children may quickly burn up calories from fat in a typical fast food meal, but for most adults those calories quickly turn to body fat and cellulite.

    Nutrition of Fast Food

    A regular portion of fries has about 210 calories and 10 grams of fat. A 4-ounce hamburger, without the cheese has around 420 calories and 20 grams of fat, plus a whopping 690 grams of sodium! Yikes that is a lot of sodium for a small hamburger. A medium soft drink boasts about 210 calories and 50 of those calories are from sugar.

    Eating fast food is a convenient way to grab a bite, but fast food in undeniably unhealthy in many ways. Fast food does not have any fiber whatsoever, which leads to constipation that can later develop into colon cancer. The saturated fat content of fast food is not healthy for the heart. It’s never a good idea to eat fast food more than a couple of times a month, and for some people, never.

    Making Your Own Fast Meal

    If you enjoy eating hamburgers once in awhile, the alternative is to make your own. Mix ½ pound ground meat with ½ pound ground turkey. Add seasonings of your choice. Form into patties and broil in the oven. Take two whole potatoes and wash and scrub thoroughly. Cut potatoes into French fry wedges. Toss some olive oil, sea salt and paprika on the potatoes and bake for 45 minutes at 400-degrees.

    Time Saving Tips

    The rush, rush mentality of society has made many people flock to the nearest fast food joint for meals. But there are healthy eating alternatives. Here are a few tips:

    If you live close to your work, simply go home for lunch. If you don’t have the luxury of working close to home, bring lunch to work with you.

    If you have to eat out, choose a salad bar, soup, or light sandwich. Bring your own salad dressing with you instead of using those fattening creamy dressings.

    Have a well-stocked pantry at home full of healthful foods such as beans, brown rice, pasta and other whole grains. When you cook, make more than you will need and freeze the rest in individual servings for work or when you don’t feel like cooking.

    Be prepared. Make lists of what you are going to eat throughout the week. On the night before going to work do most of the prep work, so when you come home from work all you have to do is cook the food.

    Cook in your crock-pot. The crock-pot does the cooking for you.

    Fashion Stylist

    Do you have a flair for style? Then think Fashion Styling. Styling is all about making people feel and look good, both inside and out. It is an art to combine things together to form a beautiful piece. People love you because you make them feel wonderful.

    Stylist are generally of three categories – celebrity stylists, image stylists and image consultants. A fashion stylist’s career provides thrilling opportunities. Fashion shoots, fashion shows, music videos, movies, advertisements and TV shows are few areas where a stylist can work.

    Fashion stylists require more than a good taste. He/she must also have an understanding of the different body types and create looks that brings out the best in them. The ability to combine usual pieces and use them in unusual ways is a must. It’s not it, a stylist must have the ability to work within the client’s budget, and yet bring out the best in him/her. In addition, he/she must be able to influence a client without overriding them.

    Having a formal education in fashion and styling is an added advantage. To start with, you can even experiment with your family and friends to put your creative skills to practice. As a stylist, you need to keep yourself updated with the latest trends and the happenings in the world of fashion. Browse through the fashion magazines and watch fashion related programs regularly. Have a portfolio of your work . To make it more effective, make a column that indicates ‘before makeover’ and ‘after makeover,’ as this gives the client an idea of your style of creation. In addition, create a website that indicates your nature of work, the offers you provide, and include in as many as quality information possible.

    The best part of the job is that you don’t need big investments. You can practice on your own and slowly build a full -fledged career. You get to be in touch with the world’s most stylish people. From working with celebrities, to styling a house wife, there are numerous areas in which fashion stylists can use their talent. The future is just bright !