Discount Travel Holidays – Easy Tips For Your Happy Tour

Whether you earn a big sum of money or low, you may have a keep desire to enjoy holidays within your pouch! The discount travel holidays will be the right ways to quench your thirst in this manner because they take care of everyone and people can avail them with ease. When you are going to avail a discount travel holiday package, you can keep some tips in your mind that will help you gain more and more benefits through one package.

Discount travel holidays can be availed for every place that too during every season and thus, you don’t need to wait for a holiday or off season. However, it is suggested to you to plan holidays during the off season because this time, you can book a cheap holiday package through any online agent. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars in order to book your holidays because you have various chances to plan a cheap holiday.

In order to book the discount travel holidays, you should use the online method that is easy and convenient and offers you many more chances to plan a satisfactory holiday tour. See that your package includes all the compulsory facilities that can bring true fun in your life. Well, there is no need to waste time at all and wait for any other time to plan a tour.

It is the good way to enjoy holidays in your own way because there is no need to break your expectations because of the lack of money because the discount travel holidays are always ready to help you out. Well, if you want to save some money and have a desire to enjoy some happy days, the discount travel holidays will help you out.

Elements of a Strong Corporate Travel Program

In order to make the most of your corporate travel budget, it is critical to plan for leveraging your program for all it is worth. Telling travelers to select the lowest logical airfare is just not enough. Here are the elements that should be considered when planning or evaluating your travel program.

1. Travel policy

A well written and disseminated travel policy is the foundation of any good travel program, and I am consistently amazed that so many corporations have such an outdated and poorly conceived travel policy, if they have one at all. It is not difficult to find a well written policy. One can be found online quite easily. All that remains is that it is edited to reflect corporate culture, and disseminated within the company so that everyone understands and agrees to follow it. For this reason, it is a good idea to have everyone sign a copy of the travel policy to ensure that it is read, understood and owned by all company staff. I suggest that everyone in the company signs a copy of the travel policy, whether they travel or not. They may change positions in the company later and be required to travel. A travel policy need not be long or complex. Some of the best travel policies I have ever seen were only a few pages long.

2. Centralized travel internally and externally

Many companies do not centralize their travel program, and they pay a price in terms of a loss of expense reduction opportunities and internal efficiencies. Many companies that do not centralize travel have a fear of requiring travelers to do something they may not want to do, along with the idea that centralizing travel will require hiring a Travel Manager. Both of these may be legitimate concerns but they do not have to be in most cases. By requiring travelers to book centrally, you are not necessarily causing them to lose flexibility. You can centralize travel while still allowing travelers to book on their own, either with a travel agency of your choice, or online through a provider that you have partnered with and have confidence in. By assigning someone with the responsibility of overseeing travel, you are getting a single point of contact both internally and externally for travel issues. If your company spends less than $1 million in air travel, you probably do not need a full time travel manager. In these cases, travel oversight can be given to the finance department, human resources, or even an executive level assistant. Here is a look at the advantages to be gained by centralizing travel.

When you centralize travel with a single agency, you gain in a number of important ways. You will have a single point of contact for problems while travelers are on the road, and you will have one entity to go to for all your travel needs. This eliminates the problem of consolidating a travel report from among several sources. By bringing travel together, you will gain significantly from economies of scale. If you can measure total travel among various divisions or locations, you can get more for your money from travel suppliers. This will allow you to gain more from airline soft dollar programs, which means more free tickets and upgrades, get a higher percentage discount from our preferred airline, and get better negotiated rates from your hotel and car contracts. Your fulfillment costs will decrease as well, as your travel agency will often discount their fees for a higher overall volume of travel.

3. Mix of online booking and personal service

This is an addendum to the previous element, which calls for centralizing travel with one travel agency. This is important, but in doing so, you need not require travelers to use an online booking system, and you need not require travelers to call the agency directly. By offering travelers the option of doing either, you are accomplishing several goals. You will reduce your fulfillment costs, as online booking is cheaper in terms of a service fee. By giving travelers the option, you are giving them a sense of control, thereby increasing morale and standing a better chance of a high adoption rate. Thirdly, you leave open a best practice of using your online booking engine for less complex itineraries, and allowing senior executives, frequent travelers, and complex itineraries to be booked directly with a travel agent that can offer a higher level of service and a better overall travel experience where it is most warranted.

4. Look under every stone

While the bulk of most travel programs revolve around the air budget, there are several other areas one can investigate to find savings opportunities. There are a couple of more obvious areas to look, such as negotiated hotel rates at your favorite hotels, or car rental discounts with a favored supplier. Often your travel agency will already have discounted rates through consortia affiliations and agency car contracts. There are also some less common areas that should be investigated. For example, if ground transportation is a concern, most suppliers will offer discounted rates and a direct billing option. Direct billing arrangements with hotels and car rental agencies are also a great way to increase efficiencies and make the job of the accounting department easier.

5. Leverage hard dollar and soft dollar contracts

Most major airlines today offer hard dollar discounts as well as soft dollar incentives in exchange for company loyalty to their product. If your travel program is over $1 million in air spend, you can secure a discount off of the lowest fares of your carrier of choice in return for a market share commitment. For your secondary carriers, or if your volume is less than the minimum required by the airline, you can enter in to soft dollar programs for free tickets and free upgrades, as well as traveler status enhancements or airport club passes. These programs require little in the way of volume, but they are not well publicized so you may need to hunt for them or ask Baker Travel or your current agency to point you in the right direction.

6. Do not neglect hotel volume

Hotel volume is sometimes overlooked but it should not be. Negotiated rates can be had through your travel agency or directly with the hotel properties of your choice. Individual hotels near corporate locations will negotiate discounted rates for you in exchange for a minimum room/night commitment. By utilizing a travel agency, you are likely to receive discounts of 5% to 50% on thousands of hotels worldwide.

7. Have at least one car rental contract

Rental car contracts are easy to enter into and require little in the way of commitment from the corporation. Choose a partner that has airport locations and a reputation for excellent customer service. You can save 5-10% very easily and can also negotiate frequent renter membership for all your employees. This will make them more efficient and enhance morale. You can also enter in to direct billing agreements at the same time that can make the jobs of your travelers and accounting staff much less stressful.

8. Understand group and meeting contracts

Airlines and hotels will discount your fares and rates when you have groups traveling together or meeting at a single destination from multiple points of origin. These meeting contracts can bring you airfare discounts of 2-10%, and if you have enough travelers on a single airline, you may be able to negotiate for free tickets to be awarded at contract completion. The minimum requirement is usually 10 travelers going to the same place at the same time. Some airlines have higher minimums so be sure to ask before a contract is generated. Hotels will discount their rates in a similar way with a minimum of 10 room nights. These discounts can range from 10% to a much higher discount depending upon occupancy rate and seasonal variances.

9. Use reporting to consistently improve metrics

Well managed travel programs require constant monitoring and financial controls to be properly leveraged. Insist on timely and customized reports that can be designed to bring you the information you need most. By receiving regular reporting on traveler behavior and provider contract performance, you will be in a better position to fulfill contract obligations, achieve cost reduction objectives and see where opportunities for future savings may lie.

10. Use all avenues to enhance traveler comfort and efficiency

Lastly, any well managed travel program will take in to account the comfort and productivity of their travelers. When travelers are comfortable, they can focus on their main priorities that help propel your business forward. If travelers are happy, they perform at a higher level. Ask if your travel agency can upgrade traveler status on a preferred airline. Look in to purchasing blocks of airport club passes so they can be used strategically during long and complex itineraries. There are many ways to reward travelers for the difficult and often grueling chore of travel. These kinds of rewards generate feelings of loyalty and increased productivity and efficiency.

If you would like to learn more about how your company can better leverage their travel program to benefit your bottom line and the satisfaction of your executive level, feel free to contact me. I am delighted to point you in the right direction.

Budget Travel Holidays – Three Quick and Easy Tips to Plan Budget Travel Holidays

We all want fabulous budget travel holidays without breaking the bank. Here are three tips that will help you plan your next great holiday while staying on a budget. We’ll go over the months you should target to travel that will give you the greatest travel savings, which type of airports to fly out of, and more general tips to give you the greatest bang for you buck. Let’s get started:

1. Try to travel during “Shoulder Season”, a term coined by the travel industry. This is a great time to travel because it’s not High Season, which is when it’s most expensive to travel and most crowded, and it’s not Low Season, when the crowds are not there but the weather is the worst. You can generally save hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, on your vacation just by targeting Shoulder Season because airfare and hotels are cheaper. For example, go to Hawaii in March or September, Tahiti in November, Costa Rica in December, or Baja California in June.

2. Use the internet to your advantage. Many airlines, resorts, cruise companies, and hotel websites offer rewards to people who subscribe to their e-mails lists. Usually all it takes is for you to visit their website and find the place where you can enter your e-mail in exchange for discounts, rewards, etc. These e-mail lists are often one of the first or only places to get major, unadvertised discounts. Social marketing is on the upswing and you can follow the airlines, etc. on Twitter to get similar savings also.

3. Be flexible with your travel planning. By being open to flying out of a less commercial airport, or staying in a neighboring city that borders the touristy city, you will save money. Many people want to go to San Francisco but cannot afford the pricey hotel rooms in the city. Consider staying in neighboring Berkely and taking public transportation into San Francisco. Neighboring cities often have the same “feel” as the touristy cities, yet the local businesses are more accommodating and even grateful for your business. You are more apt to be treated like royalty because the locals like you being there, rather than being an annoyance, aka “just another tourist”. Minor travel adjustments such as this can save you hundreds on your trip, while still being able to vacation in the city of your choice.

I hope this helps you see that the possibility of budget travel holidays can be a reality with a little planning and ingenuity. Flexibility in travel planning goes a long way to huge savings. Be a smart shopper and use the internet. It’s a great resource for budget travel. By following these simple tips, you will be able to have your budget travel holiday.

Where Can You Find the Best Travel Holiday Deals?

Booking your holiday is one of the biggest decisions you will make all year, so you should consider carefully where the best place is to book travel holiday deals, as this can save you a lot of money!

Most people are now booking their package holidays online, as the bigger tour operators such as Thomas Cook, Direct Holidays, and Virgin holidays all offer exclusive, extra discounts when you book online. This makes commercial sense for tour operators as they cut out the staff costs as their websites can offer prices and availability as well as reviews and even videos of selected hotels.

However, there are still some advantages if you are booking with your local travel agent. Firstly, you have that personal touch that websites can’t offer and your travel agent may also be an expert as they have visited many destinations and can offer advice based on your needs.

Travel agents are often sent on educational visits so they can get a feel for holiday resorts and hotels and can pass on their feedback to customers to help inform them before booking their holiday.

Another advantage when booking with your travel agent locally is that you can pop in and make regular payments to your holiday. Many older people still don’t use their credit cards online so they prefer this option.

However, despite these plus points there is one big factor when you are deciding on the best holiday deal and that’s the price! Booking your package holiday online can save you up to 10% and if we assume the average holiday spend is about £2000 then you are saving £200!

Booking holidays online is becoming more popular and the main reason is simply the lower prices available.

Adventure Travel Holiday Ideas Like Paddling the Zambezi

Not all of us get the chance to have a real adventure, however these adventure travel holiday ideas can help you get closer to adventure. And these aren’t just for the young, as baby boomers mature and find they’re still fit and have spare funds there are more such ideas tailored towards them as well.

An African Safari is a good start for adventure travel holiday ideas, especially one that starts in the South Luangwa National Park or the Kruger National Park and ends up with some time on a beach in Mauritius. Flying over rugged and raw Damaraland, home to spectacular scenery, desert elephant and black rhinos is a kind of safari that deserves a mention in any list of vacation ideas. Combine this with a flying trip up the Skeleton Coast as far as Serra Cafeema and you will reach areas of utter Wilderness; areas that seem barren, yet captivate adventurous spirits.

For adventure travel holiday ideas with even more action try paddling the Zambezi: the Everest of rivers – but an Everest even first time paddlers can have a bash at (under good supervision.). It’s a big volume, big white water river trip with waves up to 24ft (which you’re tackling in a 16ft raft.) and the added bonus being surrounded by astounding African scenery, meeting some of the more exotic locals and the comfort of sunshine and warm water (around 24 degrees.). Paddling Uganda’s White Nile, Nepal’s Sun Kosi or Chile’s Futaleufu River are similar, just with different, but equally adventurous backdrops.

Why opt for the Everest of rivers if there are also adventure travel holiday ideas that allow you to tackle the Everest that is Everest? Trekking to Everest Base Camp is manageable for most people, after the correct training and preparation. Kilimanjaro is another good challenge for adventurous people, as is the Paine Circuit, The Great Walk of Africa or even the Mont Blanc Circuit – for starters.

For more exotic adventure travel holiday ideas – the kinds of things your friends may never even heard of, let alone attempted, consider Paragliding around Oludeniz, Bungee jumping off Verzasca Dam ah la James Bond, camping with Saharan Nomads, swimming with Bull Sharks at Protea Banks or Cave Diving under the Nullarbor Plain.

Adventure travel holiday ideas for people looking to pick up and dash off without training include padding between the Lofoten Islands, walking between the picturesque villages of the Pyrenees or exploring some of Scotland’s Knoydart Peninsula. Just start by looking at extreme activities available for holidaying people – like Heli-biking in the Tien Shan, and work your way down until you find a truly adventurous holiday activity in the same vein, but less likely to see you bursting one without the proper preparation!

Confused With All the Travel Information on the Internet?

There is so much information available on the internet right now regarding travel. There are online travel sites for cruises, hotels, air, trains and any other type of travel. But what is the correct product for you? Is the location of the hotel where you want to be? Is the type of room or cabin the right fit for you? Is that cruise line the one you should be booking? Not all products are created equal nor are the products right for everyone. How do you tell? Contact a travel professional.

Do travel agents exist?

There have been multiple articles, and even the President of the United States, has said travel agents don’t exist or are going away. In a way they are right. Travel agents in the past were just someone who booked a trip for someone who called or came in to the storefront office of a travel agency. Storefront travel agencies are few and far between now a days as most of the “travel agents” have gone home to work. Even the term “travel agent” is going away because what they do now is different than what they did before.

Travel Professionals/Travel Counselors

Travel Agents are now more a counselor and an adviser so they are now called Travel Professionals or Travel Counselor. Even the travel industry is trying to get away from using the term “travel agent”. They no longer just book a trip for someone, they know more than what is available to the traveling client. The travel professionals now are constantly learning, constantly traveling, receiving input from other travel professionals about where they have traveled and are a resource for what is required to travel now a days.

When you use an online travel agency like Expedia, Travelocity, etc. you aren’t able to have someone protect your back. They book the travel for you and then you are pretty much on your own. Say your flight gets cancelled, who is going to book a replacement flight? You are, not them. If you use a travel professional that travel professional will do it. If something goes wrong on your trip, if the room you booked is not like what you thought it would be, who is going to make it right? A travel professional will also check constantly for price drops before final payment and whether a new promotion offered would be more beneficial than what was booked with a deposit. All these things can be addressed before final payment.

A travel professional works with you from the time you first talk to them until you are home safe and sound and any and all problems have been solved or addressed.

It Costs More to Use a Travel Professional

This is not always true. True, some travel professionals charge fees but not all of them do. This is because some vendors, like airlines and some hotels, don’t pay commission or some of the vendors have decreased the amount of commissions paid to the travel professional. In order to make ends meet, some travel professionals charge fees. I charge $50 per person for airline reservations domestically and $100 for airline reservations internationally. I will also charge a fee sometimes for hotels for the same reason or if I am putting the various sections of the trip together myself. If I book a cruise or a tour, I don’t charge a fee as the vendor pays me a commission. Remember, whether you use a travel professional or not the commission is still being paid as it is automatically included in the price from the vendor. So, why not use a travel professional and avoid the hassle and save your time?

The rules for traveling are constantly changing and it is the travel professional who is able to keep their clients on track with them.

Examples: Passports

For instance, did you know that come January, 2016 you may need a passport to travel by air domestically? This is due to a law called the REAL ID Act. This requires all travelers to have a REAL ID compliant identification that includes all of these fields: full legal name, signature, date of birth, gender, unique identifying number, a principal residence address and a front-facing photograph of the applicant. Unfortunately there are still a handful of states that are non-compliant. Do you know which states are compliant and which aren’t? Your travel professional does. By the way, outright non-compliant states/territories are American Samoa, Louisiana and New Hampshire. The states of Minnesota and New York offer an optional Enhanced ID at a cost, so because it is optional, a large percentage of residents don’t have one. Some states have applied for additional extensions, but it is unclear if those will be granted. Currently, only four states (Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York) and American Samoa are technically non-compliant.

Also, we still don’t know if January 1, 2016 will be the date of the requirement or will it be later? Because of this law, the passport processing time for all will be affected. All the passports issued in 2006 to meet the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that went into effect in 2007 are now expiring, causing a slew of renewals. So, because of those renewals coupled with the possible REAL ID enforcement, passport waits are expected to further increase. As of October 11, the current wait has already increased a week to four to six weeks for standard passports and three weeks for expedited. Expedited in person could be up to eight days based on travel need.

Ultimately the REAL ID Act will require all state-issued drivers’ licenses to include “machine-readable technology” or chips to help keep us safe and secure while traveling. For more information on the REAL ID Act go to http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs.

Also, passports are recommended for cruises just like they are required to fly outside of the United States. The reason being is if you do need to fly back to the United States from a foreign port you have a passport to do so. Just because you are on a cruise leaving a United States port, technically you are traveling internationally just as soon as you step on the ship as most ships are registered outside of the United States!

Example: Visas

A travel professional would be able to help you determine if visas are required to travel to where you want to go. If they don’t know for sure, they know where to send you for that information and get confirmation that you do or don’t need one for the type of travel you are taking. For instance, for most cruises if you leave an U.S. port and return to the same U.S. port you probably don’t need a visa to visit the ports. This is called a “closed loop” trip. But, again, most of the cruises. Always double check to see if one is needed.

Example: Travel Insurance

Again, not all travel insurance is created equal. Should you purchase travel insurance? Absolutely!!! I recommend to my clients not to purchase travel insurance, for the most part, from the supplier of the cruise or product. The reason being the coverage is not as comprehensive as third party policies. Travel insurance is not only purchased for travel delays, luggage lost/damage or cancellation protection. Some health insurance companies do not cover you when traveling outside of the United States. Medicare does not. Travel insurance will act as your primary health insurance during your travel, from the time you leave to the time you return to your home. Also, it provides emergency evacuation for health reasons and protects you for other items. Always read the policy and information provided by the issuer of the travel insurance to see what is covered. Your travel professional will know which is a good travel insurance issuer.

Planning Your Ski Travel Holidays

Planning your ski travel holidays may at first seem to be relatively straight forward, however when considering the vast amount of and diverse choices one has in terms of the various ski travel holidays options, you will quickly come to realize that there is no shortage of options available. Making the right choices in terms of destinations will also impact upon whether or not you will be able to fully appreciate the venue and amenities when you take your level of skill and capabilities into account.

The successful planning and booking of any ski travel holidays requires specific destination knowledge and experience, often times something which only a seasoned traveler will be able to provide. One also has the option of doing some research via travel magazines, travel agents and even online when looking to plan this type of vacation.

There are a number of destinations that are available when it comes to catering to all types or levels of skill on the slopes, and across the world too. North America, within the United States and Canada offer some spectacular options when considering ski travel holidays. Some of the top rated areas that are accessible to the various level of skill include Aspen, Breckenridge and Crested Butte in Colorado with the state of Utah also providing a number of great options for ski travel holidays too. The Canadian offerings of Blackcombe and Whistler are exceptional and one would have come to appreciate these destinations within the recent Winter Olympics coverage of these regions. Naturally there are many options within the North American travel destinations that can be considered beyond the ones herein mentioned.

Europe has a wide variety and diversity of destinations when it comes to options available for planning any ski travel holidays, moreover there is a destination for virtually any type of budget too. Bulgaria, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and some of the other Eastern European countries offer great value, in terms of a more limited budget, and although some might say that the amenities are not as good as those of the more established French and Austrian options, they certainly are sufficient enough to allow for a great skiing or snowboarding holiday option.

Besides the mentioned and albeit traditional options of the European or North American ski travel holidays and destinations available some of the lesser known options include the likes of Indian, Australia and various regions within South America. All of these areas are slowly building up a reputation of quality and commitment to providing a great experience and option when it comes to planning vacations of this nature.