Top Ten Travel Accessories

With 100’s of travel accessories available it is sometimes difficult to choose which ones to buy and which to omit. My list gives a run down on the top ten must haves for any traveller.

1. Travel Adaptor. If you are travelling overseas to a country that uses a different plug socket to your home country then you will need the appropriate travel adaptor if you intend to take electrical devices with you whether it be your phone, laptop, iPad, camera or music player. If you are visiting multiple countries then you might want to look into a universal adaptor which will convert your plug to any worldwide socket.

2. Travel Wallet. When travelling you carry many more documents than you normally would so your regular wallet is most likely not large enough. You will need room for your travel tickets, passport, visa’s, travellers cheques, credit cards, cash and boarding passes. It is a good idea to keep all of your documents in one place that is easy to access so that you pass through immigration swiftly. Look out for a travel wallet that is roomy and has a lot of sections to organise your documents into separate compartments. An exterior slip in pocket is useful for your boarding passes.

3. Concealed Waist Wallet. After you reach your destination and settled in at your hotel you will no longer need to carry around all your travel documents. I recommend that you just carry the cash you need for the day and possibly a credit card. Many tourist destinations have a high rate of pick pocketing so a regular wallet can be unsafe. A concealed money belt however is hidden under your clothes and is invisible to a would-be thief.

4. Pocket Travel Guide or Destination App. Visiting a new destination is exciting as you discover new places of interest but often with little knowledge of the destination a lot of time can be wasted whilst you get to know the area. Before smart phones a poker sized travel guide was the best option but if you now have a smart phone then there are many apps that will give you detailed information on the place you are visiting.

5. Sleeping Mask. If you are travelling by plane, coach or train for an extended period catching 40 winks is advisable and can make a long journey seem short. Due to the less than ideal settings an eyeshade helps to cut out the light and make sleeping a little easier and more comfortable. If you reach your destination and are suffering from jet lag and need to sleep during the day then the mask will be useful again.

6. Travel Pillow. Essential for a comfortable rest whilst travelling, travel pillows come in a variety of designs. Some are a horseshoe shape and loop around the back of your head and others are just a small version of your bed pillow. They can either be filled (usually foam) or inflatable. The filled ones are generally more comfortable but do take up a lot more room than an inflatable one, take this into consideration when choosing the right one for you particularly if you have limited space in your carry on luggage.

7. Luggage Scales. Excess baggage fees can be horrendous and should be avoided at all costs so even though you will not use it much, a luggage scale can save you a lot of money. Weigh your luggage before you travel and then again before you return. Check that you know exactly what weight you are allowed to take with you and consider that when purchasing gifts from overseas. If you think you are getting close to your limit during the trip re-weigh your luggage and consider posting items back home if you are going to go over your limit.

8. Toiletry Bags. Seasoned travelers always use a toiletry bag, it is a good way to keep all your toiletries in one place and they can stay in there for the duration of your trip some even have a hanger system so that they can open up and form a shelf in your hotel room. The other big reason for using a toiletry bag is spillage, your shampoo/aftershave could become damaged during transit and leak out onto the rest of your packing. Toiletry bags are usually waterproof so in the event of spillage the liquid is limited to the toiletry bag only and want soil your clothes.

9. Travel Clothes Line. No one really wants to wash clothes on holiday but sometimes it can be unavoidable even if it is just a few items over the space of several weeks. You can always find something to use as a substitute washing liquid if you have no travel wash with you (such as soap or shampoo) but hanging the items can be difficult if you have no balcony and even then it is not ideal as your garments could end up dusty. The solution is a travel clothes line that garments attach to by a twist in the line and has no need for clothes pegs.

10. Packable Bag. This kind of bag can either be a backpack or travel bag that folds away into our small pouch so in effect you are getting an extra bag that takes little space but can be unfolded to an extra, useful bag should it be needed.

All the travel accessories in this article are available at Luggage Store in Australia http://www.luggagestore.com.au/travel-accessories/general/view-all-products.html?m=10&s=48

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Simon_J_Smith/1737004

 

3 Steps To Identify Most Appropriate Travel Technology Solution For Your Business

Over the last 10 years, the travel business scenario has changed significantly. Today selling travel products is all about ‘best’ rates. To sustain in the battle to offer the ‘best deal’ and ‘best fare’ to the consumers, travel business owners have been forced to reduce almost all of their possible profit margins.

I still remember when a service fee of $6 was a norm across online sales of air tickets. Commissions and contracts were available to travel agents. Cancellation fee on hotels were healthy.

The emergence of large online travel agencies changed the rules of the business across the globe. Fuel prices and global economic conditions added to the challenges of earning healthy margins. Travel became the most competitive business. Commissions dried up. Segment fees reduced and “no fee” became the new best seller.

On the Travel Technology side, along with successful implementations, I have heard stories of many failures where travel businesses were not able to derive what they wanted from technology. Most of the time the key reasons for failure has been:

Over ambitious technology goal on a constrained budget Lack of ‘competitive’ Travel Technology expertise Poor IT team and management, suffering from ‘over promise’ and ‘under deliver’ In this ecosystem, how could a travel business set about defining an effective Technology Strategy for itself?

As a travel technologist, I have many motivations to say “buy my software”, but in my experience that’s not a good pitch. After carefully analyzing various successes and failures in the industry, here is what I feel I have learned:

Step 1: Identify what Travel Technology you need

Well, it is easier said than done. Most of the time not articulating the technology needs well is the biggest hurdle in Technology Strategy. As a travel business, here is what you could do to clearly articulate the need for technology.

Pen down the technology needs of the organization as envisioned by the business owner / key management personnel Consult with people external to the organization such as technology consultants, Travel Technology companies, GDS account managers, CRS / Suppliers and Travel Technology bloggers Let a technology company interview you and recommend a solution. This is generally free most of the times. Pursuing one or more of these three exercises diligently will build enough knowledge base about what your internal Technology Strategy should be. Identify and validate these thoughts with inputs from internal operations and marketing teams.

Step 2: Build vs. Buy?

This is considered the most complex question. The answer lies in dividing Travel Technology needs in three buckets.

Proprietary

Customized

Out of the Box

What is proprietary?

It is important to identify your differentiator as a travel business. Most of the time, proprietary defines a piece of technology which reduces OPEX corresponding to your business operations or is the biggest revenue generator corresponding to your business model.

What is a customized need?

Is there any part of your technology needs that could be sourced through an existing technology solution, customized per your need?

What can be out of the box?

This might be the most effort intensive part of your technology needs and may require a tremendous investment to build. Getting an out of the box solution that meets the majority of your requirements and configuring it as per your needs, is the ideal way. How to evaluate an out of the box solution is in itself a comprehensive process.

Now we come to the next complex part of this exercise.

Step 3: Identify the right budget and vendor

Identifying the right budget and the vendor is the most common shopping problem in every business sector. It takes a lot of time and energy to reach to a decision.

Let’s compare technology acquisition to the decision of buying a laptop. There are many vendors to choose from. There are laptops priced from $300 to $3000. Your decision to buy would be shaped by the life of the laptop, and the continuity of business (your work) it will guarantee.

Similarly, the continuity of your travel business would significantly depend on the Travel Technology you choose. That is why identifying the right budget, and the vendor is a complex decision.

I would attempt to breakdown the process of identifying a vendor into simpler steps since just asking a vendor for a quote would not necessarily help find the right one.

Expertise – Does the vendor has expertise in the travel business?

Support & Servicing – Travel is a service business. Irrespective of whether the product is ‘off the shelf’ or is being built for you, longevity and promptness of support is critically important to maintain a personalized quality of service to your customers.

Customization needed vs. Customizability -What is the future customizability of the software? (Applicable to both out of the box or custom built software) Whether customization done today decrease future cost of changing the technology? This is an important question to ask and seek answers to.

Value Add – Another important evaluation parameter for selecting a vendor is to check what part /component of the software is available free of cost and would remain so in the future.

Stability – Your guarantee of service to your customers depends on the stability of your vendor. It is important to seek answers to questions such as is the vendor going to be in business for long? How are you safeguarded if a vendor goes out of business?

References – Who are the customers of the vendor? Can the vendor provide references?

Maturity – Is the vendor’s organization a product oriented and innovation driven institution or do they survive by making money from one gig to another?

Empathy – Does the vendor considers your business as their own? How willing is the vendor to empathize with your business challenges?

Budgeting for technology is also a little challenging. It may be worthwhile to look beyond the onetime fee and understand all cost factors, including the cost of extended support the vendor may provide during your business life-cycle.

Cost should also include additional overheads of implementing technology, especially when you are dealing with GDS or CRS / Consolidators. Budgeting done in partnership with a selected vendor often yields the best results.

I have attempted to lay out a model that would help travel businesses shape their Technology Strategy.

As always, I would happy to hear your experiences and views.

This post has been written by Mahendra Yadav, CEO at tavisca. For and feedback or product related queries Write to us at sales@tavisca.com

About tavisca: http://www.tavisca.com
A travel technology solution provider that works with travel companies across the globe, to help them grow their online travel business.
tavisca’s core offering ‘travelnxt’ a PCI DSS compliant booking platform that works across Air, Hotel, Car, Deals, Activity/Transfers and Insurance with a Strong Booking Engine, Static Package Builder and Inventory Management System. The platform is empowers more than a million annual online travel bookings globally.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Koeli_Chatterjee/1636429

 

5 Tips to Hiring a Travel Copywriter

I’m anticipating many changes in the travel copywriting and content creation world in 2014. If you are a company in the travel and hospitality industries I would like to ask you a question.

Is your content addressing the need of your ideal clients or are you still stuck with not knowing how to create content? Since returning from South America, I’ve done research and discussed with my clients about our travel copywriting services and strategies.

Here are five tips to hiring a travel copywriter:

One: Knows and understands your ideal client’s needs

Hiring a travel copywriter or content writer who can’t feel the emotions and hear the voice of your ideal client is not going to cut it. A travel copywriter who has not been overseas or never went through immigration and customs will not understand the hassle your ideal client may have to go through. So if you need content for tips to international travel or lessen your stress when traveling overseas – a travel copywriter who has not been through the experience may not be able to write effective content.

For example, when I wrote for a wellness and travel company, one of the prerequisites was that I try out their products. I smelled and touched them, wore them on my body and used them. That was the only way to understand the products and successfully describe the texture, smell and anything that the ideal client needed to know and feel before making a purchase, which leads us to tip #2.

Two: Knows the products or services

Just like the tip above, I need to know the products or services that I write about. I have more authority and power in my copy and content when I know the products or services well.

I’ve not been to Africa. When I was hired by Sandfield Travel to rewrite content on their website two years ago, I felt overwhelmed and charged way less than what I would have normally charged. I researched, studied the photos, watched videos and worked really hard in ensuring the content was SEO-friendly and keyword rich.

In my opinion the content could have been better if I had walked the streets of Uganda or personally volunteered in the orphanages. I’m just being honest now that I have done more travel copywriting compared to two years ago.

If you are marketing a destination and need someone to work on your blog, email newsletters and social media platforms, make sure you take this tip into consideration. This is connected to tip #3…

Three: Have first hand experiences (in the travel and hospitality industries)
Not all travel copywriters have traveled to every country in the world but some of us travel more or less than others. After traveling to South America for eight months (39 countries in total), I know I can write better content on South America now compared to last year.

All I had was just second-hand information. At the moment I know how it is like to have altitude sickness, I can describe in detail the city of Cuzco or Machu Picchu or the difference between the Otavalo Market in Ecuador and the Witches Market in Bolivia.

Another crucial first hand experience that sets a travel copywriter apart from others is an experience in the travel industry. If we had time, I would sit with you over a cup of coffee or tea and tell you all the tales of being a travel agent/tour consultant/ticket agent/tour guide and more (12 years of tales!!). Nothing beats first hand experiences.

Four: Understands WordPress Content Management System (CMS)

WordPress is no longer just for bloggers. Companies like CNN, eBay and Oprah are using WordPress. I am referring to self-hosted WordPress websites. It is user-friendly, allows you to update or edit your content without the need to code, mess with html or hire a techie person to help you out.

You can easily go into your back office to delete, add or update content, images or videos.

Most travel and hospitality companies hire a travel copywriter because they don’t have the time to write, manage and publish content through blogging and other platforms. A travel copywriter that can do all the work for you and understands WordPress CMS will free up your time and let you focus on other money making activities.

Within WordPress you need a travel copywriter that understands meta descriptions, focus keywords and other things related to producing and publishing relevant content on your website.

Five: Knows how to seamlessly connect your blog content, e-newsletter and social media platforms
You are not optimizing your content marketing strategies if you are not connecting your blog with a newsletter and social media platforms. A travel copywriter that uses all these three channels constantly in his or her own business understands your needs as well.

I believe in being consistent in writing my own blog posts, newsletters and engaging with followers on Twitter. I must admit I am not always consistent in my social media platforms but I’ve not stopped blogging and publishing my weekly newsletter since I started blogging in November 2010 even when I was traveling at sea and in the remote areas of Peru. That’s what it means by ‘walking the talk’!

Finally, a travel copywriter that believes and sticks to deadlines and cares for your success.

Claudia Looi is a travel copywriter. You can find her at http://www.travelwritingpro.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Claudia_Looi/842106

 

Understanding Job Roles in the Travel Industry

The travel and tourism industry is one of the biggest venues to seek employment. There are umpteen numbers of occupations within this sector, and depending upon your education level or preference you can find a rewarding job. Travel and tourism is for those who like to travel themselves a lot. If you are familiar with a particular region of the world or your country, you can aspire to become a visitor information official in a travel agency. Unlike other occupations, you can find a job anywhere around the world, and that is a major advantage to those who are planning to enter this industry.

A degree in geography will generally help you, but, it is not an absolute necessity. Within the visitor information section of travel profession there are many positions – Product Manager, Marketing Manager, Marketing Coordinator, Retail Travel Consultant, Reservation Sales Agent, Administrative Assistant and Receptionist, though this is not an exhaustive list. Depending on where you live, job titles may vary.

More about Product Managers job

  • They are primarily responsible for putting together a brochure for the travel agent to sell. He or she gathers the required data on destinations and other information.
  • They are responsible for negotiating rates with hotels and those who provide accommodation, transportation, cab services and other essentials services to travelers.
  • To become a successful Product Manager, you must hone your negotiation skills. The better you are at it, the better you get paid. If you are multi-lingual it can help you succeed beyond your expectations.

More about Marketing Managers job

  • Marketing managers must be strategic thinkers. They will be primarily responsible for creating awareness among travelers about the various products their company has to offer.
  • He will also be responsible for analyzing trends and customer preferences, their spending capacities and focusing the selling effort. They will be required to have an immense knowledge about what people from particular regions like and don’t like.
  • He will be responsible for distributing brochures through a team of assistants. It helps to work as an assistant before aspiring to become a Marketing Manager. A degree of persuasive skill is a basic necessity.
  • He or she must be comfortable in speaking in more than one language. Taking a short course in some foreign language usually helps to accomplish the selling task.

More about Marketing Coordinator Job

  • Typically a Marketing Coordinator job is above that of a Marketing Manager, and their main function is to see that marketing is done seamlessly. They will usually have more than couple Marketing Managers under their control.
  • They will be required to train Marketing Managers and the team below in understanding the company’s products. They will have to provide directions to the marketing team in finding customers.
  • He or she must be very creative and have a keen eye for details. They must be able to foresee changes in travelers’ preferences and where they wish to travel. Usually they are also responsible for giving feedback to Product Managers for designing future travel products.

More about Retail Travel Consultants Job

  • They are responsible for dealing with customers face to face and in planning their itinerary.
  • They will also have to advice prospective traveler about the various options available to them to stay within a budget.
  • They should be fully conversant with hotel rates, availability of rooms and accommodations. They must also be able to advice travelers on the right time to travel to a particular destination.
  • They must be particularly persuasive in their approach and have good skills in managing customers. Some knowledge of travelers’ psychology helps.

More about Reservation Sales Agents Job

  • The come in the scene very much after a deal is concluded by the selling team. They will be responsible for arranging and booking accommodation, rail, air and road travel tickets with the transport contractors.
  • Post booking, they will have to coordinate with tour guides to see that everything is moving seamlessly.
  • Reservation Sales Agents are also required to keep in direct touch with resort owners and hotel managements to see that everything is moving according to a plan.

A degree in tourism or geography can help to rise in the company’s hierarchy. Tourism is not a 9 to 5 activity and therefore those who are planning to take their plunge into this industry must be prepared to toil it out day and night. Post retirement, workers can choose to become travel guides or choose to start a travel consultant agency.

There is generally no dearth to jobs in the travel industry for those willing to work hard. Rewards are generally higher than in other industry and occupations. The best entry route to enter the travel field is to approach an employment agency of repute in your country. Job Consultancy companies will be able to identify vacancies around the world.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Shanmugam_Ramalingam/1699972

 

Travel Tips for Bad Weather and Flight Delays

Have you ever packed your bags, headed to the airport, and then were told the worst news of your day? “We’re sorry, but your flights are cancelled for today due to severe weather conditions.” This is a nightmare to be the one in this circumstance, but it is good to remain calm and thank God that you are not in the nightmare that you could be in if your flights were operating when conditions are not ideal.

First of all, safety is the number one priority of the airlines. If conditions are not safe, you will not be able to fly. Yes, it is inconvenient, but how much more terrible would it be if you were to fly through the bad weather and have problems while you are on your flight!? Yikes! The airlines do many things to assure the safety of passengers, even de-icing the runway and the outer surface of the plane in order to keep flights running on time. If a flight is delayed due to the weather, it is usually because something severe is going on, and it is best to allow the airline to re-accommodate you on the next safest flight to get you to your destination safely.

So, what do you do if you are one of the “not-so-happy” few who have a compromised flight schedule? If you are told that your flight is cancelled or if a delay has caused you to miss a connecting flight, your first step is to go to the airport ticketing counter and wait to see what they can do for you to re-route you to your final destination. Calling your travel agent is a good idea and they can give you advice, but the first thing to do is to ask the airline to protect your flights while you are still at the airport. Make sure that they provide you with a new confirmation number for your flights, as well as a flight schedule. Your travel agent can also help you if you need to make a voluntary change. However, by the time you are at the airport, the airline is the one who needs to reschedule you in most cases since they will have access to do much more with your booking, even using carriers not on your ticket, to help you. You should NOT have to pay for anything that the airline does to protect you to your final destination. You would only pay if you decide that you want to go with something outside of what the airline is willing to do. This is called a voluntary change, and sometimes can require you to purchase a whole new ticket depending on your specific travel needs.

Yes, these delays can and do happen. In fact, just this week as I am typing this, we have had at least three families with travel delays due to the winter storms and ice, causing significant delays and schedule changes. It is best to purchase a good travel insurance policy up to the day before you travel, and also make sure you allow extra time to get to your destination if you are traveling during the winter months when storms and delays are more common. In the business of Adoption Travel, we see families who need to travel on late notice for international court dates, and sometimes families traveling do not have advance notice and can be stuck with travel delays causing them to miss very important court dates to bring their children home from all over the world. With Adoption Travel, it is very important to purchase a good travel insurance policy, which can cover you for things like flight delays and cancellations. Travel insurance is always a good idea to have for those catastrophic events that can and sometimes do happen.

Whether you are traveling to Adopt a child internationally, or just to take a trip across the ocean for leisure travel, please keep these things in mind so that you don’t find yourself caught unprepared in an unexpected weather delay. Oh, and if you are traveling internationally, always pack some extra clothes in your carry on baggage just in case you are re-routed and forced to stay overnight in an airport. It always feels much better when you have a fresh set of clothes and necessary TSA approved toiletry items to keep with you for that freshening up that you will need if you are delayed for hours.

I hope this information has been helpful and please be sure to keep safety as your number one priority during the winter travel season.

Safe Travels,
Tabitha L.

Tabitha Lovell and her husband are the owners and founders of Adoption Airfare. If you need help with discounted flights for your Adoption Travel or Missions Travel, please visit our website at http://www.AdoptionAirfare.com and fill out a quote on our Airfare Quote page and one of our agents will be in touch with you to help you with the flights that you need to save you the most money for your trip! We specialize in Humanitarian Airfare for International Adoption Travel and International Missions Travel. We are a Christian travel agency and consider it a privilege to serve each family and missionary that God sends to us.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Tabitha_Lovell/722344