Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Gallivant the Globe on a Tight Business Budget

Posted in Travel by admin | Tags: , ,

Few people are lucky enough to be able to travel frequently for work. Some people are born wanderers who take full advantage of the cultural and educational opportunities that business travel can provide, while some feel somewhat fatigued by constant jet lag and unfamiliar surroundings. If you’re feeling jaded by your business travels or don’t quite know how to submerge yourself into your travels, here are a few tips to follow.

A quiet, narrow alley in Budapest.

Do Your Research, Constantly

Before embarking on your trip, check out the hotel you’ll be staying at on Google Maps and the surrounding area. Look for restaurants, public transport connections (such as bus stops) and museums close by. If you’re staying close to universities, you probably have a better chance of finding inexpensive meals and cultural events. You also might find something on Atlas Obscura (a large collection of odd or obscure places worldwide) that guidebooks would otherwise fail to mention. If you don’t have enough free time to get loose, use Wikipedia as your own personal tour guide to learn more about the history, politics, and civilization of countries you’re visiting. By educating yourself properly, you’ll be able to notice and enjoy the general culture in passing.


Follow the locals, not the neon

Every state and every country has its own tourism authorities and agendas. Most of the time, the big attractions popular with tourists on vacation are either expensive or somewhat disconnected from the actual everyday life of the city. For instance, seeing a carnival cabaret in Rio de Janeiro has its own special lure, but the ticket might be a bit much. Could you have spent the evening hopping around sampling street food, asking where the prettiest city parks or funkiest dive bars are, and interacted with the city? Everyone has their own different idea of a good time – just like locals. Chances are, the city you’re staying in runs a lot deeper than the tourism industries could ever advertise.


Be an Expense Expert

When traveling for business, it’s important to keep track of your per diem and organize receipts for your employer. However, sometimes per diems don’t cover entirely everything essential to your travels. For instance, due to whatever unforeseen circumstance, you might need to pay for internet use or printing costs prior to a business meeting (or risk losing an account). This would qualify as a business expense. If the company you work for has strict travel expense restrictions, seemingly interrogating you over each receipt, be familiar with the kind of expenses you can deduct from your income tax and keep your receipts separate.


Avoid the Usual Transportation Systems

Depending on the city, paying for bus rides, taxis, trams, and subways can run up a big bill. You also won’t learn as much about a city as if you get a little lost in it. Don’t hesitate to take the side streets or go an extra mile out of your way. You’ll get a feel for the pace of the city, the nature of commerce, and you might even spot a cozy little coffee shop or charming retail boutique to visit later. Use common sense when traveling alone or at night, and carry a phone with GPS/mapping just in case.


Always Carry Light Essentials

Messenger bags are popular accessories for business travelers – they’re like the swiss army knives of luggage. In foreign countries especially, shopping hours vary and you may not know exactly which store will carry what you need. To keep from having to spend more money than necessary for convenience, carry some of these essentials with you at all times:

  • toiletries: tissues, deodorant, sanitizing wipes, a tampon (for women)
  • tiny medicine cabinet: anti-diarrheal, ibuprofen, antacid
  • miscellaneous: umbrella, protein snack (such as peanuts or a protein bar), cell phone charger and outlet adapter, water bottle

Depending on your destination, you might consider carrying a first aid kit, bug spray, and water purification tablets. Sometimes small injuries can blow out of proportion when you’re overseas and unfamiliar with the language. The last thing you want to have to worry about is spending the day in a doctors office or hospital, trying to communicate your condition effectively when you could be making a sale or enjoying your travels.

Guest author Malia Anderson is a freelance writer and frequent traveler. She still gets a kick out of sitting at the window seat in an airplane and hotel soaps.

Photo by evocateur, Flickr

The Impact of Natural Disasters on Holiday Destinations

Posted in Nature by user1 | Tags: , ,

There are places on the planet which are more susceptible to natural disasters than others. We all like the idea of travelling to different countries and experiencing new things. However recently we have been made far more aware of the how weather and geological occurrences can define a country. The sad irony is that most of these disaster prone countries tend to be some of the most beautiful and picturesque places on earth.

disaster1 The Impact of Natural Disasters on Holiday Destinations

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More often than not, when we are planning a holiday destination, we generally tend to opt for beaches or areas of natural beauty. One of the most popular long haul destinations is the USA, a country which has more than its fair share of climatic calamities. We constantly hear of tornadoes blighting the mid west and earthquakes in California. However one of the most persistent nemeses is that of the hurricane. We have seen just how destructive these can be and none more so than what happened in the city of New Orleans. This very popular Louisiana city was completely devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 with the multiple loss of human lives and many homes destroyed. It was thought at the time that the city would never recover but miraculously the much needed tourism industry has been rejuvenated beyond what anyone could have imagined. In 2010, the number of tourists visiting the ‘Big Easy’ was up to nearly ‘pre Katrina’ levels. The visitor slumps which followed the immediate years after the hurricane, fortunately proved to be temporary. These days, methods have been put in place to protect the city against the same fate. This includes a giant flood wall which is nearly two miles long and 26 ft high.

disaster2 The Impact of Natural Disasters on Holiday Destinations

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Of course, the islands of the Caribbean contend with Hurricanes as a normal annual occurrence and have learned to adapt well. The Caribbean people are not ignorant it seems to the power of the storm and make provisions accordingly. In addition, tourism is rarely affected even in the aftermath of Hurricanes such as Gilbert and Hugo since this is generally the main industry of the islands and therefore crucial and important to jobs.

Indonesia and Thailand

As bad as Hurricane Katrina was, the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami disaster was on another level. Indonesia and Thailand are always favourites among tourists young and old but on Boxing Day 2004, the only thing the tourists and inhabitants could do was run for their lives. The Indian Ocean was hit by a deadly Tsunami which had knock on effects in various different corners of the region. It has officially been classified as the deadliest natural disaster in recorded history. The amount of fatalities was shocking with over 230,000 people confirmed dead. It was so devastating that countries such as Sri Lanka and India were also affected. So much was lost as a result of this phenomenon that people there still live in fear.

disaster3 The Impact of Natural Disasters on Holiday Destinations

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Some disasters have occurred much closer to home and can sometimes be influenced by human behaviour. The recent Marbella forest fires were an example of how careless and malevolent acts can soon spiral out of control and ruin lives. Thousands of people had to be evacuated out of the area and housed in communal shelters as their homes were destroyed with many people dying as a result of the onslaught of raging fires. It’s anyone’s guess how long it will take for the area to recover. Some have said that certain parts of the forest will take over 100 years to fully recover which is a tragedy for everyone.

disaster4 The Impact of Natural Disasters on Holiday Destinations

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If you are the kind of person who is stupid enough to drop a cigarette in the forest then you shouldn’t be there in the first place. The fact is, the tourism industry will be affected significantly as people will be nervous as to a repeat of what happened and choose to holiday elsewhere in the short term. In terms of deterrents, then the best one would be for us all to have a little bit of common sense and decency. Having respect for your environment is the only way forward and these disasters are a constant reminder to us as to the power of Mother Nature.

Author: Alfie Davenport is a writer with a passion for travel. He currently works for Telegraph Jobs, who have a large database of careers in construction as well as many other types of jobs.