Does The Internet Benefit Small Travel Businesses?

Yes, of course it does, but as much as it should?

When you think of the number of travel directories and websites available to travelers you would think that this is a world free of the normal conventions of business but unfortunately it is often bound by restrictions that travelers would not appreciate. Pricing of travel is one of the conventions that are not yet totally free of restrictions and understandably so due to distribution considerations.

Travel businesses using the traditional distribution chains for the sale of their products need to allow for the payments of commission to various levels of middlemen, Inbound Tour Operators, Wholesalers and Retailers, all who need to take a percentage for their efforts in enabling travel services and products to reach the consumer.

Websites however, reach directly to consumers and enable them to make direct bookings with travel providers but they can still incur the costs attributed to these middlemen. But, to place a two-tier price for each product could deter the agents from representing products so a new way had to be found. This is where TopTravelSites stepped in with their newly developed service for the travel provider who wants to continue with the traditional supply chain but also wants to encourage travelers who are comfortable with making their own arrangements directly with providers and who do not need the services of travel agents, just the internet.

The service called TopTravelVouchers gives travelers a ‘fair fare price’ on direct bookings but the provider still incurs the cost of commission.

This new price format is achieved by the travel operator issuing a voucher in exchange for marketing, promotion and deliverance of travelers directly to their websites to make their bookings. The voucher is sold to travelers at deeply discounted prices to their redemption values enabling the traveler to be the beneficiary of a ‘nearly net’ price for the travel package or service. The operator of TopTravelVouchers does not have the normal costs that are attributable to retail and wholesale agents such as shops, reservation systems, brochures and high staffing and is thus able to encourage travelers to book directly with their clients and to get a price saving for their efforts. It is in effect a travel agent that does not sell travel, only travel vouchers, which are to be used towards travel purchased from the travel companies who are participating in the service.

Many travel businesses do not use middlemen, often due to the small size of their travel operation, but they would still be prepared to pay a commission or fee for a referral or a sale. They still need to make travelers aware of their products and services and to be able to offer encouragement and a reward gives them an opportunity to reach out to travelers who prefer to deal directly with operators.

There are thousands of smaller travel businesses around the world ranging from B&B’s, Family Boutique Hotels, Small Tour Operators, Adventure and Eco Tours that are rarely seen by the vast majority of travelers. These operators are not found in the glossy travel brochures or represented by travel agents but they often have excellent products and services which can be seen on their websites. Many of them are willing to pay a commission to a seller of their products but are not able to get travel agent representation. This new voucher system allows them to encourage and reward travelers who prefer to handle their own arrangements directly with the operators by offering a price that reflects discounted commission costs and thus savings for the do-it-yourself traveler.

TopTravelVouchers sell at three price levels according to the savings on each: $30, $50 or $100usd or equivalent currency if purchased outside of the USA. They may often be purchased in multiples, benefiting families or groups and at the time of this article there was a voucher costing $100usd with a value of 1,500euros (around $2,000usd) offered on a small ship cruise in Greece that is also a small travel operator not normally represented by the agency system.

Travelers are given 100% money-back guarantees if the vouchers are not used within 1 year of issue but maybe this should be for two years as the vouchers are normally valid for 2 years. Even after the completion of travel and travelers are unhappy with the quality, the voucher cost is reimbursed by TopTravelSites and the problem taken up with the travel operator.

It is obvious that this service will only work for TopTravelSites if supported by the world of travel providers who need to expand their representation as the retention of only a small percentage on each sale needs to be followed by high volumes of voucher sales but it is a unique service offering benefits to both travelers and the smaller travel businesses in the travel industry utilizing the logical use of the internet for direct bookings.

Travel Agency School and a Turn Key Booking Site Equals Success!

Are you searching for a travel agency school that will teach you all you need to know about starting a travel business and becoming a travel agent?

Does the intrigue and romance of the travel industry sound fascinating to you? Can’t you just picture yourself basking in the culture and fine cuisine of a faraway land that you’ve e only dreamed of traveling to? Or relaxing on a tropical beach while sipping frozen cocktails, mesmerized by the sound of crashing waves on the powdery, white sand?

You may call this vacation, but many home based travel agents are combining pleasure with business and taking what they often call “paycations”. Upon becoming a travel agent anybody can build a lucrative income and enjoy the amazing fringe benefits that home based travel agents enjoy, including

  • Discounted travel
  • Commissions on their own travel (and all other travel booked on their sites)
  • Tax deductions on their travel expenses
  • Even free trips

Due to the popularity of online booking sites, becoming a travel agent can be an inexpensive and easy venture. Along with receiving a fully operational online travel site, you can learn everything there is to know about marketing and operating a travel business by enrolling in an online travel agency school.

Those who are already working another job enjoy the fact that becoming a travel agent doesn’t need to be a full time undertaking. Several factors have made it possible for home based travel agents to create full time success on a part time basis. Consider these facts

  • Online travel sites provide a self-serve business model, becoming a travel agent no longer requires the agent to research or book travel for customers
  • As a result of the paradigm shift created by online travel booking sites, starting a travel agency no longer requires a brick and mortar storefront, or employees
  • Many companies allow their home based travel agents to choose the level they wish to reach in travel agency school, more education equates to higher commissions
  • Once enrolled in a business, anyone can attend travel agency school on a part time basis

Does the thought of becoming a travel agent sound appealing to you? Well, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. You see, many home based travel agents have built businesses with companies that offer a guaranteed income. Yes, you read it right, guaranteed income! Up to ten thousand dollars in the first year, even for those who choose not to attend travel agent school!

If the thought of starting a travel agency appeals to you, there has never been a better time to go for it. Just think, a total business in a box, full support, access to online travel agency school, and even a guaranteed income. How can you go wrong?

Enjoy Partying at a Whole New Level With a Party Bus for Hire

Name a party that you want to have and you can all do it with a party bus for hire. You can unwind from a hard day’s work if you enjoy yourself in parties once in a while. At other times, you also want to try out something new and have more fun doing fun activities with friends and family. Typically, when you want to celebrate a certain event, you would normally rent the venue for the party or celebrate it at home. Private vehicles and vans cannot accommodate all the invited guests at once. A trip would be more enjoyable if you can be all at the same vehicle and everything you need is already there. Here are some fun ideas to do when you get to have a party bus for hire.

The night is still young and you might be already tired of partying at the same club. With a party bus, you can continue on partying at the bus with your friends while heading out to the next club. The fun never ends and you also get to meet new people as you do the club hopping. If you had too much alcohol, all you need to alleviate your drunkenness are also in the bus. Aside from that, the bus is operated by well trained individuals ensuring your safety while you and your friends enjoy the party.

You can also celebrate a love ones special occasion on a party bus. May it be a birthday party or a bachelor/bachelorette party; you will all have a good time together on the road. Aside from that, you get to visit places, watch sporting events and get to enjoy the scenery along the way. All you need to do is just enjoy yourselves and the rest will be taken care of by the party bus employees.

Most party bus companies have different buses with different kinds of amenities. Of course, you will be able to get to choose the kind of bus which is suitable for the party that you want to celebrate there. Some of these amenities include karaoke machines, excellent sound systems, neon lights, private toilets separate for men and women and a lot more.

You can try something new once in a while and explore other ways of having fun. One way of doing so is getting to have a party bus for hire to celebrate good times with friends and family. Also to maximize the rental you paid for the bus, it would be best to maximize the amount of people you invite to come with you. More guests to celebrate a party with, the more fun it will get. That way, the cost for the party bus will definitely be worth it.

First Time Travel Info For the Philippines

Before traveling to the Philippines one must be aware that this is a tropical country and therefore you need to have tropical gear and such. The Philippines is known history as the Pearl of the Orient and the Gateway to Asia. It is the only Christianized nation in Southeast Asia, most of its neighbors being Muslims or Buddhists.

Definitely before traveling to the Philippines you will need your travel documents in order. Should you be coming from another country which is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, then you will not need a travel visa and you can enter and stay in the Philippines from two to eight weeks without any visa. Tourists from Europe and from Australia and the United States may stay in the country for up to 2 months without a visa, but this is granted on a case to case basis.

Going back to the part where the Philippines is a tropical country, you can expect the country to be hot and humid, especially in the summer months of March to June. The monsoon months begin starting in July to December, but it usually rains strongest near August. Traveling to the Philippines around December to February is the coolest time when Siberian winds travel from Northern China and hit this island archipelago.

The medium of exchange in the Philippines is called the Philippine Peso. This is due to the country’s almost four hundred years of being a Spanish colony and strong ties to Mexico in the past. Thus expects a lot of Spanish type architecture, traditions like the siesta and fiestas when you travel throughout the country.

When traveling in the Philippines, travel light. Bring along light clothing made of cotton if available. It is not uncommon to see tourists in the capital city of Manila wearing beach shorts and flip flops. The weather is more than agreeable to this kind of clothing.

Plenty of hotels of international quality are found in the main cities of Manila in the north, with Cebu and Davao in the south. These three cities are the main hubs of tourism and commerce so they should always be included in one’s itinerary. There are adequate bus and air systems to ferry you back and forth within and through these cities.

Within the main cities the traditional jeepney is a popular mode of transportation, much like a small bus invented and adapted from the World War 2 soldier transport. However due to the heat, it may be more convenient for the new visitor to take a taxi around the cities. Taxi fares begin at roughly 50 cents for flag down rates and 25 cents for every kilometre.

The main cities of Manila, Cebu and Davao are centers of tourism where you can book your other travels to the 7,000 islands of the country whether you want to go to beaches, forests and the like. One is encouraged to visit the museums, shopping malls and nightspots to get a taste of a country that some have called the only Latin American country in Southeast Asia.

Travel and Its Benefits

Why do we need to travel? Why it is getting increasingly important that we, once in a while, change our environment and travel outside our country? Why it is sometimes a necessity for our emotional health to travel?

Travel’s importance is underestimated by many people. Travel is not only fun, entertaining and enjoyable. With our current lifestyles and work conditions, travel has become more than an option. It is more than just having fun. As Augustine of Hippo said ” The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” During travel you are able to do things you usually don’t do. When traveling, you go outdoor and be away from computers, and TVs and you are likely to be mixing with different people and cultures. People travel for different reasons. Some travel for fun and to have a good time. Others travel as a hobby. Travel can be an escape away from the hectic pace of life in big cities. Some travel just to change and move, as Robert Louis Stevenson said “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake”. Some people like to learn from different cultures, as Mark Twain said ” Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Travel gives the person the opportunity to discover, to explore and to feel the sense of adventure.

Many people around the world are discovering the benefits of travel to the extent that the tourism industry is growing worldwide and has become one of the major profitable sectors in world economies. No wonder that travel is growing year by year. According to figures published by the World Travel & Tourism Council WTTC, world tourism industry grew by 3% in 2012, and contributed $6.6 trillion to world GDP by direct and indirect impact. In 2012, for the first time in history, international tourist arrivals reached 1.035 billion.

Here are the main benefits of travel:

1-Stress Relief: As you travel miles away from your environment, you are able to be free from your responsibilities and then begin to relax and rest. Not only you rest your body, but also your mind. Knowing that you can wake up anytime without an alarm clock, without the need to be physically available at work, will take off a lot of mental stress. Here, you can sense freedom. Stress relief is a major reason for travel. The moment you think you are heading for Hawaii or Bali, you get immediate sensation of excitement and stress-free feelings. It is this mental peace that makes travel a very good stress-relief. Sometimes travel can be stressful if your trip has a lot of sightseeing, or meeting a lot of people. But travel stress is different from home stress because it is positive stress. Travel stress does not associate with it anxiety or worry.

Travel is a great way to connect with nature which is very helpful for your relaxation, mentally or physically. Nature is a stimulus for activating your right brain. Right brain domination is one major cause for stress-relief. Also, during travel there is no sense of urgency which is usually associated with home behavior. Change of scenery is by itself helpful for relieving stress.

2-Physical Benefits: You move more when traveling. You walk more frequently whether riding the subway or exploring the streets of a historic city or even visiting a museum. By swimming or laying on the beach, you get a high dosage of vitamin D from the sun, something that is very useful for your bones and also for your positive emotions. Outdoor activities associated with travel can lower risk of diabetes, lead to weight loss and reduce cholesterol level. Some medical experts recommend traveling once every six months for cardiovascular health and for the heart. Some studies show that travel even improves better sleep.

3-Cultural Benefits: Sometimes we need to be anonymous. Sometimes we want to be free from any responsibility. Travel allows you to exercise both while meeting new people and experience new cultures. You will know how different people accomplish their goals with different ways. You will learn new ideas that you have never thought of before.

4-Relationship Benefits: Traveling with a companion and sharing same experiences and situations together will enhance your mutual bond. 93% of youth ages 8-18 consider travel as “a quality time” spent with their parents. 3 in 4 parents say that family vacations are very helpful for the family. Meeting new persons in new locations can result in long term relationship for many.

5-Happiness: Many persons associate happiness with travel. More than 50% of adults buy souvenirs just to remember their vacations. Most travelers store photos of their destinations as a way of remembering those trips that are about tasting new food, beautiful sights, historic monuments, and new music. This is one reason that travel can be addictive, especially if have enough time & money. It has become a hobby for thousands of people around the world.

Remember, you can travel and have fun with a limited budget. Plan carefully and spend wisely. Read and learn saving tips.

Why Sound Business Travel Reporting Matters

For any company that has their employees engage in regular travel, it is important to have a good corporate travel strategy. Part of developing and improving on a corporate travel strategy is solid business travel reporting. Business travel reporting provides the company with details about the cost of travel and how the money is being used. This data not only helps to keep track of expenses but it also can be used to identify areas of waste and inefficiency. When this information is tracked and analyzed it can be used to improve upon your company’s business travel strategy. Using the service of a corporate travel agency is an effective means toward achieving all of these goals.

Due to their experience and their connections in the travel and finance industry, a corporate travel firm will be especially suited to provide these services with the highest degree of detail. A corporate travel agency uses a variety of methods to analyze and track a clients business travel expenses. They can use data from banking and credit card records along with the travel records to identify the most and least efficient travelers in your company. They can help to manage airline data to find which carrier is providing the most business friendly service for the most affordable price and they can help to identify waste and abuse of funds.

A corporate booking agency can also help employers to analyze information in a way that can determine how effectively the employees travel and how well they stick to the itinerary and how closely the individual employees stick to the travel strategy. This can be achieved by referencing the data accumulated from credit cards, expense accounts, airline data, hotel bills and rental information. Once all of the data is collected and analyzed, the corporate travel firm can prepare a complete report. The reports will cover a variety of different areas and will often be accompanied by a written summary of the overall information. Clients can also request specialized reporting from a corporate travel agency. These may be to address an area of concern or to see how a new aspect of the travel strategy is working.

Most business travel agencies recommend that their clients schedule regular meetings with their travel manger to go over the business travel reporting and to find ways to improve the corporate travel strategy. The management of a business should meet with their corporate travel manager at least once a year. In these meetings the travel manager can help the client go over the business travel reporting and understand what all of the data means. The manager will help to identify areas of waste and point out parts of the travel plan that are working well. At this time the client can address their concerns about the travel strategy and work to adjust the business travel strategy. A corporate travel agency can also help their client with a plan for implementing the new strategy and addressing the changes with their staff.

Having the services of a business travel agency is a necessity for any company that engages in regular travel. Having a well thought out strategy will not only save the company money, but it will also make sure that the staff is getting the most out of their trip.

How to Be a Travel Agent

If you plan to become a travel agent or want to learn how to start a travel agency from home, you’d be glad to know that there are plenty of agencies that offer certifications, training, and the chance to own your very own travel agency.

A travel agent’s job functions may vary from assisting with booking/selling reservations to referring people to travel booking sites, where an agent receives commission.

Here are some tips to help you become a successful travel agent.

Research Travel Institutions and Education

The minimum educational requirement for individuals who want to become a travel agent is a high school diploma. Computerization and technology have increased training needs and most employers prefer applicants with a higher level of education such as a post-secondary vocational award.

There are vocational schools that offer full time travel agent programs as well as weekend and evening programs. These programs are also offered in community colleges and universities.

There are colleges that also offer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in tourism and travel. Although there are only a few courses that directly relate to travel and tourism, college degrees with background in world history, foreign language, communication and geography are often preferred by employers.

The American Society of Travel Agents features a correspondence course that teaches the basics of travel industry. While most travel agencies offer on the job training programs for their employees, there are also many reputable websites that give free detailed information and offer travel agent study course on how to start a travel agency business from home.

Be a Certified Travel Agent

Certifications will enhance your reputation as an agent and will show clients that you have met the professional standards set by an institution in the industry. The travel industry features several certifying organizations that are widely recognized today.

Experienced travel agents can take advantage of study courses from the Travel Institute that leads to a Certified Travel Counselor professional designation. The Travel Institute also features sales/marketing enhancement programs and destination specialist programs that provide a detailed knowledge of regions like:

•Western Europe

•The Caribbean

•North America

•The Pacific Rim

Cruise Lines International Association or CLIA offers various certification programs that are recognized and respected in the travel industry.

Get a Travel Agent Job

Find a job with an agency or partner with an agency to help you run your own travel counseling business. Try to work with an established agency.

There are also travel agencies that allow you to work from home. Find a host agency that will help you in establishing your own travel agency. A host agency will show you how to start a travel agency from home, provide services, back office support, travel suppliers, marketing support and access to reservation portals.

Become a Registered Travel Seller in Your State

There are states that require registration. This type of regulatory requirement helps protect consumers and ensures that agencies are legal. Don’t forget to check with government offices for local regulations.

Become a Part of Organizations

Joining organizations is a great way to stay up-to-date on trends and news in the travel industry. These societies also offer continuing education and updates to their members. If you expect to be booking online airline tickets, become a member of the International Air Transport Association or IATA.

Business Traveller Flying to London? A London City Guide for Getting to the Centre

London. The vibrant, beating heart of the United Kingdom. It’s one of the world’s most popular destinations for tourists, and for business travelers too. The amount of commerce that goes through London is staggering, with a financial center second only to New York, and service industries that cater for both the UK, European and international markets. As the world’s most multicultural city – there are over 300 languages spoken by a population of over eight million people (twelve million if you include the metropolitan area) – the opportunities for business are clear.

With the UK strategically positioned for the business traveler on the western edge of Europe, London is a global hub for air travel, providing easy access to mainland Europe, and a stepping stone to the United States. Primarily served by five airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted and Luton – London is easily reached from anywhere in the world. But with the exception of London City Airport – smallest of the five and located in East London, close to the business district of Canary Wharf – the other four airports are satellites evenly dispersed around the city. The most popular, Heathrow, is located to the west of London; Gatwick is situated to the south; Stansted to the north east; and Luton to the North West. Knowing this before you make your travel plans can be useful. Since the greater metropolitan area of London covers over 1,000 square miles, your final business destination may not be right in the center. Researching which airport is closest to your destination can save you time, effort and money.

However, whether you’re a business traveler flying from within the UK or from overseas, your starting destination may often determine the airport you arrive at. Other factors, such as your chosen time of travel, budget and availability will also make a difference. For example, if you’re travelling with a major international carrier from a major city, such as New York, the chances are you’ll arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick (Stansted also receives flights from New York but is the smallest of the three). If you’re traveling locally from within the UK with a budget carrier you’re more likely to arrive at Stansted or Luton (though not exclusively). And if you’re traveling from a major European city, particularly a financial capital, such as Frankfurt, London City Airport is a likely arrival point (the airport was created specifically to cater for short haul business travelers, particularly between financial centers).

Each airport is served by comprehensive rail and road infrastructure, providing business travelers with a variety of options to enter London. All five airports offer direct rail travel into the heart of Central London, coach travel to the main Victoria terminus, and hire car, mini-bus, licensed black cab and taxi services by road. If you’re a VIP business traveler, chauffeur services are also available, and with the exception of London City Airport, each also offer direct helicopter transfer into the heart of the city.

London Heathrow Airport

The busiest of the five airports is London Heathrow. Located less than twenty miles from central London, Heathrow is situated to the west of the city within the M25 motorway metropolitan boundary. The fastest route into London is via the Heathrow Express train service, taking just 15 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3 to Paddington station (located on the western side of Central London). If your flight arrives at either terminal 4 or 5 it’s a further four and six minutes travel time respectively, and you’ll need to transfer on to the main London-bound service at terminals 1, 2 and 3.

The service is excellent, offering comfort and convenience, but does not always suite everyone’s travel budget. The standard ‘Express’ single journey ticket costs £21.00 (€25.00 / $35.00), but business travelers can get better value when purchasing a return ticket, priced at £34.00 (€40.00 / $56.00). The ‘Business First’ ticket is more expensive, with singles costing £29.00 (€35.00 / $48.00) and returns £52.00 (€62.00 / $86.00), but it does afford business travelers considerably more leg room, the privacy of a ‘single seating’ layout, and a fold out table. The experience is akin to that of air travel. All passengers across both pricing structures enjoy access to electrical sockets, USB ports and free Wi-Fi. The overall quality of service and passenger experience generates a ‘wow’ factor, and if your budget can afford it, is certainly the smoothest, quickest and most convenient way to travel into London from Heathrow. Trains run regularly every fifteen minutes in both directions, particularly useful for last minute dashes to the airport.

There are two further rail options available to business travelers, both considerably less expensive, though this is reflected in the quality of service. That’s not to say either is not a good solution for business travelers, just that there is a noticeable difference in convenience and comfort.

With a service typically running every thirty minutes, and a journey duration – depending on the time of day – of between 23 and 27 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3, Heathrow Connect is more than adequate for business travelers who are not in a hurry. Like the rival Express service, Connect also arrives at Paddington station, but unlike its faster rival stops at up to five other stations before reaching its terminus. The ‘inconvenience’ of this less direct journey is compensated for by a considerably less expensive ticket price. Single journey’s cost £9.90 (€12.00 / $16.00) while a return is £19.80 (€24.00 / $32.00). There is no saving to be made from purchasing a return ticket. While the convenience and comfort of the traveler experience cannot match the Express, the Connect business travel solution is an acceptable compromise that suits a greater number of travel budgets.

The third – and least expensive – rail option is the London Underground ‘tube’ network. Despite the network’s name the majority of the journey from Heath-row is overground, until the business traveler nears Central London. Starting on the Piccadilly Line, the service connects all five Heath-row terminals and provides frequent trains into London, stopping at a considerable amount of outlying stations before arriving in the capital’s center. This continually ‘interrupted’ journey – there are seventeen stops between Heath-row terminals 1, 2 and 3 and Paddington Tube station (the nearest equivalent tube terminus for a fair comparison) – and takes approximately fifty minutes journey time on average, considerably slower than its more direct rivals. This journey comparison also requires the inconvenience of a transfer between lines.

So why would the business traveler consider using the tube from Heath-row to Central London? Simple. The frequency of service, the array of destinations, and the cost. At a cash price of just £5.70 (€6.80 / $9.50) for a single journey in either direction during peak hours (06:30am to 09:30am), financially the Underground is an attractive option. At nearly half the price of the Heath-row Connect, and at just over a quarter of the price of the Heath-row Express, this service is comparably good value for money. Further value can be found if the business traveler purchases an ‘Oyster Card’, the ‘cashless’ electronic ticketing system beloved by so many Londoners. Available to purchase at Heath-row London Underground stations, this useful option allows you to get tickets cheaper than for cash – in this case a reduction to just £5.00 (€6.00 / $8.30). Off-peak travel with an Oyster Card offers even greater value, with Heath-row to Paddington in either direction costing just £3.00 (€3.60 / $5.00) per journey. The Oyster Card can also be used for unlimited travel on buses and trains throughout London, with a maximum daily spend capped at £17.00 (€20.00 / $28.00) peak time and just £8.90 (€10.60 / $15.00) off-peak for a six zone ticket (destinations across London are divided into six main zonal rings. Traveling from Heath-row to Central London crosses all six zones).

The Underground is primarily a city-wide mass transit system, rather than a ‘train’ service. As such the level of comfort and convenience is substantially less than that of both the Heath-row Express and Connect services, and at peak hours can be considerably uncomfortable. Having endured a recent flight, business travelers who choose this option run the risk of having to stand up the entire journey if traveling during peak hours. If the carriage is full to squeezing point (as is often the case at peak time) managing your luggage can be a challenge. It should also be noted that the tube network – which, as the world’s first urban mass-transit system is over 150 years old – is often prone to signal failures and delays. If the time between your arrival at Heath-row (don’t forget to factor in clearing immigration control, luggage collection and customs) and your business appointment is tight, particularly during peak hours, it is not unfair to say that you are taking a risk if you choose to use the Underground.

Compared to using rail, traveling by road into Central London is far less convenient. Like every major city around the world, traffic congestion plagues the streets of London. The M4 and A4 route from Heath-row into London is always busy and in parts can be slow moving at times. No matter what your method of road transport, the business traveler is vulnerable to the risk of delays and accidents.

Buses and coaches are plentiful. The dominant carrier is called National Express. They operate services between Heath-row Airport and London Victoria, the main coach terminus in London. From here travelers can travel to many other destinations around the UK. The coaches run from Heath-row Airport Central Bus Station, which is located between terminals 1, 2 and 3. Its well sign posted so easily found. If you’re arriving at terminals 4 or 5 you’ll need to first take the Heath-row Connect train to the central bus station. From Victoria Station you can get to any other part of London with ease, via the Underground, plentiful buses, local trains and licensed black cabs / minicab taxi services.

A single journey tickets start from £6.00 (€7.20 / $10.00), while returns cost £11.00 (€13.20 / $18.00). Although you can purchase your ticket at Heath-row, it is advisable to do so in advance, and online. This will ensure you have a guaranteed, reserved seat on your coach of choice, and also provide you with the opportunity to select a time of departure and/or return that best suits your needs. Typically this service runs three coaches per hour to and from London Victoria coach station. The journey time can vary, dependent on the route taken, the time of day and traffic conditions, but you can typically expect your journey to take between 40 and 90 minutes.

National Express also offers business travelers a Heath-row hotel transfer service to and from the airport, known as the Heath-row Hoppa. With hundreds of services each day running around the clock, it’s a clean, comfortable and affordable way to get about, costing £4.00 (€4.80 / $6.60) for single journey and £7.00 (€8.40/ $11.50) for a return journey. This service is particularly useful if your business appointment is located close to Heath-row and you have no need to travel into Central London.

An alternative to coach travel is taking a bus. This can be particularly useful if you arrive at Heath-row late at night. Depending on the day of the week, the N9 night bus runs approximately every 20 minutes to Trafalgar Square in Central London, from 11.30pm to 5am. The journey time is approximately 75 minutes, subject to traffic delays. It’s a very affordable service, and as part of the Transport for London infrastructure a single journey can be paid for with an Oyster Card (£1.40 (€1.70/ $2.30) or by cash (£2.40 (€2.90/ $4.00).

If your journey into London requires the freedom to choose to travel whenever you want, to wherever you want, or you simply require privacy, then private hire transport is readily available at Heath-row. If you’re just interested in getting from A to B and back again, without any other journeys in between, taking a licensed black cab or minicab taxi may suit your needs. Traveling in an iconic licensed black cab into Central London will take approximately 45-60 minutes, subject to traffic delays, and can typically cost between £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) and £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00). If you do find yourself delayed in traffic the journey will cost more, since black cab meters also charge for waiting time when not moving. Black cabs are readily available at all hours, and good sign posting at Heath-row means they’re easy to find. At a squeeze up to five business travelers can be accommodated, though if you all have large luggage it will be a problem.

An alternative private hire to black cabs are licensed taxi services. This could be a better option for the business traveled, particularly if a number of people with luggage are travel ling together. An array of vehicle types are available, ranging from standard 4/5 seater saloon and 6/7 passenger people carrier cars, up to 15 or 17 seater minibuses and even coach taxis. An added advantage is you can book your vehicle of choice in advance and at a fixed price. With so many different companies offering these services, prices – and quality of service – can vary, but typically for a single journey the business traveler can expect to pay a fixed, advance price of £40.00 (€48.00/ $66.00) for a saloon car; £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) for an estate car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for an executive car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for a people carrier; £65.00 (€78.00/ $108.00) for an 8 seater minibus; £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00) for an executive people carrier; and £165.00 (€198.00/ $272.00) for a 16 seater minibus. Savings can be made on all tariffs if a return journey is booked in advance.

Traveling by black cab or licensed taxi affords the business traveler the freedom to travel at his or her own pace, and can take the hassle out of a journey. It can be a very relaxing way to commute from the airport into London, particularly after a long flight, and offers the business traveler an opportunity to unwind prior to their business appointment.

If you need to arrange senior executive or VIP transportation, chauffeur driven services are readily available (booked in advance) between Heath-row and London. The vehicle type and the length of time you require it for will dictate the price you’ll pay. Chauffeur driven services are readily available to find online. The same is true of helicopter charter services which can transfer the executive business traveler from Heath-row into Central London (Battersea Heliport) in approximately 15 minutes. Flight-line Travel Management is experienced at providing our customers with both modes of transport, and we’re happy to take your inquiry.

© Copyright Flight-line Travel Management Ltd. All rights reserved.

All prices correct at time of publication.

Closer To Truth: Is Time Travel Possible?

There is an ongoing PBS TV series (also several books and also a website) called “Closer To Truth”. It is hosted by neuroscientist Robert Lawrence Kuhn. He’s featured in one-on-one interviews and panel discussions with the cream of the cream of today’s cosmologists, physicists, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, etc. on all of the Big Questions surrounding a trilogy of broad topics – Cosmos; Consciousness; God. The trilogy collectively dealt with reality, space and time, mind and consciousness, aliens, theology and on and on and on. Here are a few of my comments on one of the general topics covered – Is time travel possible?

# Is time travel possible? Actually I personally don’t believe time exists. Change exists, and time is just our measurement of rate of change. IMHO time is just a concept. Time is a mental construct that helps us come to terms with change. Some cosmologists say that time was created at the Big Bang, as if time were a thing with substance and structure, but I challenge them to actually create some time in front of their peers or maybe a TV audience or at least produce a theoretical equation or two that would create time. In the meantime, here’s a trilogy of points.

First, the concept of time travel is one of those fun parts of physics. Whether true or not, it is entertaining to play the ‘what if’ game. If nothing else, the concept makes or forces one to think about the nature of reality.

Secondly, Einstein and others have postulated that time travel is a theoretical reality and I’m not in their sort of league that I can dispute the theories. I’ll leave that to others who know the field inside and out.

But thirdly, and most importantly, you can never actually be in the future or the past, only in the future or the past compared to where and when you are now. In other words, no matter how you slice and dice things, you exist in the where-ever and in the whenever in that where-ever’s or whenever’s NOW or in other words in the present. You cannot literally be in any future or in any past since you only experience the NOW which is the present. If you should somehow travel back one hour, you would still experience things as belonging to NOW. If you sleep for one hour then wake up, you are in the future relative to when you went to sleep, but you still find yourself in the NOW.

# Is time travel possible? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, we can travel into the future at one second per second, we do that anyway whether we like it or not. Yes we can travel into the future at a slightly quicker rate by going to sleep or otherwise having our sense of consciousness, our awareness of rate of change (which is what time really is or measures) incapacitated. You get drunk and pass out and the next thing you know you are 12 hours into the future. Yes we can travel into the future as outlined by Einstein’s twin ‘paradox’ where one twin travels at a very high rate of speed outward bound, stops and returns to home base, while the stay at home twin, well, stays home. Upon their reunion the traveling twin finds their stay at home twin to be far older, so the traveling twin has traveled into the future more rapidly than would otherwise have been the case. Yes, you can travel back in time, in theory, according to the apparent theoretical properties that wormholes or black holes can have. No, you can’t travel to the past because of all of those nasty paradoxes. I like the variation on the grandfather paradox whereby you travel back just one hour into the past and shoot yourself dead. That’s a novel way of committing suicide! The other paradox I like is when you go back in time to have Shakespeare autograph your copy of “Hamlet”. Shakespeare isn’t home but the maid promises to have him autograph your book when he returns. Alas, your timing is slightly off and Shakespeare hasn’t yet written “Hamlet”, so when he receives your copy from his maid to autograph, he reads it, and after you return to Shakespeare’s home and receive back your now autographed copy and return home to your own time, Shakespeare now writes “Hamlet”. The paradox is, where did “Hamlet” come from since Shakespeare only wrote it after he had already seen your copy. No, you can’t travel back to the past because if that were possible there would be hoards of time-traveling tourists who went back in time to witness some important historical event or other. No hoards of photo-snapping tourists have ever been documented being present at Custer’s Last Stand, the Battle of the Alamo, the sinking of RMS Titanic, or any one of thousands of similar historical events. Yes, you can travel back in time but only into a parallel universe. If you shoot yourself but it is another you in another universe, no paradox arises. You travel back in time to have Shakespeare autograph your copy of “Hamlet” but in that parallel universe Shakespeare can now write “Hamlet” based on your copy and no paradox results. However, the one point I find interesting is that if you end up in the future, or in the past, are you really in the future or the past? No, the only time you can exist in is the present, your right here and NOW time. It might be a different time from what you previously knew, but still wherever and whenever you exist, you only exist in the NOW.

# Is time travel possible? It could already be the case that time travel has been documented at the quantum level although that could be open to interpretation. Before I get to the specifics, I just need to point out that with respect to the laws, principles and relationships of physics, time is invariant. Operations in physics remain invariant in time whether time is moving as we normally perceive it (past to future) or back to front (future to past). For example, gravity would operate as per its normal grab-ity self in a world where time flowed backwards. There’s many an operation one could film that when the film were run backwards, one wouldn’t be any the wiser. Tree branches blowing in the wind comes to mind, or the coming together, collision, and rebounding or separation of two billiard balls. Okay, having established that when it comes to physics, physics doesn’t care which direction time is flowing, there will be no violations in those laws, principles and relationships of physics future to past, we now come to the delayed double slit experiment.

In the normal double slit experiment, you have an electron gun that fires one electron particle at a time, such that one electron completes its journey before the next one is fired, at two side-by-side slits. If one or the other slit is open, the one-at-a-time electrons pass through the open slit to a detector screen behind the slits. The detector screen gets hit in nearly the same spot every time after each and every electron particle passes through the single open slit. That is straight forward. If both slits are open, the electron shape-shifts into a wave (how I don’t know), passes through both slits (as only a wave can), morphs back into a particle and hits the detector screen. The difference is that after enough electrons have been fired, and have passed or waved through the double slits, the hits on the detector screen are not in just one or two spots but all-over-the-map, albeit all-over-the-map in a classic wave interference pattern. Okay, that’s the classic experiment.

Now we do a variation on the theme, the delayed double slit experiment. Electrons are fired one-at-a-time, with both slits wide open. An all-over-the-map classic wave interference pattern should appear on the normal detector screen after enough electrons have been fired. However, in addition to the normal detection screen, there are two other detectors positioned behind the normal detector screen that are each in an exact line-of-sight with each of the two slits. The electron is fired. It morphs into a wave and passes through both slits then morphs back into a particle. But before the electron, which has already passed through both slits, can hit the detector screen, the detector screen is removed to reveal behind it the other two line-of-sight detectors. Now presumably once the electron has passed though the double slits it’s too little too late to change its mind about where it’s going to hit. Only a tiny few should be detected by the two line-of-sight detectors aligned with the two slits. Alas, each and every electron will be detected by one or the other of the line-of-sight detectors. It would appear that the electron CAN change its mind after it has already gone through both slits and instead appear to have gone through one or the other of the two slits. One interpretation is that the electron, after having passed through both slits, realized the gig was up, traveled back in time, retraced its path and passed through one or the other slit.

As an aside, the late Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman noted that the double slit experiment went to the heart of quantum weirdness. I mention this because it was the same Richard Feynman who suggested that a positron (an anti-electron) was just an ordinary electron that was going backwards in time.

# Is time travel possible? I have several other points to make about the concept of time travel.

Firstly, there is Stephen Hawking’s idea of a Chronology Protection Conjecture which postulates that there is some as yet undiscovered law of physics which prevents time travel to the past and thus makes the cosmos a safe place for historians to strut their stuff.

Secondly, it has been said that you cannot travel farther back in time than the date your time travel ‘device’ was constructed, be it a wormhole or some other gizmo. So if some genius builds a time traveling ‘device’ in 2014, he’s not going anywhere into the past. But in 2015 he can travel back to 2014 and in 2114 he could travel back to any time between 2114 and 2014. The analogy is that you cannot travel through a tunnel prior to when that tunnel was built. Thus, we don’t see human time travelers because no human time traveling ‘device’ has yet been constructed. The flaw there is that doesn’t prohibit ET from visiting who might have constructed a time traveling ‘device’ millions of years ago. Recall those pesky UFOs though they don’t seem to cluster around significant terrestrial historical events so maybe ET doesn’t care about our history and are just here on vacation from their future.

Thirdly, presumably your time traveling ‘device’ is fixed at some sort of celestial coordinates. Because everything in the cosmos is in motion, when you re-emerge into that cosmos after starting on a time traveling journey, while you may be at those same fixed celestial coordinates the rest of the cosmos would have moved to differing celestial coordinates. So, if you start out in London you won’t end up in London on down, or up, the time traveling track. Finally, the concept of your, or the future or of the past or your past is only relative to what you choose as some fixed point. If you pick your date of birth as that fixed point, then clearly you are now in the future relative to your date of birth. If you pick the concept of an ever ongoing NOW, the present, as a fixed point, you are neither in the future or the past relative to the NOW nor will you ever be. That of course doesn’t mean you can’t recall your past, what existed before your NOW (although the past in general is more abstract) or plan for your future after your NOW (although the future in general is beyond your control).

# Is time travel possible? There’s yet another form of time travel, or at least the illusion of time travel, and that’s via the cinema. Films and TV shows involving time travel are many and often legendary. But that’s not quite the medium I wish to explore here. One can program time travel into a computer simulation. You can have a video game where the characters travel backwards (or forwards) in time, or have a software program that loops around back to the beginning. Now the question is, might we be characters or virtual beings in a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe? If so, the software programs that run our virtual show might allow for time travel, or virtual time travel, yet still time travel that would appear to us to be quite real. Now where does our sense of deja vu really come from?

# Is time travel possible? There is one other form of pseudo ‘time travel’ towards the future that can be debunked. Presumably the only way you can know what the future brings, without benefit of any theoretical ‘device’ that can propel you there at a greater rate of knots than at one second per second, is to stay alive. Once you kick-the-bucket that’s it. Your second per second journey towards the future is over. It’s a pity that that worthless stock you hold just happens to sky-rocket to fantastic values within a week of your demise, or maybe you’d really like to know if ET exists but the discovery happens a few days too late as far as you are concerned. Of course some might claim an afterlife will enable you to keep up to date with future happenings from that heavenly vantage point high up in the sky, but apart from that, there are those who claim to have led past lives or existed in past incarnations. Thus, you can still continue your journey to discover what the future holds by passing on to another body via being conceived again (and again and again). There’s one huge problem however with ‘remembering’ alleged past lives. Your mother’s egg cell cannot remember your past lives. Your father’s sperm cell cannot have any recollection of your past lives. Therefore, the you that comes to pass at conception cannot hold any memory of past lives. So, where did your memory of past lives come from? Might I suggest that it was internally generated out of wishful thinking, that perhaps a belief that you existed in the past will give rise to a belief that you will exist again in the future, and as a pseudo form of afterlife and as a pseudo form of ‘time travel’ that gives you comfort. Anyway, that concept is a really far out methodology of ‘time travel’ but one which can be dismissed despite the many people who seemingly believe that they indeed have ‘time traveler’ towards their endless future via this method.

Cheapest Airline Tickets – How to Find Best Travel Deals

So you are in the market for cheap airline tickets, but not sure where to start and how to find the best travel deals. The reality is that in order to find the cheapest flight fares and schedules you need to know when and where to look and how to search. Yes, it is that easy, and all you need to know is several tricks. First of all, do you need a domestic or an international travel ticket?

Domestic Air Travel

These can be US domestic flight or flights within Europe, or within any country or other continent. If you are looking great flight deals, you need to know WHERE to look for low airfares. If you are looking for flights within the US, you may contact local US airlines or travel agencies or look up flights on the online travel search engine.

Airlines compete among each other and they can give great flight deals (just know WHEN to look). Travel agencies might also find you great deals. Here is the truth… lately several airlines and several large and well known travel agencies started having some issues and several airline banned those huge agencies from selling their airline tickets. Therefore, small and specialized agencies still do have very good contracts with major airlines of the world. So, my advise is to look who has the best flight deal, not at the size of the agency or the popularity. At the end of the day, it matters how much you pay for the ticket and that you have a confirmed seat.

Most smaller travel agencies have online only booking so they can save YOU money by eliminating staff salaries. Most of the time travel agencies use the same fares as airlines offer (unless negotiated better rates), but usually with 0 commission. Since agencies need to survive, they are forced to add a small service fee on the top of the ticket price. If you do not mind that, call your travel agent or best of all go online and check flights yourself. If you are traveling within Europe, you might want to contact a travel agent or search online travel agents’ websites first. In Europe local travel agencies and agencies outside Europe that specialize in international travel will have low fares because they use very low so called consolidator fares. This is nothing else, but negotiated contracts with airlines to sell special very low priced airline tickets.

International Travel

Whether you live in the US or other country, you travel internationally if you leave your country of residence.

What concerns transatlantic, transpacific or other between countries international travel, your best bet is a travel agency. The consolidators will offer you the best fare deals and will find you the best schedules. Depending on personal preferences, some might prefer talking to a travel agent, while others would want to do their own fare search online at their own pace. There is no right or wrong choice here. As long as you find a flight and a fare that works for you, you succeed. HOW to find a travel agency or a good travel website Always work with the travel agent or travel website that specializes in your travel destination or region. For example, if you need to fly from the US to Europe, search for ‘flights to Europe’ or so. Usually online search will give you best results. Check several websites or call several travel agents and compare the deals.

NOTE, you might know lots of huge agencies like Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. They might seem attractive to you because they are big and well known. But they will not always give you the best flight, hotel or cruise deals. They might be good for US domestic travel, but not always for international travel.

HOW and WHEN to search for best fares

Where you need a flight, hotel or a cruise, you need to know how to find the best fares and when to look for those. Let’s say that you found a travel agent or travel website that specialized in your travel destination.

5 tips on How to Find your Best Travel Deal:

  1. Be Flexible. In order to find lowest price, you might need to be flexible on travel dates, arrival/departure times, airlines, and sometimes destinations. In short, there are different price levels for every flight and the only difference is the price and number of seats an airline assigns to that price level. Therefore, all depends on when you buy a ticket, how popular is the destination, travel season (peak or low), and how full the flight gets.
  2. Book domestic travel tickets as early as you can (this applied to some international travel as well). Most domestic airlines have best fares with 21, 14, and 7 day advance purchase. This means that you may find lower fares when booking (= purchasing) a flight this many days before the flight.
  3. ‘Play’ with the search. This means that you need to be creative when searching for flights. Check flights couple days or weeks (if possible) earlier and later, check various airlines, different connections (an airline might have several hubs or fly with 1 or several connections), search based on price and try searching based on schedule (you’ll see different results).
  4. Check travel package deals. If the purpose of your travel is vacation, instead of booking flights, hotel, and car rental separately, check on travel package rates. Sometimes your total package rate is lower that if you book everything separately.
  5. Use miles or points when possible. Apply for airline/ hotel/ car rental, etc. frequent traveler programs. They are FREE, and you can get lots of benefits. For example, I cannot remember the last time I paid for a hotel room when Hilton Hotel is in my destination. Check out hiltonhhonors. Go to the airline, car rental, or hotel websites and sign up. The only disadvantage of using miles and points is that you need to book your travel early as there is limited number of seats for miles or points on the plane and they go fast.

If you cannot decide whether to use an airline or a travel agent, here are some suggestions.

AIRLINE vs. TRAVEL AGENT/AGENCY WEBSITE

Advantages of booking a ticket with an airline:

  • you are talking directly to the carrier, the entity responsible for a flight
  • it may take much less time to deal with the airline directly (if an agent knows his/her job)
  • airline customers representatives are usually open 24/7

Advantages of using travel agents or travel websites:

  • lower negotiated (consolidator) fares
  • more flight options; travel agents/travel websites search all possible airlines, not just one
  • low fares available 24/7 given that an agency has a online booking system

Please send in your comments on how you find your best deals, and I shall be happy to share them with the rest of the world. Good luck!