Optimizing Your Travel and Tourism Website

The internet has proven to be an interesting tool for travellers. It has now become extremely easy for internet users to plan and organize business and leisure holidays at a click of a mouse. The internet gives users the freedom to compare rates, get unbiased reviews and make informed decisions on holidays without worrying about being fleeced in foreign countries.

Booking hotels, flight tickets and even visa applications are now easily done through the web. The travel industry can take tremendous advantage of this setting to offer to their audiences a wide choice via engaging websites.

Give Your Audience a Peak into what’s Out there

By using interesting design tools and interfaces you can easily create an appealing website for you visitors and give them an opportunity to travel, through your website. Integrating images into your web design is crucial to the success of any travel portal. The use of appealing images is a simple and the most straightforward way to entice visitors to your travel website.

Getting Professional Help

As a travel website it is strongly recommended that you get professional help to apply some interesting effects to your photos to create the best visual appeal. While this may go against most conventional design rules, considering the nature of your website, you could always incorporate some flash photo slideshows which further add to the appeal of the products you are promoting.

Blending Static and Dynamic Design Structures

A quintessential travel website consists of some static structure that is complimented with Flash effects to attract the attention of the target audience. You can also make good use of these dynamic tools to promote specific products and holiday packages on your portal. With modern design technology, you can leverage the use of 3D effects, animations and other graphic elements to exhibit your USP.

Give your target audience an opportunity to go through a mind-blowing journey through the Swiss Alps, the Canadian Rockies or the glaciers of Alaska by making use of these effects and visually enticing the audience.

Incorporate Call to Action Buttons

Do not forget to integrate a call to action feature into your website. Buttons such as ‘Book Now!’ and ‘Compare Prices Now!’ will encourage audience members to take actions you intend them to; allowing you to further exemplify the benefits of your products and packages.

Clarity in Information

While you design the content for your travel portal, you need to put yourself into the shoes of your audience and recognize their needs. Most travellers are looking for something new and exciting. Travellers want to make the most of every opportunity to learn new things, and expose themselves to different cultures.

The information that you provide must be able to communicate these facets of travel. Talk about the various activities, things to see, do, and look out for on your time there. Work towards building the excitement of the place you are promoting.

Top Ten Travel Sites

I do a lot of travel which prompts a lot of travel research. Every good travel buff has their own top ten travel sites, here are mine.

1. Tripadvisor.com is at the top of my list and should be the top of any traveler’s list. Not only is it a great place to find great lodging but by posting on their forums I have gotten a lot of questions answered and made a lot of really good contacts.

2. Homeaway.com comes in a close second because I love to rent houses and condo when I travel for several reasons.

- First you end up with a lot more space for less than you can get a hotel room. I just rented a beautiful three bedroom penthouse apartment in the Miraflores area in Lima Peru for $100 per night. The lowest room cost in the Marriot that is a block away was $210 per night

- Second you can cook your own meals which also saves money. I love it when you can stay in luxury for a budget price!

3. Homeexchange.com is also one of my favorite ways to find lodging. If you have a vacation home or are willing to do a simultaneous exchange with your personal home or even a hospitality visit where you have some new guests that you host. I have had some wonderful exchange experiences and made some very close long term friends using home exchange.

4. Hotwire.com and Priceline.com are my choice if you plan on staying in a hotel. I check hotwire first and see what the price is for the quality of hotel I am looking for and then go into Priceline and bid about $20 less for the same quality and area. If I don’t get it on Priceline, I go back and book it on Hotwire. Biddingfortravel.com is a great place to get more info on what prices are being accepted by Priceline hotels and other info on bidding.

5. Kayak.com and Bing.com/travel are where I go for flights or cars. Bing is great because on a lot of flights they have an indicator that tells you whether the price for your flight is expected to go up or down in the next 7 days. I like the interface with Kayak better so I usually only use Bing to get an indicator of what the price is doing. For cars I will reserve a car under Kayak and then when I get to the airport I will check with a couple of companies and see if they will give a better “on the spot” rate.

6. Couchsurfing.org comes in sixth. This is a great way to find a couch if that’s your bag, not that sleeping on someone’s couch is my bag but this is a great site to get to get local information and make local friends. Note, you do have to sign up and get verified. This is to keep the creeps away.

7. StumbleUpon.com is a great site to find unique and cool travel sites. Just set your interest to “travel” and stumble away.

8. Caretaker.org or the Caretaker’s Gazette is a subscription service that costs $29.95 per year. They collect ads from people who are looking for a caretaker of their residence around the world. This is a great site to find a place to land for a long stay. Some opportunities even pay you to do various chores or upkeep.

9. Earthwatch.org is a really cool site if you would like to get involved in scientific research while traveling. Scientists who need hands and funding to complete their research post their projects here. You can sign up to study the cheetahs in Africa or do an archeological dig in Europe. Each project lists details about the cost, length of stay, accommodations and what the scientist is trying to accomplish.

10. TripIt.com is a great site for designing a travel itinerary online that you can print out or share with others. Great for keeping track of your flights, lodging and activities. When you sign up for this service it will put a tab on your browser that will all you to click on “Add To TripIt” which will capture the site in your tripit profile, later you can assign those websites to a trip. This is a great way to research and pull all the information together in one place quickly and easily. This service is free, there is a more advanced version called TripIt Pro for $49 per year which enhances your options including sending you alerts when there are flight delays, finding alternative flights quickly, tracking all your frequent traveler information and a few other services.

I am 54 years old and have enjoyed traveling to over 35 countries. Through my travels I have learned some truths.

- People around the world are more similar than different.
- Travel is one of the best educators and can dissolve misconceptions and prejudice.
- Experiences are 10 times more valuable then buying “things”; things get used up, broken or lost; memories last forever.
- Men have caused most of the problems on earth.

I welcome your comments and ideas on places you’ve been, special things that you have done, or how to enjoy our travels even more at my blog,

Promotional Products for Travel and Leisure

Choosing promotional products can be tricky for your business. The key however, is to make them as relevant to your business as possible. The next step would be to personalise them to make them not only attractive, but also to define them as representing your company. This can be achieved with a range of printing and design work, aimed to market the product to your target audience.

If your business is involved in the travel and leisure industry, then it goes without saying that you should be searching for relevant products. Thankfully, the market is awash with all kinds of promotional products geared up for every line of industry, large or small.

Travel and leisure encompasses a vast array of products, so you will certainly not be lacking for choice. The one problem will be selecting individual products from such a large list. Even so, having such a range can only be a positive thing.

If your business caters for a type of sport, then you’ll find an excellent amount of products and will be pleasantly surprised by what you can make your own and personalise. Just for golf alone, you can purchase tees, golf balls, gloves, ball markers, club covers, pencils, caps, socks and more still.

Other fantastic options in terms of more general travel and leisure would be luggage tags, bank card holders, travel toothbrush, drawstring bags, beach balls, water bottles, travel games, first aid kits, pool inflatables, travel cushions and pocket fans. The list just goes on and on. Take bottles for instance – this is a single item but one that has a hundred variants, shapes, colours and sizes. It is some task to narrow it down to one particular item, but one that will be worth it in the long run.

The vast amount of goods available out there for travel and leisure makes it a very competitive market and so choose wisely before you buy and not act on impulses alone. The cost varies greatly between each item and you want to try and get the best value for money as possible, without losing too much in terms of quality.

By using the best travel and leisure promotional products, displaying them well and having them printed with your company details, you stand a great chance for a successful campaign. Products like those described are a fantastic marketing tool for getting the word out there about your business.

Travel and Leisure Magazines

Where should I go on my next vacation? How much will a 7-day cruise cost? What are the latest vacation hot spots around the world? What place has the most beautiful beaches? The most delicious foods are found in what country? The most interesting culture can be seen in what part of the world? What is happening in the travel industry today? These and many more questions can be answered if you had magazine travel and leisure literature to browse.

Magazine travel and leisure articles will put you in the know about hot travel destinations throughout the entire world. It would answer all the questions you may have about where to go on the next vacation, the cost of a 7-day cruise, or where the world’s top beaches are at. It essence, magazine travel and leisure information would enlighten and educate you about the travel and leisure industry as a whole. The magazine travel and leisure discounts offered are usually a tremendous savings opportunity that will have you traveling more each year, as you save money on all your trips. It doesn’t matter if you travel for business or pleasure, or whether you travel alone, with family or with groups, travel discounts make sense for the travel savvy. The better informed you are about the places you wish to travel to, the more likely it is that you will have a satisfying and rewarding experience when traveling.

Valuable and informative cultural awareness can also be obtained from magazine travel and leisure articles. What are the dos and don’t of visiting certain countries? Is it acceptable to always shake hands when meeting someone in a foreign country? Or do some cultures frown upon the traditional western greeting of a handshake. Do you need to take off your shoes when entering someone’s house in Asian countries? How much of a tip is it appropriate to give when dining in a fancy restaurant in Paris? Knowledge about such issues can be found in magazine travel and leisure articles. You will be pleasantly surprised at the kinds of tidbits you can pick up in these types of articles.

In magazine travel and leisure articles, you will visit far away exotic destinations, without ever leaving your own home. The newest travel trends will be at your fingertips. All the necessary information about the best hotel and resort deals, the most economical transportation options, and other important travel and leisure information will be within reach. Receive all the info you require from one source of information; magazine travel and leisure articles.

An informed traveler is a happy traveler. With magazine travel and leisure information at your disposal, you will know what hotel or resort to stay at, what city spot is a must-see and which restaurants to eat at in the top cities in the world. You’ll be up to date on the latest travel and leisure trends in the travel industry. Don’t make those travel plans until you are fully informed with the latest data from every destination hot spot.

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The Best Deals of Travel and Leisure Magazine

Constant travelers who want to score the best deals in every continent that they step into should never do without a copy of travel and leisure magazine. This magazine which is well known as travel + leisure magazine provides the A lists of the best hotels, restaurants, wellness clubs, cruise ships, events and festivals, resorts and beaches, food and drinks, and other significant facts that are essential to the well-being of one’s travel itinerary. The travel and leisure magazine is a top rated, professional travel companion that would make sure you do not lose your way in every travel decision that you make.

The travel and leisure magazine used to be a compiled journal of travel photographs which placed emphasis on leisure travel and often features contributions from novelists, poets, travel columnists, artists, and avid travelers who are eager to share their acquired wisdom and serve as a helpful guide especially for those who are still neophyte in the realm of travel. The magazine publishes in a monthly basis and has several international editions such as China, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and South East Asia though most of them were already defunct.

The magazine is famous for their World’s Best Awards which is announced every August and has been practiced since 1995. This is an award body created on a basis of an annual survey from magazine readers who gave out their quantitative rating of world’s best travel destination and accommodation. For the 2010′s survey of the World’s Best Awards, the travel and leisure magazine offers a chance to those who will take the survey of winning a $10,000 dream trip. This award has various categories namely hotels, islands, cities, airlines and cruises, wellness and spas and business hotels. These categories are featured on all continents that the travel and leisure magazine encompass such as US and Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, Europe, Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific. Last 2009, the Bushman’s Kloof atop the Cedarberg Mountains in Western Cape, South Africa emerged as the record holder of the number one spot in the survey with an overall score of 98.67.

Aside from the World’s Best Awards, the travel and leisure magazine also has what they call T+L 500 Best Hotels and America’s Favorite Cities where subscribers and magazine readers rank cities in the U.S. based on several categories. The categories are very informative because it covers almost all the things that one needs to know in famous cities such as their culture, hotels, nightlife, shopping malls, food and dining places, and airports.

The travel and leisure magazine also provides educational articles that are full of ideas not just about traveling but also informative discussions such as books and movies, charity programs, sports and fitness, gadgets, arts and culture, and basic photography lessons.

Travel and the Economy

In spite of the global melt down and the economic crisis facing many an industry, there is one industry that is still thriving. The travel industry. Recession or no recession, people have to travel and they do. Not only domestically but also internationally. Not only for personal purposes but also for business and for tourism also. We can almost say that the stress of the economic depression is making people travel and relax!

There is a saying that goes: “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”. And, on the same analogy, one individual’s idea of relaxation might be a villa in the South of France overlooking the beach and the sea, surrounded by “Abigails and Andrews” whereas that of another may be a tent in a remote spot on the same beach.

Just like in housing, where houses are being foreclosed and going for a song and it is a “buyers market”, the travel business is also on cloud nine and the offers for a memorable vacation in some of the exotic places on the planet surround the potential traveler. Travel agents the world over are trying their best to get people to travel. It is now time to take advantage of these offers and have a rollicking holiday in a new place.

But do you choose a place and do your budget or do you do your budget and choose a destination. The second is the wiser course as the first may turn out to be unaffordable. But there are such o lot of offers that you can even choose a place and then do your budget. Just see to it that it does not get you in the red, financially.

Once you have made up your mind to go somewhere for a vacation, immediately a number of questions popup. Is your passport current? What are the places that you are going to visit at your destination? What kind of accommodation are you going to live in? An independent house, a condo or a hotel room? What about transportation? You have to choose a location that is fairly easily accessible from the place of your stay. Try finding a resort that has its own transportation to the local attractions.

Travel and Leisure Magazines to Inspire the Adventurer in You

Browse through the magazine racks of any bookstore and you’ll find the number of travel and leisure magazines offered endless. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip, wanting some top tips to plan a vacation or simply a new activity to keep you busy during time off at home, travel and leisure magazines are the perfect place to start your search. Here’s a round up of some of the best available:

Time Out Magazine
Fast becoming the leading authority on the world’s best cities, from LA to Buenos Aires, Cape Town to Copenhagen, Time Out now has 18 travel and 23 city magazines offering up to date information on the best places to stay, eat and be entertained in the world’s most fabulous cities. Even if you live in one of its featured cities, you can bet Time Out will come up with a new location or activity you never knew existed in your local area. Prepare to be amazed!

Outside
A travel and leisure magazine which has been keeping adventurers informed since 1977, Outside is for men and women who lead active lifestyles all year round. With glossy and colorful photography, prepare to be inspired to take to the outdoors and try something new, from rock-climbing to snowboarding, sailing to mountaineering.

National Geographic Adventure
The latest magazine in the National Geographic collection, this one is aimed at active men and women who seek new and exciting ways to explore and experience the globe. The photographs will inspire you to travel to destinations you would never have thought of visiting, alongside an excellent mix of features and articles, covering adventure stories, travel destinations, sports and outdoor activities.

Trailer Life
The writers of this travel and lifestyle magazine guarantee to provide you with information to “follow the road to adventure.” Aimed at owners of RVs, campers and motor homes who spend a few weeks a year or their whole life on the road, this glossy magazine is packed with information on national parks, camp sites, product tests, cooking tips and vehicle maintenance. Definitely one for RV owners who love life on the open road and are ingrained with a spirit of adventure.

Spa
For those of us who get our stress relief from relaxation rather than adrenaline packed adventures, Spa Magazine offers the secrets to the latest advances in beauty, healthy living and relaxation as well as a peek behind the doors of the most luxury and private retreats and information on the world’s best spas. If you’re planning a spa vacation, this is the place to find top tips on the most relaxing locations to unwind, detox and recharge your batteries without having to break the bank in the process!

Finding The Best Travel Sites Online

It is not uncommon for people to shop around for travel sites online. There are many different benefits that come along with getting in touch with these sites that anyone can take full advantage of. Take the time to look here at this guide in order to discover how to use these sites and how to save the most money.

Be sure to sit down and think about when this trip is going to take place. Every site is going to require the leave time as well as the arrival time so the travelers must know ahead of time. Sit down and look at the calendar and think about when work can be taken off in order to have a good time.

The budget will also need to come into play. Without a budget, it will take a lot longer in order to get in touch with the right accommodations and specials. For example, there are many different rates for Skycity Hotels Auckland that need to be accounted for when planning a trip to New Zealand. Think about the overall cost and then go from there.

There are always going to be different hotels and other accommodations to consider. Take the time to look into the top hotels and even packages that can be booked in order to get the right price. A little bit of research is going to come into play but it should be relatively easy to get everything taken care of.

Booking the flight is going to be the finally step and finding a vacation package is another route to take. This will include the flight, the hotel and even the rental car if one is needed. Everything is going to be offered at one low price so make sure to take a look around. Do not forget to think about staying at one of many Auckland airport hotels and save even more.

Now is the best time to plan a holiday and book with popular travel sites online. Take a look around right now and think about when the trip can be managed. Once everything has been set in order, it should be relatively easy to enjoy the trip and save extra money.

Travel and Leisure Jobs

Travel and leisure industry is one the most favored industry sector for job seekers worldwide. It offers you the wonderful opportunity of seeing new places, getting acquainted with new cultures and helps in developing a more comprehensive viewpoint about world affairs. So if you are one of those persons who are passionate about travel, and like to meet new people a variety of job opportunities are available in various segments of travel and leisure industry.

Here are few of travel and leisure industry which provide extremely good job opportunities, if you possess requisite skills for the job.

Online Travel – With the advent of internet, travel industry went online. Now you can book flight tickets, hotel rooms and buying tickets for the venue. These ventures require computer programmer, web designer, customer support and sales team.

Event management – This industry specializes in the creation of festivals and events which vary in scale from Olympics to the neighborhood Birthday party. Event managers are in great demand by companies.

Cruise ships – Cruise ships are a classy mode of travel which is popular amongst a section of tourists. These massive structures require hospitality professionals, maritime professionals, entertainers and security personnel.

Tour operators – They come in handy for those people who travel internationally and don’t have time for a “do it yourself” holiday. They take care of all the details of the tour saving their clients from the intricacies.

Airlines – Air travel is the most popular means of travel for tourist especially international tourists. Pilots, air hostess and flight crew are some of the most desired career. However an airline employs more people as ground staff in the form of air traffic controller, ticket checker, baggage checker and personal service assistant.

Travel websites, magazines and guides – These guide people on popular tourist spots, the best route to take, best time to visit and must see places amongst others. Here contractual or freelance writers can work as travel writers. Also photographers are hired to shoot photos documenting the journey.

Animation – Animation industry makes animated films some of which are hugely popular like Ice Age. Also they design and execute computer games. Animators, illustrators and designers are widely in demand here.

Cosmetics Industry – The desire to look beautiful is innate in every woman and man. This industry “claims” to make people beautiful. Cosmetics and the beauty industry require hair stylist, beauty therapist, manicurist and shampoo technician.

Games and toys industry – This sector produces games and toys for people of all ages and groups. It requires creative professionals and game designers.

Fitness sector – This sector works on making people fit through exercise and alternatives like yoga. It requires certified fitness trainers and yoga teachers.

Hotels and resort industry – When you travel anywhere you stay in one of these hotels and resorts. Hence this industry plays a very important role in the overall travel and leisure industry so much that hotel occupancy rates are an important indicator of the state of the industry. It requires waiting staff, interior decorators, management professionals and catering services personnel.

Travel and Leisure Subscription

The time you spend on your vacation should be top quality time. Our holidays are the only times we have for living our dreams to the fullest possibility we are able to reach. That is the reason why the choice of your vacation spot should be made with extreme care. All travel advertisements have something exciting to say about the resorts and the cities that they are promoting but there are three pitfalls you have to watch out for when planning the perfect holiday for yourself.

First, you need to be sure that you are going to get precisely what you have been promised by the media hype. Secondly, you have to avoid spur of the moment enthusiasm which may have you opting for a vacation spot that you won’t actually enjoy when you get there, and thirdly, you have to choose the best rates you can avail of in order to maximize the value of your money. In this matter, however, “cheap” doesn’t always mean “good.” There are low rates for which you will be getting no value for your money. On the other hand, there are higher travel and vacation accommodations that are well worth every cent you will be paying.

The good news is that Travel and Leisure subscription is one well-known, because reliable source of any and all facts that you would want to know about vacation spots. If you don’t have a Travel and Leisure subscription yet then you should postpone planning out your vacation until you get your hands on a copy or sign up for a subscription. This travel guide contains the most complete listing of the best known resorts, pleasure palaces and tourist destinations in the world.

What is your priority consideration for your vacation? Is it adventure or culture? Would you like to spend most of the time in a sun-drenched beach or touring national monuments and cultural attractions? Are you agog to see celebrities or just dying to get away from city life? Is affordability of cost you first priority when planning a vacation? Whatever shape your dream vacation comes in, Travel and Leisure subscriptions are your means to finding the spot and touring accommodations to realize it.

The magazine features the latest tourism news and updates from the best vacation spots in the world. The information you will be reading on Travel and Leisure is almost available in real time. You can read about statistics that will inform you about the best and worst airports in the world, the top hotels and accommodations in the country of your choice plus tips on travelling, which are actually published comments and suggestions of their previous customers. If you are a first timer, you will find invaluable advice in the magazine for making your holiday trips safe and easy.

On top of that, you can avail of fantastic discounts, win sweepstakes and avail of promotions from Travel and Leisure subscriptions as well as from the many tourist service outfits worldwide that are affiliated with the magazine. So even before your think of travelling, get your Travel and Leisure subscription first.