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.

The Best Travel Websites For Cheap Airfares

Finding cheap airfares is easy to do if you follow some basic guidelines and use the best travel sites. With the internet anyone can be their own travel agent and save themselves a lot of money in the process. Before I touch on the best websites to use I will first go over the most important guidelines to be thinking about before you start doing your online searches for the cheapest airfares.

The first thing to think about is how far in advance should you try to book your ticket. If you will be flying in high season then the earlier the better, probably at least three or four months in advance if at all possible. If it will not be high season then typically you can get your best deals somewhere between six to eight weeks in advance. At a minimum you should try to buy your ticket at least three weeks in advance, because this is often a requirement by the airlines to get their best fares.

The next thing to be aware of is that you should be as flexible as you possibly can. Do searches for different dates if your schedule allows it, and know that it generally tends to be more expensive to fly on Mondays, Fridays, or Sundays which are typically heavily traveled days for business people. Likewise try to be open to different departure times. And if possible be open to flying from and/or to different airports, especially those that are served by budget airlines.

The last thing to keep in mind is what day of the week you make your purchase. Several experts believe that on average you get the best prices right after midnight on Tuesday nights. The reasoning is that this is when the airlines put back on the market all of the un-purchased reservations for sale priced tickets from the previous weekend.

Armed with these basic guidelines you can now start using the best travel sites to find the best fares. First try searching the best aggregator sites which are search engines that search multiple travel websites at the same time. The best aggregators for airfares as of now are Kayak.com, Mobissimo.com and Momondo.com.

After you have found a great fare with an aggregator you should also check directly with the airline’s website to see if you can get it even cheaper there. And you could also do a search on Google for ‘promotion codes’ along with the name of the airline. Sometimes you can find a special running for the itinerary that you want, and you can only use this code on the airline’s website.

Now it is time to check to see if the aggregator sites missed a budget airline due to the fact that many budget airlines do not allow themselves to be searched by the aggregators. Southwest Airlines is a prime example. You can do this by using Whichbudget.com. If you discover that a budget airline that wasn’t covered by the aggregator sites flies the route you need, then go to that airline’s website and get a price. Sometimes it will be lower than anything that you found in your other searches.

If you follow these simple steps and use the recommended best travel sites you can easily save yourself a lot of money booking your own airline tickets. And in these difficult economic times, who doesn’t want to save money whenever they can? Good luck!

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!

Travel and Leisure Clubs

The phrase “travel and leisure club” may refer to two things, both of which are associated with travel and touring. Because the amount of time, effort and money spent on the business of vacationing is usually considerable, a travel and leisure club may be an organization of people who come together to learn from each other’s experiences during their vacation. Such groups are everywhere. In the real world, you have travel and leisure clubs in almost every sizable community.

The other kind of travel and leisure clubs are those who cater to the needs of tourists. While the study clubs are devoted to spreading information to people about where to go and what to buy, this other kind…let’s call them service clubs…provide convenient facilities for tourists as well as good opportunities for yourself as a businessman.

Very appropriately, Travel and Leisure magazines of American Express Publishing specializes in both types of travel and leisure clubs. If you are particularly interested in finding the best places for one type of vacation activity, all you need to do on that web page is to type in the words you are looking for and submit. If any such clubs are catalogued with Travel and Leisure, they will pop up in the organic. For instance, if you type in “swimming clubs” and press enter, you will find a listing of the best beach and pool resorts all around the world.

Clicking any one of the organic results of the search will allow you to see not only the location of the club, but also what you may expect to find when you do get there; what sort of people will be frequenting it. Will you find celebrities there or just plain fun-loving people on vacation. Will you need to lug your formal clothes or some classy casuals? Do you want to mix with businessmen or politicians? And even if you are just looking to find animals instead of people, they have listings there for such exotic vacation ideas as safaris. Again, If you just want to go around the easy bend you can find places like skate parks. You might also set your direction for deep down under by looking for a snorkeling swim resort; they have that too. As a matter of fact the web page above is ideal for looking for any topic you may want to learn about and any type of travel and leisure club you want to unwind in. You could type in “Himalayas” in the search text box and you get a listing of topics related to northern India. You will probably learn about places that you didn’t know existed.

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.

The Idea of Travel and Leisure

It is a big treat to travel not for any business or work-related reasons but simply for leisure and pleasure. For those who are new to this kind of thrill, there are a thousand ways to plan an itinerary given that one has the right knowledge and the right financial budget. The main essence of travel and leisure is not to simply travel and see places but to bring the concept of traveling to new heights by allowing oneself leisurely experiences while exploring the sights and sounds of the entire area. To determine the right fitted itinerary for your specific needs, a great consideration should be placed on the questions that most travelers ask. Will I be traveling alone or with a companion? What do I need to know if I plan to take the whole family for a leisurely vacation?

Traveling Solo

Most of the practical neophytes opt to go for a pre-planned itinerary that contains a complete set of services including the two-way travel ticket, the accommodation, the course of trips and tours, and other add-on services and perks that some travel agency offers. Going for a cruise type of solitary vacation is getting popular nowadays especially that the romantic promises of an immense horizon and endless waterworld-type of environment is too much to resist for people who escapes from the busy buzz of the urban jungle. Try the Caribbean or Norwegian cruise that would certainly break the monotony of your cyclical and routine-based existence. When you travel alone, try to bring a book, an ipod, or maybe something that would keep your hands busy such as art and painting materials or a writing implement to preoccupy your mind. There are also hotels and resorts that have customized their accommodations for those who want to spend their time alone and relax without worries.

Traveling with a Loved One

The concept of leisure and travel especially for honeymooners requires a focused planning especially in the creation of an itinerary of activities. To make it easier for couples and lovers, there are resorts and hotels that provide holistic services from wellness activities to superbly executed food and dining services. For a leisurely experience, couples mostly engage in activities that are not usually possible when they are on their usual ground. Some of these activities are scuba diving, parasailing, skiing, island hopping, mountain trekking, and even game hunting. In sharing a leisurely but quiet togetherness, couples could simply pamper themselves by getting a spa massage with soothing music on the background or by engaging in yoga and tai chi sessions to maintain the harmony of mind and body.

Traveling with the whole family

This is a tricky vacation getaway especially if you are bringing a baby or a toddler on your trip. Some wealthy families think leisure and travel hiring a nanny to look after the baby but some believe that carefully planning the whole vacation spree will eliminate most of your headaches when the actual trip already begins. One advice is to only bring the things that are necessary to at least minimize the bulk of luggage that you will be dragging with you. There are hotels and even restaurants that cater for a bigger number of customers and clients. Make sure to check out these places before barking on a family journey.

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.

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 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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