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Month: October 2018

How Travelling Changed My Life Priorities

Posted on October 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

How can travelling change a person? I would like to share some thoughts and experiences I had from various trips. I must say I am not a big time traveller. However since Year 2000, I try to make a long trip of more than 10 days and a few short trips of 4 to 5 days yearly when times permit.

I have since changed from a tourist to a traveller. I am amazed how travelling had changes my values in life. Before I knew it, my priorities are different, I see things from different perspectives, my horizon broadens, my character growing, the list goes on. If anyone wonder what is the different between a tourist and a traveller? In my own context, traveller will eat a run off the mill Chinese hamburger or Western Dim sum and acquiesce it. The tourist will probably keep hoping they have the taste of Western hamburger and Chinese Dim sum.  As quoted by G.K. Chesterton”The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has comes to see.” The diverse cultures, the locals way of life, their languages, their authentic cuisine are what I savours when I travel now. Gone are the days where I hunt for factory outlets, chocolates and gifts except for memento sake.

In this modern world, luxury obsession fed by new consumerist and business culture, peer pressures and societal barometers are making many people losing their identities. I am fortunate to be born in the most developed country in our region; every short trip to nearby countries serves as a good admonition for discontent. Many of us measure self worth by the emblem or symbol that stick on our apparel or equipments, I must admit I do feel good when I got my Daytona on my wrist. Since young we are all driven to achieve in our society, the materialistic dogmas embedded are hard to convert. Travel reminds me of where I come from, who I am and who I am not. Travel made me sees the inner values I never recognise and reset my priorities in life. Travel requires courage and gets you out of your comfort zones, especially a self plan trip to third world countries. Imagine going to Saint Helena or Tristan da Cunha, one of the world most remote countries, it sure raise your concern for many affairs.

Every trip inculcate new values in me, the modern Paris and highly sophisticated Tokyo Akihabara electric town open my eyes and show me the infinite and creative brain power of our human mind, allure my temptation for the finest things in life.  However, the precarious slums of Johannesburg, the Berbers of Marrakech and the nomads of Gobi-Altai gave me great respite from the relentless pursuit of a better living. Everyone heard of endangered animal, how about endangered human tribe?  The Dukha tribe from Northern Mongolia are one that faces threats to existence. I am humbled by all the things I have seen while travelling and it had certainly invoked a greater inner search within me. 

Travel Status and Perks – The Beginner’s Guide

Posted on October 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

Travel used to be so simple. The type of travel experience you could expect was pretty much aligned with what you paid. Want a nice leather seat and a glass of Champaign on your flight? Pay for a first class ticket. Want a corner hotel room with an included breakfast? Pay for a top hotel. And rental cars? Well you didn’t expect a whole lot of options there anyway.

But nowadays, the travel industry has become very competitive. Companies will go the extra mile to keep their best customers. Loyalty programs have sprung up to identify and keep track of frequent customers. Based on the number of flights, hotel stays, or car rentals booked, customers are grouped into different status levels. The higher the status level attained, the better the perks and amenities that are offered on the trip.

As a customer, it makes sense to review and take advantage of these programs. After all, it can make the difference between a cramped flight between screaming children or a peaceful nap with first class accommodations! The main amenities offered are listed below:

Mileage/Point Bonus

Travelers accumulate mileage, points, or hotel stays and then redeem them later in the form of free trips or other benefits. As various status levels are achieved, companies will allow for extra mileage or points accumulation. Typical programs include a 10-20% points bonus at the lowest level and up to a 100% points bonus at the highest status levels. These bonus points really add up and can be quite valuable upon redemption.

Lounge Access or Discount (Airport or Hotel)

Hotels that have lounge areas typically offer complimentary access to customers with status. This is a nice benefit as it normally includes a free continental breakfast and free drinks for an hour or two in the evening. Airport lounges are typically offered at a discounted rate for customers with status. This is a nice benefit for frequent flyers who want to get away from the commotion of an airport terminal.

Auto Upgrade

Rental car companies typically offer a complimentary upgrade to the next car class for their best customers. This may mean an upgrade from a small car to a midsize, for example.

Companion Flight Upgrade

Airlines typically offer upgrades from coach class to business or first class to their best customers. A even nicer touch is a complimentary upgrade for a companion on the same flight. This always goes down well with the spouse or co-worker of a frequent flyer.

Airline Seat Upgrade

Airline seat upgrades are one of the most coveted and closely controlled perks in the skies. With a particular status, flyers can be moved from coach class to business or first class areas. This is typically done on a priority basis. First priority goes to those of the highest status. Typically, the upgrade is not made until a few days before the flight, to allow availability for customers who wish to purchase first class tickets.

Expedited Car Rental

Car rental companies are notorious for long lines and slow customer service. Most companies will offer some sort of expedited service for their customers with status. This typically includes bypassing the rental desk, a huge plus for those travelers in a rush.

Free Breakfast

Many hotels offer a complimentary breakfast for their best customers.

Guaranteed Availability

Companies typically offer some type of preferred reservation priority for customers with status. At the top status level, some hotels offer guaranteed availability, which is a controversial practice as it can mean canceling existing reservations. This amenity is a godsend though, for last minute travelers who often run into availability issues.

Late Check-Out

A later check out time is a typical amenity offered to hotel guests.

No Blackout Dates

Experienced users of rewards programs know that one of the biggest “gotchas” are blackout dates. These are high volume dates (think holidays and weekends) in which companies do not allow the redemption of mileage or points. Of course they happen to coincide with those dates you would most like to redeem points! With certain status levels, blackout dates are waived.

Preferred Seating

Preferred seating allows early access to airline seating selection and the ability to select exit row and other preferred seats. This is a typical amenity offered even at lower status levels.

Priority Boarding

Priority airline boarding is an important perk offered at almost any status level. It allows the flyer to board first and have access to empty overhead luggage space.

Priority Baggage Handling

Priority baggage handling means that the traveler’s baggage will be loaded last. This causes the bags to be first off the plane, allowing for a quicker getaway from baggage claim.

Priority Check-In

Airlines offer special check-in lines for flyers with status. This is of less importance in the age of online and kiosk check-in for flights.

Priority Security Line

One of the most coveted perks. In the age of long airlines security lines, the ability to use the expedited line, along with first class passengers and crew, is a huge time saver.

Priority Standby

A key perk for those who change flights at the last minute, priority standby puts flyers with status to the front of the queue for standby flight availability.

Room Upgrade

Hotels typically offer customers with status a room upgrade. This could mean a larger room and on a higher floor.

Service Desk

The service desk is offered by many companies, typically for the highest status level. It is a special phone number that provides expedited service for high status customers.

How does one obtain a particular travel status and its related perks? The standard way is to simply use a particular travel provider enough and accumulate the required amount of points. Some shortcuts are possible, however. Many airlines and hotels will match a status level that has been obtained with a rival firm. This practice is common, but not widely advertised in the travel industry.

Travel Tips For a Wise Traveler Like You

Posted on October 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

Traveling has always been one of the most fun-filled, exciting, entertaining and most of the time informative activity that you can totally enjoy by yourself or with your family and friends. With the help on the internet you can easily find travel agents online that can assist you in getting affordable discount air travels or any other budget travel promos and travel packages that their online travel agency offers.

It doesn’t matter if you already have pre-arranged travel deals or just last minute travel arrangements because there are a lot of best travel websites to choose from that can accommodate your needs. As a traveler, you should also need to make preparations yourself and not purely rely on your travel agent. These are some basic travel tips for you to take into account to experience a hassle free travel and vacation.

As much as possible, plan your trip early. If you’re traveling during holidays, it is best to look for online travel deals at least a couple of months before the season starts. This way you can even have a chance to book under discount travel promos which travel agencies usually offer in advance.

Another good tip is to maximize your budget. Make a list of your proposed budget in advance and try to follow your budget list at least up to the degree that you can. Make food your number priority followed by your lodging necessities. Take also into consideration the age bracket of your group. If you’re going to travel with kids, their needs and safety should be on the top list of priorities.

Next of the travel tips you need to take into account is to familiarize yourself with your travel destinations. If you still don’t have a place in mind you can easily choose from the top ten travel destinations online. If you and your company want to have a beach get-away then you might want to check websites about the famous and wonderful South Miami Beach or the magnificent coast of Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta Mexico. If your budget and time permits it, you can even try checking out the wonders of Asian beaches like the renowned Boracay in the Philippines. Ultimately, wherever you plan to go, you must have an overview of the place and its surroundings to avoid difficulties and disturbances.

Another important tip, and a very sound advice, is to take care of your belongings. You read this tip online, see the sign at every airport and subconsciously know that this is significant, however, with all the fuss there is during travel plus the excitement you feel, there will be moments that your belongings will slip into your mind. And this moment of yours becomes the shining time for thieves to take advantage and stole your possessions.

And aside from your budget list, make one checklist that enumerates everything you need to do and to accomplish before, during and after your vacation. You may be teased by your family and friends as having an obsessive-compulsive disorder but shrugged it off. Remember, being prepared is a lot better that being sorry.

And lastly, enjoy every minute of your travel preparation. It is as important as the actual vacation so take your time and have a blast.