Want to go to a new exciting place, but don’t have anyone to tag along? There may be times when you have to travel alone in a foreign land. Whether just for fun or on official business, you have to take safety measures. Traveling alone need not be lonely. It could be fun in more ways than one. Don’t be reluctant to travel just because you’re on your own. Just remember these things:

*Plan ahead
Research and read about the place you’re heading to. Know where are the nearest hotel, restaurant, and such. Make reservations too, if possible. That way, your travel is on a good start.

*Take a city map
You better study how to read maps. Needless to say, these can guide you where you are going, especially if it’s the first time you’re going to that place. Relying too much on the cab driver is not a good idea.

*Learn the language
Just study the basics and the most common things you’re likely to ask a local. Learn it before you arrive.

*Hide your valuables
Put your guard up. Don’t invite muggers to come and get you. Don’t wear too much jewelry outside the streets. Use inexpensive accessories.

*Dress appropriately
Check what the locals wear on a given time of day. You don’t want your clothes screaming you’re a tourist. The lesser attention you draw to yourself, the better.

*Don’t be afraid to ask for directions
It would be okay to ask someone for directions, but be sure you are going to choose who to ask. You can ask a waiter in a restaurant, or the receptionist in your hotel. Just be sure you get all the information. Asking from a complete stranger outside is not advisable.

*Bring some cash
Take just enough. Traveler’s checks and credit cards are good, and it could be your primary mode of payment, but you might want to keep a few extra dollars in your pocket with local money.

*Enjoy your self
Well, you are traveling, so make the most of it. Make friends with a local. Talk to somebody over lunch in a café. Get the addresses of the friends you make to send them a thank you card. Maybe next time, you’d be their host.

Traveling alone can be your best experience. With solo traveling, you will definitely learn more about your self and what you can do. Try it. It would be fun!

Keep in mind using travel discounts will help you save a ton of money.

Are You A Victim Of Telemarketing Travel Fraud?

Hello…you have been specially selected to receive our SPECTACULAR LUXURY DREAM VACATION offer!

Have you ever been tempted to sign up to win a “free” trip at a fair, trade show or restaurant? If so, you may get a phone call, letter, unsolicited fax, email or postcard telling you that you’ve won a vacation. Be careful. It may be a “trip trap.” The vacation that you’ve “won” likely isn’t free. And the “bargain-priced” travel package you’re offered over the telephone or Internet may not fit your idea of luxury.

While some travel opportunities sold over the phone or offered through the mail, the Internet or by fax are legitimate, many are scams that defraud consumers out of millions of dollars each month.

The word “offer” can be a clue to hidden charges. When you get the phone call or place the call in response to a postcard, letter, fax or Internet ad, you also get a sales pitch for a supposedly luxurious trip – one that you could pay dearly for.

The salesperson may ask for your credit card number to bill your account for the travel package. Once you pay, you receive the details of the “package,” which usually include instructions for making trip reservation requests. Your request often must be accompanied by yet another fee. In addition, many offers require you to pay upgrade costs to receive the actual destinations, accommodations, cruises or dates you were promised. Some offers may require you to pay more for port charges, hotel taxes or service fees.

See a pattern developing? New charges are being added every step of the way. You may never get your “bargain” trip because your reservations may not be confirmed or because you must comply with hard-to-meet hidden or expensive “conditions.”

Telemarketing travel scams usually originate out of “boiler rooms.” Skilled salespeople, often with years of experience selling dubious products and services over the phone, pitch travel packages that may sound legitimate, but often are not. These pitches usually include:

Oral Misrepresentations. Particular schemes vary, but all fraudulent telemarketers promise you a “deal” they can’t possibly deliver. Unfortunately, you won’t know it until your money’s gone.

High Pressure/Time Pressure Tactics. Scam operators often say they need your commitment to buy immediately or that the offer won’t be available much longer. They typically brush aside questions or concerns with vague answers or assurances.

“Affordable” Offers. Unlike fraudulent telemarketers who try to persuade people to spend thousands of dollars on an investment scheme, fraudulent travel telemarketers usually pitch club membership or vacation offers in a lower price range. The offers sound reasonable and are designed to appeal to anyone who is looking for a getaway.

Contradictory Follow-up Material. Some companies may agree to send you written confirmation of your deal. However, it usually bears little resemblance to the offer you accepted over the phone. The written materials often disclose additional terms, conditions, and costs.

How To Protect Yourself

Unpleasant surprises can ruin a vacation, especially when they cost money. That’s why it pays to investigate a travel package before you buy. But it can be difficult to tell a legitimate sales pitch from a fraudulent one. Consider these travelers’ advisories:
Be wary of “great deals” and low-priced offers. Few legitimate businesses can afford to give away products and services of real value or substantially undercut other companies’ prices.

Don’t be pressured into buying. A good offer today usually will be a good offer tomorrow. Legitimate businesses don’t expect you to make snap decisions.
Ask detailed questions. Find out exactly what the price covers and what it doesn’t. Ask about additional charges. Get the names of the hotel, airports, airlines and restaurants included in your package. Consider contacting these businesses directly to verify arrangements. Ask about cancellation policies and refunds. If the salesperson can’t give you detailed answers, hang up.

If you decide to buy, find out the name of the travel provider – the company that is getting your reservations and tickets. This company usually is not the telemarketer.
Get all information in writing before you agree to buy. Once you receive the written information, make sure it reflects what you were told over the phone and the terms you agreed to.

Don’t buy part of the package – the airfare or hotel stay – separately from the rest. If the deal is not what you expected, it may be difficult to get your money back for the part of the package you purchased.

Don’t give your credit card number or bank information over the phone unless you know the company. One easy way for a scam operator to close a deal is to get your credit card number and charge your account. Sometimes fraudulent telemarketers say they need the number for verification purposes only. Don’t believe them.

Don’t send money by messenger or overnight mail. Some scam artists may ask you to send them a check or money order immediately. Others may offer to send a messenger to pick up your payment. If you pay with cash or a check, rather than a credit card, you lose your right to dispute fraudulent charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act. If you charged your trip to a credit card, you may dispute the charges by writing to your credit card issuer at the address provided for billing disputes. If possible, do this as soon as you receive your statement. In any case, the law gives you up to 60 days after the bill’s statement date to dispute the charge.

Check out the company before you buy. Contact the Attorney General in your state or where the company is located to see if any complaints have been lodged against the travel firm or the travel provider. Be aware that fraudulent businesses often change their names to avoid detection.

If in doubt, say “no.” Trust your instincts. It’s less risky to turn down the offer and hang up the phone.

Be sure to research the company to determine if there are any complaints and how long they been in business.

Where to Complain

Several organizations can provide additional information and help you with complaints.

Your state Attorney General or the Attorney General in the state where the company is located probably has a division that deals with consumer protection issues.

The American Society of Travel Agents, Consumer Affairs, at 1101 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, may be able to mediate your dispute with an ASTA member.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues to call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters the Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

7 Secrets To Travel Safe On Your Next Vacation

Be smart. Prepare, make informed decisions, especially if you’re traveling with your family. This vacation is supposed to be fun—and you can do your part by preventing most disasters.

1. Check Travel Advisories

Your embassy will list places that they recommend “caution” or right-out tell you to stay away from altogether. This could be because of a tense political situation, or a low level of security in underdeveloped areas.

But also take advisories with some degree of salt. You can safely assume that the capitals and major cities of a country will be more tourist-friendly since governments would’ve probably taken great efforts to develop them. The exception, of course, is countries going through civil war—in which case, read the international newspapers (or the web-version of their local English paper) to see how bad it really is.

2. Get Vaccinated

Some viruses that are relatively rare in your country may proliferate in the climate of another—and you don’t have the natural antibodies to fight them. Get the full range of vaccines (your embassy website will also recommend which ones you really need, depending on where you want to go).

3. Bring Medicines and Prescriptions

Ask your doctor for two copies of your prescriptions (carry one in your wallet, and leave one in your luggage). Also, bring enough antihistamines (for allergies) or any maintenance vitamins or medications. Asthmatics should carry have a nebulizer—especially since attacks can be triggered by the change in climate or physical exertion (you never know how much walking you’ll be doing during the tour).

4. Never Flaunt Your Valuables

Wearing your Rolex or flashing large amounts of money practically screams “Rob me!” to the pickpockets. Keep small bills and change in your belt bag for easy access (these are for entrance fees, cab fares, snacks). Keep larger bills in a zippered pocket. To be very safe, divide the money and distribute it among several pockets—at least, even if you do get robbed, you still have something left.

Another tip: bring only what you need for that day and leave the rest in the hotel safety deposit box.

5. Travel in Groups

This is an unfamiliar land, and you may not even speak the local language. So stick together (at least divide into pairs), especially at night.

6. Ask the Hotel Receptionist/Travel Agent Which Places to Avoid

Before exploring the area, get a list of places known for its crime rate, or streets that tend to get dark after a particular hour. Identify the areas on a map and avoid accordingly.

7. Tell the Hotel Receptionist Where You Are Going

This is very important if you are going skiing, hiking, or participating in any activity where there is a risk of getting lost or injured. Name how many people will be in your party and what time they can expect you. Then, they can alert authorities if you have not returned.

Join Membership Club and Enjoy Your Life Endlessly

It is really tiresome and heartbreaking when you do a lot of search for finding discounts, promo code or deals and they end up being invalid or outdated. But now you don’t need to waste your time in all those things as you can avail major discount deals on travel, hotels, entertainment, recreation and shopping by simply doing one thing and that is joining a reputed discount membership club. By becoming a member of membership club you can have access on above-said things up to 70% discounts. Incredible! If you upgrade yourself up to the premium membership, it is like icing on the cake as you would have access to countless discounts on a myriad of things. Want to know its benefits in detail? Take a look at the following points.

Opportunity to be an explorer

Through membership club, you can make your dreams of being a wanderer come true. Majority of the people have the dream to explore the world but only a few of them become able to do so. Reason? Lack of money or hunger to save the money! However, by joining the membership of the club, you can easily bring down the value of your whole journey. You can save a huge portion of the actual total amount by paying less for the accommodation whether it is a 5-star luxury hotel, countryside resort or condominium. Not only accommodation discounts, but you will save on the cruise and car rental facility also. So, think yourself, how much you lose by staying out of the membership club.

Full entertainment

How boring is your life without entertainment? You know it well, right? But due to higher cost and inability to spend a major share of your income, you have to suppress the feelings for giving some time to entertainment. However, if you join the membership club, you can easily give place to entertainment in your life. It is because, you can avail high value discounts for movies, theme park, restaurants, shows, concerts, and much more.

Unfold the means to amusement for leisure

You also have the advantage of amusing yourself through recreation activities such as kayaking, camping, excursions, sightseeing, hiking and a lot more outdoor activities by not spending much as you usually have to. Getting the membership allows you to book the venue online at a great deal of discount. Moreover, for doing such activities, you won’t have to wait in long queues as you can easily print the confirmation slip. So, you can deduce that you don’t only save money but the time also. Isn’t it amazing for you? Doing all things of your likes and that too without any hassle or impacting your bank balance badly.

Therefore, when you can enjoy so much in every way be it traveling, shopping, hiking, biking, eating, or other activities why hold back yourself? So, don’t think so much, be a part of the membership club as soon as possible and get heavy discounts and reward points.

All-Inclusive Is Not For All Travelers

Located throughout the Caribbean, all-inclusive resorts lure visitors with affordable vacation packages. Encompassing airfare, lodging and onsite activities, these Caribbean beach resorts are enjoyed by families and couples hoping to relax in the sunshine. Yet, many visitors have left such all-inclusive resorts with a bitter taste in their mouths. If you – like many of the travelers disappointed by the inflexibility of all-inclusive resorts – want to establish your own itinerary, sample traditional Caribbean dining options and explore many different activities, these Caribbean beach resorts are simply not for you. Here’s why.

First, plenty of travelers have realized that many all-inclusive vacations come with certain strings attached. When examining all-inclusive packages on the internet, the fine print may reveal a startling number of contracts and other binding difficulties. Some all-inclusive resorts entice travelers with low-priced vacation packages, only to bombard their customers with sales pitches for timeshares.

It is often difficult to determine where an all-inclusive resort is located if you are unfamiliar with the area. While it may suit your fancy to spend your vacation outside of the Caribbean hotel zones, many travelers have been disappointed by the lack of activities available at many all-inclusive resorts. If you choose to leave your all-inclusive resort, you will have to pay for additional activities. When staying at smaller all-inclusive resorts with limited access to other tourist opportunities, your additional costs could very quickly surpass the money you saved upfront.

Many travelers have also complained about the lack of payment flexibility that comes with a stay at an all-inclusive resort. In addition to requiring large upfront payments, many all-inclusive resorts have tricky refund policies, making it difficult to change plans when necessary. This difficulty also applies to the charter flights that often accompany all-inclusive packages. For many, these troubles are compounded by the fact that travel days may be limited, forcing you to alter your desired timeframe for your Caribbean vacation.

Once you arrive at your Caribbean location, you might also be responsible for your own luggage and transportation to the resort. For the resorts that do offer shuttle service, the included transportation will most likely be limited to airport pickup and drop-off. For instance, if the resort is located in a secluded area, transportation to other locations will not be included in your package. Furthermore, consider the fact that many all-inclusive resorts are located much farther away from popular sites than average hotels and resorts. So, unless you care to spend your entire Caribbean vacation basking beside the same swimming pool, a nightly rental resort will put you much closer to the action.

While many criticize all-inclusive resorts for not contributing to local Caribbean economies – due in part to their distance from major cities and tourist areas – it can also be said that such packages prevent you from experiencing the unique culture of your destination. Since you decided to take a Caribbean vacation, you probably want to get out of the hotel and see what the Caribbean has to offer. Yet, all-inclusive resorts anticipate their guests spending most of their time at the resorts, locations that are often devoid of any local cuisine or custom.

Another important thing to consider regarding all-inclusive resorts is that tipping is usually expected, even at some resorts that advertise tipping as unnecessary. Many travelers have found themselves in uncomfortable positions, receiving sub-par service at all-inclusive resorts as a result of such misunderstandings.

When planning your Caribbean vacation, think about what kind of traveler you are and what you want to accomplish. Do you want to set your own agenda, enjoy diverse Caribbean dining options and engage in truly unique activities? Or would you rather relax at a resort, forget your troubles and soak up the sun? While families and couples on strict budgets might enjoy all-inclusive resorts, any adventurous traveler will relish the freedom of planning their own Caribbean vacation.

20 Safety Tips for Budget Travelers

1) When taking taxis from an airport to your hotel, travel in the more expensive airport taxis and ensure that the drivers have official identification. Never take a taxi waiting outside the airport grounds.

I know this sounds extreme, but it is by far better to be safe than sorry.

2) When traveling from your hotel to the airport, go by a taxi recommended by the hotel.

Again, taxi’s can be very dangerous. I can’t express that enough.

3) Try not to arrive in a new city or town late at night.

This can just go wrong in a number of ways. It is much easier getting checked in during the day time and security at night in certain areas is just horrendous.

4) Travel in a group if possible.

Since when is traveling in numbers not a good idea?

5) Learn the basics in the local language before you arrive. Don’t expect that people will speak English.

English is becoming more widely spoken these days, but you want to be sure. You should always check on these things before your arrival.

6) Keep your valuables hidden.

A money belt is great if it is an option that you willing to look into. There are many different styles of money belt. One of the most popular is an “over the shoulder” style wallet on a strap that you were underneath your top. This makes it very difficult for a thief to make off with your valuables.

7) Avoid going on your own to remote areas/ruins where the tourist would be expected to go. Seek local advice or take a guide.

8) Read the guidebooks and talk with other tourists to find out which areas are best avoided.

9) When leaving discos late at night take a taxi home no matter how close your hostel is. Outside most discos, you’ll find a street vendor selling cigarettes. Usually, these people know all the taxi drivers and can recommend a safe one.

10) When arriving in a new town, keep to your original plan and stay in the hostel that you have decided on. Don’t let the taxi driver persuade you that your hostel is fully booked and that he knows a cheaper and better one. He’ll be working on commission and the hostel probably won’t be in a safe part of town.

11) Even better, when arriving lane/train in a new city, try to reserve your hotel in advance, preferably with a hotel that has an airport/station collection service.

12) Don’t wear expensive looking jewelry.

13) On public transport have your day pack close to you at all times, preferably with the straps around your legs or padlocked to the luggage rack. On buses, your backpack will normally go outside, either on top of the roof or in the external luggage compartments. On long-distance buses ask for a receipt for your bags. On short rides just keep a careful eye out each time the bus stops to off-load bags. In the event of having your bags stolen, stay with the bus – you will probably require a declaration from the bus company accepting responsibility for the loss in order to claim any money from your insurance company.

14) Leave your valuables in your hotel safe when making day trips or longer tours. Obtain a receipt not just for your money belt/wallet etc. but for its contents, with each item listed.

15) If you have to leave your passport and credits cards together, place the credit card in a sealed envelope and sign your name across the flap. This way when you return you will know that nothing has been tampered with.

16) If planning on going to market areas, crowded streets, fiestas etc. don’t go with all your valuables. Leave them in the hotel. If you’re planning on buying something expensive keep your money safely in a money belt. Try to be discreet when opening it! To protect small change in your pockets you can stuff a handkerchief in after.

17) If the pavements are really crowded, especially in market areas, walk in the road.

18) If you suspect someone is following you, stop and stare them in the eye until they go. If you really get a bad feeling about a place, go with your first instincts and leave. Bag slashing is rare nowadays but for added safety, you can wear your day pack on your chest.

19) If it’s on your back try to walk without stopping. If you need to stop, sway your pack gently from side to side so that you can feel if anyone is tampering with it.

20) When putting your bag down on the floor, to take a photo or just to sit in a café, remember to put your foot through the strap. Not only will it be impossible to snatch, but you also won’t forget it! This is the most common type of theft – tourists forgetting bags in cafes and on returning to ask if anyone has seen it, you’ve guessed it, it’s gone.

Article was provided by https://www.hotelsetc.com 

Cutting Costs For Your Travel Business

In order for your travel business to be profitable, your revenue must exceed your expenses. A way that you can begin to increase your revenue is to look for ways to lower your expenses.

Look over your current expenses and place them in one of two groups: one are expenses you cannot do without (like utilities, Internet access, etc), the other is for expenses you may be able to lower or eliminate. Here are tips to help you with your costs.

Travel and Fun

The areas where many home businesses can begin to whittle down expenses are with travel and fun. For example lower the cost of holiday purchases by purchasing less expensive but better gifts like engraved or logo stenciled marketing tools that also cross-promote your business: not pads, stickie pads, pencils and pens, magnets, etc. And discuss travel perks, packages, discounts and coupons with your local travel agent or an online agent who has great packages or plans to offer you.

Needed Expenses

Annually take a look at your monthly and other regular expenses like utilities, office meeting space, Internet access, etc. Take at least one to three days total and comparison shop all of them for better rates and packages to service yours in more efficient financial ways.

Also, seek ways to cut back on using so much; using too many utilities like power for all the computers, phones and other gadgets that may be able to be turned off in the night time to save on energy bills. Lower your heating and air conditioning, too.

And recycle where you can. Use the back sides of printed papers for note taking and daily phone notes and calculations that can be keyed into the computer later.

Buy in Bulk

Another good way to save on your travel business expenses is to buy in bulk – either taming up with another entity, a neighbor who also has a home-based business, or working via a wholesaler. When you cut out any middle people – like drop ship coordinators and retailers, you can help lower your expenses.

Also, try to use what you have. See about revising what you have on hand or learning how to re-package it with something else – like upgrading old software instead of buying new.

To cut your travel expense down be sure to find a reputable travel membership that can save you a ton of money.

In summary, it is all too easy for business expenses to spend. Watch your costs and cut what you can!