Monthly Archives: November 2016

Best Tips for Easier Business Travel

Traveling for business isn’t always easy. Sleeping on planes, packing constantly for trips and staying glued to your mobile device can derail your routine and make you grumpy.

Keeping a positive attitude is the first step to a stress-free travel experience. And acknowledge helpful staff. Travelers have a better chance at getting upgrades, itinerary changes and extraordinary service when they ask politely and maintain happy demeanors.

“When there are problems with the flight, most people start out annoyed or even hostile. If I tell the agents what a great job they’re doing and how I admire their patience, they’ll often go to extraordinary lengths for me,” says motivational speaker Barry Maher. “I once had a gate agent spend 45 minutes to get me rebooked on another airline. Then she called the gate, grabbed one of my carry-ons and ran with me to security. When I got to the gate, the agent bumped me into first class.”

Kindness isn’t the only way to minimize inconveniences and maximize your productivity while traveling. Here are a few practical ways to make traveling for business easier:

– Limit Luggage to a Carry-on
Travel is stressful when you’re worried about lost luggage or being late to a meeting, says Barbara DesChamps, author of It’s In The Bag: The Complete Guide to Lightweight Travel. Bring only a carry-on, check in for your flight online and go straight to security at the airport. If you don’t check baggage, you won’t have to wait for it when you land.

– Use Technology to Plan Ahead
Check out Seatguru.com to view your airplane’s seating plan in advance, including information about limited recline or legroom seats and in-seat power ports. Find out where galleys, lavatories and exit rows are, and request a seat change that makes working or relaxing easier.

Instead of calling around to restaurants at your destination, make reservations at OpenTable.com, of which 20,000 restaurants worldwide are members.

Bring a GPS with pre-loaded maps of your destination to make driving your rental car in a new place easier, says Maria K. Todd, CEO of Mercury Healthcare.

– Join a Rewards Program and Stick With It
If staff notices you frequently patronize their airline, rental-car company or hotel, they are more likely to help you, says Maria Perez, marketing manager of airfare search engine Fly.com.

Members of rewards and loyalty programs often receive early boarding on flights, priority hotel room, first-class upgrades and “all-around better treatment,” Perez says.

Some rental-car companies deliver rental cars to rewards program members personally, while less frequent customers must shuttle to the company’s facility to retrieve their rental,

– Dress Well
People get much better service when they dress well and appear wealthier, says DesChamps. Wearing an outfit that doubles as presentation attire while traveling is also wise in case your baggage is lost or you are late, says Melissa C. Gillespie, partner at Innova Communications. That way, you’re not stuck in jeans for a big meeting.

– Keep a Bag Packed
Save time packing by keeping a carry-on suitcase packed with the minimal amount of clothing, shoes and accessories you need, including 3-ounce toiletries in a Ziploc bag. Trade bulky laptops for thinner laptops and tablets such as a MacBook Air or an iPad. Replace hardcovers with eBooks. If you must bring a coat or bulky shoes, wear them on the plane to avoid taking up space in your luggage.

– Keep Customer-Service Numbers Stored in Your Phone
Keeping customer-service numbers handy offers quicker access to the right people if a flight is cancelled or you need to change a hotel or car reservation, rather than waiting in line once you’re there.

Some Places To Ski Every Month Of The Year

Not all travellers rejoice at the spring thaw. For skiers and snowboarders, springtime heralds long months deprived of mountaintop thrills, scowling at the sun while cherished skiing gear gathers dust.

But why be a slave to the seasons? From Scandinavia to New South Wales, here are our dream destinations to pursue an eternal winter.

January: Salt Lake City, USA
Skiers and boarders discuss Utah’s voluminous powder snow in rapt whispers. State license plates have bragged about ‘the greatest snow on Earth’ since 1985. The hype is well-founded: few North American winter sports hubs enjoy as much snowfall – around 550 inches per season – as the four main resorts clustered around Salt Lake City. Dry and cold weather gives the snow a buoyant quality, ideal for off-piste antics (and a very soft landing). Skiers will revel in the breathtaking views around Alta, while the top pick for snowboarders is vast Snowbird. Meanwhile, wide-open Solitude has a web of challenging black (advanced) runs.
February: Hokkaido, Japan
In Hokkaido, cathedrals of ice and snowy beasts aren’t hallucinations induced by too much sake. Each February, sub-zero sculptures are unveiled at Sapporo Snow Festival. On the mountains, nature crafts its own surreal display: juhyo (snow monsters), formed when trees are blasted with snow and ice, are at their most impressive in February. Ski past battalions of juhyo at crowd-pleasing resort Sapporo Kokusai (sapporo-kokusai.jp), one hour’s drive west of Sapporo city, or thunder across legendary backcountry (if you’re a pro). Still yearning to face-plant in fluffy snow? Continue southwest to powder capital, Niseko.
March: Whistler, Canada
While dreaded spring melt creeps into resorts across Europe and North America, skiers in British Columbia continue merrily on the mountains. Eight-thousand-acre Whistler-Blackcomb (whistlerblackcomb.com) groans under 12m of snowfall each year, so it’s still at its prime in March. More than 200 well-preened pistes wend across the two mountains, with a mile of skiable vertical that dwarfs other North American resorts. To leave fresh tracks in pristine backcountry snow, grab some avalanche gear and a local guide to explore the lonely snowfields of Garibaldi Provincial Park.
April: Obertauern, Austria
Think quaint chalets and pillowy snow are for wimps? Winter travellers who crave wild, windswept terrain should head to Obertauern (obertauern.com), 90km south of Salzburg. From its dizziest heights, around 2350m, you can survey the towering Austrian Alps as you zoom across 100km of pistes – just bring a balaclava to fend off the biting winds. Obertauern was one of the filming locations for Help!, should that inspire you to belt out Beatles tunes from the bubble lift.
May: Riksgränsen, Sweden
Hiding 200km above the Arctic Circle is Sweden’s northernmost ski resort, Riksgränsen. The ski area’s vertical drop, at under 400 metres, doesn’t compete with other European resorts. But expansive off-piste trails, winding among cloudlike snow drifts and frost-rimmed forests, more than compensate. Mix it up by snowshoe trekking around Lake Vassijaure or commanding a fleet of sled dogs, and watch professional shredders in Scandinavia’s Big Mountain Championships (bigmountain.se). At the end of May, when the sun barely touches the horizon, you’ll need steely willpower to hang up your skis and sleep.
June: Cardrona, New Zealand
While Europeans and North Americans mournfully shelve their gear, New Zealanders are busy waxing their skis. Cardrona, whose winter season kicks off in mid-June, is nestled prettily in the Southern Alps. Half of its 345-hectare pisted area suits novice and intermediate levels, while seasoned snowheads can somersault around the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest half-pipe and park facilities. Just 20km south, Cardrona Distillery is the perfect place to stock up on après-ski fuel.
July: Las Leñas, Argentina
Luxury is best served with a sprinkling of powder snow. Premium ski resort Las Leñas gleams out from the Argentinian stretch of the mighty Andes mountain range. Its slopes climb from 2200m to a vertiginous 3400m, so start slowly to avoid altitude sickness – there’s no more enjoyable way to adjust than in a lavish spa hotel (Hotel Virgo, virgohotel.com.ar, is the fanciest). Best of all, you’re in Mendoza wine country, where aprѐs-ski involves swishing an inky Malbec around your glass while eyeing a steak menu.
August: Perisher Valley, Australia
Dispel images of foaming surf and fan-shaped opera houses. New South Wales is home to a small but hardy community of skiers, who make an annual pilgrimage to Perisher, the southern hemisphere’s biggest ski resort. A valley carved among Australia’s Snowy Mountains, Perisher’s altitude (and more than 200 snowmaking machines) ensure it’s blanketed in the white stuff each August. Snowboard or ski across its 1200 hectares, or clamp on some snowshoes to roam the scenic Rock Creek track.
September: Corralco, Chile
Compared to busier ski hubs towards Santiago, this friendly resort on the southern slopes of 2865m-high Lonquimay is blissfully low-key. After the stormy first half of the ski season, August and September in Corralco have bluer skies and fewer crowds. Its 1800 hectares of snow-lashed terrain are superb for newbie or intermediate skiers and boarders. Only 10km southwest of the resort, the natural hot springs in Malalcahuello beckon to sore limbs.
October: Whakapapa, New Zealand
Fancy snowboarding on an active volcano? Of course you do. Splayed across the northwestern slopes of Mt Ruapehu, Whakapapa is superb for groups of mixed ability. There’s a huge area dedicated to learners called Happy Valley, as well as 24 steep ‘Black Magic’ runs for advanced boarders, skiing pros, or show-offs with robust travel insurance. It forms New Zealand’s biggest ski area together with sister resort Turoa, which boasts the country’s loftiest chair lift, the Highnoon Express – don’t look down.
November: Ruka, Finland
Southern hemisphere resorts shutter their chalets, northern ones wait anxiously for snowfall – November is the cruellest month for skiers. Luckily far northern Ruka, a frosty fell in eastern Finland, has 200 days of snow per year, plus snowmaking machines to keep the hills downy and white. Most thrilling are Ruka’s 500km of cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails, threading among forests and frozen lakes. During night skiing sessions every Friday, you might even see the pistes glow green under the Northern Lights

Information About Pet Travel Tips

If you can’t bear to leave your four-legged family members at home, bring them along for a pet-friendly vacation. Here are our top tips for traveling with pets.

Fly the Pet-Friendly Skies
Flying with your pet is actually a lot easier than it sounds as most airlines are quite animal-friendly. However, each airline has its own set of regulations’ find out about these before you book a flight to ensure you’ll be in compliance with all regulations.

Most airlines extend 2 options to furry friends–carry-on or checked. You may already have a favorite pet carrier, but check with the airline to be sure it meets specific regulations. Guidelines for pet carriers vary depending on how your cat or dog will be flying. Small pets may come aboard as carry-on luggage in a hard or soft carrier and must be stored under the seat for the duration of the flight. Larger pets that will be checked to travel in cargo must fly in a non-collapsible carrier with an ample supply of water. In most cases, the weight of the animal and the carrier must not exceed 100 pounds.

Hit the Road
If you’re looking to travel by train or bus, you’re probably out of luck. Most national carriers do not permit animals, other than service pets, on board. That limits you to your car if you’re hoping to hit the open road. Car travel is more convenient because you can set your own schedule and have your furry friend nearby for the duration of the trip. There are some safety tips to consider.

Don’t let your dog or cat ride in your lap in the front seat. Let them find a comfortable and safe spot in a back seat or keep your pet in a carrier to prevent them from roaming around the car and distracting you while driving.

Talk to your vet before you embark on your trip to determine the best way to handle your dog or cat’s anxiety on the road. If your pet gets anxious in the car, your vet may recommend sedatives to ease their nerves and reduce car sickness. Pets can get sick on the road just like human passengers, but negotiating the barf bag is a bit trickier.

Plan for plenty of pit stops along the way for fresh air and bathroom breaks. When it’s time for you to hit the rest stop, leave the window open a crack for ventilation and avoid leaving your pet in the car unattended for an extended amount of time. Extreme weather can be dangerous for animals.

Home Away From Home
As more travelers set off on adventures with their pets, the hotel industry has responded with many pet-friendly options. High-end hotel chains, including the Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton, boutique hotels, like those in the Kimpton Group, and budget hotels, including Red Roof Inn and LaQuinta, all have pet-friendly properties. Check with individual hotels or on websites that consolidate information on pet-friendly lodging, like petswelcome.com. Check with the hotel about pet policies before checking in, and be prepared to pay an additional fee to bed down with your pet at night.

Whether you’re renting a beach house or a mountainside ski chalet, don’t assume Fluffy is welcome without checking first. Some rentals have strict policies on pets, but many welcome animals for a fee. Websites like pettravel.com and HomeAway provide listings for animal-friendly rentals around the world.

Finally, prepare for medical emergencies before you encounter any. Before you leave for your trip, research emergency vet clinics at your destination in case you require an unexpected trip to the animal doctor.