Planning Your Next Trip

Aren’t we always longing for a vacation? Idyllic days, blissful sleepy nights, and a non-existent work life. Simply dreaming about a vacation like this can brighten a dreary day in office.

However, there are several people out there who quiver at the very thought of leaving their cul-de-sac. Anxiety brought upon by the prospect of travel is a disorder that plagues a sizable chunk of the population. The degrees of despair may vary, however, what remains common is the abhorrence for either the journey, or the idea of having a change of scenery. Whether for work or for pleasure, travel becomes a drudgery that needs to be avoided at all costs.

Travel anxiety as a disorder is something many choose to live with, just because it may be possible for them. However, avoiding it altogether is not something to be recommended. Instead, making attempts to get over this fear can give an unmatched sense of accomplishment to the individual, and raise his/her level of confidence.
Tips to Deal With Travel Anxiety
Listed below are a few tips that may come to your aid the next time you set out on a journey. So, take a deep breath, let the calmness take over, and begin reading…

As someone suffering from travel anxiety, it is very easy to keep postponing your travel plans with whatever excuses you can muster up. You can pretend to be ill, or even go underground, but remember that you are simply letting your fear overpower you and live rent-free in your mind forever.
terrified passenger on plane
So what can I do?
Firstly, stop thinking of travel in a negative sense. The more you delay it, the further your fears multiply. Why build up a sky scraper of fears, when you can just go where ever you have to, and be done with it? Easier said than done, right?
worried anxious man
Wrong. To begin with, you just have to picture the impending trip in your head. Imagine that you’re packing, taking the transport, living away from home, and eventually coming back. Keep focusing on how important your trip is, and how you will benefit from it. Remove all negative associations with travel.

How to Plan a Trip to Australia

While planning an international trip, many people are under the misconception that it is a difficult task and they can’t carry it on their own. In fact, when you follow the correct path and learn about how the entire process works, you can travel anywhere across the world, without any inhibitions. Same can be said about getting your Australian travel plans in motion. Of course, there are certain crucial details that should be taken care of, but that’s the fun part of it. Learning the process of how an international trip is carried out is educational and exciting. So if you are ready to travel to Australia (and that too with little glitches on the way), keep reading this article.

Planning a Fantastic Vacation to Australia

It is needless to say that you want to learn how to plan a successful trip to Australia, and that too with as little to do as possible. Am I right? Well, in order to get started, there are certain practical requirements that every international travel includes – visa, customs, flight and hotel reservations, driver’s license, traveling inside Australia (deciding which places to visit), money exchange, and shopping. All these things need to be taken into consideration before you travel to Australia. Keeping all this in mind, we have put together a “must go through” list and necessary paperwork to complete.

✔ Australian Visa
No visa… no travel. Everyone has to have a visa for whichever country they are willing to travel to; and the same goes for Australia. Although, if you are a New Zealand citizen, you can enter Australia and get the visa at the time of your arrival (at the airport). For other countries’ passport holders, you will have to apply for an Australian visa before you leave your respective countries. There are different types of visas available, but since you are traveling to Australia in terms of vacationing, you need to apply for a tourist visa. To apply for the visa, visit your closest Australian Consulate, and complete the formalities as per the Australian government’s visa and immigration rules and regulations.

✔ Customs Rules and Regulations
As per Australian government’s customs laws, when entering the country, you are not permitted to bring weapons, illegal firearms, steroids, illegal drugs, perishable items (certain food items), and protected wildlife. There is no limit on the amount of cash you are allowed to bring into the country, but if the amount is equal to or over AU $10,000, you will need to declare it. For other details, you can talk to your travel agent.

✔ Flight Reservation
There are various airlines that fly to Australia at an affordable price range. However, if you are planning a vacation, you should go through a travel agent that can help you with your itinerary. Depending on the number of people traveling, you can customize your vacation plans as per your requirement, and spend as many days as you like in Australia. Begin by finding the toll free number to contact a travel agent.

Now you have two options for traveling to and around the country – traditional way (flight, hotel, car, etc.) and cruise. Either you book flights and do all the normal things other tourists do, or you can opt for an Australian cruise package for a completely different experience.

✔ Travel Insurance
For international travel plans, it is recommended that tourists take out a travel insurance policy so that they are safe from theft, accidents, and medical issues, while on the trip. Now since Australia is known for its adventurous spots, you should make sure that your insurance policy covers it all.

✔ Driver’s License
In Australia, they drive on the left side of the road. So if you are used to driving on the right side of the road, perhaps you should think twice before driving, when in Australia. Plus, you need to make sure if your current license from the country of residence is valid or not. You should be aware of the traffic rules and regulations as well.

✔ Weather Conditions
Depending on which time of the year you will be traveling, go over the weather and climate conditions. This will help you while packing for your trip, as you don’t want to carry extra clothing and items if you’re not going to need them. Pack as light as you can, and do take essential items that suit the weather in Australia, and be safe.

Planning a Family Vacation

Grand Canyon with its beautiful rock formations and the deep blue Colorado river is considered to be a natural wonder. With extensive opportunities to explore the Canyon all round the year, it is nature lover’s paradise. However, there are certain suggestions that need to be considered before you embark on your journey. This Buzzle article will help you plan a hindrance-free Grand Canyon family vacation.

Planning the Vacation

Planning the Route
Grand Canyon can be ascended from three sides, viz. the southern rim, the northern rim and the western side. The northern rim is a lot steeper and popular with explorers, hikers, young couples and all those who value tranquility. While the southern rim is popular for family vacations. You might want to view the Canyons from the southern rim if you are not a very good hiker or have young children with you.

Hotel Bookings
Grand Canyon is full of activity all round the year. Summers happen to be the peak visiting time while winters might be slack and a bit more peaceful. However, if you want to spend at least a couple of days in the Grand Canyon area, then you might have to get a confirmed hotel reservation at least 6 months prior to your actual visit. The Grand Canyons have approximately 6 hotels at their southern rim and just 1 hotel at the northern rim. If these are booked, then you may have to choose options like tents or book a hotel room at places near Grand Canyons. Before you are set to leave on the trip, care to confirm the bookings once again. If you happen to plan the vacation in winter, then you can expect some discounts from hotel owners.

Traveling to Grand Canyon
The two nearest city airports to Grand Canyon are the ones located at Las Vegas and Phoenix. From there, you might opt to rent a car and drive to the destination or opt for commuter flights up to Flagstaff or Page in Arizona State. When traveling by air, book your tickets well in advance to avoid any last-minute disappointments. Also, get a second confirmation of your tickets a week prior to your visit. Alternately, you might opt for driving down all the way up to Grand Canyon in your own car.

Places to Visit in Grand Canyon
While traveling to the Grand Canyon national park, there are some amazing sites that you just can’t afford to miss. Here is a list of places to visit and things to do in Grand Canyon:

The Grand Canyon sky walk
Lake Powell
Sedona
Hoover dam
Paria Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Desert view watch tower
Monument Valley
Zion

Other fun activities include white water rafting, hiking, grand canyon mule rides, train tours, ranger guided activities, jeep safaris and grand canyon helicopter rides. There are a number of private helicopter services that offer family rides on their choppers. You may expect some spectacular views of the grand canyon at a price of approximately $200 to $500 per passenger. The duration of the ride can be anything between 2 to 5 hours depending upon the number of stopovers included in the schedule.

Some Traveling Hints

Dress as casually as possible. Use some light shaded cotton clothing as they are really comfortable.
Opt for some smart and sturdy footwear that will give a good grip while hiking in the rocky terrain.
Make sure to carry along a broad rimmed hat and a good pair of sunglasses. For those who wear contact lenses while at home or at work, it is suggested that they use their spectacles instead. If possible, get your optician to spray a layer of UV resistant solution on the glass surface.
Carry plenty of drinking water as the excursion can be really stressful and dehydrating.
Carry plenty of fragrant wet wipes to cool yourself throughout the journey.
There are no artificial lighting along the excursion paths of Grand Canyon. If you happen to start your descent when it starts getting dark, it is always better to carry minimum two portable torches or a headlamp with you that will make your descent easy.
Carry a first aid box as a safety precaution to treat some unforeseen injuries.
Do not forget to carry your favorite sunscreen lotion, moisturizer, lip gel and hair conditioner along with you.
Care to carry a good map and a satellite phone when traveling.
Carry a complete set of your vacation dossier with you throughout the journey. It should ideally include all your plane tickets, printouts of your booking confirmations, hotel addresses and contact numbers, travel insurance documents and your itinerary.
Carry a good digital camera to click or videotape some memorable and breathtaking shots.

Travel Agent Salary

It is said that you can learn more by traveling a mile than reading 100 pages of a book. Today, we have many travel agents who assist in planning our trips for just a small commission. How much do they get? Is it a lucrative career option? Read through this article to know more about this career.
There are a variety of travel agents who offer specialized services in air, sea, and rail travel. Their salary depends on a lot of variables, like their area of expertise, services that they offer, the employer, and work location.

Pay Range

Travel agents are employed by travel agencies, airlines, tour operators, cruise lines, and more. A recent survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that their average salary ranges from USD 29,000 to USD 45,000. The table presented here provides statistics based on the years of experience and the expected salary range.

Experience Pay Range
Less than 1 year USD 20,000 to 38,000
1 to 4 years USD 24,000 to 38,000
5 to 9 years USD 29,000 to 42,000
10 to 19 years USD 30,000 to 42,000
20 or more years USD 31,000 to 46,000

Some of the top paying states:
Washington, Virginia, Tennessee, New Hampshire – USD 36,000 to USD 39,000.

Some of the top paying metropolitan areas:
Durham (NC), Birmingham-Hoover (AL), Bremerton-Silverdale (WA), Memphis (TN) – USD 43,000 to USD 53,000.

Since there are a variety of services offered by travel agencies, an agent has to perform a multitude of tasks, and this ability to multitask plays an important role in deciding the salary. There are many variable components such as the size of the organization, services offered, clients catered to, and the location of the business.

Job Description

A travel agent acts like an auxiliary for people who wish to travel, either for business or pleasure. Nowadays, there are many service providers available at the traveler’s disposal, and it becomes very confusing for them to make the right choice. These professionals will help you make the right choice by booking tickets and arranging accommodation which are best suited to your requirement and budget. There are those who offer specialized services to business travelers, and special packages to people traveling for pleasure. Some even specialize in package tours to certain destinations. They have to handle a large volume of clients during holiday seasons like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the spring break. Due to the nature of their work, they have to deal with a variety of people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, as well as people with different nationalities and preferences. They need to plan a client’s itinerary, in addition to arranging facilities like accommodation and car rentals.

Requirements

An aspirant needs to have at least a high school diploma. However, most employers prefer candidates with some formal training or certification in the travel domain. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in travel and tourism can drastically improve your job prospects. Some of the colleges that offer online bachelor’s degrees are Kaplan University, Phoenix University, Ashworth College, etc. Students who have completed their undergraduate programs can opt for a master’s degree from colleges like Walden University, Grand Canyon University, etc. There are also many vocational courses offered by schools and community colleges, which impart knowledge about geography, marketing, ticketing forms and procedures, and other related aspects. Also, most employers provide on-the-job training on computer systems used in the airline industry.

A job as a travel agent can be a very promising career option. Besides the remuneration, they also gain a lot of knowledge about different parts of the world. Traveling has not only become faster, but more affordable as well, encouraging more and more people to travel. This will lead to more job opportunities for such professionals in the future.

Airline Ticket Brokers

Airline ticket brokers can be a one-stop source for booking international and domestic flights. Read the following article to find some useful information regarding the same.
Thanks to the extensive and infinite universe of the World Wide Web that has changed our life, no longer are consumers required to stand in a long line or make long calls for booking sports passes, movie tickets, or most importantly, flight tickets. Introduction of online selling of tickets has made life easier for the common man. While airline firms have websites dedicated to such online bookings, in some situations even airline ticket brokers can come to our rescue. These individuals (for instance, travel agents) often provide cheap deals to consumers.

They can help you with your numerous travel plans and provide you detailed information about flight timings, stopovers, and help you plan vacations way ahead of the actual day on which you are traveling. So, in case you want effective planning for traveling in high-demand seasons or while traveling by low-cost airlines, you can take the help of one.

Overview

Some of the most popular airline ticket booking sites such as Priceline, Travelocity, and Expedia provide great facilities to consumers, in order to make it possible for them to purchase tickets online. In fact, besides them, several brokers are also popular as airline consolidators; these are generally companies (or individuals) that buy international tickets directly from the airlines after negotiating on the price, and then they sell them to travelers at cheap prices. Sometimes, these prices can be as low as 70% of their original costs.

These cheap airfare brokers can be groups of individuals or companies. The airline companies provide contracts and ‘selling tickets rights’ to those who have displayed a phenomenal performance in selling them in bulk. Why do these companies sell tickets to them? Well, when such a company is not performing well and is unable to sell them on their airlines, they use the strategy of selling the remaining ones to them at generously discounted costs.

Airlines may sell the tickets in bulk, or they may offer discounted prices to the concerned broker agency. These brokers or travel agents sell them to the general public by adopting marketing strategies. Many of them have dedicated websites for reselling tickets on cheap prices. Most consolidator air tickets are for international flights, but you may also find the ones for domestic flights. While airline consolidators may have more restrictions, where their ticket-selling procedures are concerned, purchasing one from them is as safe as buying them from other travel websites.

Reviews

There are various corporations in the US that specialize in airline ticket brokerage. An overview of these is provided below:

Air Brokers International, Inc.
Founded in 1987, in California USA, it provides consolidator airfares for world travel and also sells discounted tickets for business as well as economy class fares.

Travel HUB
Check out the official website of this firm, which helps you in getting dirt-cheap flights. TravelHUB offers cheap international and domestic flights. It can help in your attempts at a cheaper rate.

BizTravel Brokers
With personalized account management and premium global customer services, Biztravel provides cheap airfare deals for flights to almost all major countries.

In the recent years, almost all brokers who exist online provide numerous options for payments. Moreover, once you have booked the tickets, you can easily get the itinerary either on email or regular mail as per your preference. You are allowed to pay using the following methods:

Credit Cards of all types
Cashier’s Checks
Money Orders
Wire Transfer Facilities
Cash

An individual trying to book cheap airline tickets must ensure that he or she provides correct contact information like email ID, address, and contact details, so that these can be mailed or delivered in time without any mismanagement.

How Does Sound Travel

When sound waves travel through a medium, the particles of the medium vibrate. Vibrations reach the ear and then the brain which senses them and we recognize sound. Read on for an explanation of how sound travels.
Sound is a series of compression and rarefraction waves that can travel long distances. It is produced by the vibration of the particles present in its medium; a medium is the material through which sound can travel. Presence of a medium is a must for the movement of sound waves. There are various types of medium through which sound waves can move like solids, liquids, gases, plasma, etc. Sound cannot travel through vacuum.

Characteristics of Sound Waves

The speed and the physical characteristics of sound largely varies with the change in its ambient conditions. The speed of sound depends on the density of the medium though which it is traveling. If its density is quite high, then sound would travel at a faster pace. When sound travels through gaseous medium, its speed varies with respect to changes in temperature.

The frequency of sound waves is nothing but the total number of vibrations that have been produced. The length of sound waves vary according to its frequency. Sound waves with long wavelengths have low frequency or low pitch; and those with short wavelengths have high frequency or high pitch. Our ears are capable of hearing only those sound waves which lie in the range between 20 and 20,000 vibrations per second.

How do Sound Waves Travel?

Basically, there are three things that are required for the transmission of sound. They are: a source that can transmit the sound, a medium through which sound can pass (like, water, air, etc.), and the receiver or the detector which receives the sound. The traveling process of sound has been explained below.

Creation of Sound
When a physical object moves in air, it causes vibrations which leads to formation of a series of compression waves in the air. These waves travel in the form of sound. For instance, when we strum the strings of a guitar or hit the head of a drum, the to-and-fro motion of the strings or the drum head creates compression waves of sound in the surrounding air. Similarly, when we speak, our vocal cords vibrate and the sound is created. This type of vibration occurs not just in atmospheric air but in other mediums like, solids and liquids as well. For instance, when a train is moving on a railroad made up of steel, the sound waves thus produced travel via these tracks.

At room temperature, sound travels through air with a speed of 343 m/s, through water at 1,482 m/s, and through steel at 5,960 m/s. As you can see, sound waves travel in a gaseous medium at a slow pace because its molecules are loosely bound and have to cover a long distance to collide with another molecule. In solid medium, the atoms are so closely packed that the vibration is readily transmitted to the neighboring atoms, and sound travels quite fast. In liquid medium, the bonding between the component particles are not as strong as in solids. Therefore, the sound waves move through it at a less speed as compared to solid.

Detection of Sound
When the sound waves hit the receiver, it causes some vibration in that object. The detector captures just a part of the energy from the moving sound wave. This energy of vibration is then converted to electrical signals. Thus, when the sound waves reach our ears, the eardrum present inside it vibrates. This vibration reaches our inner ear and is converted into nerve signals. As a result, we can hear the sound. Devices like microphone can detect sound. The sound waves create vibrations in its membrane which forms electrical signals that gets amplified and recorded.

So, how does sound travel? Vibration of an object causes vibrations of the same frequency in the surrounding medium. The vibrations are sent to the inner ear. After the auditory nerve picks up these vibrations, electrical signals are sent to the brain where the vibrations are recognized as sound.

Visiting Korea Travel

People usually think of Korea in terms of fear of war, and a bizarre, mad dictator that runs the northern half of the peninsula. But as a tourist destination, Korea has a lot to offer. So ignore the hype, and pay a visit to ‘The Land of the Morning Calm’
When I tell people I live in South Korea, it is not uncommon for the response to be something like, “Sounds dangerous,” or “Isn’t it scary to live there?” Maybe it’s the thousands of artillery pieces aimed in my general direction, or the million hostile soldiers a stone’s throw away from where I live, that would make people think I am living under the constant fear of a war breaking out at any moment. But the truth is, after living here for three years, there isn’t anything much scary about this country, aside from cultural differences that still surprise me from time to time. Sure, war could break out here. On the same token, Russia could suddenly decide to launch a hundred nukes at the United States. Chances are, neither is going to happen any time soon. Life in South Korea is like life in most countries: people go to work, go to school, get married and have kids, drive cars, play sports, and everything in between.

That I so often receive a reaction of surprise belies how little most people know about Korea, and how much Korea gets overshadowed by its more powerful and prominent neighbors. Sandwiched between China and Japan, two political and economic powerhouses, and in the same area as Thailand, an exotic vacation getaway, Korea is easily overlooked and dismissed as a small country of little consequence.

However, population-wise, Korea is anything but small. South Korea, with a population of more than 49 million, is larger than Poland, Spain, Argentina, and South Africa. It has 1.5 times the population of Canada, and over twice the population of Australia. If you consider the peninsula as a whole―North and South Korea&38213;Koreans number more than the populations of the United Kingdom, Italy, or France, and have a population only slightly smaller than that of Germany. With the 13th largest economy in the world, South Korea is a legitimate economic power.

Traveling to Korea will differ greatly depending on which side one visits; although North Korea is one of the most insular nations in the world, it is possible to visit on organized tours. Companies such as the Koryo Group, a company based in the United Kingdom, take tour groups to various places in the North.

Most travelers who want to experience Korea, however, will visit South Korea. Unlike its northern brother, South Korea has experienced rapid economic growth since the late 1970s, in what is often referred to as ‘the Miracle on the Han River’, an allusion to the major river that runs through the heart of Seoul, South Korea’s capital and home to ¼ of its people.

Because of South Korea’s rapid growth, it is a country that is somewhere between the modernity of the West and traditional East Asia. In any major Korean city, tourists can see high-rise apartment buildings, skyscrapers, subways, cellular phones (which are everywhere), new cars, brand name clothes, and virtually any other modern amenity one can think of. Contrasting that, however, are old men pulling hand carts stacked with newspaper and plastic, and in the countryside, farmers hand-picking crops and using agricultural techniques that look to be right out of the 19th century.

Visiting Korea, for citizens of most North American and European countries, does not require a visa for a stay of 30 days or less, although it is wise to check on the requirements for one’s specific country prior to coming. Most tourists will fly into Incheon International Airport. Open for business in 2001, Incheon International is one of the newest and most technologically advanced airports in Asia, and was recognized as the second-best airport in the world in 2005 by the International Airport Transport Association. Buses, costing on average 13,000 Korean won (approximately 13 US dollars) per ticket, run from the airport to all major hotels in Seoul. The buses are comfortable and modern, and have translations in English, Korean, and sometimes Japanese. The total ride from the airport to the capital is approximately 90 minutes, depending on traffic and the final destination within the city.

Finding western-style accommodation in Korea is not difficult in all major cities. Most prominent hotel chains, including the Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton, have a presence in Korea, and Korean hotels, such as the Lotte Hotel and the Shilla Hotel, provide comparable services and accommodations. Prices in the heart of major cities can be expensive, with luxury hotels costing $250+. Tourists with a more limited budget can expect to spend $100+ per night at most Korean three-star hotels, which are generally of good quality. Anything below that requires the cautionary Caveat Emptor. Most Korean hotels, even inexpensive ones, provide some form of wireless or wired Internet service. If not, travelers needing access can visit a ‘PC Bang’ or ‘PC Café’, which are ubiquitous.

All tourists should eat a few meals at a traditional Korean restaurant. Most Korean cuisine can be summed up in one phrase: a whole bunch of junk thrown into a bowl with a liberal helping of red pepper. Korean food is almost always spicy, some prohibitively so for people not used to spicy food. Thankfully, however, there are some very tasty options for those who can’t eat spicy food.

Pulgogi, a dish made of stir-fried beef and vegetables, is a popular choice for foreigners. Sam Gip Sal and Kalbi are both dishes that match well with the western pallet, as they are essentially cuts of beef and pork that are fried in cookers installed in the middle of the table. Both of these dishes are often consumed with soju, a Korean liquor similar to vodka. Restaurants that serve these dishes are often nicknamed ‘beef and leaf’ by foreigners, due to the traditional Korean way of eating the meat, which is to wrap it in lettuce or sesame leaves along with red bean paste, rice, garlic, and kimchi, and anything else the individual wants to include.

Speaking of kimchi: no discussion of Korean food would be complete without a mention of this staple, signature dish. The most commonly recognized form of kimchi is made from cabbage, which is traditionally buried in clay pots in the ground with a mixture of red pepper and other spices. The cabbage then ferments, creating a spicy, pungent flavor. Although this is the most famous type of kimchi, there are, in fact, over 200 different kinds of kimchi, ranging from dried fish, to tofu, to crab, to bean sprouts (the COEX Mall in Seoul even has a museum dedicated to kimchi in its many forms). Kimchi is served with every Korean meal, and frequently in western restaurants as well, though sometimes only by request. Any tourist who visits a Korean restaurant will have the opportunity to try several kinds of kimchi.

Tourists who tire of or find it difficult to eat Korean food can easily find a McDonald’s, Burger King, or TGI Fridays in all major cities. There are also locally-owned restaurants and chains that serve western food, such as hamburgers and pizza. Coffee houses, including Starbucks and The Coffee Bean, are everywhere in Korea, for those worried about missing their caffeine fix.

For most tourists, visiting Korea should be a comfortable experience. As a modern country, Korea is equipped with all amenities, and Koreans are generally very friendly to foreign tourists. In most major cities and tourist areas, it is common to find instructions and menus written in English, if not English-speaking staff. There will be differences, but that is part of the experience of visiting a foreign country. Just a 2½ hour flight from Tokyo, and a 1½ hour flight from Beijing, Korea makes a great mid-point stop in any tour of Asia!

How to Open a Travel Agency

4Have you been working with the travel industry for some time and are now thinking of opening your own travel agency? Read the following article to gain an insight into some tips that would help you in starting this business.

The job of a travel agent is to interact with people and sell trips and holiday packages to them. If this sounds interesting and exciting to you, then you are fit for this role. You may be already working in such a company, but the thought of starting your own business may have crossed your mind several times. One can either rent a place to set it up or begin from his home itself. However, an important point to remember is that like any other business, starting a travel agency is not an easy task. It requires a lot of hard work and planning to run it successfully.

Before starting it, the most important thing to do is to research about the current market status, the options available to you, etc. The initial steps must be taken with great care and planning, as there have been many such agencies that had to be closed down because of wrong decisions from the beginning.

First and foremost, inquire about the laws that the government of your country has set for the travel industry in general. You will have to gain a suitable license to begin. It is also necessary to join a trade association, because only then you will be considered as a serious travel agent. As an independent service provider, you will have to work with a tour operator or host agency. Before selecting a tour operator, you have to research well about the various options you have, and choose the one that you think would be the best for you. One has to make his own decisions and policies for his agency, rather than relying on other agents because what may have worked for them may not work for everyone. If you have rented a place for this business, you will need some people to work for you. It would be beneficial to recruit people who have some experience in this field.

Advertising is very important for people to know about a new business. Initially, you may sell packages to your close friends and relatives. They would spread the word to others, and consequently over time, you will have good business coming in. You may not be able to give high discount rates to customers initially, but excellence in your service skills will help you to gain some loyal customers. To advertise this initiative, you can also give ads in newspapers, Internet, etc.

The income you earn from your agency comes from the commission you get from the holiday packages that you sell. You have to negotiate well with your tour operator for a good commission and also good discount rates on holiday packages for you and your staff. In the beginning, the income you receive may not be much, but as your business grows, so will your income.

If you are planning to start a home-based agency, you can also opt to become a referral agent. This job is much easier than that of the booking and selling agent because he only has to guide the customers to other travel agencies or tour operators. For this, he gets a commission from the tour operator, though it is not as much as that of the latter.

Before you begin your independent business, you must remember that you are responsible for every decision that you make. The success as well as failure of your agency solely depends on you.

Company Picnic to Adventure Plus

3Adventure was the keyword this time. We had planned an outing to Adventure Plus, one of the largest adventure sports park around and one of its kind. The date was finalized and we were all set to travel to our picnic destination – Adventure Plus.

The day began and ended… adventurously. And as I sat to pen down my observations of the day, I realized I didn’t have many! No observations this time; probably because there was much more involvement. It often so happens that you begin to observe things you can’t be part of. How can you observe something you are very much a part of? You cannot. Perhaps, something similar happened with me. I didn’t observe much. I was involved. Hence what follows is going to be an account of my involvement, not observation. Well, there were some instances when I came out of the picture to observe it.

Journey Begins
After that bit of deviation which is allowed, here I begin, an account of our company picnic to Adventure Plus. We started off at around 8.30 am (we were asked to report to office at 7.00 am, which none of us did). It took an hour for all of us to assemble in office and then began the adventure, the journey. A journey that promised fun. Our being together and fun are almost cause and effect. We were on our way to Adventure Plus.

Meeting Nature
Nature is all around us, all the time, it’s mostly something we come across and hardly get to closely meet. We met nature in all its beautiful forms; drizzles, heavy rains, a sea-blue river, muddy waters, a sun obscured behind hills, waterfalls, clouds floating high, clouds that had cleverly escaped the sky, and the hill ranges that seemed to run past us as we advanced towards our destination. Our eyes met with green; lush, fresh greens around us, tall trees, small shrubs, bathed in the rains; green grass, greener on our side as we were happy, out on our picnic to Adventure Plus.

Reaching Adventure Plus
Our hour-long journey seemed to have ended in minutes as we were having fun all the way. Fun-filled time always takes flight. We were greeted by one of the coordinators at Adventure Plus who guided us to the cafeteria. Breakfast was ready, we quickly gulped it down and rushed to the adventure activities. With our sports caps on, we were all set to meet adventure.

Being Terrestrial
Land activities! Our day began with land activities like rock climbing, spidernet, tarzan rope, commando net and rope bridge. Be it walking up and down the spider and commando nets or walking along the rope bridge, the walk was along an unstable path, and that’s what added excitement to the activity. We are used to walking on stable, concrete pathways. And here, the roadway was unstable. We often walk unstably along a firm-built path, seldom do we walk stably across an unstable road. And that’s what made all the difference, the difference that each of us enjoyed experiencing.

We set our best foot forward and started treading along the not-so-trodden path of first the spider net, then the commando net, then ropes and then the rocks! The land activities at Adventure Plus also included rifle shooting and archery. Both were about aiming right and hitting the bull’s eye. Some could aim it right, some could not; some could target the bull’s eye, some could hit the bull. Next in line were mountain biking, cycling, and skating. They took us back to the good old days of school and college when riding & pedaling used to be fun. Why ‘used to be’, they were still the same. In fact, everything about them was just the same, but for the change in OUR size and age.

Hangryyy!!
After so many adventure activities, we were, yes hungry. It was lunch time and we got busy eating. Well, there was a bit of mismanagement there, a long line, food items going out of stock, lack of man power and a whole lot of confusion. There was a group of around 50, on their company picnic. They started yelling for food, hooting and hollering out names… all of which they called ‘cheering themselves up’. It was quite understandable though, as these things happen when hunger and anger come together. Our hunger had reached its peak, so had our anger, and the food arrived! We pounced on it. Thankfully, the food was quite good. After lunch, we stretched ourselves on hammocks. It was so nice of the hammocks to let us rest, rest assured that we won’t fall off and enjoy a short afternoon nap.

Water is Life
It was about 3 in the afternoon and it was time to plunge into water. The water sports were to begin! They had kayaking, paddle boating and hydrobiking. Many went the water way, some fell for it, some fell in it [;)]; while those scared of water just waited and watched. There is something about water that keeps you entrapped; it’s fun being in it and also in watching it; be it lake water that ripples, river water that flows, or the salty sea water that silently roars. There is something about the sight of water and there’s something about its sound; something that makes you feel you never want to get out of it or lose its sight. Water definitely is Life.

On Loving Water
Why do we enjoy water sports so much? I wonder sometimes. Boating, paddling, kayaking or swimming in water or just splashing water all around… almost everyone enjoys it. Why? Probably because being in water is a break from being on Earth. Well, not literally; but we are just so used to being on the ground, stable and anchored. But we are not used to being afloat. Standing and walking is usual, floating is not. In water, we are weightless, suspended, afloat. The feeling of being able to float is one of its kind and perhaps that’s one of the primary reasons why people love water sports.

Feeling Aquatic
Paddling against the water current was hectic, rowing was equally tiring, hydrobiking was restricted to a very few as it had a weight limit which was quite less than the average weight of a healthy human being. [:)] It’s difficult to find light individuals these days. All these water sports were indeed exciting as they involved ‘water’ and ‘racing’, sometimes with it, sometimes against it.

Crossing Over
Bridge crossing, or crossing the Burmah Bridge as Adventure Plus calls it, was fun. It was a bridge hanging over water, giving that ‘London bridge is falling down’ kind of a feeling and nonetheless, the thrill of almost walking on water. The bridge was an ideal location for photography, an apt place to capture the picturesque surroundings, which some of our photography enthusiasts efficiently did. They photographed not just people and boats, but also captured emotions – fear, thrill, glee, worry, and excitement.

Yes, I had forgotten about this very important member accompanying us silently, our camera. It was not a silent spectator; it was a keen observer, capturing moments and creating memories, wherever we went.

Dancing in the Rain
And then we went to dance in the rain. After enjoying the water sports, it was time to dance, rain dance! Rain – in the form of water the swimming pool held, the showers poured and sprinklers splashed! With water being splashed from all sides, we had water all around us and we played and danced, IN water, ON water, UNDER water 🙂 and around it.

Some danced in groups, while some danced alone, some actually, some ‘invisibly’, some in the pool, some on the deck, some with the beat, some offbeat. Be it in a crowd, or be it alone, dance is about spontaneity. It’s not an expression; it’s an exclamation. It’s not about the beat, tempo, or melody every time. It’s not about to the tune of; it’s rather about in tune with. Dancing is not about looking at those around you; it’s not even about looking at yourself; it’s about looking into yourself. When you look into yourself and dance, you don’t care about who’s looking at you or how you look. You just dance. And that’s exactly what most of us did.

Snacking
After a hearty dance that made us happy and hungry again, we were served snacks. The camera persons in our team made the best effort to click everything that was photogenic; the place and the people. Our camera captured the setting sun.

Bidding Goodbye
It was time to bid goodbye to Adventure Plus; it was time to get back home. It had started raining and we started walking towards our buses. We had been there in two buses and when we reached to where they were parked, we were surprised to see a drastic difference between their heights from the ground! One of them had got stuck in mud, we soon realized. An adventure travel was to begin, we guessed. Our company picnic was destined to end with one last adventure.

Well, confusion, chaos, and mismanagement are all a part of adventure. Be it mismanagement at the food counter, the activity area, or the bus parking, those little fights, sometimes with people, at times with circumstances, add to adventure. Climbing up, sliding down, falling off, rolling about, running around, screaming aloud, shouting out… they are all a part of adventure!

If Only
Oh…our bus, the poor bus which had carried us that long was helplessly stuck in the mud, unable to get up. This could have been avoided, if only we would have given a serious thought to where we were going, I mean, to how and where the bus was going to be parked. But there was no point discussing what could have been done and how. It never makes sense to do that but it’s something we often tend to do – thinking about what ‘could have’ been done and living with the ‘if onlys’. We were present-minded enough to not do that though, and we took a decision.

On Staying Back and Letting Go
A decision to let some of the team members go ahead while the others would stay back. In life too, there are many instances when some have to stay back to let the others go ahead. In fact, the ones who stay back have an important role to play. They back those going ahead, they risk reaching late, they let others walk ahead of them while they remain backstage. That’s life.

Adventure to Vacation

2Instead of opting for a long vacation once a year, try and travel to different destinations for mini vacations a couple of times a year to rejuvenate yourself. If you and your family members are outdoorsy people, you may want to look at hiking trails which can be the perfect activity for a weekend getaway.
Doesn’t the idea of taking five short trips a year sound more appealing than one long vacation that has you cribbing at the end of it about going back to a 9 – 5 routine? Mini vacations are the best antidotes for the stress that most jobs and life in general comes with. It is not easy to identify destinations for mini vacations as time is a huge constraint in a small trip. We can help you with tips that you need to keep in mind while choosing these destinations.
We also help you with a variety of activities that can define which places qualify as the best mini vacation spots. Holidays and vacations are periods dedicated to the Gods of relaxation and rest. While taking trips to destinations that have been endorsed by the best travel magazines in the world is a tempting choice, it comes with the headache of planning till the last detail. Also, these places that are suggested by experts tend to be on most people’s list of places to visit, making them crowded with tourists from every part of the world.A population from out of town not only limits your hotel options but also tends to spoil your trip to attractions around town. A 3 – 5 day getaway does not need planning, saves travel and stay costs, and you have the added advantage of not having to deal with the ordeal that is packing. Also, it allows you to unwind and refreshes you without setting off the laziness button.

Most towns and cities have nearby camping sites that charge a minimal rent for tenting facilities. A mountainous area that has clearly defined hiking trails or a natural preserve maybe one of the best destinations for a mini vacation. If physical exertion while on vacation is not exactly to your liking, then another option could be a lake getaway. If you have a friend who has a lakeside cabin, then you could probably borrow the keys for a couple of days but that is just for the lucky few.

One of the best options would be to book yourself into a spa that is close to your city of residence. Spend your mini vacation at a spa that offers several rejuvenating options and allows you to spend quality time with your partner. Not only will this vacation earn you major brownie points but it will also be the perfect way to rejuvenate yourself when you have only three to four days at hand. Pamper yourself crazy and allow your body to detoxify so that you are completely energized.

If you are one those lucky people who live close to the beach, then what could be a better mini vacation then a weekend trip to the seaside. If you are looking forward to a weekend of doing nothing, then you could always lounge around the beach, sip your favorite cocktail, sun yourself and do absolutely nothing. If you are more of a thrill seeker, then choose to excite yourself with the plethora of water sports that most beach resorts and sea side resorts have on offer.

A family vacation can be extremely difficult to plan because everyone has something different on their wish list for a vacation. Stay on in your hometown and make a list of activities that you can indulge in. Visit amusement parks, water parks, zoos, state parks, etc. You can spend quality time with your family by indulging in fun games or picnics in the backyard. Even the neighboring town can be sometime a great destination for a vacation.