The Skies are Consolidating and Re-Routing, will there be availability?

There have been many published articles and news broadcasts concerning the rising costs of fuel and its over-all impact on our daily lives.

It is not my belief that Chicken Little is having a field day running around stating “I told you so, the sky is falling”. But I would like to refer to a quote by President Harry S Truman: “Actions are the seed of fate deeds grow into destiny.” and one from Sir Winston Churchill: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

What am I talking about? The many creative changes that are taking place within the travel industry. We— the traveling public — will have to make some adjustments.

As we see the, Airline industry has already begun to impose additional fees, and some are rather creative. Yet, the airline industry still plays a vital role in a global sense. They not only provide transportation of passengers, they also transport important and needed cargo.

This is already affecting us all, flights are being cut and routes are being eliminated It is causing additional frustrations, due to the added fees, and inconvenience. Consequently this is a time when planning and preparing for a trip will become more important.

As the Airline industry continues to consolidate and downsize, those airline seats and availability will be in higher demand. It is my experience that when planning a trip, at least 8 months future date will need to be looked at a bit more closely.

Another expression may come back into favor: “The early bird catches the worm”. While last-minute “deals” might still exist, the choices will be far more restricted.

My particular concern in this post is for those “Leisure Travelers” that may plan around their school children’s calendar.

The earlier you can decide and make the commitment, the possible less aggravation you may encounter. Keep in mind that the teachers, and other without children are also planning their trips.

Try to plan and make the proper arrangements as far out as possible, because the ranges of choices can open up for you. You will not necessarily be stuck with a departure time that you are not generally prepared for. You may not get stuck with a connecting flight, if non-stop are available.

You may get the Cruise Cabin of choice and or the section of the Hotel of choice, if you are concerned about such things.

There was a time when there were “peek” travel periods. They still do exist, but we’re living in a global era now, and global travel. This is something you should also take into consideration.

Maybe it is a bit more difficult to have a family gathering at one at one particular family location. Maybe it’s time to think outside of the box and have the family discuss maybe taking a vacation together at a mutually agreed upon location, a particular Hotel or a Cruise .

There are generally, some cost savings when traveling as group, or participating as a group. As an example, we generally celebrate Thanksgiving in my home, but one year I decided to make things easier. We all went to a chosen restaurant in New York City, and we even went as far to reserve a hotel room, where we could all meet and watch the parade from the Hotel room “where it is was warm”.

Basically I like to look at issues as a glass ½ full. I therefore reflect upon the positive quotes, and plan as far in advance as possible, with the understanding that there maybe some glitches, but hopefully they will be minor, because all of the basic groundwork and foundation has already been prepared.

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Historical Events for June 30th.

1651- The Battle of Beresteczko ends with a Polish victory.

1775- The Continental Congress drafts its rationale for taking up arms against Great Britain in the Articles of War.

1860- Thomas Henry Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce of the Church of England engaged in their famous debate on Darwin’s theory of evolution.

1859 – Charles Blondin is 1st to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope

1894 – London Tower Bridge opens

1896 – W S Hadaway patents electric stove

1914 – Mahatma Gandhi’s 1st arrest, campaigning for Indian rights in S Africa

1936 – “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell, published

1951 – NAACP begins attack on school segregation and discrimination

1960 – Zaire (formerly Belgian Congo) declares independence from Belgium

1962 – Rwanda and Burundi become independent

1974 – Soviet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defects to west

2005 Spain became the third country to legalize gay marriage

Traveling with Dolly

Recently I participated in a discussion about eldercare, a growing issue especially when families are separated over great distances. If you take into consideration the new climate within the airline industry, it can just make the issues a bit more “challenging.”

For most of my middle age adult life I did a lot of volunteering with various organizations. One program I volunteered for: Becoming a buddy for individuals living with HIV.

I come from a rather small family and my relationship with my maternal grandparents was generally, to use the word politely, strained. As the years passed, my grandfather developed cancer and I was unaware that by that point my grandmother had developed agoraphobia. Eventually my grandfather passed away, and I made the decision to care for my grandmother. So I sublet my apartment in New York City for a year. Did I ever expect her to live till 97 years old? Certainly not.

About our first year of living together, I will politely use the word “strained” again. Oil and water were now living together under one roof, and I was being advised by my grandmother that, “I was going straight to hell in a hand basket” rather frequently.

The day I finally realized that I was no longer caring for my grandmother, but for a child that I somehow had adopted, the relationship took a complete turn around. She actually learned to use the words “Please and Thank you”.

I first had to slowly work with her agoraphobia, reintroducing her to the backyard. Eventually we would take Sunday drives, increasing the time away from the house. These excursions eventually turned in to long weekends and 7-day trips.

Along the way, I met my partner (now going on 16 years) and we would pack up everyone and vacation in Provincetown, Mass.

During the final years of her life, she blossomed into a most hysterically funny and fun woman. She loved the Tea Dances in the afternoon in P-Town. There she would be in her wheel chair doing the shimmy and shake, while trying to pinch the bottoms of those persons dancing around her.

I had to laugh hysterically, on one of these trips. I went to get some drinks for the group of us, and only to return to find someone had introduced her as being the oldest lesbian in town during Lesbian Week. She was surrounded and just having a blast, everyone telling stories, just having a great time.

I am glad to see the increase of the “over-all multi generational family travel,” in whatever manner the family decides to get together. In my case, I am thrilled to have made the initial decision to be the caregiver to my grandmother “Dolly.” I met a most remarkable woman, and watched her learn to laugh and enjoy life again.

Important Events on which occurred on this date of June 29th.

1491 – England’s King Henry VIII was born in Greenwich.
1534 – Jacques Cartier discovers Prince Edward Islands Canada
1613 – Shakespeare’s Globe Theater burns down
1798 – Birth of Giacomo Leopardi, Italian scholar and poet
1855 – The Daily Telegraph is first published in London
1868 – The British news agency the Press Association is founded.
1891 – Street railway in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, commences operation.
1916 – Boeing aircraft flies for 1st time
1927 – 1st flight from West Coast arrives in Hawaii
1939 – Dixie Clipper completes 1st commercial plane flight to Europe
1964 – Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed after 83-day filibuster in Senate
1976 – The Seyshelles receive their Independence
2008 – Today Start time 10:30 AM: 38th Annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration:

Can Out Sourcing Your Travel Arrangements Benefit You and Your Firm?

There is an old tale about how various parts of our body felt about each other; they were not in harmony with each other. The hard-working limbs, eyes, ears, brain, etc., felt that the stomach was the laziest, and just did nothing to contribute. So, the story goes, they all conspired against the stomach and stopped feeding it. In time, each participant in this task discovered that by not feeding the stomach, they also become weak and are unable to complete their tasks.

Regardless of the size of the firm that we work with, or the industry sector , we are currently becoming more aware of our inter-dependence in the global market. The words consolidation, merger, and outsourcing are used frequently.

In regard to consolidation within the travel and tourism sector, we have seen the local, neighborhood travel agency consolidate with larger firms, consequentially expanding everyone’s knowledge and experiences within the larger travel agency. Several airlines created “Loyalty Programs” for individuals and businesses. The airlines also made alliances, and designed new aircraft for more comfortable long distance flights for certain classes of service. The cruise lines followed suit with additional larger ships that accommodate and cater to specific audiences. The hotel sector has also taken part in the re-invention of the overall hotel experience. The end result is that each sector in the hospitality industry has reinvented itself in an attempt to meet the expectations of a specific clientele, which has grown to expect more.

No longer does one product suit all; the focus is now on individuality. We often hear another expression: Time is money, travelers need to ask the questions: What is my time worth?—to me, to my family, or to my employer.

Outsourcing may have come to have a bad reputation, but in this instance it can have value to your company to help realize savings and gain the very best travel arrangements. The travel community remains a strong and viable industry. It is very true that travel agencies charge fees, because their income typically no longer comes from the suppliers. It’s up to the individual and/or business traveler and travel agent to seek out one another, to discover the correct partnerships. By working in partnership, and using the knowledge and resources that a travel agency is aware of, you may discover long-term, overall savings.

Several airlines have recently gone out of business. We have seen major disruptions and delays, within the airline Industry. If your firm was affected by these disruptions, did your travel agency offer alternative travel arrangements? The purpose of building a relationship with a travel agency is to help you guide your over-all travel needs towards your best long-term goal and to assist you in the event of any major disruptions. You may want to employ an in-house travel/meeting coordinator, but you should also consider “outsourcing” part of this task to a travel agency that best complements your firm’s goals

Do I really need to purchase Trip Insurance?

When I am planning a trip for either myself, my partner, a family member, friend and or client, I always bring up this particular issue.

I have noticed that there are a growing number of articles and news reports about this issue. For the most part I have not read one article that advised not to consider taking out some form of trip insurance.

It is extremely important to understand the various products that are offered, but personally I prefer using AIG Travel Guard, because of the variable of products and services that are offered.

There are many reasons that I could quote, but I will recount a personal story.

My mother decided, she wanted to go to Rwanda, and spend time with the Mountain Gorilla’s. All the normal travel preparations were planned and made. Heck it was because of her, that I got into the industry. Having Travel Insurance remains a standard operating procedure with us.

She left NYC and arrived in Rwanda, fine. A few days later I get a phone call from the American Embassy, that she has been hospitalized in “some village” and that the only form of communication is by a ham radio. She went for the gold standard and broke her leg in several places.

The bottom line, we had to change her flights and reserve a First Class airline ticket for her to return comfortably. That additional cost was over $10,000.00. The insurance covered the additional costs and their input was appreciated. The unfortunate part of this, she never got to see the Gorilla’s. (Which certainly has become a family story)

But sometimes things happen: Think about it, you have insurance for other factors in your life, like, home, car, medical and whatever else. Protecting any unforeseen non-refundable portions of your trip is really in your best interest.

Q. Why should a traveler buy travel insurance?
A. Travel insurance gives travelers coverage for unforeseen problems, from a cancelled flight to a serious illness—or in rare cases, even an act of terrorism or the financial default of a travel supplier. If an illness, accident, or other covered unforeseen circumstance forces a traveler to cancel or interrupt their plans, they face two major financial losses—money invested in nonrefundable pre-payments, and medical expenses that in many instances may not be covered by health insurance.

Q. What happens if a traveler must cancel their vacation?
A. Often a traveler will lose nonrefundable deposits and prepayments that can add up to hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars. A comprehensive travel insurance plan through AIG Travel Guard can provide trip cancellation coverage for the traveler’s vacation investment—the insurance company reimburses the traveler for all pre-paid, nonrefundable expenses for a covered loss.

Q. How does trip cancellation and interruption coverage work?
A. It reimburses for forfeited, nonrefundable, unused payments or deposits if the traveler must cancel or interrupt their trip due to a covered reason.

Q. What other coverage is typically included in an AIG Travel Guard travel insurance plan?
A. In addition to trip cancellation and interruption, the more comprehensive travel insurance plans available today may also cover emergency medical expenses; emergency medical transportation, when ordered by a doctor, to the nearest adequate medical facility; reimbursement for accommodations and expenses incurred due to travel delays; reimbursement for the purchase of essential items if baggage is delayed; and coverage against lost, stolen or damaged baggage.

Q. Does travel insurance cover terrorism?
A. Many travel insurance policies do not cover terrorism, or only cover terrorist acts that occur on foreign soil. Travel insurance through AIG Travel Guard can cover terrorist incidents both in the United States and abroad.

Q. Is the financial default of an airline, cruise line or tour operator covered?
A. Many of AIG Travel Guard’s retail insurance programs include financial default coverage if the program is purchased within 15 days of making the initial trip deposit.

Q. Does AIG Travel Guard offer travel insurance plans tailored to specific types of travel?
A. Yes. AIG Travel Guard offers travel insurance plans for an array of budgets, from modest trips to high-end luxury vacations. There are also products for last-minute getaways and extended trips, and specific coverage plans for cruise travelers, golf travelers, students, and sports travel.

Q.Do I really need to purchase Trip Insurance?
A. The cost of travel insurance is based, in most cases, on the value of the trip and the age of the traveler. Typically, the cost is five to seven percent of the trip cost.

Q. What else is offered with the purchase of an AIG Travel Guard plan?
A. To boost travelers’ confidence when traveling, AIG Travel Guard has added LiveTravel® assistance, which provides 24-hour, “911” emergency travel agency-type services to all standard retail plans, in case a traveler has to change a flight or a hotel room. AIG Travel Guard has also added assistance with emergency cash transfers, pre-trip consultation services (travel advisories, passport requirements, inoculation information, etc.), and live messaging, which will relay any e-mail or phone message to family, friends or business associates.

Certain restrictions may apply, which means further details of the over-all product coverage within the selected policy needs to be understood.