The Evolution of Transportation

People and things have always had the need to move or be moved from one place to another. People have always looked for more comfortable or quicker ways to travel. Transportation is a way people and things move from one place to another. Different environments require different methods of transportation.

People have invented machines, called vehicles or crafts, to travel. Some vehicles travel on the ground, like a train. Some vehicles travel on top of the water, like a jet ski. Some even help people to travel under the water, like a submarine. People use other types of crafts to travel in the air. A hot air balloon is an interesting way to travel through the sky.

Crafts such as rockets can help people to travel into space. Over the centuries, inventors designed machines or improved ways of traveling to move people faster and faster.

Ships and Boats

One of the earliest ways to transport people and things was by traveling in the water. Boats are small crafts generally used for a special purpose like fishing. Ships are larger crafts that might use sails or an engine to propel them through the water. They may travel on rivers, lakes, or oceans.

Boats With Paddles

People use flat wooden boards called paddles to row small boats. An oar is another name for a paddle. A raft is a simple boat with a flat bottom. We can make a raft using tree trunks or logs. Sometimes, flat pieces of wood called planks are bound together to make a raft. Some rafts are made of rubber or a plastic called vinyl. These rafts are often inflatable.

Early Native Americans made canoes out of tree trunks. They hollowed out the trunk and used a paddle to move from place to place. Today, an artificial substance, made by man, called fiberglass is a popular material for building a canoe.

A kayak is a sleeker version of a canoe with one or two small holes. The holes are where people sit. A rider may attach a watertight skin or enclosure to prevent water from getting in the boat. The boat can turn all the way over without sinking. Some people compete in kayak races. The Olympics have had a kayak event since 1936.

Boats With Sails or Motors

Other boats and ships use different types of power. A sailboat uses pieces of canvas or other fabrics called sails, which are filled by the wind fills and pushes the boat forward.

Ancient Egyptians used sailboats to move the stones for the Great Pyramids from Aswan to Giza. Pilgrims traveled from England on a large sailboat called the Mayflower to reach America in 1620.

A motorboat uses an electric motor and propellers. Propellers are turning metal blades that help the vessel to move through the water. A speedboat is a small, but very fast motorboat. Speedboats pull water skiers, help the Coast Guard or marine patrol on rescue missions, or might even compete in a race.

Larger Boats and Ships

Most large ships are made of metals like iron or steel. They use giant propellers powered by engines to move through the water. A steamboat is a large boat with paddles. A steam-powered engine turns the paddles to move the boat.

The biggest ships are tankers and aircraft carriers. Oil tankers can carry millions of barrels of oil inside huge cargo areas. Designers built tankers to travel long distances and other than oil, they may transport water, chemicals, or liquefied natural gas.

Aircraft carriers are long, flat warships designed to act as a floating airbase. Planes take off and land on the runways on the top of the ship.

A submarine is a metal ship that can travel underwater. A submarine can be small enough to carry one or two people and remain underwater for a few hours. They can also be very large, have a crew of over eighty people and remain underwater for a few months.

Trains

A train is a vehicle that runs on tracks, or rails. Passenger trains may have many compartments for people to travel from one place to another. Freight trains carry cargo, or things. Different cars transport different types of items.

Refrigerator cars transport food. Container cars need a crane to lift cargo in or out of the car. Tanker cars transport different types of liquids.

Light Rail

People sometimes use the term light rail to talk about trains that run on city streets. A trolley, also called a streetcar, is one type of light rail transportation. The first streetcars were pulled by horses or even people. Modern streetcars usually get their power from electricity. Electricity makes things run.

A subway is a light rail system of cars. A subway runs on the street and in underground tunnels. Many large cities have a network of subway tunnels.

Big Trains

Big trains have wheels that run on railroad tracks. They travel long distances between cities and towns. The first car on a train is the locomotive. The locomotive powers the train. The first trains used steams engines. Today, most trains get power from using gasoline or electricity. High-speed rail trains are electric trains that run faster than a regular train, sometimes called a bullet train. These high speed rail systems also transport people in Germany, Korea, and Spain. The first countries to build and use the bullet train are the countries of France and Japan.

The monorail is another type of train. Most monorail systems run on a single rail. Some monorails are suspended. The train cars actually hang from the track.

Motor Vehicles

People drive and are passengers in motor vehicles in most places of the world. Motor vehicles have wheels and a motor. They can be driven on many different land surfaces. Cars, buses, and trucks allow people and things to travel to certain places. They can travel where boats and trains cannot go.

Cars

Cars are vehicles used by people to get from one place to another. Combustion engines are often the power source for cars. This type of engine burns gasoline or diesel fuel to run. Some people are concerned that combustion engines are contributing to pollution in the air.

Inventors are developing other types of power systems to make cars run. Electric cars have electric motors that run on batteries. Some cars use hydrogen to provide power. A hybrid car uses a combustion engine and battery power to make the car work.

Cars vary in their size. A limousine is a long car, which has space for many passengers and has a chauffeur to drive the vehicle. A micro-car, also called a bubble car, is very popular in countries outside of the United States. Auto makers designed the microcar to use less gas. It is also economical because a small amount of material is necessary to build the car.

Some people like to drive a sports car. The fastest cars are race cars. Some cars have special features, like convertible, which have a fabric or hard top that folds back.

Buses

Buses are bigger than cars. A bus has a long body with several rows of seats or benches for passengers. Buses usually operate on a schedule. A passenger bus can carry people long distances. They travel between different cities and towns. A tour bus carries tourists or people on vacation. Some people charter, or rent, a bus for special purposes.

Trucks

Vehicle engineers designed trucks to carry materials of all kinds. Pickup trucks are a bit bigger than cars. They have a flat bed behind the passenger compartment. They can carry many things in the flat bed. Large trucks transport different kinds of heavier materials or equipment. They carry things to places where trains and boats cannot travel. An 18-wheeler is a very big truck. It has 18 separate wheels.

Aircraft

Hot Air Balloons, Blimps and Dirigibles

Aircraft are vehicles or machines that let people travel through the air. The first type of air transportation was the hot air balloon. It is the oldest successful human carrying technology for flight. It floats using a large bag of silk or nylon filled with heated air. People travel in a wicker basket called a gondola, that hangs underneath.

A blimp or dirigible is like a balloon. The gas helium fills up the balloon to help it float. It has a motor to push it forward. This type of craft was very popular before 1940.

As technology for airplanes improved, people stopped using blimps to travel. Today, advertisers use blimps to market their products. Some companies offer sightseeing tours in a blimp.

Airplanes, Gliders, Helicopters

An airplane is an aircraft that flies using wings and an engine. The Wright brothers receive credit for the invention of the first airplane in 1903. Airplanes can be small and carry only one or two people. Commercial airplanes can be large and carry many passengers a long distance in a short amount of time. A motor makes the propellers turn. Most larger airplanes have jet engines. This type of engine has many turning blades inside. They move air much faster than ordinary propellers.

Jet airplanes use turbines to make them move faster. The military uses supersonic aircraft, such as fighters or bombers, to move quickly with a great amount of power. A fighter jet is a small military airplane that can go very fast. The Concorde is one of the only supersonic planes used as a commercial airplane. It carried passengers from Europe to America in less than half the time it took for a regular airplane to fly the same distance. The Concorde was very expensive to fly. Due to rising costs, the Concorde was retired from use. The last Concorde flight was on October 24, 2003.

A helicopter is an aircraft with a large propeller on top. It can rise into the air, or take off, straight up. A helicopter can take off without using a runway.

A glider has a similar shape to an airplane. It uses only the wind for power. The military may use gliders to deliver troops. Gliders are very quiet because they don’t have an engine. Some people participate in glider competitions.

Rockets

A rocket is a vehicle that travels into the air at a very high speed. It burns fuel to make thrust. Thrust pushes, or propels, the rocket upward. A rocket engine ejects the thrust out of the bottom of the rocket. A lot of energy is required to propel a rocket into space. Energy is necessary to make things happen. Astronauts and cosmonauts are people who travel into space using rockets. Rockets also transport the satellites into their destination orbit. Satellites study the Earth and other objects in the universe.

Rocket Design and Travel

Multiple sections or stages make up the design of most rockets. Each stage contains its own fuel supply and rocket engine.

When its fuel is used up, a rocket is released. This lightens the weight of the rocket. It allows it to travel faster. A rocket needs to travel at least 17,700 miles per hour, (28,500 kilometers) to make it out of the atmosphere into space, which is the so-called “escape velocity”. The part of the rocket that actually reaches space is often called a spacecraft.

Booster rockets

Some rockets get extra thrust from booster rockets. The scientists usually attach the boosters to the side of the main rocket. The space shuttle is both a rocket and an airplane. It releases two booster rockets. As the rocket uses up its fuel, it will also release an external fuel tank. The space shuttle lands like an airplane when it returns to Earth.

Some key dates in the Transportation development timeline:

  • 1662 – Blaise Pascal invented a horse drawn public bus.
  • 1783 – Joseph Montgolfier and √Čtienne Montgolfier launched the first hot air balloons.
  • 1814 – George Stephenson built the first practical steam powered railroad locomotive.
  • 1900 – Ferdinand von Zeppelin built the first successful airship.

Astral Travel Problems – Is Astral Projection Dangerous?

In this article I’d like to take a quick look at some of the myth and misinformation that exists about astral travel problems and the potential danger in the practice. Now, first let me say that I’m a firm believer in taking good care of your psychic self, and do believe that you can open yourself up to a figurative (and literal) can of worms if you don’t practice SOME form of precautionary practice when surfing the supernatural realms. With that said, there is absolutely NO proof that there is ANY danger in the astral body, or at least none that you are going to experience during projection practice.

You want to know why I’m so certain of this fact? Well, I know there are folks out there who have claimed to have all kinds of troubles with astral “wildlife” and thought forms and the like, and even some pretty well known gurus have intimated there is a risk, right? I’m here to tell you not only do I disagree…I would say that there are all kinds of people out there who may in fact be well intentioned, but might still be a card or two short of a full deck to boot..:-) 

  I’ve simply seen nothing in my own experience, or in any of the hundreds of accounts that I respect that anything TRULY dangerous lurks in the astral, other than projections of our own unfiltered consciousness. I would argue, and MOST would certainly agree that much of what takes place in the moments where you are free from the confines of your physical shell are the most liberating, freedom finding and exhilarating adventure you can experience! (And I would hate for anyone to pass up the opportunity to learn more out of a fraudulent fear that there is something to be afraid of..:-)

How to Behave Appropriately on Business Travel

You will be surprised to note that business travel can actually bring out the worst in most of the people as people feel stressed out as they are away from loved ones and also that they are quite tired. You might feel like dressing casually or even dressing in your sweatpants but as you are on a business trip, you ought to maintain certain standards and ethics and this means that you certainly need to maintain a level of professionalism which should reflect in your dress, attitude and your behavior as well. The following tips have been carefully outlined which actually points on how to behave wisely during your business travel.

1) The first point is to be polite during the entire trip and this means that you need to be courteous and polite while dealing airport security, checking into your hotel or even while waiting in queue for a cab. As you are a representative of your employer, your behavior actually reflects your employer’s attitude and you need to handle yourself appropriately.

2) Make sure that you are always courteous to your co-workers and always remember that if something is bothering you or if you are stressed, it does not give you the right to be curt with your co-workers.

3) Make sure that you have your own room. Sometimes, certain companies for cost cutting purposes, might put two co-workers of the same sex in a single room which actually leads to an uncomfortable situation and there is surely a grave need on business travel to have your own comfort zone so that the trip works out smoothly.

4) You should know when your day ends while you are on the trip as being on business travel does not mean that you have to work well into the night. All of us need break from work as well as from each other.

5) Make sure that you never indulge in casual dressing and you should always dress up accordingly with respect to the occasion. There is a certain level of professionalism which you should clearly maintain for your business travel.

6) Always be punctual and be on time for all your appointments and meetings. Being constantly late does not reflect a good attitude from your side and it will be much better if you are early for your meetings, meals and gatherings rather than being late as punctuality is definitely a virtue!

How To Travel On Airplanes With Your Tools

If you work as a handyman or construction specialist you are probably used to carrying your tools around with you. In fact you might even need to travel with them at some point in time. Whether if you are traveling for business or perhaps to assist with a charity mission project it is important to know the rules around traveling on airplanes with tools. If you are planning on bringing your tools with you on a plane trip then you will want to take some time to become familiar with these rules. This way you can plan ahead accordingly instead of dealing with the frustrations on the day you travel.

Before comparing which tools can be carried on the plane and which cannot – it is important to understand that there are different rules for different types of tools. And these can even vary by airline and unfortunately sometimes even by TSA checkpoints though they are expected to be consistent. Luckily many tools can be carried in checked-luggage while others can be carried with you as carry-on luggage. If you’re ever unsure – please contact the airline in advance to verify how you should transport the specific tools you are planning to take.

As you might expect, any tools with sharp edges are banned from carry-on luggage. This is of course a direct result of 9/11 but to be candid, it’s quite surprising they weren’t banned earlier. This is includes saws, blades, drills and box cutters. While you cannot carry them on board with you, you can put them in your checked luggage. But remember, if you do carry tools that are allowed to be carried on board, make sure to properly secure them in their bags. You don’t want to hurt yourself or others with improperly secured tools.

Besides bans on sharp edges there are bans on carrying tools such as cattle prods, hammers and crowbars. These are generally banned because of their weight and size – even though the risk of attack is rare, they pose a significant flight hazard if stored in overhead bins. As with most other tools, you can usually check these tools in your checked baggage.

While it probably seems like you cannot bring any tools on board with you – this is not entirely true. There are several tools that you can bring with you – including screwdrivers and pliers. There might be even additional tools but as mentioned earlier, make sure to check with the airline to verify. Even though you can bring a pair of pliers on board – all of your tools must be less than seven inches long. If they are longer than that, then you will most likely need to check them.

Finally despite the fact that you might be able to bring certain tools with you on the plane it is a good idea to always put tools in checked baggage. Or if you are afraid of the airline losing your luggage with your tools – then ship the tools using a carrier like FedEx or UPS. The reason is that while certain tools are allowed, they can make other passengers uneasy and may have the TSA give you extra pat-downs just because you will stand-out. And it’s highly unlikely you’ll need to tighten any screws while flying.

Top 10 Must Haves in a Girly Girl Handbag – How to Travel Smart and Stay Safe At The Same Time?

There can be 101 things that are seemingly important to bring everywhere along, just in case you need it. Every girl is unique, what I think is important might be unnecessary for others.

Big bags can be trendy, but it is not exactly practical in a foreign country. Branded flashy bags are one of the worst things to flaunt since this is what thieves will spot first. Functional bags with simple designs are the best!

No, I am not going to list camera and map being important here. Because it is something majority will bring anyway. This list is recommended for girly girls who want to travel smart and stay safe at a foreign country.

1) No girly girl goes out without carrying a basic make-up kit. Make sure you have a proper mirror – there can be more than 1 use for it.

2) Always carry a proper spray-on deodorant/perfume/sun block/insect repellent/ointment in your bag. Can use it for yourself or dodgy attacker.

3) Petroleum jelly (Vaseline lip balm) can have more than 10 uses when travelling. Like anything, do not overuse it.

4) Carry a reputable built-in filter bottle everywhere. It works for non-potable water (e.g. from the taps at public toilets) but not undrinkable type.

5) Good to know the emergency numbers, accommodation and any other useful contacts. Always ensure phone has battery and bring portable charger.

6) Bring your house keys along. Swiss Army knife is considered weapon and not allowed in some places. Use functional key chains (e.g. karabiner) here.

7) Bring mechanical pencil (minimum 2B lead darkness) and blank A4 paper. Good for doodling anything casual to writing something important.

8) Carry a light foldable umbrella with silver surface on the outer side. Good to fend off UV rays, rain, and dodgy stranger. Now available in metal casing!

9) Have a small pouch to store your passport and money (zip locked!). Personally, it is good to top with 7 scented panty liners.

10) It is good to carry a handbag with sling. I like to sling it on and my hands resting on the handles. Hope to deter thieves by making it harder to steal.

Safety is one of the most important aspects in our life. It is a basic human need and must be fulfilled before achieving anything else. Just Google and you can find a long list of recommendations on safe and smart travel.

The ideal total weight of a handbag (+ laptop) is supposed to be no more than 15% of your body weight. For travelling, keep the girly girl handbag to the range of 5% of your body weight will be more appropriate.

The Dutchmen 261 BHS Travel Trailer

The bunkhouse travel trailers are among the most popular campers in the RV industry at this time. They are an assortment of different configurations that allow multiple sleeping areas for those looking to sleep more than six people.

The new Dutchmen 261 BHS travel trailer has been designed to be similar to an older floor plan. The changes they made are only in the rear of the camper. From the dining and galley area forward it is the same as the old 265 model.

They flipped the bunks to the opposite side of the travel trailer which allowed the bathroom to be placed on the door side of the camper. By doing this it allowed access to the bathroom from the outside. This makes it very convenient to use the bathroom without going through the entire coach to get there. While some really like this, some people prefer not having the door. If this is the case, then the 265 model would be the better choice.

The advantage to this new floor plan is that the bunk size has increased dramatically and at the same time has a rear cargo door that has been a hit. The bottom bunk is hinged so that it will fold up against the side wall. This allows the new cargo door, which is quite sizable, to give you access to a huge storage space. Experience campers know how important that this type of storage is.

Bicycles, coolers, and other large items are placed into the travel trailer so much easier than taking it through the regular entry door. It also allows you to place your bicycles inside the coach rather than having a bike carrier on the back of the camping trailer.

To find this type of storage you would usually have to have a camper that would exceed 35 feet in length. The 261 is under 32 feet long and only weighs approximately 6500 pounds. That makes this popular unit able to be towed by half ton pickup truck. Seeing how the half ton trucks are among the most popular vehicles sold, it makes this travel trailer even more popular.

There are many travel trailers for sale in the market today. If you are looking for a bunkhouse camper you would be making mistake if you didn’t make the Dutchmen 261 BHS travel trailer at least one of your considerations. I think you’ll find that want you look at this camper, that you will be quite pleased.

Other brands you will find value and quality in includes Sunset Trail Grand Reserve, Sunset Trail Super Lite, Zinger, Z-1’s and Hampton destination park models.

Train Travel in Spain: How to Save a Fortune on Renfe Train Tickets

If you were wondering about cheap train travel in Spain, the answer is yes, it’s possible. Renfe, the national railroad company, offers reasonable fares for all its routes. However, high-speed long distance trains are more expensive.

Below is a list with the tricks I use when buying an high-speed train ticket in Spain. They will help you save a fortune.

1.Look for super cheap online tariffs

These are not available at ticket offices or travel agencies.

Renfe’s website allows you to buy tickets 62 days in advance of your trip for any train trip (including both the AVE and AVANT). In fact, all trains are subject to both ‘Web’ and ‘Estrella’ (Star) discounts. They are available to anyone (no age restriction) and are the best deal for Spanish rail travel!

  • To get a ‘Web’ fare (60% discount) buy your ticket at least 15 days before the date of departure.
  • To get an ‘Estrella’ fare (40% discount) buy your ticket at least 7 days before the date of departure.

Obviously, the sooner you buy the ticket, the higher the chances of getting either one of these fares on your ticket.

2. Get a discount if you are going to another city to catch an international flight

As a rule of thumb, Renfe offers a 20% discount when you buy a return ticket.

If you are headed to an airport to catch an international flight or if you plan to catch the train right after you landed, you can get an additional

  • 10% (one-way) or 25% discount (return) on AVE tickets
  • 15% discount per trip on AVANT and Media Distancia tickets

This option is called ‘Avion + tren’ (Airplane + train). But you must have you plane ticket with you before you purchase the train ticket. Therefore, you will have to buy the ticket at a train station or through a travel agent.

It is also available if you are departing on an international cruise (e.g. from Barcelona or Valencia). This option is called ‘Barco + tren’ (Ship + train).

3. If you are looking for a return ticket, buy TWO one-way tickets in each direction, respectively. In doing this you’ll have access to a broader range of discount fares per day.

4. Try to avoid very busy days such as Sunday (especially from 5pm onwards), Monday (especially during the early hours) and Friday (all day). Unfortunately, you’ll never get a discount if you plan to travel of Friday afternoon (ie. after 1pm) because Renfe doesn’t promote these trains.

5. The first and last trains are always cheaper. Buy your tickets well in advance because early morning and evening trains are full of business clients.

6. Non-stop trains to Barcelona are more expensive. Try to stop in Madrid even if it implies changing from one train to another.

7. Are you looking for cheap train travel as a student? Use the International Youth Travel Card! It will give you a 20% discount on every ticket. Bear in mind though that all discounts are mutually exclusive. Therefore, if you buy a ticket on a ‘Web’ fare you won’t get the 20% student discount.

8. Any child under 4 years old travels for free if he or she sits on your lap.

9. Avoid buying anything at train station cafeterias and shops, and at the train’s cafeteria coach as well. Prices are usually abusive. You should bring your own snack and beverage with you instead.

As you can see, it’s very easy to access cheap train travel fares! If you need some simple instructions on how to buy a ticket online, download a step-by-step guide that you can print and read at your own pace.

Books Set in Spain – Five Novels to Read Before You Travel

If you are planning a trip to Spain, you might be thinking it is all about the sun, sand and Sangria.

That is the side of Spain that is often portrayed in the popular media, but if you’d like to know a little bit more about the country you are traveling to then it might be time to turn to some books set in Spain that delve into Spanish life and tell us something of the country’s difficult history.

It has not been such a long time since Spain was divided by a bitter civil war and the subsequent years of fascism. It wasn’t until General Francisco Franco died in 1975 after a forty year reign, that the country was able to embark on becoming the democratic country it is today.

You can find out what it was like for Spaniards in those years by reading the following novels.

‘Guernica’ by Dave Boling

The town of Guernica is in the Basque region of northern Spain. In 1937 hundreds of residents were killed when the town was bombed by German and Italian war planes. This inspired Pablo Picasso to create a painting of the event — the horror of the images helping to bring attention to the Spanish Civil War. This novel is the story of that painting and the people depicted in it We become immersed in the lives of the Ansogegui family in the lead up to the war, as well as the devastating years of the war itself — following them as they try to come to terms with the impact the conflict has on themselves and their loved ones. If you’d like to know more about the Basque people and this particular slice of history, then this novel is ideal.

‘The Time of the Doves’ by Merce Rodoreda

Set in Barcelona before, during and after the Civil War, this novel follows the life of Natalia through her suffering and depression. It may be a tear-jerker, but it is also a tale of hope and survival. And when you go to Barcelona, you can visit La Placa Del Diamant, the original Catalan title of the novel, and a crucial location in the novel.

‘A Manuscript of Ashes’ by Antonio Munoz Molina

This novel begins during the latter years of Franco’s reign, in the late 1960’s. Minaya is a university student who has been imprisoned for his role in a demonstration. He flees to the countryside to work on his thesis and becomes absorbed in a story from the past. It’s a mystery, a love story, and a portrayal of the complexities and tumult of the Civil War.

‘Winter in Madrid’ by C.J. Sansom

As the title suggests, the location of this novel is the Spanish capital. Englishman Harry Brett has been sent to Madrid by the British Secret Service to spy on an old friend. It is 1940, and Harry is soon immersed in the political complexities of post-Civil War Spain. There is also of course, a love story or two…

‘The Return’ by Victoria Hislop

This novel is a curious mix of chick-lit and historical fiction. And while the style of the writing could be considered ‘beach read’, the subject matter is not. Told in a mix of past and present, the novel gives a frightening portrayal of the war in the city of Granada. It shows how civil war pits neighbors and even brothers against each other, while the chaos that follow destroys the dreams and relationships of those who are left behind. If you are planning on visiting Granada, then this book is a must.

By all means enjoy the fantastic lifestyle and culture that you will experience on a trip to Spain today, but if you want to really understand the people that you meet on your journey, then any of these books will help you to do that. Immersing yourself in the history of a city or country does much to enhance your travels, so why not read these novels and take that first step. And once you have done that, there are plenty of more books set in Spain to explore….

Does Travel Insurance Cover Fear of Flying?

Fear of Flying has been a problem for many people since passenger flights began. It is a fear or phobia, the same as many people may fear spiders, public speaking, or heights. Fear of flying has probably increased dramatically in the past decade – especially since 9/11. It’s understandable. How many people happily boarded planes after that terrible event? After all, when you think about it, flying is not a very natural thing for humans to do – we weren’t born with wings!

In today’s tight security climate we hardly ever get to see the pilots or cockpit crews who have our lives in their hands. It might be helpful to remember that they are human beings too – with lives and families of their own – and they fully intend to return home to them! Gone are the days when you might be lucky enough to obtain the captain’s permission to visit the cockpit on a long-haul flight. The pilots are locked in behind a bullet proof door and the entire process of flight is a mystery for many passengers! It’s a real shame.

Fear of flying is an annoying and often debilitating problem for those afflicted but, not only that, it can also cause disruption to holiday plans, affect career paths, and cause financial losses. Those who are required to fly frequently on business could find themselves held back in their career or even out of a job because of their fear of flying.

Most people, if they were honest, would admit to feeling some jitters or nerves before take off or landing, or when experiencing turbulence. Some have a stronger reaction, perhaps exacerbated by an existing anxiety condition.

It’s no secret that many people make out their will before flying! We all know about the statistics that you are much more likely to be involved in a car accident than a plane crash, but for many this is little consolation.

It is normal for a lot of people to feel the urge to cancel their flights or holidays if there has been a recent problem with hijacking, terrorism, or a plane crash. Fear of flying is a valid condition which is recognized medically. The anxiety can be so bad that it can cause physical reactions such as panic attacks, sweating, trembling, palpitations, dizziness, intestinal problems, clammy hands and nausea. Blocked ears during descent can be a problem – especially for children – but there are simple techniques to alleviate this pain which can be learned; chewing gum can help.

Most people will know of someone who is afraid of flying. They may be unable to go on holiday abroad because of it, although for many people their desire for a holiday in the sun may eventually outweigh their fear! It is often a form of claustrophobia, combined with a lack of understanding of how an aircraft operates and stays in the air. Young mothers are one group who tend to be more susceptible because of their protective instincts towards their children.

If someone you know is afflicted, you could make a difference in their life by encouraging them to seek help. There are several independent companies, as well as major airlines, which offer courses to help people overcome their fear of flying. Virgin Atlantic offers a Flying without Fear programme. British Airways/Aviatours offers a one-day course. The course instructors include trained pilots and psychologists.

During the courses the various stages of flight and the noises associated with them are simulated. For example, the sound of aircraft engines powering up or down can cause fear that something is wrong or the plane is going to crash. The loud whirring and clunking noises of the wheels (landing gear) being lowered and locked into place can be very frightening for those who don’t understand what is happening. The courses may include relaxation techniques and end with an actual short flight where everything is explained as it occurs. Once a passenger has a basic understanding of the way an aircraft works the fears are usually greatly diminished. Other self-help methods are available such as books, DVDs, CDs and computer courses. Online support forums may be helpful for those who wish to share their thoughts and fears with other sufferers or hear from those who have found successful ways to cope.

Natural approaches, such as relaxation techniques and hypnosis can be very helpful. It’s worth checking if your GP would be willing to prescribe something to help you stay calm during a flight. It’s never a good idea to resort to drinking alcohol or taking sleeping tablets. Alcohol combined with the dehydrating effects of flying can make you feel even worse, and who wants to start their holiday in a groggy haze after taking sleeping pills!

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that travel insurance does not provide compensation for cancelled flights due to a fear of flying. The cancellation would be deemed ‘self-inflicted’ and you would find yourself personally liable for any financial losses. Therefore, if you want to be able to join your family and friends for holidays in the sun, it is never too late to obtain help for your fear of flying. One of the methods outlined in this article may hold the key to overcoming the fears and unlock many years of flying and happy holidays abroad!

Elements of a Strong Corporate Travel Program

In order to make the most of your corporate travel budget, it is critical to plan for leveraging your program for all it is worth. Telling travelers to select the lowest logical airfare is just not enough. Here are the elements that should be considered when planning or evaluating your travel program.

1. Travel policy

A well written and disseminated travel policy is the foundation of any good travel program, and I am consistently amazed that so many corporations have such an outdated and poorly conceived travel policy, if they have one at all. It is not difficult to find a well written policy. One can be found online quite easily. All that remains is that it is edited to reflect corporate culture, and disseminated within the company so that everyone understands and agrees to follow it. For this reason, it is a good idea to have everyone sign a copy of the travel policy to ensure that it is read, understood and owned by all company staff. I suggest that everyone in the company signs a copy of the travel policy, whether they travel or not. They may change positions in the company later and be required to travel. A travel policy need not be long or complex. Some of the best travel policies I have ever seen were only a few pages long.

2. Centralized travel internally and externally

Many companies do not centralize their travel program, and they pay a price in terms of a loss of expense reduction opportunities and internal efficiencies. Many companies that do not centralize travel have a fear of requiring travelers to do something they may not want to do, along with the idea that centralizing travel will require hiring a Travel Manager. Both of these may be legitimate concerns but they do not have to be in most cases. By requiring travelers to book centrally, you are not necessarily causing them to lose flexibility. You can centralize travel while still allowing travelers to book on their own, either with a travel agency of your choice, or online through a provider that you have partnered with and have confidence in. By assigning someone with the responsibility of overseeing travel, you are getting a single point of contact both internally and externally for travel issues. If your company spends less than $1 million in air travel, you probably do not need a full time travel manager. In these cases, travel oversight can be given to the finance department, human resources, or even an executive level assistant. Here is a look at the advantages to be gained by centralizing travel.

When you centralize travel with a single agency, you gain in a number of important ways. You will have a single point of contact for problems while travelers are on the road, and you will have one entity to go to for all your travel needs. This eliminates the problem of consolidating a travel report from among several sources. By bringing travel together, you will gain significantly from economies of scale. If you can measure total travel among various divisions or locations, you can get more for your money from travel suppliers. This will allow you to gain more from airline soft dollar programs, which means more free tickets and upgrades, get a higher percentage discount from our preferred airline, and get better negotiated rates from your hotel and car contracts. Your fulfillment costs will decrease as well, as your travel agency will often discount their fees for a higher overall volume of travel.

3. Mix of online booking and personal service

This is an addendum to the previous element, which calls for centralizing travel with one travel agency. This is important, but in doing so, you need not require travelers to use an online booking system, and you need not require travelers to call the agency directly. By offering travelers the option of doing either, you are accomplishing several goals. You will reduce your fulfillment costs, as online booking is cheaper in terms of a service fee. By giving travelers the option, you are giving them a sense of control, thereby increasing morale and standing a better chance of a high adoption rate. Thirdly, you leave open a best practice of using your online booking engine for less complex itineraries, and allowing senior executives, frequent travelers, and complex itineraries to be booked directly with a travel agent that can offer a higher level of service and a better overall travel experience where it is most warranted.

4. Look under every stone

While the bulk of most travel programs revolve around the air budget, there are several other areas one can investigate to find savings opportunities. There are a couple of more obvious areas to look, such as negotiated hotel rates at your favorite hotels, or car rental discounts with a favored supplier. Often your travel agency will already have discounted rates through consortia affiliations and agency car contracts. There are also some less common areas that should be investigated. For example, if ground transportation is a concern, most suppliers will offer discounted rates and a direct billing option. Direct billing arrangements with hotels and car rental agencies are also a great way to increase efficiencies and make the job of the accounting department easier.

5. Leverage hard dollar and soft dollar contracts

Most major airlines today offer hard dollar discounts as well as soft dollar incentives in exchange for company loyalty to their product. If your travel program is over $1 million in air spend, you can secure a discount off of the lowest fares of your carrier of choice in return for a market share commitment. For your secondary carriers, or if your volume is less than the minimum required by the airline, you can enter in to soft dollar programs for free tickets and free upgrades, as well as traveler status enhancements or airport club passes. These programs require little in the way of volume, but they are not well publicized so you may need to hunt for them or ask Baker Travel or your current agency to point you in the right direction.

6. Do not neglect hotel volume

Hotel volume is sometimes overlooked but it should not be. Negotiated rates can be had through your travel agency or directly with the hotel properties of your choice. Individual hotels near corporate locations will negotiate discounted rates for you in exchange for a minimum room/night commitment. By utilizing a travel agency, you are likely to receive discounts of 5% to 50% on thousands of hotels worldwide.

7. Have at least one car rental contract

Rental car contracts are easy to enter into and require little in the way of commitment from the corporation. Choose a partner that has airport locations and a reputation for excellent customer service. You can save 5-10% very easily and can also negotiate frequent renter membership for all your employees. This will make them more efficient and enhance morale. You can also enter in to direct billing agreements at the same time that can make the jobs of your travelers and accounting staff much less stressful.

8. Understand group and meeting contracts

Airlines and hotels will discount your fares and rates when you have groups traveling together or meeting at a single destination from multiple points of origin. These meeting contracts can bring you airfare discounts of 2-10%, and if you have enough travelers on a single airline, you may be able to negotiate for free tickets to be awarded at contract completion. The minimum requirement is usually 10 travelers going to the same place at the same time. Some airlines have higher minimums so be sure to ask before a contract is generated. Hotels will discount their rates in a similar way with a minimum of 10 room nights. These discounts can range from 10% to a much higher discount depending upon occupancy rate and seasonal variances.

9. Use reporting to consistently improve metrics

Well managed travel programs require constant monitoring and financial controls to be properly leveraged. Insist on timely and customized reports that can be designed to bring you the information you need most. By receiving regular reporting on traveler behavior and provider contract performance, you will be in a better position to fulfill contract obligations, achieve cost reduction objectives and see where opportunities for future savings may lie.

10. Use all avenues to enhance traveler comfort and efficiency

Lastly, any well managed travel program will take in to account the comfort and productivity of their travelers. When travelers are comfortable, they can focus on their main priorities that help propel your business forward. If travelers are happy, they perform at a higher level. Ask if your travel agency can upgrade traveler status on a preferred airline. Look in to purchasing blocks of airport club passes so they can be used strategically during long and complex itineraries. There are many ways to reward travelers for the difficult and often grueling chore of travel. These kinds of rewards generate feelings of loyalty and increased productivity and efficiency.

If you would like to learn more about how your company can better leverage their travel program to benefit your bottom line and the satisfaction of your executive level, feel free to contact me. I am delighted to point you in the right direction.