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Destination weddings have become incredibly popular over the years, and for many newly engaged couples, the interest in getting married in the Caribbean is increasing every day!

After talking with many of my clients that have visited our travel agency to inquire about a destination wedding, they seemed to all agree that getting married on a Caribbean Island or even on a Caribbean Cruise is something they have always desired. The exotic locale, convenience, value, and stress free environment it fashioned were some of the many reasons couples find this option very appealing.

Before I talk more on the Caribbean, allow me to first talk a little bit about who I am, and the reason why I view the Caribbean as a popular wedding destination choice.

Back in July of 2000 I attended Travel College, and this is where I met this beautiful Italian girl in my class named Maria. It was clear that the both of us were on the same path of becoming professionals in the travel industry, and at the time we never knew what we were about to experience. Once we graduated, Maria and I were immediately employed by different travel agencies that soon opened up a world of opportunities for us, one being the awareness of how popular destination weddings were actually becoming at the time.

Now at this point you may be asking yourself; “What does this all have to do with having a Caribbean Wedding?” The answer will be clear once I explain!

You see Maria and I since we graduated College stayed in touch, and soon we fell in love! In March of 2004 we decided to get married, and being that we both were working in travel, and the fact that we were sending many of our clients to all these spectacular destinations for their weddings, plus getting all this positive feedback on how memorable their weddings were, it was a clear cut decision for the both of us on what we wanted to do next.

Taking the non-traditional route like many of our clients, we both agreed on having our ceremony somewhere outside our country, and our first choice was, of course, the Caribbean! Why not, with all the great experiences we have established for our clients, this was a destination we both dreamed of going. We looked at getting married in Jamaica, but after a long discussion, we eventually chose the exotic location of Varadero, Cuba, and it had a lot to do with the both of us visiting Cuba several times before! Cuba had everything we needed, and was the most affordable for the many guests that joined us.

Hands-On Destination Wedding Experience Helps When You’re Looking To Plan A Wedding At Destination!

You see, not only helping arrange destination weddings for our clients, but also having the opportunity to experience our very own, our hands-on experiences are what truly allows us to help our clients visualize what they should expect and experience.

Let’s Go Back And Talk About Why Destination Weddings Are So Appealing!

There’s no question that experiencing a ceremony on an exotic island destination is truly unique from the traditional wedding ceremonies, and if you’re planning to get married during the winter months where it may be much colder, having the opportunity to exchange vows in a warm sunset on a powdery soft white sandy beach with the angelic sounds of the crystal clear Caribbean waters echoing in the background is an experience that will create special memories for a lifetime!

However, it’s so much more than that! Destination weddings also offer convenience and true value, and most of all destination weddings provide a completely stress free experience. I have to admit our decision to have a wedding on a Caribbean island had a lot to do with us attending several family and friends’ weddings over the years. One consistent issue that would come up was that with all the guests that were invited, a good number of them really didn’t want to be attending that wedding. Unfortunately when you have approximately 300 plus people at your wedding, it’s impossible to spend quality time with all the guests, especially the ones that are very close to you.

Not having the opportunity to have more quality time with family and friends is a very important feature for many engaged couples that have decided to now have a destination ceremony! Many of our clients quickly realized the true luxury of spending quality time with the ones that were closest to them, and a destination wedding easily provided them that unique opportunity.

If a dream destination wedding, renewal of your vows or a special honeymoon is something you have been considering, don’t hesitate to reach us to explain more about the benefits of a destination wedding, and what is required if you happen to decide to get married in the Caribbean.

If you are in the market for a new buggy and you do your research online, almost every review you will read about the Maclaren Techno XLR pushchair is favourable. Every owner who gave their feedback about this baby stroller usually have only good things to say about the XLR, which is probably why it’s one of the most popular and highly rated pushchairs around – but is it the perfect pushchair for your needs? Read on and find out.

Maclaren Techno XLR: The Pros

The Techno XLR is Maclaren’s version of a luxurious Techno XT which is one of the bestselling pushchair in the Maclaren range. So if you like the XT but want the best in both functionality and comfort, the XLR is the one for you.

Most owners have observed that the XLR pushchair is very sturdy/durable even after prolonged, daily use. It is no wonder that Maclaren is known for excellent workmanship.

For parents who are aggravated with logging around their pushchairs in public transportation, the XLR offers them the solution. It is so easy to push up curbs and maneuver around tight corners. This feature makes it different from the rest.

Another benefit of using the Techno XLR, is that it’s lightweight. It’s perfect for people living in upstairs apartments. With only 8kgs, together with the hood and shopping basket, parents and carers will not have to be troubled with carrying their pushchairs up and down the stairs.

The XLR has been designed for tall people who would otherwise encounter problems with low setting handles at 110cm, usually available with other pushchairs. Its unique feature is its high setting handles which can be adjusted up to 130cm with the lowest setting at 110cm.

Another plus is the Techno XLR’s hood with viewing window and sun visor, which is big enough to unzip from the back and extend forward. This would give your babies protection from the sun. For your added convenience, it is installed with pockets and net bag at the back of the hood for your traveling accessories.

The seat reclines to 4 positions, and yes it reclines to more than 150 degrees, making it perfectly suitable for newborns. The new 2009 model has a simple lever used for recline adjustment that you can operate with one hand. Again, this will tickle your fancy if you rarely have both hands free.

Maclaren Techno XLR: The Cons

The shopping basket is a disappointment in my opinion because it can only hold up to 2 kg.

For those vertically challenged, the handle height will be a difficulty. For those standing 5’1” to 5’3”, the lowest handle setting will be at chest to armpit level.

Another thing is that the seat is not reversible so it’s not a good choice for parents who want a travel system to use from birth likes to face their baby during the first few months.

The last thing to consider is that the XLR is not designed as an all terrain pushchair. For those planning to use the pushchair extensively on rough country roads, an all terrain type would be more suitable. The XLR is recommended more for people living in the city.

Conclusion

The Techno XLR would be perfect for people living in the city. From its sturdy, easy to use design and lightweight features to its easy to maneuver features in narrow spaces, this pushchair would definitely be the best choice for you.

How many times a week do you wake up and just hate the way your hair looks? Is your hair too frizzy, too dry? Is it too thick, too thin? Do you have a unappealing hair cut? Do you ever get compliments on the way your hair looks?

Don’t despair, because there is hope for your hair style. The options for changing or fixing your hair are many and whether you are willing to spend thousands of dollars or just a few dollars, there is something that you can do.

Some of the major hair problems are Damaged Hair, Frizzy Hair, Thinning Hair and Unflattering Hair Styles. There are quick, inexpensive fixes. See below for complete details:

Damaged Hair:

The easy fix for damaged hair is deep conditioning treatments. Ask your hair stylist for the best product for your hair, or take a trip down the hair products aisle at your local drugstore. If your hair is extremely damaged, you may want to start with a once weekly deep conditioning treatment. Wash your hair normal in the shower and towel dry. Apply the deep conditioner all over the hair and wrap the hair with plastic. The plastic helps to keep heat in and make your conditioner go to work. Leave the conditioner on for about 30 minutes.

Also, try to give your hair a rest from heat appliances such as curling irons and blow dryers, as well as chemical processing.

Frizzy Hair:

It seems that as you get older, your hair tends to get frizzier. The weather and humidity never help. The easy fix for frizzy hair is to use lots of conditioner every time you shampoo, and follow with a serum or balm that contains silicone. Some products work better than others and it may take some experimenting to find just the right product for your hair. Although flat ironing your hair can zap away the frizzies in just a few minutes, you should limit using the flat iron since you might be adding to the frizzy problem in the long run with repeated use of the iron.

Thinning Hair:

As more and more women are experiencing thinning hair, the hair products industry is developing more and more products to help with this issue. If you have serious thinning, you may want to visit a dermatologist for more treatment options. Find a good daily vitamin to take that is designed for hair and skin issues. Many of the hair loss products companies, like Nioxin sell a daily vitamin that is supposed to support hair growth.

Hair extensions offer a temporary solution to camouflage the thinning hair, but you must be very cautious about the type and method used as hair extensions have been known to cause even more thinning issues if not done properly.

Unflattering Hair Styles

If you are not happy with your hair style, then you may want to start over by evaluation your face shape. The shape of the face can really make or break a hair style. Knowing what you should have or shouldn’t have in a style can be crucial to the outcome. With the invention of hair style imaging software, you can do a little research before you get your hair cut. Some programs even allow for you to try on a hair style by uploading a picture of yourself. This software even works for checking out a color change.

In short, if you want to do something about your current hair style and feel lost, then you should know that there is hope out there and you could make just a small change to update your hair and grow to love it.

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.

The world has become a global village. Everything is accessible at the click of a mouse. The distance between continents is lessened. The word has become faster and swifter. But the mind has become slower and less vigilant. For instance, numerical calculations are carried out by computers and calculators. The human mind is seldom used for that. As a result, simple calculations such as additions, subtractions and multiplications are forgotten. We are mechanized. Overdependence on such gadgets is a curse than a boon.

The physical movements are minimized. Some people try to compensate it with regular visit to the gym and such fitness centers. But are they effective? If the Darwinian Theory is correct, the organs we don’t use may become insignificant and consequently may become inactive, dead or lost. Thus reasoning power gets lost. Body becomes weak and fragile as movements are substantially reduced. The effect of such a life style is physical conditions like, high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity, and diabetics. Our muscles are loosened as they are not often utilized. Our bones become weak as they are not used.

Therefore, it’s high time that we go back to our natural way of living where most of the activities are done manually which strengthen our body. A weak and sick generation is in the making. Thanks to the great leaps of man in telecommunication, technology and industry! If it’s not checked it would eventually ruin the entire mankind. Hospitals would mushroom and that industry will be the most profit making one in future. Other epidemics also would increase. It is very likely that Robots and machines would witness the extinction of mankind in a century or two. It’s not just an exaggeration but a naked reality. I hope man would realize this forthcoming and danger and act promptly to rescue him from this danger. The bottom line is it’s not yet too late, there is ample time left to act judiciously. Awake and act.

When you start up or re-brand a pet or animal related business one of your first requirements will be getting a great logo design in order to create a brand that you can build upon and develop.

Many new businesses are springing up today that are related to pets and animals. It is no longer just your traditional veterinary clinics and pet stores but a whole host of other service businesses relating to pet care, grooming and other niche areas like pet photography and pet boutiques and pet retreats.

The pet industry can be divided into two area really. Firstly you have pet stores and vets who target the general population and secondly you have luxury pet supplies, gourmet pet food and services that only the upper middle class and the wealthy can afford.

Some people treat their pets like members of the family and want only the highest standards for them in terms of the products that they buy and the services that they require. So the message that you want to convey in your logo is that your company values animals and is basically in the business of pampering them, giving them the best of care and the products that they need to be happy and healthy. If you cater to the upper end of the market you want your logo to hint at the elite services that you offer and create a brand ‘club’ that wealthy pet owners want to be a part of.

Popular images that are used in animal and pet care logos include pets themselves, sometimes in cartoon form and sometimes in other graphic forms and animal paw prints. Animals are cute, eye catching and very brandable and a business in this industry would be crazy to not feature an image of a pet into the logo somehow. Paws alone can work and others have gotten away with simple animal related items such as a dog kennel or a lead but images of pets themselves are almost essential in logos in this niche.

Designers will usually go with pet related color tones such as white, browns, tan and black. Bright colors are often used in some of the more ‘light hearted’ business models while veterinary services and animal hospitals are often more inclined to go for more dull colors for a more serious look.

It is important that you brief your designer well before they commence your project and brief them on all aspects of your business. Let them know who your target market is so that they can understand what will appeal to your clients.

Once you become established with your branding on signage and stationary it can be a real hassle to change. You will also lose some of the brand value and customer recognition that you have built up if you decide that a change is necessary. For these reasons it is important to make sure that you start your pet or animal related business off right with a great logo design.

Are you surprised? Next to the real estate and housing industry, the travel industry is said to be the second largest industry in the world.

Did you know that in the USA more money is spent on travel annually than on healthcare, more than on telecommunications, far more than on computers and surprisingly, even more than on food?

Travel is a 7 trillion dollar plus industry worldwide and is expected to continue to grow dramatically over the next two decades as members of the baby boom generation fulfill their number one goal: to travel more. Younger generations are becoming more adventurous as well. People worldwide, in developing nations and developed nations, desire to travel more as they are exposed to new worlds on the Internet and as their incomes continue to grow. We live in an increasingly smaller world.

And, as people earn more and more money in their home travel businesses, they receive many wonderful travel bonuses and get to travel a lot more.

There are currently a couple of home-based businesses in the field of travel and leisure that have become extremely popular within the past year. After carefully studying their business models, their compensation plans, their benefits and their reputations, you might want to select the best one and get started.

In fact, travel businesses have become very popular virtually worldwide. Besides in the USA, two reputable US-based home travel business have begun to explode in places like Canada, Australia, the UK, the EU, India, Malaysia, the Philippians, South Korea, Japan and of course China.

Now, the Top 10 Reasons to Get Into a Good Travel Business Right Now:

It is a huge industry with an eager worldwide market of over 2 billion people.
It is projected to grow dramatically worldwide in the next few years and in the decades ahead.
Good travel businesses are hot right now, in the USA and around the world – demand is very high.
With the right company, it can be a high-integrity business with quality products like cruises, trips and vacations that nearly everyone desires.
It offers exciting travel products and travel bonuses to exciting locations that can inspire, educate, broaden horizons, entertain and benefit people of all ages.
It is a business that allows you to help others worldwide who want help and to truly change their lives.
It is a simple, easy business that anyone can do with the proper training and support.
It is a home business that’s not time consuming and is really, really fun!
It can be extremely lucrative so you have more time and money to travel!
You can get started in a legitimate home travel business with realistic six-figure potential for under $350! That includes membership and a huge discount on a choice vacation or cruise package.

In short, a home business in the field of travel can be very exciting and profitable right now and in the years ahead.

One of the keys to success in any business is passion for the business and passion for the products and services that you market and consume. Some people market soaps or vitamins, and others market highly discounted luxury cruises, trips and 3 to 5 star vacations to exotic locations around the world. Travel is about exploration and fulfilling your dreams.

What excites you?

Survival China Travel Tips and Tricks

These China Travel Tips, Survival Techniques, will help you get around and make your trip to China easier, so you will be able to experience the real China with a little less stress.

China is an odd beast that needs to be respected; the major cities, Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian, all have their own personalities.

Some complex situations that you think would be an organizational disaster turn out to be great and you wonder afterward what all the fuss and worry was about. Then the simplest of tasks can turn out to be a major calamity.

This is when you have what we call here a “China day”.

These days come and go and are part of the experience of everyday travel in China. One needs to have an open mind when travelling China. It is a place with thousands of years of history and culture that is trying overnight to adapt to Western ways of living.

You need to have a very open mind when you Travel in China.
I have listed below a few China Travel Tips that will make life that wee bit more bearable on your Travel China experience.

China Travel Tips – Be Toilet Wise

o Never expect a clean toilet 100% of the time.

o Be prepared; Carry some tissue.

o You may have to use a squat toilet, again if you know this before hand it is not a shock. If you don’t know how to use a squat toilet, try the following experiment at home.

While holding onto something for support with both hands, lower your body down into a low squat position, so that the cheeks of your bottom is almost touching your heels or the back of your calf. Now, let go with your hands. See if you stay in this position for at least 1 minute. If you fall backwards or you cannot get up, then a squat toilet could be a problem for you! Practice, you will be happy you did.

o If you see a clean toilet, Go… it may not come again for a while.

o There are many public toilets around the cities, usually the ones you pay for are OK, (RMB .5), the others best to stay away from if you can. You will soon notice them as you walk around the cities.

o Be warned that public areas like bus and train stations are usually what I class as “tough toilets”, however if gotta go you gotta go.

o Outside of the major cities, the toilet systems are old or have very narrow plumbing /pipes and get blocked easily. In these cases a small basket is usually beside the toilet, this is for your used toilet paper.

One of the best China Travel toilet Tips I can give you, is use hotel lobby toilets; these are everywhere and are always clean. Still they may not always have toilet paper. It depends on the class of hotel that you are using.

I do not wish to scare you. However, of all the China Travel Tips in all the other web sites I have read, this is a topic not often mentioned, but it is very important to us all.

So outside of the major cities conditions can be tough. But most of the time everything will be fine, especially if you book a tour; everything will have been checked out before hand. However even the best laid plans can go wrong, so be prepared, the toilets in the smaller cities, towns and villages can be scary.

China Travel Tips – The Food

o The food is great and the variety is overwhelming. Most of the time you get to choose what you eat, or you can recognize what you’re eating, however sometimes you do not get a choice. Carry a chocolate bar or something; this will keep you going until some food that you can recognize turns up. Drink bottled or boiled water, as the tap water is NOT safe to drink, this is for the whole of China. Even boiled water, while sterilised can contain a lot of minerals and iron deposits that you probably do not want in your system. The safest bet is to drink bottle water. Tap water in most big cities is OK for brushing teeth.

o Eating habits – Most Chinese people have a great habit of being very noisy when they eat and lunch and dinner times can be a wonderfully noisy celebration, food tends to go in all directions, its just part of being in China.

o People also smoke at the table while everyone is eating, so some restaurants get very loud and smoky.

o If you get stuck what to order as most of the menu’s are in Chinese just look at the table next to you and point to the dish you fancy and ask how much it is, this system works really well and know seems to mind.

o I have a basic menu that will help you order safe food, (no Cats or Dog) this will enable you to visit a larger selection of restaurants, not just the tourist ones with high prices. You can carry it with you and use it in the local restaurants where most will be able to serve what is on it. This way you will know what you are eating.

These local places are very cheap and the food it great. Contact me if you would like me to send it to you.

China Travel Tips – Taxis

o China Travel Tips- Taxis – Taxis are an experience that can have you griping the seat and gasping for breath; however you soon get used to it, after the first few rides, you’re an old hand.

o The taxis in Shanghai are, overall, quite good. Try to get the Blue, Blue’ish Turquoise, Gold and White taxis, these are the best… these are the four major taxi companies and are generally recognised by their single colour paintwork. The others are OK, just older and a rougher ride (the others also may have faulty metres). No drivers will speak English.

o Carry your hotel or accommodation business card with you, written in Chinese, this helps if you get lost walking around town.

o In all the taxis around the country you will see the drivers name and taxi registration number in plain sight. If you have any problem, or if you think you have been over charged etc, just take this number down, make a big fuss about it, and the driver then should wake up and fix whatever problem you have. Even better is to take the receipt. This has all the trip details on it and you can ring the taxi company if you want to take things further or if you’ve left something in the taxi.

o The government takes rip-off drivers in all cities, Beijing and Xian especially, very seriously and if you complain they will lose their license. This is their livelihood. So far I have had not one driver in 3 years that has not backed down and we have then agreed a price for the trip or solved our problem.

o In Shanghai, it is common practice for taxi fare increases after 11pm. However, one can usually bargain for a 20% discount, which will get the fare back to the pre-11pm rate.
Be strong with the taxi drivers, never-the-less, keep your cool, smile and negotiate.

China Travel Tips – Shopping

o China Travel Tips – Shopping – China is a shopper’s paradise, Markets, Bargains; Top labels… anything and everything if you have the time. With clothes, the larger (Western) sizes can be quite hard to find, however in the major cities where you get a lot of tourist traffic, you can find them.

o Electrical gear, DVD’s, Cameras, stuff like this is not worth buying in China, Hong Kong is still the best place for this.

o Store hours in the major cities are from 10am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

o Visa card is still the best card to carry, with ATM’s in good supply all with PLUS access etc.
There is usually a surcharge for use of VISA, MasterCard or other forms of credit card.

o Wait on purchasing if you can, look around to get a feel for the prices. The Chinese are VERY experienced at selling and know that we halve the opening price when bargaining.
In the markets go for 25% of what they first ask; go so low that they let you walk away. This will give you an idea of the bottom price. The resulting end-price will probably be around 40% to 50% of where they started.

Whatever the market people say, they are used to pushing and haggling for best prices. Do not worry about being too hard, they are used to it and will not sell you an item unless they make a profit. Don’t be concerned with the apparently hurt body language when you go low – it is all part of the game. As soon as they have wrapped up your first purchase, they will try to sell you something more. Remember to keep smiling and having fun while bargaining.

China Travel Tips – Medical Treatment and Records

o Most hotels will have a doctor that you can see. In the major hotels English will be spoken.

o Always take a small first aid kit, cold remedy, headache tablets at the very least. WATSONS is a very large chain chemist. Most of the remedies, tablets etc, that you may require should be in these shops. These shops are all over China.

o There is a great network of pharmacy type shops; these are indicated by a Green Cross. There will always be a 24 hr Green Cross pharmacy in the city you are in. It is handy to carry a Phase book, as no one will speak English, however you will end up with something that will help.

o INPORTANT POINT – for most of the mass produced packet type medicines, the packaging will be written in Chinese on one side, English on the other. However in the shops you only see the Chinese side. Have a good look, turn the packs over, it gives you a lot more confidence knowing you can read the package.

o If you have a specific medical issue, take records, most of the Doctors will have OK written / reading English, even though their oral English will be poor.

China Travel Tips – Telephone

o Using the phone is as easy as at home. However the person picking it up will not speak English or have very broken English… the Major 4- or 5-Star Hotels will all be OK.

o What is worth doing is buying a Chinese Telecom SIM card, they are about RMB100 and with this you get RMB50 in calls, the other 50 is for the price of the SIM card; this SIM card will go into all major brand phones and work OK.

By doing this, people can reach you within and out of China if there is an emergency. If you have a couple of phones, you can short (txt) message each other (SMS). Also you are able to call your tourist guide, hotel etc if you have any major problems. It is a cheap way to keep in touch.

NB.Before you buy a Chinese SIM card, check that it will work in your Cell / Mobile phone. There are plenty of China Telecom shops that can help.

China Travel Tips on when NOT to move around China.

o Spring Festival, this would be the Chinese New Year time, around the end of January / Early February

o Early May; Labour day Holidays

o Early October; National Day Holidays

Of all the China Travel Tips National Day is the biggest one. Millions of Chinese travel at these holiday times of the year. Most are travelling back to home towns or visiting family. Hotels, trains, planes, cars, buses, and roads are all crowded to the maximum. Major congestion, everywhere.

Also travel fares are at their full price. No discounts are offered!
Stay in one place and enjoy where you are. It’s best and causes fewer hassles.

China Travel Tips – TV

o If you want to watch TV, most of the major hotels will have cable and if you are in the smaller places, the national channel, CCTV9 is in English. Over the last couple of years it has got a lot better, with some great China Travel Tips programs, news and views on people and places around China.

China Travel Tips – Airport Tax

o There is a “construction fee” at almost all airports.

Domestic flights RMB 50
International flights RMB 90 – which is to be paid in local currency.

Just recently, tickets are being tissued with the Construction Tax included; however make sure you have the Tax money with you just to make sure.

I hope some of these China Travel Tips will come in handy and will make your trip to China that little bit easier.

If you have been to China and wish to share your China Travel Tips, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Auto racing is one of the highly televised sports in the world. The exposure of people to auto racing has acted as a catalyst for its growth in popularity. More and more people, especially kids and teenagers, have been drawn towards racing. Carting, most basic and arguably the safest introduction to motor sports, is very popular not only in Europe and North America, the traditional bastions of auto racing, but also in Asia and some parts of Africa. But, its popularity and fanfare should not undermine the fears about its safety. We know from our daily experience that even driving through roads at a speed that is infinitely slower than that in the auto racing arenas can be dangerous.

Despite the technologically advanced safety measures, the inherent danger of high-speed auto racing refuses to be conquered. There are a large number of accessories for auto racing safety. But, there is no better method to avoid accidents than driving with concentration and focus.

Formula One racing is undoubtedly the most famous auto racing event in the planet. Ayrton Senna is the immortal star in the Formula One history. He died on the track in 1994 following an accident while racing. That incident prompted the governing bodies of the sport to bring in new technologies to avoid accidents and to reduce the risks when accidents inevitably happen. The vehicles, be it racing cars or motor cycles, are designed in such a way as to keep the driver away from impact even if a crash happens. The vehicles absorb maximum impact on its body. But there is a limit to such measures. If the crash is too powerful, the body cannot resist the force. As a result, other accessories for auto racing safety have been introduced.

Auto racers wear special kind of dress that will provide both comfort and safety during the high-pressure environment of motor racing. Usually it will be tightly fit dresses, with some kind of padding at the leg and chest parts. The biggest problem for the auto racers is the extreme heat generated due to high speeds of vehicles. Exposure to the heat can cause dehydration. So the dressing accessories for auto racing safety should be able to prevent heat from entering the body of the driver.

The most useful accessory for auto racing safety is helmets. There are a number of brands of special lightweight, yet strong, helmets particularly manufactured for auto racing. The helmet provides a kind of insurance cover against head injuries.

In spite of all these accessories for auto racing safety, the actual safety is in driving within the limits of both the racing rule and ones own ability. Auto racing is perhaps one sporting event where winning at any cost is not recommended. It is a sport where the clich a matter of life and death is a stark reality.

So now, you’ve said YES to the all important question your man has been wanting to ask. Now what? Now comes the hard albeit fun part of planning for your wedding. So where do you run to? Why the internet of course!

Cyberspace is a global village full of wonderful wedding planning websites that can help you set up for your most important day. In these websites you can download various checklists you will need for your wedding day. Wedding checklists have been indispensable to the modern day bride. They are the equivalent of live wedding planers but unlike planners that go home at the end of the day, you can carry these with you and refer to your plans, needs, to-do-list anytime, anywhere.

Wedding planning websites are also a good source of inspiration and ideas. Some websites will have free newsletters which can be very helpful not only to the bride-to-be but to the groom as well. You can check out wedding themes, invitation inspiration, color schemes, proper wedding etiquette, potential honeymoon destinations, the tune of your first dance and many more wedding related paraphernalia.

These websites are also good for research. Every bride knows how important budget is when it comes to weddings. It is easy to go overboard during weddings. And while we don’t want to scrimp during this important day, going into debt is also a very bad way of starting off your married life. In wedding planning websites, you can get an idea of how expensive or affordable your wedding will be. Most sites will feature products and services and some of them might even be willing to give you a free quote. This will give you an idea of where you will be financially for your wedding plans.

However, the most important reason why future brides should scour the web for wedding planning websites is for organization. Weddings are intimate affairs that involve planning skills. The wedding goes beyond the bride and the groom. There will be parents and siblings to think about, venues to book, wedding gown designs that need to be considered and many more. Think about it, some relatives that might want to attend may live off state or even abroad. Wedding websites gives you the idea of the logistics, planning and needs that will have to be addressed in order for your perfect day to be wonderful. These websites will also save you time and gas money from going store to store in search of that perfect purse or wedding veil. Try shopping when everything is at the tip of your fingers!

Speaking of organization, wedding planning websites can take off the stress of organizing a wedding no matter how short a notice it is. All you need is some research and you will have everything you need in your computer or via a print out. No relative or friend will be forgotten. Wedding gown fittings, honeymoon bookings, the perfect wedding band and even your favorite song can be found in the internet.

A stress free wedding is every bride’s dream. Planning ahead can give you the edge you need in order to walk down the aisle without any worries. So fire up your computer and search for wedding planning websites and have fun dreaming up your special day!