Finding Costa Rica Travel Info

If your wanderlust is pushing you towards the direction of Latin America, then it is very likely that you have looked at Central America. You probably have also looked at Costa Rica travel info for help in planning your vacation. If you are not all familiar with this beautiful tropical paradise then this is the place to start.

Costa Rica is located in the middle of Central America. It has Nicaragua to the north and Panama on its south; while it has the Pacific Ocean on it west and the Caribbean Sea on the east. The main regions of it are: Guanacaste, Nicoya Peninsula, Central Valley, Central Pacific, and Caribbean Costa Rica, Plains of the North, South Costa Rica and Cocos Island National Park.

It has two major international airports that service the country. One is the Juan Santamaría Airport which is accessible to 3 cities: Alajuela, Heredia and the capital city of San José. The other one is the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport which is located in Liberia in the Guanacaste region of the country.

In addition there are lots of domestic airports scattered all over the country. There is one each in Limon City, Barra del Colorado, Tortuguero, Pavas, and La Fortuna. There is five domestic airports in South Puntarenas namely: Carate, Coto 47, Drake Bay, Puerto Jimenez, Palmar Sur, and Golfito. For North Puntarenas, they have the Tambor Domestic Airport and the Quepos Domestic Airport. For Guanacaste, aside from their international airport in Liberia, they also have domestic airports in Tamarindo, Nosara, Punta Islita, and Carrillo (Samara).

Another crucial bit of Costa Rica travel info is the location of the major cities of the country. There are the aforementioned and well known cities of Alajuela, San José, Tamarindo and Liberia. Cartago is the first capital of Costa Rica and Jaco is one of the famous surfing spots of the country. Other cities worth visiting are Pochote which is across Puntarenas, Parismina which is on the Tortuguero Canals, Puerto Limón which is the main country on the Caribbean side, and Heredia which is famed for their coffee plantations.

Since Costa Rica is well known as a world class ecotourism destinationf, the country is blessed with many splendid parks that should not be missed when visiting. There is the Tapanti National Park, Cahuita National Park, Corcovado National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, and Chirripo National Park. Tourists can also pave a visit to Arenal Volcano, Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves and to the Pacuare River and Protected Zone. If you are a bird watcher then you will want to bring your life list and expect to double it in size without much effort.

Last but definitely not the least, the beaches should not be forgotten when in Costa Rica. Many aficionados listed the following as the top ten beach spots that should be enjoyed when in the country: Nicoya Peninsula, Manuel Antonio, Montezuma, Playa Tamarindo, Corcovado, Mal Pais, South of Limon, Jaco and Tambor. Surfing is a major draw on many of the Pacific beaches especially during the winter months when Northern storms send great waves south to be enjoyed by both the novice and expert.

The best way to enjoy Costa Rica is to take your time and enjoy it with a smile. That is the only way to get lost in Costa Rica’s Tropical Paradise. Remember if you miss something on your first trip you can always come back for another visit to paradise.

Travel Alert: What You Need to Know About Travel Safety and Security Risk Management

Introduction

If you want to learn about managing the safety and security of your corporate travelers then you will need to read this report.

Specifically we’ll discuss preparation, analysis, management, monitoring and response as it relates to an active and successful travel risk management program.

After reading this article, you should know how to prevent or predict approximately 90% to travel risks and act immediately to improve your own program.

Implementing a successful travel risk management strategy can be one of the easiest corporate actions but the most difficult to get moving.

Too much time is wasted focusing on the wrong areas for assessment and implementation, that results in minor coverage for the major areas of concern.

Here we will simplify the process for immediate action or comparison.

Preparation

Preparation is the primary and key step for all programs, whether mature or developing. Any-and-all information that is collected, especially data, should be consolidated to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Overcoming a “silo” mentally within the organization is also paramount to consolidating.

Intent, progress and resolutions must be communicated to all stakeholders in the most effective medium possible.

Managers should not limit themselves to the more traditional mediums but also include popular social media offerings.

Key messages or content must be track-able or at least acknowledged to ensure potentially life saving information isn’t lost in the vast corporate email inbox or mislabeled as spam.

Each major milestone and change needs to be documented, rated and followed channeled into the communication plan.

Time spent on effective preparation is rarely wasted and will pay dividends, throughout the course of the program’s life-cycle.

Example-Preparation

A relatively small consulting firm, who understood that they had a significant investment in their consulting staff, was able to develop and implement an effective, world class travel risk management strategy in a matter of weeks.

Through a well-structured phase of preparation and mapping they were able to resolve an issue that had consistently been pushed back because they had always assumed the task was insurmountable.

Analysis

Analysis of all key components associated with corporate travel must be conducted.

Travelers

The first and most pivotal is the travelers themselves.

A profile and rating of each traveler needs to be developed.

Questions around health, experience, knowledge, function and even preparation are basic requirements for each travelers threat profile.

With this information managers will be better positioned to make accurate assessments on the overall risk of any journey.

Location

The location visited is the second element.

The threats vary greatly from location to location and generalized ratings are useless if based on such known vulnerabilities.

Trips to a key, developed city warrant different planning considerations than that of a remote location in a developing economic country.

Different cities within the same country may have vastly differing threat concerns too.

Activity

Next is the activity to be undertaken by the traveler.

A conference, factory tour, expedition or client meeting all have differing threats and planning considerations and are not adequately address by a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Support

Additionally, the level of support afforded the traveler is considered.

This is not only those organic support options such as internal support and providers but that of emergency services, infrastructure and so on.

The time it takes for an ambulance to respond can turn a “routine” incident into a potentially fatal encounter.

The assessment and access to support should be inclusive of routine and emergency situations.

Threats

Lastly, all the known or prevailing threats need to be assessed.

You can never know everything but an overall list and impact/potential outcomes assessment needs to be conducted to complete the process if consistent and measurable results are to be expected.

Many threat factors may be seasonal or vary over the course of the month or traveler’s journey.

Example-Analysis

Due to changing economic challenges, a mid-sized company was pressured to seek new business in developing countries and emerging markets.

Until this point they had always been reluctant to venture into such markets due largely to their perception of risk.

Following structured and less superficial analysis they were able to fully appreciate the actual threats and separate the more emotive elements.

Following consultation with managers and travelers, they successfully expanded their market and sought new business with less competition as their competitors continue to lack the understanding and preparation to successfully pursue potentially lucrative opportunities.

Management

The greatest threat to preparation and analysis is an unsupervised or not managed program once the traveler commences travel.

Ownership must be displayed and active management of travelers from a door of departure until a door of return is required.

This must be conducted with frequency of effort and communications to ensure the traveler feels supported and management is across the potential for change and intervention.

This phase is a marathon and not a sprint.

The management of successful programs requires consistency in conjunction with frequency.

Relatively standardized approaches need to be applied to like situations/circumstances for the purpose of efficiency, productivity, safety and cost control.

Demonstrable support is required both within the management group but to all identified stakeholders such as travel management, security, the traveler, families, etc.

Example-Management

A company with tens of thousands of traveling personnel successfully manages the risks and demands of travel with only a handful of people.

Their system and support mechanism is adaptive enough to support individual requirements but automated enough to ensure efficiency by keeping headcount at optimal and minimal levels while leveraging technology.

Their overall strategy is not managed by one department but all departments and stakeholders work in collective unison at each and every stage from departure up to return of the traveler to the office or their place of residence.

Monitoring

Monitoring represents the Achilles’ heel for the majority of travel risk management programs.

Ongoing monitoring of events and activities is required, whether this is carried out by the traveler or higher support function such as HR or security.

Tactical events (those that occur within proximity of the traveler/travelers route) should be scrutinized on a regular basis.

These events are the ones most likely to cause disruption or harm and should constitute the priority of effort.

Wider events or more strategic developments also need to be monitored for change that will impact the traveler or group of travelers.

Tactical events include demonstrations, storms, violence and the like while strategic events include visa changes, political unrest, health crisis and so on.

The actual journey taken by the traveler should be regularly reviewed or automated to report and respond disruption events and threats.

Finally, the individual needs to be monitored outside of the usual performance and reporting requirement to ensure their health and well-being is preserved or unchanged.

Example-Monitoring

Numerous companies have averted crisis and maintained productivity by monitoring developing events.

Changes in weather, strikes, airline delays and even public holidays can occur at short notice and outside of standard policy doctrine.

By keeping “a finger on the pulse” with active monitoring these companies maximize their travel spending and ensure their travelers are highly productive and efficient.

Less vigilant companies who leave the process to static policy and dated knowledge are forced to spend more or suffer unnecessary delays.

Response

Bad things happen to good people all the time.

No plan is complete without a response capacity in support of the affected traveler.

The plan and steps must be painstakingly simple and clear so as to be remembered under the worst of situations.

The plan must be adaptive and simple in implementation so that it can build in complexity and content after the initial activation or call for assistance.

The plan may be infrequently called upon but it should have consistency in application and capability.

All locations, activity, individuals and threats need to be considered and inclusive of the response plan.

Above all, the plan needs to be timely in its application.

A distressed, affected traveler or manager must get the support and collaboration required in the shortest possible time frame.

While the planning and preparation may be measured in days, weeks or months the response should be valued in minutes and hours dependent on the need.

Most companies acknowledge this is not their core competency and therefore part or all of this function is outsourced for maximum return and results.

Example-Response

A “seasoned traveler” from an acclaimed academic institution became unwell while traveling for work purposes.

Despite years of experience and seniority at the institution they had in fact very little knowledge or experience when it came to emergencies or supporting medical services in the location they were when they became ill.

As a result of poor choices, lack of knowledge, no support, limited integration coupled by a litany of local challenges the individual nearly died.

It was only through the swift and successful actions of a concerned spouse, engaging a far more organized process with predictable results, did the individual receive the care and support required to save their life and begin the long recovery process.

Conversely, one company experienced several similar incidents in a single month, however not once were their travelers placed at such grave risk, suffered uncontrolled costs or outright loss of productivity for long periods.

This was all due to a successful and scalable response capacity if and when required.

The Main Travel Safety and Security Threats-Locations and Events

The majority of incidents negatively affecting travelers occur at airports, on the road, accommodation, office/business location, social/leisure locations or result of dynamic change.

Airports

Airports must be included in any action plans or support strategies as it is first/last leg of all journeys and likely to present delays and disruptions ranging from flight delays to targeting by petty criminals.

Accommodation

Accommodation of all kind must be evaluation and included in timely response and advice communications.

Road Moves

Road moves remain the most prevalent and greatest for deadly consequences. Motor vehicle accident rates vary wildly from country to country.

Location

Locations of business activity within the journey plan represent the smallest of impact locations but demand inclusion.

Social and Leisure Activities

Often forgotten with tragic results are social or leisure locations.

This element is likely to be largely unscripted but has a high rate of incidents and events that negatively impact upon the traveler.

Change

The one constant with travel is change.

Elections, violent crimes, attacks an other major news events create change and potential for concern, whether affected directly or not.

Planners and managers need to include this dynamic in the constant monitoring, response and communication plans.

Close

Most agree that travel is inherently risky or laced with threats but far less actually do something about travel risk management as they don’t know where to start or see the task too daunting.

As you can see, it is relatively straightforward to capture 90% of the problem and manage the risk in a few simple steps.

With a methodical and consistent process inclusive of preparation, analysis, management, monitoring and response you too can have a world-class travel risk management program.

Most events and concerns occur in and around airports, accommodation, road moves, office/business locations, change and social leisure locations.

Now you know the key focus areas you have the information and plan to start now.

Even if you already have a plan and strategy, you can benchmark your own approach with this information gathered from years of empirical data, thousands of incidents and insight from thousands of companies ranging from small startup to some of the largest multinationals around the globe.

Travel alert and you truly travel safe.

Go To An Expert Travel Agent Or Directly To The Operator?

Unless you are comfortable with handling your own arrangements directly with travel operators over their websites or your travel selection is just a simple selection from a brochure you should consider finding an expert travel agent for your travel destination or activity requirements. This is not as simple as it sounds as many travel agents are designated as ‘specialists’ which often does not mean too much, except that they specialize in selling certain destinations, activities or named tour operators.

To obtain a ‘specialist’ designation can also be a very simple test set by a tourism office or tour operator and does not necessarily require an actual visit or experience. Travelers should beware of specialists, simply find out if they are experts by asking “have your been there, have you done that, did you buy the t-shirt?” or some more exacting questions, as you are investing hard earned money in your trip or vacation.

In our lifetimes we hopefully spend more on our travel wants and needs than on any other professional or expert in their chosen fields such as lawyers, accountants, plumbers, electricians, builders, dentists, doctors and we certainly choose them very carefully, so why not use the same quality control when choosing a travel agent. Also, as with our other experts, there may be different agents needed for different destinations and activities, so do not necessary stay with one agent for all of your travel requirements unless of course the agency has different experts for different products and services.

There is an understandable element of extra costs when using these experts called commissions and fees but the extra cost is often worth the investment if you really need travel knowledge, experience and expertise. Many travel experts are dedicated professionals who have spent years gaining knowledge of their products and services, gaining experience by visiting destinations, taking part in activities and gaining expertise in the reservation and search systems for better itinerary planning.

They are out there, but not necessarily in your town, region or even country. With the Internet we have the ability to find experts for anything and to compare and check credentials and product quality before committing our investment.

If you, as a traveler, do not need to use an expert travel agent and are comfortable with handling your own arrangements over the internet you have unlimited choices but not unlimited time to do your searches. You also have probably questioned why, if you do your own bookings directly with the operator, that you have to pay the commissions that are normally built in to travel prices to allow for retailer or wholesaler percentages, and rightly so. Are you getting a fair fare price when you go directly to operators and if not why not?

Not as simple an answer as it seems. Travel Wholesalers and Retailers are needed to market, promote and represent travel products so that travelers have the opportunity to view the myriad travel choices around the world. Without them many of us would never know the choices available to us so, when you have found your expert you should be loyal to them for yourself and also recommend and refer their expertise to others.

Travel Operators often have a predicament that if they show a two-tier price on their websites, one for buying from travel agents and a lesser price for direct bookers, that this could cause a rift in the supply chain and should therefore be protected for the benefit of the industry and the consumer in order to ensure that certain travel selections are available.

To overcome this predicament needed a new and completely different approach to both protect the traditional supply chain and to ensure that direct booking travelers get fairer fare prices and protection from unnecessary costs. The new innovation is Top Travel Vouchers from Top Travel Sites, a system whereby the operator still incurs the payment of a commission but most of that commission is then rebated to the direct-booking traveler.

At present there are hundreds of these vouchers available for purchase from operators around the world and each purchaser is offered a 100% money back guarantee, with some restrictions, but there is also a refund if the traveler is unhappy upon completion of their travel.

This service is in the early days of building a voucher inventory but with the growth of travel by direct bookings it does offer travel operators who want to encourage direct bookings and also to protect their relationships with wholesalers and retailers a new opportunity and method of representation for their products.

For the many thousands of travel providers and operators around the world who are not large enough to get representation by wholesalers and retailers there is now an opportunity to use this service by building an attractive savings incentive into voucher offers to encourage travelers to handle their own arrangements directly with the operator.

The Best Ways To Keep Your Money Safe Whilst Travelling

Most travelers know how to find the cheapest airfare or hostel room. But when it comes to how to travel with your money and how to access it, most travelers have a thing or two to learn.

There is no single best way to travel with your money or to make sure it is always accessible.

Travel Security Products

You must make sure you always have access to money overseas, and the best way to do that is by keeping your cash, ATM cards or travelers cheques safe with travel security products. The most popular are travel money belts, combination padlocks, security cable locks, and mesh security products. Be sure to plan ahead and purchase these products before leaving home.

Cash

You will need easy access to your cash, but it is not a smart idea to carry a large amount of cash around with you. It is also not a good idea to carry the bulk of your travel money around with you in cash form. If you get mugged or your luggage stolen, your holiday could be ruined.

You should disperse your cash around when traveling. Some should be placed in your wallet, also in your travel money belt. But you should keep a spare $100 or 100 Euros hidden in your backpack. This way if you do get mugged, you will still have money to tide you over.

A small supply of local currency is important to have when you arrive in a new country. You will be able to pay for transport to your accommodation, and also buy something to eat. If you are traveling in a third world country always pay for items and bargain for items in the local currency. You are less likely to be ripped off!

Credit Cards

A credit card should only be used as a back-up option to access your money when traveling. You will get charged large transaction fees to withdraw money in another currency. If your credit card gets stolen, your details could be used to steal your money and essentially ruin your vacation.

Always have the details of your credit card company, so that you can contact them if something goes wrong.

However, if you look after credit card, it can be very useful. It can be used to book flights, accommodation and tours online. It is also reasonably safe to pay for hotels and meals at well established and quality businesses.

Travelers Cheques

Travelers cheques are not very popular any more with any traveler. They cost you to make and they cost you to access your money. Often banks will give you a worse exchange rate when converting you travelers cheques. Using an ATM is a lot easier now that they have become universal.

On the upside, if yo lose your travelers cheques, you may be able to contact the nearest office of the issuing authority with the numbers on your not redeemed cheques to get them replaced.

ATMs

You can find an ATM just about anywhere now. They are by far the most convenient way to access your money when you are traveling. You must make sure your ATM card is authorized for use overseas before you go.

You are smart to travel with a spare card, just in case you lose your only means of accessing your money. Remember, you may be charged overseas transaction fees and conversion fees from your bank.

Cash Passport Cards

These are becoming a very popular option now with many travelers. You buy this card before you leave home, and place your funds on it, but in the currency of the country you are traveling to. The most popular currency cards are US dollars, UK pounds, and Euros.

Once your money is on the card you can access it anywhere from an ATM. This way you wont be charged conversion fees.

What should you do?

You should travel with a variety of options to access your money. Choose the best option for you that makes you feel comfortable. Remember, you can always get someone to transfer money to you internationally anywhere if you run out!

What not to do?

Avoid carrying large quantities of cash, when you use an ATM separate the money into smaller amounts and hide them around your backpack, pockets and wallet.

Do not give your credit card details to anyone.

Do not use your credit card to with draw money at an ATM. It will cost you so much money in fees!

School Bus Drivers Can Text and Drive in Some States

In the early morning hours of every school day, youngsters board a yellow and black bus and head to an exciting day at school. We rely and trust that knowledgeable and responsible school bus drivers will deliver and retrieve our children each day, with safety as their number one priority. According to the American School Bus Council, each school bus equals 36 cars, which means that children have a better chance at a safer ride to and from school rather than riding in a standard vehicle. Even the safest, most law abiding drivers are at risk for being involved in an accident with a distracted driver. Taking your children out of the backseat and on to a school bus should be a safer alternative, but recently in some states, school bus riders are at risk of being involved in an accident caused by distracted driving. The distracted driver? The trusted school bus driver.

Laws Against Texting and Driving

According to the U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving, currently 41 states ban text messaging while driving and for good reason. No one, regardless of what they think or say, is good at texting and driving. Texting and driving, as separate actions, require visual, manual, and cognitive attention. Choosing to combine the two actions, at the same time, is a potentially lethal decision. While many drivers may argue that they have texted while driving without an incident to date, we all know it only takes one small incident to change life forever. Some drivers are self-proclaimed multi-taskers, boasting at their ability to drive the kids to school, while drinking piping hot coffee, texting co-workers, and keeping the car within the speed limit.

Studies show that multi-tasking doesn’t really exist. When you try to do more than one thing at a time, your brain struggles to prioritize the task at hand. For example, when you are driving, your visual attention is on the road, your manual attention is on the wheel, and your cognitive attention is in tune to driving. Once you hear the beep of a text notification, your brain suddenly “switches gears”. Your eyes may remain on the road, your hands may be on the wheel, but you are suddenly thinking about the text message and who may have sent it. The alert nags at you until you reach into your purse and check your phone, causing you to take all attention from driving.

Considering all the potential dangers of texting and driving, why are the school bus drivers in particular states allowed to text while transporting dozens of innocent children? Against the Golden Rule?

In September, a student, riding the school bus, took a video of the bus driver texting while driving. At one point, the driver was using her knee to control the wheel and struggled to stay within her lane. While the driver was suspended, the video footage has left many parents feeling uneasy, rethinking their morning transportation plan. While those states that allow it ban texting while driving, school bus drivers are allowed to text if the messages are work related. Even if school bus drivers pledge to use their cell phone for work related information, who will monitor to make sure the term “work related” isn’t be used loosely?

More importantly, how would a cell phone interfere with a bus driver’s performance? A school bus driver’s occupation can be rewarding and stressful. Safely transporting children is the main objective of the job, which doesn’t (and shouldn’t) allow for error. In addition to being a safe driver, according to United States Department of Labor, bus drivers are expected to have good customer service skills, be in good physical, mental and emotional health, have patience, good hand/eye coordination, and excellent vision and hearing. If a driver becomes immersed in “work related” text messages, he/she cannot perform the following important tasks:

Watch traffic and people carefully to ensure the safety of children getting on and off the bus
Take care of the needs of children with disabilities
Keep order and safety on the school bus
Understand and enforce the school system’s rules regarding student conduct
Report disciplinary problems to the school district or parents

Although texting laws have a few exceptions, it is safer and smarter to adhere to the “no texting and driving” law rather than trying to read between the lines or slip through a loophole. Texting and driving can injure, kill, and change your life in a matter of seconds. The next time you walk your child to the bus stop, will you trust her life in the hands of a texting bus driver or will you drive her to school, risking the busy roads filled with distracted drivers?

School Bus Accidents – Rare, But Still an Issue

The accident rate for school buses is thankfully, very low. Considering the sheer volume of school buses that transport children to and from school daily, school buses are relatively very safe. This is probably due in part to their large size and design, and the lower speeds in which they tend to travel. However, motor vehicle accidents do still occur on school buses, and when they do, the consequences can be overwhelming for everyone involved.

The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science and Engineering reports that there are approximately 6,000 injuries and 20 deaths annually in the USA due to school bus accidents.

School bus designs have not been changed since 1977, which means that many of them are not equipped with seat belts. Although 3 states – New York, New Jersey and Florida – require new buses to have seat belts, only New Jersey and Florida actually require riders to use them. Safety advocates have been fighting to make seat belts and seat belt usage a standard in all new buses across the country.

Out of the estimated 20 deaths that occur annually due to school buses, an incredible 15 of them are due to children being run over by the buses in the process of boarding or exit them. Safety laws have been implemented in all states to remedy this problem, but pedestrian accidents still remain.

The issues surrounding school bus accidents can become quite complicated. Personal Injury Lawyers / Accident Attorneys who have experience with liability laws can be very helpful in sorting out the legal matters surrounding this type of accident. Many factors must be taken into consideration when deciding fault in a school bus accident. Although infrequent, school bus accidents do occur, and a lawyer specializing in school bus accidents can help determine the negligent party and assess any damages that may be claimed.

Secrets Of A Travel Mom

In this article, I will be comparing the various ways a family can have the highest quality vacations for the lowest prices. I will compare various travel memberships, and buying a timeshare, so that you understand what is out there and choose what would benefit your family the most.

Traveling with kids can be more work than fun sometimes, so having accommodations with a kitchen and separate bedrooms can be the difference between enjoying a vacation and coming home exhausted.

There are several options for families to access luxury resorts around the world without paying the rack rates.

The first and most well known is to buy a timeshare or even better, to look for a timeshare resale. The problem with timeshares though, is that it is a commitment and there is normally a high upfront cost to become a member of around $10,000 or more. Timeshare owners must pay yearly maintenance fees that normally average about $700 or $800 and they get a week at a specified resort, or a couple weeks if they are using points. They do have the option of using other worldwide resorts by simply paying RCI or Interval International (the largest exchange companies) an exchange fee each time they do so. Exhanges fees are normally around $163 per exchange. For many families, owning a timeshare can improve their travel lifestyle, but there it is a longterm commitment and there are alternatives.

There are several travel memberships on the market now that offer equally, if not more value than buying a timeshare or timeshare resale. Most of them are home business opportunities that pay members to promote their company, instead of dragging people to timeshare presentations and paying sales people.

Sometimes the fact there is a business opportunity attached to a travel membership can turn people away, but it you look past that and look at what the memberships offer, you will usually find better value that if you buy a timeshare or even timeshare resale.

There are two travel companies that stood out for me when I was doing my research.

One is called Global Resorts Network and it offers families three different membership options. Their highest level offers 20 weeks vacation per year (at $398-$799/week) for a one time membership cost of $12,500. They also have a membership that offers 10 weeks per year for one time purchase of $4,995. Their lowest package gives 2 weeks per year and costs $1,995. TheyGRN use RCI as one of their travel providers which is the largest provider of timeshare properties in the world. When booking a vacation, members must make a request manually to head office.

World Discovery Club is a newer company that opened it’s doors at the end of 2011. Although their website and marketing is not as fancy, their product is solid. They also use RCI as their main condo provider, as well as a high end provider of private villas and private vacation homes for travelers with a hearty budget.

World Discovery Club has six different membership levels and members can browse inventory and book directly through their own website.

Their lowest membership is a 1 year membership for $497 and gives members to unlimited weeks ($199 up to $1200, depending on the resort and season). The average week seems to be between $355 and $698.

The next level is a 10 year membership for $1497.

Then they have a 50 year membership for $2497, which includes one $497 membership to give away. In my opinion as a travel mom and someone who has actually sold ‘real’ timeshare in the past, is the best value as a travel membership for families.

The top 3 memberships are all 99 year membership and come with more benefits, and more to give away the higher you go. They are $6497, $12,497, and $19,995.

I am not sure who would purchase the top two memberships, unless they were business people who had a lot clients, staff, or extremely large families they wanted to give vacations to.

Comparing apples to apples, I found that World Discovery Club had the best value as a product in itself and the most availability.

As a business opportunity, Global Resorts paid higher commissions to their sales reps, but their payplan did not offer any leverage. On the business side, World Discovery Club’s commissions were a little lower, but they have a multi-level apsect to their payplan, which in the home business industry is important because it ensure that your upline with help and support you better..

Both Global Resorts Network and World Discovery Club are good options to buying a timeshare because they are less expensive and offer more flexibility. Unlike timeshare, neither of the travel companies mentioned above, have any yearly maintenance fees or exchange fees, which is nice for those who do not want the commitment or contracts that you get when you buy a timeshare or a timeshare resale.

Although not as flashy to look at, World Discovery Club seems to be a ‘hidden gem’ in the travel world.

Online Travel Agent Secrets That Saves Clients 100s to 1000s of Dollars Off All Travel – Part 1

Cheap airline tickets, family vacations and last minute deals found on major search engines like Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, and many other highly advertised websites don’t save you much compared to personal online travel agents, no matter what travel deals they claim to offer. If you aren’t saving at least $50-$100s of dollars per hotel, per vacation package, then you really aren’t getting the best vacation deal.

Did you know that cheaptickets and Expedia is owned by the same company? You are still getting sold by the same company. The travel deals, vacation and family package you thought were money savers really aren’t. They’re all selling commercial rates. Huge online travel agencies capitalizes off the average consumer’s ignorance when it comes to traveling, because they know the industry. Which is why working personally with a good travel agent, closes to gap. Travel agents and travel agency will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your typical Disney and ski vacation, last minute vacation, hotels and major airline tickets if you find a good one.

Travel agents generally get all the specials first hand that the travel industry releases before they reach the general public. Generally we get wholesale rates on major international travel that’s never released to the public, only travel agents. Saving customers $300+ dollars on a vacation packages within 2 weeks notice are really all within a travel agents daily work day. Cheap airline tickets and guaranteed cheap hotels rates are always within grasp by a travel professional.

With the internet being the number one source for travel bookings(82 percent of all travel) it’s best to work with an online travel agent that has their own travel business because of the savings you’ll always receive if their true professionals of travel. Three good reasons to book family vacations and more through travel agents are:

#1. Hotel discounts: For instance, using a personal travel agent’s online travel agency, some may able to guarantee you the best rate 110 percent, all the time. How many other online travel agencies gives you those rates all the time. Plus having access to a good travel agent, you can find immediate access to unpublished hotel discount rates only available to agents. Exclusive travel agents with these insider secrets are always savings their clients hundreds of dollars.

#2. International travel: Airline consolidators only work with travel agents. They publish international and some domestic unpublished airline fares to travel agents only and sometimes at thousands below commercial rates. And before this, you thought you were saving money.

#3. Promotional Rates. Last month a travel agent ran a special from their company where two people could travel free for one entire year across the globe as many times they wanted. It’s over now, but its countless promotions like these that you will receive and immediate access to if you work closely with a travel agent. Getting specials on an all-inclusive honeymoon vacation for 5 days at $409, are just one of many specials certified travel agents gets easily. Talk about travel deals.

Yes, it’s true the old travel agency days are gone, but the use of having your personal travel agent, priceless! If the agent has their own online travel business and sounds professional, use them for all travel needs, they’ll really save you thousands.

Travel Insurance For Europe – Safeguarding Against Emergency Expenses

Adventures in far flung destinations including Europe can be full of excitement, beauty, history and culture, transporting travelers blissfully away from their daily routines. However, there are times on such journeys when the unexpected happens, and the impact of injury or accident can be much more substantial than if the same incident had occurred stateside. Travel insurance for Europe is available to travelers who will be visiting the EU zone and might need special care from European doctors or healthcare providers during their visit. Specifically, this type of coverage can help alleviate the danger of incurring massive financial harm due to unpredictable events while traveling in countries like France or Germany where health-care systems are often very similar due to EU-organized regulations. This is something everyone venturing to Europe should investigate prior to their voyage. European travel insurance plans are specifically designed to cover countries like France, Spain, Germany, and Greece. Since health care plans and systems are unique to regions and continents, a European travel insurance package will cover very different things than one for, say, South America.

Some travelers may be surprised to learn that the personal insurance coverage they enjoy at home may be inadequate protection while they are away in Europe. For example, travelers who engage in certain types of hazardous recreation such as scuba diving and mountain climbing may learn the hard way that their coverage has been negated by such activity when done in foreign lands. It is also important to note that even when traveling within a country with a nationalized system of healthcare — especially in the Euro Zone — a traveler may be wholly ineligible for free or low cost medical treatment in the case of accidental injury, which is often provided only to citizens. The European Union has done a very good job of organizing special travel insurance systems so that travelers can feel safe within their borders. This is much like the opposite arrangement where a traveler from Europe might come to the United States of America. Regardless of what state that individual mind find himself or herself, then he or she can still get great coverage. Likewise for you, it’s important that regardless of what European “state” you find yourself in that you can rely on quality coverage.

In some of the European areas outside the EU zone, for example, foreign medical practitioners and facilities may be utterly unwilling to negotiate with a traveler’s domestic insurance carrier for payment of expenses incurred due to accidents abroad. In such cases, upfront payment may be demanded prior to service. In the event appropriate treatment is unavailable in a particular location and medical evacuation is required, a tourist’s conventional domestic insurance policy may not cover the cost, which can be significant. Because of these reasons and more, travel insurance Europe is a worthwhile subject of inquiry for all seeking to venture abroad. This is important to keep in mind if your European travel plans might lead you outside the EU zone into countries like Switzerland or Norway where EU coverage may or may not apply.

Aimed at offering financial compensation for unanticipated expenses attendant to overseas travel, European travel insurance is obtainable in a wide array of types and levels, depending on the type of journey intended by the insured. Trip duration, itinerary items, and destination region all are factors in determining the type of coverage that will be made available for purchase. Often, policies covering shorter trips may be selected concurrently with the travel reservations. However, a more expansive policy of longer term may be advisable, and such coverage can also be found. Large insurance companies, cruise lines, travel directors are all viable conduits for purchasing this type of product. European travel plans are much more common as a package these days, especially since many Americans and Canadians travel to the EU region during periods like Spring Break and summer holidays.

Travel insurance for Europe is also often typically categorized by the sort of tourist to be covered. Like the EuRail pass system, European travel insurance can sometimes organized by euro-regions and country packages. For example, you might be planning only to visit Mediterranean countries like Italy, Spain, and Portugal, but not northern Euro countries like Holland and England. These customized European packages are a great way to save money! Adventurists, students, business travelers and vacationers all have different insurance needs, and policies are available that reflect that fact. Travel insurance often addresses expenses relating to emergency medical circumstances, dental services, accidental death or injury benefits, and where necessary, funeral costs when death occurs abroad. Exclusions common to this type of policy might include preexisting health issues and any injury or death occurring as a result of drug or alcohol usage.

Please keep in mind that European travel packages are very different from generalized worldwide travel insurance combo packages where multitudes of countries and regions are included at a discounted or “bulk rate.” In many cases, you are far more likely to get higher quality coverage from the European bundle packages because they provide specific coverage measures for the Euro-zone.

Europe Travel Review

The reason to travel to Europe may be different for each traveler, but a few of the common reasons are: Cultural Opportunities: For those interested in museums, arts, history, music or theater Europe travel offers nearly endless opportunity for cultural activity. From London to Paris to Rome to Amsterdam travelers can enjoy some of the most exciting cultural opportunities the world has to offer.

Landmarks:

People like to visit and associate themselves with something (or someone) famous. Europe travel destinations are rich in famous landmarks. Some of the most well known landmarks of the world, from Big Ben, to the Eiffel Tower, to the Coliseum are located in Europe.

Roots:

People like to visit the countries of their ancestors. Ancient European were wanderers who put up stakes in destinations around the world. Their descendants are now traveling to Europe to return to their roots and see the places their forefathers once called home.

Variety:

Where else can you enjoy such a diversity of culture, climate and geography over such a small distance A traveler to the US will notice relatively small changes when traveling from L A to New York City, a flight of approximately six hours. Language is the same, food is similar, and culture is not remarkably different. However, a two hour flight from Zurich, Switzerland to Athens, Greece , will reward the traveler with an enormous difference that is immediately obvious. Everything from language, food to lifestyle is completely and utterly different. Distances in Europe are relatively small and cultural variety is large. This gives the traveler to Europe the opportunity of easily enjoying a diverse range of cultures and lifestyles by making a relatively low investment of time and money.

Transportation:

There is no place more convenient for a traveler, than Europe Transportation is arguably the best in the world. Europe is well known for its remarkable train system and train passes which offer travelers the opportunity for international travel at very affordable rates. With more and more discount airlines available, Europe travel is becoming less and less expensive. Once you arrive in a major city, there is usually a local metro or streetcar system to take you anywhere you want to go. The ease, comfort and economy makes Europe travel very attractive and convenient.

Health:

When traveling in some regions of the world, travelers must consider if there are any local illnesses that they may be exposed to, if vaccines maybe required and if they fall ill, will they receive proper medical treatment. Most European destinations have excellent water supplies, low rates of infectious diseases and some of the best healthcare systems in the world.

Safety:

Travelers are always easy prey for criminals. However in most European countries your hotel room is not only safe from burglary due to security but is also equipped with a safe European police departments are usually efficient and violent crime is generally lower than in many other areas. But one should always remember when exploring new destination never loose sight of your money and documents.

When is the best time to travel Europe:

May, June, September, and October: These are the perfect months to enjoy southern Europe. Greece, Turkey, Spain and Italy are the best destinations in these periods. The climate at this time is usually ideal and the crowds are relatively thin. International flights are usually less expensive than the peak fares of summer. In the peak travel months of July and August, these destinations may be too hot, too crowded and too expensive for many travelers. July, August: This is the best time to visit Northern, Central and Eastern Europe and go to such countries as Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic. However, this period offers the best climate conditions and many of the locals will be on holiday in southern Europe during this period November to March: Europe is cold during these months. While you may find travel bargains at this time, you may spend a lot of your travel time indoors. The only exception to this is the Canary Islands. Although part of Spain, the Canary Islands are located off the coast of Africa, and enjoy moderate climate year-round. With all of the attention paid to destinations like London and Paris, few people really put much thought into Eastern Europe travel when they are making their vacation plans.

Besides the well-known sites in the Czech Republic and Greece, Poland and Lithuania also offer exciting possibilities. One of the great thing about Eastern Europe travel is that you don’t have to choose one destination exclusively. In general, the public transportation is good enough and cheap enough in that part of the world that you can get from one country to another with relative ease. Basically, Eastern Europe travel offers you the luxury of exploring a whole region rather than settling on one single country. If, however, you are going on a first Eastern Europe travel trip, you should be prepared for culture shock Customs are still familiar enough to not be totally alienating, however, things are still noticeably different there. The fact that it is so affordable, however, more than makes up for this. If you can find cheap airfare to Eastern Europe, You can take your trip for almost nothing. Travel Is Interesting and Entertaining. It’s not a zoo where you look into the cages. Meld with the European to enjoy your travels.

You don’t have to visit museums if you would rather go on a balloon flight or go to a bull fight or sit at a cafe and meet someone new. As an example, one of the most highly recommended items in all of the popular travel guidebooks, TV travel shows, and guided tours is the Amsterdam Canals Boat Excursion. I took this ride and I have a different opinion. You’re stuffed into this long boat with a curved plexiglass roof, you and 80 other tourists. In four languages, over a miserable speaker system, you listen to a tape recording of stupendous facts and statistics about the places you are floating by. Good luck ever finding these places again as you walk around. I was not the only one bored on board. On top of that, it seemed that the boat was going to be swamped by a huge freighter when it got out in the middle of the harbor. What in Amsterdam name were we doing out in the harbor ? On the other hand, one of the most fascinating exhibits in Europe is usually left out of the popular guidebooks. Sins of omission are far from the major problems with these books. Virtually every one I open has errors so stupid that the only possible explanation is that the author did not go to the place mentioned.