Best Plan to Travel Round the World

Travel and tourism
If you wanted to take a break or get away from your busy life, traveling is the best option to consider. Planning a round the world travel is easy if you have the money to spend for it. There are endless possibilities open for you and you can find many travel agencies to help you with your itinerary, travel flights, tours, activities and accommodation. You can also browse the internet and find travel reviews to help you choose the best travel guide for you.

If it is the first time that you will be traveling round the world, it is necessary to read round the world travel reviews and make comparisons so that you can choose the excellent travel guide that will help you with your travel. By choosing a first class travel guide, it will certainly make your travel the most memorable and enjoyable experience you’ll ever have. They will also provide you with tips, ideas and advices to help you create the trip you’ve always dreamed of.

Today, the internet is the most popular and the easiest way to access any information you need. If you are planning a vacation travel, the internet is absolutely the best source of information about any destination you wish to go. Start searching for the place or the country that you wish to visit. You can also find so many websites about travel guides and tours. Visit social networking sites and find out about the best travel guides that will give you the most amazing trip that you’ve always imagined.

While the internet is the best resource and a good start point for your travel, it is still necessary to carry a book with you. You can find books about travel and guide in many bookstores or from local library. Books have maps that will certainly assist you whenever you are in a new place. They also contain lots of good and helpful information, key areas to see and diagrams of significant buildings. Since you will be traveling round the world, there are travel guide books that cover whole countries and some that cover whole continents.

Traveling round the world so far is the most wonderful experience that most people wanted to experience in their lives. So if you want the best world travel experience, plan your trip very well. Seek helpful tips and ideas from various round the world travel reviews. Visit websites and read blogs about traveling round the world and once you have enough information about it, start packing your things, go to your favorite destination and enjoy an amazing escapade

How Much Money Do You Need To Travel Around The World? Planning A Trip Around The World

If you want to know how much money you will need to travel around the world, then I encourage you to keep reading because this article covers everything; from traveling styles to analyzing your finances and discovering tips on how to find the best discounts. After reading this article, you will know everything you need to know to plan and make a proper budget that will allow you to travel around the world.

The first things you need to know are the traveling styles. Then you can pick the one that you most closely identify with. There is a wide variety of styles that fit into different budgets. The most common ones are the pot-noodle backpacker, the flashpacker and the tailor-made traveler. The pot-noodle backpacker is the type of traveler that will always look for the cheapest transportations and will stay on free dorms or with someone else, even camping outside. This traveller’s goal is to spend as little as possible. The flashpacker is the type of traveler who is looking for a better experience and tries to find comfortable places to stay. The next type is the traveller who never has to ask, ” How much money do you need to travel around the world?” This is the tailor-made traveler, the type of traveler who stays in nice 5 star hotels and doesn’t have much time, spends as much money as possible involved in elaborate, often expensive activities. This traveller will have everything booked by the time they start their trip.

The next thing you need to do while planning your trip is to work out the details of your finances. If you want to know how much money you will need to travel around the world, then you must know how much money you have available to spend on this trip. First, make a year-long earnings estimate so you know how much money is available. Then, save money, as much as you can, so you can be ready for any inconvenience. On top of all that, try to pay off as many debts as possible or pay upfront a part of a debt that could lead you to serious trouble when you get back from your trip.

Furthermore, after you make a budget, you must start finding discounts or places to stay that offer a reasonable price, and promotions such as free breakfast or dinner. The best way to look for discounts and places to stay is on the internet. There are literally hundreds of places listed on the search engines that will offer reasonable prices and good promotions. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to get help from the professionals. Contact a travel agency, and they will come up with an estimate that will help you get the cheapest prices, from transportation to accommodations.

Do you see how easy these steps can help you plan your trip around the world? First, you have to identify yourself with a type of traveler. Then work out your finances, and make a budget. Last but not least, find the best discounts, either using the internet or a travel agency. Now, stop asking yourself how much money you will need to travel around the world. It is time to put this information to use and start planning the trip you always dreamed of.

Insider Tips For Travelling Around The World

1. A head torch is the most useful thing in the world.

Money, passport, tickets and a head torch are all you really need for any Round the World trip. A head torch is, in our opinion, the definitive item for travelling around the world. It’s perfect for camping – how else are you going to read in bed? It’s also crucial for blackouts, which happen all the time on the islands in Thailand and in Kathmandu. They’re also great for bathrooms on the road at night, particularly in India. Don’t even think about leaving for your Round the World trip without one.

2. Don’t walk backwards in flip flops.
This never works and always ends in humiliation.

3. Learn ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in each language.
These few words, and a smile, will really go a long way. You’re more likely to get those real life experiences with local people all around the world if you open up to them.

4. Take a real towel
Yes it’s true. Travel towels take up less space. However, unless you buy a really expensive one, you’ll be regretting your travel towel purchase by the second month. I reality, most of them don’t dry quickly, and trying to dry your body with one is a bit like wiping yourself with cling film. Comfort is something that you’ll learn to really value during your Round the World trip, and a real, proper, fluffy towel is a sure fire way to get it. It makes coming out of the shower on a freezing morning one hundred times easier.

5. Double check before you check out
Every time you leave a hostel, hut or hotel, cast your eyes over the room to make sure that you haven’t left anything behind. Otherwise, like me, you’ll leave a trail of belongings around the world on your Round the World trip.

6. Call your Mum every now and again
Like everyone else, you probably forget to call home regularly during your Round the World trip. Guaranteed, when you get tired and homesick, you’re Mum’s roast dinner and your old bedroom will be the only things on your mind, so do her a favour a try to call. Face it, you’ll probably be moving in with her again when your Round the World trip is over.

7. You only really need to pack for a year what you would pack for a week
It’s an oldie but a goodie.

8. Take a ball of string
Sounds a bit weird, but if your backpack breaks while you’re travelling around the world, a ball of string is very handy. Equally, if you need to dry your luxurious fluffy towel, string is indispensable. You can fashion a Blue Peter style washing line in seconds.

9. Take a bottle opener
This is, hands down, the best object for making friends during a Round the World trip. There’s no point cycling to a remote beach in Vietnam or Indonesia for sunset unless you can open that epic beer once you get there. Frustration doesn’t even begin to cover it.

10. Don’t spend your whole trip on Facebook!
So many people travel around the world with their eyes glued to their iPhone, IPad, MacBook or Smart Phone. The best thing to do when you land in the first destination on your Round the World trip is to phone your mum and then switch it off. Use it for emergencies, upload your photos when your memory runs out, but otherwise forget about it. You want to be eyes up and looking all around you, not looking towards home and trying to outdo your friends.

The Day I Quit Drinking Coffee: Six Lessons Learned About Stuff Before Traveling Around The World

I love coffee. Who doesn’t! The aroma, the hot steaming brew in the morning! I wake up each morning with expectancy for a fresh new brew. With the choices we have here in America… I could choose Sumatra, Java, Arabica, Colombia… any beans from anywhere! It’s like bringing the world to my early morning cup. Coffee has been in my life for decades.

While packing things into boxes one day I had a revelation… a desire to change things and not be bound by a thing, a drink, a food group or a particular behavior. There is not a need to be addicted to anything. What if, while traveling I could not find the perfect brew? Didn’t I choose this lifestyle for the sake of being free to see, explore and teach my teens about the world? What are the essentials?

On January 1st, I went coffee-free, sugar-free and gluten-free… vegetarian diet for 31 days. Denying my flesh from all those foods that I love. It was hell from the get-go. The first two days my head was throbbing and my whole body was unable to function like normal days. I was tired, had nausea and the headache was intense. Instead of going for ibuprofen when the headache struck hard, I went for aromatherapy and my superfruit drink called NingXia Red.

For one and half years I’ve been studying and applying what I learned about natural pathways to health and about value of stuff that I have around the house.

Here are 6 lessons learned since quitting coffee and packing things to travel around the world:

One: Nothing Should Own Me

“I must have coffee everyday” sounds like bondage to me or “I must have 10 dresses, six pairs of shoes, five pairs of jeans and pants, 15 shirts to travel” seems like there is no other way to travel but to bring almost my whole closet.

Packing for 18 months travel with many road trips, trains and plane rides require lots of creativity with our wardrobe and health supplies. I’m setting priorities and putting basic necessities into my luggage.

Two: Health Reign Supreme

I could have been the most well dressed person in my home that day and was served with the best meal when I was suffering from coffee-withdrawal, but it didn’t matter. I was sick and unable to enjoy.

Mahatma Gandhi said it is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. For gold and silver may not be able to buy health back. I saw it when my father passed away.

Three: Invest in Health Not Stuff

Growing up in Malaysia I saw people who would rather go hungry and ate ramen noodles because buying a name brand handbag was more important than eating a healthy meal. I was one of those people.

These days we buy stuff and more stuff without thinking and when it comes to health foods, nutritional supplements or eating clean we contemplate and may talk ourselves out of it in the expense of building a healthy body (which includes mind and spirit). I had that mentality once.

My stuff gets new homes, found their fate in the dumpster or being packed for storage now as we empty the condo. Three quarters are gone that leaves me playing this song I created, “Why did I buy that?” (To Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love”)

Four: Count Your Blessings or Things

I used to collect bells from around the world until one day they became a chore to clean and pack. So I stopped. I also collected new and old books and CDs. Some were read or listened to and others are still on the shelf. Interestingly, technology has changed all that. I purchase books and music and download them in a portable device. A few of those books are over 80 years old. They are worthy of being collectibles.

Yet again, some found new homes, dumpster or storage. I can’t bring the bells with me when I travel. I can bring the memories of those trips the bells represent.

Five: Give a Gift of Experience Instead of Stuff

Every birthday and Christmas, we showered the kids with toys and more toys. We had a huge basement filled with toys while the kids were growing up in New York. They are teens now. Their toys are either given or thrown away. The memory of playing with toys lingered.

Today we gave away one last item, a complete set of wooden Thomas the Tank trains and bench. I was completely overwhelmed by emotions when I saw that train set depart from our home. We had to part with stuff.

At this age they no longer need more toys or entertainment. We learned the importance of an experience that is educational, fun, socially responsible… and adventurous, cultural, food related that includes history, geography, and culture and language experiences. We found all these ‘goodies’ in traveling.

Six: No More Headaches but There Are Challenges

After two full days the headache was gone. I’m coffee-free and no longer depend on coffee to make my day. I will go back to coffee but not everyday. I had fast recovery because of two things: high quality wholefoods nutritional supplements and aromatherapy using therapeutic grade essential oils. I oiled myself with Peppermint, Lavender, Purification and Peace and Calming.

Travel can take its toll on our health if we are not careful. Setbacks like health challenges, temptations to eat certain foods or drink some forbidden drinks may happen.

Our preparation includes strengthening our mind and body before leaving. We are sacrificing certain food groups and drinks to stay in tune with our body and be aware of what will make us feel better physically. We are embracing a minimalist lifestyle to stay focus and contented. Our stuff, they are just stuff… going to storage and may face the dumpster once again… one day… when I can completely get over with stuff.

It’s time to be proactive and work out a plan that works. Here are seven tips for a healthy mind and body before taking a trip:

Be sugar free
No fast food
Healthy snacks
Exercise
Stay relaxed with aromatherapy
Occasional caffeine and sugared water
Homemade and clean food most of the time

Come travel along with us, leave your name and email and get updates in your inbox once a week and sometimes only twice a month depending on our travel schedule. We leave February 25 for Santiago, Chile.

World Cruise – Travel Around The World

World Cruise is an experience that will change you forever. For those who have passion about cruising, there is nothing like the freedom to explore the world. Some of the most exotic places to visit include South America, South Asia and the Galapagos.

The South America term quickly reminds you of lush tropical forests, exotic carnivals, mysterious civilizations and very friendly people. You can get scenic pictures of Rio de Janeiro, which has the color and drama of any metropolis from Asia yet resembles a modern European city. Some touristic places include The Corcovado, The Sugar Loaf Mountain and its white sandy beaches. Buenos Aires is another must-visit city; beautiful parks and buildings form part of this gorgeous place.

South Asia is also a region that has to be included when you travel around the world. Asia has been an exotic place for explorers since times immemorial. The colorful variety of landscapes and cultures, along with the traditions and food can leave you breathless. Some touristic places are the Buddhist monasteries in Bangkok, the beautiful island of Sumatra and the famous city of Kuala Lumpur with its skyscrapers and colonial buildings. India and Sri Lanka can’t be left out of the scene, since they have been recently added to the world cruise map. South east of Asia offers one of the best cruise destinations.

The Galapagos world cruise gives you one of the most beautiful set of islands around the world. Each island differs from the other in some way. Some have rare animals and birds which were studied by Charles Darwin, who developed the Theory of Evolution. Some of the major activities include scuba diving, photography, snorkeling and kayaking. This part of the world has a very mild weather. Traveling with children to Galapagos is a good choice, since they will take more interest in nature. Just pick one of the Galapagos Cruises available and you will have an unforgettable holiday.

While I have mentioned a few must-see regions, I will add a few recommendations. Travel insurance is a must for this kind of trip. Also, it is recommended that you book for the world cruises well in advance, since they become sold out easily. Bring comfortable clothing and make sure they can be used for multiple occasions. Despite of all these things, taking a world cruise to travel around the world is an experience that will never forget.

What Travel Agents Need to Know About Corporate Travel Today

This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents

Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies?

This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary.

The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-

full business itinerary details
up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
currency requirement and conversion rates

What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?

Negotiated Fares

The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.

In-depth information about the travel industry

Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.

Changes in Itinerary

When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges.

Viable emergency contacts

It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.

What you need to consider as corporate travel increases?

Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.

Adopting a travel policy

The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package.

Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy

The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.

Traveler’s security should be a major concern

Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.).

Mobility and automation

To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2016

Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus.

Rising prices

The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services.

Duty of care

Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are travelling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed.

Focusing on MICE

Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.

Investing in technology

A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler-centric can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing.

Business travel analysis after Brexit

Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level.

Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers

Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers.

Concluding

Although the corporate travel sector has continued to progress, there are a plethora of challenges faced by the industry. A rapidly changing consumer market, the emergence of new business models, the impact of technology, man-made and natural crises are some of the fulcrum points that need to be considered before planning corporate trips.

Base Tendriling Travel Expenses

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

What’s the Price?

Fred Swaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

Kent stresses, “Airlines should approach corporations with long-term strategic relationships rather than just discounts. We would like to see ourselves committed to a corporation rather than just involved.”

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference.

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savovie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchases annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that does not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.