Traveling Is A Way Of Attaining Peace FOR The Soul

Travelling is a thrilling experience for a lot of people. It gives them the adrenaline rush they are looking for and makes them exhilarated about all that is related to travelling. The travelling lust is quite hard to resist and there are people who cross all limits of fulfilling all the wishes and desires that they hold for travelling in their hearts.

It can turn out to be an amazing experience only if one plans it perfectly and takes care of all the little to do things that should be taken care of while travelling. It is a joyous ride and it can turn out to be really amazing.

Let us have a look at some of the tips you need to know for travelling:

• MAKE A PROPER LIST

Always have a list of everything that you would be needing and pack accordingly. A list will help you remember everything that needs to be packed and you will not forget anything in the last moment. So keep everything in your mind so that everything is kept in your mind and you know exactly what all you will need while you are on the road.

• LEARN THE COMMON TONGUE OF THE PLACE

This always helps no matter where you are travelling to. If you know few of the common phrases of that place in their mother tongue it always makes it much easier to travel and makes it much more convenient as well. Therefore try to take out some time and learn just few of the common phrases that people mostly use their so the conversing gets easier.

• DON’T FORGET THE EXTRA CAMERA BATTERY

Camera is one of the most important things to carry when you are travelling. You would obviously want to take a lot of snaps of every place you visit and capture all your memories in those photographs, therefore do not forget to carry that extra camera battery just in case of an emergency. You never know when your camera might run out of its battery due to constant usage; therefore it is always safe to carry an extra pack.

• KEEP YOUR ROOM NUMBER AND HOTEL ADDRESS NEAR TO YOU

This is just in case you have to refer to it suddenly or you get stranded and you need to ask for directions. Keep these two pieces of information handy so that you can use it whenever necessary. It is for your own good and safety, therefore just be alert while you are travelling and keep the important tips on mind. This is absolutely necessary to make your trip a successful one.

Intelligent Transport Systems

Both describe the use of computerized communication technology applied to improving the conditions on our roads. A system is programmed to achieve a particular set of goals, according to brief, further goals can be added, in the future, but need to be programmed into the system.

Any difference, therefore, lies in details of software programming and its application. Where traffic-related ITS deals mainly with traffic enforcement and toll collection, transport-related ITS aims to provide more pleasant and effective travel to those using public transport and help traffic to run more smoothly. The eThekwini Transport Authority has incorporated ITS into its plans for the future.

The eThekwini Transport Authority

In January 2004, the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) was established to take responsibility for all transport-related issues within the Municipality. Its particular mandates are public transport and the reduction of traffic congestion. It therefore hopes to encourage the people who presently indulge their use of private transport, to see the benefit of swapping to public transport.

In the Durban area, this includes buses, mini-bus taxis and trains, none of which presently operate very efficiently. Some services are duplicated, under-utilised and over-subsidised while others, that by virtue of their popularity should receive subsidies, do not.

Buses and trains are subsidised to the tune of R400 million a year, but taxi commuters -historically the poorer people of our society – are required to cover the entire cost of the service.
13% of Durban’s residents (roughly 400 000 people) have no access, or cannot afford to access public transport, in any form. The eThekwini Transport Authority’s current initiatives aim to apply technical intelligence to change and improve the status quo.

The ‘recap’ and EMS

The average distance of a public-transport trip is 20km and takes roughly 48 minutes from start to finish. Taxis are often (at best) uncomfortably crowded and (at worst) in a frightful condition, putting the lives of commuters at great risk.

Taxi ‘recapitalization’ goes far beyond exchanging hard cash for beaten up vehicles and dedicated, regulated, route monitoring. An Electronic Management System (EMS), which operates far beyond fare payment issues, is an important feature of the R7.7 billion x 7-year program.

This “total operating solution” will monitor such things as vehicle speeds, where and when stops are made, vehicle-maintenance management and the automatic provision of medical and funeral insurance cover for passengers (in the event of injury or death). It will, in fact, control and totally revolutionist an industry that caters to 68% of the country’s daily commuters.

Incentives for change

“Positive discrimination” incentives that will hopefully cause motorists to change willingly to public transport, include priority right-of-way (dedicated) bus lanes enforced (to keep other vehicles out) with the help of CCTV number plate and facial recognition systems, which will allow for automatic prosecution of offenders.

Dedicated bus lanes increase the speed of buses while decreasing the speed of all other vehicles. Electronic transponders, fitted to buses, can further ensure that the buses encounter green signals at robots.

All well and good; but the Durban Municipality may need then, to double the staff in its traffic camera office. As a nation, we are known for our lawlessness on the roads; citizens regularly ignore the regulations. As for taxis: does one exist, that could resist an empty lane? A huge increase in number-plate violation and the skipping of red robots can be expected as a result of this initiative.

More importantly, you cannot catch a bus that does not function in your area. Perhaps pre-emptive lanes, reserved for buses and taxis, would leave motorists to travel in comparative safety, even if more slowly!

A fair fare system

Due to the low value, but high volume of public transport fares, ticketing systems have traditionally been deemed the most acceptable proof of payment. Cash presentation either wastes the time of the driver, who must provide correct change, or incurs the need for an extra person, a conductor/ticket seller, either inside the vehicle or in an alternate office.

Integrating and preloading a ticket for use across various forms of transport (taxi, bus or rail) would offer an opportunity for seamless travel between the various transport modes and make the fare-collection process faster and more efficient. It would also reduce opportunities for fare collector fraud and would bring all public transport operators within the SARS (tax) net.

Previously, this solution was not considered viable because the organization that would hold any central float of pre-paid funds (and thus benefit from its interest) could not be decided amicably. Any involved transport operators would have benefited enormously from having a few billion Rand to their credit.

Electronic or e-payment systems allow for bank-issued smart cards, linked to the bank accounts of individuals, so trip costs can now be deducted from personal bank accounts and paid directly to the relevant operators. This recent development is likely to change the face of public transport.

Information systems

The ‘talking trains’ in London are fascinating. Not only are passengers warned, by digital carriage displays, of distances between stations and stops, but an electronic voice, in anticipation of the next station, also kindly suggests when it would be appropriate to gather your luggage and head for an exit.

Trip information is vital to those commuting in unfamiliar places and, if managed competently and available 24 hours a day, causes far less consternation and stress to travelers. The London Underground now also sends SMS messages to regular passengers to reassure them that their services are running normally.

Presently, individual South African commuters are at the mercy of an imperfect system (though, to expect absolute perfection of any system, is not realistic). Our high road accident rate regularly causes havoc on our roads. Traffic reports, now featured on radio, during peak traffic hours, help to reduce congestion, but buses and taxis are unable to change their routes due to waiting commuters at pre-ordained stops.

People like to feel in control of their own movements and those who have used their own transport to travel to and from work, in South Africa, are unlikely to take kindly to any system that does not disseminate whatever information it can, to them, the road users.

Individual Benefits

Intelligent Transport Systems will, in the future, monitor any incidents of abnormal traffic congestion on the feeder arterials, even showing the causes for delay. They will relay this information to the eThekwini Emergency Response Centre. While Metro Police close the main arterials affected, the Freeway Management System will automatically send appropriate warning messages to message signs posted at key (driver) decision points on the route/s affected, diverting traffic onto less congested routes.

Automatic Vehicle Location and Real Time Passenger Information systems will operate from a central Public-Transport Call Centre, where reports received about delayed public transport vehicles will then be relayed to bus and taxi stops along the revised and initial routes. The data can also be posted on digital displays within public-transport vehicles.

Passenger Information Signs within a 20km radius of any delays will thus inform commuters, allowing them to decide whether to make alternative plans, warn others of delay on their cell phones or utilise a different mode of public transport. Commuters subscribing to a new ‘Buspass’ payment system will be able to receive this information, by SMS, on their cell phones.

If, for instance, a would-be passenger has not yet left the office for his evening trip home, he might prefer to work late, or use the train, rather than stand for an extra hour at a bus stop. The system, in fact, will present viable options to passengers, depending on their destinations and time restraints.

Integrated ticketing

The concept of integrated ticketing also allows for unlimited possibilities. In London, for instance, vehicles are recognized by CCTV camera systems, as they pass certain points. Toll fees are charged to the vehicle owners accordingly. Accounts are paid on presentation, at regular intervals.

Your municipal rates/electricity/water account might, for instance, carry an extra charge, according to how many toll cameras your vehicle had passed during the preceding month. Obviously, this could prove a problem in a country where people allow their service accounts to accumulate and then demand everything ‘free’ after several months.

Whether tickets are paper, smart cards, pre-paid cards or even cell-phone link-ups, the intention is to allow one form of payment for any and every trip. In case of a MetroRail strike, passengers would be able to use buses for the duration, without incurring extra costs – essential in a country where many families are on so tight a budget that finding several extra Rand mid-month can leave them without food until payday.

Once again, London provides the best idea I have yet seen. Monthly underground rail cards can be kept inside a purse or wallet and yet are still activated as commuters pass through the checkpoints. There is no need for searching of pockets or handbags for inoffensive little pieces of plastic or paper. Just as metal (very often bra under-wiring) activates x-ray machines at airports, so technology at the checkpoints can recognize a hidden ticket: an ‘extra-smart’ card.

Only people who travel regularly would probably use such an advanced, pre-paid option. A facility to allow once-off passengers to buy their tickets at bus stops would probably also be necessary and could be similar to the parking payment machines inside airports. When the ease with which South Africans buy cell-phone airtime at outlets on practically every street corner, is considered, this should prove no problem – you see: it can all be far easier than we at first think!

Ticketing procedures like this would do away with queues, the need to carry cash, the need to make special trips to ticket outlets, the need for fare collectors and inspectors and the need for drivers to count change while at the wheel. They would allow subsidies to be distributed exactly according to mode usage, after the fact, rather than, in advance.

The facility doesn’t need to be limited only to fare payment, though. The intention is to facilitate a program for the 2010 World Cup that will allow soccer fans to pre-load electronically formatted entrance tickets for combined transport, refreshment and memorabilia usage – a ‘one card pays all’ system. The possibilities of this format are endless and depend more on the ability of service/supply organizations to co-operate within centralized visions, than anything else.

Safety

With one of its prime objectives being the attraction of private motorists to public transport usage, reluctance to give up comfort and convenience has been cited by Darryll Thomas, Manager of the Urban Traffic Control Branch (eThekwini) and President: SASITS (SA Society for ITS) as a main disadvantage.

I find it difficult to believe that public transport authorities will ever be able to supplement ‘own travel’ with an improved alternative, in South Africa; where presently, options do not exist, they would need to be provided, regularized through a 24/7 cycle and operated in a holistically safe environment.

Not only would the mode of transport need to be 100% safe, but vehicles parked preparatory to public-transport trips, would also need to be safe, while parked. On their return, commuters would again need to feel safe as they claimed their vehicles. For most to consider public transport a worthwhile option, pedestrian commuters would also need to feel considerably safer walking between destination and their choice of public transport.

Mr Thomas agrees that: “If the public are frightened to use the services, inevitably the policy is doomed to failure” and believes that it is the safety aspect that deters many commuters from swapping from own transport to public transport, despite the fact that attacks on passengers are rare.

He agrees that vandalism and criminal attacks need to be curbed, and claims they can be, with the help of technology. He also believes that visible CCTV surveillance could nullify this fear; that public education would alert us to “video analysis techniques that can alert staff automatically to suspicious behavior on stations, trains and buses”.

His intention to educate the public about all the technological measures that would be employed to combat crime, on public transport, is laudable. He insists that, “should something untoward occur”, help will be “very close at hand” and acknowledges that “vandalism and attacks on public and staff are an evil curse that, as a civilized society, we need to attack with all the technologies we have at our disposal”.
Consumer safety priorities

I sense that, from his positions with SASITS and in the municipality, he is considering public safety only as it relates to public transport usage. Personally, I am less frightened of using the service than getting from my home to the service point, from the service point to my destination and then reversing the process later in the day.

Every commuter is likely to be a pedestrian at either end of his/her public transport usage and it is as much during this point in their journeys, as actually while on public transport, that safety is a huge concern to most people, who may need to carry laptop computers, cell phones and even their public-transport tickets, in whatever format, through city streets.

The pertinent question: does the Municipality intend to position CCTV cameras at every point along every journey, even the pedestrian ones? If so, well and good, but this would require immense financial investment (though probably slightly less, long-term, than installing the same number of Metro policemen in those positions, 24/7.

Mugging and petty thievery, on the streets, cannot be left out of the safety equation! I personally believe that safety is the crux of this issue and is generally hopelessly oversimplified. Another important concern is the number of people who are expected to use their ‘business’ vehicles for work purposes during the working day.

In some areas where options already exist, taxi strikers have stoned commuters who choose to travel by bus or train. Some commuters find it safer just to remain at home, instead of trying to get to work. It seems clear that the ‘grip’ that striking workers in any industry have, over others, has been allowed to get out of hand. This, too, should be classified as a public-transport safety issue. Most Durban motorists approached, insisted that the Municipality would need to pay them handsomely to use public transport on a regular basis. The reason? Always the safety issue…

Co-operation

Thomas, ultimately, agrees that: “as long as the perceived inconvenience of public transport persists, the majority of motorists will prefer to use their car regardless of any penalty imposed”.

Improving the quantity and quality of public transport vehicles, he concedes, is necessary and will involve a far larger investment than has been presently budgeted. It is not only the mindset of the public that needs to undergo change, but that of transport planners throughout the country.

ITS is an effective and necessary means to an end but, unless used creatively and within revised norms, it will not provide all it could. Disciplines, such as policing, security, public-safety and transport services, need to co-ordinate and co-operate to a far greater degree to get the effective results that are necessary – and possible – especially regarding general public safety.

The Ideal Cars for Transporting Many People

Do you ever find that you need to transport many people at a time but don’t have a big enough car to do it? Maybe it’s time for you to get a bigger car. Here are a 6 bigger cars to consider.

Ford Transit Connect LWB

This seven passenger car can fit two more people than the average car. The passengers also don’t feel as cramped as they would in a standard car. Not only does it have extra leg space but it also has head space for the taller people. The car also doesn’t use too much fuel considering its size and the amount of people it can carry.

Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Although it is considered a status brand, this might be one of the cars that could fit many people. It’s bigger than many other SUVs and it also has an impressive engine. It is powerful and comes with the option of 4matic all-wheel drive.

Honda CRV

This is an SUV that has loads of space. It has more than enough space for large items of luggage and a decent amount of space for any of your passengers. It is also a modern and affordable car that can accommodate a number of passengers.

BMW X Series

Like the Mercedes, BMW is also on top of the status list because of how amazing the engineering is. The X series might be a five seater car but it has a large amount of space in the back. Packing luggage and briefcases won’t be a problem with this car.

Kia Soul

Perhaps one of the cheapest cars for a family, it still has the quality and space that you are looking for. The Kia Soul is nicely compacted for easy driving and parking. Plus the frame of the car is quite large so you will have extra space on the inside.

Toyota Fortuner

This off-road car is one of the older models that have always been a favorite for adventure enthusiasts. Going on a camping trip with friends has never been easier and as comfortable. Not only can you enjoy the space on the inside but you also won’t have to worry about damaging the suspension and the tyres because of the way it was built.

When traveling with many people you have to make sure that you are doing it legally. By law, you are not allowed to overload a car with more than the intended amount of people.

Party Bus Rentals for Your Next Party

If you reside in a big city chances are you’ve seen those giant buses that people rent for private use. Party buses are becoming very popular in Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, Texas and most other big cities in the United States. Many smart parties like to rent a party bus so they can get to their destination with class and of course safety. When you rent a party bus for your event you don’t have to worry about anything other than having fun!

How much does it cost per Hour?

That all depends what city you live in and what options you prefer. If you are in California and you want to rent a small 10 to 20 person Bus, chances are you can find something decent around $100 to $250 per hour. Another thing to keep in mind is if it’s a Vegas trip, you can split the costs between all the passengers to make things more affordable. We did that on our last trip to Vegas and we all had a blast. We ended up renting a Freight-liner Bus since we had 34 people in our party. We split the costs between 30 of us and I can honestly say we would have spent more on gas if we all took our own cars instead.

Where can I find a reliable Limo/Bus rental company?

Your best friend should be Google or other search engines you like. You should do a local search with the keyword “Party Bus Rental” and contact couple of them and get more details and pricing.

Party Bus Rental Scams

Before I end my article I did want to bring another important matter to your attention. Be extremely cautious when renting a party bus for your next event. Always verify the limo company you are dealing with and make sure they are an “actual” business and not someone who is operating a “party bus” without all the legal permits. Cops are well aware of the problem and they are cracking down on the “Bandit Party Buses” but we the consumers need to be more alert and verify everything.

Can you drink in a Party Bus?

Why else would they call it a Party Bus if you weren’t allowed to drink alcohol? You can but as I mentioned before please make sure the company you are dealing with is licensed and bonded. You can end up getting in lots of trouble and end up losing lots of money if you end up hiring a person/company who are not properly licensed. So gather all your friends, rent a Party Bus and spend the night having fun and enjoy life a little!

Tips for Over 50 Travel

For active, sophisticated people, stepping over the age of 50 means more opportunities to travel! But planning a holiday can get confusing, especially in a highly-competitive, dynamic tourism industry like ours. Here are some tips to plan your over 50 travel adventures with as little stress as possible!

Tip 1 – Try The Internet.

The Internet is an invaluable tool in planning your next holiday. It’s easy to get information on any destination, and the rates that online travel agents (OTA’s) have online are updated almost every day. That means it’s easy to compare different OTA’s and their offerings.

It’s also easy to pay for your flights, accommodations, and tour packages over the Internet. Just be careful with your credit card information, and feel free to ask any questions you may have. Some OTA’s may even offer discounts for travelers for over 50 travel and seniors travel!

Tip 2 – Watch Out For Shady Online Travel Agent’s (OTA’s).

Here’s one thing you have to remember about online travel agents — competition is VERY high. More and more online travel agents are popping up every single year, so rates and offerings can change frequently throughout the year.

The best way to keep yourself safe is to look for the better-known, more reputable OTA’s. The best ones out there are licensed, and don’t give any “too good to be true” travel packages — which, by the way, are a sure mark of a scam artist travel agency!

Also, the best OTA’s out there encourage their customers to take out adequate travel insurance. It’s a definite must for anyone who wants to travel. If you can’t afford insurance, then don’t travel at all — and that’s a piece of advice that any good OTA will give you.

Tip 3 – Visit Travel Review Websites.

Travel review websites are great places to check reviews of hotels, restaurants, and other points of interest in your chosen destination. The reviews are written by real people who have actually been in those places, making these websites very reliable.

But do be careful — some unscrupulous people have been exploiting travel review websites lately. For instance, some unscrupulous hotel owners write bad reviews of competing hotels, while writing good reviews of their own. These are fake reviews, and should always be disregarded.

Here’s how to tell whether a review is trustworthy — check if the reviewer has written several reviews already. Most fake reviews are the only one in a user’s record, and well-traveled individuals tend to write more reviews. The more professional and well-written the review is, the more trustworthy it is!

Tip 4 – Visit Real Travel Agencies.

Finally, it’s also a good idea to compare the deals offered by real travel agencies (at the mall, or two blocks down the road, etc.). Some travel agencies specialize in certain destinations, and offer travel packages that include visits to exotic spots not included in others’.

It’s a good idea not to hold back when you have any questions about your destination. Ask the agent if he’s been there himself, and if he has any advice for you. You may also want to know if there are any perks for over 50 travel!

And, as always, ask your agent if they offer travel insurance. The protection you get will be invaluable in case your flight gets canceled or if you lose your luggage or wallet. And, since you’re over 50, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount!

Travel Info – What You Need to Know About Vegas!

The city that never sleeps and the place where prostitution is actually legal. Those are only two of the many things you need to know about Las Vegas before you plan a trip there. Here are a few bits of Las Vegas travel info that will help you plan a vacation that will be filled with memories.

When it comes to Las Vegas travel info the first thing you need to know is that there is really something for just about everybody. From casino gambling to dinner shows and more. Some of the finest restaurants, golf courses, hotels, arcades, shops, and casinos are in Las Vegas. Plus there is an incredible night club atmosphere if that is something you love as well.

The next thing you should know is that around every single corner there is something different. Even though Vegas is known for its nightlife and is the perfect place for a bachelor party, there is more to it than that. There are plenty of family shows and activities that you can enjoy along with plenty of adult type of activities as well.

The last piece of Las Vegas travel info you need will save you some serious money while you are there. Before you go to Las Vegas you need to shop around online for the best package deal for your hotel and airfare. You also need to spend a little bit of cash and get a coupon book for Vegas. These two tips can take your $1,000 trip to Vegas and make it about a $400 trip.

3 Great Reasons To Get On Board A Party Bus

You are planning your partner’s 30th birthday party and you want to do something different, something unique. You want to plan something that he and your guests and family will remember for years to come.

Let’s take a look at 3 great reasons why you should host this 30th birthday party on a party bus:

More room for all your friends

You have the option to book a party bus to suit the number of guests you wish to accommodate; so if your party is a small group, get a small bus, but if you’re inviting everyone he’s ever known, there are party buses big enough to handle them all.

You can arrange for the bus to pick every one up at one designated place. Then when the party is over, the professional chauffeur will return everyone back to their pick up point, safe and sound with no need to worry about anyone drinking and driving. No matter the size of the group, there is a party bus available to suit any size party.

Move around and see the sights as you party

Let’s face it, no matter how hard you try, or how much effort you put into entertainment for your party guests at your home or at any other venue, it can get stale and then the party goes dead. All good parties have had this happen and you can avoid that problem by having that 30th birthday party on a party bus!

With a party bus, you, the birthday boy and his guests can party on while the professional chauffeur drives you all around town. Enjoy the bright lights and night life as you enjoy your own party on wheels cruising around. You can even arrange for the party bus to make a stop at the birthday guy’s favorite club or restaurant and treat everyone to dancing and dinner. When that’s done, it’s back on board the bus for more partying.

Delight and impress your friends

With a party bus, your friends and guests will enjoy a fabulous decked out venue with a night club atmosphere that includes surround sound stereo with your choice of music and strobe lights to give it a festive touch. A professional DJ would give it extra pizzazz! You would possibly have previously arranged for refreshments and appetizers just as if you were hosting this party at home and your guests will be delighted as they mingle together and enjoy each other’s company.

Yes, there is room for everyone to sit comfortably with plenty of leg room; space to get up and move around too and maybe even dance if they feel so inclined. Your guests will get so wrapped up in the party going on, they’ll forget they are on a bus!

It will be a smooth ride with a professional chauffeur taking them from point A to point B without having to worry about private cars and designated drivers.

Make his 30th birthday party bash a night to remember!

5 Ways to Travel Solo Without Going It Alone

Solo travel has become a hot topic. Unlike “single(s)” travel, it is a broader group. It can include those who are single, married or have a partner/significant other. It may be a business person looking to add a leisure weekend or extension to a trip for work. Two stumbling blocks to solo travel can be: I. whether it is lonely to vacation as a “party of one” and ii.whether eating alone, especially dinner, is really uncomfortable.

Now having visited 68 countries and all 50 states, I have found 5 good ways to go alone without feeling you are “going it alone”.

1. River Cruise and Small Ship Cruises

I highly recommend river cruises and small ships. They are especially a good fit for a first time solo traveler. However, they are also great for well-traveled solos in two cases. That is where destinations like Cambodian boat villages are not otherwise easy to reach. Secondly, they work well in places where security is an issue.

Here are the key advantages of such river and small ships for solo travelers, they:

  • Give you time alone but a group for tours and meals
  • Can be competitively priced when compared to a piecemeal approach
  • Make unpacking a one-time chore
  • Work well with land packages
  • Often have discounted package pricing including flights

2. Select your own lodging, and take day trips.

Here are the key advantages of this independent approach:

  • Affords you the opportunity to select your own interests and travel style.
  • Provides more opportunity to interact with local residents.
  • Gives you a “day-off” when you need it.
  • Works with a range of budgets.

3. Combine both of the above approaches.

I really favor this approach when I travel. On solo travel for 17 days at New Year’s, I toured Southeast Asia. I started with a private taxi tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I then joined a top Mekong River Cruise on to Vietnam. On the last leg, I had five days in a 5-star hotel in Bangkok. In my last stop, I tried all 3 ways of sightseeing: 1. A large bus tour 2. A private guide and 3. Self-directed subway tour.

This blended approach puts you in the driver’s seat and:

  • Will let you set your own course while being free to pick and choose
  • Gives you a part-time group of travel mates but also time alone
  • Makes it possible to follow a budget (or splurges) tailored to what works for you

4. Sign up ahead for a class abroad.

This has become very popular now for cooking classes in France and Italy. However, for decades, language classes abroad have lured students for short-term or full summer programs. Add to that options for photography classes, skiing and scuba diving.

Here are the key benefits to this approach:

  • Provides you with a ready-made group
  • Gives you a local contact to hear what not to miss off the tourist path
  • Make it possible to connect with classmates for meals or sightseeing
  • Results in providing local contacts in an emergency

5. Join a volunteer group or exchange program.

I have done this twice. My first trip out of the US was at 18 joining 5 other girls on a summer YMCA project in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the best way to learn about day-to-day life in another country and participate in community activities.

The benefits were endless. They included:

  • Meeting local residents outside of the typical tourist path
  • Seeing distant and often more unusual destinations
  • Providing volunteer efforts to communities than may have experienced natural disasters or other hardships.

If you are new to solo travel, take a look at each of these options. You will be surprised how fast solo travel gives you the chance to make new life-long friends from around the world so that you feel you are solo to more.

5 Great Tips to Stop Travel Anxiety

While most of us enjoy holidays and traveling, many find the associated travel anxiety tough to bear. Travel anxiety isn’t a disease but it is rather the fear of the unknown. Fear of travel is usually caused by several factors. Some people may worry about their house and pets when they are away while others might have had unpleasant traveling experiences during their previous trips. Others are afraid of flying. Some fret that the trip will turn out to be a disaster and worry about all of the details. All of these are examples of worries related to travel that can lead to varying degrees of uneasiness. Regardless of the causes or intensity of your anxiety, it can really compromise the pleasure and excitement of your trip.

Although, travel anxiety is common in both experienced and novice travelers, most travelers have positive traveling stories to tell. Probably, they learned how to manage their anxieties and have regained the joy of travel. It is not too late; you can also overcome travel anxiety by following a little advice. The following 5 tips to stop travel anxiety could prove invaluable to you in planning your next holiday.

5 Tips to Stop Travel Anxiety

1. Spend time making Preparations Prior To Your Trip

From past experiences, to think of the details and annoyances that bothers you about traveling. For example, you think that your house will be in a mess once you step out of the door hire a house cleaner to clean your home prior to your return. If flight travels frightens you, you can equip yourself with your iPod or your favorite book to keep you busy while you’re traveling. Simply make a list of those things you think you’ll require in your trip and those things you won’t want to be left running while you are away. The time spent organizing, planning and taking care of all the details well in advance will help to stop travel anxiety.

2. Don’t Procrastinate

Some people are well aware of their travel anxieties and they’ll often avoid taking care of the details; eg. booking a ticket, packing, etc. They will make excuses, avoid and procrastinate due to previous poor experiences with traveling. Just because you have travel anxiety doesn’t mean that avoidance will eradicate your fears. If you really want to take control over travel anxiety, get yourself involved in the action by preparing early and taking care of all necessary details. Keep in mind, travel fears are just made up fears and they are never real.

3. Learn How to Cope Up With Flight Phobia

For those people who worry about flying, you may wan to dig a little deeper to find the root of this fear. Get to know exactly what frightens you. Are you are acrophobic or claustrophobic? Perhaps the mechanical sounds bother you or air turbulence puts the fright into you. All of these fears are irrational meaning you can counter them with rationality. Airlines have strict safety measures on board. Once you are aboard, try to listen to attendant instructions to calm your nerves. Also, use anything that you like such as music to disrupt your thoughts while you are traveling.

4. Meditate

To effectively manage their travel anxiety, many individuals use meditation to gain control. Meditation makes use of a kind of self-hypnosis, so you can calm your nerves and mind down. Various self-hypnosis scripts designed specifically to ease travel anxiety can be found online. Meditate on these scripts and your mind will be at ease during your time of travel. The scripts are great tools of converting people’s subconscious minds into a friend rather than a foe. Instead of having a subconscious mind that is deep-seated in travel anxiety, you’ll have a subconscious mind that is confident and not frightened of flights.

5. Get rid of the Unknowns

Illuminate your travel shadows by doing a research prior to your trip of things you’ll expect to encounter once you’re at your destination. Apart from visiting various travel blogs, you can also use travel guides to become well-informed with your destination point. Go online and checkout your accommodation so you will know what to expect. Have your looked into travel from the airport to the hotel? What about meals and special dietary requirements? The little unknowns add up and will add to your travel anxiety.

Besides the 5 tips to strop travel anxiety strategies listed above also ensure that you maintain proper communication using Facebook, MySpace, etc. Keeping the communication channels open with loved ones back home will keep you connected.

Observing the 5 tips listed above is a great way to start you on the path of happy travels. Best of luck!

What You Should Know About a Party Bus

A party bus can go by many names. You might hear it being called a luxury bus, party van, limousine bus, limo bus or even a party ride. In essence a party bus is a large vehicle that has been converted from a more conventional motor coach or bus. It has generally been modified and then designed to be able to carry more than a dozen people for purposes that are recreational and might involve some sort of celebration. In the main, the bus will typically be driven by a professional driver who is in the employ of the company that owns the bus.

Types and Sizes of a Party Bus

Party buses come in a variety of sizes. Some are small and will only carry 10 people while others are much larger and have a seating capacity for 69 people. In some instances these buses have been made from a converted mini bus or van chassis while in other cases the chassis will have been converted from a motor coach or urban coach.

A bus may have a variety of amenities that can include things like different floor plans, equipment to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, toilet facilities, strobe lights, disco lights, laser lights, smoke machines, back up cameras, luggage partitions, audio and video equipment, passenger entry doors that are air actuated, stripper poles, seats and fabric that have been upgraded, power windows and door locks, fast idle controllers, electrical systems that have been upgraded and even more.

Why Hire a Party Bus?

Mainly it will be used for things like city tours, birthdays, a night out on the town, casino trips, bachelorette and bachelor parties, proms and weddings. That said, you will also find that they are sometimes used for events such as week-long tours or even just a day trip. Most of the time, this is a type of vehicle that is for hire. It provides an alternative that is more accessible than taxis or limos.

No matter what your event is, you can make it stand out with the sleek and stylish party bus at your service. The drivers and staff of the companies know that your plans can change at the last minute and they are always professional and can help you with these changes with courteous accommodation.

Private outings are a great reason to hire one. No matter where you are planning on going, your group will arrive in style. They can be had for small tour groups as well as for large ones. You will be able to relax and enjoy the day without having to worry about the stress of traffic and dealing with maps and other driving annoyances.

You can hire a party bus for a single day or for a set period of time and then use the bus for casino trips, concerts, theater events, athletic events, dining, shopping, sightseeing and even more! Whatever your event might be, it can get you there safely and comfortably.