Planning the right traveling experience could prove to be a veritable nightmare for the inexperienced. What could be the best place to stay? What kind of food could be expected? To take care of all this and more, people these days are turning towards the travel professional for help. But the problem does not end here, how is he/she to know what your likes or dislikes are? There could be as many reasons for travel and there could be many destinations. So, instead of just handing over your work to the professional, talk to them and work with them to make your travel a truly delightful memorable experience.
Freezing on the right place to travel is not always as easy as it seems. If you are planning on a vacation, start with your budget and the number of days you can give for the vacation. Also decide whether you would like to travel within the country or abroad. With these details in mind, the travel professional will come up with a possible list of destinations for you. Nowadays, most of the places have their travel and tourism information displayed in their website. You can do your research online and decide on your destination. Here, you could also make use of the travel agent’s personal knowledge.
If your travel plans include airline, cruise or rail travel or if you intend to travel in a large group, making your travel plans early would be advisable. The travel professional will be aware of offers and discounts available in such cases and you can make the best use of this. You would get better prices and try to avoid last-moment rush. You can make clear and detailed tour plans by planning well in advance.
Spend some time explaining your choices to the travel professional. It is possible that you might not like to mingle with certain type of people. For example, if you are planning a family trip, you might feel uncomfortable in the presence of a honeymoon couple. Or if you are going on a retirement vacation, you might not like to spend time with a rock band. The professional can provide useful input on the profile of people staying in a particular resort or the kind of people that choose a particular cruise. Armed with this information, you can plan you trip better.
Many a time we travel to bond closer to people- family, friends, partners, parents, etc. But if your choices are different, traveling together could become tough. Once again, take your travel professional into confidence. Involve the people you intend to travel with in your dialogue with your agent. Together you can come up with a plan that offers something for everyone. Yes, taking the help of a professional makes travel easier but to make it more comfortable and enjoyable, you also must work with the professional. With their expertise and know-how and the inputs from your side about the choices, budget, time, etc your trip can become a fantasy that would forever replay in your mind.
Shafi Farooqui is an Entrepreneur,Internet Marketing business coach from Alberta, Canada. A Certified Travel Professional with an Industry experience of 20 Plus Years is thrilled to share with you how a career in Internet marketing can make your dreams of financial freedom and personal achievement come true.
If you don’t want to buy a package deal blindly, as many people do not, you have to do some of your travel planning on your own. The problem with this for many people is that they do not know what they want before they start looking for deals, and they feel that everything they find is too expensive. You have to learn to be flexible about your vacation and also know how to choose the right place when you see big discounts in front of you. You want to have a great vacation, but you can’t go on that trip if you can’t afford it. Plan carefully and have the time of your life.
Rule number one in saving money with your own travel planning is to be flexible. This means that even though you may think it best to leave on a Friday night and get home on the following Sunday night so that you can squeeze as much time out of a week as you can, this is not the way to save money. Typically, flights are far more expensive on weekends (which includes Friday) than any other day of the week. If you can work it so that you are flying out on a Wednesday and coming back in eight days on a Thursday, you can save quite a bit of money in your travel planning through just your plane tickets alone.
The same can be said about hotel rooms. They cost more on holidays, weekends, and when special events are in town. If you can keep most of your stay on the weekdays, and cut out a few weekend nights by traveling at odd times, you can knock a few hundred dollars or more off a long hotel stay. If your travel planning is about a weekend trip only, this tip won’t help much, but planning ahead can. A hotel may give you a discount for booking very early as opposed to the last minute.
If you want to drive, you have a few issues in your travel planning. If you travel on weekends, you could add hours to your trip by hitting rush hour traffic in major cities. You have a few options. One is that you could travel a day early. The other is to get really comfortable with your GPS or an online map service so that you can set a course that may seem out of the way, but that will actually save you time by taking you around heavily congested areas in most cities. These online map services can make travel planning when driving so much easier in many ways.
Travel planning on your own may be as easy as going to one of the many travel sites that you can find online and looking for great deals. You can name your own price without knowing the name of the hotel, or you can know the hotel and hope for a deal. Whatever the case, most people end up saving quite a bit when doing travel planning online through these sites. Just take your time and plan early and you can save on your vacation while still getting to do the things that you want to do the most.
Local Authorities now require that a Travel Plan (otherwise known as a Green Travel Plan) be submitted with a planning application for many types of development in order to ensure that the new business or facility actively looks at ways of minimising traffic impact.
This will usually aim to reduce single occupancy car journeys by staff travelling to work. In some cases a customer travel is also included within the document.
London Travel Plans required by Local Authorities within the Greater London Area must be written in accordance with Transport for London and the Mayor of London’s specific Travel Plan Guidance.
There are also a group of west London Boroughs who deal with Travel Planning together under an umbrella organisation called Westtrans and Travel Plans in those Boroughs are dealt with by Westtrans officers.
All London Boroughs are aiming for the same result’ to cut traffic and congestion within the city and reduce the need for parking by encouraging staff (and sometimes customers) to use public transport, walk or cycle. The art when writing a Travel Plan is to demonstrate you are helping to achieve these goals without committing your client to expensive measures both short and long term.
This requirement has been in place for a number of years now and the content and quality of Travel Plans, particularly in London, are now given much more scrutiny than in the past. Often within London, a developer is seeking to reduce parking on their site or in some cases provide no parking at all and in these situations a bespoke, practical and well written plan can be key to achieving planning permission.
The challenge in all cases is to balance the commercial demands of the business whilst formulating a robust and detailed plan which is frequently key to securing planning permission. For example I recently dealt with a new hotel with zero on-site parking. This meant that both staff and guest travel to the site needed to be actively addressed through a range of specific measures to discourage car travel.
In contrast I recently dealt with a hotel which had free on site parking. In this instance I had to devise a travel plan which demonstrated active steps to reduce the demand for those parking spaces over the initial period of 5 years.
Both sites were covered by the same overall London-wide policies but the individual site issues dictated that the plans were very different. In both instance I managed to reach a solution which met my client’s commercial needs and satisfied the Local Authorities’ requirements.
The different approach and requirements in each case demonstrates that a template is a misnomer. In my opinion the templates that are available are likely to result in clients being signed up to costly and impractical measures. In terms of cost, as the plans are monitored for at least 5 years, the management costs going forward can also be significant if not considered at an early stage.
In my experience travel plans prepared at the application stage are all too often a standardised document which is not fully considered, with the result that developers inadvertently agree to a range of measures in order to get planning approval. Those measures may be inappropriate, expensive to implement and difficult or costly to monitor.
The examples cited above demonstrate the importance of producing a plan which is specific to the site and to the end user, not least to prevent the added cost of having to re-writing the document. In both of these cases the original developer obtained agreement to a draft which, if implemented, would have resulted in significant costs for the end-user.
In order to meet the requirements of the client and to satisfy the Local Authorities it was necessary to re-write the documents in a way which delivered practical and value for money measures for my client but also satisfied the requirements of the Local Authorities. I like to think that my experience in this area helped to achieve a result which all were happy with.
A Green Travel Plan should deliver economic, practical and easy to manage measures both now and in the future. The majority of individuals that usually require a green travel plan are commercial developers and businesses. A plan should typically be:
economic to implement ‘day one’
cost effective for future management
include practical, well thought out measures that work
What’s the difference between Green and Workplace travel plans?
A Green Travel Plan (also typically known as a Workplace Travel Plan) is an obligation imposed by local authorities through the planning process typically by way of panning condition attached to a planning consent or by a S.106 agreement. It may also be introduced as a requirement during the application process.
In addition a Travel Plan is often a requirement of a BREEAM assessment process.
The Green Travel Plan sets out a suite of actions and measures intended to promote travel to the site by sustainable transport methods such as bicycle, bus or train rather than private car.
So I have a Green Travel Plan, what happens if I don’t follow it?
Most local authorities will require occupiers to monitor the effectiveness of the plan to ensure measures are being implemented and targets set in the plan are being met. The aim should be to demonstrate ongoing improvement.
Some local authorities now have sustainable travel officers whose sole duty is to promote sustainable travel and to monitor plans to ensure compliance.
Ultimately the local authority does have the power to take Enforcement action against you if you are not implementing and monitoring your plan. The council has the power to issue of a breach of condition notice to require you to comply with the requirements which could ultimately lead to prosecution and fine if you still fail to comply.
What Actions and Measures do the plans typically include?
They are sometimes produced to include high cost and complicated measures such as staff showers, public transport information and ticketing systems, subsidised public transport, cycle parking and staff loan schemes. Whilst it’s important to be mindful of the commercial necessity to obtain a consent, more simpler and cost effective measures should be considered as well, such as; free internet access to travel guides; website links to local travel information; car sharing schemes and on site maps of bus and train stations.
A plan should be produced to minimise the cost to the clients of delivering their plan whilst balancing this against the local planning policy requirements and need for a consent in a timely manner.
What will my Green Travel Plan cost?
Every plan is different based on the local policy requirements, the site constraints and the commercial pressures. Each should ideally be produced on a site specific basis. It is important to appreciate that a well considered and written plan allied to skilled consultants negotiating terms with the local authority will save you more money than you will ever spend on preparing it. Conversely, one poorly written will cost you money ‘day one’ and for many years to come as you continue to spend money and management time on costly and unwieldy measures.