I don’t gamble so I often get asked why I visit Las Vegas at least once a year. The answer? The free attractions make Las Vegas a frugal traveler’s paradise (and we’ll save the dining discussion for another article). Almost every casino has some sort of freebie gimmick to attract gamblers. In this article, I will cover, what I consider to be the must-see’s to give tourists a flavor of Las Vegas.The Fountain Show At BellagioWith nightfall comes the fountain shows at Bellagio. In the massive pool of water on the Strip side of the casino, illuminated spirts of water dance to a variety of music, popular, classical and even opera. They usually operate every 15 minutes (check with the casino to ensure), with a different song and show each time.Sirens Of TIEvery night, in front of Treasure Island on the Strip, a battle takes place between sexy sirens and renegade male pirates. There are usually four identical kid friendly shows nightly. Get there early for best viewing (especially if you are vertically challenged). Stand close and you could get a bit wet.Circus Circus ShowsApproximately every half hour in the Circus Circus casino on the Strip, there are free yet world class midway acts including jugglers and trapeze acts. I stayed for three shows and all three were different.Freemont Street ExperienceLas Vegas is more than the Strip. Situated in the heart of downtown, the historic Freemont Street Experience is a pedestrian walkway, covered by what they bill as the biggest big screen on the planet. There are street performers, vendors and every night at multiple times, a light and sound show.Ethel M’s Chocolate Tour And Botanical Cactus GardenWant to get away from the Strip yet do something free? Check out the Ethel M Chocolate Factory (One Sunset Way). A must for chocolate connoisseurs (I have purchased chocolate from all over the world for my Mom, her favorite is Ethel M’s), there is a self guided tour, free samples, and products for sale.Outside there is the Botanical Cactus Garden with over 350 kinds of cacti, succulents from the local area and around the world (also free admission).Note: There is an Ethel M’s at the airport if you are concerned about chocolate melting (check hours of operation as every time I go, its closed).There are many, many other free attractions in Las Vegas. Attractions that are changed often to ensure the city remains fresh, exciting and a frugal traveler’s paradise.
At last! You are going to meet her in person. I’m sure you can’t wait to finally see your girl. But before you say that you’re ready for your upcoming flight, check out these 5 effective tips that will make your travel pleasant.1. Be sure you won’t leave anything unsettled.Traveling to Philippines is not like going to a city next to you. You won’t be able to get back for a few minutes to your place once you realize that something must be arranged under your supervision or presence. Certainly, you won’t want to have a shorter time spent with your girlfriend.2. Check your stuff.Philippines is a tropical country. You should know that. Everyone does. Inspect the kinds of clothes that you put in your bags. Cotton clothes are the best to bring.3. Be Practical.IF YOU NEED IT AND YOU HAVE IT, BRING IT. Surely, you can buy anything you need in any country. But if you already have it there, why not bring it? In your stay in the Philippines, what you are going to use for your expenses is your savings.4. Say no to travel sickness.You can avoid travel sickness by not eating too much. Do not drink any alcohol as well. Taking medicine that could prevent travel sickness could be a big help. Have enough sleep the night or the day before your flight. Stay fresh.5. Forget and do not forget.Forget to bring all the problems that could keep you from enjoying the time you would spend with your Filipina girlfriend. But do not forget to bring with you a bunch of kisses, a bag of hugs and a box of smile and laughter.
Have you ever packed your bags, headed to the airport, and then were told the worst news of your day? “We’re sorry, but your flights are cancelled for today due to severe weather conditions.” This is a nightmare to be the one in this circumstance, but it is good to remain calm and thank God that you are not in the nightmare that you could be in if your flights were operating when conditions are not ideal.First of all, safety is the number one priority of the airlines. If conditions are not safe, you will not be able to fly. Yes, it is inconvenient, but how much more terrible would it be if you were to fly through the bad weather and have problems while you are on your flight!? Yikes! The airlines do many things to assure the safety of passengers, even de-icing the runway and the outer surface of the plane in order to keep flights running on time. If a flight is delayed due to the weather, it is usually because something severe is going on, and it is best to allow the airline to re-accommodate you on the next safest flight to get you to your destination safely.So, what do you do if you are one of the “not-so-happy” few who have a compromised flight schedule? If you are told that your flight is cancelled or if a delay has caused you to miss a connecting flight, your first step is to go to the airport ticketing counter and wait to see what they can do for you to re-route you to your final destination. Calling your travel agent is a good idea and they can give you advice, but the first thing to do is to ask the airline to protect your flights while you are still at the airport. Make sure that they provide you with a new confirmation number for your flights, as well as a flight schedule. Your travel agent can also help you if you need to make a voluntary change. However, by the time you are at the airport, the airline is the one who needs to reschedule you in most cases since they will have access to do much more with your booking, even using carriers not on your ticket, to help you. You should NOT have to pay for anything that the airline does to protect you to your final destination. You would only pay if you decide that you want to go with something outside of what the airline is willing to do. This is called a voluntary change, and sometimes can require you to purchase a whole new ticket depending on your specific travel needs.Yes, these delays can and do happen. In fact, just this week as I am typing this, we have had at least three families with travel delays due to the winter storms and ice, causing significant delays and schedule changes. It is best to purchase a good travel insurance policy up to the day before you travel, and also make sure you allow extra time to get to your destination if you are traveling during the winter months when storms and delays are more common. In the business of Adoption Travel, we see families who need to travel on late notice for international court dates, and sometimes families traveling do not have advance notice and can be stuck with travel delays causing them to miss very important court dates to bring their children home from all over the world. With Adoption Travel, it is very important to purchase a good travel insurance policy, which can cover you for things like flight delays and cancellations. Travel insurance is always a good idea to have for those catastrophic events that can and sometimes do happen.Whether you are traveling to Adopt a child internationally, or just to take a trip across the ocean for leisure travel, please keep these things in mind so that you don’t find yourself caught unprepared in an unexpected weather delay. Oh, and if you are traveling internationally, always pack some extra clothes in your carry on baggage just in case you are re-routed and forced to stay overnight in an airport. It always feels much better when you have a fresh set of clothes and necessary TSA approved toiletry items to keep with you for that freshening up that you will need if you are delayed for hours.I hope this information has been helpful and please be sure to keep safety as your number one priority during the winter travel season.Safe Travels,
Tokyo on a BudgetYou’re coming to Tokyo but you don’t want to spend an excessive amount of money. Follow these tips to help you keep within your budget and have a great vacation!Trains – Rail fares on local trains are not expensive in Japan. My train route to work costs me 250 yen. This is just over 1 British pound or 2 US dollars. The same distance in the UK on London transport would cost me around 5 pounds. When you get here use the local train system as much as you can to reduce your travel costs.
Rail Pass – Planning on traveling across country from Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka or other major destinations? Consider buying a Rail Pass. Note that the Pass can only be bought from your home country before landing in Japan. The great advantage of a Rail Pass is that it can be used on the shinkansen/bullet train along with all other JR lines including local. Pay one price and have access to unlimited travel for 1, 2 or 3 weeks.
100 Yen Stores – The 100 yen store is the equivalent of a dollar or pound store. You can buy a multitude of items here. Pick up your souvenir gifts and also stock up on any treats such as crisps or chocolate.
Izekayas – If you want a good night out without spending a fortune, an izekaya is the best and most entertaining way to go. On top of that you’ll get a taste of real Japanese culture in action and see the locals really let their hair down as they socialize outside the rigidity of their normal business lives.
Capsule Hotel – Capsule hotels are a great way to save money – particularly if you’re a guy. Why guys? Many hotels are still men only, although there are some that now allow women too. Average cost in Tokyo is around 3,000 to 5,000 yen per night. This is approximately 15 – 25 pounds or 28 – 47 US dollars.
Business Hotel – Some hotels are known as business hotels as they do not have the same luxury of space as some of the bigger chains. If you don’t fancy staying in a capsule hotel you should consider the business hotel alternative. Prices usually start from around 7,000 yen and go to 15,000 yen per night.
Museums – It’s worth including some museums on your itinerary as they are not expensive in Japan compared to many other countries. Some are even free! Choose from science, history, art or technology museums and more.
Kaiten-Zushi – Sit at a revolving conveyor belt and eat to your hearts content. Notice that there are normally 4 or 5 different colours of plate. The reason is that each colour is a different price. Check how much they are and pick the ones that match your budget. Keep each plate after eating and then add them up for your bill.
Noodles and Ramen – Stand up with the locals and enjoy a delicious bowl of noodles or ramen at one of the many restaurants dotted around. Find them either inside, or in close proximity to, both subway and overland train stations.
Lunch – At lunchtimes take advantage of the range of set menus that are available, both Japanese and international. Many places in the center of Tokyo offer an all you can eat option for 1,000 yen – 5 pounds or 10 US dollars.Want to know more about the city of Tokyo. Check out the link below.
A trip to Europe is a dream holiday for most tourists. The most unique feature of a European trip is how you can encounter different cultures by just travelling a few hours. Every European country is representation of the world’s rich history and culture. The profound difference between each country is the most enjoyable highlight of the continent. To put together a memorable trip make sure you have a few tips in place.Prioritize your choicesEurope, as much as it is extravagant, can be overwhelming. Your choice of countries you want to visit depends on the kind of person you are and what you enjoy the most. Do not go by the notion to cover all the famous spots such as the Eiffel Tower, The Colosseum or the London Eye. Think about the kind of trip you would like to offer yourself and your family. If you are a lover of art and architecture choose to treat yourself with the Greek and Roman experiences. If you would like to enjoy some adventure sport or enjoy the snowfall visit the Alps. Either ways Europe is as splendid as you can imagine.Planning your tripThe first hiatus people face before travelling is the visa and availability of flights. Book your flights and hotels rooms much before you intend to travel. For travelling between the European nations roadways and railways may turn out to be cheaper.Do some researchBefore you land at your destination it is always a good idea to do some research. Check for the weather conditions, any kind of civil unrest and seasonal festivals. Figure out a general picture about the price list of restaurants and basic commodities. This might help you compare prices and pick out the best one for you. Read about the history of the places you are about to visit. This makes your journey more interesting.Credit cards and currencySome tourists complain about theft experiences while visiting Europe. To be on the safer side, split the cash you are carrying amongst your family members. Restrict the use of credit and make sure it is handled in all safety. Check all your belongings wherever you are travelling and be alert while using public transport.Things to carryPrepare a general checklist of the items you need to carry to Europe. Converter pins, warm clothing and travelers cheques are some essentials that you cannot afford to leave behind. While packing make sure you are adhering to regulations of your airlines and European Quarantine.
Have a local contact arrange your reservations, port transfers, rentals in Bantayan island so you will only hand gratuities to one person. Let him know your planned itinerary as he can make suggestions as well. It would be easy to find a local contact after you have visited Bantayan Island once.Getting ThereTake Ceres bus from Cebu North Bus Terminal to Hagnaya. Trips are start at 5:30 a.m. For comfort, take 6:30 air conditioned bus. Fares range from Php 55.00 to Php 88.00. In Hagnaya, book a boat ticket for Sta. Fe.Places to StaySugar BeachSugar Beach is among the least expensive resorts in Bantayan charging just a Php 30.00 entrance fee and with room rates as low as Php 500.00 per night. Outdoorsmen can pitch a tent in their camping area for Php 100.00 a night. Their rooms are wanting in comfort and sanitation. There’s no restaurant but one can request the caretakers to cook for them or buy food for them.St. Bernard Beach ResortSt. Bernard offers the best quality service among resorts in Bantayan. Situated alongside a sleepy community, St. Bernard offers a wonderful respite for the weary traveler. The experience is reinforced by the excellent service of resort personnel. Food is reasonably priced and the menu offers a variety of cuisine.TransportationPedal Powered Pedicabs(Trisikad)Short distance travel, cost between Php 5 to Php 20Shotgun ride on motorcycle(Habal-habal)Charges range from Php 10 to Php 25 within Sta. Fe. For trips to Bantayan town and Madridejos, Php 100.00 is the norm.Rent-a-motorcycleRent starts at Php 200.00/day or Php 35.00/hour to as high as Php 350.00/day or Php 50.00/hour. plus fuel cost.Rent-a-mountain bikePhp 25.00/hourTricyclesFor long distance travel from one town to another. Fare from Bantayan town to Sta. Fe(or vice versa) is around Php 20.00. If you want the ride for yourself, costs about Php 100.00.Pumpboat rentalsFor island hopping in islets surrounding Bantayan, range from Php 800.00 to Php 3000.00Things To DoIsland HoppingKnown to Bantayan locals as Virgin Island, Silion Island is an isle off the mainland. Tourists frequent the place to picnic on its serene atmosphere renting cottages built on bermuda-covered lawns and white sand shorelines. The rich marine life of the Bantayan Marine Sanctuary near its shores make it also a good jump-off point to those who want to experience snorkeling.SunsetThe Bantayan sunset is the most wonderful sunset I have ever seen. One can witness such breath-taking moment in the late afternoon at the fishport beside the Bantayan Public Market in Bantayan town.Bantayan Public MarketBantayan Public Market is where you buy Bantayan Island’s famed foods like the danggit and pusit. It’s also adjacent to the Spanish-era church.FoodDanggit, Nokus, PusitBantayan is known for smoked fish and squid. Retail packs are available at the Public Market. Another common meal in Bantayan is barbecued chicken and fish cooked in different ways.D’JungleI came across an eat-all-you-can restaurant in Bantayan that cooks good food at reasonable prices. At Php190.00.
House of Lords Conservative member, Lord Taylor of Warwick, was convicted January 25, 2011 of falsely claiming over £11,000 in travel expenses while he was actually home in London. On March 2, 2010 the Wall Street Journal reported on the practice by many members of Congress to pocket unused taxpayer-funded foreign travel per diems (up to $250/day) for personal use. Congressional rules say they must return any leftover cash. Interviews with 20 current and former US lawmakers indicate that it is common practice that they usually don’t return unused per diems. Many also claimed to not know about the rule. The challenge of controlling travel expenses is not limited to governments.As Benjamin Franklin once said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” It may sound trite, but his wisdom is perhaps even more pertinent in today’s jobless recovery. Controlling travel expenses is an opportunity for small businesses, but is mission critical for industries with travelling positions, especially consulting and sales organizations.Many of the largest Strategy, Operations, Accounting and Information-Technology (I.T.) consulting firms require their consultants to travel 100% of the time. Whether you’re Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Arthur D. Little, Deloitte & Touche, or a self-employed business, leaks in the travel budget will quickly eat away the profits from any contract.How are you controlling your travel expenses?
Here are some tips to consider:1. Increase profits by reducing travel costs. How? For stays of 30 days or more, renting fully furnished corporate lease apartments will virtually always save at least $2,000 per month, compared to hotels or extended stay hotels. Here are just some of the benefits:
No irritating hotel taxes of 12-15 % or more.
Furnished Rental rates are usually less than hotels ($75 vs. $89 to $170 or more per night before taxes).
Corporate apartments, at approximately 750 sq. ft., are 2 to 3 times larger than the average hotel room of 375 sq. ft. and are usually in better shape than extended stay hotels.
Fully equipped kitchens let travelers prepare home-cooked meals, saving money and waistlines!
Incidentals, such as laundry, local phone and wifi are often included in the rent.
Rents are per unit, not per bed, so more than one person can stay together, providing further cost savings.
Since the company can be direct billed, corporate leases simplify accounting while reducing the usual variability and unpredictability of hotels and eating out.
Catherine White travelled extensively as a former I.T. consultant, Project Manager and Business Systems Analyst. This is the first in a series of articles to share strategies for saving money and keeping you and your staff happy and productive “on the road”.End Notes
 New York Times, January 25, 2011, page A6
 “Fitton: Travel expense scandal hits Capitol Hill”, The Washington Times, Greg Groesch, May 4, 2010
The 5th season starts with the slogan Ischa Freimaak, it’s free-fair. The fun begins on the 16th of Oct. and continues for 17 days. On the Bremer Bürgerweide its action, speed and party. On the market square its back to the Middle Ages with old-fashioned carousels, handicrafts, sweets, spicy liquorice, smoked eel and other culinary delights.The Bremer Freimarkt is rightfully called the Carnival of the North and during the 17 days there is no closing time for pubs! Light cascades, thrills on high-tech fairground rides, smoked eels, traditional handicrafts and merry-go-round, BBQ steaks and sausages, cotton candy, the list of attractions and fun options is endless.100,000 square meter action on the Bremer Freimarkt, BürgerweideSince many years now Bremen’s Fairground Festival is held on the right side of the River Weser, next to the main train station on the Bürgerweide. Around 4 million visitors join in the festivities each year in the second half of October and discover that the cool north can get in fact quite hot. What once started as a free market fair became in fact one of the biggest Fairground Festivals in all of Germany. The typical Bremer citizens love their sometimes drizzling weather condition around this time and insist that its part of the whole fair. Counter measures are taken by a hot and steamy drink called stiff grog and a yummy BBQ sausage. 320 fairground attractions, with some of them being truly state-of-the-art and not for the fainthearted, await their happy customers and the action never stops.Bremer Freimarkt is the oldest fair in GermanyOn the 16th of October 1035 Emperor Conrad II granted Archbishop Bezelkin the right to stage a fair. That was the beginning of the oldest German Fairground Festival. In 1404 the Roland-Statue, Bremen’s protector for market rights and freedom was erected. In 1793 Franz II was the last German Emperor who granted the Bremen merchants the right for the Freimarkt – as of this time, they decided themselves when they wanted to celebrate! With the Age of Enlightenment, which freed life and customs of traditional formality, and the introduction of the first carousels and swings around 1800, the market transformed into an entertainment fair. From 1860 the market developed further on account of technology such as illumination. In 1862 oil lamps were replaced by petroleum lamps, these then by gas lamps as of 1880, and four years later by electric lamps. In 1936 the Freimarkt, which had taken place at differing locations got a fixed location in the heart of Bremen on the Bürgerweide, where it is still held today.Reminder of the Middle Ages is the Kleine Freimarkt, Little Free-Fair, on the market squareNumerous attractions, old-fashioned carousels such as the merry-go-round, and original handicrafts are offered on the market square between the majestic city hall and the Church of Our Lady. Illuminations turn this place into a dreamworld where you can watch blacksmiths, glass blowers and stonemasons show off their handicraft skills over open fires, bargain with merchants or sample some of their fresh prepared foods and sweets.On the 24th of October it’s time for the Carneval processionCan it get any more colorful than this? On this day around 200,000 spectators and revelers are expected in Bremen to witness or join in the Carneval procession which will lead over the River Weser, through the city center to the Freimarkt on the Bürgerweide. Everything goes and the musical entertainment will include sultry samba rhythms, heavy techno beats and traditional brass band music. Around 150 participating groups with their phantasy parade floats or traditional displays, all dressed in colorful costumes, will participate in this unique procession and even throw sweets and candy canes into the crowds. What a chance to learn something about the typical north German culture and hospitality. Enjoy the 5th season in Bremen between the 16th of October and the 1th of November 2009.This is an example of what you can do in Bremen while traveling in Germany. If you want learn more about Bremen we compiled a more comprehensive Bremen travel guide in collaboration with local residents that provides unique travel insider tips which you can use during you Germany vacation.