MM Travel and Tours

Travel Agents – Are You Being Ripped Off?

By MM Travel and Tours in News

Right up there with real estate agents and used car sales people, travel agents are subject to much suspicion when it comes to sales tactics and prices. But are you really being sized up and ripped off every time you walk into an agency or book a holiday?

The answer is yes, you will be sized up and yes, given half the chance many agents will overcharge, some by as much as they can get away with.

With the great resources available on the net most travellers will not walk into an agency until they feel they have a good handle on their destination and current prices. Yet no matter how savvy you are it’s still worth knowing how agents work before you decide to use one.

There are two aspects to the way agents work in Australia that affect the service you are given. The first is the way agents are paid. Second is the pushing of particular agency ‘preferred’ products like tours (with high commission levels) onto the customer without disclosing this conflict of interest.

No real newsflash here: agents are paid on commission. But people might not realise that base pay rates are so low, agents need every dollar they can squeeze out of you. The pay structure generally works like this:

* The agent is paid a base amount, which is a paltry sum at best. The base amount is fairly consistent amongst the major agencies, and will go up slightly the longer the agent stays in the job.

* Extra income is based on commission paid against the revenue agents bring in. Different levels of revenue are made from every product they sell, from very little (say a hotel transfer) to up to 50% revenue for travel insurance. ‘Preferred products’ such as tours or flights will have higher levels of revenue.

* Of this total revenue, agents are paid a monthly percentage, usually on a sliding scale (the more the agents bring in the higher the percentage they get). This pay scale will depend on the agency and some are more generous than others. Without this commission the base amount is barely enough to live on (we are talking burger flipping rates).

* There is massive pressure on agents to hit monthly revenue targets (aside from actually making a living), and thus the job has a very high turnover rate (1-2 years is a fair stint as a travel agent or even store manager).

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* But what about the perks? Agents fly all the time right? In short there is no particular savings on flights at present. Some agencies are better than others but the perks of the job are almost non-existent compared to how it used to be. Agents are not always travelling and when they do it’s not as cheap as people think. For that you need a job, or your dad or mum needs a job, with Qantas.

* Some companies overseas pay differently so the focus is on customer service rather than sales. We are not so lucky.

The fact that the job is commission based seems to be missed by many customers who think agents are free to give advice all day as that’s what they get paid for. The reality is that they make very little unless they actually sell you something; it’s a sales job pure and simple.

This pressure on agents can lead to some very dubious practice.

So what could be loosely defined as a situation where somebody is being ripped off? There’s a big difference between paying extra for the agents time and them overcharging you by hundreds, or even thousands, on your holiday.

Standard booking fees at most agencies are $50.00 – $100.00, depending on the product being sold (less for domestic travel). These fees can be waived at some agencies rather than losing a sale if you are price matching or bargaining hard with the agent.

These fees are not a huge price to pay for what might be hours of the agents time (and remember the agent only gets a small percentage of that fee – most goes to the agency), but if you are paying any more than the standard fees, you are paying too much.

The most likely chance you have of being ripped off is if you have failed to shop around, and get caught up in the agent’s enthusiastic sales tactics (always beware the most upbeat and enthusiastic agent).

Agents will size up how much you know about your destination, the current price of flights and accommodation before quoting you a price. If you tell the agent “it’s my first time away” your chances of paying way too much increase dramatically.

Travelling to an out of the way destination might fall into this category as well, or when navigating the maze of round the world tickets. While it’s easy enough to book RTW trips on the net many people still stick with an agent, and leave themselves vulnerable to overcharging in the process.

Also, and unfortunately so, times of grief or any urgent need to get yourself on a flight are also seen by many agents as a time to cash in on vulnerable customers.

In terms of flights, agents will usually have minimum or net rates that they are free to add whatever extra they can get away with. This is where you can be overcharged if you haven’t shopped around. There is only a minimum, not a standard or maximum price for flights.

Consider as well that some agents are better than others at finding cheap flights. A high quote might just be a lack of knowledge of the destination/airlines. Many agents will have spent less than a year in the job and it can take time to learn how to get the better deals for customers, especially on out of the way routes. Another reason to check online first.

Yet another area in which to be careful is with refunds. It is not uncommon for some angents to overcharge you to cancel flights or tours. This can be done simply by the agent changing the terms of the agreement between you and the agency when you first pay a deposit or in full (as you have no direct contact with the airline). So what might have been a $350.00 cancellation fee on flights can be easily be turned into a non refundable ticket without the knowledge of the airline or tour company. Importantly this is not a standard practice (some agancies have measures in place to stop this) but it does happen. Be really careful and check elsewhere before you commit to a non refundable airfare!

The second and perhaps most dodgy aspect of travel agency practice is the pushing of preferred products onto customers.

This is not technically a rip off, but if you’re after unbiased product advice steer clear of most travel agents. The major agencies will have certain tour companies and even airlines from which they will get higher commissions (which can be double that of other tour companies they might sell).

So you’re booking a tour in South America and want some advice on a tour company? Chances are you will be pushed into using the agencies preferred supplier as they make more money out of you that way. As yet there is no legal requirement for agencies to declare this conflict of interest. Just look around the shelves of the major agencies and it will be clear from the uniform brochures who their preferred suppliers are.

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This is not to say these companies are not a decent choice, just be aware any advice is not without considerable bias. You need to make sure the tour company suits your needs and don’t rely solely on an agent’s advice on this (contact the company direct if you have any queries).

This conflict of interest can be applied to many products they sell. The major agencies will have preferred hotels and car hire companies. For almost every product travel agent dirty tricks, travel agent rip offs, travel advice, travel tips there will be a preference they give you that makes them more money. Agents will themselves often have little goals in mind when selling you a holiday.

There are always incentives from different travel companies for agents to sell their product. The incentive might be ‘sell five tours get one free’ or something similar. This is another reason agents can give you highly biased advice.

Smaller more independent agencies are more likely to give you unbiased advice as they may not have the same deals with tour operators as the major players.

If you are unsure about the charges attached to any products, simply ask what exactly you are being charged for as agents should disclose any booking fees involved (sometimes these fees can be hidden). If you are suspicious don’t fall for any pressure tactics, just walk away and check another agency or online before you book (there’s always another agency close enough).

So the bottom line really is just to make yourself as aware as possible of current pricing before you see an agent. You can still get great deals through a good agent (booking online is not always cheaper) and there is no need to be ripped off if you are savvy about your planning. Advice from a good agent on your destination can be invaluable, just take product advice with a grain of salt.

I left the job in part due to the pressure to overcharge and BS on which company customers should travel with. Most people get into the job because they love to travel, but may end up finding, like I did, that the job is not worth the stress.

Source by Brook Mitchell

Discover the African Art of Adire Dress Making When You Travel to Nigeria

By MM Travel and Tours in News

Lagos is regarded as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. It is known for its hustle and bustle, as well as an intricate blend of cultures – both local and foreign. Many residents in fact refer to it as no man’s land because indigenes from all parts of the country (and outside) have made it home.

The result is a breathtaking kaleidoscope of cultures evidenced – in part – by the regular display of different attires by each cultural unit. One of the most prominent cultures in Lagos is the Yoruba tribe. They are able to lay claim to being the sons of the soil in Lagos, but are accommodating to outsiders.

As a key component of South Western Nigeria, Lagos also shares fashion and cultural trends with adjoining regional states. And one of the most distinctive facets of the Yoruba culture is the Adire art form. From the earliest days of the arrival of foreigners in Nigeria, history has shown that one of the greatest attractions tourists and visitors have found in Nigeria, has been the Adire.

Adire is a unique traditional textile made by the Yorubas, using hand knotted cloths that have been dyed in indigo. The art of making this patterned cloth has been passed down across generations, even though at a time, it suffered a decline in popularity amongst practitioners and its patrons.

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Efforts by some celebrated practitioners of this elegant age old art form have however helped to launch a recent renaissance in this field. Most prominent amongst those involved in this re-awakening of interest in the Adire, locally and internationally, has been Nike Davies Okundaye, a strong advocate of African Arts, with a mission to export it to the rest of the world.

She has achieved worldwide recognition for her exceptional artistry in making Adire cloths over a three decade period, and up till date. Her website provides extensive resources that offer insight into her work – including offering links to other websites which reflect the international appeal she enjoys. This exceptional lady was featured on the cover of The African Courier magazine, in its February/March 2010 issue, with six pages dedicated to a review of her work, including excerpts from an exclusive interview she granted.

Today, Nigerian fashion designers in the 21st century also creatively employ the Adire in evolving a unique range of very fashionable and trendy African designs, which are regularly showcased in fashion show catwalks across Africa and even beyond. This is one of the great benefits the Adire affords – it is highly adaptable for use in various forms, for various purposes – decorative or otherwise.

If you are a lover of African art, the Adire dress making process is definitely one to be explored. More importantly, especially if you feel you cannot spare the time to visit a place where these unique creations are made, look out for the many shops where beautiful Adire cloths are put up for sale. Be sure to get informed opinion about how to purchase the types that are durable, and will not fade when washed, at reasonable prices.

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It would interest you to know that quite a number of good hotels in Lagos, and other western states often have gift shops with sections dedicated to the sale of artworks – including Adire. Note however that these shops can be a bit pricey, and that you can get much better bargains buying directly from the less pretty stalls of the local people or residents, some of who actually make it themselves. It is well known that the best places to buy well done Adire dresses include Abeokuta in Ogun State, and Osogbo in Osun State – where Nike Davies Okundaye runs one of a number of her galleries in the country.

So, don’t forget, when you visit Nigeria, to make out time to explore the world of Adire cloth making, picking up a few souvenirs to take back home with you. If the news we have heard from other visitors to Nigeria is anything to go by, you and those you share your artistic gifts with, will be raving about and showing them off with pride!

Source by Austin Eruotor

Five Tips For Finding the Best Hotel Rates

By MM Travel and Tours in News

Getting the most “bang” for your travel buck is more important than ever, but while 2009 may have been the year of the bargain-basement getaway, hotel rates for 2010 probably won’t be quite so inexpensive. That’s because, according to a recent Traveler Confidence Report from Travelocity, travelers’ plans and attitudes about travel are on the upswing – and many hotels are simply no longer slashing rates to record lows. That said, great hotel rates are still out there – you just need to know where – and how – to look for them. To get your travel plans underway, follow these simple tips:

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• Go straight to the source. Many hotel companies offer their best hotel rates – with a guarantee – to those who book at the company’s website. For instance, Marriott offers the “Look No FurtherĀ® Best Rate Guarantee” – which basically states that if, within 24 hours of booking your room you find a lower rate for the same dates, hotel and room type, the company will match that rate – and give you an extra 25 percent off. (Rules and restrictions apply.)

• Be flexible. Every traveler knows about high-season vs. low-season and weekday vs. weekend hotel rates, so be mindful of those as you plan your trip. You just might be able to save big on some of the hottest hotels in town if you’re open to changing your travel dates.

• Financial Districts. If you’re traveling on a weekend, check out the hotel rates in your destination’s financial district. Not only do hotel rates in these neighborhoods often drop over the weekend, but many major cities’ financial districts are relatively close to the hottest spots in town.

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• Stay in boom towns. Over the past few years a lot of cities have added a lot of hotel rooms – which means that if you’re traveling to, say, Las Vegas, Phoenix or even New York, you might find a better deal there than you would if you were traveling to a smaller city with fewer hotel rooms.

• If you’re planning a romantic getaway or are traveling with someone special, many hotels offer web-only travel packages with unique amenities, like vouchers you can use for spa treatments, fine dining or golf. And if you were planning to use those particular amenities anyway – packages like this can really help you save.

Source by Eric Sidone

Travel For Free – Just Watch a 90-Minute Presentation

By MM Travel and Tours in News

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could go on vacations for free?

Or maybe you could go to rich places and get the best treatment, food, and drinks!

You don’t need to think that this is a fantasy. It is completely possible. All the time, everywhere around the planet people are going on vacations for free. These vacations are provided for by advertising companies that want to sell you a timeshare or other products in exchange for your time.

These free trips can be yours only for attending 90-minute presentations once you arrive. Once you get to the resort you will attend these presentations in order to have free access to the hotel and free plane tickets. In exchange for all of this you will have to listen to a few hours of marketers trying to sell you all kinds of stuff, but you don’t have to buy anything.

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They use this opportunity to sell you all kinds of things, and usually it works. They can usually know what you want by analyzing your salary, where you live, and your age. It’s actually quite easy to make these kinds of judgements for marketers.

There are hundreds of thousands of people who have done this already, and the funny thing is that they are looking for you to take their free vacations.

You can stay at 5-star hotels for free and eat amazing food while looking at amazing views.

Cancun, Mexico is a popular place for marketing companies to do this because it is cheap for them to rent the hotel rooms. When I say cheap, I mean $200 per night. A lot of the times the whole trip is all-inclusive. Cancun is probably the best place to go because it is so beautiful.

You can probably guess that since Cancun is so cheap for them that they really want to send you there. The way that they make money is that after sending you there if they sell you a timeshare it can be worth thousands of dollars to them in future fees. Plus you might actually want one.

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Of course first you have to qualify to have the free vacation.

In order to get a free vacation you have to have a job. You have to also have a salary over $10,000 per year. Plus, you must live in Canada or the United States.

If you don’t qualify then you can be sure that they have other opportunities that they will suggest to you. Plus they will let you bring your whole family on the trip with you.

Bringing your whole family will be great as you won’t have to pay for their plane tickets either.

Source by Michael R Thomas

Rajasthan Tourism – Top Ten Travel Destinations to Visit

By MM Travel and Tours in News

Rajasthan, the largest state of India, is one of the most popular tourism destinations in India. The state has great tourism potential and enthralls tourists and vacationers with its awe-inspiring tourism options in the forms of culture, tradition, temples, art & architecture, history, forts & palaces, monument, havelis, wildlife sanctuaries & parks, rippling sand dunes, Thar Desert, etc. There are many fascinating travel destinations in the state which can be visited, explored and enjoyed on your travel and tours in this royal state of India. Let’s have a look at top ten travel destination of Rajasthan tourism.

1. Jaipur – Also known as the Pink City of India, Jaipur is the state capital city and very popular tourist destination in India. Worth visit attractions in Jaipur city are City Palace, Albert Hall Museum, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort and Heritage Hotels.

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2. Udaipur – Also known as the City of Lakes, Udaipur is a city in the state known for its elegant palaces and lovely lakes. It is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in India. Key attractions of tourist interest in the city are City Palace, Jagdish Temple, Lake Palace, Pichola Lake, Fateh Prakash Palace, Monsoon Palace, Fateh Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar Lake, Eklingji Temple, Nagda Temple, etc.

3. Jodhpur – Also known as the Blue City of India, Jodhpur is the second largest city in the state. It is a wonderful tourist place to be visited on Rajasthan travels and tours with attractions like mammoth Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada Memorial, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore Gardens and many heritage hotels.

4. Jaisalmer – Also known as the Golden City of India, Jaisalmer is known for Golden Fort, Jain Temples, Havelis and an exciting trip to rippling sand dunes of vast Thar Desert.

5. Bikaner – Also known as the Camel City, Bikaner is a wonderful tourist place to visit in Rajasthan. It holds a prime position in boosting tourism in Rajasthan with major attractions like Junagarh Fort, Lalgarh Palace, Havelis, and sand dunes.

6. Pushkar – Pushkar is a holy city in Rajasthan. It is one of the most sacred cities in India with lots of attractions like Lord Brahma Temple, Gayatri Temple, Savitri Temple, Pushkar Lake, Pushkar Palace, Rose Gardens, Pushkar Ghats, etc.

7. Ajmer – Ajmer is a world famous Muslim pilgrimage centre and tourist place. It is predominantly famous for Ajmer Sharif Dargah. The Dargah is equally revered by people of both faith Hindu and Muslim. There are many other attractions in Ajmer which enhance tourism in Rajasthan, India.

8. Mandawa – Located in Shekhawati Region, Mandawa is one of the most popular destinations of Rajasthan tours and travels. It is widely known for beautifully painted havelis containing exquisite frescoes, murals, miniature paintings and wall paintings. Prime attractions of Mandawa are Havelis and Fort Mandawa Castle.

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9. Ranthambhore – Ranthambore is one of the most popular destinations of Rajasthan tourism. It is globally famous for Ranthambore Tiger Reserve & National Park. The park is rich in its flora and fauna. The key attractions of the park are tigers, Ranthambore Fort, Jogi Mahal and ancient banyan tree.

10. Bharatpur – Bharatpur is a beautiful town in the state with attractions like Keoladeo Ghana National Park (formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary), Lohagarh Fort, Bharatpur Palace, etc.

These destinations are very popular among tourists and vacationers from all over the world and various Rajasthan tour operators as well. You will surly love to visit, explore and enjoy these deserving tourist places of Rajasthan, the Royal State of India.

Source by Rakesh Ets

Travel – Dealing with Air Sickness and Jet Lag

By MM Travel and Tours in News

If you dread the idea of air travel because of air sickness and/or jet lag, there are a few precautions you can take to prevent both.

Air Sickness

Generally, air sickness is at its worst on take off and landing. This is due to the steep attitude of the aeroplane, the sudden increase or decrease in speed and height and the fact that the ground is visible and seems to be rushing past. The difference between what one sees and what the “balance” area of the ears is telling one causes the brain to become confused. The sickness can be a physical or psychological reaction to all of this, the latter being caused more by fear than by an actual physical reaction to the conflicting signals being received by the body.

Normally airsickness manifests itself in a feeling of nausea, which may or may not result in actual sickness, as well as sweating, digestive disturbance and the need to swallow much more than normal.

Even pilots and other aircrew suffer from air sickness, which obviously can prevent them from doing their jobs effectively. As a result, studies were made into the problem and the following means of avoiding air sickness were devised.

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1. Stress or fear can cause air sickness because an already emotionally disturbed brain has even more difficultly interpreting the conflicting signals from eyes and ears. So try to relax, don’t get stressed and if you already have a fear of flying, take a mild sedative an hour before take off is scheduled.

2. A full stomach can contribute to air sickness, so eat and drink sparingly before getting on the ‘plane.

3. Once on board, even when the seat belt signs have been turned off, remain in your seat if possible. If your balance is impaired, any sudden motion of the aircraft is likely to cause sickness.

4. Take anti-air sickness tablets in accordance with the instructions on the box or use the special wristbands on sale in many airport terminals, which are said to have a beneficial effect.

5. Try not to think about air sickness because the more you do, the more you are likely to feel sick. Concentrate on a book or film or get some sleep and you’ll soon find that you’ve forgotten about feeling sick.

Jet Lag

Jet lag can be a curse for people who need to travel extensively for their work because sleep patterns become disturbed and business meetings or training sessions become a real test of endurance.

This really occurs when ones body clock is confused and symptoms include sleeplessness, tiredness, lack of concentration, headaches and a general feeling of disorientation.

Jet lag is usually at its worst when crossing several time zones particularly in an easterly direction, for example from London to Los Angeles. In this instance, say departure from London is 11:00am and the flight is eleven hours long, arrival in Los Angeles will be 2:00pm, whereas ones body clock will think it’s 10 o’clock at night and time for bed.

Once again, jet lag can be somewhat psychological. If one is determined to feel jet lagged, then one will! There are a few tricks which help to overcome this problem.

When flying east, get as much sleep as possible. Have a couple of drinks, a meal and relax as if you were having a siesta. Thus when you arrive, you will feel refreshed and better able to last out until a sensible bed time.

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Change your watch to the time at your destination; this will help avoid disorientation.

On arrival, try to get some fresh air, have an evening meal at the time you would normally have one (local time) and try not to go to bed before you normally would, say 10:00pm.

Alternatively, if you have been unable to sleep on the ‘plane, have a couple of hours sleep at your destination but set an alarm clock so that you don’t have too long, which will prevent you sleeping later. Once again, dine and go to bed at your normal time.

If you’re travelling for a particularly important event, then it may be best to arrive a couple of days early in order to acclimatise.

Travelling west is much easier as the time at your destination will be ahead of where you started so acclimatisation is not so hard and bed time will arrive that much sooner!

Source by Liz Canham

Travel – The Best Education You Can Get

By MM Travel and Tours in News

Upon re-examining our lives and the decisions we made to get here, we wondered what it is about travel that has changed us in so many ways. That was when a cousin-in-law’s mother hit the nail on the head when she told us at a family gathering (upon learning that we had been all over the world) that travel is the best education you can get. Even though my wife and I had already suspected this was the case, here we had someone who actually lived it and confirmed our suspicions.

“I have memories that are still with me since I traveled in the 60’s and friends who still keep in touch,” she said. “I’ve seen so much and learned so much about things you’d never learn about in school or watch on TV. Keep traveling while you still have your legs. I congratulate you.”

And with those words of wisdom in mind, we’re digging deep into our personal experiences to explain why travel is the best education you can get.


It’s one thing to see something on TV or read about it in the newspaper (or internet or books or whatever your media of choice is), but it’s another thing to see and experience those things in person. More often than not, when you’re told about something, you’re unlikely to appreciate its message and more likely to react (or not) briefly and then forget about it not long thereafter. But if you’ve witnessed a bombing or were confronted with beggars firsthand, these moments stick with you and you start to wonder why these things happen.

For example, in school, you can try to teach students about revolutions by regurgitating what’s in the history textbooks citing such factors like say the population had a 95% illiteracy rate, the rich got richer while the poor got poorer, and the populace was oppressed with no opportunities to break out of poverty. Sure the students might memorize some dates and some key figures in history, but it’s forgotten after the test or class is over and the implications of the cause and effect of the conditions leading to the revolution are lost.

But if those students perhaps visited (or better yet stayed with) a family with no running water, no electricity, no schools, and lack of food while working real hard to survive; all the while harboring deep resentment at the government for accepting bribes, hoarding most of the country’s wealth, and even coming in and building dams or deforesting to mine for coal (thereby putting more pressure on their own lands and impacting their own means of survival), then perhaps those students would be so deeply moved by the experience that they can better understand why the people want to act and revolt to improve their situation.

That is the essence of why deep impressions, which you can only get by experiencing things firsthand through travel, is one main reason why travel is the best education you can get. Perhaps more importantly, such impressions stick with you to the extent that you’re more inclined to want to take action to change things for the better.


We always believed that reality is the fastest and most effective teacher. When you buy some knock-off at a deeply discounted price at some street market only to have the knock-off fall apart on you when you get home, you learn never to look at knock-offs at street markets the same way again. But until you’ve had the bitter taste of being ripped off, you’ll always be looking for the next great deal no matter how dodgy the vendor is.

When you’re out there traveling, you’re more likely to witness places where socialism has been successful (and not as evil as gung-ho pro-capitalists and industrialists would have you believe), you’re more likely to appreciate how other people around the world (especially in Europe) don’t worry as much about health insurance and health care, and how locals in rural villages have found ways to adapt and live with their environment rather than trying to force arbitrary and detrimental changes against Nature. Without travel, these lessons may never be learned. As a result, you’re more likely to be swayed by bias from the media or from peers, which is not unlike kids learning bad habits by learning from undisciplined peers (i.e. the so-called “bad influences”) since they don’t have the information needed to make wiser decisions.

So it’s with this in mind that we think travel has a way of testing your theories and beliefs. You’re bound to run into different people, different cultures, different ways of doing things, different beliefs, and different environments. Often times, these are contrary to what you’re used to or what you’ve preconceived going into the trip. In that way, travel expands your horizons and makes you more open to the tremendous diversity and variety on the planet and its peoples. And by keeping an open mind about things, you’re more apt to learn from these differences and apply them in ways that would improve your own life (and hopefully others as well). And in the process, you’ll develop greater respect for other people while embracing differences instead of alienating people who are different.


Perhaps one of the most important things that travel has done for us is give us a greater sense of perspective. For when you travel, you’re exposed to a greater range of experiences. Thus, you have a more extensive library of experiences and knowledge to call upon when you’re confronted with a new situation or issue. And given our expanded library, we have the confidence to see the big picture, solve problems, not sweat the small stuff, believe in ourselves and what we know, understand people better, judge character better, and look at things more objectively. And through this awareness and self-belief, we feel that we’ve broken through barriers (many of which were self-imposed) regarding what we thought was possible.

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Travel in general (at least the more enlightening customized types) is expensive, logistically difficult, and requires a lot of time, health, and energy to pull off. However, we’ve learned to overcome these barriers while getting richly rewarded with the knowledge acquired as a result. And it was through our own time put into trip preparation and execution that we broke through those mental barriers that typically keep people from getting out there in the first place; coming up with such excuses like it’s too expensive, too difficult, too much time to plan, etc. In a way, it forces you to overcome complacency, step out into the real world, and acquire the intangibles that make you a better person as a whole.

Through what we’ve learned, we are more able to filter and process information (so we’re no longer slaved to what the media pushes or says), we are better positioned to align our work (and consequently our lives) to our core values (my personal ethic is a sustainable future), we’re less inclined to give into hot air and hypocrisy when it comes to political issues, and we’re more apt to be respectful of different people with different backgrounds (you never know what you can learn from them).

Indeed, travel has given us the tools we need (through exposure, education, and perspective) to take steps necessary to improve not only our lives, but that of our children as well. We don’t proclaim to know everything, but at least we can put things in perspective and act accordingly.


Even though we’re saying that travel is the best education you can get, we’re not suggesting that you should forego a formal education nor does it mean it’s the answer to all of our problems. We’re just saying that travel will educate you in a way that will bring you closer to a more meaningful, healthier, and happier life if you go in with an open mind and the right attitude.

However, there are different kinds of traveling and we should point out that not all of them are conducive to learning. In fact, if you travel just to consume (like only chill out at resorts, go golfing, or do watersports [not that I condemn these activities]; all without interacting with locals or experiencing what the place has to offer in terms of authentic experiences), then you’ll only learn about consuming and little about local cultures, environments, and peoples. You won’t be able to expand your own horizons and acquiring travel’s educational benefits.

Speaking of consumption, we acknowledge that travel is not environmentally sustainable (what with the greenhouse gases [GHGs] spewed into the upper atmosphere by flying, planes being as close to energy efficient as they’re going to get, and the environmental damage caused by wasting water at resorts not to mention all the plastic bottle waste). However, we think if more people traveled to learn and see or experience genuinely different things, they’d be more understanding, better able to put things in perspective, and take steps to make the world a better place as well as more sustainable. So with that said, perhaps these same people would be more willing to find a way to make travel (let alone their own lifestyle) less impactful while still benefitting society (especially the education you don’t get in school) as a whole.

And regarding school, I think travel can do wonders if you complement your education with worldly experiences. That way, you get the skills needed to earn a living through school, but you retain more of what you learn (or even question some of it) through your experiences and observations while traveling. Besides, it’d also cause you to vote more intelligently thereby producing better leaders. I dare say that people who haven’t expanded their horizons and don’t have an open mind have been unable to stem the tide of corruption and poor leadership, which has resulted in much of the big problems we see around the world today.

So is travel the best education you can get? As far as we’re concerned, you bet!

Even though our travels have caused us to dip well into our savings thereby delaying that home purchase that everyone (including our government through its twisted tax laws) pushes for, we wouldn’t trade it for the world. We’re not materially rich, but we have a lifetime of memories and moments as well as a few friends we’ve met along the way. We rekindled a deep urge to constantly discover new places using waterfalls as the excuse to see places both far and near. We hope we can keep it going. For we never want to stop learning, improving ourselves, and making a difference in the world.

Source by Johnny Cheng

Travel – The Benefits of Exploring the World

By MM Travel and Tours in News

What on earth is happening to the world?

The financial sectors are being brought down to their knees the world over, jobs are on the line, and we feel forced to watch this happen and feel powerless to do anything to stop it. But are we powerless? No. Good enough reason to want to survive this ruin. In fact, the key to surviving this difficult and unprecedented stage in our planet’s history is to take responsibility, alter our thought process altogether and change the way we see the world. Travel and the exploration of our world provides us with the perfect platform for this change to occur.

When approached with openness and humility, the benefits of Travel are endless. But for the sake of simplicity, I have broken them down to 5 points.

1. Travel gives us the opportunity to silence the mind.

2. Travel gives us the opportunity to be touched by beauty.

3. Travel encourages us to grow.

4. Travel fuels our imagination, and awakens a sense of lightness and joy.

5. Travel fulfills our yearning for Unity.

1. Travel gives us the opportunity to silence the mind. Silence, which has been grossly underrated by modern society, creates a nourishing environment for contemplation and the appearance of inspiration. Yet, we find it extremely challenging to silence the mind in the midst of our everyday routine. This is where stepping outside of our comfort zone and exploring unfamiliar lands can play a very important part. It becomes easier for us to focus our undivided attention on a chosen object, such as a sunset, a beautiful landscape or a work of art, when we are outside of our normal environment. We allow ourselves to experience that sense of wonder and rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural laws, and feelings such as exhilaration, joy and peace are triggered. Time seems to stand still. Our intuitive capacity is increased, leading us to reach the Self and contact it fully. This is called an insight or “Illumination”, that “AHA” moment, where we arrive at a new level of awareness. And when an insight or illumination does appear, it sometimes reveals something that may have even been staring at us in the face all along.

The opportunity to silence the mind during my own personal travels has enabled me to find practical solutions to problems, the courage to change direction in my life at pivotal moments, and has provided me with the fertile grounds to think creatively. I have also observed that insights come as “feelings”, and so the insights vanish when the feeling vanishes. I have found that registering the insight on a mental level, like recording it into a diary, journal or workbook, fully assimilates the insights on a mental level. By recording insights, it anchors your thoughts, and thus forms the beginning of a gradual unfolding.

2. Travel gives us the opportunity to be touched by beauty.

Beauty can be described as a certain visual harmony, a spontaneous aesthetic experience. It is elusive, highly personal, it’s impact unpredictable, and yet is as integral to our human survival as Oxygen. Beauty is healing, regenerative, uplifting. Beauty allows us to put our pains and problems aside and helps us succeed in forgetting ourselves. It reveals unknown worlds and nameless possibilities. Beauty lightens our greed. As human beings, we have the choice to increase our aptitude in the art of appreciating beauty by opening ourselves to it and making ourselves available to experience it. Travel and exploring the world provides us with that opportunity in spades. After all, planet Earth is the “paradise planet” of the universe.

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3. Travel encourages us to grow.

Growth is understanding what we have not previously been able to conceive. It is feeling what we have never felt, or doing what we have never done before. It obliges us to leave our comfort zone and progress into the unknown. Growth can sometimes be a joy, and sometimes it can be uncomfortable or even downright painful. But one thing is for certain. The personal growth experienced through travel and the exploration of the world results in a far greater sensitivity to the pain of human beings in general. And through this, we begin to see our own life in perspective, which in turn gives us a greater sense of purpose.

4. Travel fuels our imagination, and awakens a sense of lightness and joy.

What has happened to our imagination? Have our life experiences, schooling and conditioning discouraged us so much from using our imagination that we now view it as a frivolous word? Take a look at the eyes of a child. That look reminds us of a time when anything and everything was possible, unobstructed by past experiences and without exclusions. Travel reminds us not to take things quite so seriously in our lives. It awakens a sense of lightness and joy, and the realization that life is a dance. And dance, though powerful, is also a great pleasure.

5. Travel fulfills our yearning for Unity.

It is instinctive for human beings to naturally seek union with larger units, as we wish to share and participate in something that we regard as being greater than our individual selves. It is only natural. Travel encourages a sense of unity with all beings everywhere. Through travel we acquire a sense that we all share in the same destiny. So rather than confining ourselves to our own local communities and remaining in a stagnant mindset about the world, now more than ever, it makes so much sense to explore our wonderful world and travel more. The planet is in dire need for human beings to start resonating with each other, despite our cultural differences. No man is an island, as we have seen from the more recent financial meltdown. What has happened in Wall Street has affected us all on a global scale. We now have the opportunity to raise awareness and reverse the process through the art of travel.

Our outer world is simply a reflection of our own inner process. As without, so within. And as wonderful as the world is, it is no match for the beauty and depths of our imagination and own soul. And yet we can reach those depths via the richness of our world. The colours, languages, peoples, cultures, sounds, smells, taste sensations, art, all are part of a rich tapestry that forms our world heritage, and it’s just waiting for us to discover and enjoy it.

So act now and book that honeymoon travel destination, or that Summer holiday to somewhere that you haven’t been to before. Bring your diary, journal or workbook to record all those great insights and ideas that will come to you along the way, and don’t forget your camera so that you can capture the beauty around you.

Source by Victoria Ugarte

Travel: Different Means of Travel!

By MM Travel and Tours in News

Nowadays, there are many different means of travelling which include airplane or ships or trains or buses etc. you can choose your medium by keeping in view your interest, your priorities and of course your budget. Lets have some general over view of different means of travelling.

AIR: Air travel is the most recent means of moving from one place to another. Since its first usage, it has become so popular due to its many advantages that it is now the most used mean of travel by people for long routes. It is taken as an expensive choice although there are many air lines that are offering air flights quite cheaply but over all it is an expensive but most quick mean of moving from one place to another.

SEA: Sea is one of the oldest means of travelling. Ships were used for roaming even by Greeks and Egyptians. It remained the main source of travelling for quite a long time but after the invention of aero planes, it has somehow lost its place. Nowadays moving from one place to another by sea is rarely done and even when done it is mostly through large ships which are built for luxurious cruising for the more privileged people. Middle and lower class people can’t really enjoy in those huge and luxurious vessels.

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TRAIN: Moving from one city to another by means of train is considered as the most reliable and affordable mean of travelling. Trains now for long have remained a top priority of people for travelling. Travelling by train has all the ingredients that it takes for a perfect travel as it is quick and reliable and cheap mean of travelling.

Source by Ezekiel Phippen

33 Travel Safety Tips

By MM Travel and Tours in News

Traveling to unfamiliar destinations can bring to you the sort of troubles you do not want to experience while on the road namely: robbery, rape, or murder. Tourists often fall prey to perpetrators because they do not prepare properly before embarking on a trip. Let’s examine some things you should do to prevent your travels from becoming a tragedy:

1. Never list your home address on the luggage tag. If on business, put the company’s address on the tag; if visiting friends you can list their address. Use covered luggage tags as well.

2. Stay with your luggage until the luggage is checked. If you must put your bag down, keep one foot on the handle.

3. Carry important papers with you; NEVER check anything that you simply cannot afford to lose. Photocopy your passport, driver’s license and credit cards.

4. Bring a small flashlight. You never know when you’ll suddenly be “in the dark” and find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings. At night, keep your flashlight by your bed.

5. Make sure that your prescription medicines are filled properly and labeled accurately. In some countries certain prescription medicines are forbidden.

6. Never wear anything that projects affluence. No gold chains, expensive watches and rings, luggage, or other paraphernalia should be in easy view. Better yet: leave your jewelry at home.

7. If possible travel with only one or two credit cards.

8. Women particularly should never accept a drink from a stranger. Keep an eye on your drink at all times.

9. Vary your schedule; try not to come and go at the same time everyday.

10. Only stay in a hotel that uses cards to open room doors and make sure your room has a peephole and a deadbolt lock. Secure the chain and secure the door by pushing a rubber stop under it.

11. Stay in a room near a stairwell. Never take the elevator if a fire or smoke is detected. Always stay in a hotel where the doors enter the hallway and not directly from the outside.

12. Do not wear name tags in public.

13. Do not use unmarked taxi cabs.

14. Sit behind the driver so you can see him, but he cannot see you.

15. Pay the driver upon arriving at your destination and while you are still sitting in the vehicle.

16. If you must rent a car, rent only from a reputable company. Any operating problems that occur could signal sabotage.

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17. Be aware of ‘staged’ car accidents meant to catch you off card.

18. Back into your parking spaces to facilitate a quick exit.

19. Park only in well lit and well traveled areas.

20. If your cell phone does not work outside of the country, consider renting one that does for the duration of your trip.

21. If detained for whatever reason by an official, ask for identification. If in doubt, tell them that you want to see his superior. Keep your emotions in check.

22. If traveling with children, bring along an updated photograph of each child in the event that you become separated from them.

23. Write your child’s name and your hotel number on each card; include a close friend’s or relative’s contact information on the card. Give a card to each child which they will carry with them as long as you are away. Destroy once home.

24. Discuss with your family what they would do in event of an emergency while away from home, e.g. whom to call, how to contact emergency personnel, etc.

25. Do not discuss travel plans, your room number or any other personal information in public within earshot of strangers.

26. Bring along a basic first aid kit with bandages, iodine, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, alcohol packets, dramamine, pepto bismol, diarrhea medicine, etc.

27. Familiarize yourself with train and bus schedules before traveling. Have an alternate plan in place in the event your transportation plans change.

28. Do not flash your passport in public. Discreetly show important documents to officials only.

29. Consider purchasing portable alarms that emit a loud sound.

30. Watch for scams on the street. Children working with adults are notorious as pickpockets.

31. Never flash your money in public. Exchange funds with reputable and recognized exchangers only.

32. Have tips ready in advance for service personnel.

33. Consider renting an escort [security] service if traveling in areas where crime is high.

The key to safe traveling in any area is situational awareness. Distractions because of luggage, children, hotel personnel, strangers, etc. can put you at risk. Know your surroundings and stay in control of every situation.

Source by Matthew Keegan