Scuba Diving Vacation Planning Tips

Whether you are taking your first scuba diving vacation or your fifth, you need to be aware of all of the planning and preparation that goes into this type of trip. It is not like a “regular” vacation where you may just bring changes of clothing and your favorite shampoo. A scuba diving vacation can be a lot more work to plan but in the end you can get so much more out of it. When planning a diving vacation, you need to think about the destination (both the location and the type of accommodations), the cost, and the extra things you will need to bring.

Did you know that there are travel agencies which specialize in scuba diving vacations? They work the same as any travel agency with the additional bonus of knowing about diving as well. You can choose from a scuba diving resort which offers diving as part of its activities and may also provide training and equipment as well, or you can choose a scuba diving vacation, where you set up scuba diving activities outside of the resort setting. A beginner may prefer to go to an all-inclusive diving resort so that they will not have to locate these services separately.

You can choose from a warm or cool climate for your scuba diving vacation depending on your training and certification status but most people opt for diving in the warmer climates.

You can limit the cost of your scuba diving vacation by purchasing an all-inclusive package or going with a group tour. However, if you are willing and able to do a lot of research, you may be able to lower your scuba diving vacation costs by shopping around for the best deals, going during the off peak tourist season, etc.

When you go on your diving vacation, contact the airline to find out about restrictions on carrying your equipment. You may want to see how much of your essential equipment can be brought in a carry-on bag. Make sure that if you are traveling out of the country you have the necessary passports, an international driver’s license, and that your immunizations are up to date. Many people also purchase diving or travel insurance as well, because their regular insurance won’t cover it. You should also make sure to bring any medications you will need.

A vacation scuba diving can be relaxing as well as exciting if you take the time to plan.

Frugal Travel Tips For Bangkok, Thailand

With the currency exchange, it is difficult not to find frugal attractions in Bangkok, Thailand. However, there are a few tips to make travel dollars stretch even further and to better the travel experience.

The Grand Palace And The Temple Of The Emerald Buddha

Yes, there is an entrance fee (200 Baht, roughly $6 U.S.) but this sight is a must see for any visitor to Bangkok. It hosts a range of Thai architecture.

Temples and other national monuments have a strict dress code. No shorts, sleeveless tops, or risqué dress. This is true of most religious places the world over but in Thailand, travelers should also not wear open heeled sandals (there must be a strap behind the heel).

Thai Customs

Which leads to some Thai customs that savvy travelers observe.

Shorts are considered appropriate only for children and the lower class.

The head is considered sacred (closest to the heavens) so do not touch. Actually try not to touch the locals at all.

Feet are also to be treated with care. To point your feet at a person is considered a grave insult and to sit with soles exposed extremely rude (especially in religious places). Sit with feet tucked under the body.

No public displays of affection. Keep that for the privacy of your room.

As with most countries, but especially Thailand, do not criticize the local government or monarchy.

This may seem like a lot of rules but most apply to almost every country a traveler is a guest in.

Also the Thai people are extremely polite so they are unlikely to express their disapproval.

Chatuchak Park Weekend Market

This is where frugal travelers buy their souvenirs. With over 15,000 stalls (pick up a free map at information kiosks), there is plenty to choose from. This is a place to haggle. Never take the first offer. Also be very wary of fakes (fake antiques, fake jewelry, etc) and of pickpockets (keep some small bills in an easily accessible pocket and hide the wallet away).

What to buy? Almost anything, especially handicrafts. My mother is an elephant lover and Thailand, with reverence of the animal, was the ideal place to pick up teak carvings (be careful of wood drying and cracking when you return home).

Wat Pho (Temple Of The Reclining Buddha)

With another very, very inexpensive entrance fee (20 Baht), Wat Pho is the largest and oldest Buddhist Temple in Bangkok. The highlight is, of course, the 46 meter long, gold covered Reclining Buddha. However, the buildings and I found the orchids were also noteworthy.

Bangkok is a bargain hunters paradise. Attractions, dining and shopping is inexpensive.

10 Tips For Planning A Corporate Incentive Travel Program

Corporate incentive travel is a great way to motivate and reward your valuable employees. Incentive travel can be group or individual, and the destination can be local or international. But every successful incentive travel program begins with careful planning.

The following are tips to help you plan a corporate travel program that fits your company’s culture, size and available budget:

* Determine your corporate incentive program goals. In specific terms, establish what the incentive program should accomplish. This could be an increase in sales, increase in production output or profits, or a reduction in defective products, sales returns or lost contracts. Be sure to assign a value to the improvement or reduction – a percentage, absolute number of units or contracts, or a dollar figure.

* Select the target group for the program. This could be management, employees, salespeople, or even customers.

* Discover what the target’s values, interests and preferences through paper surveys or interviews. Then browse our corporate incentives guide to match up preferences with available packages in your budget range.

* Considering past performance and employee behavior, establish reasonable tasks for your target group.

* Make sure you have a performance tracking system in place with a clear way to measure incentive program results.

* Brainstorm what obstacles may exist to the success of the incentive program. This could be current employee morale, organizational structure or market conditions.

* Determine whether the program will be managed internally or outsourced to an agency.

* Understand applicable tax implications. Travel can be taxable to recipients under certain conditions, and special tax forms may be required.

* When selecting a corporate incentive travel company, make sure it agrees to fulfill what is promised for your budgeted cost, and that you understand its cancellation policies.

* At the end of your program, survey winners and non-winners to determine whether the program was successful in meeting the objective.

Corporate Travel on a Smaller Budget

Even if you can’t afford to whisk your top performers away to Europe on a private jet, you can still reward your employees with incentive travel that they can enjoy.

If you can afford to send your team away on a teambuilding retreat, it doesn’t have to be far away. Campsites and resorts, even a day on a chartered boat can create a memorable experience. For individuals, it’s a better idea to send your recipient somewhere exotic enough to be memorable. If possible, allowing a spouse or children to accompany your employee is also a good idea.

An employee incentive getaway generally lasts from three nights to a full week, but weekend getaways can also work for smaller budgets. Accommodation could be in a bed and breakfast. Check travel and hotel websites often to catch their “travel best bets.”

Conclusion

For any corporate incentive travel program to accomplish its goal, you must determine how much you can spend, what options are available and what people want. And you must anticipate potential problems both within and without your organization. A clear system for measuring results will help you with future planning. Even on a smaller budget, corporate incentive travel can benefit your organization.

Frugal Travel Tips For Las Vegas Attractions

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 Bellagio

With 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 TI

Every 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 Shows

Approximately 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 Experience

Las 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 Garden

Want 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.