Explore the Country As a Traveling Nurse

Traveling nurses are registered nurses who travel around the United States filling temporary nursing positions. If you are a nurse and you love to travel, then this may be the right career move for you. Most travel nurses enjoy the experience of traveling, meeting, and working with new coworkers. They hope to gain a well-rounded work experience that will serve them if they decide to settle on working full time at a specific medical facility. Many travel nurses claim that the experience allows them to develop a better understanding of their chosen specialty. Many travel nurses also claim that their unique work experiences have helped introduce them to better patient focused nursing.

Travel nurses are registered nurses, usually hired by travel nurse companies, who take temporary positions in a variety of settings in order to fill a shortage. Generally, they will work in the hospital setting, where shortages of nursing personnel are rampant.

Travel nurses also have the option of traveling to other countries experiencing shortages and may even become independent contractors. As an independent contractor, though, you must find your own housing, negotiate for pay, and pay your own insurance to name just a few things that you will be required to negotiate for on your own. But for our purposes, we will speak generally of travel nurses hired by travel nursing companies.

Hospitals hire nursing personnel, as well as other health care professionals, for a number of reasons. The major reason for hiring temporary help is to fill a gap in the numbers of nurses required. With such a shortage of qualified nurses today, many areas of the country are experiencing the deficit. Travel nurses bring a variety of knowledge and experience and are able to seamlessly fill these vacant positions.

Other areas of the country experience large population fluctuations which are more seasonal in nature. In some areas, the population can double due to these changes. For example, Florida experiences huge population shifts during the winter as snowbirds flock to warmer climates. Other areas have become huge tourist towns and require more professional help for the seasonal changes related to tourism.

Travel nurses are needed in both kinds of situations to fill a void in healthcare left by the fewer numbers of nurses.

Another reason where a nurse may find temporary employment while traveling is the opening of a new medical facility. Rather than hiring all new nurses, these new organizations benefit from the great experience of travel nurses. Newer staff members also gain from working with more experienced members of the nursing field.

Other areas of work in which a travel nurse may find temporary employment include: acute care facilities, outpatient surgery centers, assisted living or nursing homes, or working with children in schools or camps. Still other positions may include: physicians offices, correctional facilities, clinics or laboratories. Most places require at least one year of experience in the hospital setting.

Travel nurses generally enjoy a more lucrative salary than they would receive if they worked in a single location. The salary the travel nurse earns is generally based on the location where they are working. Typically a travel nurse will not earn as much working in a hospital in a rural community as they will earn working at a larger inner-city hospital. Some nurses prefer travel nursing to nursing in a single medical facility because they enjoy the opportunity to see the world and other cultures. Working in a constantly changing location challenges a travel nurses knowledge and talents. The skills that the travel nurse develops on their journeys are skills that they will be able to utilize should they settle on a home base.

Although most travel nursing jobs average 13 to 26 weeks, some can be as short as four weeks or as long as 52 weeks. Maybe you are looking to live in another state and want to be able to experience particular areas and the employment opportunities available in those areas. Travel nursing makes this possible while continuing to earn a living.

Travel nurses, generally, will be employed through a travel nurse agency. The agency is responsible for filling positions and medical facilities with qualified and interested candidates. These agencies usually have had a long relationship with hospitals, medical facilities, and medical professionals in certain parts of the country, sometimes, countrywide at larger agencies. A recruiter at the agency will assist the nurse with obtaining the proper state license or hospital requirements. You will have a contract drawn up by the agency, with the hospital, for salary, length of assignment, and hours worked. The travel nurse agency generally pays for travel expenses and will also have made living arrangements for you in your area of choice. If there are any professional criteria that must be met, your agency and recruiter will assist you with that as well.

There are some things that you need to consider before becoming a travel nurse. These are the things that can make up your mind on whether being a traveling nurse is the right choice for you. The jobs that you accept could take you away from your family for up to a year. Depending on how far away the job is could be another deciding factor. Generally it is best if you do not have pets because it is possible that the housing provided for you will not accept them. You will have to be licensed in every state that you choose to work in. These are things a good traveling nurse agency will help you work out.

If you are looking for a rewarding career that allows you to travel across the United States, then a career as a traveling nurse could be just what you’re looking for. Look for agencies in your home town or on the Internet to help you get started on your journey as a travel nurse. They will help place you in a job that is right for you. Happy nursing.

Taxi 'Recap' – The Short Version; Part 2

“Our focus [is] on taxi operators who intend to exit the industry and…is certainly about ensuring that we do not destroy vehicles that still have value.”

Delays in the program were attributed to owners holding onto their old vehicles until compensation became available, but ongoing indecision about necessary specifications delayed the manufacturing process. Factory floors can never afford to remain idle, in anticipation of final decisions that never seem to be finalized. Production is planned months ahead and one ‘run’ must be completed before another can begin.

The government was called on to subsidies the industry in the same manner as it does urban rail and buses. Mass action was threatened. When this happens, taxis are not the only public transport that comes to an abrupt halt: strikers stone buses and have been accused of deliberately sabotaging rail services. Intimidation tactics work very well on average citizens, who subsequently also lose income because they are too fearful to venture out to work.

“…applications for conversion of permits into operating licenses…for transfers and upgrade, including those applications made during the Be Legal Campaign [have not been processed].”

Permit issues became cause for fury on both sides of the fence. Authorities officiously claimed that operators were delaying, but instances, where processing channels, meant to deliver within three months, were taking “three to five years” were then exposed. Decisive action was demanded by the Minister. But little glitches are part of process when the tendered management allocation is only R250-million.

“many taxi operators…bring to my attention the serious weaknesses that characterize(s) many of the Operating Licensing Boards in the Provinces.”

Applications finally closed in the latter part of 2006, only a year later than originally planned. Operators at last began seriously to calculate the affordability of the new vehicles on offer.

Making the price right

“For us, a strong, safe and vibrant taxi industry remains a vital element in Government’s efforts to bring about significant improvements in our public transport system.”

The initial taxi recap plan to tender manufacture, relied on high numbers keeping the prices low. When that option fell away, government no longer had any control over the pricing and since then, their only task has been to lobby in defense of an often non-creditworthy market.

The total cost of replacing the 100 000 fleet is estimated at R15-billion. Wesbank pledged R3.6-billion to the cause over five years, whilst a memorandum of understanding was signed by ABSA, Nedbank, Asset Finance, Standard Bank, DaimlerChrysler Services and Santaco.

“…affordability will be determined by other important factors such as the level of competition in the market, willingness and ability of the financial institutions to develop differentiated products suitable to the taxi industry.”

The law regarding Road Accident Fund (RAF) payouts has recently changed to limit the benefits that can be obtained by claimants, but the possibility exists for players in the taxi industry to access top-up public- and passenger-liability cover.

Should the industry consider this, it should be said that their contributions could be high and the limits imposed on insured providers could achieve more to regulate the industry, than the government: clauses could include the need to prove regular vehicle maintenance and safety checks, regular driver training, permit restrictions, regular driver health checks, etc.

“The taxi industry should also be in a better position to negotiate better terms from both the financial institutions and manufacturers.”

The other change that might possibly rock the nation would be that all vehicles on hire purchase must legally be insured. In theory, this sounds like a revelation, since few taxis presently are. But don’t hold your breath and do cancel dreams of insurance payouts in cases of taxi crashes! Rumour has it that, with the increase in vehicle purchases, a new phenomenon has already hit the country.

Apparently, our car pounds are filling with crashed vehicles whose private owners cancelled their insurance despite the fact that those vehicles still belong to the banks that financed them. The vehicles are repossessed as soon as they are involved in accidents, neither use to man nor beast. Since the majority of these vehicles were privately purchased, it seems logical that the same tactic may be adopted by the taxi fleet.

“It is the taxi operators, and not Government, who are ultimately responsible for their businesses and for the choice of vehicles, and as such will still make their business decisions.”

Taxi owners reeled under the Taxi Sector Agreement at the end of April 2005, which defines issues such as working hours, unemployment insurance and minimum wages (between R945 to R1 350 a month; hardly exorbitant) for rank cleaners, marshals and taxi drivers, for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, taxi operators immediately sunk their teeth again into the question of receiving government subsidies in line with rail and bus transport. This is surely their due, and the Minister agrees, but that will require of operators, stricter adherence to government regulations – a game two sides can play. Mind you, buses have also got away with ‘murder’ through the years, so perhaps the theory will not match the practice!

“I hope and trust that the taxi industry will organize itself into appropriate business models and take advantage of this economic opportunities.”

One bright idea for financing the taxi sector came from the Sowetan (Taxi industry could go public and flourish, 4/8/2005) with the suggestion that the taxi industry form a co-op with each member’s contribution being his approved vehicle(s) to be valued at a ‘share’ percentage. Should the co-op then go public, shares could be traded to raise the finance to buy the new vehicles.

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at that. Surely it’s not possible to contribute something one doesn’t own into a co-operative that would surely belong only to the banks, have a value attributed to your (which is really mainly their) contribution (when your ownership is only R 50 000 of the total value) and then raise money from independents to buy what you have already contributed although it was never yours to contribute.

Don’t think I’d take a risk on shares like that, but it is possible, I suppose that black economically empowered individuals would back such a deal, doubtless in the interests of economic empowerment, although I would have to add that it would be in their interest to ensure that the money raised from the shares went directly to the finance houses, without passing ‘Go’.

“Municipalities are responsible for the provision of public transport infrastructure and facilities…[often] approved without due cognizance given to public transport requirements.”

Durban and Gauteng are already planning to incorporate the taxi industry into such initiatives as single ticketing strategies: allowing commuters to switch modes of public transport while using the same ticketing system. Not only does this option allow for greater regulation, but many commuters who buy season/monthly tickets, will be able to convert, when their first choice of public transport operators, takes time out to march.

Delivering the vision

One of the difficulties that arises from the three tiers of government is the different perspective that each tier has. National government has the vision, which generally, from the hallowed halls of Pretoria, is pretty benign. Provinces have the difficulty of interpreting the vision for local benefit and often finding that it is not always very pragmatic or ‘do-able’ for local government to achieve.

“…the lack of effective planning frameworks between the three spheres of Government…the absence of planned public transport systems…”

With so many municipalities in financial difficulties and unable to account for their budgets, it is easier to make demands from on high than to deliver the service and pay the bills incurred in so doing. The taxi industry, as an informal sector, has historically and notoriously made up the rules as it went along and municipalities seldom have the ability to maintain the status quo at their pleasure.

For instance: taxis might take over a spare piece of ground at a freeway off-ramp, as a rank, simply because the position is close to an industrial area and therefore convenient to commuters. The local municipality can hardly build a formal rank on a freeway verge, or accommodate any other public transport modes in the same limited area.

“…we see informal taxi ranks mushrooming around major shopping malls, with provision made for parking, but without any consideration for pedestrians and public transport inter-modal facilities for buses and taxis.”

The only suitable land may lie half-a-dozen kilometres away and both taxi drivers and commuters are put out when they find their informal rank is no longer accessible and that their daily journeys must be broken one more time, each way. In the same way, how can taxis be expected to stop at approved stops that are not clearly posted? This is the case in many areas.

The myth of self-regulation

“It does not help when we urge the taxi industry to act in a manner consistent with legislation, when in fact State institutions fail the taxi industry by not upholding requirements of the law.”

The Interim Minibus Taxi Act of 1998 and the National Land Transport Act of 2000 were followed by the Public Transport Bill of 2004, which was set to pass into law at the end of 2005. By September last year, Johannesburg was planning to clamp down on taxis and buses that stopped
illegally on the roads, by constructing dedicated roadside parking bays to allow other road users to pass unhindered.

Since I haven’t visited inland since then, I have no way of telling whether anything has changed, but the habit of taxis to stop as and where they prefer, to the detriment of traffic flow, is one behavior pattern they have in common with Durban buses – a breed that happily comes to an abrupt halt in the centre of two lanes, holding up everything behind it..

“The leadership of the taxi industry must address problems [of] operators [who] pay exorbitant amounts…to use and access what are essentially publicly provided facilities, as well as taxi routes.”

Cape Town reeled under accusations that their May 2005 street battles and shootouts between rival minibus-taxi associations were linked to organized crime and in July of the same year, Metrorail reported that sabotage of the city’s rail system could be traced back to the taxi industry. Durban taxi-related inquiries are common and, if they are not in Johannesburg, it’s not for lack of suspicion.

The Cape Town report found corruption rife in the licensing bodies and a mafia-style industry where hit squads are hired by mature (in age only) drivers to murder rivals. A provincial list of the sixty-two ‘most wanted’ was compiled for investigation (with a view to subsequent prosecution) in an attempt to stop “corruption, extortion, money-laundering and murder in the taxi industry” (Cape Argus 7/9/05).

“there is no taxi operator or association that has the authority to prevent other operators from using these facilities.”

And the only people, surprisingly, who were surprised at these findings, were those who commissioned the investigation! Deregulated, the taxi industry became totally lawless. We all know that. As is said: ‘it doesn’t take a rocket scientist…’. Why on earth would self-regulation ever have been suggested

On a lighter note, the local South African National Taxi Drivers’ Association begged Tshwane’s Metro police for amnesty from their outstanding traffic fines, for its members. Either way, it seems clear that taxi drivers seldom understand the game of socially responsible consequences.

Empowerment tool

“…a comprehensive strategy (that) also seeks to empower the taxi industry and set it on a sustainable path. Our strategy will lay foundation.”

In declaring the taxi industry a “lucrative, black-empowerment tool” (IOL, 22/8/05), the Minister suggested that the industry learn lessons from its dark past for taking advantage of economic opportunities in the future. I, for one, believe the power has been on their side for many years (to the detriment of commuters) and I certainly believe that breaking completely away from the past would be a far better strategy.

In four years, we are promised, three out of every four taxis on South African roads, will be brand new vehicles. For me, that Maths does not add up: in four years, rather, 25% of taxis will be older than four years, another 25% will be four years old, another 25%, two years old and the last 25%, one year old. And then, Dear God, the warranties will start expiring and who will fund ongoing maintenance then?

“We are here to further strengthen and empower an industry that is synonymous and has everything in common with the disadvantaged masses of our people.”

Looking ahead

There is little doubt that, despite how little Mr Joe Average likes competing with minibus taxis for road space, they are virtually all that has kept mainstream South Africa mobile for the last fifty years, plus. Dissolution of the industry would have caused ongoing, total havoc, although its very existence now intermittently causes not much less.

The very thing that ails the industry is what ails the entire country: lawlessness; and God bless anyone attempting to turn that around. I suspect that it’s all a bit like marriage from a woman’s perspective: go into it believing you can change him much and divorce is virtually certain.

“In a nutshell, the taxi industry is doing a pretty job for our country and providing an important service to our commuters.”

At this point, public perception is, that the taxi ‘recap’ process is mostly about lousy drivers taking control of bigger vehicles and cause more devastating accidents, thereby killing greater numbers. The taxi industry doubtless believes it’s being pushed into corners it doesn’t choose to inhabit and it will doubtless retaliate again before acknowledging defeat. Retaliate physically, to the detriment of itself, its customers and their safety, on an ongoing basis, for quite some time.

“I had come here to deliver a message of hope and to assure you that our Government and our movement, the ANC, could not work against the interests of the taxi industry.”

Progress expected by January/ February next year, Mr Editor? Your guess, Sir, is as good as mine, but I’d lay a bet that what hasn’t been achieved in the last twelve years, is unlikely to fall into place in three short months. As with land reform, free housing, free medical treatment, free education, free services, etc., you have to be a real optimist to believe things will ‘be sorted’ overnight.

One week ago (10/11/06) DoT released a press statement about a meeting convened to address grievances submitted last month by the National Taxi Alliance after a strike had left thousands without transport to work. It went so well that a second meeting (two weeks later) was scheduled to “continue with the deliberations” and find “a common ground”.

Trust is an important issue here, and an ongoing PR and information campaign, that targeted the entire industry, might have saved a lot of time, feelings and ‘face’, over the years. Associations, operators, drivers, rank officials all have independent interests in the whole and all deserve equal attention. The message of hope, above, delivered by Minister Radebe more than a year ago, must have worna bit thin, by now.

Place your bets, Gentlemen and Ladies. But I’d hazard a guess that the common ground will not be concealed in Minister Radebe’s stocking this Christmas or in his egg by next Easter!

City View Trolley Tours – Key West Florida

Okay, even a guy who writes about mob guys needs a break once in a while. So me and the wife took a four-day vacation to Key West, Florida for a little R&R before I go back to mob-busting again.

The quandary you face when going to Key West is what to see and how to see it. There are scores of attractions to see and great food to eat at dozens of restaurants. And every hotel, and even the Key West Express boat we took to Key West from Fort Myers, is pushing a Trolley Tour Bus that goes for 29 bucks for maybe an hour, or so, tour of downtown Key West.

So we decided not to decide on anything until we actually took a cab to downtown Key West from our Comfort Inn Hotel. Our cab driver Richie from Brooklyn (who moonlights as an excellent drummer for several Key West bands) dropped us off at stop number 5 on the City View Trolley Tour. We stepped up to the information counter and was greeted by a cheerful young lad named Marty. We asked Marty a few questions, which he answered effortlessly, and then Marty told us about the City View Trolley Tour.

The City View Trolley Tour makes eight stops in all, each stop having its own great tourist must-sees in the area. And get this: you can get off the bus as many times time you want, get on as many times as you want, see the sights, and a bus stops every 15 minutes at all eight stops to pick you up again and continue on the tour. And if you want to take the tour again that day, no problem. Just get on the bus again at any of the eight stops. The City View Trolley Tour costs only $19 a person, and if you come back the following day, it’s only 9 bucks a person.

The best part of the tour is the constant banter and boundless information the cheerful and always humorous bus driver regales you with over the bus loud speakers, as he tools around downtown Key West. It seems that every street on Key West has its own story, and even the cemetery is filled with fun-stuff information. Like the one tombstone that says, “I told you I was sick.” And another tombstone, where a weary wife put on her philandering husband’s tombstone, “At least I know where you’re sleeping tonight.”

In the course of the two days we took riding the City View Trolley Tour, we must have seen everything two or three times, but never told in the same manner, by one of the tour buses dozen or so drivers. Of course tips are permitted, and believe me even a buck or two is greatly appreciated, and much deserved.

In addition, Marty gave us several discount tickets for various attractions, and bars and restaurants, including 2 for 1drink coupons (he gave us four) for the Conch Republic Seafood Company, which has the best sea food this side of heaven.

One place you must see in Key West is the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum ($12.50 per person). A nice lady gave us a grand tour of Hemingway’s house, and besides all the great tales of Ernie, you get to see 44 of Hemingway’s six-toed cats, which are all descendants of Hemingway’s original six-toed cats. (Actually, the genes for six toes are present in all the cats, but only about a half of them actually have six toes.)

Other grand tour must-sees are: Harry Truman’s Little White House, West Martello Tower, Southernmost Point (which is actually the Southernmost tip of the United States), all of Duval Street (which is like Key West’s Broadway), Clinton Square Market, Higgs Beach, Pat Croce’s Rum Barrell, Sloppy Joe’s Bar (Sloppy Joe Russell was Hemingway’s best friend in Key West), Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.

So remember this folks, if you plan on visiting Key West for the first time, or maybe you’ve been there before but wanted to see more of the attractions, stop at the City View Trolley Tour. The main office and stop number one is located at 105 Whitehead Street, right across the street from the Clinton Square Customs House. Or see Marty at stop number 5, where you can also buy tour tickets, Stop 5 is located one block from the Southernmost Point near the end of Duval Street (upper Duval Street.

As for me, I’m back home and have my head up the butts of the world’s worst mobsters again. But I’m looking forward to going back to Key West as soon as possible. And of course, I’ll take the City View Trolley Tour again. Maybe twice.

If Key West was good enough for Ernest Hemingway, it’s certainly good enough for little old me.

PS – Did I mention Al Capone visited Key West frequently when he had his winter home in Miami Beach? I wonder where he buried all the bodies.

Vacation Spots – Travel World Wide

According to the research which place is best for the tourism, the name comes with the highest percentage by the visitors is Europe. Travel Europe is one of the best destinations for vacation in the world. There are many reasons to travel Europe and the perception of each individual is different from the other. Europe is the mother of all the states which are present in it including England, France, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Poland and many more. There are many attraction and activities held for the visitors. Those who feel to have there vacation with full blast can come down and travel Europe. It offers many museum, arts, theater and music with endless cultural activity present here.

People like to visit Europe due to the famous landmarks are located in the hands of Europe including the world famous Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, The Coliseum and lot more which gives a flavor to Europe. Many of the visitors visit here to see their homes which once were made by their forefathers. Lets checkout some best vacation spots which are famous while travel Europe. Belarus is a wonderful place with rich culture and history. The most beautiful site is to see the Mir Castle. In Italy one can see a spectacular view standing at the top of the hill in the Island of Capri. One can walk in the Miniature Holland and experience you as a giant monster crushing the houses and trees, but one cant do this in that place. It is just a project where whole Holland is made in a small version. The best place to travel Europe is in the month between November and March where there is majority of cold and one can enjoy in the best islands and watch the romantic sunset.

Travel Australia is the exotic place and the most popular place for holiday destinations. While exploring this place you can come through various cultures, arts, museums and the best sightseeing monument. In Australia you can find countless vacation spots which can make your vacation more memorable. There are around 16 Australia’s icons which are famous for the landscapes and national park including Red Centre, Great Ocean Road, Kangaroo Island, Kakadu National park, Blue Mountains, Australian Alps and the list goes on. Things to do in this vacation spots features dive in Australia’s depth, whale time watch, and Australian cultural attraction, surfing in the blue water, canoeing and kayaking in Australia. In travel Australia one can do scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming and parasailing in the blue water of Australia. An Australian event is the main and plays a major part in this place. You can participate in the events as per the choice and also have fun and joy in the event. Events held here are of all types including Australia’s international events, uniquely Australian and aboriginal events, sports, food and wine, summer events, cultural, winter, autumn, spring events and Australia’s surf and surf lifesaving events. There are also various transports available to reach here.

Travel America is not a big deal to go for your holiday. It is the most famous and popular place in the world and is best for holiday destinations. In the mind of an every individual they wish to go to America at least once in a life. Today let’s check out what is special in America and why one has to travel America. While your busy exploring in America one can make a list of the best and the top famous vacation spots to be visited. The places to visit in travel America including Santa Fe the best area to ski in the snow, Albuquerque, Miami, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Honolulu and lot more to enjoy in the California beaches and experience the activities in water sports like swimming, scuba diving, rafting and lot more. Don’t forget to watch the spectacular monument in USA is Mount Rushmore, Manhattan Bridge, Las Vegas casinos for gambling and beaches and night clubs to groove.

Travel World Wide With Very Little Cash

Travel world wide without much cash? You must be crazy! Everyone knows that world travel takes a lot of money and that if you don’t have money, you can’t do it.

Wrong! The only thing it takes to travel the world is a passport and the will to travel. Just pick up one foot and put it in front of the other. The hard part is getting away from your attachments to the things that hold you back. If you have to pay a hefty mortgage bill, auto payments, insurance premiums, and credit card bills, chances are that you aren’t going to break free from your job and move out into the world of travel.

So, how do you break free and become a world traveling vagabond? First of all, you have to get rid of all that debt. If your house payments are costing you more than your house is worth, sell it. Get out from under that monstrosity, even if you take a loss. Next, get rid of your hummer and start taking the bus. Get a consolidation loan for all of your debts and then negotiate for a lower interest rate, or just go bankrupt! Why not! The whole world awaits you!

Worried about pulling your kids from school? Why? Public education stinks and your children will get a better education on the road than they will ever get in some under funded, state supported school. Maybe it’s your family that is holding you back. Wife doesn’t want to travel? Dump her, put her at her mother’s, or let her support the household while you are gone. Same goes for husbands. Who needs a stick in the mud?

Finally, the job. Tell your boss that you don’t want to come to the office any more. Tell him you will be more productive from home. Tell him that you need some time to figure things out. Or just quit. The world is waiting and you are dying! It’s time to live! Travel world wide and damn the consequences.

Solo Travel As a Business and Lifestyle Phenomenon

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

If the statistics are any indicator, many travelers agree with Thoreau. In increasing numbers, individuals are traveling alone rather than just waiting for others to join them.

Solo travelers in the recent past have totaled 21 million in just the US and UK combined. According to a New York Times article in Nov. 2012, Internet searches for “solo travel packages” were up 60% over the prior year. The US Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (“OTTI”) reported that a staggering 42% of U.S. citizens/residents that went abroad in 2011 traveled alone. Of those individual travelers, 38% traveled for leisure or to visit friends & relatives (“VFR”) and 66% for business. Similarly, inbound solo travelers from abroad totaled 36.2%. Of those, 23.6% were on leisure trips and and 62.2% for work. This business and lifestyle phenomenon has been growing exponentially.

Who are solo travelers?

Solo travelers are a much broader group than just the single population. They may be:

• Two-career couples on business travel or “DINK’S” (Dual Income No Kids).

• Those with relatives or friends abroad.

• Family members pursuing separate sports/hobbies overseas.

Abercrombie & Kent’s Jill Fawcett has described their solo travelers as: “often… married or have partners, but the spouses don’t share the same interest… They want to travel with like-minded people and the small group gives them some interaction. Then they go back to the privacy of their own room… 25% of people who opt for our Extreme Adventure series are (also) solo travelers,” she said. “People feel a little more secure in a group if the destination is intimidating or there’s a language barrier.” Solo Travel Is Growing at a Rapid Rate | Phil Hoffman travel blog, 10/25/11.

According to Grand Circle Corp chairman Alan Lewis, “Women are a growing force in the solo travel market… where the solo market has grown from about 20% to 25% of [Grand Circle’s] overall bookings during the past five years.”

Single travelers do still continue to play an active role in solo travel. Their growth is clear in Europe and North America where people are marrying later and may be divorced, widowed or never married. According to a March 19, 2013 article entitled “The Growing Solo Travel Market”, average single households total as follows:

• 35% of all households in developed countries

• 40% in Finland and Norway (2011)

• 37% in the Netherlands (2011)

• 27% in the US (2010), 29% in the UK (2011) and 28% in Canada (2011).

How do solos travel?

Solo travel may not necessarily mean traveling as a “group of one”. Individuals may choose

1. Escorted group tours

2. Independent tours

3. Travel alone and select their own hotels/tours

What Issues Confront Those Traveling Alone?

There are two main challenges for individual travelers.

• Attractive pricing: Lodging, tours and cruises are priced routinely on double occupancy. Most cruises and tours require a single supplement for those traveling alone. Although this is not necessarily 2X, the price differential can be substantial. This is most pronounced in tour packages, particularly cruises that have “2-for-the-price of 1” early booking promotional. As a result, those traveling alone may pay 3-4X couples/pairs.

• Top quality access and service: In a busy holiday or tourist season, the unaccompanied traveler may be given less desirable accommodations or tables in restaurants. In fact, even 5 star hotels may be unwilling to take a dinner reservation for one even when the individual traveler is a guest of the hotel. This is particularly true on Saturday nights and holidays. The alternative may be sitting at the bar for dinner notwithstanding that the dining room has vacant tables. On cruises/river cruises or other tours with “open seating”, tables are typically set up for even numbers. The result? These travelers are faced with a “standup” buffet or engaging in sleuthing to find an available seat.

What is The Business Opportunity?

This travel phenomenon is growing exponentially and still represents an under served niche. The opportunity for the industry is substantial, prioritized as follows:

Leisure travelers: They are the largest percentage of industry revenues. However, a smaller percentage go alone for leisure trips. The beneficiaries: airlines, hotels, tours, car and concierge services.

Business travelers: Although a small portion of revenues, a greater percentage are on business. Moreover, they may have a larger budget than an individual on vacation. The same industry segments would benefit with the exception of tours except as potential additions to an international trip.

VFR: Those visiting friends and relatives may be met at the airport and have access to local transportation. While staying in a private residence, meals may not be taken out as frequently as hotel guests. Accordingly, such travelers will continue to generate new revenue primarily for airlines but are unlikely to augment the existing market for other travel services.

This sector represents a largely untapped market. Given the sheer numbers of affluent professionals and business executives, with the right mix of well-priced, top quality offerings, both sides benefit. The travel industry will increase their existing revenues while those traveling alone will achieve more competitive pricing and access to higher quality. It is a market whose time has come.

Information on Two Type of Taxis in Israel

Taxi services are a common way to travel through Israel. There are many benefits to using a taxi as your main transportation method when you visit the country. Some of these benefits include affordability, comfortable cars, frequent arrivals and departures and easy to locate. There are two different types of taxi service which are currently available in Israel and these two types will be discussed below.

Special Taxi (the private taxi)

When most people think of a taxi they think of the special taxi. Also known as a private taxi, the special taxi in Israel will pick up you and only you (and your friends if you so desire) and then transport you to your destination. The special taxi runs on a meter, as required by law, and has a price scale which makes payment issues much less common. When you get into a special taxi you can rest assured that you will only pay what the meter registers, no more and no less. The special taxi is easy to spot on the road as it is a bright white color with orange numbers which show the taxi registration number. If you need to get a special taxi, simply catch one on the street that drives by or call ahead. Your taxi driver may even provide you with a glimpse into the city but make sure that they are registered with the Ministry of Tourism (ask to see ID/photo badge) if they try to give you a full tour of the city.

Service Taxi (monit sherut)

The service taxi known as a monit sherut is a larger taxi which carries many people at once. These taxis are typically minibuses and can hold around 10 people on average. The monit sherut will drive around town picking up passengers as it goes. Since it is a larger vehicle and money needs to be made along the way, the monit sherut driver will usually wait a while until their bus is full. This may take a ½ hour at times so if you are in a crunch to get somewhere, it may be wise to settle on a special taxi. On the bright side, you are often able to find a monit sherut at all hours of the night which is great for those night owls. Service taxis are prevalent in most of the main cities such as Eilat, Haifa, Netanya, Nahariya and more. If you are hoping to travel on the holiday, keep in mind that service taxis often operate on these days. The monit sherut provides an affordable option and is the less expensive of the two taxi services.

Both the special taxi and service taxi will get you from your location to your main destination. It is just a matter of whether you want the privacy of the special taxi or the affordability of the service taxi. Also keep in mind where you have to go and what time of day you are traveling to your destination as this could make a difference as to which taxi service you choose to use.

Why Travel Solo?

The wonderful thing about travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind – Dave Barry.

Solo travel can be a daunting experience but well-worth the effort. When women travel alone, an entire world of new opportunities opens it’s doors! Unaccompanied women travelers have the gift of being able to focus on their travel needs instead of focusing on everyone else.

And solo travel also offers you the unique opportunity to strike up interesting conversations with people wherever your journeys may take you. Locals and fellow travelers will be impressed by and curious about your brave independence, which can lead to a great conversation and possibly a life-long friendship. So if you are without friends, spouse, family members or a co-worker to share in your travel experience, don’t fret — solo travel offers the opportunity for you to enjoy a trip on your own terms. And the hardest part just may be coming back home!

Women who take the plunge and travel the world alone can truly enjoy tasting the fruits of exotic places, shop for to-die-for fashions in the thick of the world’s most sophisticated cities and really take in ancient sites. The ability to visit the sites that interest you and only you, when and how you want to, allows you to find what truly satisfies you, mind, body and soul.

But how do you know about that out-of-the-way boutique with haute couture at wholesale prices, or how do you find that tasty trattoria in Florence when it’s off the beaten path? A travel agent, of course! A travel agent can not only direct a woman traveling alone to the best and the brightest travel spots to suit her needs, but the travel professional can also offer expert tips, advice and safety precautions. Your travel agent will help you determine the package that will be tailored to fit your needs, guaranteeing your happiness and safety.

A knowledgeable travel agent provides an added sense of security that will be necessary to help your trip run as smoothly as possible. Many women are skeptical of traveling alone due to safety concerns and a lack of time or savvy to plan the trip. A travel agent can schedule unique ways to fill your free time, develop a personalized itinerary, and, if necessary, organize a group tour at your destination. Whatever your travel needs, your agent will be a vital part of ensuring your enjoyment. Your travel agent will also help you understand your surroundings by providing trusted tour guides and helping you to navigate your destination to make sure you avoid potentially dangerous areas.

Safety is an essential part of any travel experience, and when women travel solo, it becomes even more important. Discuss your safety needs with your travel agent and she can offer pointers and tips that only a seasoned traveler would know, keeping you safe and sound as you explore the world. Your agent will offer advice on how to dress and observe cultural norms, helping you to blend in once you arrive at your destination, preventing you from being targeted for crimes or harassment.

A travel agent can also help you stay connected with your loved ones. In today’s high-tech world, your contacts are only a phone call, text message, or email away. Your travel agent can provide a list of cybercafés, phone services and other communications access points that will help you stay in touch with your family and friends back home, putting your mind and theirs at ease.

If you work closely with your travel agent and use good judgment, you will be equipped with the necessary tools to travel solo and enjoy yourself immensely. The new sights, sounds, locales, museums, restaurants and the possibility of new friends will combine to produce the most memorable experience of your lifetime. The wonders of the world await. So stop waiting for a companion to tag along. Contact your travel agent to create a travel package that you will remember forever!

Travel Insurance for Canadians – Get The Right Policy

Canadians are well known for their unique sense of humor, their hospitality, their smiles, their generosity and of course, their habitual extravagance for travel. It is not unusual that some of the world’s most well traveled people are Canadians. These beautiful Canadians love the sun, culture and food. They are into so many activities that they long to search for new adventures both domestically and locally. Locally, they tend to travel to Canada’s most visited tourist destinations like the Montmorency Falls Park which has a beautiful frozen waterfall whose water plunges up to 83 meters to the river. Other favorite Canadian destinations include the Kananaskis Valley of Adventure and the Watipi Lodge, Campground and Teepee Village. These destinations appear to be always attractive all year round. They are Canada’s pride and the Canadians love them too.

Internationally, Canadians love to travel to places where they could find adventures. They seek countries which have an equal mix of ethnicity and exciting activities. They go to the United States, several parts of Europe and even Asia. Basically, they spend a certain percentage of their earnings in traveling. This is why travel agencies love Canadian clients so much. They are generous and they are always flexible. They can travel even as much as twice a year or they can always get a way to have an escapade from all their doubts and worries.

These travel agencies, however, have also thought of the security involved. Canadian travelers can be subject to several unexpected accidents while on travel. Thus, many travel agencies are now offering travel insurance for Canadians as part of the whole travel package.

Travel insurance for Canadians is something that is always kept an eye on. The government health insurance plans pay only a small part of the expenses incurred during a trip outside Canada or outside the province of residence. Health expenses when traveling are always very expensive with some hospitals charging up to one thousand dollars a day excluding the doctor’s professional fee and the diagnostic laboratory fee. All of these high costs will be charged directly to the patient and his family. These high costs are the least thing a traveler would want. The family will be in charge for the payment of the bills and so, without emergency travel insurance, the person will find it hard to survive.

Take for example, Blue Cross Member Plans, whose members operate on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis which are also independent Members of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans. They are all into commitment of quality service and excellence all rolled into one. They assure that for every Canadian, there is always a suitable travel insurance that depends on his or her personal needs. They are aware that many Canadians are fond of traveling so they have carefully outlines several travel insurance for Canadians. These travel insurance are always a click away from their web site which is always accessible twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Getting travel insurance for Canadians is the first step in ensuring the enjoyment and safety of the trip.

Gay Travel Info For South America

Gay people who want to have a great vacation in South America now have a lot more destinations to choose from. The continent has a massive variety of places to go and things to do and increasingly vocal gay rights movements have ensured that it is safer than ever. There are lots of companies now offering gay vacations to South America.

Brazil is still the top gay destination in South America. Rio has long been popular with gay travelers as has Sao Paulo the two largest cities in the country. Now there are more destinations north of the cities, along the coast from Salvador to Fortaleza so gay travelers can get out of the cities and explore.

Buenos Aires has been an increasingly popular gay destination for some time and no wonder. This most European of South American cities has tons of gay bars, clubs and cafes. Palermo has some very chic gay friendly hotels and a wealth of top quality shopping and eating opportunities. San Telmo, the neighborhood for tango is also a great place to hang out and you can even take a gay tango class. The residents of Buenos Aires like to think of themselves as modern and liberal and it is possible to have a same sex civil union in the city.

Bogota, the exciting capital of Colombia is no longer associated with drug lords and terrorists and is a safe destination for anyone. Colombia is a rising travel destination and thanks to some recent laws same sex couples have the same rights as straight couples. There is a gay neighborhood in Bogota called Chapinero Alto which is full of bars, clubs and some hotels. In June, Bogota hosts a growing gay pride event. All in all Bogota is a great destination for gay travelers looking for a great time. Colombians are friendly folk who like to have a good time and these days anyone can join them.

Santiago is the other rising destination in South America. There are some great places to stay and some opportunities for a top night out. The country is moving towards legalization of gay marriage thanks to a vociferous LGBT movement. Outside the capital there is an amazing array of things to do in Chile. The natural beauty and changing landscapes are unique and you can travel from desert in the north, through the central valleys of vineyards through the Lake District to the fjords and ice fields in the south. The country also has some great ski resorts.

Other South American countries offer travel which is a bit more off the beaten path. This does not mean that gay travelers cannot find great trips to Peru, Bolivia or Ecuador. All the capitals have gay friendly places although not established scenes. However the real appeal of these countries is more adventurous pursuits such as jungle exploration, climbing, trekking, ancient ruins, traditional cultures and unique landscapes.

There are now many travel agents organizing trips for gay people to South America. Some are dedicated to gay travelers but other mainstream travel agencies are realizing the opportunities and providing gay trips.

If you want a trip full of adventure and variety check out gay travel to South America. You will find places with friendly people and amazing opportunities.