November 2014 • World Travel
Travel Advice Makes Our Trip

Travel Advice Makes Our Trip

Wendy Swenson talks about a trip she took with her son to France and how the importance of excellent travel advice made the trip memorable.

A few years ago I planned a trip to France with my son, a history teacher with an interest in World War II. Of course we would go to Paris. But being the type of person who does not do advance research, I needed an inspiration. Then I hit upon it. I had always wanted to visit Mont-Saint-Michel in northern France to watch the tide change. It is an Abbey on a lonely hill surrounded by water at high tide and land at low tide. I had read that the tide came in so fast that horses drowned and people could not outrun it.

When I told our owner, Tom Jackson, (who has been everywhere and gives great travel advice) that I was planning this trip, he came in the next day with a tide chart for Mont-Saint-Michel, so I could pick the best date to view the biggest change of tide. So we built my trip around that date. The next thing he told me was that I had some “must-sees” for my trip which we integrated into my plan.

After flying to Paris we enjoyed 4 days seeing the wonderful places in Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel tower, The Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Opera House, Bateaux Mouches Dinner cruise, 3 day Metro pass, Museum passes so we did not have to stand in long lines, City Tour etc. We left Paris with wonderful memories including a climb to the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral where the spiral stone steps were worn in the middle from the hundreds and thousands of people climbing these stairs for so many years.

We had taken a train to Caen where we picked up our car for a self-drive tour which gave us a general outline and Michelin maps of the places we would visit for the following week. The car was a stick shift Jaguar sedan that I had to accept as our car as they had nothing else! I also had to adapt to Round-abouts instead of intersections with traffic signals.

Tom also gave us travel advice that we must see the Bayeaux Tapestry which is an embroidered history on linen cloth which portrays the history of the conquest of England by William the Conquerer in 1064. They do not allow you to just see the tapestry until you have viewed a movie presentation, and other presentations, so that you had a full appreciation of this tapestry which was 70 meters long and spanned many walls of the building.

Then we visited the Normandy coast to see the historic Normandy beaches, the Memorial to the soldiers, battle damage, and wonderful little restaurants where one said “We welcome American liberators” on the window.   I remember my son eating mussels at an outdoor café by the ocean and where I thought I ordered “crepe” but got “tripe”, and a wonderful roasted duck dinner that we enjoyed later that night. We waited a long time for our dinner bill, because we learned later that in France they believe it’s rude to offer the bill until the diner asks for it.

The next day we drove up to Mont-Saint-Michel and at 4 am the next morning we got up to watch the tide come in. I remember the pink sky as the sun was rising and the soft roar of the water filling in the depressed areas of the mud. The water was relentless, moving forward about an inch per second, so when you stood by the water’s edge, you had to continue to move backwards every second to avoid the water, so if you got stuck in the mud, you could drown. We stood on the parking lot concrete which eventually was covered by about 6 feet of water. They had signs each day which told you the time of day when you had to remove your car or it would be covered.

With our maps we were given suggestions of places to stop and see along the way. St. Malo was a fantastic medieval town surrounded by a thick wall upon which we could walk to view the area and look down upon the town inside! It had an aquarium inside the thick wall, as well as pay restrooms which flushed the walls along with the toilets to prevent people like me from holding the door open for my son to use. Imagine his surprise when the walls started to flow with water!

For the next few days, we proceeded to explore the Loire Valley visiting lots of Chateaus, Chartres Cathedral (wonderful stained glass windows), and also the place where Leonardo Da Vinci died and was buried (Chateau d’Ambroise) What a treat that was! We had lots of adventures and had a great time exploring and learning.

That’s the fun of traveling, such sights to see and wonderful memories and photos to take home. Please take a look at some of my photos in the gallery. I’m so appreciative of the wonderful planning and travel advice that I received to make this trip really memorable.

View the photo gallery by clicking here.

Now don’t forget that if you’re going on a business trip or a leisure trip your team at World Travel Business Elite are always available to give you great travel advice. Our team will work with you to plan a trip that will be remembered.

 


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Wendy Swenson, CTC is the VP of World Travel and is filled with great travel advice.

Smart Phone – The Business Travel Companion

Smart Phone – The Business Travel Companion

Traveling smart has a whole new meaning in today’s smart phone invested world.

The smart phone absolutely can help one travel smarter and more effectively. It simply puts the world wide web at your fingertips and thus enables you to stay connected. Many people feel the smart phone can hinder your actual work life by being a distraction. However, more and more companies are embracing the technology by making the smart phone a part of the employee’s business tool kit. The smart phone of today can truly enable the business traveler to be more efficient and connected while away from the office.

It is pretty well known that smart phone app stores are filled with apps that can entertain, document, educate, communicate and help you be organized in your daily life. The great news for business travelers is that there are a lot of apps that can assist you in being a smart traveler. Some of these apps can track your flight, inform you of Visa requirements for all your travel destinations, keep you informed on local weather, provide intelligent street maps of your location, convert currency and even translate the local language. Of course, you will also find government apps that let you know about important travel information and requirements. We highly recommend you check out the Resources page on the World Travel Business Elite website for links to great websites and apps that will enhance your travel ventures.

The smart phone has so much more to offer besides all the third party apps available inside the phone’s app store. The various smart phone technologies on the market today actually come with a lot of power built into via their hardware and software. You will find common features such as WiFi, Bluetooth and high-quality cameras. All of these features enable the business traveler to stay connected to their office or home with ease. One of the biggest contributors is the camera on the smart phone. It allows you to visually communicate during your travels via photography, blogging, email and even video conferencing. The camera definitely plays a key role on allowing one to communicate face-to-face via software such as Skype® or Facetime® technology when away at distant locations. Whether you’re having a Skype meeting with fellow employees who are back at the home office or having Facetime with your family while away on business travels. The smart phone helps you to stay connected, informed and most importantly travel safely.

Although the smart phone can be a great travel companion and put a lot of resources at your fingertips it lacks when it comes to the human quotient. Purely, it is a computer and it’s unable of giving you the quality personalized service a human being can provide. The good news is that World Travel Business Elite travel advisors bring that quality with best-in-class personalized business travel services. All of our advisors work hard to ensure all your business travels are properly planned, highly executed and as cost efficient as possible. We bridge the gap between personal service and utilizing the smart phone as a tool when it comes to traveling.

 

 


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The Best Business Trip Ever

The Best Business Trip Ever

Wendy Swenson CTC tells us about her best business trip ever in Honolulu, Hawaii.

I was chosen to represent our company, World Travel Bureau, at the Classic Vacations annual recognition of the top sales agencies of the Classic products. Classic Vacations creates customized packaged tours to Hawaii, and other locations in the world which include cars, hotels and airfare, and provides great value to our leisure clients. We have a long-time relationship with Classic which is a benefit to our clients in that if there are any difficulties or obstacles to overcome we have a direct connection to resolution.

Classic created this business trip for us and we could bring a friend or relative. I chose my friend, Stephanie, to accompany me. The 3 day business trip consisted of scrumptious cocktail parties or dinners in the evenings, and activities to choose from for the days, or we could just have the days free for our own exploration.

Steph and I have each been to Honolulu many times over the years, so we had done all the usual sightseeing activities. For this trip we wanted to do those things we had never been able to do previously and luckily for us, they were listed on the activity options we were offered.

We arrived at the Halekulani hotel and entered our ocean view room, right on Waikiki Beach. From here we could enjoy our favorite beach, Waikiki, and wonderful views of Diamond Head.

business trip waikiki business trip room viewbusiness trip diamond head

Our first activity was to go Swim with the Dolphins at the Kahala Resort, which was scary at first, but really cool. I was afraid the dolphin would hit me with his tail, but he was very careful and even though we were standing there petting him, he would glide away without touching us. Stephanie loves dolphins so this was probably the highlight of the trip for her.

business trip dolphins

The next day we took a Group Surf Lesson which was 2 hours long and included a photographer who took photos of us so we could collect the CD the next day. I’ve tried to surf many times on my own, and I knew I needed some help, as the body gets stiffer with age –a surf lesson was what I needed. They showed us techniques which would get us standing up on the board and riding the wave. They did have to push us into the wave, but the important thing was the riding of the wave, not catching it! This was my highlight of the trip and I cannot wait to take another lesson next time I’m in Honolulu.

business trip Steph Surf business trip wendy surf

The third day, we went on a horseback riding Adventure which was in Makaha Valley. Our group was bussed to this location and we were divided in two. One part of our group would go on the horseback ride for an hour, while the other half would go on a nature walk to see ancient artifacts and places of worship. Then we had a very nice lunch before we switched to the other activity. It was a very nice day.

business trip horseback

On the final night we went to the awards banquet, and heard the speeches and were brought up on stage to receive our awards and recognition. We had to go home to rest up from our really, fun-packed business trip, with great memories and photos.

business trip food business trip food

If you want to plan an Awards or Recognition business trip for your employees, this is a very nice way to go.

 

Click here to get a free Business Travel Analysis for your company and/or get started on planning your next business trip with one of our travel advisors.

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Team Building Can Benefit Your Company Culture

Team Building Can Benefit Your Company Culture

In today’s corporate world team building has become an important part of company culture. It has been proven that team building is a key ingredient on building trust, respect and communication within a group. Its many benefits can help your team work more efficiently, boast better attitudes and motivate them to love their work environment. It is a win-win for both the company and the employees. Simply put they get to let off some steam and have some fun, while the company benefits from all that encompasses the team building activities.

There are so many options when planning team building. Whether your team building is at a local venue or at a distant awe-inspiring locale, both can produce great rewards. Most companies choose to make the day dedicated only to team building and completely step away from the daily work tasks. It is also very common for a company to add-on team building activities to their corporate incentive and meeting trips that are in desirable locations such as Hawaii, Las Vegas, Cancun or Utah. These vacation type destinations boast other benefits besides just the planned team building activities. For instance the attendees on their off time can explore the local culture or take part in fun activities like surfing, sunbathing, skiing, fishing, gambling, etc… the options are endless.

The first step is deciding where the team building activities will take place and for how long. Then it is time to decide what type of activities will take place during the event. There are so many options out there for your company to utilize that range from fun to sportive to challenging to rewarding. For instance you can go zip lining or partake in an adventure course. There are also much simpler concepts such as donating time for at a local charity at your event destination or going on a scavenger hunt. There are many simple exercises that can happen at your hotel or event venue that focus on communication or problem solving and only take 15-30 minutes each. The key to success when having your team building offsite is planning and being creative in the activities that you choose to lift your team to new heights.

World Travel Business Elite can help you plan your offsite team building experience and offer up some amazing destinations that will not only inspire your employees but allow them some rewards for their hard work.

 


Click here to get a free Business Travel Analysis for your company and/or get started on planning your next team building incentive trip with one of our travel advisors.

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