Business Owners: Can You Depend On Wi-fi When You Travel?

“Don’t worry – wi-fi is everywhere these days!”

That opinion is widespread, but as I prepared for a 10-week sabbatical road trip from Massachusetts to Alaska and back, I didn’t give it much weight. I would be traveling to some of the most remote areas of North America and needing to check my email each morning and night to keep my business affairs humming along smoothly.

Because I found it impossible to get reliable information on Internet access along our route, I prepared for worst-case scenarios. And I’m reporting my findings here to help others plan for a similar trip.

Before we left home, I equipped myself with a wi-fi card in my laptop and purchased a handheld phone/computer device that could access wireless Internet too. The laptop also had a modem that could be used for Internet access through a phone line. And for further backup, I had a virtual assistant whom I could call to request her to check email for me if I were stuck someplace where neither wi-fi nor dialup worked.

My husband and I stayed in mid-priced or budget motels, lodges and bed and breakfast inns. We also took a few overnight ferries. While we took day hikes, we never camped out in the wilderness. Here’s what we experienced:

Wi-fi in motel or B&B room, worked fine: 34%
Wi-fi in office or restaurant, not in room: 12%
Wi-fi in room worked intermittently: 14%
Wi-fi took more than 20 minutes to get working: 8%
Wi-fi did not work after considerable fiddling, used modem instead: 6%
Wi-fi down town-wide from storm or outage: 4%
Wired high-speed Internet in room: 4%
Wi-fi available but forgot to ask for password: 2%
No wi-fi available, used modem instead: 12%
No Internet connection at all available: 4%

So, only one-third of the time did wi-fi work conveniently and right away in the room where we were staying. Another third of the time we were able to use wi-fi with some delay or inconvenience. And the other third of the time, we would have been without Internet access had wi-fi been our only option.

In those no wi-fi situations, hooking up the laptop to the phone line was our next option. Most of the time, this happened in isolated places where finding a coffeehouse with wi-fi for patrons was totally out of the question. And in nearly all of those cases, the laptop modem came to the rescue.

In Watson Lake, Yukon, however, a town of about 1500 people, the high-speed Internet network was DSL and did not work because phone service throughout the town was down. This meant that my backup plan – calling my virtual assistant – wouldn’t work, either. There was nothing I could do about it until we drove on to another waystation on the Alaska Highway where my hand-held device picked up wi-fi at a truck stop.

In Alaska, we stayed one night at a rustic lodge in the middle of nowhere that said they had wi-fi in the restaurant, but it didn’t work, and our room did not have a phone line to which we could plug in the modem. The lodge did not have a pay phone, either, for a call to my assistant, so again we hunted down a wi-fi connection in the next couple of towns the following day.

We were in luck – these nights and the nights we slept on ferries that didn’t have Internet access – didn’t generate any of those angry “Why the #%@$* didn’t you answer my email?” messages that any business owner dreads.

One bonus bit of advice: In many places, motel clerks stared at me blankly when I asked if they had wi-fi. But they all understood the question, “Do you have wireless Internet?” Use the longer question, especially outside of metropolitan areas.

Business Owners: Five Surprising Changes That Affect Business Travel

In 2003, I took my business on the road for three months while traveling by car around much of North America. In 2007, I took almost as long for a road trip from Massachusetts to Alaska and back. In those four years, several things changed that significantly affected some practicalities of taking care of business when away from the office and one’s home base for that long a time. If you’re planning extensive business travel and haven’t been on the road in a couple of years, some of these changes might come as a surprise to you, too.

1. Internet access. In 2003, high-speed Internet was a specialty item in the hospitality industry, restricted to a few name-brand hotel and coffee-shop chains. Before I left on my 2007 trip, several people told me blithely, “Wi-fi is everywhere now.” I’m glad I looked skeptically at that assessment.

During ten weeks of travel in Canada and the U.S., only one-third of the time did wi-fi work conveniently and right away in the room where we were staying. Another third of the time we were able to use wi-fi after quite a bit of technical fiddling or by going to the motel office or restaurant. And the other third of the time, we would have been without Internet access had wi-fi been our only option. I had three backup options for this contingency: going online on dialup with the modem in my laptop; using my handheld phone/computer (an AT&T 8525) to pick up email; and telephoning my virtual assistant to ask her to check my email for me.

2. Receipts. If you’re planning to deduct business travel expenses on your taxes, then you need to save receipts and you need a written record of the expenses and their business purpose. What changed since 2003 in this regard is that more and more businesses provide receipts on thermal paper whose ink fades and smudges with the least exposure to sun or friction. This means that if you shoe-box your receipts into a pocket or a compartment in the car before you record your expenses, you could be unable to decipher your evidence. I’m not sure what the IRS’s take on this development will be, but I’m glad I had the discipline to record the expenses in a little notebook at least every day or two.

3. Plastic. During our 2003 trip, we had to keep hitting up ATMs for cash, because quite a few places where we had to pay for things did not accept credit cards. In 2007, the only places where we really had to have cash were a few tolls and a few tourist attractions. We had one Canadian ten-dollar bill with us left over from the previous trip, and apart from that we were able to charge nearly everything. When a panhandler tried to hit us up for cash, we were able to say truthfully that we had none. We were putting everything on plastic, sorry!

4. Cell phone coverage. Our surprise here was that there wasn’t as much improvement in cellular service for the more remote sections of the U.S. as we expected. Along interstate highways, you can pretty much expect to get a signal. But otherwise, where population density is low or nonexistent, cell phone coverage is usually likewise absent. A big exception was national parks. I had a long conversation with a friend back home from Denali National Park in Alaska, where the whole county has only 1800 or so full-time residents.

5. Mail forwarding. This change isn’t the progress toward efficiency that you might expect. It took longer in 2007 than in 2003 to get postal mail forwarding going and longer to stop the forwarding. My postmaster explained that forwarding was now centralized and computerized. Whereas previously, individual post offices had been in charge of forwarding mail addressed to residents in their service area, now this was handled at the regional mail processing facility. My postmaster could put in the request to start or stop mail forwarding, but he had no direct control over the process, and it took 7-10 days for the forwarding and the no-more-forwarding orders to take effect.

Be prepared for these and other changing conditions, and you’ll have a better, easier and more prosperous time away from home.

Business Class Travel

Business persons and general travelers alike have to travel frequently to different parts of the world or within your own country. Many prefer to travel economy class to save expenses on airfare. You might in this case have to face the inconvenience of sitting cramped in small seats with very little leg space to move about. As an affluent business man or an executive on an important business mission, you may just get cramped, physically tired and mentally demoralized traveling in such inconvenience and may not therefore remain in the right frame of mind to execute your business transaction successfully. Inconvenience apart, your business stature cannot allow you travel economy class. The answer to this lies in traveling business class.

The seats in the economy class being cheaper usually remain overbooked, while quite a few of the costlier business class seats remain vacant for want of customers. As a result, flight companies offer certain attractive packages to lure customers to book for business class seats.

Business class is more comfortable than economy class due to ample leg space and greater maneuverability. The service and the cuisine in the business class seats are certainly better and more courteous. Again the package for business class seats takes better care of you in after-flight service. You are escorted form the airport and lodged in first class hotels commensurate with your business status. These packages may certainly be cheaper if you ask for the return ticket within a stipulated time.

If you are a frequent flier, you should stick to one airline for all of your travels. Once you are identified as a loyal and regular customer, you are offered higher rebates in your airfares and shown greater respect. That way you can sit relaxed in the business class seats, enjoy good and sumptuous meals, and be serviced more courteously. You can also do your homework or paperwork while traveling and have good nights’ sleep when your journey continues overnight.

Business Card Holder For Travellers

Going Somewhere?

Yeeha! So you probably already have set the itinerary for your next vacation getaway. Or perhaps you’ve finally concretized the plans for your next international travel. Whatever the purpose of your travel may be, we still cannot deny the idea that travelling from one region, state or country to another can really be an exciting and fulfilling experience overall.

And The Complications

For every exciting thing that we do, we simply cannot avoid some possible problems or complications. And just like many other activities, travelling can be quite confusing if we will not plan on this matter ahead of time. Packing the contents of our suitcases, getting our plane tickets (if any), booking accommodations to stay while on tour, preparing the budget, and many other things can definitely take most of our time. And as it may seem that we have lots of things to worry about, we then encounter one possible dilemma that might rob us out of some enjoyable travelling experience: ORGANIZATION.

Huh? Organization?

Yes, you’ve read the word correctly. Who says that being organized refers only to people delivering speeches or students living hectic academic lives? When you travel, you definitely need to be organized. From the clothes that you will wear while travelling to the very important documents that you need to bring (oh please, don’t ever forget your passport and visa!), one smart traveller surely knows how to be organized. Well, when we say being organized while travelling, we are not really implying some hints to a particualr person to develop an obssessive-compulsive mode of personality. To be organized simply signifies the necessity of bringing the approriate things in order, decluttering the travel items that are totally needed and most especially, organizing one’s thoughts of what to do during the travel. Travellers will surely enjoy the benefits of being organized if they remain to be focused on their thinking while travelling.

Organized Travel and A Business Card Holder: The Connection

Who would have thought that an ordinary business card holder can help on organizing your travel items! Yes, you read that right. As the saying goes, little or simple things can produce great benefits! A business card holder is not only designed for businessmen and entrepreneurs to hold their classy business cards. We also need to realize that a business card holder, or any other things for that matter, can actually exude some qualities of versatility and multi-functionality when it comes to performing several tasks! Got some receipts and other small paper documents to keep while travelling? Why not use a business card holder! And just in case your wallet is already teeming with cash and cards, why not put your extra monetary items on your business card holder. Doing this will make a traveller realize how efficient a particular business card holder can be when it comes to helping someone getting organized while touring places away.

I Don’t Have a Business Card Holder Yet

If this particular item is new to you or you haven’t own one for yourself ever, then you probably might need to now especially if you plans travelling to many places. You don’t really need to buy an expensive business card holder to fully enjoy its benefits! But one must put in mind the importance of placing greater value on the quality of the product. A business card holder made out of leather is very common and is definitely durable, but for those who prefer more stylish kinds of the same product, then shelling out some bucks for business card holders that are silver or gold-plated won’t also hurt.

In toto…

Travelling won’t be less stressful if you own for yourself a handy business card holder. Not only it is very sleeky very user-friendly, it will also help travellers maximize space all for their own convenience or comfort as they travel from one place to another.

Air Travel: The Importance of Comparing Airfare

Do you need to book a flight? If you are looking to take a vacation, you may be. When it comes to doing so, you will find that you have an unlimited number of options. There are thousands of airports across the country, as well as multiple airlines that service those airports. Since you will likely have a number of different options, you are encouraged to compare prices before making any official reservations.

As nice as it is to hear that you should compare airfare rates before making your travel arrangements, you may be wondering why you should. For starters, you will get more travel options. When comparing flights and airlines, in general, you are likely to come across flights that you may not have otherwise seen or known about. In addition to getting a better deal, you may also find flights available with a different airline that has more convenient times and less layovers.

Another reason why you should compare prices when looking to buy airline tickets is because you can save money. What many people, especially first time travelers, do not take into consideration is price differences. Although you will find some similarities, different airlines charge different fees. That is why it is important to price compare. While the amounts of money that you may be able to save will vary, any savings, even just ten dollars, is enough for many.

Another important point that many travelers do not think of, when examining the importance of comparing prices, is the money that can be put towards travel. When you spend less money on your travel arrangements, such as your airline tickets, you have more money that you can put towards your vacation. Depending on the amount of money that you are able to save, you can enjoy a nice meal, add an extra activity to your to do list, upgrade your overnight accommodations, and much more. This is always an important factor to take into consideration, as saving money on your airline tickets can enable you to better your trip.

As nice as it is to know that you should compare airfare before buying your airline tickets, you may be curious as to how you can go about doing so. One of your first stops should be an online travel website. Online travel websites are nice because they let you compare flights from different airlines, all at the same time. With that said, not all online travel websites are the same; therefore, you may even want to compare travel websites and the rates that they offer. What is nice about using online travel websites to compare airfare rates is that you can also pay for your tickets through them as well.

As nice as online travel websites are, you may be looking to go straight to the source. When doing so, you will want to visit the online websites of airline companies. If you have to fly out of a specific area, like Albany, New York, you will want to visit the online websites of airlines that you know fly in and out of that airport. Then, you will want to compare prices. This process of comparing prices will take a little bit longer than using online travel websites, but many take comfort in knowing that they are doing business directly with the airline company.

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A Review On Travel Insurance – Do You Need It Or Not?

Personally I think it would be very foolish not to have some sort of travel insurance, especially if you are flying abroad. People sometimes make the mistake in thinking that their local insurance policies will cover any losses and have a big shock when they come to make a claim. Besides, if you have the right policy, it takes all the worry out of your trip.

You should always be offered insurance, by your travel agent, when you arrange your trip. If not, ask, because it will be on your own head if anything goes wrong.

A Cheap Policy or Not?

When a travel insurance policy is issued there are a number of allocations if the premium, agents commissions, administrative costs, some goes towards profit and what’s left over goes towards the actual insurance coverage. So, you can see, if it’s a cheap travel insurance policy, something is going to miss out and you can bet it will be the level of coverage.

If you buy a regular travel insurance policy, that is, you fill out a form and send it to the insuarance company with your remittance there are a lot of costs involves. A better way would to get a wholesale policy (which travel agents do sell) where the administration costs are dramactically reduced, meaning more money is spent on the actual coverage.

Some tour operators and agents provide an “in-house” travel insurance policy and, often, all it covers is their own cancellation fees and little else. It may be cheaper but will not give you much travel insurance coverage.

Another way to reduce costs, which depends on the level of travel you are going to do, is to purhase an annual travel insurance policy. This is buying in bulk and is likely to be much less expensive than the one-off trip policy.

Primary or Secondry Travel Insurance Cover?

These 2 types of cover determine the way the payouts are made. The primary travel insurance cover means that the company will “Pay First”, that is the payment will be paid to the claim maker. The secondary travel insurance cover means they will pay only after you’ve have claimed as much as you can from other insurance cover that you may have. So, you can see that the primary cover is a lot better than the secondry cover.

What Type Of Coverage Will You Need?

It’s fair to say the 2 biggest risks that are covered by most travel insurance policies are the costs of changing your travel plans and and any medical care and emergency assistance that is required while you are away.

Most travel insurance policies will include a few hundred dollars for baggage/loss/damage/delay, loss of travel documents and other small sum for flight delay or interuption. Some will also cover for someone to fly out to you if you are to be hospitalised for more tha 2 or 3 days.

Another major cost, and I must admit I never thought of this one before, can be supplier bankruptcy. Many time the supplier of your travel insurance policy are unable to have the policy to cover thier own bankruptcy. This would be another good reason to have an independant policy from the company arranging your travel.

Most travel insurance policies include a large ammount of air death insurance, but surprisingly, it’s of very low value item about 25 cents for a $100,000 cover. I suppose this indicates how safe air travel is.

Some travel isurance policies will also cover car rental risks and this may be an important thing to consider as car rental insurance policies are extremely expensive.

Trip Cancellation/Change Coverage

To understand the possible costs that you may need if you have to change your itinery or cancel the trip, if you have pruchased an unrestricted first class ticket there may be not any costs associated with changing the ticket as this is usually covered in the purchase price.

It may seem strange but the the cheapest ticket has the most risk attached to it as far as cancellation/change is concerned. It can cost a heap more to change the cheap fare to return home on a different flight than the original purchase price of the ticket.

You will have to be aware that when some travel insurance policies state that they will cover ‘your total trip cost’ you may think that the full charges are covered, but this may not be so. Let’s say that your discounted fare cost $590 and you have a package that actually costs $895 and you have to change you may find the return trip will cost more than the whole package. Maybe you will have to pay another $1120 to get home on a no advanced one way return ticket.

I had this experience a few years ago when I had to rush home for my Father’s funeral. Because of time restrictions I had to buy a non-discounted ticket. After not feeling well all day, when I finally arrived at the airport I succumbed to a middle ear infection. So with all the vomitting and the different air pressures that come with flying there was no I could get on a aircraft. But, as I had purchased a full fare, there was problems in changing my flight to the next morning. Goes to show that you can’t always control your circumstances.

The more restictive travel insurance policies may exclude circumstances that are deemmed ‘under your own control’, and perhaps this may include work related issues. Let’s say you are about to leave work and you are told there is an issue that has to be solved and that you leave has to be deffered. There’s a very good chance that this type of travel insurance would no pay out because of this reason.

Medical Care and Emergency Assistance

Some people mistakenly think that their home medical insuarnce policy will cover all costs wherever they are in the world. They may find that that it doesn’t cover at all, or the deductions will be much higher or perhaps their medical costs are covered but not any related transport costs.

You may be on a cruise and you need some medical attention by the ship’s doctor. There is a good chance that their services are charged for as with any other doctor. You may have to be flown home on a stretcher and this will involve blocking out nine seats, can you imagine how much that would cost. You should make sure that you have travel insurance of at least $10,000 or more to cover these emergencies. Let’s imagine you are in a remote area and you break a leg and you need to be lifted out by a helicopter, this is what good travel insurance is all about.

To Summarise

Imagine your worst case travel mishap scenario and decide whether you need travel insurance. This may be the cancellation of the whole trip coupled with the associated cancellation costs or some emergency medical mishap that will require medivac and local care. I know these are horrible thoughts but if you can’t afford to self-insure the expenditure of around $100 on travel insurance will give you the piece of mind and one less thing to worry about.

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Taking Care of Your Health For Safe Travelling

Are you going to Paris? Trekking in Nepal? Cruising the Caribbean? Yes, you want to go and to spend some time enjoying the wonderful weather, view and just have a rest from everyday routine.

Whether you tramp through the rain forest or bask on a love boat—travel presents new and different health concerns mostly unknown at home.

We do not want to set on you with our lectures just, please, keep in mind some facts – that will be useful for you.
Preparing before you go is the best way to stay healthy while you’re traveling. See a doctor at least 6 weeks before you leave so that you’ll have time for immunizations that may need to be done in advance. Check with your doctor to see if there are medications or extra precautions that you should take. For example, people who have heart failure may need to take shorter flights with more stops to avoid long periods of sitting or they may need to adjust their medications.

Before you go, research local sanitation and other conditions so that you can take appropriate measures while you are traveling:
– Is the water safe to drink?
– Do insects, such as mosquitoes or ticks, carry disease?
– Is there air pollution?
– Will the altitude make you sick?
– Is it safe to swim in pools, lakes, or the ocean?
– Could you get heat exhaustion, sun stroke, or a sunburn?

Basic precautions, such as drinking bottled water or using insect repellent, can prevent some illnesses, ranging from an inconvenient bout of diarrhea to life-threatening malaria.

Preparing for a journey takes planning and time. Proper planning is the best way to stay healthy during your trip. See a doctor at least 6 weeks before you go so that you’ll have time for immunizations and other health precautions you may need to take in advance. There are several factors to consider in preparing for a trip.

Enjoy your trip.

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An Escape From Real Wilderness

Living in a big city has its perks, but sometimes it gets so tiring that we are just craving for an escape. Life gets so busy sometimes that we would just want to get out, have some fun, lie down and do absolutely nothing at all. Come to think about it, during these times where we are really craving for that escape from the busy streets and stressful jobs that we have, is the best time that we go for an outdoor adventure trip.

Adventure travel = good outlet for stress

Being in the outdoors and do nothing at all can really take that stress away. Imagine living without the advantages of modern technology and by just relying on your own skills in order for you to survive. This experience will certainly bring back that sense of you being in charge of your life and you being important back to that cold and tired heart of yours. It is also a great opportunity for you to relax and bond with your family and friends. Plus going on the outdoors is a great adventure that you need and would want to experience. And the fun that it brings is priceless.

Planning is the key.

First of all, you must you must have at least an idea or a plan of what you are going to do I the outdoors. You must also have a checklist o the items and materials that you need and must bring so that you will not forget anything important such as home outdoor hot tub. Then after that, it is time for you to pick a place.

There are a lot of nature parks all around the US so it would not be difficult for you to choose a park near and accessible to you and your friends. If the park that you chose has its hunting season, time your visit during those months and experience a little hunting escapade. It would surely be a great addition to your outdoor adventure. When you are now done with your planning and packing, it is now time for you to go o your adventure. Remember that you are all alone out there and help could be not so near so bring lots of rations of food, first-aid kits and medicines.

Respect the outdoors.

When you arrive on the outdoors, pick a nice and clean spot for your camping site where you can set up your camps and tents. Always remember to pick your camp site carefully. It should not be disturbing to the wildlife around the area for their safety and of course also yours. You would not want to disturb them as much as they do not want to disturb you.

Explore your surroundings; you must be at least knowledgeable of what is around you. You should also know the different entry and exit points of your surroundings. In case of an emergency you would be able to know where to go. Be careful in putting up your fire; make sure that it is just as big as what you need. It should also be controllable. You would not want to forest fire, don’t you? Remember that in an outdoor adventure like camping and even in any other activities, safety comes first.

In having fun, we must not forget to be responsible. It is our own duty to respect our surroundings because we are the ones who live on it. With that in mind, you can now start to relax and experience the outdoor and have that adventure trip you deserve.

Air Purifiers and Air Filters for Travelers: Are They Worth the Money?

Do you do a lot of traveling? If you do, you may be concerned about the air that you are breathing inside your hotel room. This may especially be the case if you suffer from asthma or allergies. If you do, you may be curious about air purifiers and air filters that are designed for travelers. As nice as a concept as they do sound, you may be curious as to whether or not they work or if they are worth the money.

When it comes to determining if travel sized air purifiers are worth the money, you will find that it depends. With that said, typically, most are encouraged to save their money. For more information on why, please continue reading on.

When examining air purifiers, especially those that are considered high end home air purifiers, you will find that most are relatively large in size. Although air purifiers and filters are becoming more compact, you will find that most are still a decent size. For example, tower shaped air purifiers are thin, but they are still somewhat small. Desktop air purifiers are the same way, unless flat, so they do still take up a considerable amount of space. On the other hand, travel size air purifiers are extremely small in size. This impacts the size filter that can be used. Smaller filters can easily become clogged or not capture all particles in the air.

Despite the fact that air purifiers are on average a decent size, that hasn’t stopped some companies from selling small travel sized purifiers. As for what you will find, it will vary. For example, some are much smaller versions of desktop air purifiers or industrial floor cleaner that are lightweight and easy to transport. Also, did you know that you can actually wear some travel sized air purifiers like a necklace? You can, as there are some versions available for sale.

As for travel sized air purifiers that can be worn like a necklace, it does should like a pretty neat idea, although some say that there are dangers associated with certain brands, especially when they are worn too close. You can see this by reading reviews of these necklace-like air purifiers online. There are cases where some consumers felt ill after wearing them for extend periods of time. This is something that should cause you to be concerned.

Smaller, travel sized air purifiers that resemble desktop air purifiers are nice, but most cannot be considered high end. Typically, it depends on the brand and whether or not HEPA air filters are used. In all honesty, if you truly need to have cleaner air, it may be best to bring a high end compact air purifier from home with you. Of course, be cautious when doing so; be sure to pack well. Since high end home air purifiers are expensive, you will not want damage yours.

A great alternative to investing in travel sized air purifiers that may not work is by carefully choosing your hotel. First, ask if air purifiers are used in the hotel rooms. Some hotels do now use them, especially after being wished for by guest. If you cannot find a hotel that uses an air purifier, be sure to choose a room where pets and smoking are not allowed, as this often means that the room’s air is much more cleaner.

My Trip To Traveler’s Health Care Utopia

Everything was going swimmingly: I got my passport, found a cheap flight, and got my two weeks off of work. I was ready for the ultimate vacation. On a tip from a friend of mine, I decided on a package tour of Meditopia, an island nation often called the jewel of the South Pacific. The brochure sent to me by Meditopia Adventure Travel displayed pristine white sand beaches, lush jungle waterfalls, charming locals, and, strangely, a photograph of their brand new hospital. ‘Our health care is free to all,’ the caption under the photo read. An avid scuba diver and lover of nature, this obscure nation seemed to provide it all.

I connected to Meditopia Air flight number 13 from Bangkok, and after sixteen hours of travel, I arrived into Healthiopolis Airport. Customs was a pretty standard procedure, although it was strange when the official seemed disappointed that I did not have any pre-existing medical conditions.

As it turned out, I arrived in the middle of monsoon season. Despite securing a very quick and efficient taxi to the hotel, I was soaking wet and shivering by the time I reached the front desk. I wasn’t going to let some rains dampen my spirit: I celebrated the first night of my vacation with a couple pork dumplings known to be a local delicacy. Before long I was dreaming of the swimming, hiking, and diving I would be doing.

The next morning, I awoke to an intense, pounding headache, a severe sore throat, sweats, and a case of diarrhea the likes of which I never had before. It was terrible, and I wasn’t sure if it was the rain that soaked me or the dumplings I had eaten the night before. There was a knock on my door.

“Meditopia Adventure Travel! I am your guide! Good morning!” a bubbly voice called.
“I am sorry, I’m very sick,” I sputtered, opening the door.
“Sir, you are not well!” a portly, amiable looking local said.
“Yes, perhaps I should sleep it off,” I tried to close the door, but the guide would not let me.
“We must take you to our brand new hospital, sir,”
“No, no, I don’t have any insurance,” I said, “at least none that would be accepted here.”
“Sir, you must understand that here, in Meditopia, we pride ourselves in our free health care. Even Yankee travelers such as yourself can get access to our state of the art facilities.”

I did not believe him, but before long I found myself in an ambulance, on the way to the hospital. Wrapped in blankets, upon entry to the hospital, I tried to fish out my HMO card, but the exceedingly friendly nurse waved it away. I waited no more than ten minutes before a two Doctors waved me into an examination room. In my feverish delirium, I continued to wave around my insurance card, knowing full well that my plan had no coverage for foreign hospitals. The doctors diagnosed my acute food poisoning using gloves for arthritic hands and blood pressure apparatus, and set me up with a lavish hospital room, as well as a free prescription for the necessary antibiotics. Good lord, I tried to give the staff money every time they visited, but they refused.

I spent my entire vacation recovering in the hospital ward; it was amazing. There wasn’t even any paperwork for me to fill out. This land of Meditopia was the perfect place to get sick. Feeling refreshed, rested, and thankfully, in peak physical condition, I boarded the plane hoping to get sick here, again sometime.


China Transit Visa (G)

Chinese Transit visas are for persons who are staying for a short period while in transit between two other countries different from China visa service. You must have residency in the destination country or have a valid visa for it (if required).  The fee appears to be the same as for a tourist L, so check whether you might as well get a tourist L instead.

Some airports do not have an international transfer area and you might have to collect your baggage and exit into the main area so you would expect to need a visa. When you make bookings that look like you will not be checked straight through to your final destination, you are advised to ask the airline or the agent, or contact the embassy or consulate to check if a transit visa is required.

1. Applicant’s valid passport must have at least six months of remaining validity with at least one blank visa page in it.
2. One accurately and truthfully completed Application Form.
3. One color passport standard photo (2X2 square inch) glued or stapled on the application form.
4. A valid visa to the country of destination if required.
5. An air/train/ship ticket to the final destination with confirmed departure date and seats.
How to Apply

1. You can personally submit the application to the consular office of the Chinese Embassies, Consulates and other Chinese diplomatic missions which hold consular jurisdiction over your residence.
2. Or you can entrust someone else, a travel agency or a visa agency to act on your behalf if you can’t come in person. Power of attorney is not required.
3. Mailed applications are not accepted by most of Chinese embassies or consulates in overseas.
4. No appointment is required.

Adventure Travel On Horseback


When you think of “adventure travel,” what crosses your mind?

• Hiking?
• White water rafting?
• Scuba diving?
• Something as sedentary as a cruise ship or land rover safari?

Those ideas lose their “adventure” status when you compare them to galloping on a horse in Africa with a zebra and wildebeest racing along side you, or quietly observing the elephant and giraffe.

How can a traveler visit the remote parts of the world’s most beautiful and interesting places while…

• Practicing a fascinating sport
• Avoiding polluting
• Keeping in harmony with history and nature
• Being free to explore exotic locations
• Making friends in remote places, and
• Sharing the experience with a willing animal?

Have you ever considered the tremendous advantages of adventure travel on horseback? A horse can take you to beautiful and remote places which are difficult to reach in any other way. At the same time, you can practice a challenging sport which has been a favorite of mankind for millennia.

Destinations like Africa, Asia, Europe and South America offer a wonderful variety of adventure tours on horseback. Though comparatively little known to Americans, the British and particularly the French have highly developed the riding tour concept in many parts of the world. In many locations in the United States rights-of-way for horses have been lost, but many still exist in other countries.

Horses and horseback riding are deeply woven into the culture and history of most cultures from Argentina to Ireland. This is how our ancestors traveled and for those with a sense of history there is no more appropriate way to go. If you arrive in a foreign place on horseback, you will most likely be enthusiastically greeted by locals with waves and smiles which greatly facilitate meaningful contacts. Those who arrive by bus, on foot or on a bicycle are usually ignored. Horses are a great introduction and ice breaker almost anywhere.

If you seek a wilderness adventure, then horses are the way to go unless you want to walk and carry your equipment. Riding tours can take you from inn to inn, castle to castle, palace to palace or from one comfortable camp to another. Costs are very reasonably compared to biking or bus trips.

Horseback riding adventures vary widely in the skill and experience required to handle them safely. Most of these tours move out at all paces and include some good gallops so that one can cover 15 to 35 miles in a day. Beginners need several days of instruction before attempting even an easy trip, but those who are reasonably fit, not too overweight and have open minds can catch on very quickly. A week of intensive riding with good instruction can easily prepare most people for the less demanding adventures.

One of the enormous advantages of travel on horseback is that you are sharing the adventure with a willing animal who is also interested in the sights and sounds and who loves a brisk gallop on a beach or open plain as much as you do. A day in the saddle is also great exercise and riding is an excellent way to keep fit while having fun. It is far more interesting and satisfying than sitting confined in a bus or land rover all day which really isn’t adventure travel at all. Another dividend is the keen appetite you develop after a day in the saddle for the delicious food you will be served.

On an African ride, a good horse can outdistance an irate Cape buffalo or elephant and keep you safe. Comfortable camps are set up for you each night, the food is excellent and the service superb. Or try a horseback tour visiting the castles of the Loire Valley and ride into the courtyards on your horse like a knight of old. You can gallop along forest tracks where the French aristocracy once chased the wild stag. There is a broad spectrum of possibilities available for horseback riding vacations.

If it appeals to you to travel in harmony with nature without using polluting, noisy machines or an unresponsive bicycle, then you should look into horseback riding tours.