Will the NFL Finally Go International?

There has been much debate in recent years about American pro football going international. An NFL attendance record was broken when the San Francisco 49ers faced off against the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City in 2005, over 103,000 fans were in attendance at Azteca Stadium.

In 2009, the record was broken in Dallas, TX. The first game played in Cowboys Stadium had a crowd of over 105,000. Both were regular season records.

This brings us to the root of the debate. Should the NFL give up home games in order to reach out to a larger base? Rather than trying to persuade you one way or the other, we’re going to look at some facts and then you can make up your mind on your own.

One side of the aisle argues that to take away a home game from a city hurts the fans, and the local economy of the host city. These are the facts: There are only 16 games during a 17 week season. Typically, a team plays 2 home games in the pre-season, and 8 home games in the regular season. It’s not like in the NBA where 82 games are played by each team (half are home games). Taking away one home game from fans is a big deal. It also means less money for local business owners. Keep in mind that a single home game does not only produce an economic boost for one day, it can produce big numbers for several days. The hotel, restaurant and travel industries to name a few would feel the hit. Also, many fans purchase pricey season tickets that allow them admission to every home game.

Those are the facts, but there are other reasons why many fans oppose such a move. Crafting an international connection would be tedious and confusing. An international presence would call for changes, big changes. Other countries would opt into our current system, triggering competition. As American as apple pie? We would have to share our brain child with the rest of the world. For years, football has been a part of our culture. For many Americans, football is even a Christmas and Thanksgiving tradition. The system has never been broken, and Americans like it that way.

On the other hand, there is an argument to the contrary. Many believe that giving the brand an international presence will actually help provide a better experience for the fans and help local economies in the long run. These are the facts: A host city to a high profile sporting event benefits greatly, so if the NFL ever does go international, it would mean that at some point in time, American cities would host other countries. Not to mention the Olympics. The idea of American football being a part of the Winter Olympics has been tossed around for many years.

What good could come out of the United States beating the Ukraine by such a huge margin? I can’t imagine much, but like in pro basketball, other countries would have to catch up. Ask any NFL player if they would like the chance to compete in the Olympics and they would probably tell you to sign them up.

So it comes to this, eventually the powers that be are going to push the issue so far to the front that your opinion will have to matter. Azteca Stadium was not filled with Americans that day. American Football fans from abroad purchased those tickets. I’m sure the NFL took great notes. Ideals count for a lot when it comes to sports, but I’m sure you’ll agree, so does business.

Airline Industry Guru Terry Trippler Shares His Thoughts on Travel for Baby Boomers

Airline expert Terry Trippler has seen a lot of changes in the travel industry since he first started traveling by air. In the nearly 40 years since he took his first step inside an airplane, the industry has revolutionized itself many times over. BabyBoomerTrips.com interviewed Mr. Trippler to see just how much the industry has changed.

BabyBoomerTrips.com: We would like to take you back to a time when you were first starting to think about traveling independently? Can you relay some personal travel experiences from when you were just starting to travel on your own? Were your travel experiences very simple, such as going to “the lake,” or the nearest “big city,” or was it something more exotic like backpacking through Europe, hiking through Nepal, or taking a Volkswagen van cross-country? How much planning was involved back then, and what were your information sources?

Terry Trippler: My first independent travel was in 1967 when I rode with my brother to his Marine base in Memphis — and flew back from Memphis to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I had never flown before and I was on a Delta flight from Memphis to Chicago connecting to an Ozark Airlines flight from Chicago to Sioux Falls. The Delta flight was late and when it arrived it was an electra 4-engine prop — noisy and not real smooth. When the flight attendant came with the dinner I turned it down — didn’t quite know what I was to do with it. Imagine — now knowing what to do with food — talk about a novice! We arrived in Chicago late and I had a 10 minute connection to Ozark. Again, I had never flown before — let alone ever been in an airport like Chicago O’Hare, but I just started to run in one direction and saw a sign that listed a bunch of airlines that were in another terminal and Ozark was one of them. By running — and simply following the signs — I arrived at the Ozark departure gate in time to board. (I may not have known how to eat the dinner on Delta but I knew how to read a sign and follow arrows). When I got on the Ozark flight is was a new DC-9 jet. So smooth and quiet so I immediately thought that Ozark must be a much bigger and better airline than Delta. At that time my information source was what I thought was the only source — the airline. I went to the Sioux Falls airport and walked up to the counter and bought a ticket. I thought that is how it was to be done. In a way, that is how it was done by many travelers at that time.

BabyBoomerTrips.com: In your early travel days, how did you view the idea of flying to some distant country or a third world country? How does this compare to now?

Terry Trippler: The idea of flying to some distant country or third world country was completely out of the question. Today — I feel no differently.

BabyBoomerTrips.com: A fair amount of time has elapsed since you first started to travel independently. How has the travel industry changed since that time? How have your personal travel habits changed?

Terry Trippler: Travelers are much more educated and capable now than before. In 1968 when I began working for an airline, our goal was not only to convince people to fly our airline but we were also trying to convince the general public “to fly.” Flying was a new experience for many people. In 1971 I escorted charter tours to Las Vegas and the Bahamas and with 252 people on-board it was not unusual to have well over half who were taking their first flight. Today, flying is no longer an “event” but just “how to get there”. When I was working for the airline in the late 60’s, people “dressed” to fly. Today, they “barely dress” to fly. My personal habits have changed drastically. Unless I can get a seat up front (business or first class) I will not go.

BabyBoomerTrips.com: Do you still have a “Dream Trip”? If so, where/what would that be?

Terry Trippler: My wife and I have our dream trip and we take it every 5 years or so. We met in Hawaii (I was her tour escort) so we love Hawaii. Our dream trip is first class air to Honolulu and 7-10 days at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel in Waikiki. We can relax on the beach or around one of the many pools with excellent service in a lush setting. When we want — we have Honolulu and Waikiki available to us for night life, etc. We rent a car a few days and drive around the island but more and more we are finding just relaxing on the beach or at the pool — with several good books — is truly a “dream vacation” for us.

BabyBoomerTrips.com: List your top 5 favorite travel destinations

Terry Trippler: Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, Portland, OR, Disney World in Orlando, Great Lakes resorts in Michigan and Minnesota

BabyBoomerTrips.com: In your opinion, what do you think some of the hottest baby boomer destinations will be in the near future?

Terry Trippler: While many will explore the world — particularly Asia and Australia-New Zealand, I believe many boomers will stay closer to home — opting for traditional U.S. destinations — particularly on off peak seasons ( i.e. between Labor Day and November 15, the first part of January, between Easter and Memorial Day).

Biography of Terry L. Trippler

With over 37 years of commercial travel industry experience, Terry Trippler is considered America’s foremost authority on the airlines and the rules that govern their operations. Mr. Trippler began his career as an airline ticket agent and has since held several industry positions from which he perfected his trade. Today, he specializes in airline rules and regulations, earning respect within as well as outside the travel industry for his impartial and balanced view of the air transportation industry and its effects on the consumer. His mission is to educate the travelers as to their rights and responsibilities, as well as to offer constructive input into the fair operation of our nation’s air transportation industry.

Terry Trippler’s widely regarded domestic and international travel expertise has resulted in his being quoted in major leading publications throughout the world, and has lead to extensive broadcast exposure in international, national and various local media markets. Terry has also consulted with members of the current administration of the U.S. Government regarding the state of the airline industry. He has acted as a factual witness for various law enforcement and private law firms throughout the country regarding airlines and ticketing procedures.

Corporate information
BabyBoomerTrips.com (http://www.babyboomertrips.com) is owned by ConventionZoo, Inc, which also operates ConventionZoo.com ([http://www.conventionzoo.com]), the world’s first all-in-one convention portal for attendees and planners. Offices are located in Los Angeles, CA and Duluth, MN.

Volunteer Travel

Ever thought of making your next holiday a wholly different experience to anything you’ve done before, to contribute with your time and money? Well join the thousands of people who travel to exotic destinations around the world and take part in the new eco-tourism revolution. Many otherwise well informed or those that consider themselves “travel trend conscious” are surprised to learn that not only do volunteers travel overseas to work for someone else, they pay for the privilege! There has been a very subtle shift away from the standard backpacking trip, over land type experience to this new type of holiday, and it’s a fantastic experience to boot!

So what is volunteering exactly? Just type in volunteer tours or gap year travel in Google and you’ll be inundated with hits from around the globe detailing projects you can contribute to. These projects are highly varied, ranging from humanitarian assistance, conservation based work to cultural exposure and everything in between. You could work with lion rehabilitation programs in East Africa or South Africa, help HIV/AIDS orphans in the Garden Route, dive underwater while researching coral reefs in Australia or help teach Tibetan monks English. The number of projects available is mind boggling, with budgets and extras to suit anyone of any age.

Most volunteer projects can be divided into two groups: wildlife oriented and humanitarian/cultural. The wildlife type projects are usually slightly more expensive with projects starting at £1000 for one month, and can go up many more times than this for extended expeditions or in projects that give you a qualification when you leave such as a PADI diving certificate. By contrast you could work on a humanitarian project in India or Africa at a cost starting at £500, for four weeks. The reason for the difference is not readily apparent but probably comes down to the charismatic marketing potential of working with wildlife. That’s not to say that these projects are any less worthwhile but generally people are prepared to pay more for this type of experience.

Accommodation will vary with various projects and like most tourism based activities; generally the more you pay the better the facilities and amenities available to you. Thankfully not all of us require a 5 star game lodge from which to work, or a comfortable double room with ensuite bathroom and there are fantastic opportunities to stay with local communities, living their life and eating their food. Alternatively you could sleep literally under the stars while on a research camp and eat very basic meals, a humbling but fantastically rewarding experience being in truly wild places.

The average volunteer program runs for about a month, but many companies will fit you in for a reduced duration. Most will also take you on for an extended period of time but not usually more than an extra month, especially on social or humanitarian type projects. The emotional attachment one can develop with the communities and individuals can be life altering, but also disruptive when a volunteer stays too long and then must leave due to financial constraints or visa requirements. The ideal volunteer program will offer a regular supply of volunteers to maintain consistency and funding for the program, a routine the local community can adapt to and not become dependent on a few individuals.

A question that sometimes surfaces regarding volunteer travel and the work these intrepid adventurers contribute to is, “are volunteers actually contributing anything worthwhile, apart from the funding they provide?”. The answer in my opinion is most definitely yes! Of course there will always be organisations that will jump on the volunteer or eco-tourism bandwagon and attempt to exploit the local community, wildlife conservation initiative and the volunteers themselves by withholding the facts about the goals of the project, the money reinvested into the project and the role volunteers will have in positively altering the situation. Your best defence is to make an informed decision, and to do this you need information.

There are some prospective volunteer do’s and don’ts that follow shortly in this article.
Volunteers can have a major and lasting positive impact on many projects. The key is having a project structure that provides the correct support, training and offers value for money. All these aspects are basically controlled by the company you book with, which is even more reason to find out all you can about your proposed company. Scientific research requires a fairly rigid project structure where the aims and methods for data capture are clearly explained, while having a Project Coordinator to oversee you and your colleagues and explain or correct any mistakes is vitally important to ensure the data captured is robust and can be published in an academic capacity. After all the dissemination of information is the main purpose of scientific research, it has the ability to affect the way we think and influence policy makers, all of which can contribute to truly effective conservation.

By contrast humanitarian assistance can be far less rigidly structured but should still have a long term goal set in place, whether that is building an orphanage from volunteer donations or helping to set up a long-term and sustainable teacher training institution. It is of vital importance that the local community should wherever possible be totally self sufficient from volunteer support or the financial benefits of the company involved. Should volunteers be denied access to these people for whatever reason it should ideally not affect the community unduly, they should never become dependent on volunteer involvement or any associated income generation. You should investigate this situation to make sure your involvement will not contribute to this possibility and the project has clearly defined goals that are sustainable and allow for community self-sufficiency.

The following probably goes without saying as most new age travellers are pretty travel conscious and aware of potential pitfalls but it’s worth explaining a few aspects. Some organisations are not what they seem! Sounds obvious in today’s naturally cynical world but the potential for misconduct is far higher in the volunteer travel industry where there are a number of stakeholders that stand to lose out, not just you but the local communities and/or wildlife. You should endeavour to find out as much information as possible about a volunteer organisation you are interested in. The first stop should be the company’s website to have a look at their mission statement and ethics policy if they have one. If your questions aren’t answered here then by all means contact a representative of the company and ask for their stance on certain aspects, e.g. their environmental responsibility, what percentage of your fee is reinvested in the project, what are the sleeping arrangements, what is your refund policy if I’m not happy with how the project is run when I arrive, is your conservation initiative based on sound scientific conservation principles etc. I don’t intend to single any particular industry here but for example if an organisation states it has been breeding lions since 1970 for example and offers volunteers the opportunity to help with their breeding program, they had better have some solid reasons to explain why no lions have been released into the wild since that time! It is your responsibility to get the most information you can and make an informed decision to contribute to a company that is positively assisting their projects.

Another excellent way of obtaining information about a particular organisation is through referrals, either provided by the organisation themselves or sourced by you. Travel forums, blogs and e-newsletters related to travel are all good ways of getting the information you need. Ask the same questions you put to representatives of the company and see if they match up to what past volunteers experienced. Remember it is easy enough to say one thing and commit your company to saving the world, but when money starts rolling in another set of ethics entirely is easy to put into practice.

So there we have it, volunteer travel is one of the fastest growing sectors in eco-tourism and gap year travel and for good reason! The potential for massive, far-reaching and totally worthwhile contribution by volunteers is indisputable. Volunteers can benefit scientific research by providing extra manpower and all important funding as well as assisting our fellow man to better themselves. As a feel good shot in the arm and a way to see a country and people in a totally different light, volunteering has few equals. Go for it, I guarantee it will change your perceptions and offer a new insight into travel.

Redefining Luxury As You Travel – Luxurious Hotels For You!

Luxury is something that is very subjective and there is no doubt that most people want to experience it, especially while travelling or on a vacation. One of the best ways to experience luxury when you are on the move is by choosing the best place for your accommodation. This can not only make you feel relaxed but will also allow you to have a blast while you take some time off your daily routine.

There are a lot of luxurious hotels and resorts that you can choose from but you need to find one that is exclusive and exotic so that you can experience luxury like never before. There are a few which are above these elite ones, these are hotels/resorts that redefine luxury offering an experience like no other. Here are some of the most exotic hotels which offer you a reason to travel rather than these just being a part of the route:

Amanyara, Turks and Caicos- If you are planning a trip to the Caribbean you can be sure that it will be difficult to find something as indulging and as exotic as Amanyara. Great villas, ponds and the sea shore make it an experience of a lifetime.

Mandarin Oriental, Rivera Maya- In case Mexico is on your list for a leisure vacation, consider Mandarin Oriental for your accommodation. Amidst tropical forest this hideaway holiday destination is a great way to experience luxury alongside the waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Rosewood Mayakoba, River Maya- Another great option if Mexico is your destination, Rosewood Mayakoba is a great option if you are looking at elegance combined with luxury for a wonderful vacation.

Now, if you have fixed your accommodation you need to ensure that you reach the destination without a lot of problems. Planning and evaluating can help you choose the best hotel but that’s not it, in order to experience a great luxurious trip you also need to correctly plan your route to the destination.

You need to take into consideration the route that you choose and the mode of transport that is suitable. While many prefer the luxury and the pace of aircraft, you may be the one who prefers to reach the destination through waters. As mentioned earlier, luxury totally depends on the way you look at it and the definition that you have for the word.

If you are a person for whom comfort and fun is important you have to get your trip planned well in advance so that you can get the best accommodation and the best route because there can be a lot of others who also aspire to get to these places through these routes.

In case you are facing a problem in deciding on a location or have issues with travelling you can look around for some help as well. There are a few websites which can give you expert opinions of how and where to travel, one of the most popular ones being Luxury Hotel Experts Take care and have a great luxurious holiday!