Advantages of Having an Auto Club Membership

There are a number of auto club memberships available these days and a common question for the consumer to have is, ‘Will the benefits of having a membership offset what it costs me to be a member?’ Figuring out whether an auto club membership will be worth the cost can be tricky because you may never have to use some of the benefits, but like an extended warranty plan on a major appliance – if you do end up needing it, you are sure glad that it’s there. Let’s take a quick look at what often comes as part of an auto club membership to get a better feel if they are worth your out of pocket cost to join.

Roadside Assistance
This is, in most cases, the single best benefit of an auto club, and you may never even have to use it. Most auto clubs offer twenty four hour assistance if your car breaks down for any reason. If you run out of gas, if your car overheats, if the battery is dead or if you blow out a tire and are stranded on the side of the road, day or night, rain or shine, you just call the number on your membership card and a representative from the auto club will be out to provide assistance. Whatever your annual membership fee may be, if you are stranded in the middle of no where in sub zero temperatures having someone come out to rescue you is well worth it.

There are some things you should look into about your auto clubs roadside assistance before you buy though. With some auto clubs you need to pay additional money for certain services provided or you end up paying a premium for the parts needed to get your car back on the road. You want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your membership money when it comes to the roadside assistance.

Travel Discounts
If you fancy yourself a world traveler, but you don’t have quite the disposable income that many world travelers do, a membership in an auto club could be a dream come true. Many auto clubs, like AAA for example, offer their loyal customers incredible discounts on all phases of travel booked through the club. As a member you’re entitled to big savings on vacation packages, plane tickets, guided tours and hotel rooms. Even if you don’t log a ton of miles in your car every year, if you plan on doing a good deal of traveling then an auto club membership could certainly be worth the cost.

Other Amenities
If the roadside assistance and the travel discounts just aren’t enough to convince you that an auto club membership is worth the cost, there still may be a few things to change your opinion. Many auto clubs offer their members special discounts at auto repair shops, some offer free tour guidebooks, maps and have representatives that will help you plan an upcoming trip.

So is an auto club membership worth it? The simplest answer is absolutely, if you are going to use it. The amount of money you can save on the travel, as well as all of the other potential discounts certainly make a membership in an auto club a good investment. If you book a trip or two, use the reps to help plan your travel route, purchase your plane tickets and make use of the discounts to repair your car you should be able to save much more money than the memberships cost you, but the biggest advantage you’ll get from the auto club membership is the piece of mind that comes with being taken care of regardless of what trouble you encounter on the road.

The Essential Hotel Guest – When Your Opinion Matters

As you’re planning a trip, the options for accommodations can be overwhelming. Combing through hotels and picking the best options based on your price, location, hotel supplies and amenities preferences isn’t easy. As you review hotels, keep in mind that most will meet or beat a competitor’s rate. Finding several hotels in a given area with similar rates, amenities and hotel supplies is normal. Hotels know most people want the best room they can afford even as they differ in terms of preferred amenities, rates and locations.

Survival in the hotel industry means delighting guests with unique, high quality hotel supplies, conveniences and other helpful extras. The managers of hotels realize that maintaining high occupancy rates depends on satisfied guests, exceptional customer service and useful amenities. Achieving consistently high occupancy rates is essential for a variety of reasons. This is where you come in. If there are hotel supplies you’d like to see, let the hotel know. If you were delighted with your stay, you’re more likely to pick the same hotel from the available hotels next time you visit. Conversely, if it was a nightmare, you’re not apt to return.

People travel for a variety of reasons, visiting friends and family among them. Complimentary toiletries and coffee service are among the hotel supplies and amenities that matter to some while others are satisfied with a hot shower. When you travel you’re likely to see a variety of hotel supplies depending on where you stay. While there are hotels that have pared down the amenities they offer to save on expenses, most hotels have realized that cutting back on amenities might affect occupancy rates and have made necessary cuts in other areas. They realize that guests notice lower quality or fewer hotel supplies.

Hotels are keenly aware that a free continental breakfast and plush towels are among the amenities and hotel supplies consumers expect. They can affect your decision to reserve a room and therefore they can affect occupancy rates. That’s one reason why which hotel supplies a hotel buys matters. Another common amenity that hotels and lodges offer is a free continental breakfast as a value-added amenity. Breakfast can be anything from do-it-yourself waffles to full breakfast buffets. Regardless of the presentation, as with other amenities and hotel supplies, it’s meant to impress you and reflect better value than the competition.

People travel for business and pleasure no matter the state of the economy which affects hotel occupancy rates. Families may stay local while others will travel further away but spend less. Businesses of every size are reducing the off-site training they do and scheduling fewer conferences at hotels. Managers of hotels know that they won’t be sold out on a regular basis and that keeping occupancy rates high at all times isn’t usually realistic. Having said that, hotels make every attempt to keep you happy because you’re their guest and what you think matters. At the end of every day, your thoughts and preferences affect their business.

How To Choose A Travel Agent You Won’t Regret

When it comes to making travel arrangements a travel agent can either make the process a dream or a nightmare. If you travel on a frequent basis finding a good travel agent that is reliable and trustworthy can be as important as a financial planner or a dentist. Here are a few tips to help you find a good one that won’t have you pulling your hair out while you are trying to plan a relaxing vacation.

One of the reasons for enlisting the services of is the fact that they can generally get better deals than the public due to the relationships they have formed with travel related companies such as airlines, hotels, and rental car companies. Their ability to get better deals is a great reason to use them but I like to use a travel agent just for the convenience. I can just call them up and tell them where I want to go and they will call me back with three or four choices to consider.

Like anything else, the key to finding a travel agent you can rely on is research. You can start out by asking friends and family for referrals of travel agents that they have enlisted the services of. Another excellent tool at your disposal of course, is the internet. With the internet you can find a list of agencies in your area and peruse their sites along with reviews and testimonials of their service. Look for forums and message boards where travelers talk about traveling and their experiences with travel agents. Even though everyone will have different opinions you can rest assured that a travel agent that gest good remarks from most people will be someone you can work with.

Another key indicator that can help in your search to find a good travel agent is whether they belong to the American Society of Travel Agents. The reason this is important is that allows the travel agents the ability to network with other members of the group such as cruise lines, airlines, hotels, and many other travel related companies. There are also certain minimum qualifications that must be met and maintained which means that the person involved will be more conscientious than one that is not a member.

It is perfectly right and acceptable for you to interview the prospective agent and ask questions of their qualifications and experience in order to make up your mind if they are the right agency for you and that they will be able to satisfy your travel needs. You should also ask them for references of clients who have used their services so you can get a third part’s take on them. By doing these things as you look for a travel agent it should help you to find one that will be good for you.

Travel Tips For Personal Assistants

Depending on the need of your employer, you may go or you may need to stay at the home or office and tend to things while your employer is away. Whatever you do, you will still need to have a handle on all aspects of the travel and be well prepared to deal with any changes or last minute surprises.

How To Prepare

Once you know who will be traveling, when, where, and for how long, you can begin to build your list of details and build a schedule and travel itinerary that you can handle from the road, the office, or the home.

You will need to know if he desires to pay with credit cards or use miles. Do you know how to transfer miles? How to upgrade them? How to check them in at the airport, fast? Do you know what an airport escort is?

Flyer Miles: A number of people who travel frequently will have flying points often referred to as frequent flyer miles. Each airline has a different name for them but essentially the passenger has points on their airline account they can redeem to fly instead of paying with currency. Points or miles can sometimes be used to upgrade the passenger from economy to business, business to first class. You’ll need to learn how this works by calling or going onto the airlines web site and researching their rules and regulations.

Some airlines will allow you to swap miles with other airline partners, some will let you trade using credit card services such as American Express (though they have specific airlines they work with). You can also get creative and look at services such as a program that allows you to trade mileage points with non-affiliated airlines.

Airport Escort: This is someone who will meet your employer and his party at the airline and help to make their transition to the plane or airline lounge, smooth, easy, and hassle free. An Airport Escort will handle all of your luggage and expedite you through security. They stay with you every step of the way until you are safely and comfortably on your plane. They will check if there are any upgrades available (sometimes at no extra charge), and when it’s time to board, they will notify you and escort you to the boarding gate.

Hotel preferences: Does your boss like to stay on a higher floor? Or have his room away from the elevators? Does he need a fax machine, favorite water? Does he want a view? Are his favorite pillows in the room? Is the room hypoallergenic? Where does the sun rise or set? Is he near the pool? Away from the ice machine? Down the hall from the elevator? Find out!

Auto rental: Does he prefer a new car or an older one? Do you know which rental agencies carry which brands of vehicles? Do they have towing service? Navigation system? Can anyone drive the vehicle?

You may also be responsible for packing, making an itinerary list, preparing snacks for the trip, and having some useful items available for your boss to take with him; eye mask, ear plugs, power cords, tissues, aspirin, etc.

Carefully go over everything. There are so many times someone has packed a suit, tie, shirts, socks, and shoes, but forgot something as simple as a belt. Also, when packing toiletries, pay attention to sizes. Know if your boss is taking a carry on that she will need to have the smaller toothpaste and shampoo. Check with the airlines before packing and get the latest information on rules and regulations. However, traveling private is different and other regulations apply.

Who To Prepare

It is your job to know all of your boss’s travel habits. How he likes to fly, what his favorite airlines are, what color seats he prefers (yes, I said it). Aisle or window preference, what foods he can eat, where he likes to sit (First Class or Business), time of day he prefers to travel.

Not only will you need to prepare the people going on the trip, but you may need to alert business associates, staff, and others that your boss will be traveling. If there is a staff, this is also the time to keep an extra vigil on them and keep the house running smoothly and making sure they don’t take this as a mini-vacation. While it is okay to let them ease up a bit, it is important that the house continues to run efficiently.

If there is a second home, alert that staff and make sure everything will be ready when your employer arrives; food, clean sheets, fuel in the cars, etc.

Also, contact the limo service that will be meeting your boss. Get the name and number of the driver’s cell. Make sure he is on time and give him a description of what your employer is wearing so he can easily find him. Ask the driver to have a sign with your employer’s name.

Discuss with your employer anything she may want you to deal with while she’s away.

Last Minute Change Of Plans

If you are not using a travel agent, and even if you are, you will need to keep a specific itinerary of everything that is occurring so you can accommodate any changes or surprises that arise. The airport may be snowed in. There may be an overbooking at the hotel, someone in the traveling party may get sick, an unscheduled business appointment, death in the family, or household disaster may arise, and you will need to change plans fast.

Occasionally you may have one of those very very rare boss’s who only flies on planes with red seat cushions and he has just boarded a plane with blue ones. Keeping a good itinerary with as many details as you can have will help make last minute switching a lot easier. Still challenging, but easier.

Do You Go Or Stay?

One of the things you should work out before hand is knowing if you will be traveling with your boss. Some of you may want to travel, and some may not. You may have a family and want to be home every night. These are important things you’ll need to discuss when first taking the position.

Working Mobile

On the go should never mean out of touch. You need to be able to have as much ability as you can to stay in touch on every front, phone contact, email, fax, messaging, weather, travel info, etc.

Fortunately, we are in a very technologically savvy world and it is easy to do so. The question is, are you technically savvy? Can you figure out how to get email while nowhere near a computer? Can you find out the weather from inside a taxi?

Again, you will need to discuss with your employer everything that will be expected of you in this area and then make sure they can supply you with or have you purchase the items necessary to help keep him or her in the know. And, if you don’t know the best items to purchase, then your job is to find the tech savvy person who can tell you what to get. A good source of information are web blogs or opinion web sites that can also rate these products.

Secondly, you need to make sure these new tech items can work in the places you will be traveling to. It will do you no good to have a Blackberry that works in New York and not in Spain, or North Carolina. You need to make sure that you have an idea of not only where the items may be used, but in what capacity.

Living Out Of A Bag

You are responsible for yourself, your boss, and possibly his family, associates, band members, etc. So while you want to travel light, you need to make sure you bring things that you will need when away for a while. If you are staying in hotels, most concierge can get you items you may need. But don’t buy too much because you may need to leave early and you have to be able to pack up and get out quickly. Think of it like an episode of the Apprentice. You may need to pack every day, so learn to take only those items really necessary and figure out how to get the rest later.

I Want The Food I Get Back Home!

There are just going to be times when both you and your boss will want exactly what you get back home. Sometimes this is easy to handle, sometimes you will need to work a little harder to get these items, which can also entail higher costs, and then sometimes you still can’t find the item.

See if there is something you could use to substitute. Perhaps you can’t get whey protein but you can get egg protein. Maybe there is no agave sweetener, and your boss might be okay using dates to sweeten their protein shake for the time being. If your employer uses a chef or dietician, you can call or email them and get some ideas for good alternatives.

An actress was on location and just had to have a health shake that her trainer recommended. The problem was that some of the ingredients could not be found in that country and there was no way to rush ship the items needed. So, working through the night, her Personal Assistant, with input from the trainer, got together with some of the crew and came up with a mixture of other ingredients that ended up tasting like what they were missing. The actress never knew a thing.

Traveling With Children And Pets

A good travel agent can keep you up to date with the latest travel rules and regulations. When traveling with children, especially in today’s security driven society, you should know a couple things. When traveling with a child and only one parent or no parents you will need to have a notarized letter from the parent(s) and you may need records from the physician saying it is okay to travel. If there are any medications, you should carry the proper documentation because they do baggage search nowadays for that as well.

Make sure you have any special reading materials, videos or other favorite items that will keep the child happy, and content as possible. Always have a sweater or light jacket with you and there are times when a quick change of clothes is with you on board the plane for any ⬔accidentsâ¬- that may occur. Also, children touch everything. Have them wash their hands often and make sure you do the same. Always carry wipes with you.

For pets you will also need all the proper documentation and every airline can tell you their specific requirements. I suggest you call twice. There have been a number of times when an assistant will be told one thing and something completely different when they arrive. So verify your information, get a name, id number and location where the office you spoke with is.

Checking the weather can be most important especially when traveling long distances. The temperatures inside the cargo area can change and you want to make sure the animal is always as comfortable as possible. If you are traveling private, the pet will travel within the cabin.

The good things is that some commercial airlines are getting on board and offering incentives for smaller pets to ride inside the cabin along with you. However this can all change if your pet is rowdy, noisy, or smells badly.

Home Sick

This is a tough area for anyone who will be on the road for months at a time. Sometimes it got so bad for me I would have my roommate video tape my dog and FedEx them to me wherever I was.

Find the time to keep up with friends and relatives. Fortunately, cell phones make it easier these days to do those long distance calls.

Another thing that can help with travel blues is to have people send you letters. There is something comforting about receiving a letter or even a silly care package with goofy things in it. Yes, it will make you sad but mostly fond of the people who took the time to make you feel wanted.

It is important that the position you take is one you like and not one you took because it’s cool or because you’re working for a big star. If you do not enjoy your job, you will really get homesick when you are away for long period of time.