5 Things You Must Know About Medical Travel

There are FIVE very important things you need to know before taking your next travel assignment:

1. SALARY, SALARY, SALARY.

Chances are INCREDIBLY HIGH you are NOT getting paid top dollar for your assignment if you accept the Standard Benefit Package travel companies offer.

Most travelers (both new and seasoned) do not realize that the Standard Benefit Package offered by a travel company is only a STARTING place for negotiation. Because the initial salary offered is higher than what they receive for a stationary job position, often travelers quickly take the standard salary, not realizing that negotiating for MORE is relatively easy.

I know for a fact that I have worked along side other medical travelers doing the same job I was hired to do at the same time in the same hospital and they were making less per hour than me…And some of these people were not new to the travel game! Why? They might either be unaware of the pay range for their job title and competency and/or they simply thought that their current assignment “just paid that particular amount.”

But the real NUMBER ONE reason they aren’t getting top dollar is they don’t know what to ask and how to ask for it!

Just knowing what to ask can signal to a recruiter that you are a savvy business person and immediately increase your changes of getting the best deal.

Don’t take years to “catch on”, losing money all the while, when you can start smart right out of the gate. And if you’ve already hit the road and are suspecting you’re not getting the best deals, you can change that today!

2. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!

You can end up in some very undesirable locations if you don’t know how to access the best travel assignments.

When I first began medical travel I had no idea of the broad scope of places I could visit. I merely took the only job I was offered and set out to drive across the country in my own car. I arrived to spend a very desolate 13 weeks in a little out of the way town that offered nothing of interest. In addition it was a very dull working environment. So much for the glamour of travel!!

The type of job I just described is obviously harder to fill with a more knowledgeable traveler and therefore many companies merely take advantage of the traveling novice and send them packing to the outer parts of nowhere. After all, the travel company gets paid for you to work…where you work is your problem!

However, even those who have been traveling for awhile often do not know how to land the most desirable job locations. It took me several years to figure out the “nuts and bolts” of ending up where I really wanted to work and visit. (After all, one of the main reasons besides salary to hit the road is to enjoy the view!!) Looking back, accessing the BEST job locations was really just a matter of know-how and not complicated at all.

3. TRAVEL NIGHTMARES!

You can get booked on some flights from “you know where” if you are unaware of the options the travel company can provide.

Some years ago I took a job in Oregon that necessitated me flying across the country from my Florida address. I was still in my medical travel learning curve and thus ended up changing flights three different times complete with hideous layovers plus I arrived at 1 am in the morning at an airport that was two hours away from the town where I would be working! I took the rental car awaiting me and drove to the hotel where I was to spend my first night (if crawling into bed at around 4 am could be called going to bed for the night!) On top of that the motel ended up being a colossal dump with a stuck heater system that turned my room into a steam bath, finally driving me out into the early morning air exhausted and angry.

Since travel companies normally cover your travel expenses, they can save money by re-routing you all over the place and by having you arrive at weird hours and in towns or cities within “driving distance” of your destination. Trust me, it happens often! If you don’t know your “rights” you’ll have the experience fairly quickly once you begin to travel.

So just know that because you’re told your “travel plans are all taken care of” it doesn’t mean you’re going to like the arrangements one bit!!

4. HOUSING…LOUSY, JUST AVERAGE, OR GRAND!

There are many ways to either enjoy or rue the day you took an assignment and one of those factors is the type of housing accommodations the travel company provides for you.

Most assignment last 13 weeks and 13 weeks is a long time to live somewhere you don’t like and enjoy. I’ve had just about every experience possible since I began traveling, from fairly lousy, to just average, to absolutely grand. And as any traveler will tell you, GRAND is always better!

To tell you the truth I could just kick myself when I think back to some of the housing conditions I accepted. It wasn’t that they were terrible (well, one was pretty bad!), many were just “ho-hum.” (Certainly not directly overlooking the ocean, which I have now experienced on two assignments…all due to the negotiating techniques I’ve learned along the way.)

But now I go first class on each of my assignments and I do that on a regular basis. And believe it or not, it’s very easy to get those upscale housing considerations. Very easy! Among the many considerations I ask for and receive besides an upscale apartment complex or condo community ( a good start in and of itself!), are a BIG television (I like sports and I don’t want to squint to see the action!), a washer and dryer inside my personal apartment or condo (no trips to the local wash-dry-and-fold for me!), availability of a pool and work out room, a really well stocked kitchen (not just a few barely adequate necessities) and even a hide-a-bed sofa at my current assignment just in case I want to have guests. These are just a few examples of the things I ask for and receive…My list goes on and on!

5. THE RIGHT JOB!

There are some very simple but critical things you need to ask to determine if you’re walking into a job straight from the pit or into smooth sailing complete with a great environment and friendly co-workers and physicians.

You will be interviewed by a recruiter from the travel company to see where you are best suited to work and you will also be interviewed by a representative of the hospital where you are being considered for a travel position. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to interview them too.

I am still appalled when I hear even seasoned travelers tell me they ask very few questions, other than the basics, when they are considering a position. As a result, horror stories constantly make the rounds about travelers arriving at jobs that turned out to be anything but what they expected. And now they are bound by a legal contract to complete the assignment!

To me, not asking the right questions is not only totally foolish, it’s completely unnecessary. Almost without exception I can spot “red flags” about a job just by asking some critical questions of the travel company recruiter and the hospital representative. In fact, you’ll be awed at the information people will volunteer if you just ask the right way!!

Case in point…not long ago I was interviewing for a position in my home state of Florida. It had all the criteria on the surface that made it seem the perfect set up. However, after asking the questions I’ve learned over time to ask, I knew I would be walking straight into one those situations I wanted to avoid at all costs. For example, just one of the red flags that presented was this…three people had left all at once from this particular department, indicating there were some major problems there. I would not have known that if I hadn’t asked the right question. The exit of those three employees leads me to ask a few more questions. As a result, I quickly moved on to another assignment.

The interesting follow up to this story is that some months later I returned and took this exact assignment. Why? The whole stage had changed…new people, new environment…things had settled down and the unworkable situation had been corrected. And the job was great this time around. One of the other travelers that had lasted out the initial nightmare and had renewed his assignment told me I had certainly avoided the worst. Hear, hear!

Now, I’ve given you just five things from the many chapters of my book, Insider Secrets to Medical Travel that you must know before taking your next travel assignment, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned traveler who has become dissatisfied with the deals you’re being offered.

Implementing any ONE of these five things in an informed manner can bring you tremendous benefits while saving you untold grief and a lengthy, painful learning curve.

Medical travel can be a lucrative, fun, exciting, and fulfilling career…IF you know how to navigate the system and access the highest salary, most desirable locations, comfortable travel plans, nicest housing accommodations, and the best job scenarios.

How to Understand, Start and Run a Successful Home Based Travel Business

Why this is such an excellent choice for a home based business, and How To Get Started

Are you seeking information on a Home Business, or possibly you’ve read a whole lot and now you are trying to sort out what might be the BEST home based business? This is a long article, but stick with it all the way and we’re very confident you’ll have your answer(s).
Are you looking for the Best Home Based Business ? Recent polls show that over 70% of people who search the Internet are looking for such an opportunity. But does something like this really exist?

Here’s the problem: if you asked ten different people what the “best” home business was, you would probably get ten different answers. The truth of the matter is it really comes down to finding the best one for YOU.

We are all coming from a unique background. Each of us first has different wants and needs, and a want or need will determine what is best. Then we all have different abilities, and yes.. your abilities DO match up to what might be the best for YOU. What’s best for a friend or neighbor and might work for them might be a total mismatch for you. This article will give you a good insigte and provide a direction on what is one of the most universally agreed upon as a “Best” business.

We all have different interests and personalities, interests , abilities, and personalities. We have different strengths and weaknesses. We also come from all sorts of different circumstances. So it makes sense that not all of us are going to be interested in the same home based business model.

If there was truly ONE business that was for everyone, can you imagine how competitive that field would be? It would be VERY difficult for anyone to make any money!

You have probably seen advertisements all over the internet about THE #1 income making opportunity. Don’t get fooled by all the hype and so-called ways to make easy money. There is no such thing.

That’s where this article comes in. This article is NOT a comprehensive list of reviews of the thousands of home based business ideas out there. It’s an article that tells you some parameters of a good home based business, then discusses the travel industry. We give you the pros and cons both of a job and being in business; we tell you the history of our industry, and then why it’s so good and the place to be right now as it rides two major trends: Travel and the Internet.

I have researched and tried (sometimes failing miserably) many home based businesses, both online and in the real world, BUT, I have found and chosen something that is a legitimate way to make a great income from home. That’s what this is about. It’s a great fit for me, but because you are NOT me and probably have a different personality (thank heaven!), it may not be for you.. and that’s ok. But if you see things as I do, and as is presented here…

The best home based business for ME is a HOME BASED TRAVEL BUSINESS. I know it will also be for many of you.

But other than the fact that I’m just a normal, ordinary guy with no special talents.. and in fact, I’m probably older than most readers at 69 and I started this just last year, this article is not about me. It only points out that about anyone can easily get involved in the home based travel business. This is about YOU and what YOU want from life and your “working hours”, whether you are a stay-at-home-mom, a retiree, or any other category.

So the question becomes, out of all the various choices: Why start a online travel business?

We are going to discuss first the “Why”, then a little about the various types, and then the “how”. This will take some time, so grab a beverage of your choice and read on. In fact, I suggest you print this out while the coffee is brewing so you can really digest it. Mark it up. Pencil in questions.. and let’s get going!

First and foremost, when choosing a home based business, it’s really important to ask yourself “Why” are you doing this, and are you prepared to take it seriously and treat it like a business? That means regular hours of commitment of time and a commitment of money as any and all businesses you own are going to require some degree of investment.

This is probably as good of a time as any to differentiate between a JOB and a Business. ..

A job, including a home based “job” is one where you are going to essentially be trading time for money, and the assumption is that you have an employer of some sort who is going to pay you either on a dollar value per hour spent, or some dollar value for certain production. That production could be sales production as it often is; it could be manufacturing production, or it could be service production.. so many envelopes stuffed; so many calls made, so many of about anything done. That person is going to pay you for that, but you know that person or company is only doing this because they are going to make a certain amount of money on you. You are essentially paid what the job is worth; what the employer could get a replacement for you for. Regardless of your skills, you are not being paid what YOU are worth, but what the job is worth. For accepting this, you get some degree of security knowing that if you do “the assignment” or “the job” you are going to receive a certain, predictable amount of money. You may even receive some benefits. But the “security” is a joke because everyone knows that there is very little security. First the employer must remain in business. He must have a market for whatever it is you are doing, and markets change.

Next, your value is relative! Maybe that employer has a cousin who would like to do your job, or maybe someone comes along willing to do your job for less money. How secure are you? People tell me every day, “I don’t want the risks of a business.” Guess again everyone! You certainly have RISK as an employee as well!. And as to investment… well, many businesses have employee borne expenses, and even the IRS recognizes this. It’s just that there are SOME “out there” that don’t require any CASH investment, but don’t kid yourself.. you ARE making an investment, only it’s hidden in the fact you’re paying it in work and in the sense that you’re not being paid as much as you might if you absorbed certain expenses yourself.

In contrast, a BUSINESS, including a home based business, is one where you choose and control what ever it is your business makes or does. It could be virtually anything, and probably the best business is one where you control the product or service. Here on the internet, Information products are tops; these are followed by service products. Then comes those things you manufacture or make, and finally, there’s the category of items someone else controls but makes available to you for resale. Affiliate programs fall into this category. But you really need to be aware that if you are going to have a BUSINESS you are going to have business expenses, even a homebased business. These are the expenses of the office first, and then you may need to have some product or have been a user of some of the service so you truly KNOW what you have and can do business from a credible point. The product or service should be one of value that if you were the buyer, you’d consume it yourself at retail. Watch the line though… you don’t want to is get into a business where you are required to purchase X dollars amount of product every month, whether you can use this or not. That’s not a legitimate business.

Depending on your philosophy, you’ll probably agree that it is very important to choose a business that interests you. Pick one that you will enjoy doing, ideally something you are passionate about. Think about it, if you are going to start a business from home, it makes sense to choose something that you will enjoy. And if you enjoy it, then you’ll probably learn more quickly and have your heart more into it when the going is tough.

But we’d put just a couple things ahead of this and put “enjoyment” as a luxury. Those things are market size and market growth. Where is your business product or service in terms of life cycle? Is your market expanding and you can ride a wave, or is it declining. And what is the market size and potential. Will there be a business available for you in 5 years? Ten?

Then lastly, we’d probably mention that the business should be ethical and compatible with what you believe. Many people who research businesses, particularly Internet businesses, know that the porn and gambling industry meets the criteria of growth and market size. You may be tempted to look in those areas, and if you are, kindly close this report or article and tear up you paper copy. This is not a part of the business world we want anything to do with. Money and income is just not that important to us.

After evaluating many, many, many businesses and participating in several since 1969, including an early successful involvement with Amway, then Free Life, and a couple others, including a few that just didn’t “go” for us, we became aware of the opportunities in the online travel business. This is a business model that has just evolved over the past few years, and is now in full momentum.

It is also important to be a part of trends. Fortunes are made by riding trends. Currently, travel is a trend to the tune of 6 trillion dollars a year! By 2010, that number is estimated to be 14 trillion dollars!

Think of all the baby boomers that will be retiring in the coming years. And what do people like to
do when they retire? What would you like to do when you retire? If you’re like me, travel is probably very near the top of that list.

That is why the travel industry provides the perfect business for opportunity seekers. It is simply taking advantage of a trend that is just starting to gain momentum. When looked at as a home based business, it rides the second trend: the growth of the Internet as a business medium.

Let’s look at how and why this has evolved into a viable Internet Based Travel Business.

People “booking travel” for others has evolved possibly in three stages. We also should consider the two major market segments: Business travel and personal or leisure travel, and in the later category, we’d include as a very close association, travel and leisure and recreational activities and lodging. We are going to focus on personal leisure travel and recreational travel market.

STAGE 1: Probably dates back about 75-80 years when the primary mode was train and ocean liner. There were no condos, few motels, and little air travel. But there were many lodges and luxury hotels. We’ve all heard of the Biltmore and others. And there was some degree of business travel, but not to the extent we had a few years ago before travel (particularly sales meetings) became so expensive. Other than those vacations to places like Atlantic City, travel was really more in the hands of the more wealthy part of the population, and most of THOSE people just did not want to be bothered making their own arrangements, or even checking places out. A small cadre of “travel agents” was born, although they probably had many more duties along the line of concierge, personal assistant, etc. In large companies, specialists were brought on board to do those arrangements… and seek out bargains and discounts for their companies.

STAGE 2: Now we have more cars, the DC-3 and early airlines are starting to emerge. We have reliable telephones; we have some early forms of fax but the telegram was the primary means of communication on short notice as mail took longer, and people are becoming aware that they can earn money booking travel for others. Providing essentially two services: Knowledge of destinations and Administrative tasks such as actually buying the travel arrangements on behalf of a third party. That third party could be a business or an individual.

Natural business evolution follows and at first small partnerships were formed because now two people might have the knowledge and experience of two different travel destinations, but as a single entity (the travel agency) be able to offer clients more options. Then this single agency could bring more volume to a travel provider such as an airline, hotel, etc than a single person, and hence negotiate better discounts, or as more often was the case, better commissions as not all discounts got passed on. Everyone benefited.

Airline traffic was particularly challenging to book, and in the late parts of Stage 2, computers began to come more and more into play, although they were both expensive and highly specialized. The affordable home computer had not yet really evolved and there were limited travel networks. Travel agencies could afford these computer systems and gain access to the various vendors, which at that time were mainly airlines, and book travel conveniently and easily. This was about to change!

STAGE 3: Change took place almost over night. The airlines deregulated as one part, and competition evolved to a point where commissions were almost non existent to the agencies. The Internet and access to travel databases within the airlines and hospitality industry literally exploded into being, and now EVERYONE had at least almost nearly equal administrative access to the services and could bypass the agencies which started going out of business at an alarming rate. The one thing certain agencies DID retain was a cadre of people who HAD traveled and did have personal experience with various providers… resorts, cruise lines, etc. But as profits to the providers themselves started to decline, so did the availability of FAM trips, and there were fewer agencies.

But along with this evolved another trend! The population is growing and there’s more travelers available, particularly in the leisure market than ever. And many of these travelers just don’t have the time to really do the research, or even to truly shop for the best and lowest costs.

But individuals devoted to and loving to travel such as stay at home moms in travel find that they can provide the same services that the old large agencies did!

All they needed was a vendor willing to work with them, and at this time, new vendors started to emerge.

The emergence is primarily in the area of recreation and resorts as unlike the airlines which have cut back and in many cases have a SHORTAGE of seats and product, resorts (and cruise lines) have continued to build and expand where today, they have an excess or surplus of inventory except for very limited times of the year.

The question becomes: How do we fill these empty rooms? These empty staterooms? These empty golf courses? These unused campsites?

The answer is: Through You!

But you don’t know where they are, or how to negotiate the pricing.. but a newly evolved list of consolidators do! Currently there are three major consolidator groups doing business in the USA, and one stands out above the other two as it has more contacts, more experience, more inventory, and essentially a better pay plan offering the customer more options. What YOU have is a list of contacts or the knowledge and time to introduce the traveling public to these options. Because you are working with the suppliers of SURPLUS inventory who is willing to fill these vacancies at deeply discounted rates, you can pass these rates on, if only you knew how to get your hands on them.

Actually, about anyone can get their hands on any one location at any time at a discount, and many people have been doing that using services such as Orbitz, Travelocity, and others But these are very sharply targeted and focused, and deal much more with just hotels, car rentals, and to some extent, airline travel. One can pick up a major magazine or metro newspaper and find condos for rent from owners, at discounts. But again, this is very limited.

How Do You Get Started?

First, you learn about the 3 major consolidator firms offering travel, and if you just let the word out that you are looking for a homebasd travel agency or company, you’ll find that these people find you very quickly. Or you can do an Internet search using terms like that and find them. Most of the firms have a fairly similar makeup in that they are offering an entire travel package or membership for a fee. This entitles the purchaser to the inside track on deeply discounted travel services.

If they are essentially all the same, what do you look for? We focus in a legitimate business first on product, so we look for product value. We look for a company with flexibility and a product mix. Not all people want to travel internationally, so is there just a domestic package? What is offered that you or your customer can do when they get to a destination? Are there name resort and theme parks? Golfing? How about great meal discounts, as we all “eat out” when we travel? We know cruising is “big” but we know the cruise lines vary from very family oriented to “swinging singles”. Is there a good mix? How about time limitations on the travel package?

As a business, what kind of support tools are available? Training is a must, and is it real, and in real time, with real live people you can talk to and ask questions of? A solid, reliable web site is a must. Does the firm you are looking to join provide one? None will do a good site free, but is this a fair and reasonable cost?

Will you have access to a personal mentor? Can you become a certified, card carrying travel agent as well if you want?

These are but a few of the questions.

The “How Do You Get Started” in the home based travel industry is best summarized by 3 words: “Do Your Homework”

Well, now that you know some of the history, let’s look at a couple more things, starting with some of the advantages of this, particularly in comparison to other options you may have selling nutritional products, informational products, skin care, diet products, or many others.

Aside from the money making potential in our industry, there are many other advantages.

It is easy to start. This facet never ceases to blow me away With the invention of the internet, businesses that have traditionally always been brick and mortar establishments are now available to all of us. The internet makes it easy for everyday people like you and me to start a small business online. We can reach people all over the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the comfort of our own home. People can be checking out your business while you are sleeping, on vacation, or whatever. Phone services like Skype let us actually talk to people all over the world (one of us might be sacrificing some sleep due to time zone differences, but technically, it’s possible!)

Your business is relatively inexpensive to start, particularly compare to a more standard travel agency business. Because you no longer need a regular office, insurance, and employees, businesses. In fact, if you set up a legitimate IRS qualifying home office, many of the costs you have at your current home now become tax deductible (see your accountant, and if you don’t have one.. get one. Maybe you can even barter some travel services for HIS services).

Your potential clients include almost everyone. Who doesn’t like to travel or need a vacation? And if the economy slows, your business grows! Previous travelers who thought nothing of paying full price now start to look for discounts.

You can save a lot of money on your own travel.

What’s the point of owning a business if you don’t get some fringe benefits? With a home based travel business, you become eligible for some incredible discounts. And because you are your own boss, you will have more free time to go on vacation and take advantage of these discounts.

Is there a downside to a home based travel business? Sure, there is in any business.

Travel is a very competitive industry.
In order to have an edge, you have to differentiate yourself from the rest by branding yourself with a superior product. Those who read this article and find a specific interest and contact us as the author will be given some very specific knowledge on how to do this and succeed.

Other than that, I have not come across any other disadvantages to a home based travel business.

Nursing And Allied Travel Jobs

THERE’S ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO THE STORY!

I’ve been a medical traveler for many years now and have had numerous occasions to review a large number of Travel Company web sites. Most of them contain some type of Q & A section that explains how they work and what they offer. I’ve found that the information given, while accurate, is very incomplete.

Most of what I’ve learned about the medical travel industry has been learned through the proverbial School of Hard Knocks. It occurred to me recently to write an article that expanded on the usual information given on medical travel websites, an article that presented (as Paul Harvey used to say) the “Rest of the Story.”

And so…here we go!

SALARY

Travel Company: On their web sites Travel Companies usually state a salary range that they offer depending on the type of position, your area of expertise and your experience.

Rest of the Story: What you are initially offered for a travel assignment is usually not the top dollar that is available for that assignment. Most travelers merely accept what they are offered believing the “deal is the deal” for that particular assignment. I used to do that too… but not any more!

You especially limit your chances of getting the best salary for your assignments if you choose to register with only one travel agency. When you do that, you give away all leverage to negotiate for better pay. I am always registered with multiple travel companies so I can compare several potential assignments at once and negotiate for the best over all packages.

There are numerous other “pitfalls” when it comes to getting the most compensation for your travel job. For example, it behooves you to clarify the stipulations for receiving certain types of bonuses and whether you must work solely for one company to earn those bonuses. Again, if you work for only one company, you may unknowingly forfeit higher compensation in other areas of your benefit package in order for the company to offer you those bonuses, in which case they can hardly be called a bonus.

Remember, you can always, “work your best deal,” (negotiate) with several companies while still remaining highly professional. In addition, knowing how to ask for more will telegraph to a recruiter that you know your business and will position you to receive the best offers.

HOUSING

Travel Company: Travel companies always state they will provide you with fully furnished housing while you are on your assignment.

Rest of the Story: You may be asked to share a two bedroom apartment with another traveler, even a stranger, who is working at your same location unless you know you can request a one bedroom separate apartment.

Some travelers have been “required” (because they merely accepted this arrangement) to live in an extended stay facility for the entire 13 weeks of an assignment. This is very cramped quarters and becomes extremely wearying after just a couple of weeks.

I have seen travelers deal with other conditions that were very undesirable such as having their housing located too far from the hospital. I had this experience on one assignment (before I learned to clear all that up in advance!). Each morning I had to make my way through 10 miles of early morning rush hour traffic to reach the hospital.

In addition, fully furnished means different things to different people. If you don’t know what to ask for in advance you can be stuck with things like a poorly furnished kitchen (only a few sad looking pots and pans for cooking) as well as sparse and unattractive furniture (an ugly green sofa and purple chair spring to mind).

Knowing what your options really are and how to ask for them is paramount to having a comfortable, safe, convenient and enjoyable living arrangement. Multiple considerations are there for the asking, but you definitely have to ask. By clarifying in advance what I need and expect, and by applying simple to learn negotiating techniques I’ve perfected over time, I now receive the very best housing accommodations on all my assignments.

GENERAL BENEFIT PACKAGES

Travel Company: All travel companies offer a variety of benefits besides housing and salary which can include per diem pay, travel expenses, bonuses, clothing and equipment reimbursement, insurance, continuing education, 401 K’s, etc.

Rest of the Story: Travel benefit packages are definitely not all equal! For instance, one travel company’s insurance coverage may not start until 30 days after you have begun your assignment versus a policy offered by another company that becomes effective the first day on the job. These and numerous other “small print” concerns can come back to bite you if you’re unprepared!

I’ve also talked to nurses who were never offered per diem pay (the average is $30.00 a day or $210.00 a week) but others were receiving it simply because they asked for it!
Some were told they could elect to have per diem pay but would receive fewer benefits in other areas if they chose that option. However, that was not the case for other travelers who refused that trade off. I know I continually receive per diem pay on ALL my assignments without sacrificing any reduction in other areas of compensation.

To make your travel experience the most lucrative and enjoyable, it pays (literally!) to know what is available as well as how to access those top of the line benefit packages.

TRAVEL PROVISIONS

Travel Company: Travel companies offer a variety of ways to cover your travel expenses. If you are required to fly to your assignment, your flight costs will be paid in advance and your travel itinerary arranged for you plus a rental car will be provided once you arrive at your destination. If you are desirous of driving your own car to your job site, you will receive mileage compensation and/or a flat fee amount for travel expenses.

Rest of the Story: Travel companies can save a lot of money by booking you on flights that leave or arrive at undesirable times of the day or night or that re-route you all over the place, necessitating you change planes frequently.

I had that experience early on in my travel career (oh what a novice I was then!), when after 3 stops, and long layovers, I finally landed at an airport at 1 am in the morning that was a full two hour drive away from my job site! Just to add to the misery, after that two hour drive in the middle of the night I arrived to find the hotel booked for me was the ultimate rat’s nest with a stuck heater system that turned my room into an unbearable steam bath.

I also have some rather interesting stories about the type of cars that were rented on my behalf (tin can anyone?). Fortunately I’ve learned how to avoid all those nightmares and now travel comfortably and at reasonable hours.

The point is that if you don’t know your way around the available travel options, plus know how to negotiate for the best travel considerations, you can have some pretty nasty travel experiences.

JOB LOCATIONS

Travel Company: Travel companies paint a somewhat glamorous picture of the places you can travel and the wonderful experiences you can have.

Rest of the Story: If you’re a traveling novice there is a very good chance you will end up in some out of the way place or hospital that is anything but glamorous. Travel companies are anxious to fill whatever positions that present (after all, that’s how they make their money!) and so they can offer less than desirable job locations to those who don’t know how to navigate the system. That certainly happened to me the first time I took a travel position. I landed in a miserable little town with a very boring job assignment. It made for a very long 13 weeks!

Just knowing you might get dealt the “low end of the deck” if you’re new to the game can help you avoid something really dower. However, even seasoned travelers are often not getting the best assignments that are available. Thankfully, over time I’ve learned what to ask for and what to avoid, and more importantly, how to spot a bad job location no matter how many bows are on the package.

THE BEST JOBS

Travel Company: Travel companies accurately state that a recruiter will contact you about a job opportunity and will give you a general overview of the job, its requirements, and what salary and other benefits are being offered. You will also have an opportunity to ask whatever questions you wish concerning the position.

Rest of the Story: Recruiters are going to provide the basics of the potential job assignment to you but they are not going to go into any great detail unless it is in direct response to your questions. You should also be prepared to ask pertinent questions of the hospital representative if you should decide to interview for a position presented to you by the recruiter.

I remain astounded at the number of even experienced travelers that either do not ask many questions concerning a potential job assignment or don’t know what to ask to find out the “nitty gritty” of what the job really entails. As a result, there are many travelers who are quite “surprised” (and not in a good way!) about the real facts once they reach their job destination. And of course, like it or not, they are bound by a legal contract to fulfill their assignment.

Just by asking the number of staff that will be working on your floor or in your department, the number of patients or tests you will be expected to oversee or perform, and the ratio of permanent and travel staff, you can begin to get a definite feel for what you will encounter. Recently while considering a position, I was able to ask those questions plus several others that revealed there had been a recent “uproar” in the department with people leaving in mass, leading me to decide not to jump into the fray.

I am always being treated to the latest horror story concerning jobs that were anything but what they were thought to be. That doesn’t have to be your story if you learn the right questions to ask in order to get the real picture.

IN CONCLUSION

As you can see, knowledge is power! Without it, you’re in for a very bumpy ride in the medical travel world. I’ve explained just a few Q & A areas where travel companies are only giving you the basics of the process. Unfortunately, relying on “just the basics” will have you collecting a few horror stories of your own!

Travel Guide

Who likes taking vacations? Of course, that would include approximately 99 percent of the population. The 1 percent would more than likely be workaholics that just do not like taking work along with them on vacation. And, no matter who you are, you probably like getting that travel deal.

Travel deals can come from the actual airplane flight, a hotel discount, car rental savings, cruise packages, and you can obtain travel deals from travel guides.

What are the most popular travel deals? The most popular travel deals include

1) last minute labor day deals or otherwise last minute getaway for the holiday weekend savings. You can save up to 70 percent on these last minute getaways for the holiday weekends. Usually, these featured deals include both air fare and hotel packaged-savings. A lot of times the travel package deals come with flexible departure dates from Thursday to Saturday. Of course, the travel packaged-deals expire within a limited time offer period, usually a weekend only packaged-deal.

2) Compare and save on air fare. Now you can see if you are getting a good travel deal. A lot of sites offer this option of compare and save on air fare and other flight services. Example, you can compare and save for Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year air fare flight rates. Often, you can get last minute travel deals with last minute packages from $199, United States dollars.

Other popular travel deals. Looking for a travel deal to London, Paris, Venice, Barcelona to New York, Arizona, or other popular hot vacation spots? Frequently, Norwegian Cruise Line, Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, and Continental Airlines offer hot deals on travel packages. You will find offers for travel credits, one way, round trip, pre-purchase, and other fantastic travel deals. Some popular travel deal destinations can include Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Orlando, San Francisco. Some popular international travel deals include travel locations such as Aruba, Bahamas, Cabo San Lucas, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Paris, and Puerto Vallarta.

Popular travel deal sites. You can search and find travel deals with carrentals.com, Orbiz, Delta Air Lines, Travelocity, Expedia, travel.yahoo.com, travelchannel.com, travel.nytimes.com, cnn.com, and County Visitors Bureaus. For US citizen traveling abroad, try travel.state.gov. For car rentals, you can search and find deals from $10 and up for a weekend car rental deal. For hotels on sale nationwide, you can search and find deals from 30% off. For last minute fares, you can search and find weekend air fare deals. For county visiting bureaus, you can search and find hotel discounts and gift card options. Travel guides, travel magazines, travel zoo, train travel, last minute travel, cruises, and airlines offer many appealing travel deals.

Take advantage of all the travel deal options. To do this, you may want to explore package deals, not just a particular travel deal for flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacations. There are many available travel deals for many popular travel destinations in the United States and Internationally. Search all travel destinations if you are not set on one particular vacation hot spot. You will find different travel deals for various hot spots, vacation location destinations, throughout the travel holidays and seasonal travel deals as well.

Find Travel Bargains by Thinking Outside of the Travel Box

There are many bargains in travel for the person who knows where to look and how to take advantage of existing programs. Of course, I am not talking about taking a winter vacation to Galveston Texas and spending your weekend in a cardboard box on the beach. I am also not referring to a tree house on the shores of Lake Michigan in the dead of winter.

Where Do You Look For Travel Bargains?

Just a couple decades ago, travel shoppers would go to their local travel agency to find discount travel services and discount travel packages.

Many people have known for years that if you buy a plane ticket from the airline company, then chances are solid that you will always pay full price for that ticket. However, the average travel agency can acquire that same airplane fair at a discount – in essence so that the travel agency can profit from the difference, but many travel agencies will pass those savings to the consumer.

Travel agencies also offer another advantage to consumers in that they have the ability to look at airline fares from a number of different airlines. Often it can be much cheaper to fly to Chicago and change airplanes to catch another flight to New York City, than it would be to take the direct route to NYC. Travel agencies have the ability to see those discounts that others will not see.

Discount travel packages are often available by grouping a set of people into the same vacation plan. The elderly and retired most commonly take advantage of this option, but they are not the only ones. From Las Vegas, people will join together to fill a bus for the ride to Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon. All around the country, people will board a bus and ride it to a casino closer to home. Tour groups frequently catch a flight to Europe and share a bus trip tour around Europe.

By getting three-dozen distant strangers to share the costs of a particular tour schedule, travel costs can definitively be lowered. Costs are reduced because the tour can be priced according to the real costs of the journey, as opposed to the inflated costs designed into a package to pay for the empty seats. But, do you really want to build your next vacation around the strict schedule designed by the tour operator?

What If You Don’t Want To Share Your Vacation?

The truth is that there are plenty of travel savings out there for people who are a bit more independent than the people who fill tour buses.

To pose the question again as to where to get actual travel savings, many people in this day and age turn to the Internet travel companies for travel discounts.

The travel companies are in a grand advertising battle, fighting for your business. Expedia, Travelocity, Yahoo Travel, Travel.com, Orbitz, Priceline and others are fighting for your travel dollars. But, who really offers the best travel deals?

People have many opinions about who has the best travel deals available online. If you listen to William Shatner, you would look no further than Priceline for those travel deals. But, I am here to tell you that if you want the real travel deals, don’t stop at Priceline.

Big Dollar Advertising Requires Big Dollar Sales Markups

Consider this. In order for Expedia, Travelocity, Yahoo Travel, Travel.com, Orbitz, and Priceline to be household names, they have to spend millions on advertising to put their names into your subconscious mind.

How much of your travel package cost will be used to sell their services to the next person? In other words, how much are you overpaying for travel, in order to know who these companies are?

Cheaper Travel Can Be Found When You Escape The Beaten Path

If you know what to look for and where to look, you can find travel packages that are much less expensive than you can get with a tour operator or the top six travel companies shown above – and you will not have to share your trip with three dozen people you don’t even know and probably will not like.

To prove my point, let me give you a couple of examples.

On the Pacific side of Baja California Sur, in the town of Cabo San Lucas, Las Cabos, Mexico, there is a 5-Star Resort called Hacienda del Mar Vacation Club. At this resort, you can get a one-bedroom condo for 8 days and 7 nights, and you can spend your days and nights overlooking the Pacific Ocean. At Priceline, this package will cost $2088.38. At Travelocity, this same package will cost $1976.59. If you know where to shop, you can get the same one-bedroom condo for 8 days and 7 nights, for a mere $645.

Located on 600 acres in the greater San Diego, California area, Welk Resort San Diego offers unique accommodations in the form of vacation rentals with a variety of amenities and resort activities. You can get a one-bedroom villa suite in the most complete resort setting, which provides a golf course and a private theater. For an 8-day, 7-night package at Welk Resort, Expedia will charge $2064.43; Orbitz will charge you $2236.40, and Travelocity charges $2063. If you know where to shop, you can get this package for as little as $298.

In Conclusion

There is a little known secret that can literally save thousands of dollars on your next vacation, perhaps even step up the value you receive in exchange for your limited vacation dollars.

Truth in Travel Pricing

None of us should be surprised at these quotes from a travel article in the TimesOnline.co.uk (Oct 2008) by Stephen Bleach:

“Massive discounts on cruises were exposed as a con last week after leading line Fred Olsen admitted it had not sold a single cruise at full price for a year.”

A further quote from the managing director of the line, Mike Rodwell:

“the big American operators started it and the rest had to follow.”

Another surprise. On the same laptop page as this excellent article were three Google ads offering:

“Cruise Deals. Search The Top Online Cruise Deals. Read Reviews & Book Online Today.” Followed by:

“Cruise Discounts 75% Off, All cruise lines, all destinations.” And another:

“Huge Alaska Cruise Sale, Free Upgrades, Exclusive Deals & More with Guaranteed Lowest Prices!”

The travel operators behind these advertisements must think the travelling public is naive or even stupid but they would probably not use them if they did not work.

Also, these Google ads were run against a very negative, but truthful article about misleading advertising for cruises.

The travelling public continues to be treated with disdain by travel operators and advertising companies, not only by cruise lines and airlines but by all types of travel suppliers. What could be more misleading and false advertising than an airline advertising their fares in headlines that shout out:

“$49. one-way to Smithville” IN LARGE PRINT, and then:
‘based on return purchase, plus all taxes, surcharges for fuel, surcharges for security, checked baggage is extra, seat selection fees, and on and on and on.” And by the way, have fuel surcharges been reduced enough?

Not only cruise prices and airfares but also consider hotel pricing that often requires much investigation as regards the offered discounts:

“75% off! But off of what? A rack-rate that is rarely charged?

And, why can you often get cheaper rooms at an online reservation office than at the hotel front desk even when you are in their lobby and ready to book?

Next in line for pricing questions could be the packaged holiday market. How many of these are sold at the brochure price? Or, as with the above cruise line, are packaged tour operators simply following the lead of others?

Not only is the public being mislead by questionable advertising and pricing practices but once captured by a cruise line, airline or packaged resort operator they can be open to additional gouging whilst onboard the ship, aircraft or resort.

Apart from the onboard costs of alcoholic drinks which should be at duty-free prices (i.e. cheaper than onshore). Extras, such as shore excursions can also be more expensive when purchased onboard rather than ashore or even pre-departure using the internet. Similarly with resorts that have onsite booking agencies for off-resort activities. The prices are often cheaper when purchased directly from the operators or again at pre-departure directly over the internet. Airlines however, who are charging for all sorts of basic amenities from blankets, pillows, soft drinks and soon even water may not be free, have a more captive audience (the movie, ConAir comes to mind) and will continue to be the most reviled part of the travel experience.

There is hope for the future but so far only in Europe. In 2009 new rules for advertising standards will come into effect offering more protection for travellers. We must hope that these new rules will eventually spread to the rest of the world with further improvements to protect consumers worldwide.

In the travel industry. Where has the originality and creativity gone? Where are the leaders? Where has “lead, follow or get out of my way” gone? Only the followers know.

Another aspect of travel pricing is when consumers want to handle their own travel arrangements directly with the operators of hotels, lodges, tours and transportation. The pricing should reflect the fact that the products are being purchased directly from the source and not at the retail level. In other words, reduce the price by the commission that would have been paid to an agent, broker or retailer and give the traveller a direct booking discount. This action could encourage more travellers to make their own direct bookings, leading to more business and a competitive edge for the operator.

Of course, the traditional distribution channels have to be protected as many consumers require help and assistance and as yet not everyone has or wants the internet.

Travel providers do not normally show different prices on their websites as this could lead to potential clients seeking advice at the retail level and then booking directly with the operator to get a discounted price. It is unfair for retailers to lose their commissions when they have performed services for their travel-trade clients.

Consumers on the other hand, if they do not need expert advice or booking services, should have the opportunity to go directly to the source and get a direct booking discount.

Originality and creativity has returned to the travel industry. Travel providers are now able to offer travellers a direct booking discount service by using a new travel voucher system that has been introduced. With a website and the internet they can now reach out to the global travel community, not just travel agency or local traffic.

Any travel operator, from the smallest b&b to the grandest lodge or luxury tour, can offer this service. The voucher values represent the normal commissions that would have been paid out to sellers of travel but now will be given back to the buyers of travel. And, the discounted price does not have to show on their websites.

The service is leading with this new initiative and now wants to promote the thousands of small travel providers and other businesses around the world that do not use selling agents and therefore do not have sales commissions built into their pricing. The operators of the voucher service suggest that lower yields with higher volumes of direct booking discount travellers may achieve better overall returns.

Members of a new online travel club can get these vouchers free with membership and non-members can purchase them at deep discounts to their face values at another similar website. At present there are vouchers covering travel in over seventy countries from b&b’s to adventure and luxury tours.

The Club operators say that they do not charge businesses for listing their services as long as they participate in issuing vouchers enabling members to get direct booking discounts.

There are many directories linking the world of travel to the world of travellers but this new concept offers a directory with discounts on every travel selection if you are willing and able to handle your own travel bookings and arrangements directly with the listed operators.

The club operators are aware that many travel operators will continue to adhere to the business style of Mike Rodwell of Fred Olsen Lines and will continue to follow rather than lead and it is unlikely that they will ever be represented by this travel club. They are also aware that there are enough independent travel businesses that will find that their new business style of expanded selections and direct booking discounts is a better way of offering travel directly to consumers around the world.

How To Travel On A Budget And Make Money While Traveling – It Is Possible!

Many of us wish to travel the world whether it be to places near and familiar or places way from home and much more exotic. The thought of plane tickets, hotel accommodations and food is daunting but rest assure that there are many ways to travel this beautiful world of ours on a budget and even ways to travel while making money. Wherever your destination (or destinations) may be there are many tricks of the trade that make being a world wanderer a feasible and budget friendly a reality.

While you can still travel on a budget, (we will discuss that in the next section) some travelers prefer to travel while still making an income. Many hopeful travelers rule out the idea of working to travel and working abroad because of a potential language barrier but in most cases that is not the correct scenario. There are plenty of work opportunities where speaking English will actually benefit you and will give you the extra income necessary to explore the world.

Au Pair: We have all seen the job of an Au Pair in a movie or television show. In literal translation, the French word Au Pair means an extra set of hands. Ambitious world travelers can work as Au Pairs for families looking for extra help with their children and light work around the home. An Au Pair is typically a college and above aged person who seeks traveling the world and in exchange is paired up with a host family who provides food and board and a wage as well. There are several programs that can be found online that will pair an aspiring Au Pair with families around the world. Many Au Pair programs offer the option of attending school/university while working with the possibility of traveling even after the contract is expired. Working as an Au Pair is a great opportunity for English speakers because the majority of host families are looking for a Native English speaker to teach their children English. If the idea of an Au Pair sounds thrilling but also intimidating at the same time, make sure to check many resources available online that can help you in your search.

Teach English abroad: As mentioned above, being a Native English speaker can raise your likelihood of finding a job abroad. Teaching English abroad is a great way to be able to travel and make an income. If you have decided that this is the route you want to take in your endeavors to travel and get paid, the first thing you must do is decide your desired country and research the rules of the country for teaching English. Some countries have differing rules, regulations and requirements before you can teach English there. Some countries in Europe even require you to join the European Union. Before embarking on your journey, it is imperative to get a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate in the USA. The TEFL program can also be taken in your desired country after you obtain your certificate. It is important to take a TEFL class in the desired country so that you can meet fellow peers, learn the country’s customs and potentially be placed in a job after the class. The most important thing to remember before embarking on such an important journey is to research, research and then research some more. It is important to know when the peak hiring season is, rules and laws and of course about the culture.

Cruise Ship: The idea of working on a cruise ship and traveling may sound glamorous and alluring but it is a lot of hard work and long hours. Working on a cruise ship also means you must live and coexist with your fellow crew members which may or may not be a problem. There are several job options if you decide that working on a cruise is the route you want to take. Job options range anywhere from child care, restaurant work, bar work, maintenance, customer service and much more. The variety of jobs makes it a great hub for those who want to work and travel because there is literally something for everybody. Working on a cruise has many great perks and can be a great way to travel the world and meet new people so remember that there will be a lot of competition so do your research and make sure your resume stands out.
While there is the option of traveling and working there is also the option of traveling on a budget. Believe it or not, you can travel the world on a very limited budget, granted you may have to give up many luxuries that can come with traveling.

Hostels: Hostels are a great way to travel on a budget and meet new people. Wherever you go in your travel expedition there is sure to be a hostel for you to stay at. Sure some hostels are much nicer than others and some are for the brave but there are options. Here is where research comes in handy again. Before you travel seek to learn information about the hostels where you will be staying, you can also find several reviews online from former guests. When you do your research, you can see the prices of the room, if you will have a private room or communal room and how far the hostel is from all the landmarks you wish to see.

CouchSurfing: The new craze in budget traveling is CouchSurfing. What is CouchSurfing you might ask? CouchSurfing is a social media platform that allows users to literally surf from couch to couch at host’s homes. CouchSurfing is available in more than 10,000 cities world-wide and is free to users. CouchSurfing offers the traveler a place to stay with a host family, it also offers the “couch surfer” a different way to meet new people and new places. CouchSurfing is attractive to many people because they feel as if they are getting an authentic travel experience from a local of the destination and saving money.

Food: Many ambitious budget travelers worry about food costs when traveling. The reality is that if it is done correctly, obtaining food can be extremely cheap and in many instances even free. Many restaurants/cafes all over Europe practice throwing away food at the end of the day. A great way to get free food is by visiting family owned food establishments before close and asking if you may have the food they are planning on throwing away. In many instances they will give you more food than you planned hence you will have food for days while traveling. Another option for obtaining low-cost meals is to shop at small farmer’s markets. Many farmer’s markets in Europe and other parts of the world offer fresh fruits and vegetables at a ridiculously low price. Keep an eye out for fruit stands on the side of the road as well. If you are staying in a hostel this is another great way to save on food as chances are there will either be a communal kitchen you can use to prepare the food you bought at a low price or many hostels provide at least one meal a day withe their nightly price for stay.
It may seem intimidating but traveling on a budget can be done and attainable. You must first concoct a plan and develop your research from there. Seeing the world is a possibility and it can also be your possibility with some drive, determination and hard work. It may take some time to device your final plan but in the end it will be worth all the work when you are looking back at the people you met, the places you discovered and the memories you made.

Business Traveller Flying to London? A London City Guide for Getting to the Centre

London. The vibrant, beating heart of the United Kingdom. It’s one of the world’s most popular destinations for tourists, and for business travellers too. The amount of commerce that goes through London is staggering, with a financial centre second only to New York, and service industries that cater for both the UK, European and international markets. As the world’s most multicultural city – there are over 300 languages spoken by a population of over eight million people (twelve million if you include the metropolitan area) – the opportunities for business are clear.

With the UK strategically positioned for the business traveller on the western edge of Europe, London is a global hub for air travel, providing easy access to mainland Europe, and a stepping stone to the United States. Primarily served by five airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted and Luton – London is easily reached from anywhere in the world. But with the exception of London City Airport – smallest of the five and located in East London, close to the business district of Canary Wharf – the other four airports are satellites evenly dispersed around the city. The most popular, Heathrow, is located to the west of London; Gatwick is situated to the south; Stansted to the north east; and Luton to the North West. Knowing this before you make your travel plans can be useful. Since the greater metropolitan area of London covers over 1,000 square miles, your final business destination may not be right in the centre. Researching which airport is closest to your destination can save you time, effort and money.

However, whether you’re a business traveller flying from within the UK or from overseas, your starting destination may often determine the airport you arrive at. Other factors, such as your chosen time of travel, budget and availability will also make a difference. For example, if you’re travelling with a major international carrier from a major city, such as New York, the chances are you’ll arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick (Stansted also receives flights from New York but is the smallest of the three). If you’re travelling locally from within the UK with a budget carrier you’re more likely to arrive at Stansted or Luton (though not exclusively). And if you’re travelling from a major European city, particularly a financial capital, such as Frankfurt, London City Airport is a likely arrival point (the airport was created specifically to cater for short haul business travellers, particularly between financial centres).

Each airport is served by comprehensive rail and road infrastructure, providing business travellers with a variety of options to enter London. All five airports offer direct rail travel into the heart of Central London, coach travel to the main Victoria terminus, and hire car, mini-bus, licensed black cab and taxi services by road. If you’re a VIP business traveller, chauffeur services are also available, and with the exception of London City Airport, each also offer direct helicopter transfer into the heart of the city.

London Heathrow Airport

The busiest of the five airports is London Heathrow. Located less than twenty miles from central London, Heathrow is situated to the west of the city within the M25 motorway metropolitan boundary. The fastest route into London is via the Heathrow Express train service, taking just 15 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3 to Paddington station (located on the western side of Central London). If your flight arrives at either terminal 4 or 5 it’s a further four and six minutes travel time respectively, and you’ll need to transfer on to the main London-bound service at terminals 1, 2 and 3.

The service is excellent, offering comfort and convenience, but does not always suite everyone’s travel budget. The standard ‘Express’ single journey ticket costs £21.00 (€25.00 / $35.00), but business travellers can get better value when purchasing a return ticket, priced at £34.00 (€40.00 / $56.00). The ‘Business First’ ticket is more expensive, with singles costing £29.00 (€35.00 / $48.00) and returns £52.00 (€62.00 / $86.00), but it does afford business travellers considerably more leg room, the privacy of a ‘single seating’ layout, and a fold out table. The experience is akin to that of air travel. All passengers across both pricing structures enjoy access to electrical sockets, USB ports and free Wi-Fi. The overall quality of service and passenger experience generates a ‘wow’ factor, and if your budget can afford it, is certainly the smoothest, quickest and most convenient way to travel into London from Heathrow. Trains run regularly every fifteen minutes in both directions, particularly useful for last minute dashes to the airport.

There are two further rail options available to business travellers, both considerably less expensive, though this is reflected in the quality of service. That’s not to say either is not a good solution for business travellers, just that there is a noticeable difference in convenience and comfort.

With a service typically running every thirty minutes, and a journey duration – depending on the time of day – of between 23 and 27 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3, Heathrow Connect is more than adequate for business travellers who are not in a hurry. Like the rival Express service, Connect also arrives at Paddington station, but unlike its faster rival stops at up to five other stations before reaching its terminus. The ‘inconvenience’ of this less direct journey is compensated for by a considerably less expensive ticket price. Single journey’s cost £9.90 (€12.00 / $16.00) while a return is £19.80 (€24.00 / $32.00). There is no saving to be made from purchasing a return ticket. While the convenience and comfort of the traveller experience cannot match the Express, the Connect business travel solution is an acceptable compromise that suits a greater number of travel budgets.

The third – and least expensive – rail option is the London Underground ‘tube’ network. Despite the network’s name the majority of the journey from Heathrow is overground, until the business traveller nears Central London. Starting on the Piccadilly Line, the service connects all five Heathrow terminals and provides frequent trains into London, stopping at a considerable amount of outlying stations before arriving in the capital’s centre. This continually ‘interrupted’ journey – there are seventeen stops between Heathrow terminals 1, 2 and 3 and Paddington Tube station (the nearest equivalent tube terminus for a fair comparison) – and takes approximately fifty minutes journey time on average, considerably slower than its more direct rivals. This journey comparison also requires the inconvenience of a transfer between lines.

So why would the business traveller consider using the tube from Heathrow to Central London? Simple. The frequency of service, the array of destinations, and the cost. At a cash price of just £5.70 (€6.80 / $9.50) for a single journey in either direction during peak hours (06:30am to 09:30am), financially the Underground is an attractive option. At nearly half the price of the Heathrow Connect, and at just over a quarter of the price of the Heathrow Express, this service is comparably good value for money. Further value can be found if the business traveller purchases an ‘Oyster Card’, the ‘cashless’ electronic ticketing system beloved by so many Londoners. Available to purchase at Heathrow London Underground stations, this useful option allows you to get tickets cheaper than for cash – in this case a reduction to just £5.00 (€6.00 / $8.30). Off-peak travel with an Oyster Card offers even greater value, with Heathrow to Paddington in either direction costing just £3.00 (€3.60 / $5.00) per journey. The Oyster Card can also be used for unlimited travel on buses and trains throughout London, with a maximum daily spend capped at £17.00 (€20.00 / $28.00) peak time and just £8.90 (€10.60 / $15.00) off-peak for a six zone ticket (destinations across London are divided into six main zonal rings. Travelling from Heathrow to Central London crosses all six zones).

The Underground is primarily a city-wide mass transit system, rather than a ‘train’ service. As such the level of comfort and convenience is substantially less than that of both the Heathrow Express and Connect services, and at peak hours can be considerably uncomfortable. Having endured a recent flight, business travellers who choose this option run the risk of having to stand up the entire journey if travelling during peak hours. If the carriage is full to squeezing point (as is often the case at peak time) managing your luggage can be a challenge. It should also be noted that the tube network – which, as the world’s first urban mass-transit system is over 150 years old – is often prone to signal failures and delays. If the time between your arrival at Heathrow (don’t forget to factor in clearing immigration control, luggage collection and customs) and your business appointment is tight, particularly during peak hours, it is not unfair to say that you are taking a risk if you choose to use the Underground.

Compared to using rail, travelling by road into Central London is far less convenient. Like every major city around the world, traffic congestion plagues the streets of London. The M4 and A4 route from Heathrow into London is always busy and in parts can be slow moving at times. No matter what your method of road transport, the business traveller is vulnerable to the risk of delays and accidents.

Buses and coaches are plentiful. The dominant carrier is called National Express. They operate services between Heathrow Airport and London Victoria, the main coach terminus in London. From here travellers can travel to many other destinations around the UK. The coaches run from Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station, which is located between terminals 1, 2 and 3. Its well sign posted so easily found. If you’re arriving at terminals 4 or 5 you’ll need to first take the Heathrow Connect train to the central bus station. From Victoria Station you can get to any other part of London with ease, via the Underground, plentiful buses, local trains and licensed black cabs / minicab taxi services.

A single journey tickets start from £6.00 (€7.20 / $10.00), while returns cost £11.00 (€13.20 / $18.00). Although you can purchase your ticket at Heathrow, it is advisable to do so in advance, and online. This will ensure you have a guaranteed, reserved seat on your coach of choice, and also provide you with the opportunity to select a time of departure and/or return that best suits your needs. Typically this service runs three coaches per hour to and from London Victoria coach station. The journey time can vary, dependent on the route taken, the time of day and traffic conditions, but you can typically expect your journey to take between 40 and 90 minutes.

National Express also offers business travellers a Heathrow hotel transfer service to and from the airport, known as the Heathrow Hoppa. With hundreds of services each day running around the clock, it’s a clean, comfortable and affordable way to get about, costing £4.00 (€4.80 / $6.60) for single journey and £7.00 (€8.40/ $11.50) for a return journey. This service is particularly useful if your business appointment is located close to Heathrow and you have no need to travel into Central London.

An alternative to coach travel is taking a bus. This can be particularly useful if you arrive at Heathrow late at night. Depending on the day of the week, the N9 night bus runs approximately every 20 minutes to Trafalgar Square in Central London, from 11.30pm to 5am. The journey time is approximately 75 minutes, subject to traffic delays. It’s a very affordable service, and as part of the Transport for London infrastructure a single journey can be paid for with an Oyster Card (£1.40 (€1.70/ $2.30) or by cash (£2.40 (€2.90/ $4.00).

If your journey into London requires the freedom to choose to travel whenever you want, to wherever you want, or you simply require privacy, then private hire transport is readily available at Heathrow. If you’re just interested in getting from A to B and back again, without any other journeys in between, taking a licensed black cab or minicab taxi may suit your needs. Travelling in an iconic licensed black cab into Central London will take approximately 45-60 minutes, subject to traffic delays, and can typically cost between £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) and £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00). If you do find yourself delayed in traffic the journey will cost more, since black cab meters also charge for waiting time when not moving. Black cabs are readily available at all hours, and good sign posting at Heathrow means they’re easy to find. At a squeeze up to five business travellers can be accommodated, though if you all have large luggage it will be a problem.

An alternative private hire to black cabs are licensed taxi services. This could be a better option for the business traveller, particularly if a number of people with luggage are travelling together. An array of vehicle types are available, ranging from standard 4/5 seater saloon and 6/7 passenger people carrier cars, up to 15 or 17 seater minibuses and even coach taxis. An added advantage is you can book your vehicle of choice in advance and at a fixed price. With so many different companies offering these services, prices – and quality of service – can vary, but typically for a single journey the business traveller can expect to pay a fixed, advance price of £40.00 (€48.00/ $66.00) for a saloon car; £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) for an estate car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for an executive car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for a people carrier; £65.00 (€78.00/ $108.00) for an 8 seater minibus; £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00) for an executive people carrier; and £165.00 (€198.00/ $272.00) for a 16 seater minibus. Savings can be made on all tariffs if a return journey is booked in advance.

Travelling by black cab or licensed taxi affords the business traveller the freedom to travel at his or her own pace, and can take the hassle out of a journey. It can be a very relaxing way to commute from the airport into London, particularly after a long flight, and offers the business traveller an opportunity to unwind prior to their business appointment.

If you need to arrange senior executive or VIP transportation, chauffeur driven services are readily available (booked in advance) between Heathrow and London. The vehicle type and the length of time you require it for will dictate the price you’ll pay. Chauffeur driven services are readily available to find online. The same is true of helicopter charter services which can transfer the executive business traveller from Heathrow into Central London (Battersea Heliport) in approximately 15 minutes. Flightline Travel Management is experienced at providing our customers with both modes of transport, and we’re happy to take your enquiry.