Discount Last Minute Travel – The 5 Best Places to Find Deals

You don’t need a lot of money to travel well, especially if you know where to look to find some amazing deals.  There are many sources both offline and online that are great places to look for travel deals.  There are ways to take advantage of discounts and saving opportunities, limited offers, getting secret tips from other fellow last minute travelers who know a thing or two and just plain old bargain hunters.  There are many lessons we can learn from these travelers that will help us with our next trip.  So where are the 5 best places to find these travel deals?

1) Web pages and travel websites

There are many specific online providers who focus only on the hottest deals for vacation packages and discounts in other areas of travel, such as airfare, or hotel.  These sites have access to the unsold inventory of many special travel packages.  Brokerages and discount fare operators are also a great place to look for last minute fares and sales online.

2) Travel specialists portals

These portals are like a clearinghouse of last minute travel deals.  Many of these sites are set up like reverse auctions such as priceline.com where you set your price, but you have to be completely flexible as to when you can travel.  Sometimes you will have to be prepared for multiple connections and odd times and dates to get your price.

3) Travel newsletters

There are a number of industry travel newsletters, magazines, email lists and ezines that offer insider travel tips, such has how to book cheap seats and score cheap hotel rooms.  These sources can also tell you what to expect in pricing in different locations as well.  Using the information from these sources is a great way to do some comparison-shopping and to get the opportunity to travel to places that were normally out of your reach before.

4) Your booking agent

If it’s between getting a sale and getting nothing, your booking agent can be a great source for discount and last minute deals.  If you mention you will only travel with last minute deals then you can communicate to them that they check the specials and limited availability options only.

5) Resort, time-shares and other promotions

These are great places to get last minute travel information.   Many of these places are associated with tourist boards and other information centers that know about last minute and typically unpublished travel deals.  You can get a great deal beyond relying only on seat sales.

These are the five best places to look for discount last minute travel.  Most of these places are not new; it just may be that they are not thought of as places to look for travel deals because we are so online focused in our mindset to look for travel deals.  Start out with a few destinations in mind and search through these resources to discover what would be the best way to find discounted deals on airfare, hotels, and other vacation packages.

Where to Find Ideas For Gifts Online 2 of 3 – Web Portals

Christmas is a time for giving and receiving. It is a time to share our love for each other and one of the ways that we express this is by giving gifts to each other. While many people may not recognize the true meaning and the religious significance of Christmas and gift giving, they nevertheless share their joy with people around them during this festive season as a time for rejoicing and having fun. Christmas has become a universal festival as vast regions of the world are opening up to outside influence through media and the Internet. Christmas is therefore celebrated worldwide and the amount of money spent on gifts during this season is enormous. Most businesses make the most of the seasonal rush at the end of each year when they make their maximum profits.

There are a number of ways in which you can get good ideas for gifts to give your family, friends and acquaintances this season. With the proliferation of the Internet and the large amount of websites that cater to shopping needs online, the Internet could be one of the best sources of ideas for getting great Christmas gifts. Large vendors also advertise their products through their individual sites to woo customers with their novel offers. Web portals also point to many of these shopping sites where you can get nice gift ideas for Christmas. Sites like Amazon and Wal-Mart have such a wide array of great products that would make excellent gifts for almost any season. Especially during this festive season, these sites put up special sales targeted towards people wanting to buy Christmas gifts. Shopping online for your gifts in one of these online shopping centers could save you a lot of time and effort. Rather than wading through crowded shopping malls during the holiday season, you can leisurely browse through the catalogues for various products and order the gifts of your choice from the comfort of your home. You also need not have to cart your products home as they would be delivered to your doorstep from the online company.

One of the things that you need to remember, however, is that most of these sites have a local presence in various countries. If you happen to live in the United States, most often the site that you need to purchase from would end with a.com extension. However, if you live outside the US and are purchasing your products from an American company like eBay, you need to preferably visit the local website that is in your country. For instance, if you live in the UK, you can visit their local site to do your shopping. Although these sites may not run a subsidiary in every single country, they do try to have a presence in most of the bigger countries in order to facilitate people with their shopping experience. One of the reasons for shopping from your own local site is that your products would be shipped to you sooner as they would have to travel within the country rather than across borders. Most products can be shipped overnight if necessary in case of an emergency.

And if you are environment conscious, you would also want the company to spend as little fuel as possible when it ships your products to your home. Therefore ordering your products from your local site would be an obviously greener choice. You would also get to see your products much sooner than if you ordered it from across the globe. Using some of the points mentioned in this article, you can have a great shopping experience as well as get good ideas for a gift for Christmas.

In case you are having problems getting you hands on the toys, because they are out of stock, you may want to bookmark this site, mygiftalert.com. It monitors up to 6 Amazon sites for you. When the product becomes available it will send you an immediate audio alert and open up the product page automatically for you. Ready for you to grab it, before others do.

Can Telepresence Cure Flu-Related Travel Phobia?

With no one certain just how bad the swine flu outbreak is going to get, and folks increasingly talking about a pandemic, the flu is landing some blows on an already unsteady economy. Service and travel industries are taking especially hard hits. Pharmaceutical stocks, however, are rising right along with fear levels since their products could be used to fight the flu.

I wonder if the telepresence market won’t see a similar boost. As I wrote back in October, business executives seemed bullish on it due to its ability to help companies cut costly business travel. Companies are still in a travel-cutting mode, evidenced by an announcement that crossed my desk this morning, that the Independent Oracle Users Group is offering virtual sessions for its annual users group conference next week in Orlando. The combination of an iffy economy and a possible pandemic may lead more companies to investigate telepresence.

They should, writes IT Business Edge blogger Rob Enderle. In a post yesterday, he encouraged companies to refresh their business continuity plans, determining how they could shift large chunks of their work forces to work-at-home schedules if necessary and canceling all non-critical business travel. As part of the latter strategy, he recommends using a Web conferencing or telepresence system if you have one, or looking into renting or sharing one if you don’t. And make it a priority in the next budget cycle, he writes, since there are almost sure to be future flu outbreaks.

The video conferencing business benefited from earlier disasters, including the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the SARS scare, says Polycom CEO Robert Hagerty in a Forbes article. The article mentions several options [http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/27/swine-flu-telepresence-technology-enterprise-swine.html], including high-end and expensive systems from Cisco and HP and less costly offerings from Polycom. Both Cisco and HP have deals to offer telepresence facilities at hotels, HP with Marriott, and Cisco with Tata Group’s Taj chain.

A March 2008 report from IDC called for the telepresence market to grow from $170 million to $1.7 billion by 2012. ABI Research VP Stan Schatt had a similarly optimistic outlook when IT Business Edge’s Carl Weinschenk interviewed him in January. Thanks to falling prices, middle managers and not just senior executives are using telepresence, he said. ABI Research believes the market will reach $2.5 billion by 2013. Even with the tough economy, said Schatt, companies that had earlier purchased telepresence gear are making incremental investments. He said:

You can buy individual systems and take advantage of the initial investments. It is one thing to pay $300,000 for a room, another to pay between $5 and $10,000 to outfit middle manager so they do not have to travel to Asia. It does not take too many trips to recoup the cost. Where we are seeing a decline is in the financial sector. They certainly were early adopters of this technology and are not in shape to buy it in 2009.

Other growth opportunities in the telepresence sector include the consumer market and the kinds of public systems offered by the likes of HP and Cisco at hotels. Another driver is the simplified technology, that makes it possible for even technology-averse users to use systems without IT’s intervention. Said Schatt:

In many cases, there is just one button to set up a call. It is handled automatically through a concierge system. It is designed for senior management without patience or technology backgrounds. People won’t use equipment if it requires IT to come in and set up and manage. They want it to be very simple. The choice today basically is to have concierge services or a Web portal to schedule calls on something that looks like an Outlook calendar.

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