Cheap Travel Made Possible – Some Useful Tips on How to Reduce Travel Expenses |

Going away on overseas trips and holidays is a popular pastime for many people who wish to occasionally get away from the stresses and worries of everyday living. The unpredictable economy and spiraling costs of travel may however deter many budget travelers and families from even thinking about enjoying a short break in a neighbouring country. Spending some time on researching means of saving on travel is thus essential to enjoy great travel savings on a regular basis.

The process of saving on travel costs encompasses your entire travel cycle, from the planning stage which involves arranging your lodging, transport and destinations to taking conscious money-saving measures in your destination itself. I shall now dispense some helpful and easy-to-follow cheap travel tips which are guaranteed to help you enjoy substantial savings off your travel expenses, thus even enabling you to go on more regular holidays with the money you save.

If you are in a dilemma regarding which destinations to visit, why not choose a destination that is less popular with visitors and thus perfect for cheap travel? You need to first have a flexible mindset and not just stick to the popular destination choices.

The less-traveled destinations are typically located further from high traffic tourist hotspots, allowing you to broaden your horizons and enjoy cost savings at the same time. Travel guidebooks and websites would be ideal resources for you to find out how you can stay, eat and enjoy yourself for cheap in these locations.

After deciding where you wish to travel to, you may be wondering when you should place your reservations for your accommodations and airlines to get attractive deals. Generally, an advanced booking is advisable for most travelers, especially if they have to travel on a specific date or during a busy travel season. This is to avoid a situation where other travelers rapidly snap up the most affordable air tickets and hotel rooms, thus forcing you to settle for more costly alternatives.

On the other hand, off-peak travel may leave airlines and hotels with many unoccupied seats and rooms respectively, compelling them to offer fantastic last minute deals to travelers which you can take advantage of if you wait till the eleventh hour to place your booking. In any case, it pays to be flexible with your travel dates as more attractive deals are likely to be uncovered if you run a search for cheap air tickets and hotel rooms for several different dates.

Having arrived at your destination, arming yourself with some general money-saving tips will help you avoid spending more than you should. Taking public transport is often recommended to get around your destination and considerably cheaper than riding in a taxi or driving a rental car. Taking a walk is also a good way to exercise and soak in the colorful sights at the same time.

High meal costs can also be a problem, hence eating with the locals at inexpensive places such as street stalls instead of restaurants could be the solution. You may even find an unexpected source of savings in the form of discount coupon booklets which can commonly be found in your hotel room. Using these will help you save on food, entertainment and even sightseeing in the vicinity.

Is Video Conferencing A Viable Business Solution? |

Video conferencing has been used commercially since the 1970s (wiki) and is designed to service groups, rather than individuals through a simultaneous audio and video connection. Each participant needs access to the internet as well as a webcam, screen (whether this is a computer, or via a plasma screen), a microphone and set of speakers. Although this may sound like a lot of costly IT investment before you even start, most new computers and laptops have a lot of this equipment built in to them as standard. Video conferencing is now used more and more in the business world for presentations, training, board meetings etc. However, what are the real benefits to businesses and will they ever completely replace face to face meetings?

Video conferencing saves time There is no denying that, when it’s necessary to gather delegates from around the city, the country, or even the world, video conferencing saves a huge amount of time in travel. Meetings can start promptly without being delayed due to the late arrivals of trains or planes, or the impact of traffic or bad weather. In addition, staff lose only a minimum amount of time from their working day ensuring they’re more productive. This is crucial for many companies, particularly SMEs, where having an employee out of the office for a day can have huge implications to work load and deliverables.

Video conferencing saves money In Sir Philip Green’s recent review of UK government spending, he found that staff spent around £38 million on London hotels when attending meetings in the capital alone. This is clearly just a fraction of what UK businesses spend on business travel but shows how costly it can be when you take into account return travel and, if necessary, an overnight stay. Using video conferencing cuts this amount drastically, allowing delegates from around the globe to meet quickly and easily with minimal cost to the business. Indeed, this amount can be as low as just the cost of your internet connection thanks to Skype, and other web based services, making the service more cost effective yet.

Video conferencing is better for the environment It goes without saying that, with delegates not travelling to meetings, holding a video conference is far more environmentally friendly, particularly if there is substantial travel involved such as going overseas. Keeping the corporate carbon footprint down is becoming more and more important to businesses and therefore video conferencing helps avoid unnecessary travel whilst not jeopardising crucial business opportunities.

Video conferencing enhances business relationships Of course meetings can be far more about enhancing and improving business relationships than about the actual business in hand. Establishing relationships between colleagues, clients and suppliers are crucial to running a successful business and face to face meetings are the best way to facilitate this. However, when these are not possible, holding a ‘face to face’ video conference can be an effective alternative to meeting in person. Giving people the opportunity to present, catch up or simply brainstorm in front of each other is a great way to promote effective working and maintain business relationships already in place.

How to get started? As mentioned, you can use a web based service via your laptop, or computer, for practically no initial start up costs or complicated IT requirements. However, an alternative is to use the facilities of a meeting room provider, such as serviced offices, which offer the equipment in their meeting rooms for a small hire fee.

A provider such as Avanta does not charge for IP to IP calls, making this a cost effective way to hold a video conference if you have a number of delegates to include. The benefits also include having a well trained team on hand to help with the equipment so you can get to business right away. As you can see, using video conferencing is a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to hold business meetings and is gaining in popularity year on year. Whilst it may never replace the traditional face to face meeting in its entirety, it is an effective alternative, no matter what industry you are in.