10/20/2014

How to Balance Your Personal Life and Business Travel

 

Work Life Balance

The hustle and bustle of today’s Corporate America employees have many feeling overwhelmed. The balancing act of productivity and personal time can be a challenge for all business travelers. The number-one sacrifice that business travelers make is spending personal time away from family and friends, and fighting with a healthy work-life balance. So, that leaves the question of, How do you  manage a work-life balance in today’s hectic, fast-paced, business world?

According to the Travel Effect, the U.S. Travel Association’s research-driven initiative, 40% of American workers will leave paid vacation days unused. Does that statistic shock you? The four reasons cited the most are; the dread of returning from a vacation to piles of work, the belief that no one will be able to step in and do their job for them while they’re gone, not being able to afford it, and the fear of being replaceable. Not taking time off from work comes at an expense of our health and performance. It’s important that business travelers, and America’s workforce prioritize and recharge. This doesn’t have to mean going on an elaborate vacation and spending money that takes months to save for. You can get-away and travel right at home. You’ve earned it, take it!

Balancing business travel and the day-to-day work-life balance can be challenging, but besides using your paid time off, here are three key tips for a helpful work-life balance.

1)Technology-Turn it off
Often times we head home from traveling or the workplace and we find it hard to turn our brains off. From texts coming through, to emails chiming in, to late-day phone calls, it can seem that our work is never done. Therefore, our brains never rest. Ask yourself these questions, Do I need to look at it right now? What will happen if I don’t. Listen for the answer and see what happens when you re-engage without your 3D world.

2)Eliminate stress
From paying bills, to housecleaning, food shopping, to laundry, American’s have a list of to-do’s that can pile up. Many of the above are noted as pre-trip stress’s. According to The World Bank research, business travelers not only have  pre-trip stress but also on the road stress, and returning home stress which included separation from loved ones, guilt about leaving, missing family events, and living in hotels among the top. Managing your time efficiently can be easier said than done but running errands in batches, doing a load of laundry a day, placing family events on a weekly calendar, and spacing out your to-do list over the course of the week rather than just the weekend will help eliminate the demands of feeling overwhelmed and instead leave more time for relaxation and down time.

3)Nurture yourself
After examining 13,000 medical records in a corporate wellness plan, Columbia University researchers in 2013 tied excessive business travel to poor health. Fitting in exercise, eating well, and getting a good night’s rest can be an overwhelming task for anyone-and if you throw business travel in the mix, it may feel impossible. Sleeping in a different environment, late nights or changes in time zones, increased stress, and dining out eating fattening foods can take a toll on your body more than you think. Plan ahead and commit to self-care by packing healthy snack options, fitting in 20-30 minutes of physical activity, and drinking plenty of water. Staying healthy while traveling may be challenging, but it’s possible. You’re body and business will thank you.

Tell us-how do you manage a healthy work life balance?

09/17/2014

Travel Smart-Insure your Luggage

Suitcase2Whether it’s your vacation, your luggage, or your health, travel insurance has and is continuing to be a key item for smart travelers. Have you ever spent your travel day waiting for your luggage?

Losing luggage is certainly not a situation that anyone wants to be in. Especially, if you have meaningful items in your bag, or items that cost a pretty penny. You may have the mindset of “that won’t happen to me, my luggage has never been lost!” Travel Insurance Services advises you to think again, because unfortunately, it can happen.


Anytime you are traveling with items of value to you, the items should be insured. Many times, people are unaware that cruise lines and hotels offer little to no coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage. Most airlines provide only limited protection for checked baggage as well, and do not cover your carry on items.


According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, a recent survey showed that people are more likely to buy travel insurance when there are more factors out of their control, such as traveling overseas and needing multiple pieces of luggage. If you have the common mindset of so many others who think they could never lose their luggage, you should begin to view those “what if” traveling circumstances a little different than before. Travel Insurance Services can help mitigate these common travel hiccups, such as losing your luggage. Consider a Travel Insurance Select plan today!

09/09/2014

Insure Your Travel Day

Delay“Attention in the terminal, Gate B8, your flight is now delayed by 1 hour.” “I just spent my Travel Day waiting hours for my flight, only to learn it was cancelled!” Does that sound familiar? You made the reservation months ago with anticipation of arriving at the airport to depart on time. Unfortunately, even the most well thought out and planned trips can be interrupted by circumstances that you can’t control. This is a common travel problem that I’m sure most people have experienced, and if you haven’t, there’s a first for everything. So, what can you do when your travel day is de-railed?

 First off, don’t allow the mad dash and scramble to the customer service counter alarm you. I know it’s easier said than done, but if your flight is cancelled, take a deep breath and make logical decisions to continue on with your trip. It’s important to reschedule your flight as quickly as possible by calling the airline.

If you experience a trip interruption, it’s important to understand the difference between an interruption and cancellation. A trip interruption that slows down travel plans causing you to miss a large portion and or significant amount of your trip is indeed, considered a trip interruption, not a cancellation. A trip cancellation is defined by absolutely no portion of the trip being taken.

Travel Insurance Select provides coverage for both trip interruption and trip cancellation cases. Coverage for trip interruption can recover up to 150% of your trip costs depending on the coverage level you select. Trip cancellation coverage reimburses up to 100% of the pre-paid expenses toward  your trip.

Is your investment covered? Travel Insurance Services provides excellent coverage with a broad range of benefits to help protect your precious memories while traveling. Life is unpredictable. Protect your investment and travel smart with Travel Insurance Select.

08/25/2014

Instead of ________, I save for Travel

How important is travel in your life? Are you an occasional traveler, or the type of person who makes traveling a priority? If you’re a hard core traveler, what other things in life are you willing to give up or compromise on in order to increase your travel budget?


From cars to coffee, take a look at this article for some ideas on how to save for your big trip(s).

08/15/2014

Concert Etiquette – The DOs And DON'Ts Of Going To A Live Performance

It’s a great thrill to see one of your musical idols perform a live show. Whether your genre is rock, pop, hip-hop, or country, there is an established standard of behavior that you should adhere to if you want to make nice with your fellow concertgoers. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:


DO:
--Arrive early. When you arrive late and have to push through people to get to your seat, you're disturbing someone else’s enjoyment of the show. Arriving early also gives you the opportunity to visit the restroom, get your refreshments for the night, and stop by the souvenir stand (none of which you will want to do after the show when crowds are craziest).


--Keep your feet on the floor. If you want to upset people quickly, stand on your seat or sit on someone’s shoulders. Both of these behaviors prevent people behind you from seeing the stage, and they’ll probably let you know that in no uncertain way.


--Stay at your seat as much as possible during the performance. Obviously, nature can call at some pretty random times, but don’t leave your seat because you’re bored or just want to walk around. People are generally okay with moving out of your way for an entrance/exit once or twice, but any more than that and you’re pushing your luck.


DON’T:
--Break the rules regarding smoking, drinking, and drug use. Any illicit activity can not only upset those around you, it can get you tossed out or even arrested.


--Talk loudly during the opening act. Some people may actually be there to see that band perform instead of the headliner, so be respectful and keep conversation to a minimum.


--Sing along. Seriously, please don’t—even if you have a great voice. There are exceptions, of course. Piano Man, Hey Jude, and anything by Bruce Springsteen. But in all honesty, if you’re singing along loudly to every song, there’s probably somebody nearby who wants to throw something at you.

Are you traveling to see a concert? Share with us where you're traveling to and your own do's and don'ts of going to a concert! 

08/04/2014

Dark Tourism – Going Where Bad Things Happened

Some say it’s morbid. It's admittedly a bit voyeuristic. But like drivers slowing to gawk at a horrible accident, the fundamental human urge to get a first-hand perspective leads some tourists toward a profound need to personally witness the aftermath of disaster and tragedy. This form of travel, known as "dark tourism", involves traveling to sites associated with death.

From Katrina's destructive wake in New Orleans to the Texas School Book Depository Building in Dallas, to the Dakota in New York City, witnessing places where loss of life took place has become, for many people, an integral part of experiencing a destination. Perhaps the most prominent current example of the drawing power of disaster sites is ground zero in lower Manhattan.

By the end of 2011, just over three months after its public debut, the 9/11 Memorial had already welcomed over one million visitors, according to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the nonprofit organization in charge of operation of the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center.

In the weeks and months immediately after the September 11 attacks, large crowds would flock to the site, gazing in silent disbelief as they witnessed the destruction and cleanup efforts. For more than a decade afterwards, visitors continued to respectfully observe as a gigantic hole, in the ground and in the hearts of people around the world, was slowly transformed by concrete and builders.

In the world of dark tourism, what may seem respectful or acceptable to some might be appalling to others. For example, a Milwaukee company's plan for tours inspired by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was met with charges of insensitivity.

Dark tourism can sometimes skate perilously close to the line separating mere tourism and disrespecting the dead. Cemetery ghost tours are an example of this. Many people, especially families of the deceased, often don't believe anybody should have fun at the expense of death.

Keeping in mind the sensitivity this type of tourism requires, dark tourism can and should be executed respectfully and educationally, not in any way that trivializes or makes light of the loss of life that occurred.

Is a destination on your travel list this year  considered dark tourism? If so, let us know your travel plans and why you have chosen it by leaving comments below. 

07/25/2014

These Boards Are Made For Walkin'

What says summer more than a stroll on the boardwalk? As a child, my yearly visit to Wildwood, NJ and its incredibly vibrant boardwalk was a highlight of my summer that has continued decades later. Whether it’s the value-packed (sometimes gaudy) stores, the never-ending parade of junk food, or the piers of carnival rides and attractions, there’s an incredible draw to boardwalks. The folks at Budget Travel have compiled a convenient list of America’s most awesome boardwalks from both coasts…and a few places in between. 

Did your favorite boardwalk not make the list? Tell us more about your favorite boardwalks by leaving us a comment below! 

06/23/2014

More Changes In Airline Carry-on Baggage Regulations

Hope you didn’t get too comfortable with airline carry-on baggage regulations, because it looks like they’ve changed once again. It seems that not only do all airlines not have the same size limits for carry-on bags, it can be difficult to near impossible to find a bag that meets the size requirements. Get all the details by clicking over to this informative article that was recently posted on Yahoo news.

06/16/2014

The Best Cities In America (For Foodies!)

If you’re one of the growing number of people who feel a calling to pursue amazing food, check out this article from Condé Nast Traveler that shows you which culinary cities are worth the trip. From Portland, Maine to San Diego, California, foodies responded to a Condé Nast survey and voted for their favorite culinary cities across the U.S. The results may be surprising, but the beautiful photos of the food and the locations will leave you wanting to book your travel right away.

The top 20 cities in 2014 for restaurants are listed in reverse order, along with their numerical ranking (as chosen by Condé Nast Traveler readers) as well as the reasons why they were selected. If you’re disappointed that your favorite city didn’t make the list, you can place your vote and maybe it will be included among next year’s winners. Bon appétit!

06/09/2014

Nashville For Newbies

This past summer, I took my first trip to Nashville with my wife and some friends. It was more out of curiosity than anything. We’d heard good things about the city’s tourist appeal, so I wanted to check it out for myself. After spending a week there, I’m really glad I did! Here are some tips we accumulated from our own experiences as well as a few based on research of how other recent visitors spent their vacation time.

If you’re thinking about visiting Nashville for the first time, the best time to visit is from April through October, when the warm weather brings the city to life and you can experience peak enjoyment. Start your day in Nashville by heading downtown and just taking in the vibe. The Music City Trolley Hop On/Hop Off Tour allows you to hop on (or off, obviously) at your leisure. You’ll get a chance to visit historic spots such as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which features more than 40,000 square feet of country music history and artifacts.

Another must-see is the Grand Ole’ Opry’s Ryman Auditorium, which is affectionately known as the Mother Church of Country Music. See for yourself where hundreds of famous artists, from country crooners like Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift to rockers like Bruce Springsteen and Mumford & Sons, have performed. It’s also home to the world's longest running live radio program.

For family attractions, check out the Nashville Zoo and spend an afternoon with the animals, or the Adventure Science Center, where you can interactively explore their Adventure Tower. There’s also the Sudekum Planetarium, where astronomers will show you how to identify the various constellations, bright stars, and planets viewable in the sky every night.  

At night, you will want to stop by one of Nashville’s world-famous honky-tonks on lower Broadway. There’s nothing that will give you the authentic Nashville experience more than spending some time in one of these dusty venues where artists spend their nights (and their proverbial blood, sweat, and tears) in pursuit of their musical dreams.

Twang Not Your Thang?

Not in the mood for country music? You can explore Nashville’s thriving arts scene by checking out of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts’ many temporary exhibits, or popping in on any of the downtown art galleries, most of which are on the “Fifth Avenue of the Arts”. Or you can see something really unique—the Parthenon in Centennial Park, which is the world’s only full-size reproduction of the Greek Parthenon and home to Athena, the tallest indoor structure in the Western world. Additionally, consider the First Saturday Art Crawl throughout downtown Nashville. As the name suggests, it takes place on the first Saturday evening of every month, and visitors can view many great galleries in the downtown area.

You can spend the afternoon at Belle Meade Plantation, Nashville’s largest and wealthiest private estate, once a renowned thoroughbred horse farm. You could also experience some presidential history by paying a visit to The Hermitage, home to President Andrew Jackson and his wife, Rachel. Check out the mansion and tombs of Andrew and Rachel, as well as Rachel’s beloved garden. Another must-see is Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, which features a rotating exhibition schedule, events, and breathtaking gardens to explore.  

Finally, if you’re a real fan of modern country music, be sure to take in a show at the popular Bluebird Café, made famous in the TV show, “Nashville”, where patrons can enjoy songwriters performing in an intimate “in the round setting”. But fair warning—it can get quite crowded, especially during open mic nights. 

Connecting To The Music

There’s a free Nashville Live Music Guide app available for iPhone and Android users that locates live music venues throughout the city and tells you who’s on stage at a given date/time. You can search by area of town or venue name, and a handy map function will display your location and the live music venue options nearby. The app’s calendar will search live music events up to 14 days in advance. Don’t have an iPhone or Android? No problem. Throughout Nashville, there are a series of quirky guitar pick-shaped signs that indicate if a location is a music venue. If that particular venue features four or more live shows a week, a pick-shaped sign is placed outside so visitors know where they can go for music.  

Your visit to Nashville will most certainly leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. But between the history, the music, and the people, you’ll never be able to see it all in one vacation!