Categories
Vacation Travel

New Barcelo Palace Deluxe just opened in San Jose del Cabo

The brand new Barcelo Palace Deluxe just opened in San Jose del Cabo.
I was there for the ribbon cutting ceremony with the owners of Barcelo Hotels and the President of MLT Vacations.
Beautiful deluxe property located in San Jose del Cabo with only a 20 minute drive to the airport.
The breezy open lobby is large and welcoming with plenty of places to relax while waiting for a shuttle or tour bus.
The food was wonderful, with something for everyone.
Dining options include:  International buffet for breakfast lunch, dinner.  Italian, French, Spanish & French Restaurants for dinner.  Room service.
Swanky lounge chairs and bars are plentiful for a cocktail.  Omar the bartender will shake you up something nice to drink before dinner.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Natural Wonders of the World

We live in a truely amazing planet. Below is a list of 7 NATURAL wonders of the world. Start visiting them and check them off your  bucketlist.  Call us for arranging visits  to these fascinating places.

  • AURORA  BOREALIS, also know as the Northern Lights.  They are natural occuring lights that create intriguing and spectacular displays in the sky. The most amazing sight is when they skirt across the sky forming waves of neon color as if they are  dancing.  The best place and time to experience them is near the magnetic pole found in the artic islands of Canada.  For the common tourist it is much too cold.  A late summer visit to Alaska or Canada in the months of September and October, or a early spring visit in March or April,  present a fair chance of experiencing Aurora Borealis.
  • MOUNT EVEREST, the highest mountain in the world.  Located in the Himalaya mountains on the border of Nepal and Tibet.  The summit reaches a peak of 29,029 ft.  The best way to see Mt. Everest for the adventurous tourist is to trek and hike to the base of the mountain.  For the more experienced climber, you can climb to the upper base camp for approximately $25,000 climbing permit required by the Nepal government.  For the common tourist the best way is to take a guided flight.   The best time to travel is in October or November which is the start of the dry season.
  • GRAND CANYON, located in Arizona, USA.  It is 277 miles long, 4-8 miles wide and over 1 mile deep.  It was created by the Colorado River over 6 million years ago.  There are many vistas throughout the National Park, but the best view of the canyon occurs from the Toroweep Overlook, which is accessible on 3 different paths; St George, Utah (97 miles), Colorado City (62 miles) or Pipe Spring National Monument (64 miles).  A helicopter tour is the best way to see all the canyon.  Other exciting ways to explore are by mule, or white water rafting.
  • VICTORIA FALLS is the largest waterfall based on  width and height in the world.  It is 1 mile wide and 360 feet high, located in Africa on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.  One of the best way to see the falls is to take a helicopter tour or microlite tour over the falls, in which you may see elephants, hippos and other wildlife below .  Another awesome way to view the falls is on the foot path and foot bridge trail.  This allows you to see it at eye level, and understand how it got the name “smoke that Thunders”.  The best time to visit the falls is mid April to late November which is the dry season. 
  • GREAT BARRIER REEF is the largest coral reef in the world.  It stretches over 1600 miles, 133,00 sq miles including 900 islands and consist on 2,900 separate reefs. Best way to see the reef is snorkling or scuba diving.  There are also many single day and extended boat tours.  A helicopter ride will let you witness the size of this marine natural wonder which can be seen from outer space.  Temperature is 73-91 degrees in summer and 50-70 degrees in winter.  Rainy season is November t0 March, but anytime is good to visit except plan ahead as over 2 million tourist visit each year.
  • RIO  DE JANEIRO  HARBOR, was created by erosion frrom the Atlantic Ocean. It is surrounded by Sugar Loaf Mt (1,295 ft), Corcovado Mt (2310 ft) and the hills of Tijuca (3550 ft). The best views are from the tops of the surrounding mountains.  A cablecar or aerial tramway to Sugar Loaf Mt, or Cogwheel train to Corcovado (Christ the redeemer) is an perfect way to view the harbor. Best time is September and October to avoid high humid temperatures.
  • PARICUTIN VOLCANOS in Michoacan, Mexico located abut 200 miles west of Mexico City. It is a cinder cone volcano reaching heights of 10,397 ft. Last eruption was in 1952 and it is still active.  It was established as natural wonder because mankind witnessed its birth, which grew 3/4ths its size in the first year.  Best way to see Paricutin is to take 12 mile roundtrip hike or by horseback.  You will see lava fields, buried village homes, and a church leading to the top.  Any time is good to visit with winter temperatures of 59-68 degrees, and summer is 77-86 degrees. Rainy season is May-September.

Stay tuned for more exciting places, such as famous lost cities, tallest buildings, best man-made engineering projects, must see bridges, etc.

Categories
Travel News

Attention all rental car drivers

Cashless toll roads are becoming a huge problem for car rental companies who in turn are hiring third party collection agencies. These agencies then tack on outrageous fees which show up on a renter’s credit card bill sometimes months later.
For instances on my last trip to Denver I did not sign up for the daily toll road access fee figuring I would not need to travel on E-470 (cashless toll road) which is exactly what happen. What if, however, at the last minute my meeting ended late, there was a horrific accident on I-225 backing up travel for hours; what would I have done? Most likely wanting to get home that evening I would have taken E-470 in order to make my flight and then worried about the fee later. With some rental car companies you have a choice of a daily toll fee of $8.95, or $32.95 a week…OR… by declining a fee and then driving on a cashless toll road receiving fines long after your expense report has been completed, approved, and paid.
In Jeffrey Leib’s article in The Denver Post, Nov 29, 2009, “Cashless E-470 takes toll on rental-car drivers in the form of fines,” he talks about how irritating the problem can be and how one traveler was fined $125 – only $11 being toll fees.
Christopher Elliot on his blog, www.elliot.org discusses this same problem, http://www.elliott.org/blog/are-car-rental-companies-overbilling-customers-for-toll-violations and how charges and fines are also showing up months later for supposed traffic violations, http://www.elliott.org/blog/help-my-car-rental-company-charged-me-for-running-a-red-light.
In other words – BE AWARE!!

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Flying the Connected Skies?

Continental Airlines’ announcement last week that it would begin offering wireless internet (Wi-Fi) access aboard its aircraft beginning the second quarter of 2010 brought to close an exciting year of innovative in-flight communication advances.
Virgin America, the upstart discount carrier based in San Francisco, CA was the first U.S. carrier to offer fleet wide Wi-Fi access in May of 2009. American, Delta, United and US Airways followed shortly thereafter with staggered deployments of Wi-Fi across their respective fleets meaning in-flight Wi-Fi access will be a reality with all the legacy carriers in 2010.
As for the discount carriers, Virgin America is definitely leading the charge with Air Tran recently announcing the availability of in-flight Wi-Fi across its fleet. Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Jet Blue have begun testing Wi-Fi on certain aircraft while Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines are still considering the option of offering this service to their customers.
As with almost any other service now offered on board, in-flight Wi-Fi will come at a cost. To find out which airlines offer Wi-Fi access and how much they charge based on your destination, call Christopherson/Andavo Travel and our trusted travel advisors will be glad to answer your questions.

Categories
Travel Management Vacation Travel

Reminders for the holiday travelers

Christmas will be upon us soon and along with it comes the stress and strains of holiday travel.    There are many articles out there talking about this. It makes some very good points about how not to lose your baggage during this busy travel time. I think that it behooves us to discuss some of the more basic issues that end up causing us stress while traveling during the holidays. Some of this stress is a result of other people’s actions, especially those who don’t travel much and therefore don’t know what the TSA rules and expectations are or that they should have removed their shoes, their jewelry, etc. before trying to clear security at the airport.
Then there is the self inflicted stress. You know, the stress that we inflict upon ourselves and our traveling companions. Some of the ones that I have inflicted upon others included leaving the itinerary home so I didn’t have the confirmation number and rate handy when the car rental company told me that they didn’t have a reservation for me. Or forgetting that my profile specified a sports car and I was traveling with 5 people. Or realizing that I don’t have any cash so I can’t tip the Sky Cap (and I wonder why my bag went missing). Yes, it’s very easy for experienced travelers to forget what it is like to travel with others.
In light of that, I have worked up a checklist that I like to use whenever I’m traveling with family members.

  1. Everyone has his or her ID before we leave the house.
  2. We have chargers for our PDAs, as our entire itinerary is available for us to view via Christopherson Andavo Business Travel’s AirPortal, which we can access via our PDAs.
  3. We have some cash, just in case.
  4. iPods are charged.
  5. Reading material is in the carry on, along with a change of clothes and anything that we can’t live without, including but not limited to, prescription drugs, toiletries and snacks.
  6. Gifts, unwrapped.
  7. Phone numbers for those that we are visiting, for our travel agent and for the after hours service, in case something goes awry.
  8. My wallet, suitably cleaned out of everything that I don’t need on this particular trip.
  9. And of course, our sense of humor, patiences and a smile.

I hope that someone remembers to put the luggage in the car before we leave the house.
Happy holiday traveling!

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Using a personal Vacation Travel Advisor vs. online booking

On numerous occasions I have received a call from a “should-be” client saying that they have a problem with their reservation and asking for my help. When I ask, “Which agent assisted you?” their reply is “I booked it myself online” then I just cringe. I tell them that I cannot touch their online booking. I can offer suggestions to a solution but most of the time there is not much that can be done.
There is great value in using a personal Vacation Travel Advisor. We will not only save you time, but we will spare you the complexity and anxiety of the planning process.
The trusted Vacation Travel Advisors at Christopherson Travel have a world of resources at our fingertips thanks to our membership in Virtuoso, the leading network of top luxury travel agencies. We are able to offer privileged access, exclusive amenities and generous upgardes that you can’t get on your own. We specialize in designing a one-of-a-kind travel experiences for our clients. Coordinating a special travel experience is the goal of every personal advisor.
The next time you are planning a vacation use a personal Travel Advisor and save yourself many headaches.

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Holiday air travel? What holiday items can I bring on the plane?

Everyone has favorite foods from home that they want to bring to holiday dinners, or items from their destination that they want to bring back home.
Not sure about what you can and can’t bring through the checkpoint? Here’s a list of liquid, aerosol and gel items that you should put in your checked bag, ship ahead, or leave at home.

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Cologne
  • Creamy dips and spreads
  • (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Gift baskets with food items
  • (salsa, jams and salad dressings)
  • Gravy
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Lotions
  • Maple syrup
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Perfume
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa
  • Sauces
  • Snowglobes
  • Soups
  • Wine, liquor and beer

Note: You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening.
Remember! – do not wrap gifts you’re taking on the plane. Security officers may have to unwrap gifts if they need to take a closer look. Please ship wrapped gifts ahead of time or wait until your destination to wrap them.
* Items purchased after the security checkpoint have been pre-screened and can be taken on the plane.

Categories
Travel Management

Job posting – National Sales Director, Denver, CO

Christopherson Andavo is seeking a full time business travel National Sales Director with proven business to business sales experience to support our rapid growth and market expansion in Colorado and surrounding areas.
This position requires strong organizational and communication skills. Evidence of the ability to interact effectively with executive level decision makers.  Excellent written and presentation skills along with the ability to effectively utilize Microsoft Office suite.  Proven sales results and a great work ethic are necessary.
Base salary plus commission.  Compensation and relocation are commensurate with experience.
Please email resumes to: Heather Lightbody  hlightbody@andavotravel.com

Christopherson Andavo is seeking a full time business travel National Sales Director with proven business to business sales experience to support our rapid growth and market expansion in Colorado and surrounding areas.
This position requires strong organizational and communication skills. Evidence of the ability to interact effectively with executive level decision makers.  Excellent written and presentation skills along with the ability to effectively utilize Microsoft Office suite.  Proven sales results and a great work ethic are necessary.
Base salary plus commission.  Compensation and relocation are commensurate with experience.
Please email resumes to: Heather Lightbody  heather.l@cbtravel.com

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

Innovation – Developing Successful New Products

The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “the Path to Developing Successful New Products”. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574400593760720388.html
The WSJ surveyed businesses with the best product-development track records and found three common denominators:
     1. A clear sense of focus on project goals
     2. Strong project culture in the workplace
     3. Close contact to their customers
Christopherson Andavo Travel has been successful in developing many new proprietary technology products. I’m not sure if I can say that it is specifically because we have the above three strengths, however, I do recognize, at least, glimpses of each in our corporate culture.
Keep it Focused
We have been focused on developing really powerful proprietary technology for many years. Our 11 separate proprietary products and our continued investment in new technologies validates this.
Project Culture
This is an area we can improve in. We recognize this and our management team is in the midst of an entire “project management” training program and cultural makeover. We are using a program called “Just Enough Project Management”, written by Curtis R. Cook.
Talk to Customers
Some of our technology was developed to meet specific client’s unmet needs. Most of our technologies have one or more client “champions” who work directly with our developers to provide regular feedback and valuable input. We appreciate the partnerships

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

2010 Travel Forecast…Doom and gloom or back on the fast track!

Christopherson Andavo Business Travel is a member of the National Business Travel Association.  The below article is one of the many we have received from them with regards to travel forecasts in 2010.
The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) — the leading global business travel organization — has provided its members with the 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers’ Cost Forecast. This latest installment of the widely-respected annual tool for the U.S. corporate travel industry forecasts the following ranges for changes in travel rates/fares:

Average U.S. Domestic Rates / Fares
Average
rates/airfares
2009
% change
expected for 2010
AIR $299* -2% to +3%*
HOTEL $136 -2% to – 8%
CAR RENTAL $46 -1% to -3%
* Airline ancillary fees may increase the cost
of an airline ticket by 30% or more

With air travel and car rental costs expected to remain nearly flat and hotel rates expected to decline, businesses expect to travel more. That growth in travel is expected to lead to increases in travel expenditures.

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of travel managers responding to an NBTA survey expect business travel volume to grow in 2010.
  • 56 percent of travel managers project their total travel spend to increase in 2010; another 31 percent expect their total travel spend to remain flat year over year

Travel and meetings buyers also expect to see an easing of travel & meeting reductions in 2010.  Compared to the previous year, the percentage of travel managers expecting to see cuts has gone down in the following areas: number of meetings (-27%), non-essential travel and conference (-20%) and event attendance (-15%).
In the new business travel environment, corporate travel managers expect to drive good values with preferred travel suppliers:

  • 70 percent of buyers expect to negotiate better hotel discounts for 2010.
  • More than 30 percent forecast better discounts with airlines, and car rental companies.

Methodology
The  NBTA 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers’ Cost Forecast is based on primary findings from an online survey completed by 180 U.S.-based NBTA Direct Members (corporate travel buyers) between the dates of August 13 and September 24, 2009, as well as additional analysis of data collected from sources such as the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Smith Travel Research, IHS Global Insight, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

Reimbursement efficiencies with HotelPrepayLogic™

HotelPrepayLogic™ currently helps our clients securely and easily pay for non-employee hotel costs (think contract workers, interviewees, etc.) but it is also helping our clients recognize operational efficiencies with employee travel and the painful reimbursement process that follows.
Before HotelPrepayLogic™, our clients’ travelers would provide a personal credit card as a form of payment for their hotel guarantee. After travel was completed, the traveler would have to find the folio, expense it and wait to be reimbursed. On the accounting side, the reimbursement had to be verified, coded and completed, requiring manual intervention or oversight.
All this for something that presumably was approved by a supervisor before the booking was done.
That’s where HotelPrepayLogic™ comes in. Along with the other benefits, it provides two additional, nifty features for employee travel:

  1. It combines all hotel spend for the company. Instead of spend being spread out among all your travelers (with them getting the perks) it is done under one account, leveraging your buying power and potentially bringing in rebates that can offset your total travel program’s cost.
  2. It eliminates the reimbursement process. The one time use credit card is automatically created by HotelPrepayLogic™ for only the sum of the room, tax and any pre-approved incidental charges. All encoding information (up to six customizable fields) is then populated directly from the itinerary. No back and forth between the travel and accounting departments trying to determine how to code a specific trip.

HotelPrepayLogic™ has been driving a lot of savings for our current clients. Travel and accounting departments love it! We know it can save you time and money with your travel management program. Contact us to find out more.

Categories
Vacation Travel

Oasis Of The Seas

Oasis of the Seas – the largest cruise ship in the world is now sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. Linda Smith had the opportunity to sail on her last week. As large as the ship is Royal Caribbean has given the ship an intimate feel with different neighborhoods like Central Park, the Royal Promenade and the Boardwalk that has a carousel as it’s centerpiece for passengers to visit. The ship has a zip line, 2 flow riders, 2 rock climbing walls and 21 pools on board including the whirlpools – something for everyone. The entertainment was fabulous with the Broadway show Hairspray being performed at the Opal Theater, an ice show at Studio B and the Aquatheater with the ocean as its backdrop where divers perform into the pool below. The ship was built with families in mind – with over 37 different restaurants there are a lot of options for each member of the family. The ship is the destination – a city at sea. All of our agents are excited to help you book a cruise on this fabulous ship.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Did you know???-Convergence

Where is technology going? Will it change how, when, and where you travel? How you communicate and connect with your clients? Is your company ready? Are you ready? Check out the below YouTube on convergence.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILQrUrEWe8
Andavo/Christopherson Travel has the latest and greatest in travel technology tools that will take your travel to the next level.  Are you ready?  Contact your travel Account Manager to learn more.