Getting Around in Paris

Being one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it is essential for any visitor to Paris to be able to make the best of the opportunity and see as much of the city as possible. And getting around Paris is much easier than any other populated city.

Walking would be the best option, provided one has a good idea of the city layout, as it gives a visitor ample time to breathe in and absorb the beauty the city has to offer. Also, Paris proper is actually very compact, about 6km wide, and walking is reasonably easy. Of course if it’s too tiring there are always plenty of other travel options to choose from.

For safe and fast transportation the Paris Metro is the best option. Comprising of 200 kilometres of rail track it covers 370 stations. Lines are numbered 1-15 direction of which is indicated by the last station on the line. In order to reach a specified destination it might be necessary to change lines although this does not involve purchasing of additional tickets.

The RER trains extend public transport to the suburbs of Paris. The five lines A-E operate from about five thirty in the morning till about half past midnight (like the Metro) and Metro tickets can be used when travelling inside Paris. For travels outside the Paris area, such as to the airport and Disneyland Paris, special RER fares and tickets apply.

For a more entertaining journey try the Paris bus system; this offers better views of the city and makes it easier to get accustomed to the city layout. Maps indicating bus routes are available at bus shelters as well as the Metro stations. Buses generally function from 6:30 am till 8:30 pm with a few extending their services till past mid-night. Metro tickets can be used to travel in the buses as well.

Tickets for the Metro, bus and RER can be purchased at subway stations, bus terminals and registered retailers displaying the RATP sign, and a booklet of ten offers a good saving. And although using the Metro requires only one ticket the bus would require more than one depending on the number of stages of the journey. Special buses such as the Noctambus or the Roissybus have higher fares and ticket for these busses can be purchased only on the specific bus. A Paris Visit, a special pass, offers an unlimited number of trips on all types of Parisian public transport. So for those who wish to travel around a lot using the public transport system, this would be the best option.

A taxi is a good option if you are pressed for time or if privacy is preferred. Otherwise it’s not the most convenient option as it’s difficult to just hail one on the street. Taxis are generally found in multitudes outside train stations and airports and outside restaurants and nightclubs in the evenings. Taxis charge additional fees at train station ramps, for extra luggage and even for a fourth passenger.

A Paris L’Open bus tour is an easy way to see the city. It provides commentaries in English and French and offers the flexibility of descending and ascending the next bus when the passenger is ready to continue with the journey. The full journey lasts two hours fifteen minutes and Paris Visit cardholders receive a discount.

Lastly, avoid the Metro and the RER during the rush hour: 8:00-10:00am and 5:00-8:00pm. Best option is to walk as even some bus lines can get really crowded. The most over crowded Metro lines are 1,2,4,11,12 and 13 and Metro lines 6 and 2 offer an added advantage of impressive views of the city as they run mostly above ground.

Vertical Wheelchair Lift Benefits

When we run across the street to visit a friend we think nothing of the work involved in such a short distance. When we walk around their block we do not even give another thought to the actual event other then the beginning and the end. When we walk up or down a flight of stairs we think nothing of the effort that goes into such an exercise. These tasks are simple and do not even cause a flutter of an eye when we accomplish them however there are members of our community which find such tasks to be extremely challenging and difficult to accomplish.

Physically challenged individuals and our elderly members of society spend a considerable portion of their life in the confines of their wheelchair and have very limited mobility. This creates a very restricted form of mobility unlike ours. These individuals represent the group of people which can benefit the most from specialty transportation equipment like vertical wheelchair lifts, ramps and elevators.

Platform lifts or vertical wheelchair lefts are powered with either hydraulics or electricity. These devices permit a wheelchair constrained individual to be either lowered or to be elevated to a floor level without the need to leave their wheelchair.

These wheelchair lifts comes in a selection of different models that include the following:

An enclosed Model:

With this particular model wheelchair lift the chair as well and the occupant can remain on atop a platform with walls enclosing them as they moves up and down. This specific lift is particularly practical for using outdoors where the safety of the occupant may be of concern due to the weather conditions.

A Shaft way Model:

With this type of wheelchair lift one can easily fit with the confines of any walls. It is very similar to the typical elevator. It proves useful in both the residential home environment and in the public establishments.

A Stage Model:

This noteworthy lift model only features a platform. It regularly is used for shorter height situations such as those found on a stage are for entering and exiting vehicles or as an elevator.

An Opal Model:

Although this model of left is similar to enclosed models which have platforms which encloses the wall it however features an open type ceiling.

Either the vertical lifts or the platform lifts may be utilized in diverse locations as explained below.

Vertical platform lifts provide wheelchair bound individuals a means of improving their entering and exiting of their homes due to the fact that these devices permit them to be carefully hoisted from the ground level up to their elevated porches.

Within an academic environment these lifts can be installed to provide an access for physically challenged students, the staff, the faculty and the institute’s visitors when entering the auditorium stage area or any elevated platforms.

Although many large public structures have elevators installed they many times can not carry wheelchairs thus they still install vertical lifts for those people with special physical requirements. Additionally older type buildings have smaller areas where space is limited for accommodating ramps. As such this problem centering on space contributes greatly to the use of the vertical lift rather than with the space hungry ramps.

The vertical lifts are of significant use to those people who demonstrate physical limitations. With these devices the people experience a fuller lifestyle filled with considerable activity and a greater independence or simple vegetating in one place and leading a boring existence. Whether these devices are installed within ones home or in public buildings the vertical lift will make a noteworthy change in the daily lives of these people.

Copyright @2008 Joseph Parish

Give Donations That Help Support Charities

There are many reasons to make donations. People all over the country are in need of many things that they cannot pay for. With the current economic conditions, many people are out of work. Homes have been foreclosed on and families evicted. Children and families in many cities may be going hungry tonight. People with terrible illnesses may be in need of expensive medical attention. Donations to science can allow for much needed research. Anywhere you look, you can probably find someone in need. As you make a donation, the recipient feels good, because they have received much needed aid, and you feel the good vibrations that come from knowing you have helped

There are many charitable organizations that help needy people. This is especially good if one finds it hard to figure out how to help people individually. Donating to an organization is an excellent way to allow your donations to go farther as they combine with other’s donations. People often worry about being taken advantage of, but if you do a little research, you can be assured that the charitable organization you are working with is legitimate. Sometimes the organization you work with depends on the type of donations you wish to make. For instance, if you want to donate food, you will probably work with the local food bank, soup kitchen, or rescue mission. If you have clothing to donate, you may work with organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters who take gently used articles of clothing and resell them at thrift stores.

Another thing that is great to donate is a car. If you are in the market for a newer car and have not yet decided what to do with the old one, you ought to think about donating it to charity. Of course, you could trade it in on the new car and get about half of its value, or you could spend lots of your time trying to sell it on your own, hoping to get a little more than the trade-in value, but just consider the benefits of donating it to a charitable institution.

First, since a vehicle is a big ticket item, you can be assured that it will be a really big help to someone. It might be refurbished and given to a family as their only means of reliable transportation, or it might be sold. If it is sold, the money from that sale will go a long way to provide food or clothing for a family, or school supplies for needy children. It might also go toward medical research or any number of things. A nice side benefit is the hefty tax write-off you will receive for having made the donation. As you can see, when you give donations, you will get good vibrations.

Ocean Freight Delivery – A Great Option For International Shipping

Those who have a business on a global level would have to think about ways in which they can take care of their international shipping needs in a cost effective and efficient manner. Today, with the world becoming a smaller place, most businesses are operating on a global level. Companies have their virtual stores online where their clients pick out and purchase the goods that they want and the company would have to ship the goods to their clients within the specified time limit. This can be a very tough job if the client lives thousands of miles away and if the shipping method which is used by the company is not up to the mark. In business, it is wise to never take any chances and always go with a shipping method which is safe and which guarantees timely deliveries.

Ocean freight and air freight are the two most popular methods of international shipping. Choosing one between both of these options would depend mainly on the needs of the business as well as the client. Most good logistics and shipping companies would ensure that they offer both of these options to their clients for their convenience.

Ocean Shipping

Ocean freight delivery has become more popular in the recent years since it has now become more cost effective as well as efficient. It provides timely transportation for international as well as national ports and because of this reason, more and more business owners and individuals today prefer to go for this shipping option. Not only does this shipping option cut down on the cost significantly for the customers, but it also provides them with safe, efficient shipping.

Ocean freight is basically transporting materials through a shipping container. Today, service providers too have become more professional and provide plenty of useful services to clients like shipping to and from anywhere in the world. Customers would also be able to get benefit of services like full container load as well as less than full container load which again, would help them to cut down on costs.

Air Shipping

While ocean freight delivery has become quite popular as a shipping method in the last few years, air shipping is also quite popular if the items which have to be shipped are time sensitive, high value, express shipments or small shipments since air shipment helps save time and cost on smaller items. Air shipping containers which are used by the companies today ensure that the services provided to the clients are always safe and on time. Clients can ship their items anywhere, nationally as well as internationally.

Choosing What is Right for You

Both the shipping options discussed above have their own pros and cons and deciding which one is best suited to you would depend on your own personal needs. Always go with a company which provides reliable, safe and cost efficient services for ocean freight delivery.

Professional Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Conversions

The type of vehicle conversion that you require can depend on numerous factors including the vehicle in question and the capabilities of the passengers that it is destined for. With both these considerations in mind you will be able to acquire the most sufficient conversion to provide the most advantage for a wheelchair accessible vehicle.

The correct vehicle conversion can greatly increase the freedom of any disabled passenger, whilst providing the correct resources which enables them to enter as safely as possible. This can greatly improve the quality of their life by allowing them a means of transportation in a way that they would normally find quite difficult. The multiple seating options available can be designed in a way to provide the passenger with an amount of flexibility they could not obtain from a standard vehicle. Vehicle conversion companies understand the great importance of safe and convenient entry points and the safety measures involved, which can be tailored to the preferences of the passenger with space taken into consideration.

Although there are many manuals that encourage the DIY approach, in order to be sure that your vehicle is safe for both the driver and passenger it is absolutely vital that it is taken out professionally. Vehicle conversion experts will apply their skill and years of practice into making such a transition completely secure and will select the correct type of modifications for each of your requirements. The conversion of a vehicle isn’t just about getting the seating options and entry point, there is also much in the way of electronics to be considered and if this isn’t done properly it could result in serious repercussions and injuries.

There are two main types of wheelchair accessible vehicle conversion available for your convenience, with a choice between rear entry conversions and side entry conversions you are able to acquire what is most suitable for the needs of the passenger. Obviously, a rear entry conversion allows the passenger to easily gain access to the vehicle from the back. This usually incorporates a ramp system that can be installed on vans of many differing types; however it is important that you check with the company that they are able to carry out the job on the vehicle that you have. Being able to choose from varying ramp sizes, you are able to select the most appropriate option for the purpose in which your van is destined for, whether it is for one or many disable passengers.

On the other hand, a side entry conversion involves the installation of an electrically powered ramp at the side of the vehicle; this offers the advantage of making the passenger seat much easier to access. These are both great options and are sure to provide you with the perfect option to make transportation a simple task.

A van conversion for such a purpose is able to offer people who would not normally be able to afford to provide the gift of freedom to their loved ones that are wheelchair bound a cost effective solution making their life much more enjoyable and fulfilling. With no need to purchase a new vehicle for a conversion you are able to invest in your existing van by taking it to a specialist company and attain their safe and reliable services for a conversion that is beneficial to both you and the passenger. This will only take a matter of weeks before completion and you will have a fully converted van that is able to offer the passenger a whole new lease of life by giving them the freedom and convenience they need.

Outsourcing Manufacturing – Make Sure YOU Understand the Total Costs

In the increasingly competitive global marketplace, manufacturers need to continually strive to reduce costs to keep or increase market share. This is one of the key factors in making the decision of whether to make parts in-house, outsource to domestic suppliers, or outsource offshore.

Even after a company makes the decision to outsource to a supplier, most don’t look beyond the quoted unit price in making the decision about which supplier to select. This is especially true when comparing the quotes for domestic vs. offshore suppliers. Some companies choose to outsource offshore because the price is cheaper than a domestic supplier. They don’t add in the costs for   transportation , much less all of the other “hidden costs” of dealing with an offshore supplier.

In order to make the correct decision for outsourcing, a company needs to understand the concept of “total cost of ownership” for outsourcing manufacturing.

What is “Total Cost of Ownership?” It is an estimate of the direct and indirect costs and benefits related to the purchase of any part, subassembly, assembly, or product. The Gartner Group originated the concept of (TCO) analysis several years ago, and there are a number of different methodologies and software tools for calculating the TCO for various industries, products, and services.

Total Cost of Ownership includes much more than the purchase price of the goods paid to the supplier. For the purchase the types of manufactured products we are considering, it should include all of the other costs associated with the purchase of the goods, such as:

· Geographical location

·  Transportation  alternatives

· Inventory costs and control

· Quality controls

· Reserve capacity

· Responsiveness

· Technological depth

The search for low cost areas for manufacturing isn’t something new. Fifty years ago, northern and New England companies started moving manufacturing to the southern states. Twenty-five years ago, many West Coast manufacturers started moving high-volume production to Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines. The next lower cost area was Mexico with the advent of the maquiladoras in Mexico.

“Offshoring” refers to relocating one or more processes or functions to a foreign location. For the past 15 years, many manufacturers have sought to reduce costs by offshoring all or part of their manufacturing processes in China. In the last decade, outsourcing offshore has evolved from a little-used practice to a mature industry. Even conservative companies are now willing to experiment with going offshore to gain a competitive edge. The concept of globalization has become part of the fabric of today’s business.

Many times, the decision to outsource offshore is based on faulty assumptions that can have unpleasant consequences. In some cases, the basis for the decision is well intentioned, such as to win new business by being close to a customer.

But, with every business decision comes an assumption, and more often than not, the related assumptions are erroneous. Here’s a list of well intentioned but often-faulty assumptions:

· Longer lead times won’t affect our cost calculations very much.

· Overseas suppliers have the same morals and work ethics as we do.

· Overseas laws will protect our proprietary information.

· We can teach our suppliers to reach our quality needs and to build our product reliably and efficiently.

· Communication will not be an issue given daily conference calls, the Internet, and the fact that the supplier speaks English.

· Assessment and travel costs won’t change our cost calculations very much.

· The increase in delivery and quality costs won’t be significantly different than our cost calculations.

· Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma methodologies can be taught to suppliers before our company’s bottom line is affected.

In actuality, many case studies have shown that these assumptions were orders of magnitude off from reality. The problems with making these assumptions are:

· It doesn’t capture a reasonable amount of variation. Each lot takes weeks more time than anticipated to get to the U.S. or customer site for evaluation.

· The overlying methods for producing product or service have gotten more complex, not less. In general, costs rise with complexity.

· The company doesn’t know how many or even most of the hidden costs that exist (i.e., process stability, process capability over time, potential for future deviations from the current process).

· The company loses complete control of quick changes to react to hidden costs. It’s like trying to control production via remote control.

· The company is making wrong assumptions.

Hidden Costs Grow Geometrically

Accountants deal with hard costs such as material costs, material overhead costs, labor costs, labor overhead costs, quality costs, outside services, sales, general and accounting costs, profits, etc. What they don’t measure are the intangible costs associated with business such as the true costs of delay, defects, and deviations from standard or expected processes (the three D’s).

These costs are often called hidden factories because they keep everyone busy generating absolutely nothing of any tangible or openly measured value. Another way to understand these costs is that they produce results that no one, especially the customer would want to pay for. In addition to obvious direct costs – such as additional meetings, travel, and engineering time – hidden factories also indirectly produce many forms of “soft” costs, such as loss of good will, loss of competitiveness, extended warranty costs, and legal costs.

When it comes to outsourcing, there’s more to consider than the quoted price. Some outsourcing costs are less visible – or downright hidden. Here are the top hidden costs of outsourcing offshore:

· Currency Fluctuations – last year’s invoice of $100,000 could be $140,000 today.

· Lack of Managing an Offshore Contract – underestimating the people, process, and technology required to manage an outsourcing contract.

· Design changes – language barriers make it difficult to get design changes understood and implemented

· Quality problems – substitution of lower grade or different materials than specified is a common problem

· Legal liabilities – offshore vendors refuse to participate in product warranties or guarantees

· Travel Expenses – one or more visits to an offshore vendor can dissipate cost savings

· Cost of Transition – overlooking the time and effort required to do things in a new way. It takes from three months to a year to complete the transition to an offshore vendor.

· Poor Communication – communication is extremely complex and burdensome.

· Intellectual Property – foreign companies, particularly Chinese, are notorious for infringing on IP rights without legal recourse for American companies

In the past, my experience was that once manufacturing moved out of the United States, it rarely came back. However, in the past two years, we have seeing more companies coming back from doing business in China. The main problems these companies encountered were:

· Substitution of materials

· Inconsistent quality

· Stretched out deliveries

· Communication problems

· Inability to modify designs easily and rapidly

· Unfavorable purchase order and credit terms

Quality/Substitution of Materials:

In late 2007, SeaBotix Inc., a San Diego-based manufacturer of miniature underwater vehicles, told me that their Chinese molder was substituting 10 percent glass-filled ABS (a plastic material used in injection molding) for the specified 30 percent glass-filled ABS. The vendor claimed that the parts were made in the specified material, but an independent lab test confirmed that they weren’t. The 10 percent glass-filled material caused the parts to shrink more in molding so that the parts were smaller, didn’t fit mating parts properly, and were not as strong. After their Chinese vendor refused to take the parts back or give credit for the defective parts, SeaBotix decided to bring their tools back to the United States and sourced them at a molder in southern California.

Don Rodocker, president, SeaBotix, said, “The Chinese tooling was one-third the cost of tooling in the U. S., the delivery was one-third the time quoted by U. S. companies, and the piece part price was one-third the quoted U. S. price, but each time we reordered the parts, the Chinese molder increased the price until they were three times the price we could get the parts molded for in San Diego. We would probably go to a Chinese toolmaker in the future for the molds, but would bring the molds back to the States to be run.”

Cost of Inventory

In 2002, Vaniman Manufacturing, which makes dental equipment in Fallbrook, California, shifted most of their sheet metal fabrication offshore to China to save money (a 50 percent cost reduction in piece price). However, they were required to purchase significantly larger lots of parts resulting in a higher cost for the larger inventory. In turn, the larger inventory required more storage space. In addition,  transportation  costs for shipping from overseas were higher. These additional costs and other “soft” costs, such as travel expenses to visit vendors and communication costs, make up what are referred to as the Total Cost of Ownership.

After realizing that these additional costs were eating up the cost savings in the piece pricing, this company brought their sheet metal back to a local supplier in the fourth quarter of 2007. Don Vaniman, who heads the company, cited several reasons for his move: shipping delays, security hassles, and poor quality control. “If you order a thousand widgets in four shipments, three shipments might be all right, but the fourth might be totally wrong.” Vaniman said, “In the U.S., a supplier would jump through hoops to fix that kind of problem, but in China, it could take six months to work out the details.”

Vaniman said that the local supplier was able to nearly match the Chinese costs by developing more efficient and creative production techniques, using recyclable packaging for parts delivery, and utilizing larger lot sizes, delivered on a just-in-time schedule. Vaniman was able to significantly reduce their inventory and the space required for inventory, due to smaller lot sizes being delivered just in time.

In addition, rising costs in China erased much of the price gap. Vaniman said that six years ago, the cost of producing its parts in the U.S. was as much as 50 percent higher than in China. Now it’s only five percent higher – a premium that he’s happy to pay.

These stories from San Diego County are just a microcosm of what’s happening nationwide.

Intellectual Property Theft

There is increasing wariness by upper management of companies regarding sourcing in China, especially with regard to sourcing all the component parts and/or subassemblies for a product because China doesn’t honor U.S. patents. They have heard about companies that have sourced a product in China only to have a product identical to theirs appear on the market, made by a Chinese company at a much lower price. Companies that haven’t paid attention to this danger and sourced their whole product in China have suffered the consequences.

There’s also a growing realization that when it comes to quality and location, location may be the best guarantee of all. It’s hard, very hard, to outsource quality, particularly to a distant land many miles and time zones away. Many companies are returning their call centers to the U.S. because of customer complaints, and I believe that a growing number of manufacturers will realize that “you get what you pay for” from their offshore suppliers. Applying good quality principles takes money, education, and experience, many of which are in short supply in the low-wage countries capturing the majority of offshoring dollars these days.

“Made-in-China” Becoming Undesirable:

As toys, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and other goods manufactured in China have been and are being recalled month after month due to contamination, inferior and/or poisonous materials, the loss of consumer confidence in all China-made products is serving as a wake-up call to every company sourcing in China. Tainted, defective, and poor-quality products have made many consumers leery of buying goods produced in China and have awakened people to the seriousness of the offshore manufacturing issue.

Advantages of Sourcing Domestically

More and more companies are realizing that there are worthwhile advantages to sourcing in the United States. The main ones are:

· Ease of communication – same language

· Same or close time zone

· Flexible delivery – Just-in-time or Kan Ban

· Rapid turnaround for tooling or prototypes

· Many reliable choices for  transportation 

· Smoother design changes – easier to make changes understood and more willingness to make changes

· Lower cost of inventory from lower minimum buys

· Consistent higher quality – materials and dimensions match specifications

· Lower Travel Expenses

· No Intellectual Property Infringement

· More favorable Purchase Order and Credit Terms

“Outsourcing Offshore” will Continue

There is no question that “outsourcing offshore” will continue for the next ten to twenty years, especially for the multinational countries that have products to sell within the countries in which they set up manufacturing operations. In fact, manufacturing products locally for consumption within a foreign country will be crucial to profitability as  transportation  costs continue to increase.

The “desirable” locations for cheaper outsourcing will change over time just as they have in the past fifty years. The purely financial benefits of lower pricing will erode over time. The challenge for America is to keep as many companies as possible growing and prospering within the United States. A correct understanding of the True Cost of Ownership for outsourcing manufacturing will help bring back and maintain more manufacturing in the United States.

8 Essential Travel Tips For Safety

Travelling can be exciting and frightening at the same time. When you are travelling to some destination for the first time, follow these ten essential travel safety tips to make sure that you have the safe and happy journey.

Select Your Ground Transportation Sensibly

When you are travelling in a rickshaw, taxi or bus check with the companies that the mode of transportation is safe, try to avoid travelling in less reliable transportation like a rickshaw. When you are driving yourself, check that the car which you have rent is functioning properly always wear your seatbelt while driving.

Check With The Government Department

You know you can gather all the safety information about any country from the state department. You can visit their website and get accurate details about any country where you are visiting. You can find all kinds of information from types of crime, vaccinations, travel warning. You can register with them so in case if there is any natural disaster or civil unrest you can come back home immediately.

Review The Hotel Escape Route

Let’s be truthful when we check in our hotel room; we are more interested in seeing the facilities and the view from our room, rather than reading the security map placed behind the door. But before you get settled we recommend that you read the emergency escape routes, because in case if there is an emergency then you will be glad to know where to head out from.

Leave An Emergency Contact

Going on a relaxing vacation alone seems to be fun, but that doesn’t mean that you disappear for the world. Leave your contact number, where you are travelling to which hotel you are staying at and when will you be back with a trusted friend or family member; try to contact him or her once every day. That way if something unusual happens with you they will know.

Scan Your Important Documents

Before you head for your travel destination, it is best that you scan your passport, identification card and driving license card you can save it on your smartphone or email it to yourself. This way if you are out and you need to show the passport which is at the hotel then you can show the scanned one.

Confirm Visitors With Hotel Reception

You are in your hotel room, and there is a knock at the door, somebody from the housekeeping is there to clean your room. Before you allow the person in, call the reception and ask them if they have sent anyone from the housekeeping, you never know a thief can enter your room pretending to be from maintenance dept.

Don’t Show Off Your Cash

Keep your valuables like jewellery and cash in your hotel safe or in your purse, while paying off your bills don’t leave huge tips or show off your money. Although when you are travelling there is a strong urge to take pictures with your smartphone, try not to take it out often as there are many thieves around who love to steal cell phones from people.

Keep A Backup Car Gear

When you are driving your car or rent one for a road trip, then make sure that you have packed an emergency car kit. This emergency kit should include flashlights, battery, first aid kit, blankets, bottled water and canned food, the backup battery for phone, a tire gauge and snow shovel.

Transportation Tips For Travelers


Book at least a week in advance. For the best discount airfares make a reservation one, two or three weeks before the departure date.

Keep in mind that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday flights are usually less expensive.

Night time departure flights are usually cheaper.

Try to choose the same airline for the entire trip.

Do not forget to reconfirm your flight times a day before your departure. Inquire about the check-in procedure and the luggage allowance.

Consider packing into transparent plastic zippered bags for easy inspection. Plan to arrive to an airport at least two hours prior to flight time. Do not leave your baggage alone at any time. You may be asked to turn on all of your electric and electronic appliances.

Save up to 65% when purchasing air tickets online through TravelMake, check out our airfare search form.


Budget airlines offer cheap fares around the world. Reserve your flight on the web or by phone, using your credit card to pay.

Most discount airlines’ tickets are unchangeable and nonrefundable, some offer changes on the return dates for an extra fee. In the latter case you need to make changes at least 24 hours before your departure.

Most budget airlines offer one-way flights without a cost increase or penalty which provides an excellent way to connect cheap flights, to link flights with ground  transportation . Plan to leave some extra time for the connection, the delay of one flight will cause you to miss another linked flight.

Every budget airline has its own luggage restrictions, make sure you learn them before booking. Many of them allow very limited check-in luggage for free, sometimes only 15 or 20 kg (33 or 44 lbs) charging up to $15 per kg (2.2 lbs) of extra weight.

Discount airlines quite often use obscure airports located far away from from the city center. It can cost you extra money and transfer time.


Make sure you catch the right train at the right place. Cities often have more than one train station, so pay attention. If confused, ask for help.

Each car in a train is labeled separately, cars are usually added and dropped here and there along the journey. Be sure that the city on your car’s label is your destination.

Theft is quite common on trains, so stay alert and observant. Clip your backpack to the overhead rack for safety.

For overnight trips get a couchette — a sleeping berth in a compartment. Reserve it at least a day in advance from. Sheets, pillowa and blankets will cost you extra money.

For an average independent traveler planning to see lots of Europe, the best way to go is Eurailpass. Eurailpasses offer you unlimited first-class travel on all public railways in 17 European countries. Most passes can be purchased from six months in advance to one week ahead. After you buy a railpass, you have six months to validate it in Europe. You can validate your railpass at any European train station by presenting your railpass and passport to a railway official at a ticket window, who will write in the first and last dates of your travel period.


We recommend you to book a cruise early, at least a month prior to the sail date.

Try to be flexible about your travel plans, off-season cruises are almost always cheaper.

By getting a four-day cruise in the middle of the week instead of the popular three-day weekend cruise you might get that extra day at a good rate.

Choosing the right cruise. It is totally up to your taste. The most populat destinations among first-time cruisers are the Caribbean or Mexican Riviera, where you float from one island paradise to the next. More experienced travelers choose Alaska or Canada where you’ll experience calving glaciers and magnificent whales. Cruises to Europe with a few days of trans-Atlantic voyage, culture shock and information-rich shore excursions are recommended for the most experienced cruisers.

Cruise length. Three-day weekend, four-day midweek, week and two-week cruises are the most popular.

Cabins are listed as inside (no windows) or outside (with windows, higher priced). If you plan to spend most of the time in your cabin, choose the biggest room you can afford. Standard cabins have twin beds, which can usually be converted into a queen-sized bed, while bunk beds in other rooms cannot be converted.


There are four types of car rental rates: a daily rate with a mileage charge; a daily rate with a limited number of free miles per day; a daily rate with unlimited mileage; and a rate that has free mileage over an extended period. Vehicles are economical when rented by the week with unlimited mileage. Daily rates are usually quite high, but there are some good 3-day deals. Rates vary from company to company, month to month, and country to country.

Your age may affect the rate. Younger renters (below 25 years of age) can get charged extra money, like being required to buymore expensive insurance. Some companies will not rent a car to a person under 21. There are also maximum age limits which vary from company to company. If you are beyond the lower and upper age limits, look into leasing a vehicle, which has less age restrictions. Leasing a car gets around many tax and insurance costs and is a great deal for people needing a car for three weeks or more. The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy are popular places to lease cars.

All car rental companies require a valid drivers license. Some car rental companies check the driver’s record and will deny a car to a customer with a poor driving record. In some foreign countries, an international drivers license may be required.

We wish you a successful and safe trip!

Transportation and Logistics – What is a Freight Class?

Each product that moves by an LTL carrier has a freight class assigned. A single governing body know as the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) determines a product’s freight class. All carriers acknowledge the product’s classification that is assigned by this group, it is virtually the unspoken gospel. The NMFTA will analyze a product’s typical size, value, density and difficulty of transporting that particular type of product. Once they have analyzed the product, they will assign that product a freight class. The freight class will range from 50 to 500. The lower the freight class, the cheaper the cost will be to move the item. Typically items at lower classes will be items that are very dense, easy to transport and will typically have a low per pound value. The higher the freight class, the cost to move the item will be more expensive. Items listed at higher classes will be more bulky, difficult to transport with lower weights and are more valuable.

It is very important that the correct class information be entered into the quoting system to allow customers to receive accurate quotes. A carrier has the right to inspect any item being shipped on their trucks. If a product’s description does not match the class that is shown on the Bill Of Lading. the carrier does have the right to adjust the billing and bill the shipment at a higher freight class. If a carrier adjusts the class and bills the shipper at a higher rate, those additional charges will be passed along to the shipper. Some carriers will also bill additional inspection fees to the shipment, which will also be passed along to the customer as a supplemental bill. Typically a rating system will provide accurate pricing based on the information entered. If the shipment’s class is different than the class that is entered, the amount billed to the shipper will not match the amount they were quoted and can cause issues in collecting the freight charges.

The following are Product examples and their Freight Class:

  • 500 lbs. of bricks- Class 50
  • 500 lbs. of computer towers- Class 100
  • 500 lbs. of Ping-Pong Balls- Class 500

Again, as you can see, the heavier the product the lower the Class rating and thus the shipper will pay a less rate. Freight shipping is not a glamorous industry, but it is a very necessary part of the worlds supply chain, and if utilized the right way a company can save a lot of money.

Renting Transportation in Costa Rica

So, you’ve decided to head down to Costa Rica for a little vacation time. It is a quality destination, but you are going to need some way to get around. That means renting a car, truck or van.

A good trip is all about preparation. To rent a vehicle in Costa Rica, you can just do a search on your favorite search engine and make an online reservation. If you are looking for something a bit more credible, you can look through travel and surf magazines at some of the ads. Since someone had to pay for those ads, you can rest assured that they are a bit more established and credible.

Having done many trips to Costa Rica, I can tell you with authority the best way to really rent a car. The first step is to do nothing. Do not make reservations. The reason is you are never really sure what you are going to end up with at the airport and you are at the mercy of the rental company. That 2008 Toyota Highlander turns out to be a 1978 Toyota Pickup truck with rust holes so big you can read the signs painted on the streets through the floor.

A better approach is to fly into San Jose, the primary city in the country. It is located pretty much smack dab in the middle of the country. This means you can drive to just about any location within three or four hours. In short, it is a perfect hub to start your trip from.

To rent a vehicle, simply go through customs and walk out the exit. There you will be inundated with people trying to rent you vans, trucks, bikes, cars and pretty much anything you can think of. It can be a bit chaotic, but you have the distinct advantage of seeing the merchandise in person if you know what I mean. You have the secondary advantage of renting the vehicle right there and hitting the road immediately. The value of this cannot be understated.

On a trip a few years ago, eight of us flew into San Jose. We walked through customs and came out to find our 2 vans were not in the parking lot. A call to the van company was met by a voice mail recording. We left messages. We sat in the sun. We left more messages. We sat in the heat. After three hours, two of the humblest vans you have ever seen backfired there way into the parking lot. At that point, we were far too tired to care. It was only during the evening as we drove along that we realized the car was full of cockroaches!

Costa Rica is a tremendous vacation destination and I highly recommend you visit the country. Just remember, rent your ride there.