Laptop Security: How to Protect Your Laptop When T

Laptop Security: How to Protect Your Laptop When Traveling

by: Jonathan Chase

Most business people who travel these days have a laptop in tow. Since the workflow doesn’t stop when the need to travel arises, these are necessities that connect them to the rest of the world and allow them to take care of whatever business comes up during the time that they’re away. That being the case, there are certain guidelines that should be followed in order to ensure the safety and protection of your laptop when you get called away from the office.

One of the first considerations that should be made is in regard to the laptop’s security. Since thieves will target these as often as they will cash, jewelry or other valuables, it’s critical to put as many security measures into place as possible when traveling through airports, bus terminals, train stations and any other form of public travel. Of course, it’s never wise to leave your laptop unattended. It’s a sad testament to the way of the world, but you can be fairly certain that when you return, your equipment will be gone.

When packing for your trip, place the laptop in a case that’s different – and less obvious – from its standard carrying case, and make sure that it’s checked in as carryon luggage. This will not only ensure that it doesn’t get stolen, but will be in the pressurized part of the plane, rather than the baggage compartment, which doesn’t have pressure or climate controls that are needed to ensure the integrity of the laptop.

If you’re planning to take a nap while you’re en route via public transportation, be sure to secure the laptop before going to sleep. Some people go so far as to cuff the unit to their wrist, but there are other measures that you can take, which include placing it in its case and putting it between your feet or between yourself and the wall if you’re sitting by a window. In the event that anything should actually happen to violate the integrity of the laptop – or if it should be stolen, despite your precautions – it’s to be expected that you’ll have backed up all critical information onto disks before beginning your travels.

When you arrive at the hotel, speak with the front desk clerk to be sure that their phone jacks are compatible with your unit. If they happen to use a digital phone system which differs in voltage from that of a standard phone jack, your modem will most likely be damaged when you try to plug it in and dialup to get an outside connection. The best approach is to call ahead and check on these accommodations before making the trip, so that you’ll know what to expect and not be left with any nasty surprises.

In addition to the laptop itself, it’s always a good idea to bring an extension cord and extra batteries. Even though you may plan to use electricity, you should also include a backup plan, and batteries may only give you a few hours’ worth of power at a time before needing to be recharged or changed. When possible, cut down on the use of those things which need large amounts of energy, such as CDROMs, and reduce the number of autosaves on your machine.

By using your common sense and taking simple precautions, as well as including some backup cords and batteries, you should be able to travel safely and simply with your laptop without a lot of hoopla.

About The Author

Jonathan Chase runs and Internet marketing business and is a contributing author to All Cheap Laptops. Read more about traveling with your laptop at http://www.allcheaplaptops.com/Travel.htm

This article was posted on April 13

by Jonathan Chase

Fax Advertising : Hitting Your Target Immediately

Fax Advertising : Hitting Your Target Immediately

by: Chris Bradley

In the business of marketing and advertising, it used to be that companies that wanted to get the word out quickly to key customers on a new development would rely on email with followup phone calls. But with the new technologies available in fax broadcasting, fax advertising has taken over as the advertising medium of choice when it comes to contacting your customers at the speed of light.

Fax Advertising Puts Your Message in Their Hands

A perfect example of how fax advertising hits your target customers immediately with your critical marketing communications is the use of fax broadcasting in the travel industry. With public transportation, time is of the essence. Thousands of travelers depart every hour all over the world, and things can change in a heartbeat. Anything that can speed things up in the travel business can save companies millions, and keep valuable customers from heading over to the competition for their travel.

Fax advertising has proven to be the perfect tool for handling the lightningspeed requirements of the travel and transportation industry when they need to get their advertising in their customers’ hands at a moments notice. For example, one cruise line has 10 cruise ships that set sail about 14,500 times per year. With those kinds of numbers, unsold berths on each ship can add up to tons of lost sales throughout the course of a year, and it can be almost impossible to make potential customers aware of the empty berths at the last minute when a ship needs to take off.

Fax advertising to the rescue! That same cruise line has begun using a highly sophisticated fax advertising system which allows them to identify those travel agents that have been making reservations for customers most recently. The line is able to blast last minute fax broadcasts to those travel agents, offering discounts if someone want to purchase a last minute ticket for the empty berths right before a ship sets sail. The fax advertising has resulted in a huge increase in sales as a result, despite the last minute time crunch.

The same applies for the airline industry, where the timing of flight arrivals and departures is tight and quick communication is a must. One small, upstart airline was innovative enough to employ fax advertising to win business away from the competition. When a large competitor airline had to temporarily stop operations due to a strike, the small upstart went into action with a fax broadcasting campaign, quickly notifying travel agents of its excess seat capacity in certain areas and its ability to accommodate passengers left out in the cold by the strike. Even though the strike was over in a week, it was still enough time for this innovative air carrier to sell seats to lots of people who couldn’t delay their travel plans for the strike, thanks to the speed of fax broadcasting.

You may be in a business where time is of the essence. Maybe you have excess capacity that has gone wasted because you just couldn’t offer it to customers due to time constraints. Or perhaps there have been times when your own competitors have dropped the ball, but you couldn’t take advantage of the situation quickly enough to use it to your advantage. If you find your business in these types of situations, fax advertising may be your perfect solution. If you’re interested, test the water. Hire a fax advertising services firm and do a few trial runs. If your sales take off as a result, you can expand your fax advertising instantaneously with a simple mouseclick. Who knows; like the travel industry, you may find your sales taking off and heading for the clouds.

About The Author

Chris Bradley is V.P. of a http://www.3centfaxbroadcast.com where they help business save money and increase profits with their do it all fax service, where they do the work and you concentrate on your business.

This article was posted on August 16

by Chris Bradley

The Financial Power of Gay Weddings – Q & A

The Financial Power of Gay Weddings – Q & A

by: Marianne Puechl

The Financial Power of Gay Weddings – Q & A

Q. Why should people consider gay unions financially profitable?

A. Gay weddings may not be legal just yet, but commitment ceremonies occur regularly throughout the United States. According to statistics from Girlfriends magazine 31% of couples do intend to settle down into a committed relationship. Lesbians and gays who choose to formalize their relationship spend an average of $15,000 on a wedding.

Q. What sorts of goods and services will gay couples purchase for their weddings?

A. Gay and lesbian partners who register with Rainbow Wedding Network, the first wedding gift registry specifically for the gay and lesbian community, purchase the same goods and services as heterosexual couples. Overall their commitment ceremonies very closely resemble heterosexual weddings and include, for example: invitations, jewelry (often custom), florists, wedding coordinators and planners, photographers, limousine services, reception halls, and wedding cakes. When it comes to entertainment, couples may opt for musicians, disc jockeys or something a little more unique; yet it is true that gay and lesbian couples want all of the same amenities and services. They spend a comparable amount of money to straight people and, like any proud couple, want their union to be a remembered ‘event.’

Q. What attracts gay couples to a business when they look for goods and services for their weddings?

A. Most gay and lesbian couples want to work with businesses that will truly participate with them in the joy of the moment respectfully. This includes the process as well as the ceremony; for instance assisting with picking out just the right engagement ring with the professionalism and enthusiasm that such an occasion warrants. Gays and lesbians often look for businesses advertised in gay publications or that openly support the gay community. If a business owner wishes to work in gay weddings, it is important to establish an advertising presence in local gay publications, to participate in gayoriented events or to provide services at charities affiliated with the gay community. At the very least, displaying a rainbow flag on a website, marketing materials, or the actual place of business is an easy indication of a gayfriendly attitude and mentality.

Q. Are there other special needs or concerns for gay and lesbians who are being married?

A. Gay couples look for a comfort zone when utilizing the services of a vendor. They also may want to employ some creativity in their approach. For example, a lesbian woman may want to purchase a wedding gown or she may prefer a tuxedo. At RainbowWeddingNetwork, advertisers are screened, and conversed with personally before signing on. Advertising contracts stipulate that discrimination based on sexual orientation will not be tolerated. If a representative of a company does discriminate against a gay couple, the Network immediately has the right to discontinue advertising.

Q. How lucrative is the gay honeymooning market?

A. Many people in the gay community like to pamper themselves, show off, and enjoy life. The spending trend which began with the ceremony continues with the honeymoon. Travel statistics show the American gay and lesbian community represents $47.3 million, or about 10% of the travel industry. Eightynine percent hold a valid passport, and 54% budget $3,000 + on a vacation. Not only does the community travel, it travels well and purchases a variety of services while vacationing, to broaden their holiday experience.

Q. What considerations do gay honeymooners have when they select travel services and destinations?

A. Often gay and lesbian honeymooners will do business with a travel agent or travel services that work with openly gay couples, simply to insure that they can travel comfortably; not only enjoy themselves but moreover feel recognized as a couple having the full honeymoon experience.

Q. Is there other special advice to businesses that want to work with gay and lesbian couples?

A. It is most important to remember that gay weddings are not much different from heterosexual unions. These are two people in love who want to pay for respectful service. Treat gay unions as any other, and make certain there is good communication. Dialogue with your gay clients, as you would with any others. This leads to common ground, and the ability to provide the most ideal services for the particular couple with whom you are doing business!

About The Author

Marianne Puechl is coowner of www.RainbowWeddingNetwork.com, the first exclusive gay and lesbian wedding registry online. The site includes a directory of over 4,000 screened, gayfriendly businesses nationwide and in Canada. RWN was launched in 2000, and the first GLBT Wedding Expo will occur in Boston, Massachusetts on May 2, 2004.

rwnmar@bellsouth.net

This article was posted on February 26, 2004

by Marianne Puechl

Online Travel Statistics

Online Travel Statistics

by: Radha Khalsa

The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) released their annual Travelers’ Use of the Internet study in December 2003. The study shows an increase in the number of people using the internet to research and book travel.

TIA found that 30% of the adult U.S. population (63.8 million) consult the web for travel information. These travelers spend (on average) $300 more on travel, and nearly 40% had an annual household income above $75,000.

Online travelers surf to two or more travel websites, spending an average of 37 minutes. They research and compare prices, check schedules and book trips. The number of people actually booking online increased by 8% over 2002 and grew to 42.2 million people in 2003. Within this group of online travelers, 32 million people made travel arrangements exclusively through the internet (a figure expected to grow according to the TIA).

10 million travelers responded to email campaigns, causing the TIA to believe that email campaigns are stimulating unplanned travel.

TIA stated that the top 10 travel websites are:

Expedia

Travelocity

Orbitz

Yahoo Travel

Cheap Tickets

Hot Wire

VIPfares

Priceline.com

ITN.net

TravelNow.com

If your business supplies lodging, real estate, shopping, recreation, dining, events or tourist related specialty services, it may be wise to place advertisements with these websites. If you are not making full use of the internet for your marketing campaigns you are missing 30% of your potential market.

As online travelers’ habits become more sophisticated you will find them expecting to find and book everything from one location.

About The Author

MARKETING COORDINATOR and WEBSITE DESIGNERRadha Khalsa, has extensive experience in the areas of marketing analysis, strategic planning and project management.

info@khalsaweb.com

This article was posted on April 19, 2004

by Radha Khalsa

Travel Your Way To More Traffic

Travel Your Way To More Traffic

by: Ken Mowery

I am not a professional photographer nor am I in the travel business. However, I stay very busy these days taking scenic photographs and featuring them on my web site because my ขnot soข professional travel photos are bringing serious traffic to my web pages.

I consider myself a serious hobbyist when it comes to photography. It’s a hobby because so far no one is willing to pay for any of my pictures. I know it’s a serious hobby because I am never totally honest with my wife when she wants to know just how much I spend on photography. Over the years I have been privileged to see and shoot a few of the spectacularly scenic locations that exist in the U.S.

When I started designing web pages I was constantly on the search for fresh images. One afternoon my search for a waterfall took me into the basement of my home where my wife had stored dozens of shoeboxes filled with hundreds of ordinary vacation snapshots. I found the perfect scene for my project among the many photographs I had taken of Niagara Falls.

I scanned several of the Niagara pictures into my computer and tweaked them slightly with an image editor. I was very pleased with the results and decided to post the images on my personal website. I made a mistake when I typed the words and the file ended up as ขNiagraFallsข. I didn’t think that much about it because I only planned to publicize the Niagara Falls pages to a few friends and relatives so they could enjoy the pictures also.

A few weeks later I was checking the stats for my website and noticed that a number of guests had surfed in through search engines. To my surprise 30% of my visitors had come through a search for ขniagrafallsข. I went to one of the major search engines and keyed in that phrase and was amazed to see that my site was in the top ten returns.

I decided to see if other scenic hotspots might become ขvirtualข destinations of choice. I went through the same process with photos I had taken at Garden of the Gods State Park in Colorado Springs Colorado as well as a few other Colorado locations. I was pleased that ขgardenofthegodsข became another key search phrase that brings people to my site.

In the past I used my personal web pages to promote my web design and hosting business. Unfortunately, web design and hosting is not that relevant to my guests who come because of scenic interests. After some measure of trial and error I discovered that ขentertainmentข products market very well to the scenic seekers that visit my site.

I began a banner rotation on my photographic pages that link out to various entertainment sites which I affiliate with. So far the results have been very encouraging. In a future article I hope to explain what I discovered about keyword searches in the entertainment sector.

Let me summarize with these simple instructions. Get those vacation photographs out and upload them to your website. Build a separate page for each exotic location that you have been to. Be sure to enter the name of the place in your page title and in the keywords and description metatags. Set up a relevant banner rotation program and enjoy the traffic of virtual travel.

About The Author

Ken Moweryกs articles have been published in a number of magazines. He also writes a monthly column for the Greeley Tribune. He has been involved in web design and promotion for 8 years.

kmowery3@comcast.net

This article was posted on October 29, 2003

by Ken Mowery

How to Add RSS to Your Website Simply

How to Add RSS to Your Website Simply

by: Colin Maddocks

I am primarily a webbased travel agent, making my living from selling travel arrangements from leads generated from my specialist travel websites. Over a period of time I have built many websites and when creating the last few sites I have added an RSS news feed to generate uptodate news about that particular travel niche.

In doing so I have added another valuable resource for my potential clients and site visitors but at the same time I have added a source of continually changing content that helps my sites with regard to their search engine optimisation.

However, initially I found the great mass of articles, ebooks and software really confusing. All I wanted to know was how to be able to set up an RSS feed and then add it to my site.

After many, many hours of researching RSS feeds and buying quite a few, reasonably expensive RSS feed creation programs, I finally came across this solution, which for me, is easy to use, straightforward to set up and, more importantly, is free.

To set up, say, a ขCruise Newsข feed, I would find a suitable feed from sources such as www.icerocket.com, www.2rss.com or visit Yahoo’s news feeds at http://news.yahoo.com/rss.

For example, to create a feed in Yahoo I would enter my subject in the ขsearchข box, which would result in a new page of news, relevant to cruises and cruising. I would then click on the orange RSS feed icon that will be shown on the page and the copy the resulting feed URL, (e.g., http://news.search.yahoo.com/news/rss?p=cruise&ei=UTF8) that would appear in the IE address bar.

Next I would visit ขFeedJ2sข, at http://jade.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/feed/index.php?s=build and enter that Cruise News feed URL. Then, by pressing the ขGenerate Feedข button I would be able to generate the relevant ขCruise Newsข RSS code that I could then enter in the relevant place on my new website.

Now I am not suggesting that this is the best way you could create a useable RSS feed for your website. There are plenty of other ways and other programs out there and you can visit my dedicated website http://www.rssfeeds4u.com) which will tell you all about RSS feeds and products.

However, if you don’t’ want to spend a lot of time or any money on setting up RSS feeds for your website, this must be the easiest way by far.

About The Author

Colin Maddocks is a webbased travel agent and marketer who operates several successful websites including http://www.rssfeeds4u.com.

You are free to use and distribute this article with the proviso that you add the above author details and web address.

colin@gmail.com

This article was posted on August 09

by Colin Maddocks

Entrepreneur and Mom

Entrepreneur and Mom

by: Jennifer Dugan

When I was 12 years old, I had surgery with complications. I was told there was a chance I would not be able to have children. Growing up I could not imagine my life without children and worried about it often. When I got married close to my 21st birthday, my husband and I hoped that we would be lucky enough to have children. Luckily, I found out I was pregnant almost a year later. However, soon after the great news, I got very sick. I was working full time at a corporate travel agency and I could not work. My doctor told me that I had to take care of myself or I would be at risk to lose my baby. My employer got very nasty with me and was not compassionate about my sickness. I almost lost my job, but my doctor was able to get me medical leave from the family leave act. The experience was horrible. I vowed to never have to choose between my career and the health of my baby. I began to look for ways to work from home. I tried Mary Kay Cosmetics but I was terrible at it. It didn’t feel comfortable and I really had nothing to make me want to be successful.

When my son Dillon was born in February 1997, it was one of the best days of my life. I quit my job and tried to stay home full time. I was able to stay home until Dillon was three months old. Then I went back part time at a travel agency. I hated leaving him even for the few hours I had to. So I decided to start my own travel agency from my home. I knew the travel business well enough to be on my own, but I did not know very much about being a home business owner. For the next two years, I had to learn so much about running a home business. I got help from other work at home moms. I met them online and it was so helpful.

I created a website and began actively advertising for business. I read anything I could on having a home business. I learned as much as I could about the internet. I began brainstorming on how I could expand my business. I decided to specialize in family vacations since I had a growing family. My second child, Travis was born January 1999. I began to learn how to balance having a family and a business. I worked whenever I could. Many nights I work late at night when my children are sleeping. My husband is very supportive.

I finally started becoming successful and was gaining more customers each day. I started taking on independent agents and helping them start their own agencies. I let them work with my agency because I had already paid what it took to start the agency. I trained them and began building my business by helping others get into the industry. I took a small percentage of their commissions for running the agency. It slowly turned into a full fledge training program with a handbook and a website dedicated to my agents. I also created a website for people who wanted to join the agency. I marketed to find those who would be interested. The agency has continued to grow as the word has spread. What I offer people interested in the travel industry is unique since I accept those without prior experience and train them for free.

I have been interviewed by several magazines and featured in books on home businesses. Currently I have over 200 independent agents working with my agency. Our sales have skyrocketed. In 2002, we did $20,000 in sales for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. In 2003, we did $147,000 in sales. We are growing in so many ways. I am still very active in the agency. I still answer my emails myself and strive to personally know all my agents. I do not have anyone helping me at my home office. I do have my very first agent as well as many who have been with me for years helping out. I handle all the bookkeeping, shipping, daily business issues, advertising, website maintenance, and many other of the important operations needed to run this business. It has become a part of me.

My goal is to have 300 agents by the time I am 30. I hope to be able to get some help handling daytoday operations. I would also like to continue to grow to become more recognized in the travel industry. I want to help as many people as I can who want to start their own home based travel agency. I want to continue building my business and each year find something new that I can do to be more successful at this business.

I wrote my own ebook on starting a home travel agency. This offered information to those interested and helped spread the word about my agency’s program. Each year we grow more and more. I have written two other ebooks since my first one. One is on juggling a home business and family. The other is on marketing a home business on a small amount of funds. I am just now beginning to have more money available for advertising. What I have done to date has been still on a limited budget. I am just now beginning to spend more money on advertising.

My family has been very supportive. My boys are now 5 and 7 years old and they try to help me out as much as possible. We go on family vacations and I can use it to help my business. I have been able to save on childcare from not having to work outside the home. I was able to be with my children as they have been growing up. I didn’t miss their first words or steps. I also have been teaching them that anything is possible. I want them to know that if they have the drive to do something, they can do it. Every day that I got discouraged, I would think of the fact that if I did not succeed, I would have to go back to work full time and put my children into daycare.

My 5 year old was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last May. This was a hard adjustment for our family. He needed me more than ever. I was able to be there and everyone involved in my agency understood. I was able to take the time I needed to stay with him in the hospital and learn how to handle his diabetes. My agents pulled together and helped me out. I can’t imagine how things would have been if I had a full time job outside the home. I was able to take care of my child without worry.

I feel very fortunate. I had a dream and I was able to make it come true. I also have something I can call my own. I love being a mom. I also love being an entrepreneur. It is very satisfying looking at what I have accomplished in 6 years. I know the possibilities are endless. I know as long as I continue to work hard and be creative in growing my business, I will continue to be successful. I am now able to help others who want to start a home business. I wrote three ebooks and I get to write articles to help others. 6 years ago I would have never imagined this would be my life. It just proves that anything is possible if you really want it bad enough.

Jennifer Dugan CTA

Owner of Duganกs Travels

About The Author

Mother of two who started a homebased travel agency in 1997. She has over 200 outside agents working with her agency and is active in the travel industry. She has been an agent since 1993. She is the author of three ebooks.

This article was posted on January 17, 2004

by Jennifer Dugan

What Is A Home Based Travel Agent?

What Is A Home Based Travel Agent?

by: Jennifer Dugan

Many people are unclear about the travel industry. Travel agents are often thought to be the same as real estate agents. Becoming a travel agent or more specifically a home based travel agent is an exciting career change or retirement option. Some people do it full time while many do it as a part time business.

A travel agent books travel for customers and is paid by suppliers a commission on the booking. For bookings that suppliers do not pay a commission on, a travel agent also can charge the client a service fee for his/her time. An example is if you were to book a hotel for a client, the hotel would then send a check to the agency after the client checked out. Most hotels pay 10% of the price of the hotel before taxes and fees. A $100 per night hotel reservation would mean $10 a night for the travel agent who made the booking. This hotel would cost the same whether the customer uses a travel agent or books through the hotel directly. In many cases the travel agent can get a better price. It costs the customer nothing to use the travel agent unless the travel agent charges service fees.

Can anyone do this? In order to work with suppliers, you must have an account set up with the supplier. Most require an agency to hold an IATAN, CLIA or ARC number. IATAN stands for International Airlines Travel Agent Network. CLIA stands for Cruise Lines International Association. ARC stands for Airline Reporting Corporation. Each of these memberships requires different things including sales, money in the bank, experience or training in the industry, and membership fees. Many will require Errors and Omissions insurance of $1,000,000 or more.

For the average travel agent, membership is not a possibility with some organizations so the agent will team up with an agency and work as an independent agent or outside agent. There are also advantages of working with an agency because most travel agents cannot make enough in sales with a particular supplier to obtain higher commission levels and bonuses. Working with an agency with many agents can increase the commission percentages the agent gets because of the joint sales of all the agents at the agency. Support is also a very important aspect of being a successful agent. Agents who do not work with others tend to feel more isolated and have to learn to do it all solo. Since no agent can have the experience of being everywhere in the world or staying at every hotel or resort, having others that you can get advice from is really helpful.

The future of travel agencies is always questioned. The truth is the industry has changed in many ways. Some changes were for the better, some for the worse. Many airlines have cut commissions for travel agents. However, there are many other suppliers who are paying travel agents more than they were ten years ago. Cruises used to be booked by only the rich and now people in every income book cruises. Each year more and more people go on cruises. Most people say they want to go on a cruise at least once and many who go on their first come home to want to book another.

You can earn commission on many travel reservations.

Hotels

Rental Cars

Tour Packages

Cruises

Some airline tickets

International airline tickets

Travel insurance

Ground transportation including limos

Attraction tickets

Train tickets

People all need travel arrangements at some point in time. Those who take road trips need hotel reservations. Those who need to travel for business need airline tickets, rental cars, and hotel reservations. Families want to experience vacations with their loved ones. People visit family and relatives. Most people who win money say they are going to spend it to take a nice vacation. Newly married couples go on honeymoons. You are not selling something that is hard to sell. People contact you for help, you are not calling them or approaching them trying to sell them something they don’t want.

Educating the public is the main thing any travel agent must do. Most people put travel agents into the same category as real estate agents. They believe it costs additional to use a travel agent. This is untrue. In many cases a travel agent can get a better price than the general public through the suppliers who work only with travel agents. Many people do not know all the options for booking a vacation. A good travel agent does. Once people are educated on how a travel agent gets paid, they are more willing to work with travel agents. If a person knows that if he or she let you book a hotel and it will cost the same price regardless, she or he will work with you. It is important to let people know how you can help them save time and money on their travel arrangements.

So how do you get into the industry? Many people think they must go to school or become certified. This is not true. You can get into the industry and begin training. I don’t recommend anyone spend thousands on a travel school until he or she knows this is a career that he or she will really want to pursue. The truth is you do not have to spend thousands to get trained. There are many courses free to travel agents from suppliers. There are also organizations such as ICTA (Institute of Certified Travel Agents) who offer courses as you get more years experience in the industry. CLIA also offers courses. There are some agencies that will offer training. Even if you decide this is a career you would like to pursue, you do not need to spend thousands to become an educated and competent travel agent. There are many courses you can take with suppliers and organizations to get a better education in travel. I truly believe a hands’ on approach is the best way to become a better travel agent. Learning to work with suppliers and how to find the information your clients need is an important part of becoming a good travel agent.

How can you find an agency to work with? There are a few organizations dedicated to independent travel agents. NACTA and OSSN are the top organizations. NACTA stands for National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents. OSSN stands for Outside Sales Support Network. You can also search online for homebased travel agent programs. I would never recommend anyone spending a lot of money to start this business. It is key to first try and see if it is something you would really want to do and get training before you invest too much money into it. Get involved in the industry first and see if it is really a career that is best for you.

Jennifer Dugan CTA

Owner of Duganกs Travels

Travel agent since 1993

http://www.duganstravels.com

Copyright 2004 Jennifer Dugan

About The Author

Mother of two who started a homebased travel agency in 1997. She has over 200 outside agents working with her agency and is active in the travel industry. She has been an agent since 1993. She is the author of three ebooks.

This article was posted on February 18, 2004

by Jennifer Dugan

Little Known Tax Deductions That Can Save You Big

Little Known Tax Deductions That Can Save You Big

by: Diane Hughes

When you say กend of the yearก, most small business owners think of two things immediately. The *second* is the holidays. The *first* is taxes! While almost all of us pay taxes quarterly, we still have to file in January. That means November and December are spent getting ready. When you’re gathering all your information together for your accountant, don’t forget about these regularly overlooked deductions.

Mileage

Sure, most of us already know that we can deduct a mileage allowance from our taxes. However, many of us (especially dot coms who don’t travel much) don’t bother to keep track of our travels thinking it won’t be worth the trouble. Oh, but it is!

I had the same mindset, but at the urging of my accountant decided to keep track and see for myself. Iกll never neglect to do it again! Even though almost every place that I travel is nearby, when I added up all the 10mile trips to the office supply store, the bank, etc., it turned out to be a hefty total. Haven’t kept track this year? Start now.

Go back and look for deposits in your check register. This would have meant you traveled to the bank on that date… write it down. Do you have receipts from the office supply store? You must have traveled on that day, too. Write that down. Keep all your information on a log sheet with the date, number of miles traveled round trip, and the purpose of the drive (i.e., office supply store, bank deposit, etc.). Youกll be pleased to find that even short, weekly trips all throughout the year can add up to 800 1,000 miles or more. Multiply that times the 2002 allowance of 36.5 cents per mile and you get a $292 $365 tax deduction!

Bad Debt

Did you sell products or services to someone who did not pay you? Have you tried to collect the money without success? You can write those losses off and get a deduction for them. No, it won’t equal the total amount of the money you lost, but it is better than nothing.

Simply gather the information about the sale, the invoice you submitted to the customer, and documentation of your attempts to collect the amount owed. You do not have to file bad debt deductions in the same year they occurred, so if you have old losses, gather the information now so you can include it on your 2002 return.

Travel

Almost any trip can become a business trip if you plan it right. Even if you’re traveling to your 20year high school reunion, you can write off your travel expenses IF you play your cards right.

While mingling with your old chums, collect some business cards, and hand out a few of your own. Ask people what they do for a living (in tax talk that relates to กmarket researchก), and set up a phone call or two for when you return home.

I know one woman who took a pleasure trip to England. However, while she was there, she took tons of pictures of museums, landscapes, etc. She gathered brochures and picked up some information from a few local vendors. She used these things to justify her trip as business travel for her set design (theater) company.

No, you don’t have to spend the entire trip talking/doing business. Just be able to document that you did some business while you were there. You can also take deductions for lodging and meals while you’re on your trip so save your receipts!

As you can see, there are many tax deductions available to you. To find out about more, set up a กpretaxก appointment with your accountant or tax pro. They can give you information on additional tax deductions that might apply to your particular industry. When you add up all the small stuff, you can end up with some major tax savings!

Copyright 2004 Diane Hughes

About The Author

Diane C. Hughes * ProBizTips.com

FREE Report: Amazingly Simple (Yet Super Powerful) Ways To Skyrocket Your Sales And Build Your Business Into A Tower of Profits! ==>> http://madmarketer.com/diane

This article was posted on December 14, 2004

by Diane Hughes

My Top Ten Tips For Selling Travel on eBay

My Top Ten Tips For Selling Travel on eBay

by: ellen mc nulty

Becoming a seller on ebay can be daunting. Becoming a travel seller can be impossible, unless you know the secrets. My tips on selling on eBay can apply to all categories of items, but some steps are unique to selling travel.

The travel industry is highly regulated on EBay, as it should be. High standards keep out disreputable sellers and scam artists, and adds to your own company’s trustworthiness when you are approved by eBay..

1. Before you are even thinking about selling travel on eBay, it is important to get a username and email address just for eBay. Registration is free and only takes a few minutes. Register as a seller and you can use the same username to buy as well. Choose a name that reflects what you sell i.e., ขBermudaboundข rather than ขsexyblueeyesข. Other eBay members will come to recognize you by your User ID, so itกs a good idea to choose one youกll want to use for the long term.

2. Your eBay name has sunglasses (i.e., read ขshady characterข) for the first 30 days, so don’t try to sell anything while you are wearing shades. Use this time to buy on eBay and learn good practices from other sellers.

3. Set up a PayPal account. EBay buyers feel more confident purchasing something from a seller who accepts PayPal. According to PayPal, ขListings that offer PayPal are 6% more likely to sell and experience a 5% average increase in final price.ข Go to www.Paypal.com. Get a business account. Registration is free.

4. In the first 30 days, buy small items on EBay, pay for them promptly. I have always found eBay sellers to offer good values, provided that you check their feedback listing first.

5. Pay your seller promptly, because then you will always get positive feedback from your seller. Your feedback profile is the most important aspect of your reputation at eBay. Feedback is extremely important on eBay, as your future buyers can evaluate you at a glance. Even one strike against you counts heavily. Your feedback score also helps later with qualifying to run banner ads on eBay, and to have eBay pay some of your advertising costs.

6. Create your ขAbout Meข page on eBay. Use this page to tell other eBay users about yourself and your interests, your experience and your products.

7. While you are waiting the 30 days, also become a) ID verified and b)square trade approved.

a) Get ID Verified through eBay as an extra sign of security for buyers. When a member gets ID Verified, a thirdparty company working with eBay confirms the memberกs identity by cross checking their contact information across consumer and business databases. Youกll see the ID Verify icon in verified membersก profiles.

b) The Square Trade Seal is one way for sellers to show bidders that they are committed to high selling standards and have had their identity verified by a third party. You will need a credit card and your IATA, ARC, or seller of travel number. Both are requirements for selling travel, and you must place these numbers as the first lines of your ads on EBay. All members listing airline tickets, cruises, vacation packages, or lodging must be participants in the Seller Verify by SquareTrade Program. This program combines verification of sellers with ongoing monitoring. For instructions on this, go to eBay.com.

8. When you are ready to list your items at auction, sell small stuff first, building customers and credibility. Sell all items with no reserve, at the lowest price you can afford to accept, and fill all orders promptly.

9. Choose carefully what you will sell. You cannot sell some travel certificates, and all listing must list the exceptions, blackout dates, and extra taxes and shipping charges. Travel agents, and other businesses selling travel services are regulated in eBay. According to the eBay rules for selling travel, ขBusinesses and individuals who sell and/or arrange air or sea travel or accommodations (but do not directly provide the travel service themselves) may list air and ship related travel items (i.e. airplane tickets and cruise trips), along with accommodations, on eBay only if they are licensed as sellers of travel lawfully able to do business in all 50 states and they themselves will be booking the travel for the winning bidder. Their listings should clearly set out their California seller of travel license number as well as any other license information required in other states. It is against eBay policy for travel clearinghouse affiliates, that are not actual agents booking the travel themselves, to list travel auctions on the site. Sellers are required to include the following disclaimer in all listings for travel exactly as it appears below and in a text size and color that can easily be seen and read by all bidders:

กBy listing this auction I verify that I am the actual travel agent or travel provider and not a third party affiliate. The travel/accommodations in this auction will be booked directly through me and not an outside agency. I also verify that, other than the government taxes and related government fees stated within the listing description itself, there will be absolutely no additional fees, charges or after auction purchases associated with booking the travel within this listing.ก

For travel services other than air or sea travel, businesses and individuals may offer gift certificates or coupons that are issued by a specific provider of travel, such as a gift certificate to a particular hotel. They may not, however, offer travel club memberships or กchoice travelก certificates.ข

10. Build a store. EBay stores are free for the first 30 days. Afterwards, they are $9.95 a month. According to eBay, Store sellers see on average a 25% incremental increase in sales the 3 months after opening their Store.ข Here is where you can list all those other items that are higher priced, but good value at a low listing fee at about 02 cents, rather than $4.80 for an item over $500. Auction and Fixed Price listings appear in your eBay Store as well as in eBay Search and Listings. The store allows your buyers to peruse your other items in addition to your auction items. Go to: http://pages.eBay.com/storefronts/openbenefits.html

For examples of travel stores on eBay, take a look at: http://stores.eBay.com/TravelIrelandandBritain_W0QQsspagenameZMEQ3aFQ3aSTQQtZkm

http://stores.eBay.com/HimalayanInternationalTours_W0QQsspagenameZMEQ3aFQ3aSTQQtZkm

About The Author

Mc Nulty is President of Lynott Tours, specialists in travel to Ireland and Britain. Ellen assists retail travel agents in listing their wares on EBay. Lynott Tours has been selling travel for 35 years, and can be found on the Internet at www.lynotttours.com.

lynottads@aol.com

This article was posted on December 10, 2004

by ellen mc nulty

Satellite Radio For Those Who Spend Time In The Ou

Satellite Radio For Those Who Spend Time In The Outback!

by: Distanza Betrachtung

Satellite radio has been a godsend to people in remote locations, or even just those who travel long distances. In the past while on a long car trip, every hour or so youกd have to start fiddling with the radio, as the station you were listening to turned to static after up to an hour of fading in and out. Then just as youกd find a new one, it, too would go to static, and so it would go on. Now with the advent of satellite radio, that static and fiddling will be a thing of the past.

Conventional radio signals can only travel 30 or 40 miles from their source, so the further away you travel from the radio transmitter, the fainter and weaker these traditional signals will become. Satellite radio waves travel from space 22,000 miles away, yet you will be able to travel across the country without having to change radio stations and quite possibly without having to endure endless commercials about things that you are not really interested in.

Cars, with satellite radios, have been coming for many years now. But as the service takes off many more drivers will be making use of the new technology and be grateful for the flexibility it provides. At present there are only three spacebased radio broadcasters, but many more are in the pipeline, as the Federal Communications Commission sanctioned a sum of $80 million to give licenses to companies to make use of the specified radio band for digital satellite radio transmission.

These three different satellite companies have done research and development in different areas and this has led to the offering of different services by them. No doubt the VHS Vs Beta type of battle would continue to intensify in the time to come as the technology progresses. Only time and sponsorship would decide who the winner of this battle would be. But whatever happens, it would only be good news for travelers as more and more companies are waiting to join this exciting field.

Two of the companies, XM Radio and Worldspace, already have an agreement with each other to share new technological developments and to continue to work together to create further innovations in this expanding field. This can only be good for consumers, particularly those who frequent remote locations on a regular basis.

About The Author

Distanza Betrachtung is the owner and operator of Rob Satellite, Inc., a leading Internet portal for satellite information. For more satellite information and resources, be sure to visit: http://www.robsatellite.com.

This article was posted on August 27

by Distanza Betrachtung

Is Your Websites Link Directory Even Worth Having?

Is Your Websites Link Directory Even Worth Having?

by: Derek Arnold

A reciprocal link directory if a vital part of having a good Google page rank. However there are ways to make it a useful and important part of your website for reasons other than a high ranking in the Google directory.

Lets face it, getting (and keeping) a good Google page rank is no easy task and requires constant attention. Not just in getting reciprocal links, but honing your Meta tags, and keeping your content fresh. But we are here to discuss only one part of the pagerank dilemma. In fact this article will focus more on other, and in some cases, more important benefits of a proper links directory.

Directory Structure

Categorize your directory well Meaning the more categories you have the better organized your directory is. More categories means your visitors can locate particular links a lot faster. Minimize the depth of your categories You should not make your directory more than three category levels deep, for instance if you are a travel site and have a category for Jamaica, then the structure example would be Travel>>Caribbean>>Jamaica. Easy navigation for your site visitors is the main reason for this. Reason two for minimizing your directory depth Search engines will spider each page of your website, they will determine the pagerank of each page based on its content, and distance away from your homepage. Use this as a rule of thumb; each level down from your homepage will cost that page one pagerank point. Using the example above, this is what is meant here, Travel>>Caribbean>>Jamaica: the Travel page would have the highest pagerank being closest to your homepage, lets say it has been give a Google rank of 4, the next level Caribbean in all likelihood would have a rank of 3, and so on. No more than 20 links per page There is not a link partner in the world that wants his/her site to be on your link page as link number 100. I would rather be link number 3 on page number three than link number 100 on page one. This is clutter, and useless to all involved, you, your link partner and especially your site visitor. Keep this in mind as well, when the search engines spider your site they will also notice more pages on your site thus determining that you offer more content. Your link partners will also appreciate it.

Relevant Links

Do your visitors really care if you own a travel site and have links to recipe sites? Of course not. Although locating good quality link partners for your site will take more time, it will be well worth it in the long run. If you have a travel site, seek out rental cars, vacation spots, travel accessories, and the like. Your visitors are on your site because they (at that moment in time) are interested in what your site has to offer, do not change the visitors train of thought into anything other than what you want them to think about, in this example, traveling and things associated with traveling.

Make Money from your links?

Of course! Reciprocal linking is a great way to help your websites search engine ranking, but making immediate cash from your links is a whole level up from that. Join affiliate programs like Commission Junction and add some affiliate links to your directory. For our travel site example, you can get offers like travel accessories, rental cars and the like. Have a good mix of links to other sites and affiliate links You do not want a directory full of affiliate links, this is a major turnoff to your visitors. As a matter of fact, you should have at least a 10 to 1 ratio of regular links vs affiliate links.

Advertise in your directory

Since you now have a well organized directory with an excellent structure, limited to 20 links per page, and a lot of pages with good advertising space, its time to place some banners. You can advertise some of those good sites that you are affiliated with and place a banner or two on every page. Keep it neat You should have quality space on the left or right side of your directory add a Skyscraper banner to either side (only one per page though), it is well known that the bigger the banner the more clicks on that banner you should receive. A skyscraper is usually 120 x 600 in size. Add a single banner at the top center of each page as well; make it a different ad, offer something different than your skyscraper. This is the most valuable banner location on any page, use it for banners. Sell banner spots Now that you have a well categorized directory, you can sell ad space to vendors whose products or services appeal to that particular category. You can even offer the top spot on a particular page for sale or as a trade for the same kind of link for your site in someone elses directory.

Exceptions to the rule

There are those sites that do not fit into any category of your site that have that HUGE Google page rank, and you want them to link with your site. Here is a tip for you to keep those sites happy and get that top rank. In addition to youre regular links directory, create a separate smaller reciprocal links directory. This may be only 13 pages in size. This directory must have a direct link from your homepage (most top rank sites require that), and title it something like Special Link Partners or Recommended Links. Add only page ranks of say 67 or higher to this special directory. This will ensure your most important link partners that you will not be burying their link inside your link directory.

We have quite a large selection of software in our downloads directory at http://www.bullmarketer.com that can help you automate the process of managing your own links directory. One program in particular is Arelis by Axandra. This software is not only VERY user friendly but offers tons of features. There is a free lite version available for download.

Derek Arnold

About The Author

Derek Arnold is the President of BullMarketer.com, a webmaster resource site offering many tools for webmasters, marketers, and designers. Also has over 18 years of experience in the marketing and advertising fields. Homepage: http://www.bullmarketer.com

This article was posted on August 23, 2004

by Derek Arnold