Theme Park Tips

By Nicole Edgar – Travel Manager


Having recently returned from the USA’s Disneyland Resort, California Adventure Park & Universal Studios theme parks, I’ve discovered lots of tips and tricks to keep the ‘fun’ in fun parks, so everyone can have an enjoyable day.  Although theme parks are exciting and a lot of fun, the crowds, queuing up for long periods repeatedly, walking and standing around in the heat, dodging lots of prams and strollers and buying expensive snacks and souvenirs can easily remove the fun factor.

So, from experiencing many theme parks from around the world, these are my top theme park tips and tricks, to keep everyone happy, and the ‘fun’ in ‘fun parks’:

Cheaper theme park tickets and passes:

Pre-purchase tickets online or prior to arrival, in advance. You may get discounted rates or season specials when buying them early. Plus, this will save you a lot of time when arriving at the theme parks, not having to queue up at ticket windows to buy them. Just bypass those ticket windows and head to the turnstiles to get some more fun time in.

‘Hopper Passes’:

Disney offers ‘hopper passes’ which allows you to ‘hop’ or interchange between the Disneyland Resort theme park and California’s Adventure Park, on the same day if you choose too.  This is a more expensive option than just buying one day’s ticket, per park, but you are paying more for the optional flexibility to do this.

Keeping theme park tickets and passes safe:

Buy lanyards with clear plastic pockets attached, for every person to wear around their necks, and put their theme park tickets and fast passes inside to protect them from getting damaged or lost, particularly if they are for multiple-entry days.  Some of the theme park tickets and passes are as flimsy as a bus ticket, and tear or get damaged easily.  But remember to tuck the lanyards inside your tops for thrill rides.

Theme park car parking:

If driving to a theme park, take a photo of your car with an easily identifiable landmark in the shot, such as a sign or tree, so you can easily find your car again after a long, tiring day.  The car park may have been mostly empty when you arrived, but once they fill up, finding your car and remembering where you parked it could take you ages.

Theme park shuttle buses:

Taking a shuttle bus to/from your hotel & theme park might be a cheaper option than theme park parking.

Photo ID:

Bring photo ID for everyone.  A lot of theme park passes purchased in Australia, need to be exchanged on arrival at the theme park, with proof of nationality & ID, as per your passport.  Plus you will need photo ID to purchase alcohol, regardless of your age.

Best times to visit:

Either hit the theme parks first thing in the morning, or late in the afternoon, to avoid the biggest crowds and queues.  For theme parks that are open until late in the evening, like Disneyland, think about visiting mid- afternoon onwards, to avoid the hottest part of the day.  A lot of the queue lines are located outdoors, have very little shade or misting fans to keep you cool.  A lot of the crowds also leave during the afternoon too, due to tired younger kids, and going back to their hotels early for dinner.

When not to go:

Whenever possible, try to avoid visiting a theme park on weekends, public holidays and during school holidays, due to the additional crowds and extra lengthy waits queuing for rides, food vendors & shops.  Summer periods, when the weather is better, is usually a magnet for drawing more crowds.

Dress sense & what to pack:

Wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be walking heaps and standing in queues for ages, so at least make your feet comfortable.  For theme parks with water rides and attractions, wear your bathers underneath your clothing & bring a towel to share.

Moist towelettes are great for cooling down hot faces, and for cleaning sticky fingers and faces.

As you can imagine, food, drinks and souvenirs are pricey within theme parks.  Maybe bring your own refillable drink bottles, sunscreen, snacks, sunglasses, hats & camera.

Security checkpoints:

Be prepared to have your bags checked thoroughly by security, including handbags, prior to entering the theme parks and/or sporting venues. If possible, try to only have one person in your party carrying a backpack or bag on behalf of everyone.  Security measures may include x-ray machines & wand scanners waved over your body.  Try to remove all metallic items off your body prior to going through, such as jewellery, belts, glasses, sunglasses & phones from your pockets.

Bar codes & QR codes:

Most theme park tickets and fast passes these days are bar coded or have QR codes on them, which are scanned when going through turnstiles, or entering in ride queues.

Plan of attack:

Pre-plan your visit – look at the theme park apps, websites or maps, to work out your plan of attack, prior to arrival.  Mark the attractions that are ‘must see’ and are your highest priority, and go for them first.  Check the times of shows or parades to decide what you want to see, and plan everything else around those times.  Carrying a highlighter to mark attractions on the map is helpful too.

Theme park apps:

Download the theme parks’ free app, to see opening times, show times, wait times, restaurant availability and reservations, etc.  Obviously, the use of the app relates to how well the theme parks’ wi-fi is working.  For me, Universal Studios Hollywood’s wi-fi was fantastic, whereas Disneyland’s didn’t work at all.  You may have good intentions to use the theme park apps to be efficient with your time, but if the wi-fi’s not working, the app is useless.  Having said that, Disneyland now offers a Maxpass for an additional cost, but again, without wi-fi to use the app, it’s a waste of money.

Ride height, age & medical condition restrictions:

Check the height and/or age restrictions before you go, via the theme parks’ apps or websites, so you can rule out rides that are not applicable for your children, to avoid them being disappointed when you arrive there.

Some thrill rides are not recommended for people with certain medical conditions, such as pregnancy, back injuries or epilepsy, etc.  Read the rides’ warning signs near the entrances, or on the theme park maps for suitability.

Water rides:

Pack a cheap poncho to protect yourself from getting drenched on wet water rides.  Wet rides are a fantastic way to cool you and the kids down when the weather is hot, but the crowds for water rides are bigger then too.  If you don’t have a poncho, don’t go on a water ride early in the morning, otherwise you’ll be walking around wet until the weather warms up.  Also, bring a ziplock or snaplock plastic bag to protect your mobile phones (or cell phones as the Americans call them), from rides affected by water.

Spending money & budgeting:

Set a budget and agree on how much the kids can spend (or not) at those tempting theme-park gift shops before you arrive. For older children, an allowance for the day to cover extras such as soft drinks, snacks, ice cream, and souvenirs helps to avoid arguments, and teaches responsibility.

Preventing lost children & a designated meeting spot:

Discuss with your kids the plan of what to do in case they get lost.  Do they stand still where they are?  Do they backtrack to where they last saw you?  Do they get to a pre-designated meeting spot?  Do they ask a theme park employee or security guard for help?  Mobile phone batteries can go flat, so it’s important to have a plan B, when you can’t text or call each other.

Pre-assign and designate a meeting spot to meet up with your travelling party at a certain time, or if you get lost.

Write your name and phone number on an ID band around their wrist, or put those details, and/or your business card, in a lanyard pouch around their necks, or tucked into their sock.  Worse-case scenario, literally write your contact details on their skin, onto their wrist.  If the kids get lost, get them to ask a helpful adult, such as the police, security guard, theme park employee in uniform or shopkeeper, to call you.

Maximising your time efficiency in the theme parks:

Most people walk the theme park circuit in a clockwise direction, from the main entrance.  Walk in an anti-clockwise direction to reduce the crowds and wait times for rides, or start at the back of the park, and work your way towards the front.

If you are happy to miss parades, fireworks and shows when these are on, these are the best times to go on rides, when most of the crowds are distracted, and are elsewhere.


Disneyland provides a free ‘fastpass’ service for their more popular rides, which gives you a pre-allocated hour timeframe, for you to return to the ride, go through the ‘fastpass’ entrance queue, and bypass the long queues to virtually get on the ride straightaway. It ‘fast tracks’ you, when you return to take the ride, bypassing the normal long queue.  A sign showing the approximate fast pass return ride timeframe can be found at the ride’s entrance. Then you can go off and do something else within Disneyland, until your allocated time, when you can return to do the ride, bypassing the long queue.  You can only get one fast pass, from a ticket kiosk near the ride’s entrance, at a time, until you are within 30 minutes of your allocated fast pass ride time, before it will let you get another fast pass for another same or different ride.    This can be frustrating, because you have to walk around the whole Disneyland theme park, to find all of the individual fast pass ticket kiosks for the rides that you want to do – there are no centralised ticket kiosk/s for all of the rides located in one or more places , where you could pick and choose which fast pass ride you want to do, without having to walk all over the park, and through the crowds repeatedly, to get them.

A lot of other theme parks, like Universal Studios, offer a similar system, but it’s either an ‘Express Pass’ or a ‘VIP Pass’, depending on which ticket type you purchase.

Single/solo riders:

If you are happy to be separated from your group, lining up in the queue for ‘single riders’ or ‘solo riders’ will usually get you onto the theme park rides a lot quicker, and you’d probably do multiple rides before the longer queue even reaches the front.

Pace yourself:

Take your time and pace yourself, particularly if you’re visiting a theme park with younger kids, and know that you won’t be able to see and do everything.  Make time for breaks during the day.  Either head back to the hotel for a nap, or find an indoor attraction where you can cool off in the shade and air-conditioning.  Multiple day entry tickets are great for this very reason, to allow flexibility and enough time to see and do everything, at your own pace.

Shows in English:

If you are visiting a theme park in a foreign country, check that the show or performance you are queueing up to see will be in English.  You can tell this via an icon on the theme park map, or check with the theme park information desk.

Battery life:

A charged powerbank for your phone maybe a good idea, as you’ll be taking plenty of photos on your phone, and looking up the theme park’s app repeatedly, using up your battery.

Flying foreign objects:

Try to remove all loose items from your body and pockets prior to going on thrill rides, such as sunglasses and coins.  Tuck your lanyards inside your tops.  Some thrill rides have pockets to store your mobile phones and loose items, attached to your carriage or seat.

Locker, pram & stroller storage:

Most theme parks have lockers available for a fee, to store your belongings.  Most theme parks have a designated area to ‘park’ prams and strollers.  Just remember what yours looks like, and as silly as it sounds, secure a baggage ID tag to it.

Souvenirs, snacks & shopping:

Hold off buying souvenirs, showbags and shopping until near the end of your visit, otherwise you’ll have to carry them around with you the whole day, as well as get someone to mind them whilst you go on the rides.  Plus, I’ve seen many strollers tip backwards with the toddler still in it, due to the extra weight of shopping being hung from the handles.  But if you see something you just have to have, see it, like it, and buy it, because you won’t see it, or be able to buy it, anywhere else.

Selfie stick, mobile phone & umbrella etiquette:

Selfie sticks are banned in all Disneyland parks.  Having said that, be prepared for people to hold up their smartphones and cameras in your line of view, particularly during the parades.  If you have an umbrella up to protect you from the rain or sun, you will be asked to put it down by security, once the parade moves along.

Theme Park Accommodation:

Consider staying at a theme park hotel for additional benefits, such as earlier theme park entry hours before the general public, flexibility to come and go during the day due to the close proximity, access to restaurants, character dining, etc.  You may even get a view of the fireworks show from your hotel room.

Disney's Character Breakfast, Goofy's Kitchen

Disney character breakfasts: 

These are an additional cost, are quite pricey, but little kids, and big kids, like myself, had a lot of fun meeting the Disney characters.  They do add value to your overall Disney holiday experience. This is a good option to guarantee meeting Disney characters, and saves you and the kids much wasted time from having to queue up for lengthy wait times, often in the heat, to meet and greet your favourite Disney characters within the parks, along with everyone else.  These character dining reservations must be pre-booked up to 60 days prior to guarantee availability.  And Disney professional photographers are quite happy to take your own camera or smartphone off you, to take photos of you with the character photos…you don’t have to buy Disney’s professional photos if you don’t want to.

Are you stuck in a Stress Cycle? by Carolyn King

Ever felt like you were stuck in a vicious stress cycle?
It starts off with something that causes you some stress. And then you begin to feel your shoulders get tight, and then you find yourself not being able to sleep, and when you do get up in the morning finding that you really can’t think clearly. All of which adds to your stress levels, which then creates more tension your body, an even less ability to sleep and your ability to think has gone out the window.

Stress can occur for many different reasons and quite often the stress from home and family life can unconsciously be brought into the workplace. The reverse is also true, in that the stress from work can be brought home to the family. And stress has a way of spreading. One stressed person can easily spread the feelings of stress onto other person creating an unproductive and disharmonic environment.

What is stress?
Stress is your body’s response to certain situations and happens when you don’t get what you want or what you planned for. It’s when life seems to be going a different way to what you anticipated. And stress is subjective, meaning that what is stressful for you may not be stressful for someone else, and vice versa. There are many different kinds of stress and not all of them are bad. Some stress can actually help propel you forward and get things done.
But the bad kind, the stress that is continual, affects your physical and mental health, and your behaviour.

The effects of stress
➢ Stress increases your heart rate, your brain works faster, and you have a sudden burst of energy. This is a natural and basic response but too much, prolonged stress can have harmful effects. High consistent levels affects the brain by increasing activity in the amygdala or fear centre.
➢ Continual stress can affect the size of your brain and in fact make it shrink and loose synaptic connections between the neurons. This then affects the prefrontal cortex that regulates behaviours like concentration, decision making, judgement and social interactions.
➢ Stress makes learning harder as we take in and process less information.
➢ Stress affects our memory.
➢ Stress also affects digestion, muscle tension, our ability to sleep soundly and the list goes on.

It’s may seem impossible to completely eliminate bad stress from your life, but you can learn to avoid some stressors and manage the rest by determining what effect the stress is having on your thinking abilities and then balancing the brain back into integration.

What does Brain Integration mean?
An integrated brain is one where communication is flowing and it is functioning at an optimal level. There is increased productivity, increased creativity and the ability to think more clearly.

An unintegrated brain is one where the communication between the different components is compromised. Stress is one of the biggest factors of an unintegrated brain and affects not only the communication between the different functions of the brain but also how we take in auditory and visual information. It is common that when you are under stress you will default to a certain “unintegrated stress” program and this “program” can change with different stressors.

There is a fantastic book called The Dominance Factor by Carla Hannaford, Ph.D. that goes into detail explaining the different dominances within our brain, our auditory processing and our visual processing.

Kinesiology is a great way to help determine what you default “unintegrated stress” program is and how you can balance it to bring back an integrated brain. The exercises or movements are easy to do and can virtually be done anywhere meaning they are great for both school children as well as adults.

I currently run workshops and presentations on this topic and can run the participants through a series of tasks to determine what their dominance is and then empower them with the tools to create an “Integrated Brain”. If you want more information, please don’t hesitation to contact me here

Would your business benefit from an extra pair of hands?

by Andrea Moody

If you are running your own business, you wear a lot of hats. Being torn in so many directions may mean that working on your business takes a back seat. This is a mistake, as your business won’t grow unless you set sometime aside to work on new business ideas and strategies. There are many ways you can increase your man power in your business and it doesn’t have to be permanent or expensive. You can engage people to do specific projects, assist you with mundane tasks or simply help you catch up on overdue must-dos. Why not consider the following options:

  • Virtual Assistants
  • Business Consultants
  • Individuals seeking work experience
  • University Graduates
  • Apprentices
  • Senior Citizens
  • School Mums

The key is to match your job specific requirements to the skill of the individual needed and then having the right platform to attract the best candidate. So if your business can’t afford to employ permanent staff why not give these options a go, it might be all you need to help you move forward.

To find out more about me, click here.

Controlling your Credit Cards

by Gail McTaggart

In the current climate, many people are aiming to reduce or eliminate their credit card bills – but this isn’t as easy in reality, especially if you aren’t 100 per cent sure what you owe or how many credit cards you have.

Credit cards don’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, and they don’t have to be something you shy away from – as long as you manage your debt appropriately and only make realistic purchases.

The first step you should take to get your credit cards under control is to evaluate your current financial position. Find out exactly how many credit cards you have and what is owed on each. If possible, consolidate all of these in to one monthly payment that is easily manageable.

Once you have consolidated your debt, it is time to put a plan in place to ensure you keep your credit card debt under control. Find out what your minimum monthly repayments are and aim to pay off a little extra each month.

As an example, on a $1,000 debt, if you were to pay an extra $20 a month on top of a minimum monthly repayment of $50, you could save yourself approximately eight months and more than $100 in interest.

While a credit card can be a useful way to generate a positive credit rating and is good to have around when unexpected expenses arise, it is important to keep your spending under control. If you are finding it difficult to keep a hold on your spending, an option may be to cut up the card and pay cash instead – this way you can be sure you are only spending what you can afford.

Smash that stress out of your life

by Carolyn King

We all have different types of stress bombarding our lives, but as entrepreneurs the stress can be compounding because there are so many other things we are juggling.

How will I find new clients?

How do I keep my current clients happy?

How do I create new content?

How do I keep up with all this technology?

How do I network?

Who can help me?

How can I afford to get this all done?

And on a personal note:

When will I find time to get to the gym?

How do I find the time to eat healthy?

When can I find time to catch up with family / friends?


So many tasks to get through, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day. Stress builds and over time takes its toll on our health. Yes, stress hurts our bodies and this damage is accumulative, meaning it builds over time. Slowly creating tension in our muscles, tightness in our minds and decreasing our immune system. But it’s never too late to learn strategies to help alleviate stress and heal the damage to our bodies. So make a decision to start today!



The first thing to remember is that you cannot compromise on sleep. Good quality sleep is a must for both the health of our bodies, the health of our mind and the health of our mental state, and therefore the health of our business. Too often we think we need to stay up to all hours trying to finish programs and working on content. But tiredness causes us to make mistakes, not think clearly and make poor choices affecting our health and our minds.

A good night’s sleep helps to create a sharp, creative mind that enables us to complete tasks more quickly and in a creative way. And when you have a clearer mind you make better choices. You will say YES when you want to and NO when you need to. Which brings me to the next point to consider…



Too often in business we are taught to say yes to every opportunity that crosses our path. If we say yes, then we will get our name “out there” more and more business will come flowing into our business. But saying yes, before really considering if you have the time and energy to follow through can be damaging.

Saying yes, and then throwing something together just to get it out there can be damaging to your reputation and do more harm than good. Saying yes to opportunities that don’t align with what you are doing also takes your energy away from what you should be doing. So consider carefully before you say yes or no. If you always find yourself saying yes, and then regretting it later, start off by saying, “I just need to check my diary. Can I get back to you in a few days?” And then just sit with it for a few days. Our time is precious so make sure you take the time to really consider if you want to say yes.



As someone whose mind often doesn’t shut off I find that I need to create different lists for different things. Otherwise the stress of holding onto all the thoughts and ideas would paralyse me. I use a free program called Evernote and I have so many different lists in there that when an idea comes to me I type it in there so I can go back to it when I need to.

Some of the lists I have created are:

  • Workshop ideas
  • Facebook Group Posts
  • Blog ideas
  • Program ideas

You get the picture. You can also cut and paste notes from other places and put links to websites if you want to keep the link for later use.



Too often we think we are too busy to find time to meditate but calming the mind, breathing and taking time out are invaluable to our mind and body. We need time to reset and allow the body to rest and heal. There are so many meditations out there that I’m sure you can find one that you like. And if you get stuck, let me know. I would love to help you.



Working hard means that you also need to rest hard… well that’s what I say! Rest hard means REALLY resting. Take time out from social media and get out in nature. Go for a walk, spend time at the beach or in the mountains. Spend time wherever you feel you can disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself.

A renewed sense of self helps the mind to reset and creativity kicks in. A win win all round!



Essential oils affect the body the minute you inhale it. Studies have shown the immediate impact oils can have on brain activity. Oils like peppermint are great to increase energy and give your creative side a boost. Lavender oil is fantastic when you want to calm the mind ready for bed or meditation.

Find an oil that works for you. As individuals there may be oils that your friend loves but you don’t like so much. That’s ok. Find an oil that you do like and that does help you and go with it.



So there are my tips on smashing stress out of your life. Why not give these tips a go? I would love to hear how you go so feel free to send me an email or message.

And if you want more tips I would love for you to join my Happiness Movement on Facebook. Every Wednesday I share a video on how Kinesiology can help in your life as well as other tips and techniques you can use in your daily life!

And remember, Happiness Starts with a Smile & Empowerment Starts with a Choice!


Click here to view my profile.

Paper vs electronic diary/planner

by Ildi Racz

Every year at the end of the year I have this struggle… Do I go electronic this year or stick with the good old paper diary/planner. Well, let’s stick to planners as name, some of you know why I like using planners versus diaries.

Some, while reading will straight grunt and think yes, of course! You have a paper planner based business, why would you have the struggle?!

Actually, I do. Not everyone knows, but I used to be a fighter for electronic device usage, but well, let’s say things change with age.

But, this year, while researching all the awesome tools available on the market, my heart skipped a beat! Yes, it did!!! Though I hate naming brands because I believe the decision between electronic versus paper is deeper than brands, while at one of my favorite stationery shops, Milgram, I found a glimpse of future! A paper notebook with a special pen and a connecting app that transfers notes as written onto a DEVICE! I had a love at first sight moment and promise, I will research more, and write a bit more in a future blog post.

Trust me, the price tag was one of the stopping reasons, but surprisingly it is not as bad as you would think.

The reality though brought me back to the good old question, but now I think the answer to it is just a tad closer:

Electronic or Paper Planner for 2018?

To be honest, it doesn’t matter as long as your choice is used proactively as a planner. But, here are some pro and cons on both and hopefully it will help you make the right decision for you! Because it is all about what works for you.

Electronic planner


·       Great communication between all devices in a workplace/family

·       Easy entry addition

·       Even easier adjustment or rescheduling

·       Alarms for upcoming appointments

·       Small and convenient

·       Easy access



·       The battery dies at the most inconvenient moments

·       A single mistake can cause data to be lost forever

·       Small screens are not ideal for planning, sitting in front of a big screen is not always possible

·       You become reactive to alarms which can lead to poor planning

·       Sensitive or private information can be stolen, leaked, or hacked easier

·       Even the simplest system can involve lots of unnecessary clicking, eating up time


Paper planner


·       There is a lot of research discussing the benefits of putting pen to paper and how that affects our brain and how we remember things helping with being proactive instead of reactive.

·       You can be practical or artsy the freedom to love and own the tool is yours.

·       Choosing the right version for you can have a lot of different information married on one page, from to do’s to notes or goals.

·       Easy access to information even when you are offline

·       As big as you like from phone size to wall size depending on your needs.

·       Easy and quick data entry


·       Heavy and big

·       Adjusting and rescheduling can be a pain (kind of… erasable pens exist already)

·       No alarms for appointments

·       No automatic communication with other planners in work or home environment

·       No backup, once you lose a planner, it’s gone


For me, this year the truth seems to lie somewhere between the two. I want to have the convenience of an electronic diary with alarms not to forget appointments, and I also want the commodity and benefits of a paper planner to build a successful business with notes, to do lists, goals, week to page view and other features.

What about you?

Click here to view my profile



To travel on a full service or low cost airline?

by Nicole Edgar

One of the biggest changes in recent years within the travel industry has been the rise of low-cost/budget/no-frills airlines. Whether you are planning to fly within Australia or internationally, flying has never been cheaper. These carriers characteristically offer lower airfares and fewer inclusions than their ‘full service’ competitors: no frequent flyer points, no complimentary meals, no airport lounge access, no pre-assigned seating requests, no inflight entertainment, no checked-in luggage allowances, etc. You’re also charged extra if you want to pay by credit card or if you need extra leg room or an exit row (if offered). Businesses are also continually tightening their travel budgets, and using low cost airlines may be a way to make savings.

Personal travel manager Nicole Edgar, is a mum with a family of four, so she understands the need to make savings wherever possible. Like many of her clients, she would rather pay less for her airfares and use the savings to pay for a higher standard of accommodation or more sightseeing activities. But do cut-price airlines really offer better value for money? She’s done some research to see if you’re really saving much money overall – her findings may surprise you.

As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. I found that the typical characteristics of booking with cheaper airlines include:

  • You’re booking cheaper, fixed price airfares most of the time, so often no further discounts or sale fares are made available.
  • Airfares are usually instant purchase – i.e. book and pay on the spot, with no ability to hold seats while you ponder your options.
  • Airfares are usually non-refundable and non-changeable, or are highly inflexible so that if you need to change your travel dates or times, you will be charged a fee or will need to cancel and rebook a new fare.
  • If you want any added extras (such as checked luggage, pre-selected seats, inflight meals, snacks and drinks, inflight entertainment, extra leg room or an exit row seat), you have to pay a surcharge for the pleasure.
  • The seats themselves may be narrower and less comfortable, with less leg room and reduced recline pitch.
  • The terminals and check-in desks are often furthest away from the main areas of the airport, and in many cases the aircraft stop on the tarmac rather than at a gate. As a result, you may have to catch a bus back from the tarmac to the terminal, or walk long distances within the terminal, making your overall journey time significantly longer.
  • No airport lounge access, and you are unlikely to earn frequent flyer points towards any loyalty programs.
  • Very few low-cost carriers offer business class seats – most cabins are solely economy class.
  • Only a few work with travel agents, so that if you want to book a flight, you have to deal with them directly via an online booking system or phone. Call times and response rates can be slow and the telephone system can be complicated.
  • There are limited interline agreements between other airlines, making your travel arrangements less streamlined and less convenient. For example, you will have to collect your luggage at each airport, and re-check your bags in to the next destination – rarely are they checked all the way through to your final destination.
  • No complimentary transfers are offered between domestic to international terminals or vice versa.
  • Flight schedules may be less convenient, often with longer connections and operating at less desirable times of the day and night.
  • Can be unreliable – flights are delayed, rescheduled or cancelled more often than full-service airlines. When this happens, you are stuck at the mercy of their call centre for a solution, instead of being able to call on the help of your personal travel manager.

Compare this to the perks of booking with a ‘full service’ airline:

  • Generally-speaking, fares are higher, but if you book far enough in advance or during a sale period, you can often grab yourself a bargain.
  • Group discounts, corporate rates and special promotional rates are all an option, whereas standard fares are more flexible, allowing time and date changes in many cases.
  • No need to book and pay instantly if you book through a personal travel manager.
  • More inclusions are provided, such as inflight meals and drinks; inflight entertainment and amenities; checked luggage allowance; and pre-assigned seating.
  • There is often a range of cabin classes offered: i.e. economy, premium economy, business class and first class.
  • More comfortable, spacious and better quality seating than cheaper airlines, usually also offering more leg room and recline pitch.
  • More extensive flight routes and schedules due to better agreements with other full-service airline partners, meaning more passenger-friendly timetables and shorter wait times between connecting flights.
  • Luggage can usually be checked all the way to your final destination when booking with partnered airlines or the same airline, making your travel experience more streamlined, convenient and efficient
  • You’ll earn frequent flyer points on most airfares purchased, plus access to airport lounges when purchasing higher priced airfares.
  • More central and convenient locations at airport terminals and gate lounges.
  • Generally better reliability, with fewer delays, cancellations, schedule changes, meaning less interruptions to your travel plans
  • More personalised touches: shorter wait times and more reservations staff, plus the support of your personal travel manager, who is allowed to make bookings on your behalf, so that you have a little lee-way in paying for flights (subject to the airlines’ airfares rules and conditions).

Nicole concludes that clients should choose wisely and engage the assistance of their personal travel manager to help make that choice a wise one. For more airfare advice you can view Nicole’s profile and contact her here.

Christmas Bookkeeping

by Gail McTaggart

Sticking to a budget is hard enough during the year, but even more so during the festive season. Effective Christmas book keeping is the best way to ensure you stay within your financial limits.

List everyone for whom you want to buy gifts and the amount you want to spend. Be sure to shop around for the best possible price.

When you’re putting together your budget, don’t forget that your regular phone, electricity and credit card bills don’t go away just because it’s Christmas!

Keep all your receipts in a folder and mark off each name and the amount you spent as you go. By going through your list systematically, you’ll ensure you haven’t missed anyone this year – and that you have stayed within your limit.

And start the New Year Happy!

Travel & Time Management

by Nicole Edgar

It’s no surprise that small business owners are constantly on the clock. For a variety of reasons, people who fall into this category seldom take the opportunity to reward themselves with a well-deserved holiday. However, taking this much needed “me” time is crucial to refreshing your state of mind and feeling ready to tackle your business’ next challenge.

In this guest post from personal travel manager, Nicole Edgar, we look at three ways small business owners can have peace of mind while taking a break from work—because there’s no room for stress in carry-on luggage!

Option 1:  Total break – complete rest and relaxation

For businesses that can stop while you’re away.

  • Once you’ve picked your holiday dates, mark them in your diary as far ahead as possible, so nothing else can be double-booked.
  • Put your leave dates into your email signature as soon as possible, and advise your clients via your newsletters, emails and invoices of the dates you will be away on leave.
  • Set up your ‘out of office’ automatic email reply and turn off email notifications on your mobile phone.
  • Finalise as many things ahead of time as possible, such as staff wages and prepaying bills.
  • Divert your work phone to an answering machine.

Option 2:  Using a business caretaker – eg. virtual assistant, staff member, colleague

For businesses that can’t stop, but can live without you for a short while.

  • Outsource what you can to professionals, such as a bookkeeper, accountant or virtual assistant.  A virtual assistant is like a house sitter for your business.  Remember to budget for their fees and costs.
  • Alternatively, you could train up a trusted and reliable staff member, freelancer or business colleague to do your work in your absence.
  • Don’t forget to give your trusted business caretaker access to their own logins and passwords (or yours), remote access, security codes and keys, if required.
  • Draw up an emergency action plan of policies and procedures, showing who is in charge of what, in case of any unforeseen circumstances and absences.

Or option 3:  Taking the business away with you

For when you just can’t bear the thought of unplugging.

  • Pack your laptop/iPad/notebook, power cords, and international adapters if required.
  • To stay connected, choose a destination and accommodation that has good phone coverage and internet connections.
  • Purchase a dongle, (portable modem), or use your mobile phone to tether to your laptop as a ‘hotspot’.
  • Turn off ‘data roaming’ on your mobile phone when travelling internationally, otherwise you’ll be hit with hefty bills once you return.
  • Ask your mobile phone provider to ‘unlock’ your phone for international use.  They may also have an international download plan that’s worth purchasing.
  • Consider buying an international SIM card for your mobile phone, once you reach your destination.
  • Remember the time zone you’re in, and that of the other party you want to contact, especially when making phone calls.  Emails don’t matter as much.  Also consider time zones when making Internet banking payments as you may miss deadlines.

For a restful holiday and more tips to unwinding as a small business owner, contact personal travel manager, Nicole Edgar.