Sabtu, 07 Januari 2012

Travel Trends by Gender

As someone who takes a great deal of interest in general travel trends, I was intrigued by the concept of historical differences between men and women and whether or not those variants are still relevant today. The focus is not necessarily on couples who travel together, but more on the intrepid female traveler who feels free to go wherever her whims take her. Here's a brief look at why the genders traveled differently and whether or not that disparity still exists.

Historical Trends
Perhaps the earliest recognizable female figure is the adventurous women who first explored such exotic locales as Egypt and Africa in the nineteenth century. Many of Agatha Christie's mystery books featured such a globe-trotting heroine, who was likely modeled after real-life traveling icons such as Martha Gellhorn, an early war correspondent, and Gertrude Bell, an archeologist, writer and politician who traveled far and wide at the turn of the century. The famous anthropologist Margaret Meade is another truly courageous woman traveler or a century ago who comes to mind.
These women are unique in that they set aside any trepidations and focused, instead, on their thirst for travel and discovering new destinations. They were the exceptions, not the rule.

It's Not the Destination, It's the Journey
It seems there was never a difference between the sexes as far as the level of interest in travel. After all, who doesn't want to go and see new places, eat new foods, experience new cultures? The only gender diversity is truly the level of adventure the traveler embarks upon. For instance, up until recent years few women were interested in - or brave enough to sign up for - mountain climbing trips or jungle clearing excursions.
As a general rule of thumb, men are often more concerned with the journey and not necessarily the destination while women dream of visiting far-off lands without having to go through a great deal of adventure to get there. Remember this is only a very general observation; certainly there have been and still are women who revel in exciting journeys to uncivilized locales.

Travel Trends Today
What's different today? What's happened since the nineteenth century to make globe-trotting more common among single women travelers?
For one thing, women are accepted in positions of power. "Allowing" wives and mothers from centuries past to travel unaccompanied meant that men were giving these women a certain power previously only allocated to the male of the species. Learning other cultures and meeting foreign peoples expands the mind and broadens a person's horizons - things that were not acceptable for women ages ago. And now that there are a great deal more women in the workforce, travel is both necessary and usual for them.
For another thing, travel today is much safer (on the whole) than it was during the era of the highwayman or outlaw gang. There was a reason women didn't travel alone and it was all about the concept of safety in numbers. Today, women can drive to the airport, find secured airport parking and get on board a plane to any destination around the world in a manner of travel that is much safer than sticking to the roadways.
The modern travel trends for women include adventure travel, learning travel, volunteerism, and a desire to check off items on a bucket list. Interestingly enough, these are the same types of trips that men are leaning toward, too. So, although there once was a great disparity in travel trends between men and women, today that gap is nonexistent.

How to Plan Your Next Vietnam Travel Tour

Traveling to Vietnam
Vietnam holds a special place in my heart, everytime I visit, I thoroughly enjoy the culture and people that make Vietnam what it is. Traveling to Northern Vietnam and exploring the countryside while staying with locals in their homes is a particular favorite of mine. If you haven't tried a homestay before, I would recommend finding a good Vietnam tour company to assist you. These companies work with the local villages and help bring them tourists which help improve the locals standard of living and provide an income source for their families. When you're looking for a Vietnam Tour company, be sure to see how they help the communities you travel to. Finding a tour company that gives back to their communities is very important. Some of the larger tour companies send bus loads of people to the main attractions and shuttle them out before they can really get to know the people. Traveling in Vietnam with a tour company that will provide small custom tours, is a much more personal experience and usually with a little research, these companies give a lot back to the communities they help serve.
The average income in Vietnam is under $300 per month and lots of families rely on income from tourists to help them get ahead in life and put their children through school. To me, there is nothing better then being able to help a family on your trip as they go out of their way to show you a good time and let you have a glimpse of their culture and lifestyle. So on your next trip to Vietnam, consider planning a homestay.
Now I understand most travelers, don't want a homestay for their entire vacation, there are many incredible hotels and resorts to stay at and place to experience. Here are some of my top favorites.
1. Ha Long Bay Cruise
Taking a cruise on Ha Long Bay is a must do activity if you are traveling to Vietnam, This UNESCO World Heritage site is an incredible place to see and experience. Taking a 2 - 3 day cruise on Ha Long Bay is a great way to get to see all that it has to offer.
2. Hanoi City Tour
Visiting Hanoi is an excellent way to experience the busy city life of Northern Vietnam. There are many wonderful attractions and places to visit and shopping in Hanoi's old quarter is a very unique experience, you just have to try. There are also dozens of incredible restaurants in Hanoi, some tucked back in alleys and very hard to find. Don't be afraid to try new things, but keep in mind that our western lifestyles aren't used to the drinking water, so try to drink bottled water unless you like living on the edge.
3. Hue, Vietnam
Hue, Vietnam is a special city with a lot of history in central Vietnam, there are lots of wonderful cultural events in this area and lots of great history. Visiting the Hue Citadel is a must do activity if you're in Hue, also having lunch at a monastery is a great way to experience the culture and enjoy a unique tasty meal.
4. Hoi An, Vietnam
This special beach city is a great way to enjoy the beaches of Central Vietnam and pamper yourself. Some of the finest resorts in the world are located in Hoi An, including the Nam Hai an incredible 6 star hotel which provides a luxurious experience you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world. The beaches are great and it's a nice way to relax from your trip and spend a few days exploring the town and some of the local attractions.
5. Saigon, Vietnam
If you're in Southern Vietnam, you'll have to visit Saigon, officially known as Ho Chi Minh City, many people still refer to this city as Saigon. This city has been more westernized then others in Vietnam, but you can still experience a lot of very unique culture and there are hundreds of incredible attractions to visit while staying here. There are some beautiful hotels that are very affordable to stay at. Usually Saigon is a great starting and ending point for a Southern Vietnam tour. There are lots of incredible small towns around Saigon that have the small personal experience many are looking for, but you can still enjoy big city resorts and amazing dining options if you aren't up to spending all your time in smaller villages.

Differences of Tour Operators and Travel Agents

Tour Operators & travel Agents are different in Malaysia! And the public have had the wrong perception for long time. In Malaysia, Tour Operators and Travel Agents are different and play different roles. In a factory scenario, a Tour Operator is like the production department and the Travel Agent is like the Sales Department...
A Tour Operator is the organizer and provider of package holidays. It is often referred as the Ground Handler. The Tour Company will make contracts with hotels and resorts, airlines and ground transport companies like private cars, buses, vans, ferries and trains & etc. With all the necessary pricing and information compiled, the Tour Operator will draft detailed tour packages and distribute to Travel Agents in Travel Agent Directory in Malaysia and even overseas.
The roles & responsibilities of a Tour Operator are booking and arranging:
- Transportation: Chaffered Car, Chartered Bus & Van, Air Ticket, Train Ticket, Ferry Ticket, Cruise Ticket, other transit modes and even special vehicles like trishaw.
- Tour Guide: All Tour Guides must be licensed by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia after attending and examined in a professional Tourist Guide Courses.
- Sight Seeing: Entrance for tourist destinations, eco-tour, adventures tour, jungle trekking, snorkeling & scuba diving, island hopping and even handicraft or cultural & living experiences.
- Food & Beverage: Breakfast, Tea Time or Tea Break, Lunch & Dinner, whether by set, buffet or packed food.
- Accommodation: Hotels, Resorts, Service Apartments, Camping Sites, Dormitories, Training Camps, Chalets, Tree Houses or traditional houses & habitats that accommodating travelers.
- Activities: Tele-match, treasure hunt, paint ball, team building, outside office meeting...
- Special Events: Company dinner, karaoke contest.
On the other hand, Travel Agents do not operate tours. Travel agencies gives traveling advices to travelers, promote and sell the tour packages that they have from various Tour Operators, then administer the tour bookings. Travel Agents usually are set up in prime locations with heavy traffic such as beside the main roads, inside crowed shopping malls or at the ground floor of a landmark building.
The roles & responsibilities of a Travel Agent are:
- Selling ells travel related products and services, particularly package tours to end-user customers on behalf of third party travel suppliers, such as airlines, hotels, tour operator and tour companies, and cruise lines & etc.
- Most travel agents have a special department devoted to travel arrangements for business travelers, while some agencies specialize in commercial and business travelers.
- Some also serve as general service agents for foreign travel companies in different countries.
- Act as an agent for tour packages:
- Buy tour packages or tour services at discounts & sell with profits.
- Get commissions from suppliers & other tour companies.
- Act as a ticketing agent for transportation (e.g. airlines, ferry, bus, train & etc).
- Other commercial operations are undertaken: insurance, travel guides, car rental, Bureau de change, private tour guide & etc.
- Offer impartial travel advice to the customer.
Next time, if you traveling in small group less than 10 travelers, it is advisable to engage a Travel Agent. Do not try to find the best travel agent in Malaysia. There is no such myth! Just go with the travel agent that suit your traveling needs and budgets or the tour agent that you trusted the most. However, if you are organizing a group tour like company tour, a Tour Operator will be able to provide you a more suitable tailor-made service.
The above information are guidelines and advices that 88Holidays provided to its Corporate Clients in organizing group tour. It is simple but useful information to help organizing a successful company tour with many years experiences.

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