Is a Dog Road Trip in Your Future?

Dogs are social, pack animals that love to be in your company, particularly on a good road trip. Knowing a few good road trip ideas will give you and your pooch the opportunity to bond in a new way.

One way to provide mental simulation for dogs is to take them with you while cruising around town. You don’t need an official road trip planner; just take your pooch with you while running errands and let them keep you company while you belt out your favorite road trip songs. A quick walk at each stop will provide your dog with both physical and mental stimulation. Giving your dog the three S’s – Sniffing, Socialization, and Stimulation – will help him maintain a balanced, well-rounded lifestyle.

Heck, you don’t even need to have a destination; just get in the car and drive around the block. Your dog lives in the moment and enjoys the journey more than the destination. Your dog going on a road trip is like them winning the lottery!

If you must accompany your husband to some dreaded destination like Home Depot, take your dog! You’ll have the great excuse of walking your dog around the parking lot while your husband strolls every aisle of tools and paint. Then, head to Starbucks and roll down your pooch’s window at the drive-through. They’ll get lots of ooh’s and ah’s from the cashier.

Don’t have plans one evening? Have a date night with your dog; plan activities that revolve around your dog’s wellness. Go to a pet store (i.e., Pet Smart) where your dog is exposed to a variety of sights, sounds, and other animals in a safe location. Other stores like Tractor Supply and some Lowes also allow you to shop accompanied by your dog. There are many restaurants where you can eat outside with your dog. All of these give your dog the three S’s which means they’ll sleep much more soundly when date night comes to an end.

If your dog has difficulty moving around the house due to age or arthritis, a dog road trip just might be the ticket for getting them outside to see new sights without putting unnecessary pressure on their joints. If you’re thinking that your vehicle is too tall for your dog to jump into comfortably, there are plenty of options for dog ramps for SUV and car access that make it very convenient for your dog to enter and exit your vehicle. The alternative is that they are just sitting at the house alone when they’d much rather be in your company.

Remember that safety always comes first on doggy car trips. Due to flying dust particles and oncoming vehicles, it’s dangerous to let your dog hang her head fully out the window. But, if it’s safe, roll down the window a bit and let your dog breathe in a little fresh air. There are plenty of options for dog travel crates or dog car seats if necessary. Also, factor in the weather. Dogs should never be left in a hot car while you are shopping. But, cooler days, a favorite road trip snack, and a small water bowl will keep your dog totally satisfied while you’re running quick errands.

So when you’re planning short road trips around town, break out the dog ramp, pack an extra bag for your dog, and invite them to tag along. You won’t have a better co-pilot!

Group Travel – How to Organize It

This article is intended to help you organize successful group travel; whether you are new to group travel organisation or are simply looking to improve on your experiences. It is aimed at a variety of people in mind. You may be an allocated tour committee member, Social secretary, Club president; or you may be a manager having been asked to organize a corporate trip. You may also be a best man organizing a stag ‘do’ or simply organizing a holiday for a large group of friends.

Where to Start
If you have not organised group travel before you are probably thinking where do I start? If you have organised group travel before and it did not go so smoothly you should be asking – where should I have started last time?

The first thing you need to decide is who will be responsible for what, make sure those roles are clearly defined, and that the individuals understand their responsibilities. The number of people who need to be involved in organizing group travel will vary depending on your group and destination. For small and informal groups you may decide that you will take responsibility for all the tasks. For large and more formal groups it is often best to assign tasks to multiple people.

You should consider:

  • Who will be responsible for collecting money?
  • For sports or performing arts groups – who will organize kit and clothing
  • Who will sell the tour to your group and convince them to go.
  • Who will organize your group – make sure they all have up-to-date passports, organize rooming lists, and carry out any other administration that needs to be done.
  • Fundraising- if required

Idea brainstorming
Once you have decided on these responsibilities you need to come up with some general ideas of where your group should go and what they should do. In some cases this will be easy as other factors will have already pre-determined this. If you are a sports group and are organising a trip for a sports tournament, your destination and main activity will have already been set. In this situation you should consider what other activities you may also want to do in order that you get the most enjoyment out of your trip.

In many cases brainstorming will be a much more involved process. If you are a music group wishing to go on tour then the options are almost endless with regards to destinations, concerts and itineraries.

You will probably need to do some research into ideas for your group and the brainstorming process could take several weeks. Why not get some ideas from the experts! There are a number of professional group travel organizers out there who will be full of ideas and have probably done something similar before. Contacting a professional group organizer will not cost you anything and will enable you to pick their brains. A number of group travel organizers also provide a large collection of pre-built itineraries on their web sites. You may be able to take one of these directly or adapt it to meet your needs. You can also do research in to destinations on the web by using web sites such as ‘Trip Adviser’ or ‘In Europe’ to help get some ideas. If you are traveling in Britain then use visit britain. This is a great web site with lots of useful information. As well as destination and itineraries you will need to think about approximate date of travel, likely numbers, accommodation type, and extra excursions that you might want to do.

Budget
A group’s budget is very important. If you create an over priced trip or holiday then no one from your group will be able to come. Equally if you set the budget so low, then you will end up in accommodation that no one wants to stay in, which again may put them off coming.

You need to agree a price range that you think your group can afford and create your trip based on that. If you want to go on a week’s tour to Europe but realize that your group can only realistically afford £100 each then you will need to consider fundraising or making an adjustment to your tour in terms of time length, destination or itinerary.

Remember any group can afford a tour it just takes the right amount of planning, creativity and preparation. Some members may have a particularly difficult economic background. You may want to consider subsidizing these members from the clubs funds and fundraising. Some people may also be prepared to pay more in order to reduce the cost to others. You should also take into consideration free places for yourself. In most group bookings you should be able to get a free hotel bed for every 25 members in the group although coach prices are not normally affected.

Getting your group together
The first step is in persuading people to go on your group trip. There are three main factors that decide this. Does the trip appeal to them, is it at a price they can afford and how charismatic are you at selling them the idea! If you can get these three things right then you should have no problem in getting most of your group to go on the trip.

Administrating group travel can be quite time consuming and challenging. You can find your self having to ring people multiple times because they are not in. Chasing people up who have not done something you asked them to do, dealing with people who have dropped out or adding new members on to the tour who now want to come. You must be prepared for a complex and time consuming operation if you want to do everything your self. You can significantly ease the burden by using a professional group organizer. They can help to deal with these problems on your behalf. Depending on which company you go with and what you have agreed with them. If you want them to do everything then you should expect to pay a little extra. But this would free you up to do other tasks that might other wise be more costly to you by ignoring them.

Raising finance and fundraising
Ok, if your group is going on a stag do then no one is going to give charitably to support your drunken antics! If you’re a corporation organizing group travel, then the only way you are going to get some one else to pay for it will be if you offer commercial benefits to them.

With most groups though there is a multitude of ways to raise finance for your group travel. You can organize generic events, fun days or organize something based on what your group does. General events and fun days could include: – sponsored marathon/competition, Car washing at a local supermarket or School, Coffee morning for you local retirement home, put on a disco, create a night out, or organize an Easter egg hunt. The list is really only limited by your imagination. Also you should try organizing something that relates to what your group does. If you are an orchestra then organize concerts for your local community. You can quite quickly raise the money you need for your trip; all it takes is a little enthusiasm and it can be lots of fun.

The thing people are most reluctant to do is part with their money. At the early stages it is important that you collect a deposit from every group member who has confirmed they are coming on the trip. With out this there is no commitment or incentive for them not to drop out at the last second and this could be embarrassing. By doing this, your trip will become far more manageable. You should make your members aware that the final amount due may be liable to change slightly if group members drop out or new ones join. A coach booked at £400 divided by 30 people is going to cost more per person than dividing the cost between 40 people. You will normally find that quotes are given in price bands as group travel operators will be aware the people may drop out or you may get additional travelers. You must also make people aware of cancellation cut off dates. Normally if you cancel with a hotel within 30 days prior to departure you will be liable to pay the full amount.

Law and the package travel directive
There have been changes in the Law relatively recently that you need to be aware of. If a consumer purchases more than one travel component, it is considered a package. As such, you must place this money into a trust account and cannot access the money until your group members have traveled. This applies to all non regular group travel organizers. However the definition of what is non regular is not clearly defined and has not been tested in court yet. To avoid the risk of breaking the law on this matter it can be easier to use a professional group travel organizer who already has systems in place to deal with the travel package directive.

Industry bodies
If you do use a professional group travel organizer you should look to see that they are a member GTOA (Group Travel Organizers Association) or the ETOA (European Tour Operators Association) if you plan on making a European trip.

Travel Insurance
As a group travel organizer or initiator for your group you will be viewed as responsible for everything that happens to your group members. Unfortunately from time to time things won’t go quite as planned. You must there for ensure you and your group members are protected against such instances. This is especially true with school and youth groups. Often travel insurance is not that expensive and it can be a legal requirement in many situations.

Facebook Tips and Tricks

If you are trying to grow your business, Facebook is a great way to do so quickly. Here are ten Facebook tips and tricks to help you get started.

Facebook Tip #1: Fill out all of your personal information, such as your profile picture and your favorite books and movies. It’s important to update your Facebook profile so that people can find you if they are searching for someone with a similar interest as you. People can also get to know you as a person. When you write your biography, make sure you use your personal “story”. Include things that your customer would care about. Don’t go into too much detail unless it is important to the story. You aren’t writing your story just to share your own life dramas. Write it for the purpose of attracting customers. Get specific, because “like attracts like”.

Facebook Tip #2: Add a few friends every day. Be consistent with this. Try to add around 10 per day, and you will gradually grow your customer base. Make sure you are inviting people who would be interested in the product or service you are selling.

Facebook Tip #3: Be sociable. Show people that you are interested in them and they will become interested in you. If you simply send a friend request to someone who doesn’t know you, without somehow showing them that you are interested in them, they may not want to add you as a friend.

Facebook Tip #4: Say something about a potential customer on their wall. Don’t mention your business, but instead show your interest in them and what they are doing. They will be more likely to pay attention to you that way.

Facebook Tip #5: Send a message with your friend requests. Look into the info page of your potential customers and find something that you share in common with them. Then, when you friend request them, you can mention that or ask a question about it. They will be more likely to add you as a friend if they see you are interested in them or share something in common with them.

Facebook Tip #6: Find people in your business niche. An easy way to do this is to enter your business or your product or service into the search bar in Facebook. Then you can click the “People” tab at the left to find your potential customers.

Facebook Tip #7: Find groups and pages in your business niche. Do the same thing as in tip #6, but this time click on “Groups” or “Pages”. Once you find a group or page that fits your business, then go into that page and look at the people who “like” that page or are a part of that group. You can then friend request them using the same techniques as mentioned in tip #5.

Facebook Tip #8: Be a “go to” person. You want to become the only logical choice for people to come to for your product or service. So talk to people about your business in an information giving type of way, rather than in a selling type of way. For example, you could give people tips on how to use your product. Then, when they are ready to buy that product, they will naturally want to come to you to purchase it.

Facebook Tip #9: Find something in common with people and talk to them about it, either on their wall or in a personal message or in “chat.” People love to talk about themselves. Building a trusting relationship with your potential customers is key to attracting them to want to purchase from you.

Facebook Tip #10: Don’t “promote” your business. Let people ask you about it instead of pushing them away with constant “advertisements.” Don’t use your wall as a bulletin board to say “Buy this product!” or “Purchase this service!” Instead, write things on your wall that would be helpful to your customers.

Start using these tips today and your business will grow exponentially. By building relationships with people, you can touch more lives, because when people see your leadership and the value you bring to their lives, they will naturally want to share you with their friends, too.