Planning a major tour for a year from now? Good! Because now is the time to start. Most successful tours whether in the United States or international need one years lead time.Of course, mini-trips like weekend or one-day excursions may not need that much lead time. And trips that are already put together by a major tour operator or cruise line and that you are buying off the shelf so to speak may not need the full year. Lets look at a years calendar in the life of a fictitious tour. It should be divided into three major segments.Liberty Bell
If the trip were to depart on December 31, the first three months of the year would be the set-up phase.During these three months of January, February, and March you would be designing your itinerary, booking all hotel and air reservations, and making arrangements for tour services. These services would include sightseeing, social activities, motorcoach reservations, step-on guides, any rail segments, and the like. Start by securing the most important elements of your trip to avoid having to cancel or rebook components because your key activity wasnt available on the date you chose.
And in this same three-month period you would planning any promotional activities such as advertising, brochures, direct mail, or other publicity so you can accurately cost these expenses into your tour price. If you publish your tour and its price first and then later discover you need to pay for some promotion, its too late to absorb these costs or raise the tour price to cover them.
Hasselt is the capital city of the province of Limburg. Though it may not have the charm of other cities in Belgium, it has a hospitable aura to it. The affable town with a population of about 77,000 people is reputed for its nightlife, shops and its pedestrian center. So famous is the friendly nature of its citizens, then quite aptly two years ago, Hasselt acquired the status as 'most sociable city of Flanders.'Hasselt came into existence in the 7th century on the Heelbeek, a tributary of the river of Demer. The name Hasselt comes from Hasaluth, which means hazelwood. The city of Hasselt is reputed to be home for interesting buildings like St. Quentins Cathedral, the abbey of Hercekenrode in Kuringen and Refugehuis. In fact, the Refugehuis is the oldest building in the city. The city is also famous for numerous museums like the National Genever Museum, the Stellingwerff-Waerdenhof Museum etc.The Demerstraat and the Koning Albertstraat are two of the famous shop streets in the city. The shops Hoogstraat and Kapelstraat are household names; however the items that they sell are premium priced. With the opening of the modern shopping complex three years ago, Hasselt has become all the more popular. In fact many regard the city as an example city for good manners, good facilities and etiquette.Places of interest:The Japanese Garden is one of the most beautiful sights in Hasselt. It is located in the Kaparmolen Park in the north-east part of the city. It is open from April to October at designated timings. The Japanese people from Itami, which is Hasselts sister city designed the garden as per the 17th century model. The Japanese Garden is the biggest Japanese garden in Europe and has about 250 Japanese cherry trees. Various events in relation to the Japanese culture takes place in the Japanese garden.The most important church of Hasselt is the Saint Quintinus Cathedral. It was in this place that the first settlements in the Hasselt area were formed. The church, and especially the tower, reveals the different building stages of the town. The lower part of it shows the remnants of the Romanesque church that stood during the 12th century.In the Kapelstraat, in proximity to the Market Square is the Church of Our Lady. On the same spot a chapel was built in the 14th century by the members of the Our Lady Virga Jesse fraternity. The statue of the Virga Jesse, a Madonna statue belonging to the 14th century is a popular tourist attraction. Some other interesting sights are the Baroque Altar and the tombs of the abbesses of the Abbey of Herkenrode.Things to do:Among all things you can do when you are in Hasselt is visit its museums.Hasselt has a museum called the National Genever Museum, dedicated to the popular local drink, jenever. In the museum, the visitors can learn about the history and the distillation of their favorite alcoholic drink.The Fashion Museum gives a nice overview of the evolution of fashion. You can partake in the theme expositions which are feature here regularly.The Stellingwerff-Waerdenhof Museum is home to rare historical artifacts and documents about the history of the evolution of Hasselt, Limburg and the County of Loon. What you get to see here are ceramic objects, church treasures, paintings and other articles of historic importance.There are a lot of places and boutiques to shop from in Hasselt. The shopping street is lined with ordinary fashion shops. The street is broad and there is less traffic. After shopping, you can relax your tired feet by sitting on the benches along the pedestrian sidewalks.The 'Fruitmarkt' reveals the first statue of many to follow. The first statue which meets you when you enter the town is the equestrian one made by Marc Cox as a tribute to Arnold IV, who was the Count of Loon. Arnold IV was the person who confirmed the rights of a city to Hasselt in a Charter of Liberty.The Grote Markt (Market Square) is the biggest open space in the city. You can have a gala time here, as this place is a hum-drum of business. A center of all commercial activities, it is also a place to wine and dine to your hearts content.Food and Drink:The famous flavored alcoholic beverage, spiced with juniper berries called 'Jenever' is very much loved in Hasselt. In fact there are quite a few factories and industries dedicated to the production and distribution of jenever. The cuisines are a mix of French and Flemish. Like most parts of Belgium, people in Hasselt are fond of mussels complimented with mayonnaise and French fries. By the way, did you know that the famous French fries are actually Belgian? History has it that American, English and Canadian troops discovered them when they arrived at the Flanders coast during the First World War. During those times, the Belgian Army spoke French and gave the term French fries. Belgian or French, the world loves French fries and Hasselt is no exception.Other than jenever, the all time favorite Beer and French wines also score high with most people. People favour the dark double lager beer and the white beer. There are some people who go for the lambic beer which is fermented drink with a fruity flavor.Non-vegetarian food like sea food, chicken, paling int groen (eel with vegetables and herbs) are generally eaten voraciously here. The hotels deal in traditional Flemish dish, Mediterranean food and French cuisine. There are some hotels which also serve ethnic and continental food. Biscuits and Waffles served with chocolate and icing sugar are also served to sweeten the tastebuds.Hotel and Accommodation:Parkhotel NVIbis Hasselt CentrumExpress By Holiday Inn HasseltHoliday Inn HasseltEntertainment:The Ethias Arena and Grenslandhallen in Hasselt are popular event centers. Both are known to be a foundation to stage an array of events lining from classic to the contemporary. The infrastructure of the auditoriums and the seating capacity has to be seen to be believed. Both the entertainment venues are equipped with high quality acoustic sound. With an ultra chic infrastructure and fibre optic network, you can be assured to get the best in terms of visual appeal and sound.Concerts, theatrical events, shows, fairs, exhibitions, parties, dances, skits, sporting events are all played in Ethias Arena and Grenslandhallen. Not only are they entertaining to the common public, but they also form a profitable avenue for business people to showcase and exhibit their products and services through seminars, meetings and exhibitions.Shopping is another form of indulging and pampering oneself. In fact, more than 175,000 tourists come to the city each week to shop and it goes without saying the Hasselt is one of the biggest shopping cities in Belgium.Kiewit in Hasselt is the venue for the annual Pukkelpop festival, which is Europes biggest alternative music festival with more than hundred concerts being played at the end of August. Rimpelrock, a musical festival for the elderly people (over 50 years of age) are also played here.
The way in which many of us book holidays has changed dramatically in recent years. Ten years ago many of us would have relied on our local travel agents to find us a good deal.When we came to think about our next trip away, we'd simply wander down the high street and nip into a few "travel agents" shops, picking up a number of different holiday brochures to compare prices offered by different tour operators.Comparing prices sometimes involved taking into account certain special offers that might be available, or any additional costs caused by the time of year (school holidays, for example) or number of people travelling.When thinking about destinations, resorts or particular hotels, our opinions might largely be shaped by what friends and family had told us, what we'd read in magazines, or maybe what we'd seen in holiday-related television programmes.The arrival of the internet and its increasing availability to many of us has undoubtedly changed the goalposts. We now have the ability to research our chosen destinations online - we even have access to the thoughts of previous visitors to the hotels that we may be planning to stay at.We can compare prices relatively quickly and also have more options in terms of how we structure our holidays. We're no longer limited by the narrow boundaries of the package holiday market - we can now book our flights and accommodation independently, with far less hassle.So everything has got better. Or has it?The internet has brought us a lot of information but how much of that information is really reliable? When I read reviews of places that I've visited, I often find that other people's experiences are very different from my own.It's clear that we all have different expectations of what is involved in having a good holiday.It seems to me that, while holiday prices may well have come down, many of us are left looking to trawl through masses of information, much of which may be considerably less reliable than that once provided by the good old-fashioned travel agent. Maybe we should take the "progress" provided by the internet with a small pinch of salt.
During our latest camping trip to Door County, Wisconsin, we stopped at the Shipwrecked Inn in Egg Harbor for dinner. They brew and serve their own beers and have a large menu. Eating there is an enjoyable experience, but learning about the folklore and history of the building was a lot of fun too. And like the name suggests, there are overnight accommodations available starting around $50 for a double. A sign near the entrance to the restaurant tells interested people to inquire at the bar about available rooms. Shipwrecked first opened for business in the late 1800s. The lumber industry in the area was booming. Shipwrecked ended up becoming a popular place with both lumberjacks and sailors. In the 1920s Shipwrecked became one of Al Capones favored places. "Door County" in general was a favorite area for Al Capone to hang out in because the nooks and crannies all over the county made it difficult for officials to track him down there. But Egg Harbor and Shipwrecked in particular were favored places of Al Capones. There are still tunnels under the building that lead to various places around Egg Harbor that were said to have been used by Al Capone when he needed to make a quick getaway. Folklore states the tunnels were originally created for Chief Tecumseh of the Ottawa Indian tribe for his use in quick getaways from other tribes. There are other stories about the tunnels under the Shipwrecked building. If you ask one of the local people in the area, he or she will likely be happy to tell you a few of them. One of those stories says that in the early 1930s a couple of IRS revenuers came looking for Al Capone at Shipwrecked but were never seen again because they somehow got lost in the tunnels. We ate at Shipwrecked in late Fall on a weekday evening. There were three adults in our party. Because Shipwrecked has their own beers we decided to try their Plank O Brews Sampler which included their Bayside Blonde Ale, Door County Cherry Wheat, Captains Copper Ale, Peninsula Porter, Lighthouse Light, and the current seasonal brew which was Pumpkin Patch. The Door County Cherry Wheat was everyones favorite beer. The beer is made with Door County Cherries and a hint of cherry flavor could be tasted in the beer. Some of the comments about the beer by our dining party were: Very good; Nice hint of cherry with no citrus taste like many other wheat beers; Nice light flavor; No bitter aftertaste. The beer has a nice finish. The Captains Copper Ale was the clear second place finisher in our tasting. Its a stronger beer with a rather bitter finish to it, but it has good flavor. Comments about the beer from our group ranged from: Lots of flavor; to Tastes good; to Full-bodied but a little too bitter of an aftertaste.The Peninsula Porter beer is a dark heavy beer. Nobody in our party is a big fan of dark beer, but we thought the beer was okay. Comments were: Tasted of chocolate and coffee, but not my favorite of the beers here; Not too bad; Has a coffee flavor with no bitter aftertaste. A coffee lover would probably really enjoy this beer. The Lighthouse Light is Shipwreckeds light beer offering. I was the only one in the group who liked it. It had a lighter taste to it, but was a little too bland for the other two members of our dining party. The Pumpkin Patch beer is one of Shipwreckeds seasonal beers. It had spicy flavors in it. Some people in our party tasted cinnamon in it; others tasted cloves and nutmeg. Only one member of our party thought it had any pumpkin flavor in it and nobody in our party cared much for it. We just didnt like the spice flavors with the beer flavors. It wasnt a flavor combination that worked for us.The Bayside Blonde Ale was thought to be okay by everyone in our group. It was a creamy beer and didnt have any bitter aftertaste. After sampling the beers at Shipwrecked we decided to skip appetizers and salads, although the restaurants signature salad containing leaf lettuce, field greens, pulled smoked chicken, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, shredded cheddar cheese, and seasoned croutons sounded delicious. The waitress recommended the restaurants ribs; smoked chicken; and fried perch entrees. We decided to go with her recommendations, order one of each of those items, and then share among us at the table. The fried perch was the clear winner of the three entrees. The perch was lightly breaded and cooked to perfection. The side of Hawaiian coleslaw that came with the fish was also delicious. The Hawaiian flavor in the coleslaw came from pineapple and coconut milk. The ribs were very tasty, but our rack had some sections that were overcooked and stringy kind of like beef jerky. Overall though, the ribs were good. There were several choices of sides with the ribs. We chose the garlic mashed potatoes and Jaspers beans. The garlic mashed potatoes were rather disappointing. There were dry and didnt have much garlic flavor in them.Jaspers beans however were very good. There were a combination of baked beans, kidney beans, black beans, bacon, onions, and the house seasoning. Very tasty, was how one of our dining party described the beans. The smoked and barbecued chicken entre was the least favorite of the three we ordered. Although the portion was very generous and the chicken had a good smoky flavor to it; the barbecue sauce had been ladled on top of the chicken and was just sitting on the skin. The barbecue flavor didnt get in to the chicken. It just sat on top of it. The chicken came with the same blah garlic roasted mashed potatoes as the ribs and the vegetable of the day which consisted of herbed carrots, green beans, and yellow beans. The beans were good. The carrots were rubbery. Because all the entre portions were generous, none of us were still hungry when our waitress offered us dessert but the cherry berry crisp a la mode she suggested sounded too good to pass up so the three of us shared it. We were very glad we did. It was delicious! It was served warm with whipped cream and a scoop of ice cream. It was so good two of the diners in our party nearly fought over the last spoonful and said they would pick up the bowl and lick it clean if they had been at home. There were a few misses in our meal at Shipwrecked, but overall it was a pleasant dining experience with great service. I would go back again. My recommendations if you eat there are to have the Door County Cherry Wheat beer; the fried perch entre; and cherry berry crisp a la mode (http://www.doorcountycountry.com/food/shipwreckedbreweryandrestauranteggharbor).
If you want to fly abroad and your budget is limited, what could possibly be the best option for you? You would definitely prefer cheap air travel. And the next question that would come to your mind would be where you would find cheap flights. The answer is again very simple- find it on the internet.With internet access, finding "cheap air travel" is too convenient for you. It is just a matter of few clicks and you are through. With the availability direct and new airline inventory to the people, finding cheap flights on the internet are becoming increasingly popular. Everyone is finding better and cheap deals on the net. You need not waste time with any of the local travel agencies now.With the availability of cheap air travel reservation on internet, you have the option of planning your own travel arrangements. You can even compare the prices on your own of your favorite destinations. The greater number of consumer access on net has also enabled the airline industry to introduce new air policies. The internet reservation has drastically reduced the air fares.If you want to find cheap air tickets, prefer going for the last minute flights. The chances of getting "cheap air tickets" posted at last minute are fairly high. Airlines do not announce cheap tickets for their initial opening seats. They usually announce them a few days before take off. So whenever possible opt for buying last minute tickets. You have to be flexible in your approach. You should begin yours search with a pre-determined target price in mind. This would narrow down your search. If you find an air price similar to your target price, try and work around some travel days, to see if you can get an even more reduced price. This option requires that your planning for travel should be flexible.Finding alternative air travel is a very good option, if you want to reach your destination at a low cost. You can book and fly to a secondary airport of the city. This ensures considerable reduced air flight tickets. For example if you want to travel to Chicago, you can book your ticket for midway. Traveling to a location close to your destination can also cost you comparatively less.While searching for cheap tickets, you should check on the day and time of the ticket purchase as both play an important part on ticket prices. Prefer buying a ticket during midnight as there is a valid reason behind it. The airlines reload their database regarding reserved and booked seats during the midnights. So you can buy the reserved seats which are available for booking. The cost of their booking is comparatively low. Traveling on weekends is a good option if you want to avail cheap air tickets. You can get relatively cheap tickets if you plan to leave on Saturday and return on Monday rather than leaving on Friday and returning on Sunday.Considering all these strategies and you will have the cheapest of air travel.