Working As a Wedding Planner

We have been working on this for a week, but of course we have competing pressures from different parts of the family. I was working on something else the other day when I realized that the mother of the bride wanted me to look into the cost of Toronto party bus rentals for the wedding reception. I was not really sure what the reasoning behind that was, but when I talked to her she was talking about the fact that they were going to serve alcohol and that they did not want to have people driving away from the reception drunk. Continue reading “Working As a Wedding Planner”

You Can Go Home Again

When I was in high school I was a total band geek, frizzy hair, braces, the whole nine yards. I definitely was a late bloomer and I sure bloomed in college. I decided that if I ever got the chance to show the people in my home town how much I had changed I would. This silly plan included getting all dolled up and going to a professional stylist and I planned on getting one of those fancy Diamond limo party bus rentals. As the years have gone by though, I care less and less about what people think so I hadn’t planned on doing anything like that any time soon. Continue reading “You Can Go Home Again”

One Hitch in the Preparation

In anticipation of the mad dash of parents trying to make their children’s night a perfect one, I prepared for my daughter’s prom early. I helped her pick out a dress, rent a limo, and even booked a hair salon appointment months in advance. Everything was set, until one thing happened that threw the entire plan out of place. The limo company had been shut down by the government because of illegal business practices. This happened days before the prom, so I scrambled to find a replacement limo, and stumbled upon http://paradisetorontolimo.ca, where I rented a new limo.

I guess no matter how much you prepare for something, there is still a chance that something can go wrong, so it’s best to have a backup plan. Continue reading “One Hitch in the Preparation”

‘Burke’s the Butcher, Hare’s the Thief’: The Life of Serial Killer William Burke

William Burke was born in his native Ireland in 1792 and, even though his parents were poor, they believed in educating their children. When he finished his schooling he joined the militia, though after seven years his unit was disbanded and he went back to his childhood home to be a servant for a land owner. Leaving his home town and abandoning his wife and two children in 1817, he travelled to Scotland to work on the construction of the Union Canal.

Burke met Helen McDougal, a Scots woman, while working on the Union Canal and after they met he gave up construction work to work variously as a laborer, weaver, baker, and cobbler. By 1827, Burke and McDougal had been cohabiting together as common law spouses for a number of years and were generally perceived to be a respectable, married couple who had settled down with Burke finally opting for a career as a shoe maker. He was able to read and write and was charming and outgoing.

In late 1827 Burke and McDougal moved to Tanner’s Close in the West Port area of Edinburgh. It was here that William Burke would meet William Hare, a man with which he would become infamously linked in history, when he and McDougal moved into the lodging house run by Hare’s wife Margaret. The two couples became friendly but no-one could have suspected that the friendship would eventually lead to murder.

When a tenant at the lodging house died of natural causes owing Hare £4 in rent Burke helped Hare to dispose of the man’s body. Instead of burying him, they took the body to Edinburgh University Medical School searching for a buyer for the corpse in order to attempt to recoup the money owed to Hare. After little success, they happened upon a student of an anatomist named Dr. Robert Knox, who told them that Knox would pay good money for a cadaver and they sold the body for £7.10, the equivalent of $1,130.00 today.

Burke and Hare realized they could make a large amount of money supplying cadavers to medical schools and when the next opportunity presented itself to do this, their murder spree began. Burke and Hare’s first murder victim was a sick tenant named Joe the miller. They plied him with whisky before suffocating him. Joe was to be the first of sixteen victims who would lose their lives at the hands of Burke and Hare. For the most part, Burke and Hare targeted people who were unlikely to be missed, such as beggars and prostitutes, as their victims but they were not above murdering their own acquaintances. A cousin of Helen McDougal, Burke’s common law wife, lost her life at his hands.

Burke and Hare’s murder spree lasted for twelve months but it came to an abrupt end in October 1828 when a woman named Ann Gray became suspicious of them and discovered a body hidden under a bed in their house. Despite being offered the sum of huge sum of £10 to keep quiet, Mrs Gray refused and alerted the authorities. However, by the time police arrived at the scene the body had been transported to the medical school. Items belonging to other victims were discovered at the house but the evidence that the two men had actually committed murder was largely circumstantial. In order to secure a conviction, therefore, and satisfy a public that was baying for blood, the Lord Advocate Sir William Rae offered Hare immunity from prosecution if he testified against his friend, William Burke.

Burke was sentenced to death in December 1828 and hanged on January 28, 1829. Immediately after his death Burke’s death mask was cast and some of his skin was tanned and preserved. After wards, in a fitting act of posthumous punishment, his body was dissected at the Edinburgh University Medical School. His skeleton was preserved as an exhibit.

Hare was released along with McDougal, though they did not escape lightly. McDougal was attacked by an angry mob and just escaped being hanged herself, before fleeing Edinburgh, never to be heard of again. Hare was released from prison in February 1829 and also disappeared into history.

William Burke’s decision to enter into a murderous partnership with William Hare is puzzling. Why would a skilled man who seemed to have a good, stable, home life resort to such disturbing criminality? It is highly unusual for the criminal acts of a serial murderer to be driven purely by profit. It is unlikely that we will ever find an answer for William Burke’s choice. However, his name and that of William Hare will never be forgotten and we can only hope their descendants were able to escape their torrid history.

Leona Tyrie is the producer of “The Body Merchants: The Shocking Truth about Anatomy Murder”, a documentary which recounts the horrifying true story of the serial killers Burke and Hare, examines the socio-legal problems of Georgian Britain which not only spawned the body trade, but also gave rise to murder… and culminates by exposing the terrible truth that such crimes are not confined to history.

Best Travel Writing – Top 10 Travel Novels

It’s hard to find great travel writing, but it’s out there. Part of the reason for this is that so much travel writing is also considered nature writing or narrative non-fiction. Part of the reason is that the field is so competitive because of a lot of good authors competing for a relatively small market space. But there is a wide array of great travel fiction out there, and here is my list of the best ten travel novels I’ve read over the past couple years.

10) Through Painted Deserts, by Donald Miller. This is one I actually found in the “Christian Non-Fiction” section, which can be unfair. There’s no question Miller is a Christian, but he’s a writer first and foremost, he’s not preachy, and his questioning of his own faith, of reasons for existence, of who and what he is or is becoming is reminiscent of the fantastic soul searching that came from the travel writing of the Beat generation. Miller’s account of his trip is great, going through the moments of beauty, the necessity of good road trip music, and admitting his moments of embarrassment and fear as freely as any other part of his journey.

9) Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald. The early reading of this book can be hard, because after the first few chapters there’s a lot of the Western perspective, the whining of living conditions and poverty, the type of scorn you don’t care to read from travel writing. I’m glad I read the rest, because like “Through Painted Deserts,” “Holy Cow” is about the author’s journey. Sarah evolves and changes chapter to chapter in front of you as she sheds the scornful nature of an atheist “too smart” to fall for superstition, and she opens up, traveling through India and sampling all the different religious beliefs and practices as she becomes a humble Theist who learns happiness, learns to grow, and learns that alien cultures can have a lot to offer the open traveler.

8) Into the Wild by John Krakauer. I first caught sight of this book at a Barnes and Noble on one of the feature tables. I was on winter break from Alaska and visiting family in Iowa. I picked up the book, sat down, and read the entire work in one sitting. Travel book, journalistic book, nature book, adventure book-whatever you call it, this is one heck of a read, and the debate this book causes is deep and passionate. As a wanderlust traveler, I understand the drive the main character feels, as an Alaskan, I understand the native perspective of irritation, of the lack of understanding that nature is brutal and especially Alaska needs to be respected as such.

7) Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town, by Paul Theroux. Paul Theroux is at his best in “Dark Star Safar,” where his skills of observation and his dry wit are on full display. Paul takes readers the length of Africa via overcrowded rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train in a journey that is hard to forget. There are moments of beauty, but there are also many moments of misery and danger. This is a narration of Africa that goes beyond the skin deep to dare to look at the deeper core of what is often referred to as “The Dark Continent.”

6) Blue Highways: A Journey Into America, by William Least Heat-Moon. This is an auto-biographical travel journey taken by Heat-Mean in 1978. After separating from his wife and losing his job, Heat-Moon decided to take an extended road trip around the United States, sticking to “Blue Highways,” a term to refer to small out of the way roads connecting rural America (which were drawn in blue in the old Rand McNally atlases). So Heat-Moon outfits his van, named “Ghost Dancing” and takes off on a 3-month soul-searching tour of the United States. The book chronicles the 13,000 mile journey and the people he meets along the way, as he steers clear of cities and interstates, avoiding fast food and exploring local American culture on a journey that is just as amazing today as when he first took the journey.

5) The Lost Continent, by Bill Bryson. There are tons of fantastic Bill Bryson books out there, and any one of them could hold this spot here. “The Lost Continent” is Bryson’s trip across America, visiting some common places (the grand canyon), but also exploring the back roads and looking for that familiarity that helps him remember home.

4) Wanderlust: Real-Life Tales of Adventures and Romance by Pico Iyer. Probably one of the best travel writing collections released in recent memory, this collection is under the name Pico Iyer, who helped to edit this collection. These stories come from the “Wanderlust” section of Salon.com and create a varied tapestry of travel writing that will keep the reader flipping from one writer to another.

3) A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins. This is one of the all time modern classics in travel literature, as Peter Jenkins recalls the story of his 1973-1975 walk from New York to New Orleans. For many readers, this remains a rare travel book that grips you and keeps you. Known as a travel writer who will walk anywhere, including Alaska and China, Peter Jenkins says, “I started out searching for myself and my country and found both.” That sums up what travel writing should be all about.

2) Travels w/ Charlie by John Steinbeck. This was a novel that helped John Steinbeck win a Nobel Prize in Literature. “Travels with Charlie” is a fantastic travel narrative that gets to the heart of travel, the point of the trip, and the strange confrontation and realization that the places and people you remember are gone once you are. As he revisits the places of his youth that many of his books are based on, he realizes on seeing old friends that they’re as uncomfortable with him being back as he is with being there. A great story about travel, about home, about mourning lost history, about aging, and about America-this should be required reading for every high school student.

1) The Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac. The beat generation was full of great travel narratives, and Jack Kerouac was the master of powerful, moving, passionate language that unfolded stories like few people have ever managed. While “On the Road” is the most often pointed to travel narrative by Kerouac, “The Dharma Bums” is a better book. Full of passion, interesting characters and stories, and the kind of passionate language and powerful prose that made the beat generation writers popular, this Kerouac book is extraordinary and deserving of its number one spot.

From the Pipeline – The Jaik Miller Band

The Jaik Miller Band is from Brooklyn, New York. The Band is quite unique and has jammed out with many famous musicians, including members of Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors and Tim Reynolds to just name a few. I was able to catch up with Jaik Miller during his busy schedule and ask a few questions.

The members of the Jaik miller band include JP Bowersock on guitar (also producer of eponymous debut CD), Garth MacAleavey on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Jaik Miller on guitar, vocals, and some glockenspiel, Brian Murphey on the bass, Christopher Markwood Miller on the drums and Max Tucker on drums, percussion, and vocals.

I asked Jaik a popular listener question, when and how the band was formed. Jaik replied, “TRUStY was put together in the spring of 2005 to showcase some of my tunes at NOLA jazz fest. We were essentially a guitar/bass duo with me singing and Michael Ferrero (brother of o.g. bassist Marco) on video projections. We got some awesome gigs and did a sweet recording with Matt Stein. Met max at our first LES show at sidewalk…. Upon scoring a cameo on USA’s “Monk” we met Max’s school chum Garth, moved him to NYC from LA, made the record with JP and *poof*… JMBizzle was born!! Took two seconds.”

I asked Jaik, “Why did you decide on the Jaik Miller band as the Band’s name? Have you changed the band’s name in the past?” Jaik responded, “Har! Jaik Miller Band was the last thing I wanted to call this or any other band I have ever been a part of. The band was originally called ‘TRUSTY’; despite its case sensitive nature the intellectual property ownership was challenged by another (tho defunct) “trusty”, a 1990’s pop punk band from Tennessee, I believe….we then changed our name to “Yama Bandit” but nobody understood what we were saying (mama bendit? Jorma pendant? Shwarma Conduit?) and upon the suggestion of our original bass player’s girlfriend’s buddy who she ran into at the Fillmore, I reluctantly acquiesced to the will of the band and JMB (the name) was born (again).”

I asked Jaik, “What genre of music do you consider your work to be?” He replied, ” I have always been a genre-buster; one of those real pains in the butt in the eyes of the marketing department. The JMB thing is fairly easy to pigeon hole…it’s classic rock. Garth and JP totally jam. It’s like having Slash and Jerry in the same band. Totally fkn rawk! Which is funny to me because I am so punk rock in my heart and SOUL in my loins.”

I asked, “Who are some of your major influences?” Jaik says, “As a songwriter I owe a huge debt of gratitude to so many 20th century tunesmiths… I particularly admire the work of Chris Whitley, Bob Marley, Patti Smith, Suzanne Vega, Husker Du, Garcia/Hunter and John Lennon. My favorite singers include Otis Redding, Donny Hathaway, Marley again (his phrasing…damn!) and i guess Nina Simone. My all time favorite guitar hero is mister Warren Haynes!”

Jaik says the main themes or topics for most of the Bands songs are “Um, lots of songs about angels and aliens. Oh, and girls. and dogs, of course!”

I asked “What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Has the band been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?” Jaik says, ” Hmmm… Okay the obvious thing would probably be doing our best to survive in these trying economic times. But then again; we are living the dream. So there you go!”

I asked Jaik what are the most notable venues he has played in and he relied, “I have performed in many big rooms such as Roseland in NYC and outdoor venues like SPAC and Merriweather Post Pavillion. As JMB I guess the coolest gig we have done thus far was an Obama rally last fall with Crosby/Nash and Bruce Hornsby.”

The songs the band performs most are 4447, California, Another Good Look, Faceless, Social Disease, Lil seed Boogie as well as some covers too!

I asked “How have listeners responded to your debut album?” Jaik says, “So far so awesome. JP absolutely killed it on the production end, bringing that trashy Bowersock to these otherwise pristine tracks. The songs don’t suck and we executed them pretty well. I figure that’s how we keep getting on all those “top albums of the year” lists.”

I asked, “Is anything new in the works for the JMB?” Jaik replied, “We just recorded a new version of The Who’s “join together” for a new company called Planet Muzic which is hellbent on changing the recorded music biz once and for all…and for the better. We starting to work on our next album while planning a major release of our debut for autumn. Personally I am working with a young woman who is one of the sickest talents on the face of this earth. I’m learning new stuff every day.”

Finally I asked Jaik, “Is their anything you would like your fans/ future fans to know?” He said, “When you sing, you remember how to fly. Oh yeah, and this… sparrows eat chicken.”

I Went to a Bachelor Party

Of course I was not the one who was paying for any of this, so it not like I was going to complain about how much money got spent. I mean this was a really over the top bachelor party. I know that a lot of this guy’s friends are rich and apparently a number of them chipped in until they had a lot of money together. They found this Toronto party bus rental place and got three of those things for the night. The first thing that they did was to go from one club to the next, we did a lot of drinking and of course this is the sort of club where they have adult entertainment. I must admit that I was really impressed by the quality of the entertainers. That is not something you could call me an expert in. What is really the point of staring at a girl when that is the only thing that you can do. Continue reading “I Went to a Bachelor Party”

Ask Your Local Travel Guru: What’s New on the Travel Industry Wire?

As a travel guru for many years now, I have seen the travel industry wire adapt in so many ways. As you already know, we now live in a world with instant and infinite amounts of information, right at our fingertips. Like everything else, the travel industry has adapted, grown and cultivated a new identity with our present day world of information. Until beaches start disappearing and people can be teleported across continents, there will ALWAYS be the want and need to visit our regular and new destinations.

The travel industry plays a substantial role in the global economy. During 2015, the travel industry wire forecasts global GDP to grow by 3.7% and employment by 2.6%. This demonstrates the sector’s enduring ability to generate economic growth and create jobs at a faster rate than the global economy, which is due to grow by 2.9% in 2015. By the end of 2015, the Travel & Tourism sector will contribute US$7,860 billion, 10% of global GDP, once all direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account. The sector will account for 284 million jobs, 9.5% of total employment, or one in eleven of all jobs on the planet. By 2025, the global travel & tourism sector is projected to contribute 357 million jobs and generate $11.4 Trillion dollars. Ask your favorite travel guru and he will show you the various components all contributing to these massive amounts. Let’s check out what the travel industry wire says:

Hotel Industry

Among all the sub sectors of the travel & tourism industry, Hotels is one of the biggest fragments. The travel industry wire explains that hotels generated a global of $457 billion dollars in 2014. Your travel guru has most likely coordinated a recent trip within the Intercontinental Hotels Group. The company contributed the highest revenues, earning $22.8 billion dollars. In the United States alone, the total revenue within the hotel industry climbed to $163 billion dollars. The majority of tourists visiting the United States of America (65.1%) choose to stay in a hotel, where the average daily is a healthy $121.30.

Aviation industry

Although the major corporations, leading sector, seem to always changing names and planes, the industry cultivated a whopping $783 billion US dollars in 2014. Your travel guru may have whispered about some of the airlines not performing, but the industry continues to grow at rate of 7.4% every year. The travel industry wire indicates that Europeans, Americans, Chinese & Brazilians combine for the highest market contributors.

Cruise Industry

Cruises have steadily become a popular choice of travel the past few years. These are an easy sell for your local travel guru… The luxurious ocean liners, offering food, fun & music for the entire family have created a loyal gathering that continues to grow. Due to the growth rate of 6.55% every year, Cruise lines have postured their company growth strategies, by building larger capacity ships, ship diversification, more local ports and more destinations. The travel industry wire indicates that the average cruise traveler spends approximately $1728.00 every year, with over 22 million people jumping on the floating palace. The cruise industry contributes about $39.6 billion dollars in 2014, and is poised for a solid 6-7% increase.

Online Travel Market

Any travel guru, coupled with the travel industry wire statistics, will tell you that the online travel industry has EXPLODED over the past 5 years and will only continue to skyrocket. As more and more people use smartphones and as these smartphones continue to develop into personal super computers, the more information we have, the more we want. Online travel revenue reached $340 billion dollars back in 2011, worldwide and 39% consisted of American bookings. Obviously, the deluge of data & information has contributed to the online travel industry, but hotels and hotel broker websites have been the main proponents to this boom. As everything turns to online information, bookings, etc… the travel agencies, travel gurus and everyone associated with the industry has jumped in. Rarely do you see a corporation dependent on the travel & tourism industry, that hasn’t adapted to the online market.

Paid to Travel? Can You Really Get Paid to Travel (or for Free?)

Traveling… ahh yes, doesn’t EVERYONE LOVE TO TRAVEL? Well, I know, I know… the pains of connecting flights, delays, cancellations, dragging luggage a mile across terminals… the hassle of renting cars, fighting traffic in a foreign country (and figuring out which side of the road to drive) and trying to figure out what the guy is telling you when all’s you asked was “where is the bathroom?”… Aside from all of that, is it not the greatest feeling when you can step away from the normal routine, take a few deep breaths and realize you have nothing to do but sit on the beach… your hardest decision is if you’re going to have steak or lobster that night… and your biggest worry is if you have enough sun screen? That’s what traveling is all about… when it transposes us from our everyday lives and places us in a completely new culture… seeing, breathing, eating and dancing to what people 10,000 miles away from you are doing and thinking to yourself “this is the kind of stuff you see on TV”. That’s when it’s all worth it… that’s why traveling is so amazing.

But, one of – if not “THE” – biggest obstacles in traveling is that little green piece (or many pieces) of paper called MONEY. Whether you’re trying to visit a friend in Dallas or take your wife to Bora-Bora, it all costs Money-and a lot of it. The days of those Southwest “$49.00” fares are long gone and even the little weekend getaways whack a dent in your pocket book. There are definitely ways to shave off a few dollars here and there, but no matter how you slice it, traveling is expensive. Not everyone has a cush, 6 or 7 figure salary that allows them to take off 6 day weekends or weeks at a time to party in Ibiza. So, is there really a way to travel-and I mean really travel-and either get paid or travel for “free”??

The travel industry is an $8 TRILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. Yes, you read that right… that’s Trillion with a capital “T”. So, other than the hotels, airlines and luggage manufacturers, how can you get involved?

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can earn a living, traveling across the world:

Flight Attendant: This is actually a great way to visit a LOT of places-FAST. The average flight attendant makes $37,000.00 a year, with the higher level salaries hovering in the $75,000.00-$90,000.00 range. It’s definitely an advantage if you know more than one (1) language. Flight attendants receive a daily per Diem for meals, along with flexible work schedules, discounts on flights, hotels and travel expenses for vacation. The downside is that when you are working, the flight schedule can be grueling-traveling to multiple cities in a 12, 18 or 24 hour time frame. When you finally stop to rest, the urge to go sight-seeing or check out the city, is traded out with the simple need to sleep in a bed. Oh yea, I forgot to mention… have you ever NOT seen a few angry, annoyed or upset people on your plane? Yep, be prepared to deal with those rude customers during your 12-24 hour shift!

Commercial Airline Pilot: Same deal with flight attendants, in terms of work schedule, but the pay is much better-depending on the size of the jet and company, you can be making $121,000.00 a year. If you want to go to flight school, pass your minimum 250 hours of flight experience, go for it! Just make sure you have perfect vision and hearing. Again, if you want to make this a career, you will visit cities all over the country (and the world), but be prepared to deal with thousands of customers, weather and equipment problems, grueling schedules and the stress that comes along with the responsibility of flying so many people to different places.

Travel Agent: As you may already know, travel agents know all about the best places to visit. They are the middle men between the hotels, airlines, tourism bureaus and the travelers. More than likely, they have an opportunity to visit some of these places so they can see everything for themselves-that’s a pretty sweet perk, eh? Typical salaries are anywhere from $25,000.00 to $35,000.00 and most likely be required to enroll in some sort of training, typically with the Travel Institute.

Freelance Writer or Photographer: What a cool job this would be… traveling all over the world… spending your time with various cultures, observing how the people communicate, eat, sleep and worship. You truly are “free”, relaying what you see and experience to the people sitting on their couch, thousands of miles away. Only catch… well, it’s that one thing we talked about a little earlier: MONEY. Obviously, you are not going to get paid before you get to these places, so be sure to plan this out a little bit, stock up some green in your checking account and pick up some pointers on how to express yourself with the pen & paper or with the camera. Try to develop some sort of “following” so you have a good base of people reading and viewing your content. Do not try to fly to India with a thousand bucks and an iPad, expecting to start a travel blog that generates cash, allowing you to wander the world for the next few years. You might as well go to your nearest casino and play blackjack. If you can pull of this occupation (and to those that currently do this), I tip my hat to you-great work!

Okay, now that we have gone over a few of the travel “jobs”, you may be saying, “well, I like my job right now and don’t really feel like dealing with all of those people and flying across the country 6 times, only to sleep in Des Moines for the night.” If you’re in between jobs, just out of school or simply want to take a “sabbatical”, why don’t you consider these routes in traveling the world:

You Speak English?: Speaking English can provide access to countries in all places across the globe. Some companies offer free room & board in exchange for you to help their employees enhance their English speaking skills and knowledge. There are also programs you can find on the web that well set you up with a certain country and company in order to train their people English. Now that you have your room & board covered, now we just need to figure out how we can pay for food and drink…

Start Giving Back: Feeling charitable or want to help others? Why not look to jump on a church mission trip, Habitat for Humanity-International, or if you can take off more time, join the Peace Corps? Obviously, this is not going to be as glamorous as sailing the Mediterranean, island hoping the Greek Isles, but if you want to feel good about helping out people less fortunate-and work hard-pack your bags and sign up for a volunteer opportunity. You will definitely see some places without paved roads, running water and people simply looking for a roof over their head. Giving the less fortunate the simple things we take for granted: food, clothing and shelter, will give you new sense of gratitude, after completing one of these tours.

All of these ways to travel are great and all, but how many people have the opportunity to take off extended amounts of time or have the nerve to just walk away from their job and become a commercial pilot or join the Peace Corps? Everyone has a job because it pays the bills and gives us financial security. I don’t know about you, but I am responsible for my wife and three(3) children, thus taking the plunge on the “unknown” is absolutely NOT realistic.

So, back to the original question above… How can you realistically travel for free? And when I say, “travel”, I mean, really travel… That means taking a care-free vacation… not having to worry about if you can afford to leave the resort for dinner that night, or buy those extra pair of sunglasses… Care-free travel means doing what you want, when you want and not worrying about the bill when you get back home. Let’s break down a few ways in which we really can travel for free (or as close to it as we can get)… or even better: GET PAID TO TRAVEL!

Use Those Points!: You know, I always knew I was going to be thankful for all that money I spent on my credit card. Now that I racked up all that debt, I also racked up all those points! Points I can use towards booking a new flight or maybe pay for my stay at the Bellagio in Vegas… where I can blow even more money!… I’m kidding!… kind of. Whenever you are looking to obtain a new credit card, choose the card that offers the most, when used. Compare the interest rate for charges and cash advances, the annual fees and also the credit card that provides the best rewards. If you fly a certain airline, be sure to input your frequent flyer number to gather those miles. Use travel sites that allow you to accrue points when you purchase flights, hotels, cruises and rental cars. You’re paying for this stuff anyways, so why not try and earn a little more for the next time you want to take a trip?

Vacation Packages through a Resort or Company: Very similar to a travel agent, only you are selling pre-packaged vacations at a discount to consumers. Instead of creating a customized travel package based on what and where the customer likes, you are selling a pre-packaged stay at a specific resort or hotel/resort/meal itinerary. They come in all shapes and sizes… and they can be dirt cheap (think: hotel next to Senor Frogs-Cancun during Spring Break), or the Rolls Royce type of trip. Depending on the type of company or resort, there are many perks with the access to all of their locations, with commission schedules pretty generous. There are limitations on the demographic of the clientele and if you are representative a company or resort with mediocre selections-and reviews-then it may put you in a rock in a hard place.

Direct Selling with a Travel Company: With this, you really do have the opportunity for the best of both worlds-traveling the world on the cheap (or in some cases, for FREE!) and making money. Typically, people that get involved in this industry already have a full time job and are looking for a better, cheaper way to travel and an additional source of income. It can be extremely lucrative, in terms of creating wealth and a residual income, but a lot of the members simply take advantage of the fact they can generate a few extra dollars every month and access to the premium resorts at wholesale pricing. The direct-sell companies in the travel industry offer 5 star packaged vacations at 2 Star pricing, as well as access to their trip planning website that works like an Expedia or Travelocity. Also, confirm there are ways you can accrue points, when you buy flights, vacations, or even their travel mall, so you can use those points for a free trip. Bottom line: do your research… choose a company that has a great reputation and make sure you have a good support system… thousands of people are catching on to these companies and are really capitalizing on the residual income and extremely low cost of travel.

15 Travelers That I Have Met

There are really as many type of travellers as there are people. Here we take a tongue in cheek look at some of the common types.

1. The Complete Budget Traveler

The complete budget traveler travels on a strict budget and does not vary from it, no matter how exciting the recently discovered opportunity is. No extra drinks for this traveller unless someone buys him/her one.

2. The Perennial Party Animal

The perennial party animal has one focus and that is to have fun usually at a bar. These travellers find places to party where others cannot. Perhaps they should be partnered with the complete budget traveler!

3. The Flexible Go-anywhere Traveler

The flexible go-anywhere traveler just chills out where-ever he/she is. There is no need for planning – everything is good. They go with the flow and to not need to know where they are going. Perhaps the traveller that enjoys any experience.

4. The Methodical Planner

The methodical planner does not do anything that is not pre-arranged. Every second is planned and when things go wrong as they inevitably do, they feel unloved. They will always be found where ever the plan tells them to be.

5. The Modern Techie

The modern techie can only travel if he/she has the latest travel accessories and gadgets. Stay close to the modern techie to learn what items works and what items are a waste of money for your next trip.

6. The Avid Souvenir Buyer

The avid souvenir buyer has money to spend and anything that he/she wants to remind them of the holiday. The head for the markets and shops and not interested in spending any time with the perennial party animal. Usually has trouble with baggage weight limits on the homeward journey.

7. The Know it All Traveler

The know it all traveler studies everything from the guidebooks and internet prior to travel. He/she finds great joy in asking the most in-depth questions of the guides or continually interrupts the guide with statements of “fact”. Not sure who the know it all traveller should travel with.

8. The Fancy Photographer

The fancy photography will probably have the most expensive camera (and don’t forget the lens) and take the longest to take any photograph. Other travellers are always waiting for him/her at any special sight. They also like to get out very early to “catch the light.”

9. The Constant Complainer

The constant complainer finds everything on the tour not to his/her usual standard. Usually claim to be frequent travellers and often want to “talk with a higher authority”. Probably should stay home and enjoy the things that are there!

10. The Helpless Traveler

The helpless traveler finds everything a little too much. He/she will ask the most unusual and often useless questions. Often there will be someone on the tour who takes the helpless traveller under their wings to protect them from the others.

11. The “I am looking for myself” Traveler

The “I am looking for myself” traveler is searching for something. It is something unique for each or the “I am looking for myself” travellers. Beat to let them find themselves but make sure that they get about safely.

12. The Incessant Talking Traveler

The incessant talking traveler does not leave anyone alone. They crave a discussion on almost any topic. Often they are quite interesting people but enough is enough.

13. The Travel Light Traveler

The travel light traveler needs only one cabin bag to see the world. They a proud of their achievement but their travelling companions struggle when there is no time for washing clothes. They tend to like to borrow things.

14. The Repeating Traveler

The repeating traveler goes to the same place or holiday each year. He/she can provide at least 101 reasons why you should join them. They take pride in telling you that they have seen three management changes at the hotel and the last manager was better than the current one.

15. The Exercising Traveler

Finally, the exercising traveler rises every morning to a vigorous physical workout. Only stay at hotels with gymnasium and swimming pool. Usually fussy with food and claim to eat “healthy” until the free wine is put on the table.

Whatever type of traveler you are or come into contact with – enjoy the experience and learn from them. Even the most tedious travelers will have something interesting to say.