Travel Tips For Consultants

Travel is a fact of life for most consultants. Many spend 45 weeks on the road every year, and some say they wouldn’t want it any other way.

We know one married couple where both are traveling consultants. They often joke that they should write a book called “Marriage on Three Days a Week” because they only see each other from Thursday night to Sunday night most weeks. Of course, they take great vacations with all the frequent flier miles and hotel points, and neither one is left at home to manage the household while the other dines in restaurants every night and comes home expecting all the chores to be done.

Like many others, they have learned how to be comfortable on the road so that their travel schedules are a source of new experiences and great stories instead of a hardship. If you learn how to be comfortable in your environment, you’ll do better work and last longer in this demanding field.

There are two types of consulting roles, from a travel schedule perspective. One type of consultant is the real Road Warrior who is in a different city each week, often visiting two or three different clients and staying only a couple of days each place. The other type travels to the same destination every week to work on a long-term engagement over several months. Which type of travel schedule you end up with depends as much on your personality as on your skill set.

No matter which type of travel schedule you have, there are some seemingly small things you can do to make yourself significantly more comfortable on the road.

Enroll in every frequent flier and hotel points program you can. The biggest perks in business travel come when you get a free family vacation later. All those trips to Pittsburgh might buy you a trip to Honolulu or Prague or wherever your heart leads you.

Whenever possible, use the same airline and hotel chain for every city. This helps you rack up the points faster, and it also establishes a level of comfort and familiarity for you from the moment you arrive in the city. Not every Marriott is exactly like every other Marriott, but there are enough similarities between them that you will begin to feel at home quickly.

Packing for Travel

Develop a routine for packing. Make a checklist that includes everything that you know you’ll need for any trip, including items like toothbrush and cell-phone charger. Go over the checklist every single time you pack a suitcase.

If you don’t follow this advice, you will eventually end up spending $200 on a “charge everything” device and using a hotel toothbrush that will rip your gums out.

Always assume you will have to carry your luggage yourself. If you aren’t sure you will need it, don’t take it. You can always buy one there. (Don’t accept engagements in locations that don’t have stores.)
Pack something comfortable to wear in your hotel room and clothes you can wear to work out.
Plan to sleep in something you don’t mind being seen wearing in public. In the event of a fire, hotels will evacuate two floors above and two floors below, even if it’s just a small fire in a trash basket. That’s what that loudspeaker above the bed is for.
All luggage looks alike. Make your bag easy to spot on the carousel and less likely to be stolen with a few strategically placed strips of duct tape or a big pink bow.
The military knows that rolled clothing does not wrinkle. Don’t fold it, roll it. Turn jackets inside out, fold the collar up and press one shoulder inside the other.
Think about what you pack from the perspective of Customs and Airport Security. For example, many airlines will not allow you to carry steel-tipped darts in your carry-on luggage. (Yes, one of us learned this the hard way. Not the one you think.) Carry all medication in the original packages, particularly prescription medication.
Purchase two of everything you use daily, like cosmetics, razors, toothbrush, etc. Leave one set at home. Pack toiletries once and leave them packed. This way, you don’t have to worry that you forgot something essential and will not notice until the middle of the night in a strange hotel room. When you run out of something on the road, replace it. (This is easier if you use common brands that are sold nationally.)

After only a few weeks of travel, you’ll know exactly what you need to pack and what you don’t.

Hotel Living

If you are traveling to the same city every week, pick a hotel that you are comfortable in and make friends with the people at the front desk and in Housekeeping. If you can commit to a certain number of weeks, they might even give you a break on the room rate, which is also good for your customer.

Once you’ve tried two or three different rooms in different parts of the hotel, you’ll begin to identify specific things you like or dislike. Within a few weeks, you’ll probably have a favorite room. Don’t be afraid to ask for it every week. Staying in the same room every week can increase your sense of comfort and it’s easier to remember what room you are in. Every one of us has been frustrated at least once by trying to open a hotel room door, only to realize that the key doesn’t work because this is the room we were in last week, and we have no idea what room we have been assigned this week.

If you followed our instructions for packing and bought duplicates of all your toiletries and travel needs, you can check a suitcase with the bellman over the weekend instead of carrying it home with you. Leave your laundry with a dry cleaner over the weekend and come back on Monday to a fresh wardrobe without carrying a bag with you to the airport. That’s freedom!

Make friends with the people who have control of the food. If you are eating all your meals off the Room Service menu, you will soon get bored with the choices. Encourage the person who answers the Room Service line to give you suggestions.

When Christine was working in one city where it wasn’t considered safe to leave the hotel and wander around at night, she called the Room Service number one night and said, in the most pitiful voice she could muster, “I’m hungry and nothing on the menu looks good tonight. Help me!”

The Room Service voice laughed and said, “Miss Lambden, don’t you worry. After all these months, I know what you like. Let me surprise you.”

In addition to the best steak and the freshest salad ever served by Room Service, the waiter brought a glass of red wine and said, “The chef said to tell you that he knows you don’t like red wine, but this is special. Try it with the steak. Alternate one bite of steak with one sip of wine.”

She still talks about that steak. After that night, she never had to look at the Room Service menu again. When she called, she would say, “Maybe a fish tonight?” or “I’m in the mood for something chocolate.”

Remember, if you are tired of the hotel menu, just imagine how the chef feels.

Since you can’t eat all the time, here are some other ways to fill an evening in a hotel room:

Call your mother.
Read.
Go to a movie.
College libraries are often open late. Learn something.
Work out. Remember the Freshman Fifteen in college? The life of a consultant includes too many meals in restaurants and too few long walks in the park.

If you exercise at home, try to exercise the same way when you are traveling. Find out if it’s safe to walk/run outside near the hotel. This is also a great way to find the neighborhood restaurants and pubs that the travel books don’t know about.

If you exercise in a gym at home, stay in a hotel with a gym and use it. If there is no gym available in the hotel, remember that many national chains have memberships that allow you to work out in any city. Like national hotel and restaurant chains, gyms are a great way to find familiar surroundings in an unfamiliar place.

Exploring new cities is a great way to get exercise and enjoy your time on the road. See the sights. Shop. Ask the people at the hotel and at work what you should be sure to see while you are in town.

We know one consultant who managed, in one year, to see Niagara Falls (working in Buffalo), the Arch in St. Louis, the Napa Valley wine country, six shows on Broadway, and Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break.

Did you know that Kansas City is the City of Fountains? In the winter, the city slowly freezes some of the fountains so you see frozen ice where water flows in the summer. Just beautiful.

Did you know that you can visit the Budweiser Clydesdales at Grant’s Farm in St. Louis? If you think they are fun to watch on Super Bowl commercials, just imagine how magnificent they are up close.

These opportunities may not present themselves again. Don’t spend every evening in your hotel room.

Every city has something unique to offer and the people who live there will be happy to help you discover what is wonderful about their hometown.

Single Life on the Road

The constant-travel lifestyle is often more appealing to single people who do not have a family at home waiting for them each week. For these consultants, the only challenge is finding a way to maintain a home when you aren’t there during the week.

Here are some tips:

Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail once or twice during the week.
Install automatic light timers in your house. Install motion sensor lights outside. This makes it look like someone is home and protects your stuff. (It also makes bats and possums find another yard to live in, but that might just be an Austin thing.)
Hide valuables. Burglars know all about looking in the freezer for your jewelry, but would they think to look in that bag of potting soil in the garage? Hint: Tell someone you trust where you hid them…you’ll remember all the great spots you considered, and you’ll forget the one you picked.
Splurge a little with all that money you are making as a consultant and hire a maid service to come in and clean your house while you are gone. If you have a lawn, hire a yard service, too. The last thing you are going to feel like doing when you finally get home is housework, and you’ll be happier in this job if you don’t feel that you are neglecting chores.
If possible, have a trusted house-sitter stay in your house. Then you won’t have to worry at all.

In addition to maintaining your house, a single person on the road has to maintain a social life. When you are out of town all week, it’s easy to find yourself excluded from your friends’ conversations about plans for the weekend. You have to work harder to maintain those friendships at home, especially if you are also forming new friendships in the city where you are working.

It’s not totally unheard of for consultants assigned to the same client week after week to form friendships, or even romantic attachments, in the city where they work. Having bonds with people all over the country can be a huge advantage professionally because your network is expanded to include all of their colleagues, as well.

Don’t date someone in the client company. This can get messy. (Yeah, we know. Your situation is different. You’ll handle it like grownups. We’d like to believe this, but in our experience it rarely works out that way. Even so, this is still good advice for everyone else.)

Married With Children

Life on the road is harder for those who have a family at home. You miss them and you feel guilty about leaving them behind, and even more guilty when you’re having fun without them.

The same tourist attractions that enliven a single person’s travel can make you miss your family even more. You find yourself thinking, “The kids would love this,” or “Niagara Falls by myself? I don’t think so!”

Here are some tips for making travel easier when you miss your family:

Write long letters saying all the stuff you would have said if you were at home. Buy a fax machine for the house so you can send them before you go to bed and the family can read them with breakfast. (We know. Email works just as well. Except it doesn’t. Handwritten letters mean more. They just do.)
Give the hotel’s fax number to your family or set up a personal e-fax number. Encourage letters from home. Also drawings and report cards and anything else that will make you feel closer. Almost all children could benefit from the occasional writing exercise, and most of them already know how to operate a computer.
Buy a small digital camera or use your cell phone to take pictures and make a “Day in the Life” slide show for the kids. Take pictures of your day from the time you wake up to the time you prepare for bed – pictures of your hotel room, your breakfast plate, your cubicle and co-workers, the bookstore you stop at after work, the restaurants you like – everything! (Trust us, they’ll love it.)

Driving in Strange (translation: “New To You”) Places

Weather conditions and driver courtesy rules vary from city to city. In some cities, driving is a brutal competition, and it’s considered rude or suicidal to slow down for a yellow light. Someone will honk at you or run into you. In others, you’ll get dirty looks if you don’t yield and let a waiting car merge in front of you. On most country roads, failure to wave at passing drivers marks you as an outsider.

No matter where you are, these tips will help lessen the impact of driving during your travels:

Get a map when you arrive. If you know where you are going, you are much less likely to end up in the wrong place.
If you rear-end a car on the freeway, your first move should be to hang up the phone. Better yet, go hands-free when you are driving. Best of all, hang up and drive.
Rent your car from the same agency every week and be extra nice. Usually, the same agents are on duty every Monday morning, so eventually they’ll know you and may offer you the cool convertible or the Jag for a week at no extra charge.
Not every state or city has a “right on red” law. Check with the car rental agency or look for a “No right on red” sign before you assume it’s legal in any intersection where you are.
If you are stopped for speeding, running a red light, driving the wrong way, or, worst of all, hitting something, be very polite to everyone involved. Of course, this is true when you aren’t traveling, too, but you have a better chance of making your meeting or flight if you deal with the situation nicely.

In New York or Boston (or London or Beijing), take a cab or public transportation. Some warnings say “Don’t try this at home.” With regard to driving in these places, the rule is “Don’t try this on the road.” In other words, ask someone at your destination or consult a travel guide to find out whether it’s advisable to drive yourself around.

If you are facing your first winter in a snowy climate, ask someone to teach you how to drive in icy conditions before the first blizzard. You may feel foolish, and they will definitely laugh at you, but the first time you feel your car start to slide, you’ll be glad you did.

For us, just saying “I’m from Texas” is often enough to have our clients offer free driving lessons, icy conditions or not.

Air Travel Tips

Since 9/11, keeping track of the rules for air travel and getting through Security checkpoints has become more of a challenge, but the airlines have made a sincere effort to help.

Every airline and airport website has information about security requirements and how much time will be required to get to your gate. Experienced travelers quickly learn to avoid the busiest times of the day and week. In fact, we don’t know a single traveling consulting who would consider flying on the day before Thanksgiving under any circumstances.

Airport websites will also give you information about other amenities that are available in the terminals. For instance, did you know that the Hong Kong airport has showers and rooms where you can take a nap? After a long flight across the Pacific ocean, a shower is a wonderful way to spend your three-hour layover between connecting flights.

The airport in Portland, Oregon, has a great mall. You can get all your Christmas shopping done between flights and have the items you bought shipped home. Oh, and did we mention that Oregon doesn’t have sales tax?

The San Francisco airport has twenty different museum galleries that rotate art, culture and science exhibitions on a regular schedule. At SFO, you can’t avoid being entertained and educated while you travel.

Here are some other tips for making air travel easier:

When you make your reservations, ask for a seat near the front of the plane. Airlines assign seats back-to-front and families traveling with children tend to plan further ahead than business travelers, so the shrieking three year-olds are usually in the back of the plane.
Always request the Exit Row. Children aren’t permitted, and you get more legroom.
Wear earplugs or invest in some good noise-canceling headphones if you plan to sleep. People talk louder on airplanes.
Planes have only 3% humidity, so you get dehydrated quickly. Carry a bottle of water on board. (This will also keep your feet from swelling.) To keep costs and carryon weight low, carry an empty bottle and ask the flight attendant to fill it for you. On international flights, there is usually a water fountain available for passengers to serve themselves.
When they say, “Limit two carry-on bags,” assume they really mean it and be prepared to check everything but your purse, briefcase and laptop. A good alternative if you are in a hurry is to “gate check” your bags. Especially with smaller commuter flights, this means you get your bags immediately when you get off the plane with no stop at baggage claim.
Pay attention to the safety speech every once in a while. Like washing your car to make it rain, it’s just good karma. We’ve asked, and yes, most flight attendants feel just as silly giving the speech as you do listening to it, but the fact that no one is listening just makes their job harder.
To prevent a stiff neck from sleeping on a plane, ask the flight attendant for a blanket, roll it up and wrap it around your neck before you fall asleep. Your head won’t roll from side-to-side, you won’t snore and you won’t look nearly as ridiculous as those people drooling on their neighbor’s shoulder. They make C-shaped pillows that do this, but that’s just one more thing to carry with you. We prefer to travel light.

While you are traveling, do everything you can to make your life easier. When you are enjoying yourself, you are better prepared to perform at work, and you’ll be more successful.

Cubicles and conference rooms are the same everywhere. The work won’t change, but taking the time to make friends with the people around you, at work and at the hotel, will make all the difference in the world to how well you do it.

7 Steps to Landing Great Travel Nursing Jobs

Travel nursing jobs. The title alone can spur excitement for many working in the nursing profession. But how does one start a travel nursing career? Whether you’re a registered nurse or just someone who is starting nursing school, the path to landing a thrilling travel nurse job can be confusing. This guide will help describe the steps necessary to starting a great career filled with wonderful nursing jobs and experiences.

Step 1: Choose a Staffing Company that Offers Travel Nursing Jobs
Choosing a medical staffing firm is the first step to starting your career with travel nursing. There are a lot of medical staffing agencies in the United States that a budding travel nurse can choose from, and it’s important that anyone who is looking forward to great travel nursing jobs do the appropriate research. Ideally, you want to partner with a medical staffing agency that best suits your needs. Here are some things to keep in mind when researching travel nursing companies.

o Find medical staffing firms with a track record. Established firms will often have the best connections to great travel job opportunities. Those that have been in business for a number of years will often have the largest selection of travel nursing jobs.
o Partner with staffing firms who listen to you. That means they’ll be on hand to listen to you when you tell them what you want. If you want the best travel nursing job, then you’ll want to connect with recruiters who will be receptive to your personal needs and professional ambitions. Be wary of medical staffing recruiters who try to pressure you into taking travel jobs in locations where you are not interested.
o Search for staffing companies who are interested in helping your career thrive. These companies will help you line up the travel nursing jobs that will let you advance your career quickly. Some medical staffing agencies will also be able to connect you to continuing education resources and other programs that will let you develop your professional skills.
o Talk to others who are travel nurses. You can find travel nurses in online forums or in person. Ask them what medical staffing companies they would recommend.

Step 2: Apply for Travel Jobs
Many medical staffing recruiters make it easy to apply online. Keep in mind that simply completing an application for a travel RN job doesn’t require you to work with that agency. The experienced and recommended staffing agencies make their applications available for free.

Step 3: Talk to a Medical Staffing Recruiter
When your application for travel nurse job is accepted, you’ll be assigned to a single member on the staffing recruiter’s team. This is the person you’ll be working with to find the right travel jobs for you. A good nursing staffing agency will partner you with a recruiter that’s interested in matching you with the jobs that will help you advance your career.

Step 4: Select your Travel Nursing Job Assignments
Think about where you want to go for your travel assignments. Also consider the type of facility where you want to work. Would you prefer to take a travel job in a large hospital or a in a smaller, private practice? You will discuss the advantages of each assignment with your travel recruiter, and you’ll talk about the requirements of each travel nursing job position.

Step 5: Conduct a Telephone Interview with Your Preferred Facility
After you narrow down your travel nurse job opportunities, you’ll need to conduct a phone interview with someone at the facility. The person who conducts the interviews for travel nursing jobs will usually be the nursing manager. Your recruiter should give you a few interview tips to help you land the travel job you want.

Step 6: Accept Your Assignment
After a successful travel job interviews, you’ll likely to be offered an assignment. If there are any credentialing or licensing requirements for the travel nursing job offered, your medical staffing recruiter should help you iron out all the details. You should also expect to be contacted by housing managers who will be able to arrange a living space.

Step 7: Start Your Adventure with Travel Nursing Jobs
Prepare your luggage. Make a list of what you need to take; go shopping for clothes and any other items you may need. Then it’s time to leave. But don’t worry if you run into any problems you may encounter at your travel nurse job. Your recruiter should be keeping in touch and will be able to help you with anything you may need.

Top Travel Trends in 2010

The holidays next year will be to a great extent affected by the economic recession most countries suffered this year. That however does not mean that people will not go on holiday, but that instead they will be more careful with how and on what they spend their money. Holiday makers will spend more time searching for great deals, such as exploring new travel destinations to find the best bargains and joining Online Travel Agencies (OTA) to gain good discounts. Below are some of the predicted top travel trends for the year 2010.

1 – Looking for budget options

Economical holidays will the key deciding factor this year, with holiday makers searching out the best budget details and discounts. Make sure when you plan your holiday this year, not to just go for what looks like the best rate, but hunt deeper for complementary give-aways, such as a free night’s stay on a multiple night stay, gift cards, spa credits, coupons and free dining etc.

2 – Eco Travel

Humans are slowly but steadily becoming more aware of their impact on nature. Think ‘green’ is the trend these days, with its effects being felt even by the travel industry. Most travelers look for eco friendly holiday options, holidays that cause minimum damage to nature. Eco travel was born out of this need and is a continuing trend for 2010.

3- Mixing business with pleasure

The world is always on the go, with most travelers finding it more economical and viable to mix business with pleasure. Nowadays business travelers look for accommodation options that cater to all their business needs while providing leisure activities as well, so they can enjoy the best of both worlds.

4 – Latin adventure

Latin America is finding itself growing more and more popular with travelers as a luxury travel destination.

5 – Train Travel

Rail travel in Europe has grown popular, as this is an economical way of traveling while enjoying the wonderful scenery on the way. This has become even more popular with the new high speed rail links into Spain and Italy.

6- Going Mobile

With the growth of mobile applications and capabilities, it is now even easier to plan your travels, such as tracking flight information and planning itineraries. Mobile phones now play a very important role for travelers in helping them with their travel planning. They are used to receive information from travel agents etc and are fast proving to be invaluable to travelers.

7 – One platform for travel plans

With the busy schedules most of us have, it is easier to have one central platform from which to plan your travel details. This way you can keep track of everything happening in the travel industry, be up to date on the latest happenings and not just make one off purchases. The Internet offers strong travel centric sites where such central services are offered, so that people can plan every aspect of their travels, from creating the trip, to searching for accommodation, getting advice about the intended trip, finding the best deals down to updating profiles so as to keep friends and family informed.

8 – Adventure Travel

The year 2010 will find people looking for holidays with more action. Most now look beyond the standard and look for adventure such as jumping out helicopters, skiing, safaris, bungee jumping as well as more personalized holidays with private tours of museums and art galleries. For the more adventurous a growing trend is to take a high-speed car tour around major cities!

9 – Seeking out new hotspots

As with everything in this world trends change. As travelers expand their travel horizons, China, India and the Gulf States find themselves growing into the latest hotspots. This trend will grow more in 2010 as travel to the ever popular European destinations at the moment for most, is not economical. So traveling to China, India and the Gulf States gives the traveler an exotic holiday while being easy on the purse, with favorable exchange rates and low travel costs.

7 Best Online Travel Communities

True, Tripadvisor, Frommer’s and the Lonely Planet are some of the best online travel communities going, but they’re far from the only ones amongst the greats. So go on, expand your travel community horizons and check out our 7 Best Off The Radar Travel Communities:

1. Travelistic

From YouTube to Hulu to Yahoo, were a video obsessed bunch. Travelistic has cleverly taken this to head and created a travel community wholly centred around video.

Log on and you’ll find over 10,000 user submitted travel videos, to view, comment on and inspire your future travels. Want to visit the Great Wall? Journey to the top of Everest? You can do it all on Travelistic, without ever leaving home.

2. Igougo

A masterful all in one travel community, where you can plan your trip, compare flights and hotels and share your travel experiences with the world.

Just type in a destination and you’ll be instantly connected to a plethora of photos, reviews and users who have traveled or reside there. When you’re ready to go, create your very own trip journal and give back to the community by sharing your own travel experiences.

3. Trip It

Less of a travel community and more a travel service, Trip It is perfect for the organization nut in all of us. Just enter your flights, hotel stays and destinations and let trip it create an optimized travel itinerary for you in seconds. Never miss another plane or train again.

For those who truly want it all, upgrade to the pro version and Trip It will automatically alert you if there are changes or delays in your travel plans. That means less time at the airport, and more time at the beach.

4. Dopplr

Create a map with the dates and location of your travels; share it with the Dopplr community, check out other’s maps, then meet up with those whose travel plans overlap with your own. If you’d like to keep your location a secret from some (mom, dad, a raging x), don’t worry, you can control who can and can’t see where you are.

Along the way you’ll get a wealth of location specific travel information, so you’ll always know where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. Taking the thinking out of traveling, we like that.

5. Travbuddy

Travbuddy’s got all the ingredients that make for a killer online travel community; helpful forums, honest reviews, stunning travel photos and a dedicated membership 1.5 million strong.

Travbuddy ups the ante by giving you your very trip blog, allowing you to easily post your stories, pictures and reviews as you go. There’s even a built in mapping feature that builds a map of your travels as you venture across the earth.

Wherever, you’re headed, this is one buddy you don’t want to leave behind.

6.Travellers Point

Besides being a great place to plan, book and share your next trip, Travellers Point has hands down one of the best travel resources on the web; wiki travel guides.

These 100% user created and edited travel guides, give you the collective wisdom and travel experiences of over 250,000 members, right at your finger tips. From country and city guides, to travel health and safety information, you’ll find everything you need to get in the know, before you go.

7. Travel DODO

Travel DODO takes travel reviews and puts them into a fun, easily digestible format, Travel Do’s, and Travel Don’ts.

Want to find out which restaurants, hotels and attractions are best avoided in France? Just click on the location on the interactive map, and you’ll be given a list of places to cross off your list (travel don’ts), so you spend your valuable vacation time wiser.

10 Benefits of Travel RN Nursing Jobs

People choose travel RN nursing jobs for a variety of reasons. Some like building a career as a travel nurse, as it lets them build unique and valuable skills. Others like the often lucrative pay opportunities. And of course there’s the wealth of destinations that those with travel RN nursing jobs can choose from. Travel RN nursing jobs are the launching pad to new adventures and new challenges. Here are the top 10 reasons that thousands of others have pursued travel RN jobs.

1. The chance to travel across the country – Want to see the United States? Whether you’ve dreamed of spending autumn in New England or winter in Southern California, travel RN jobs can help make it happen. Love the outdoors? Then you can take assignments near Colorado’s Rocky Mountains or by Washington’s scenic Puget Sound. Have you ever dreamed of hiking across the mesas of New Mexico? Want to relax along the shores of the Gulf Coast? You can do it all with a travel nursing career.

2. Great payment opportunities – Travel RN jobs are in demand. And that demand is only expected to grow. That means that travel nurses are often handsomely compensated. Typical pay rates range from $22 to $40 an hour, while experienced nurses can sometimes get specialized travel positions that pay even more.

3. Build your resume – Travel health jobs often place nurses alongside a range of experts in some of the world’s leading health care facilities, which gives traveling nurses the opportunity to learn new techniques and develop unique skills.

4. Choose your workplace – Some people prefer travel RN jobs and assignments at large, fast-paced health facilities. Some would rather prefer to work in a smaller community hospital. The great news is that travel nurses can experience them all while on assignment. There are always many choices available, and you can choose the RN nursing assignments that are right for you.

5. Greater control over your career – Ever feel like taking a month off? Everyone does from time to time. And for travel nurses, it’s much easier to take time off. Want a couple of weeks or a month off? You can do it between travel jobs. That also provides great opportunities for continuing education. With RN nursing assignments, it’s easy to schedule time off to take a class, or get an assignment near the country’s best nursing colleges.

6. Get bonuses – It’s not uncommon for travel RN nursing jobs to come with generous sign-on bonuses. Travel nurses can earn anywhere from $500 to $6,000 for simply signing on for a temporary assignment. And that’s in addition to pay rates that are often higher than the hourly rate for permanent nurse positions.

7. The opportunity to travel with family or friends – It’s often easy to find great travel nurse assignments that you can sign on to with a friend. Traveling with friends makes exploring the United States even more exciting. And if you’d like to share accommodations with a friend, that’s often possible.

8. Get great housing at no cost – Most travel nursing jobs come with high quality and free housing that’s near your workplace. Some bonuses can include gyms, swimming pools and spas. Getting adequate furniture and other utilities will also be arranged by the travel nursing staffing agency. In other words, everything will be ready for you when you arrive to your assignment.

9. Meet new people and make new friends – Travel RN nursing jobs are the perfect opportunities to meet new people. It’s common for travel nurses to establish great relationships with people across the country. Thanks to online social networks and professional networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s now easier than ever to connect with new people in new cities.

10. Have the ability to try out new locations before you move there – Thinking about relocating but not yet 100 percent sure it’s a good idea? Taking travel RN nursing jobs in a city you’re thinking of moving to is an ideal way to test out the area and decide if it’s right for you.

In other words, travel RN nursing jobs offer nurses freedom. You can choose where you want to work, when you want to work and what you’d like to do. With travel RN nursing jobs, you can take jobs that offer you the pay that you’re worth. It’s all in your hands. Maximize your earning potential. Gain valuable experience. And most importantly, have fun.

In many travel RN nursing job positions, you will have the opportunity to re-sign on to the job if you enjoyed the experience and want to stay. But the best thing about travel RN nursing jobs is that you’ll also get to say goodbye to the office politics and other hassles associated with permanent nursing positions.

5 Criteria to Select Travel Websites For Your Travel Planning

With the world now becomes a global market place, travel is increasingly turning into the number one activity that people do on a regular basis. Equipped with rapid internet penetration at travel destinations around the world, people are making travel arrangement online.

Websites such as priceline.com, travelocity.com and cheaptickets.com all of sudden attract high interest to savvy travelers who are looking to plan their travel at convenience.

Besides the above three travel websites, there are numerous sites that specialize into different market niches.

Like the old saying ‘don’t put all your eggs into the same basket,’ selecting one travel website for all your travel needs is unnecessary. You should find the best site that meets your objective. After all, competition is always good for customers.

What question should you ask yourself before jumping into the one travel website? Here are a few criteria that you should consider when selecting travel websites:

1. Objective

If you take a step aback a little bit and ask yourself your current travel situation, you should be able to find out what the real goal is at that time.

For example, if during holiday you unexpectedly receive news that one of your close relatives just passed away and you need to be there the fastest way possible, how do you make your travel arrangement?

Would you still go to priceline.com and bid for the lowest fare – or hit for ticket at lastminute.com right away? Priceline.com specializes in the lowest fare on bidding situation, so it will take a certain while to get the best deal. However, if you go to lastminute.com, you will be able to get the lowest fare at the last minute.

Under other circumstances, bidding through priceline.com can be more desirable than lastminute.com.

Forget about purchasing directly from the airline company. It costs more for them to serve your purchase – customer support, advertising, maintenance and all the sales overhead are incurred to fulfil your purchase. This translates to higher ticket price for customers.

On the other hand, travel websites acting as ticket middlemen purchased tickets at wholesale price. They are in competition with other travel websites to attract you to their websites. More competition translates to a better pocket for customers.

2. Country

Next tip is about the country you are visiting. Each country has a specialized or national travel websites that cater to foreigners.

For example, if you travel to the Great Britain or Paris, the national travel association offers unlimited entry pass to visit a multitude of attractions at one price. If don’t know about this offer and purchase tickets at a number of independent websites, you are guaranteed to spend more money, time and hassle.

On other occasions, if you travel to unfamiliar developing countries where infrastructure is not as adequate, it is better to make your arrangement via a trusted national agency who has long been in business.

3. Trustworthiness

Purchasing online is essentially the same as purchasing offline. The difference is security and convenience. Now that you are aware of the convenience, I will explain about security.

Online travel websites need to be secure and trustworthy. I am not talking about fraud only. From handling promotion, sales process to customer support, the company needs to be able to demonstrate its strength in doing business online.

I would typically look for Better Business Bureau (BBB) sign, investigate how long they have been in business, what guarantee, terms and conditions that the company holds before landing on one travel website.

Another indication is browsing through customer testimonials. Although they might be orchestrated, reading testimonials is a great way to understand the products and services of the company.

4. Savings

For budget-conscious customers, saving money on flight is definitely a win. The best advice is to plan your travel way in advance. Take advantage of pricing comparison websites or recurring promotions from each travel websites.

However, if you are on a time or budget constraint, knowing what website to baseline from will be beneficial. Again depending on your situation, I would recommend you start with priceline.com and bid for the lowest price. In parallel, you would go to special niches websites such as lastminute.com to shop around for ticket pricing.

For business flyers though, they are prepared to pay a higher fee for their ticket price. Business customers usually fly during weekdays and make last minute arrangements. The airline companies know this – that’s why last minute tickets are costly.

5. Uniqueness

The last important factor to select the best travel websites is how unique they are, compared with other websites.

Some websites are more user-friendly and informative; some others are very clunky yet professional. Finding what makes each website ticks will play well in your decision.

Availability of travel guide or blog is also crucial in my opinion. It shows that the company cares enough not only to sell the best priced tickets, but also the best total value experience.

In conclusion, selecting travel websites that suit your particular travel situation is important. Due to a heightened competition, customers will find the best value to their dream travel experience. Taking the time to understand which website is good at which niche will be beneficial in both short and long run.

Milton Wongso is an avid blogger specializing in reviewing travel sites for travelers. Milton reviews travel sites for the best value that makes your traveling experience memorable. Unlike other websites, Milton gives recommendation about how to choose the best travel sites for your unique travel situation.