Enjoy a Great Vacation While Saving a Bundle on Travel and Stay Expenses

Most of the people think that the words ‘holiday’ and ‘cheap’ don’t seem to go together. However, this is not really the case. Traveling or vacationing does not have to burn a hole in your pocket. With some smart thinking and pre-trip planning, you can enjoy a wonderful, yet low-cost vacation.

Here are some budget travel tips with which you can get the most of your trip without making it too heavy on your wallet.

Pre-plan and research well: Prior planning of the trip is a must if you are looking to save the maximum. You should research well to find the cheapest destinations and the best prices.

Travel off-season: The off-season is a great time to get unbelievable deals. By traveling during this time, you might have to miss the perfect weather, but you will also be spared the maddening crowds of tourists.

Pack right: You should pack right, taking the weather at your destination into consideration. Try to be prepared for any contingency so that you are not caught off-guard and have to spend on costly ‘on the road’ purchases.

Make smart selection of accommodation: You should choose a leisure hotel for staying during the weekdays and a business hotel for the weekends. This will fetch you handsome discounts. You can also consider staying in hotels that are not in the city center but on the outskirts. Hostels and shared cabins are also good options for budget accommodation.

Avoid taking a flight: Don’t fly, if you can drive down or take the train. If you do need to take a flight, shop online for an attractive deal. You can get especially great prices if you book your ticket months in advance or book at the last minute.

Limit your fine dining: It would be a good idea to bring along energy bars and dried fruits to munch on when out sight-seeing. If complimentary breakfast is offered by your hotel, you must avail it and you can even pick up breads, cheeses and fruits from the local market. When you do eat out, try to visit the hole-in-the wall restaurants or food carts.

Save on local transport costs: You can save big by avoiding the cabs or rented cars and using the local public transport. You may pick up full day transit passes.

Take package deals offered by local travel agents: Taking up all-inclusive package deals from your local travel agent can make your tour affordable. So, go online and log on to a local business directory to get the details of the reliable travel agencies in your area.

Travel and Tourism Online – Learning From a Distance

A lot goes into traveling outside the actual trip. The plan to get to a destination is only a small detail when compared to the overall experience of a vacation or business trip. Online colleges offer training in travel and tourism for the individual who wants to think and do all the necessary things that go into planning a trip. Prospective students can earn a degree online and be working with clients to help them get the most of their money when traveling.

There are a variety of benefits from attending school online.

Learning from a distance allows individuals to choose their study pace and take classes inside the comfort of their own home.
Online schooling in travel and tourism permits students to study on days that are set by them not the college or program.
Students have the ability to complete all the phases of education without the hassle of commuting to a campus everyday.
This is a high advantage for disabled individuals who are unable to commute to a campus and attend classes.

More colleges and universities are adding online degree programs in travel and tourism, which is enabling students to gain a better education with higher degree choices than a certificate program or associate’s degree.

Prospective students have numerous choices when it comes to education programs. Students have the option to gain an education from accredited online colleges and universities starting at an associate’s degree in travel and tourism to a master in business administration for hospitality and tourism management. The opportunities for students to gain an online education in this field is widening and programs are preparing students in numerous ways. Through coursework students will learn about:

sales techniques
travel destinations
reservation systems

An online degree in this area could provide the best career preparation and have graduates working in many different aspects of travel and tourism.

Travel agents have more responsibility to their clients than just booking travel and securing them a discount. The job description for a travel agent encompasses the entire trip whether it’s for leisure or business. A travel agent will arrange:

food options

Whatever a client is looking for in regards to their trip a travel agent will spend time getting the best discounts, looking up travel packages, and exploring what activities the destination has to offer their client. Along with the above responsibilities an agent will be the number one source on things like the weather, local customs for international travel, site attractions, money exchange rates, and more.

A new trend is developing for individuals who gain a travel and tourism degree through an online school. More students are becoming specialists in a particular area. Meaning they are choosing to become highly knowledgeable in one area like a culture, destination, or interest. This type of travel and tourism agent is particularly useful for clients who are traveling internationally. Becoming a specialist will require the student to learn the customs and in some cases the languages of a chosen location. With increasing demands on travel agents from their clients, gaining a degree in the field is becoming extremely important.

How to Profit from the Oil Price Forecast

Moors says the most prudent way to benefit from rising oil prices is to invest in a basket of oil services stocks via an exchange-traded fund (ETF). With an ETF, investors don’t have to worry about futures contracts. ETFs can be purchased and sold as easily as individual stocks.

His top pick to benefit from the forecast ranges is the VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSE Arca: OIH). OIH holds 25 oil stocks. The top two alone are expected to post impressive returns over the next year. Those two are Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) and Halliburton (NYSE: HAL). In the next 12 months, SLB is estimated to reach $90.29 per share and HAL is forecast to reach $50.61. From today’s prices, those targets translate to share price increases of 14% and 18%, respectively.

OIH closely follows the MVIS U.S. Listed Oil Services 25 Index, which tracks the largest 25 U.S. oil field services companies. Some of these, like SLB and HAL, are the largest oil services companies globally as well, with market capitalization of more than $100 billion each.

The exposure to the 25 biggest oil services firms means that investors don’t bear the risk of investing in small oil services companies in a range-bound oil price climate. Larger firms will make it through the oil company debt crisis in all likelihood. Smaller companies are more at risk of being acquired or succumbing to bankruptcy. Those small companies should be avoided now.

Investors can also benefit from the climbing price of oil long term through two other funds. One is the United States Oil Fund LP (NYSE: USO). The second is the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSE: XOP), which allows investors to gain exposure in a group of oil exploration and production companies.

Investors who want a stock to play the oil price increase are advised to buy one of Moors’ picks to benefit from its position in the pipeline, Genesis Energy LP (NYSE: GEL). Houston-based GEL is a master limited partnership (MLP).

Roughly 90% of MLP revenue comes from oil and gas. Midstream MLPs connect refiners and producers via the transportation and storage of oil.
Because they are not out in the fields exploring and pumping the wells, the transportation and storage provider MLPs benefit from rising prices, but have far less exposure to any downside in the oil patch than oil producers do.

GEL shares currently trade at $36.36. Its one-year price target, according to Thomson Reuters, is $41.25. That’s a 13% price increase.

The other upside to GEL is a very strong dividend. It is currently 7.66% – impressively better than the 2.1% average yield of the S&P 500 dividend payers.