Travel Cost Sinkhole

You won the contract, and it looks great… until you realize travel costs are going to eat you alive. It really hurts if you’re a small business, and it’s worse when times are hard and margins are thin.

So don’t let it happen to you. Make sure you and your client agree beforehand, formally, about such details as:

  • Will travel expenses be direct billed to the client, or must you submit them on invoices for later reimbursement by your client? Direct billing to the client is great for you. It nearly eliminates your financial risk on travel costs because you have hardly any travel cost to absorb for a billing cycle. Smart clients make it work to their benefit, too. I have seen a client do it to maximize their discounts as a high volume source of travel business.
  • What counts as travel time? Will it be billed only as actual time at a client site, or portal-to-portal? “Portal-to-portal” means billing begins when the worker departs to go to a client site and ends when the worker returns.
  • Is time spent traveling billable at the regular rate or a reduced rate? Is it subject to a daily ceiling?
  • Will you drive your own car, how will the cost of using your car be reimbursed? Or must you drive a rental car? In either case, is any special insurance required, and if so who pays for it?
  • Will you make your own travel arrangements, or does the client want you to use their favorite agency and discount programs?
  • Will air travel be first class, business class or coach? Does this apply to long international flights too? Does it apply to train travel? If your client demands that you use discount tickets, who picks up extra costs for any necessary changes that cause financial penalties?
  • Will lodging and meal expenses be on a reimbursement basis, or a per diem basis? Per diem is easier in terms of paperwork, but may not be feasible in some countries.
  • Who pays and arranges for special requirements such as visas, vaccinations, traveler’s medical kit, and insurance that is valid in a foreign country? One company sent a consultant and his family abroad for a six month assignment. He assumed his client was arranging visas. The client didn’t. His entire family found itself in Immigration Hell. Remarks: Health insurance is not the only kind to consider. For example, in some regions, kidnap insurance is recommended.
  • For foreign travel, must you hold reimbursement requests until a credit card bill arrives, or is a standard formula used to estimate reimbursement based on currency conversion from receipts? If the latter, which currency exchange rate table will be applied? Remarks: For a fixed price contract, either stipulate that the price is in the currency you prefer, or make provisions to cope with a rapid fall in the exchange rate for your currency. One of my clients recently paid another vendor about 28% extra for a fixed price job because this was missing from their contract.
  • Can the client terminate your contract while you are in the middle of travel to perform it? If so, who is responsible for your travel costs to return home? While abroad on business, my login accounts for that contract suddenly terminated. I belatedly realized nothing in my contract would make the client pay my way home if my contract was severed in mid-trip. Fortunately, a manager had only forgotten to file a routine renewal form.

Spell out the details up front to save your profit margin–and as a bonus, your relationship with the client will be smoother because you have done away with a potential source of friction.

Mediterranean Travel Destination – The Hidden Wonders of Datca

How do you savor the Mediterranean and Aegean seas? Let us count the ways. A definitive first on the list is taking a trip to Datca. There’s probably a hundred more under it, but no famous yet unspoiled tourist spot can offer refreshing views of and plunges in these Greek seas while offering access to the wonders of the countryside.

After all, this peninsula (and town) is not only famed for its relaxing beaches and bays, it’s also a haven for anyone with a hunger for adventure, history and celebration.

Treats for Travelers

A trip to Datca is a visual feast for any traveler. With its spectacular views of pine trees, azure seas, almond groves and virgin coves, traveling to this town feels like going inside a colorful postcard.

Some parts of Datca offer vacation villages for travelers wishing to make their stay a bit longer and more convenient. In fact, some of the most remarkable bed and breakfasts in Turkey can be found in this town. Yet even with these developments, the rich collection of flora and fauna of the town remains unspoiled.

Triple Pride of the Town

Datca makes a living not only from tourism but also from its organic produce. While vegetables and garden fruits are among its gastronomic wonders, the town takes pride in its three B’s: bal (honey), badem (almond), and balik (fish).

Haven for Historians

Any historic buff would find bliss in this peninsula for it houses several historic sites. Knidos is home to the ruins of a wealthy city that dates back to about 400 BC. A trip to this historic wonder is not complete without seeing the statue of Aphrodite, which is said to be history’s first naked female statue.

Eski or Old Datca offers the best of the town’s countryside with its stone houses, carved doorways and narrow cobbled streets. It was also the home of Can Yucel, one of Turkey’s famous poets and translators.

Delight for Shoppers

Even a quiet town like Datca can be a shopper’s Mecca. What with its wealth of boutiques, carpet shops and souvenir shops. Add to these some bars, restaurants and an amphi cinema and you’ll almost find a city anchored in nature.

Among the remarkable wares of this town are its handcrafted embroideries. Made of silk, these handcrafts are usually sold in bazaars on Saturdays.

Getting the Best Taste

What better way to savor Datca than during months when special celebrations are held throughout the town. Should your schedule allow you a vacation in early autumn, be sure to bring jars for you’re just in time for the collection of honey. You’d want to explore the wonders of the town until November for this month brings with it the olive oil production.

If your taste buds often crave for almonds, we recommend you drop by in July for not only are the almond trees in full bloom, it’s also the perfect time for the Almond Festival. Make sure you stay a bit longer for come August, poetry and music reign in Datca with the celebration of the life and works of Can Yucel.

Costa Rican Cruises – Rare But Remarkable

If you’re planning a vacation to Costa Rica, why not bring along your hotel and restaurant? The most delightful way to experience Costa Rica’s marvelous beaches and coastal rainforests is from a cruise ship, and when you treat yourself to a Costa Rican cruise, getting there will be a big part of the fun!

Coata Rican cruises range from seven-or-eight night budget trips with a single Costa Rican port-of-call at Puerto Caldera on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, Seabourn’s to four-week affairs which begin at Puerto Caldera and wend their way along the Central American Coast, stopping at Puerto Quepos and Puerto Moins, before touring the Caribbean and ending at Fort Lauderdale.

These Costa Rican Cruises traverse the Panama Canal to get from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, but before they get underway allow their passengers a day at Puerto Caldera to enjoy the sights of San Jose. One of the most popular attractions is the National Theater at the Plaza Del Culturas. Modeled after the Paris Opera House, the National Theater houses magnificent Italian paintings, sculptures, and frescoes.

Coat Rican cruise passengers who want a glimpse of the country’s wild side before heading for the Panama canal can take an excursion to Poas Volcano National park during their day in Puerto Caldera (Caldera referring to the volcanic crater). Some Poas tours also include side trips to the Doka Coffee Estate and the village of Sarchi, the heart of Costa Rica’s artisan community.

At Sarchi you can shop for hand-carved wooden figures and elaborate canes, hand-woven wall tapestries, leather goods, and toys. You can also purchase charming miniature replicas of Sarchi’s famous hand-painted wooden carts to use as planters or decorative accents. Or you can spend your off shore day river rafting on the Corobici River, gliding along through the heart of the Costa Rican jungle and glimpsing some of the hundreds of bird species which make Costa Rica a birdwatcher’s Paradise.

Windstar is one of the two cruise lines which cruises to Costa Rica’s Golfo Dulce, where you’ll find Central America’s largest rainforest and one of the few rain forests on Earth which slopes directly down to meet the ocean. Declared a national treasure by the Costa Rican government, Golfo Dulce such a remarkably diverse ecosystem that you can actually identify 100 different species of trees growing on a single acre!

During your stop at Golfo Dulce you can explore the tiny town of Golfito, established in the 1930s as a banana port, and arrange an excursion to the Corcovado national Park and the remarkable black sand beach at Zancudo.

Even Windstar and Seabourne offer only a few Costa Rican cruises each year, and they aren’t chape. Even when you arrange thses cruises through online discount cruise booking services at 50% discounts, you can expect to pay a minimum of $7500 for a four-week cruise. For your money, however, you’ll enjoy a month on one of two of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships. Windstar’s ships are actual sailing vessels, motor-sail yachts with automated riggings. The can be under full sail within two minutes of having their riggings engaged, and the largest of their four-ship fleet has a passenger capacity of only 312. Sailing on Windstar entitles you to complimentary water sports activities, including windsurfing, snorkeling, and kayaking right off the ship’s Water Sports Platforms.