Tips on Finding the Best Corporate Travel Agency

Have you heard of deals for discount first class airfare? You might wonder how “discount” and “first class” can be in one phrase when talking about air travel. It is possible to get affordable deals while getting the same first class treatment. If you are finding it difficult to believe, you might not be looking at the right places. You can get your way around soaring prices through simple techniques. Most people who have gone on first class flights follow these simple steps:

Reserve your seats early.

Airline companies offer tickets in lower price range if you reserve your seats one or two months prior to your planned flight. As there are fewer seats in the first class section, you might easily run out of available seats.

First class seats are more comfortable and have additional benefits unlike the business and economy class. There are more legroom, large reclining seats, a mini-bar, workstations, personal television, and sparkling clean lavatory when you travel first class. Comfort and privacy are common reasons why some people choose first class seats. You do not have to be wealthy to experience all of these, as some airlines offer affordable promotions during off-season.

You may quickly book your tickets through online travel websites. On the day of your trip, you can head straight to a special check-in counter for the first class section.

Compare prices.

Go online and check the prices airlines offer. They will have varying prices when it comes to first class flights. Carefully check the benefits you will get from each flight and decide which will be a more cost-effective option. Never settle for the deals they advertise. There might be hidden charges so make sure to inform yourself well on the packages they offer. Contact the customer service for clarifications on specific deals. It is not enough to rely on your own research, especially when you are new to purchasing first class tickets.

Be a member of travel websites.

You may get notifications or newsletters for discount first class airfare when you sign up on travel websites. As a member, you are the first to know when the airline cancels a flight. You may also get exclusive deals during holiday seasons.

Hire a corporate travel agent.

Travel agents can book you for a discount first class airfare whenever you need to travel. They can negotiate more affordable deals and take care of the necessary paperwork. Most people who go for first class are business executives who want a more comfortable flight experience. They hire a corporate travel agent to help them maximize corporate discounts.

If you are worried you might spend so much on your luxurious flight, a corporate travel agent can help organize a budget for you. They can also find discounts for hotel accommodations and car rentals. If you experience problems with your flight, they can assist you with rescheduling.

Knowing these techniques can help you get better deals on any type of airline travel.

Why Is There Such a Price Difference Between Champagnes and Sparkling Wines?

One of the most common questions I am asked with regard to Champagnes and sparkling wines is: “why is there such a price discrepancy between them and what are the differences?”

There are a number of factors that contribute to differences and the price differential. The method in which the wines are made, the variety and quality of grapes used in the wine, the time held before release and the distance the wine travels to reach the point of sale.

The Main Methods of Production

The most time consuming, intensive and consequently the most expensive method of producing sparkling wine is the traditional method used in the Champagne area of France. After a primary fermentation the wine is bottled where as the second fermentation happens in the bottle. Sugar and yeast are used to induce this second fermentation. In Champagne the wine has to sit for a minimum of 1.5 years. Then the wine has to go through the process of remuage (the gradual turning and inversion of the bottle) to get the lees (yeasty sediment bits) to settle in the neck of the bottle to allow them to be removed after which time the dosage (typically a mixture of sugar and wine) is added to top the bottle back up. Most Champagnes will be aged on lees for longer than the 1.5 years. Moreover, the Champagne has to reach our shores: not an insignificant distance!

The cost of producing sparkling wine in this traditional method (Champagne) is the most expensive way as it takes a good deal more time to produce, then a good deal more time before the finished product hits the retail market. Some Australian sparkling wines made using this method are kept for many years before release. The Arras Range of vintage sparkling wines are held en tirage for up to 10 years before release. Consequently the prices for these wines reflect the time and quality of the wines.

The Transfer method is another method used when after the first fermentation the wine is put in bottles for the second fermentation. After time in the bottle the wine is taken out and put into large tanks. The wine is then filtered, dosage added and then the wine is returned to the bottle.

The Charmat method, a process invented in Italy, is another way of producing sparkling wine. In this method the wine undergoes the second fermentation in stainless steel tanks, not in the bottle. The wine is then bottled under pressure.

The Transfer method cuts a fair slab of the time out of the production of a sparkling wine and consequently makes it slightly cheaper to produce. This method does allow more complexity in the wine then the Charmat method as the second ferment is in the bottle and the wine is left on lees for a period plus the winemaker has more scope to fine tune the wine at the end. The Charmat method makes a more simple style as the second fermentation is in the tank and not the bottle and there is no extended lees contact.

The last method and the cheapest form of sparkling wine production is Carbonation. The wine is simply injected with C02 in a tank and bottled under pressure as with sparkling soft drinks.

The Grapes

In the Champagne region of France there are strict controls on what grapes varieties can be used and the areas from where these grapes can be taken to make Champagne. The three main varieties allowed are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. There are a couple of others but they are rare and seldom used. These three varieties are what the better Australian sparkling wines are made from, although Pinot Meunier is used to a much lesser extent due to the relatively small amount grown here. The producers of premium sparkling wines source the best grapes available to produce the best base wine they can. Cheaper sparkling wines use less costly grapes and in the cheaper carbonated sparklings different varieties are often used for production.

One other factor that can be a price determinant, especially at the premium end, is the market forces that are in play. Due to the very small quantities some of the top Champagnes and sparkling wines are produced in small quantities so they can command large prices as there are always consumers willing to pay a premium to secure them.

The cost of sparkling wines is therefore a reflection of the manner of production, the grapes used, the time involved in the process, the holding time before release and how far it travels to hit the retail market. With sparkling wine, as with most very fine things in life, you get what you pay for: time, care, quality and limited supply. When next you enjoy a cold glass of bubbly you may like to ponder on the factors involved in its creation. But don’t think too hard: life is too short!

Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2013

Who decides what makes a travel destination “hot?” Why do people from all over the world start buying air fare tickets to places they know very little about? Tourism is often times attracted by economics. Sometimes major events such as the Olympics place a city “onto the map”. Before you know it, it is placed on the “hottest 2013 destination” list. Of course, a clever marketing strategy makes a huge difference too. For years an advertising agency ran the “Visit California” commercial featuring famous celebrities wearing bikinis and drinking wine on the beach, which attracted millions of visitors to the sunny state each year.

Our top destinations are:

Corsica, France

Corsica is a mixture of Italian and French cultures. Its stunning beauty and challenging topograhopy make this epic beauty a spectacular choice for our top destinations of 2013. Corsica will host the initial stages of the hundredth Tour de France.

Rabat, Morocco

Marrakech has always taken the spotlight from Morocco’s low-key capital. While many travelers are seduced by Marrakech’s heady sights and sounds, Rabat has a historic old town feel, featuring mosques and hassle-free shopping. It also features lovely cafes and wide boulevards.

Yukon, Canada

As one of the least densely populated areas in the world, Yukon is enjoying tremendous mineral wealth which is drawing new residents to this region. Due to climate change parts of the north area is actually dissolving into the Arctic Ocean with the glacier parks undergoing profound change.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

In 2013 the 160th anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday will take at the city’s Van Gogh Museum. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which is considered one of the world’s greatest orchestras, turns 125 years old in 2013. Amsterdam’s canal ring will celebrate its 400th anniversary. This city always finds ways to celebrate, especially so in 2013. And we thought Amsterdam was already so much fun.

Carinthia, Austria

Carinthia is known for its uncrowded ski slopes nestled on every mountain top. Bordering Italy and Slovenia, the region offers Mediterranean laissez-faire. Now is the time to check out Carinthia, while it’s peaceful and quiet. It won’t stay like this much longer.

Palawan, the Philippines

Palawan consists of thousands of sparkling islands and offers a 2000km pristine coastline. This untouched beauty is about to explode with regional airlines realizing Palawan’s potential and scheduling direct flights to the capital. Combined with high-end boutique hotels normally found in places like Bali, you can feel that Palawan is ready to become big.

Colombia

A magical mountain scenery, stylish hotels and new direct routes from major airports, put Colombia quickly onto a traveler wish list.

The Gulf Coast, USA

The Gulf Coast has taken a few hard hits in the past few years. In 2013 the area with rolling sand dunes and sparkling water is ready for some seasonal travelers.

Mustang, Nepal

The completion of a road connecting Mustang to China in the north and the rest of Nepal to the south will make all the difference to this remote region. Until the early 90’s nobody was allowed in; after that it was opened up to a few hundred a year. These days anyone is allowed to enter as long as they have the pricey trekking permit. This provision keeps the numbers down; but expect that to change soon.

Scotland, United Kingdom

The 2012 James Bond thriller “Skyfall” was filmed there. If you saw the movie, you probably walked away wishing you too could race through Scotland’s dramatic countryside and hide in its foggy pastures.