How do you insure yourself?

Important question indeed. How? Now we are not insurance agents, so no worries about us being the ‘barbers’ who will recommend you run out there and start buying all the policies available. But this is truly a critical consideration when one makes frequent journeys.

Here in our little red dot as in most developed countries, the concept of buying insurance for your travel plan is not new. What piqued our interest in this topic was after reading this article some months back. While the story was one of how claims can go awry and the tips seeming valid, what went through our heads was this question: how do you insure yourself for your travel.

And we are not referring to insurance policies alone. Because that’s only for you to claim monetary compensation. And money isn’t everything. Ok, it is – and we take it back. Gulp. We’ve eaten our words, heard that?

Anyhow.

Contingencies. That’s what we are referring to. Are there backup plans that you may have in the event a flight delays and you miss a tour? Remember we almost had the same in the Caymans (here)? To be honest, we would have been deers in the headlights had the operator not pro-offered a later time slot. We did not have a mitigation plan as we were smooth operators expecting nothing to go wrong. But Mr Murphy struck us unsuspecting. So how?

What kind of ‘insurances’ do you take for yourself when you embark on a journey?

Competition is a good thing?

Vacations. Trips. Journeys. Today we take them for granted. Be it sea, air or land, travel has never been easier or better worded – accessible. We recall as young kids going to the then Paya Lebar airport (yeah it’s an airbase now) to send off loved ones. It was such a big event that entire families turn up. Wow.

Over the years, flying and indeed cruising came to be common-place. It used to be folks who went on vacations often would buy lots of souvenirs and food as gifts for friends and family. Today, some folks can actually count the airport as their second home. Talk about owning a large piece of real estate (dream of many red dotters) heheh…

So this article intrigued us.

No. Not the fact that low cost airlines have brought fares down. That’s a given. Our perspective is drawn back to the issue of how sustainable this all can be. You might know of our rants (here, here and here) about how crowded it is getting to be. Many cities are simply reeling from too many visitors that their infrastructure were not geared up for.

Thus competition is great. Wonderful in fact. But it seems to have spawned ‘side effects’ no? Like the leader of our little red dot inferred last year, too much a good thing might be bad (referencing sugary drinks and the link to diabetes). Just like the cost of sugar-laden products have come down, so has the cost of air travel.  Too many folks circulating in sightseeing cities like the sugar level in blood might cause a host of problems.

What do you think?

Financing a life of travel

lotte-money1
Imagine if this stack of money was real and yours!

Ever wish you had an endless stream of income that would finance your traipsing around the world? Wouldn’t it be nice to not worry about how to pay for making the journey? Well we’ve read quite a fair bit of bloggers writing about getting around the world in the cheapest way, seeking out activities that are free to do etc. There have been quite a few who journeyed around the world on bike or foot or public transport too (here and here)!

To us that is all well and good.

But would the journey to Pisa be the same without paying for the climb up the tower that leans? Would one really climb all the way to the Great Wall instead of taking the cable car? Hmmm….. Some things in life are indeed free to enjoy, but many of the experiences would probably not.

Today though our post is not just on the boon and bane of traveling on the cheap.

It’s about financial preparedness. And it is applicable not just for paying one’s travel journeys, but also the journey we call life. When we were young (and your heart was an open book), you might say live and let live…. heheh… sorry cannot help it because it was ringing in Mel’s head (for those G&R fans out there!). Before one get carried away by the travel bug and “squander” one’s youth away, would it not be wise to look a little ahead? For we have said repeatedly; time is but the only thing one cannot claw back or keep in store for later use. You do only live once, but you are also only young and energetic once.

Having a portfolio of assets that repeatedly produce income would be wonderful don’t you think? Like the proverbial goose laying a golden egg everyday. We call our finance independence theory the “Golden egg Goose” concept. You heard about it here first. What do you think?

Booking via foreign websites

Does booking from an overseas website get you a better deal? This article suggests it may well be possible to get prices that one might not get from sites in your own home country. Ok the article actually referred to a ‘foreign agent’. No. Not the James Bond kind, but the travel agents in the countries you intend to travel to.

Because the article seems to suggest some online portal will be able to bring together the “best” agents in these destinations around the world and facilitate your engagement with them. Seems like we still can’t cut out the middleman! LOL.

Hah! We hear you. This is nothing new!

What we have found though from our own experience is that there are price “discrimination” in the way your bookings are handled, particularly airlines. No we are not referring to bias. It simply means the pricing is tailored to a particular market conditions such as the relative average price of tickets, consumer preference and willingness to pay, market share etc.

And as for local agents to book directly with, we do spend a little more effort in sussing out the ones to use. In the most recent example, we took to Tripadvisor (no bias here) to search out reviews of day trip tours from Bangkok Ayutthaya. With thousands of reviews, the ratings did helped us zoom in to Pary Happy Tour. It helped us fulfill the intent of using local guides rather than local corporates too! And we have to admit it was a great choice (patting ourselves on the back now).

Do you book through a local agent in your homebase? Or is it all DIY for you? What do you think about booking direct with agents in the destinations? Have you done so?

Corporate Nomad?

We’ve heard a lot about the digital nomad, you know the folks who are location independent working mostly (perhaps not limited to) on creative projects for their clients across time and space. While others claim to run product “distribution” companies that seem to be manageable from remote etc…sure…

But how about them corporate warriors?

So we decided to look up the term “Corporate Nomad” on the wordpress search engine.

Surprisingly there was quite a list of posts. But did the search results meet our desired outcome? Well, not really. You see, we were looking for corporate drones who are on the move frequently in their job roles and still found the time to travel and blog about it. No, not writing about their 2 week vacations, we mean actually living off a suitcase (temporarily or a short time) yet have the flair to write and share their moments of adventures with us.

Do these folks exist? If so, in what kind of job roles? Does any of the following fit the bill:

  • Management Consultants (eg the sort with the large consulting firms etc)
  • Project managers/consultants (building stuff)
  • Procurement/sourcing managers (buying stuff)
  • Regional sales or marketing execs (selling/BS stuff)

For Mel, he meets with the first kind alot. Usually on assignment for 3-4 months, these consultants/analysts work from the client’s office in various locations.So apart from the long hours in the office, they do have opportunities to explore a bit too (remember this post)!

And they actually do!

Do you know of any other job roles that may turn one into a corporate nomad? Tell us!

Boutique hotels? Try a boutique airline

La Compagnie is a boutique airline that most of us have not heard about. And the one thing about this outfit is that they only offer business class flights. Limited though are the flights to just a handful between the US and Europe, this can really be something to consider for those with the means. Taking in the luxury of business class travel and lounge access especially on your return journey can be a real treat. Latest news is that for you can buy a year’s unlimited pass for flights between New York to Paris or London for £25,000. With the pound really “pounded”…you fill in the blanks.

You know they say you need a holiday after taking one.

And it’s so true. You’ve enjoyed your days in the sunshine. You’ve done some wonderful shopping, ate and drank (perhaps drunk) good. Most importantly, you wish that you had some kind of job that facilitates you to live this kind of lifestyle. Forever.

Then the reality bites.

It’s time to go home, back to that 9-5 (very often times longer) job and the drudgery of paying the mortgage and assorted expenses. Here we call these uncle Bill, and he seems fond of calling up regularly.

la compagnie business class
Taken off La Campagnie

So that return flight in business class comfort is really the final solace before the rubber meets the road. Go on, try it. “If I wind up broke up well  I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time”. Know who sang this? Long live the King.

Uncle ‘Bill’ will come a visiting anyway!