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Tips On How To Travel Easier

Posted by Kristi Harbers on Fri, May 6, 2016

I find that the more I travel, the more I try to refine the process. From TSA Pre-check, to finding that perfect carry-on bag and having the right necessities, here are some of the things that make traveling less painful for me.


Topics: meeting planners, Travel/Destinations

2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: Warm and Welcoming

Posted by Kristi Harbers on Thu, Jun 26, 2014

Well after much hype about Brazil not being ready for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, I think they have done an impressive job to be ready. I had mentioned in a previous blog, Brazil: Are they Ready?, that the airport in Brasilia seemed far from being completed. However upon arrival I found the new gates were completes and a bigger terminal completed. Some minor construction on new food venues within the airport were being completed, but plenty of other options were available.


Topics: Travel/Destinations, Sporting Events

A country with heart

Posted by Kristi Harbers on Thu, Oct 17, 2013

When an email came across my desk with an invitation to be a part of a FAM post-trip to Croatia after IMEX, I was beyond excited. Croatia was right at the top of my list of countries I want to see. Having the opportunity to see what this country has to offer from a meeting professionals perspective was even better!


Topics: Travel/Destinations

International Customs & Etiquette

Posted by Lisa Appiarius on Thu, Sep 26, 2013



Topics: Travel/Destinations, International Conferences

U.S. cities meeting planners should consider with more bang for the buck!

Posted by Kristi Harbers on Thu, Sep 19, 2013

Trying to decide where to hold your next meeting? Do you want to go somewhere exciting without breaking the bank or going too deep into your attendees’ wallets? Consider the United States’ second tier cities as a place to hold your next meeting. Often 2nd tier cities are much more affordable than places like New York City or Los Angeles and offer more amenities with unique experiences for your meeting attendees. Here are just a few cities in the U.S. to consider:


  • Salt Lake City: As they mention on their website cityyy“Salt Lake offers one-of-a-kind combination of metro and mountain—an urban oasis with a breathtaking alpine backyard.” In the downtown area the convention center is surrounded by hotels, shopping and restaurants for the attendee’s convenience. There is even free public transportation around the convention area using TRAX light-rail and busses. Having hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, SLC’s infrastructure is already in place to hold larger meetings.
  • Reno Tahoe: This area definitely offers first tier service at a second tier rate. If you’re looking to be able to have plenty of entertainment for your attendees but by spending less dollars Reno Tahoe maybe the place to look. They’ve recently spent close to $1 billion on renovations around the area and on the national average are about 25% less expensive than holding your meetings elsewhere. Reno also hosts many fun activities during the off seasons. You could book around the Jazz Festival in the spring. Or if you book in September you could book around the Great Reno Balloon Race or the International Camel Race, that’s something you don’t see every day that you’re attendees would definitely keep talking about.
  • Daytona Beach: Once considered a spring break locale, Daytona Beach has grown up. Daytona Beach has expanded and upgraded much of its meeting space including at the Ocean Center which as 200,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space and located closely to the Hilton which has over 750 guestrooms. Daytona Beach is accustomed to holding large events such as the Daytona 500.
  • Irving: Located only 15 minutes from Dallas and 20 minutes from Fort Worth, Irving can be the more affordable choice. You can give your attendees that big Texas feeling by holding an offsite event at a local ranch like the Lindero Ranch which specializes in corporate events.
  • Minneapolis: Minneapolis is a city that offers activities such as Broadway worthy shows, tax-free clothes shopping and outdoor activities nearby around the lakes and natural trails and parks. It boasts the #1 airport in America in 2012. It’s also a growing destination for Millennials which you may want to keep in mind for your next site selection. Home to Mall of America – easily accessible by light rail and offering many on and off site options such as the A.C.E.S. Flight simulator, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium , Jillian’s and many more!

Topics: Travel/Destinations, Site Selection

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Posted by Lisa Appiarius on Thu, Aug 22, 2013

Like most people, my time is very valuable to me.  We all have schedules, deadlines, responsibilities and places we need to be…..on time.  I don’t know about you, but traveling by air has become quite stressful.  I have to be to the airport a minimum of one hour prior to flight departure.  Even that is cutting it close leaving me to wonder if I’m going to Missed flight cover by easyJet   Low cost car hire at CarJetmiss my flight as I’m standing in line at security, moving ever so slowly.  I find myself watching the time as it creeps closer to departure time.  I watch people removing their shoes, jewelry and coats; unpacking their laptops; removing their liquids, just to set off the alarm.  They now have to step aside to be “re-scanned”.  Once they are cleared they now have to reverse the order, repacking their belongings before heading to their terminals.  I now have five minutes until my bird leaves the gate.  I quickly run to find a monitor to make sure my plane has not switched gates.  Now the marathon begins; run, run, run!  I’m wheezing, one foot comes out of my shoe so I circle around to step back into it.  My bag keeps slipping off my shoulder and I’m pretty sure I need a second application of deodorant.  Whew!  I’m at the gate.  I sit and wait, and wait and wait.  The announcement comes on, the gate has been moved for my flight, to the other end of the terminal.  We all get up and forge ahead like a herd of cattle.  Okay, I’m here, and exhausted.  Another 10 minutes passes and the announcement I’ve been anticipating is finally made, not the announcement I want.  Flight blah, blah, blah is delayed by forty minutes.  Forty five minutes comes and goes and the flight is now delayed another hour.  Great.  I’ve now missed my connecting flight.  My blood pressure rises. 

The return trip can be just as problematic.  You’ve attended your conference, you’re tired and miss your family.  You just want to get home and relax in the warmth of your nest.  Not so fast.  Upon returning from a conference I knew things were going too smoothly.  I arrived at the airport and got through security faster than I ever had.  I was elated.  The flight even left on time.  The ride was smooth and the landing was even smoother at the connecting airport.  Kudos to the pilot.  I didn’t even know the plane hit the tarmac.  He was good!  I went to the gate to await my connecting flight.  Still good.  I ran across the hall from the gate in the terminal to grab a hamburger.  That’s when things went south.  I got the other guy’s order, a chicken sandwich.  I hope he liked my burger.  As I sat in the dining area eating I glanced over at the gate and my heart stopped.  Everyone was gone.  Not a soul left in the waiting area.  I left the other guy’s half eaten chicken sandwich on the table, grabbed my stuff and ran.  I approached the counter and was told by the attendant that the gate was moved.  Shoot… it was at the complete opposite end of the terminal.  I made it.  Then, without warning the flight was cancelled.  We were instructed to go to the “information booth” that had one attendant.  It’s one-o’clock in the morning.  I’m viewing a list of hotels.  I call and make a reservation at  the Airport Best Western.   I go to the shuttle area and some guy yells “anyone going to the Best Western here”.  I jump on the shuttle, arrive at the Best Western at 2:30 am.  I stand in line patiently waiting to check in.  I get to the counter, only to find out I’m at the wrong Best Western.  Thankfully they gave me a room and cancelled the other reservation across town.  This is how I spent my birthday.  Some of the current trends in air travel may just be enough for you to consider alternate modes of travel. Although measures are implemented to provide us with safety and security, the task of air travel seems to be ever more daunting. 


Topics: Travel/Destinations

Onsite Conference Staff gain a New Perspective on New Orleans

Posted by Kristi Harbers on Thu, Aug 1, 2013

Laissez les bon temps rouler ….or better known as “Let the good times roll!” My co-workers and I recently worked onsite at a conference that took place in New Orleans. It was myNOLA first time to the well-known party town but I didn’t fully know what to expect. What I did know was that it was going to be 80 degrees and sunny which was much better than the 30 degree wintry weather we were expecting to have in upstate New York; I knew already I was going to like New Orleans. Most of our time was spent at the Sheraton New Orleans on Canal Street, but each night we were able to do a little exploring and have some really fabulous meals!

The weekend of the conference was also the same weekend as the French Quarter Festival, which is the largest free music festival in the South. Stages, with live music playing throughout the day, were setup all over the French Quarter. There was a ton of food and drink vendors setup along the Mississippi River, many of which were located around New Orleans, like K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, Pat O’Brien’s Bar (home of the famous Hurricanes!), and House of Blues. The atmosphere was fun and exciting with people dancing all over the streets. Whenever you book your next meeting location, consider piggy backing with a large public festival like this when hotel meeting space is largely empty so your attendees will have unique experiences in their down time. 


Topics: Travel/Destinations

Dress for Success: easy business travel tips

Posted by Lisa Appiarius on Thu, Jun 6, 2013

Do you pack like me when getting ready to attend a conference for three or four days?  I bring a suitcase packed full with seven skirts, five pairs of pants, twelve tops, nine pairs of shoes, and oh yeah, what about any down-time? So I add shorts, jeans, capris, sundress, and the list goes on!  Pretty soon I’m up to two full suitcases and a carry-on.  Plus I’m shoving extra items into my handbag.  Now I’m ready to survive a full year away from home but this is just a three day trip!

But I end up only using a FRACTION of what I travel with.  Moving forward I’ve attireestablished a few simple rules for myself on what to bring on a short business trip.  Keep in mind that I want to dress appropriately which most often means business clothes to business-casual dressing.  Even if I’m attending an after-hours event, unless otherwise indicated, business-casual is most appropriate.  I always keep in mind that I am representing my employer so I want to give a good impression because a poor first impression is difficult to recover from.

During the educational sessions and networking I dress in formal business attire.  For women this indicates a skirt or slacks, conservative blouse or top and a tailored blazer or jacket.  For men this simply means a suit, dress shirt and tie.  My shoes are business conservative; women should wear a medium heal, closed toe shoe and men should wear dress shoes.  My accessories like jewelry are also conservative. I don’t wear overly large dangly earrings or multiple bracelets and rings on every finger.  Small jewelry that compliments my outfit is appropriate.  I don’t want to be remembered for enough jewelry to set off all the metal detectors within a five mile radius, rather than the smart person that I am.  Men, no gold chains; this is not a Tom Jones performance!

For evening activities or networking receptions unless specified in the invitation I find business casual is more appropriate.  After all, I am still “conducting” business even though the day is over.  But I do try to jazz up my jewelry a little or change my top to look a little more “evening” appropriate.  Ladies, you can even put on a higher heal too if you want.  Men even though the jackets and ties come off at night wearing your shirt unbuttoned halfway down are not recommended.

Now that I travel with ONE suitcase, I find a couple pairs of pants, a couple skirts, a few mix and match tops, two to three pairs of shoes and a jacket are enough, along with one or two casual outfits.  Guess what? I don’t miss all the other stuff because it’s just not there for me to choose from.  I never used it anyway; I just thought I would.

And oh yeah…..I learned another lesson when traveling by air.  I carry a small bag with one outfit that can be either business or business-casual in the event my luggage gets delayed or worse yet, lost.  Also when traveling to and from my destination I make sure to dress business-casual since you never know who will be on the plane or checking into the hotel the same time I am.  I don’t want to be remembered as the one with the ripped jeans, stained t-shirt and scuffed up sneakers.  They won’t forget!  A first impression is a lasting impression. If you don’t travel frequently or only have the occasional business trip, here are some other tips to help prepare for travel.


Topics: Travel/Destinations

Are you a tourist in your own hometown?

Posted by Justina Treventi on Thu, May 23, 2013

Many of us spend our free time saying “I wish there was something to do around here”. Of course in most towns and cities there are plenty of festivals, museums, historic sites, theaters, sporting events and the like, we just don’t think about them because they are in our own backyard.

In our company, we travel all over the world working on conferences and events. Our clients select where we will plan their conference and we have gone from New York City to San Diego to Hawaii to Russia. We have been fortunate on a few occasions to be able to plan a conference in our own backyard. Saratoga Springs, New York, is internationally known as “the August place to be” because of the historic thoroughbred horse race track located there. What most people don’t realize is that Saratoga is a great place to hold conferences year round.


Topics: Travel/Destinations

Where meeting professionals like to travel

Posted by Kristina Catrambone on Mon, May 20, 2013

We all know that meeting professionals travel frequently. We have great opportunities to see different cities throughout the US and even some amazing international destinations.  bluewater wrightsvilleOthers may wonder where we travel for pleasure due to the impression that we’ve “seen it all”. So where do people who travel on business frequently like to vacation? Do business professionals have a favorite travel destination? Do people who travel for work even want to travel for pleasure? These are all valid questions, and we all get questions like this regularly. I have asked our staff here at Site Solutions Worldwide these questions. 

For most of us our dream vacation is somewhere warm, tropical, and at the beach!  Relaxing on the beach was the most common response from our staff.  But what was even more common was traveling to a remote place with little technology or no cell phone service. We all need time to relax and unwind without the craziness of social media, emails, and the internet!


Topics: Travel/Destinations