You are browsing the archive for Dave Knight, Author at YoTravellers.

Travel: Filmmuseum Potsdam and Babelsburg

October 11, 2018 in Blog

During the Cold War, Potsdam was the Hollywood of the DDR (the Deutsches Demokratisches Republik), and Babelsburg was the name of the studio at which all the films were produced. Now, however, it’s a museum within an hour’s journey from Berlin. Potsdam is easily accessible via S-bahn, and the museum is within walking distance of the Potsdam Hauptbahnhof (the main train station in Potsdam). The museum has a very modest entrance fee, but once inside, you are treated to all kinds of movie memorabilia.

Those who have visited the museum prior to 2005 will remember that not the entire museum at the was translated into English, but enough of it was visual so that a visitor who spoke no German could still enjoy it. The permanent exhibit is both intellectual and fun in that it deals with the politics of the 20th century and how it influenced film production. Even if one has zero interest in politics, the various film props and costumes are of interest. The exhibit is pleasingly interactive, but not overwhelmingly so: there are touch screens that quiz the visitor on which scenes movies come from, for example, and one can listen to interviews about the filmmaking process.

There are film screenings every day, usually for an extra charge. Naturally these films are usually in German, but there are English-language screenings, too, usually of fairly recent award-winning films. The best part of the museum, though, is the children’s exhibit, which is fairly unusual for a German museum. During the 1950s and 1960s, the studio produced many children’s films that were of traditional fairy tales. At the time of my visit, there was a large interactive exhibit featuring real items from Babelsburg sets, so children can really experience the movies for themselves.

Even very little children or non German-speakers can have fun with the visual and tactile aspects. The exhibit incorporates video and computer touch-screens for a really immersive experience. Families traveling with small children will find this a great treat.

Even the museum’s cafe is worth a visit. It’s not very overpriced, and the food with a Turkish-influence and a hint of Italian is memorable and served by friendly wait staff.

A Corporate Travel Policy That Works

September 20, 2018 in Blog

It is a myth that employees who travel on business resent the corporate travel policy. The truth is that employees like to know what is expected of them and how to comply with a corporate policy as long as that policy is fair and gives them the ability to do what they need to do on the road. So a well thought out corporate travel policy is a benefit to the company and the business traveler alike.

If it has been given to you to put together a corporate travel policy, your mission from the stand point of the company is to develop a policy that standardizes business expenses, eliminates waste and excess on the road and puts some controls around that part of the business expense picture. So there are some definite focus areas you should include in the stated corporate policy including:

* Reservations. The business can utilize a travel agent that is looking for the best deal for the company. The best rates can be identified and taken advantage of but only while making sure the business traveler’s needs and the business objective of the trip are satisfied. Requiring that employees utilize the corporate travel agent again is not unfair and it clarifies for the employee how to handle the situation.

* Use of credit. It is a bit of effort and expense to set up corporate credit cards that you can require your traveling employees to use. But by trapping expenses to the corporate account, you can get a record of a most of the business expenses that the employee is incurring. Many of the expenses of travel such as airline and hotel can be directly billed back to the company thus taking the issues out of the hands of the business traveler.

* Travel rewards. If you have your corporate travel coordinated by an internal or external travel agency, corporate accounts with the major airlines can be established so the frequent flyer miles can be collected by the business. As such, the business can redeem those miles and realize those benefits as a significant discount to apply against the travel budget.

* Per Diem. Your corporate travel policy must communicate clearly to the traveling employee what their limits are for hotel, rental car and meals on the road. You want to head off before it starts any tendency by the employee to go overboard with daily expenses. This part of the policy should be reviewed annually to update to current costs.

* Reporting. One of the chief complaints employees have about corporate travel policies are that the expense reporting system is cryptic and hard to fill out. You will give the employee a standardized form that each traveler in the company must fill out to get reimbursed for expenses while traveling. But review these forms and even design your own so the format is understandable and you have categories to cover all types of expenses the employee might encounter.
Along with these general categories, your corporate travel policies should include some leverage for employees who are faced with exceptional situations. Room and food expenses can vary widely depending on where the employee must travel. So you don’t want to set the hotel limit to $150 per night because it is reasonable to stay in a comfortable hotel for that rate in Lincoln Nebraska but enforce that same limitation for an employee who must do business in New York City.

By creating a policy that in general protects the corporate budget but is also workable to employees who are about the company business, you will have a tool that will serve both company and employee interests and enable business travel to be what it was always intended to be a productive, business focused activity that achieves the goals of the enterprise.

Golf Accessories To Help You Travel

September 11, 2018 in Blog

If you are a die-hard golfer, you no doubt enjoy traveling to golf courses all around the world to practice your skills in places that are a little less familiar than the golf courses you usually spend your time at. When you travel to other parts of the country (or even other parts of the world) to play golf, you may have a hard time getting everything there easily and intact, and keeping everything sane for the whole time you are there. If you buy a few golf accessories beforehand, you can make things a lot less stressful on yourself. Here I will outline some of the things that will make your trip much easier.

First, you should purchase some sort of carrying case for your golf clubs. Having your expensive clubs smashed is never pleasant, and it is even worse when you planned your entire week around them. If you are flying to your destination then this tip will be particularly true. Buy a carrying case that will be strong enough and stiff enough to resist any crushing power that might attempt to smash your golf clubs. You can buy these strong bags at some golf stores, or online. Make sure that the one you buy is reinforced with some sort of metal material that will prevent it from caving in. You should put the case to the test before you rely on it to protect your clubs.

Another great way to keep your clubs safe is to have ID tag to keep with your clubs. Include all of your contact information on it, as well as your cell phone number or the number of the hotel you are staying at. If you somehow lose your clubs in transit, it is a good idea to have them marked in a way that someone could return them to you if they were so inclined. There are still quite a few good Samaritans out there, so do not give up all hope if something gets lost. You can make this tag yourself out of an index card, or you can buy an official one from a store. Fill it out with the most current information possible.

You should also include a few of the accessories that you usually take for granted. Include extra tees and golf balls, just in case you lose your main ones for some reason, or you can not find the kinds you like at your destination. Small items like that have a particular tendency to get lost in luggage, so having extra will ensure that you have some once you get there. Spread them across a few different bags so that you always have a backup. It may seem extreme to do this, but you would be surprised at how frustrating it can be to have no golf balls or tees when you get to a new area.

If you are worried about losing your bag along the way, there is an option you might not have considered. There are many overnight shipping services created particularly for golfers that do not trust the airlines. One of the most popular ones, Ship Sticks! will deliver your clubs to your hotel the very next morning. Of course they come with insurance so that if even the shipping service loses them you will be compensated. These can be a good choice if you have particularly expensive clubs.

Golf trips are a lot like the actual game that is played. The whole thing might be going according to plan, but then right near the end a really horrible shot ends up disrupting your mental flow. After that, it is almost impossible to get back in to line. This same thing applies to a golf trip overall Therefore it is good to be prepared for anything that might occur. As long as you are prepared, an undesirable event will not cause the rest of your trip to be ruined.

Travel Over Sixty

August 30, 2018 in Blog

Aging Baby Boomers tend to travel differently and I would say somewhat smarter. We look for conveniences that pamper us on our long or short journeys.

We are shoppers when it comes to travel. We like a short flight, the best seat at the lowest fare. Personally I pay a little extra for the quickest flights with the shortest layovers. We can travel off season as we are not typically restricted to children school vacations unless of course you travel with your grandchildren. Off season usually gets us bigger and better accommodations for longer periods of time for less money.

Hopefully, we no longer over pack. We find the lightest weight luggage for the best price. If we travel often, we learn that heavy luggage only leads to backaches and more chiropractic visits than we care to admit. We no longer pack heavy carry on luggage or pretty bags that weigh a ton. We opt for good looking and practical. Everything gets lighter as we tend to have to get our stiff bodies from terminal to terminal and if we lug stuff with us, we always swear we will never do it again. It takes us a few times to get this. If we have anything at all with us, it has wheels or fits in an appropriate looking back pack.

The travel clothes available for us middle age folks has improved tremendously over the years. I personally like one company travel collection. It allows me a great up to date look all the time. Wash, dry and roll it up and I am on my way. Most areas or places have accommodations for laundry and a load here or there while having breakfast or watching a movie works right into the schedule (most of the time). Comfortable shoes are a must also. No more walking long distances in heels. The agony is not worth it. How pretty can you look when you are dragging yourself along with an agonizing look on your face. I have invested in correctly proportioned great fashion savvy looking walking shoes and it was worth the money and I am much better looking with a smile and straighter posture. If I can put tires on my car, I can put expensive, good looking shoes on my feet. I consider it a necessary travel expense.

We tend to want rooms with a view. We like to take our time and enjoy our surroundings. Personally, I love a lanai where I can sit and sip a glass of good wine and indulge in reading an awesome mystery. I enjoy the ability to sit outside in wonderful weather and write articles like this. I prefer the comforts of home away from home. We aging baby boomers tend to pick scenery, fabulous dining experiences, delectable wine and some of us, golf courses that create an ambiance of sport and visual delight.

We all have our dreams of travel. We all have something we enjoy. How many of you are creating them as your reality? Are you making any of them happen or are you waiting to retire? I vote on these experiences now in my life. How about you?