Saturday, October 17, 2009

Counting the days...

I will be attending an extensive training for two weeks in the UK next week.

Visa- Check!
Airline Ticket- Check!
Hotel Reservations- Check!
Preparations- Ummmm... No, not yet. Today I have received two giant folders via FedEx and I must study.

I have to make a list to pack so that I do not forget anything. The giant folders and my laptop are already very heavy. There is a 20 kg. limit on my luggage so I guess I will take these in my carry-on. Oh boy!...

I am excited. I love to travel and my recent jobs in the last three years had no travel at all. I miss working for a multinational. If I am going to work freelance from now on, I guess travel will be mostly in-country.

I graduated college when I was 21, that was 22 years ago... I have attended several trainings and actually took a course for a semester at Bloomfield College, NJ, when I was working in the US. I would have never thought I would feel so competitive for this upcoming training. I gotta go and study!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Corporate Rate? You gotta be kidding me!

Late October I will be traveling to UK for training. This is a step for my new freelance consulting/training career. The training organization sent me a letter last week saying that if I needed accomodation at the training center, they have a special rate of 90 British Pounds. Being the frugal soul that I am, I decided to check the same hotel at Expedia.

Lo and behold, I booked the same room at 85 USD. Now, the current exchange rate between GBP and USD is 1.4542 in Turkey. There is a savings of roughly 45 USD per night!

I used to work at a very large multinational company and they encouraged us to use the corporate rate codes even for personal travel and believe it or not some people actually used them! The travel/purchasing departments do work out real good deals with hotels, car rental agencies but they usually get a rebate at the end of a quarter or a year because they are profit centers! So, using corporate rates benefit only a small part of the company. Yes, of course there is still contribution to the bottom line but all profit centers are evaluated separately. A smart manager would choose to keep her costs down and not use corporate rates.

I love Expedia. I have always been satisfied with their prices and service whenever I needed to change my itinerary or cancel reservations. Their policies are very clear, there are no hidden costs or traps. What other online sources do you use?