Expert Travel Predictions For 2009

2008 will be remembered by many as the most challenging year since the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. More than just one factor, travel experts were juggling multiple themes during the past year including weakening consumer demand, skyrocketing fuel costs, and US Dollar weakness against the Euro and other major currencies. The only constant that seems to remain as we enter the New Year is continued and more systemic global economic turndown which will likely continue well into 2009. Considering the lightning speed which has characterized many of the changes witnessed during 2008, it might be overly ambitious to attempt to predict the likely scenarios in 2009. Nevertheless, here’s my best shot at what we might be seeing in the near future:

1. Continued Downward Pricing Pressure – So much of the travel industry is energy dependent that it was a wonder that prices continued to fall last year even with record high oil prices. The precipitous fall in energy gave further impetus to the downward price trends which are prevalent throughout the economy. Travel suppliers, cruise and otherwise, recognize the interdependence between room counts and secondary income streams and will reduce prices to record low levels to ensure high occupancy. This radical price reduction is most apparent in the cruise industry and in resort cities such as Las Vegas, where visitor expenditures place such a key part in the profit formula.

2. Government Tourist Office Intervention – Various countries and regions will create and advertise massive incentives to entice tourists to visit their respective areas. These incentives will not be isolated to third world venues such as the Caribbean but will include Europe and Canada as well. Every visitor staying a specified period of time will be eligible for the government based bonus packages.

3. Dollar Strengthens – As the banks of the other major industrial nations reduce their interest rates to spur lending and economic activity, the dollar will rise. Some predict that the US Dollar and Euro will be at par in 2009. European tourism will benefit from a stronger dollar.

4. Economic Uncertainty Fuels Late Booking Trend– The trend of late bookings which has been growing in recent years will reach a crescendo in 2009. The late booking trend will force suppliers into even greater price reductions to fill space and the traveling public will be trained to wait for the lowest price. Additional cruise capacity planned years ahead for a brighter economic scenario will further exacerbate the problem. More cruise ships will be relocated to other geographic areas such as the Middle East, Orient, and South America in an attempt to find greater demand and higher revenue.

5. Obama Presidency Re-Establishes US Prestige – Obama presidency to increase popularity of US as a tourist destination barring a series of Bush-like missteps, Obama’s global popularity will encourage US tourism. The love affair between the US and much of the rest of the world will be renewed.

6. Reconciliation Begins With Cuba – A multitude of factors both within Cuba itself and in the US result in an opening which will eventually lead to the end of the isolation and embargo in place since the early 1960s. When Cuba finally opens, the cruise industry in particular will be the primary initial beneficiary of the huge pent up demand which exists.

Brake Pads For Prestige Cars

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure to drive a prestige car will truly understand the difference in luxury driving experience and performance that these masters of mechanical engineering have to offer. These companies are renowned for creating the very best vehicles and these cars are built with one thing in mind, to provide an ultimate and unforgettable driving experience.

If you’ve ever owned a prestige car then you will be hard pressed to ever change your brand and you may find that you develop a lifelong passion and commitment to this brand.

I suppose there is a flip side to owning this brand of car. Quite simply they don’t come cheap and the higher the spec you buy into then the deeper the pockets you will need. This said they are built from quality components and quality means durability and longevity.

There will come a time however when your car requires new parts. One of the most common parts to require changing on any car is the tires and the brake pads. Prestige cars are no different as they succumb to the same stresses and strains that all cars are exposed to in their daily travels. Choosing parts for your car can be a confusing and often frustrating experience as there are countless brands available at any given time.

Should you let your garage decide and throw caution to the wind by trusting the opinion of the mechanic that is fitting your brake pads? No doubt there are many mechanics that live by the advice they give and will always offer you the very best information at their disposal. Equally there are mechanics or organizations that will offer you the parts that pay the most in commission being that the more they sell of these parts the higher the discount that they are offered from the supplier. Call me skeptical but these people are as real as the nose on your face and are actively trading everywhere.

I myself believe that any choice is a better choice if it’s informed. So how can you make a better choice for your prestige car using easily available information?

A little research never did anyone any harm and with this in mind a few moments spent searching the different brands of brake pads will soon give you enough information so that you can make the right choice.

The very best way of determining the right fit for your car is to create a list of best fit attributes that suit your needs. I have listed some of the more common necessities and hopefully this list will help you compile a similar list tailored to your needs.

1. The first point to consider is the noise that is created from certain types of pads. Semi metallic pads are often much noisier than other pads as they are built for durability using hard metals bonded together to make the pad. Once in contact with the brake rotor you will certainly stop in time but you might not be turning heads for the right reasons as people will hear you arriving well before you get there.

2. If you splash out on a prestige car then you have to keep in mind that you want it staying in the same glorious condition as when you fist bought it. Some brake pads create a lot of brake dust and brake dust means dirty unsightly wheels. Ceramic pads create a very small amount of dust and they are excellent performers. However they are a considerable cost. Organic pads or semi organic pads are another great alternative and being cheaper than ceramics they may be just the pad you are looking for.

3. Now if you live in the warm states of America then this next point may be nothing more than an idle fantasy to you lucky people. For those of you that live in the borders of the UK or you live in other similar climatic challenged places then this point will be crucial to your choice. The UK is famous for its cold weather and equally (very rarely) warm weather. With this in mind you may want a brake that is versatile enough to cope with both climates without any loss of performance. Consider when making your choice how your brakes will react to weather conditions such as rain, sleet or snow.

4. Continued performance is another factor to bear in mind as no one wants to pay for pads that last a few miles and then need changing again. My own target mileage would be 50,000 – 80,000 miles and anything below just wouldn’t be worth the money.

5. Lastly you need a pad that will not affect the performance of the other components that make up the entire braking system. Get brakes that are too hard and you may pay the price in premature failure of your rotor.

Business Class Air Travel

“Business Class” is the term used by many airlines to describe a premium class of airfare. Business class is often a step below first class, but in many cases has replaced first class altogether, particularly on long-haul, international flights.

Business class amenities differ from airline to airline, but typically include enhanced food and beverage service, streamlined check-in procedures and wider seats with additional leg room and seat pitch. While the extra cost associated with executive class tickets might seem like an unnecessary luxury for some, for the frequent business traveler who spend long hours on airplanes, often arriving at international destinations only minutes before meetings, the workspace, meals and extra room to relax, rest and stay fresh is well worth the extra cost of a ticket.

Additional amenities may include use of a private lounge at airport terminals, complimentary alcoholic beverages, a herringbone seating arrangement which gives each passenger access to an aisle and private television monitors

Many airlines have customized their business class service by applying a unique brand to it. A few examples include Air Canada, “Executive First (International),” Air New Zealand, “Business Premier, ” Air Pacific, “Tabua Class, ” Alitalia, “Classe Magnifica,” Korean Air, “Prestige Class,” and Thai Airways, “Royal Silk.”

Because international flights can often be 10 hours or more in duration, one of the most important business class features is the ability to recline the seat into a flat or nearly flat position to facilitate sleep. A few airlines, which offer both first and business class airfare, reserve seats which lie fully flat for first class, to distinguish between the two classes. However, many international carriers offer only business class seating having eliminated first class altogether.

Many travelers may question why, with so little distinction between first class and business class, are there two separate premium classes? It seems to be a question of marketing and one of perception. On short hop domestic flights, it sometimes makes sense to offer only one class: economy or coach. But along other, longer routes such as transcontinental routes in the United States, it is more profitable to offer several tiers of service with business class sandwiched between first class and economy. These flights often attract a greater diversity of travelers including wealthy travelers, business travelers, and tourists. The different levels of service attempt to maximize ticket prices for each type of traveler.

Routes which must accommodate large numbers of business travelers tend to have eliminated first class. This may be due to a perception that first class travel is an unnecessary luxury, while bus. class is an expensive necessity. While corporation might find it difficult to justify first class travel to their shareholders, business class sounds more palatable.

Furthermore, in a competitive international business climate, where multimillion dollar contracts are at stake, it’s hard to overestimate the value of having business executives and salesmen arrive at their destinations feeling well rested and sharp with additional time to prepare for presentations and meetings en route. As businesses and countries merge into an increasingly interconnected world marketplace, business travel will become more and more important for the business traveler, and more profitable for airlines.