London Travel Plans

Local Authorities now require that a Travel Plan (otherwise known as a Green Travel Plan) be submitted with a planning application for many types of development in order to ensure that the new business or facility actively looks at ways of minimising traffic impact.

This will usually aim to reduce single occupancy car journeys by staff travelling to work. In some cases a customer travel is also included within the document.

London Travel Plans required by Local Authorities within the Greater London Area must be written in accordance with Transport for London and the Mayor of London’s specific Travel Plan Guidance.

There are also a group of west London Boroughs who deal with Travel Planning together under an umbrella organisation called Westtrans and Travel Plans in those Boroughs are dealt with by Westtrans officers.

All London Boroughs are aiming for the same result’ to cut traffic and congestion within the city and reduce the need for parking by encouraging staff (and sometimes customers) to use public transport, walk or cycle. The art when writing a Travel Plan is to demonstrate you are helping to achieve these goals without committing your client to expensive measures both short and long term.

This requirement has been in place for a number of years now and the content and quality of Travel Plans, particularly in London, are now given much more scrutiny than in the past. Often within London, a developer is seeking to reduce parking on their site or in some cases provide no parking at all and in these situations a bespoke, practical and well written plan can be key to achieving planning permission.

The challenge in all cases is to balance the commercial demands of the business whilst formulating a robust and detailed plan which is frequently key to securing planning permission. For example I recently dealt with a new hotel with zero on-site parking. This meant that both staff and guest travel to the site needed to be actively addressed through a range of specific measures to discourage car travel.

In contrast I recently dealt with a hotel which had free on site parking. In this instance I had to devise a travel plan which demonstrated active steps to reduce the demand for those parking spaces over the initial period of 5 years.

Both sites were covered by the same overall London-wide policies but the individual site issues dictated that the plans were very different. In both instance I managed to reach a solution which met my client’s commercial needs and satisfied the Local Authorities’ requirements.

The different approach and requirements in each case demonstrates that a template is a misnomer. In my opinion the templates that are available are likely to result in clients being signed up to costly and impractical measures. In terms of cost, as the plans are monitored for at least 5 years, the management costs going forward can also be significant if not considered at an early stage.

In my experience travel plans prepared at the application stage are all too often a standardised document which is not fully considered, with the result that developers inadvertently agree to a range of measures in order to get planning approval. Those measures may be inappropriate, expensive to implement and difficult or costly to monitor.

The examples cited above demonstrate the importance of producing a plan which is specific to the site and to the end user, not least to prevent the added cost of having to re-writing the document. In both of these cases the original developer obtained agreement to a draft which, if implemented, would have resulted in significant costs for the end-user.

In order to meet the requirements of the client and to satisfy the Local Authorities it was necessary to re-write the documents in a way which delivered practical and value for money measures for my client but also satisfied the requirements of the Local Authorities. I like to think that my experience in this area helped to achieve a result which all were happy with.

Green Travel Plan Advice

A Green Travel Plan should deliver economic, practical and easy to manage measures both now and in the future. The majority of individuals that usually require a green travel plan are commercial developers and businesses. A plan should typically be:

economic to implement ‘day one’
cost effective for future management
include practical, well thought out measures that work

What’s the difference between Green and Workplace travel plans?

A Green Travel Plan (also typically known as a Workplace Travel Plan) is an obligation imposed by local authorities through the planning process typically by way of panning condition attached to a planning consent or by a S.106 agreement. It may also be introduced as a requirement during the application process.

In addition a Travel Plan is often a requirement of a BREEAM assessment process.

The Green Travel Plan sets out a suite of actions and measures intended to promote travel to the site by sustainable transport methods such as bicycle, bus or train rather than private car.

So I have a Green Travel Plan, what happens if I don’t follow it?

Most local authorities will require occupiers to monitor the effectiveness of the plan to ensure measures are being implemented and targets set in the plan are being met. The aim should be to demonstrate ongoing improvement.

Some local authorities now have sustainable travel officers whose sole duty is to promote sustainable travel and to monitor plans to ensure compliance.

Ultimately the local authority does have the power to take Enforcement action against you if you are not implementing and monitoring your plan. The council has the power to issue of a breach of condition notice to require you to comply with the requirements which could ultimately lead to prosecution and fine if you still fail to comply.

What Actions and Measures do the plans typically include?

They are sometimes produced to include high cost and complicated measures such as staff showers, public transport information and ticketing systems, subsidised public transport, cycle parking and staff loan schemes. Whilst it’s important to be mindful of the commercial necessity to obtain a consent, more simpler and cost effective measures should be considered as well, such as; free internet access to travel guides; website links to local travel information; car sharing schemes and on site maps of bus and train stations.

A plan should be produced to minimise the cost to the clients of delivering their plan whilst balancing this against the local planning policy requirements and need for a consent in a timely manner.

What will my Green Travel Plan cost?

Every plan is different based on the local policy requirements, the site constraints and the commercial pressures. Each should ideally be produced on a site specific basis. It is important to appreciate that a well considered and written plan allied to skilled consultants negotiating terms with the local authority will save you more money than you will ever spend on preparing it. Conversely, one poorly written will cost you money ‘day one’ and for many years to come as you continue to spend money and management time on costly and unwieldy measures.

Bon Voyage – Organized Travel Planning

Well, summer is finally here, and for many people, that means vacation time! Whether you plan to drive, fly, or travel by other means (a cruise, perhaps?), planning ahead will help your travel experience go off without a hitch.

I not only love to travel, I love to plan to travel. I can spend hours researching locales and lodging choices, preparing itineraries, packing, etc. Therefore, it seems only fitting to share some of my well-honed travel planning tips so that you can benefit from my travel planning addiction, and enjoy an organized travel experience. The 11 tips that follow may be common sense, but are not always commonly applied.

Create a Personalized Packing List – Create a packing list on your computer so that you can revise it constantly as you travel and realize what you forgot and would have liked with you, and what you could have left behind. My packing list is organized into the following major categories: Essentials, For Business, For the Beach, For Overseas Travel, For Active Vacations. It is then further broken down into subcategories that are specific enough to easily grab and check off each item without too much forethought (and certainly without that nagging feeling of forgetting something). My list has been customized over years of traveling. Make your list work for you and your family by personalizing it to match your needs.

Freshen Up Your Suitcases – Air out your bags before you pack. There is nothing worse than putting clean clothes in a stale smelling bag. (Hint: A scented dryer sheet or lavender sachet can work wonders.)

Check Luggage Guidelines – Go online and check your airline’s luggage guidelines to ensure that your carry on will fit, and that you will not be charged extra if you exceed the weight restriction.

Pre-Pack and Weigh – Print out your packing list in advance, and start laying out items so that you can get a visual snapshot of what you are bringing. It is wise to pre-pack in advance, especially with today’s strict airline luggage guidelines. I even recommend putting the items in the suitcase and weighing it. Better to know if you will make the cut at home when you can still remove things than to suffer an unexpected luggage fee at the airport.

Pack Extra Storage Bags – Pack a few storage bags for small items, like shoes, etc. Make sure that one is waterproof in case you need to pack wet bathing suits on the trip back home.

Get Your Gadgets in Order – Empty memory cards, and charge your phone and camera before you leave home. Consolidate power cords, chargers and extra batteries in your carry-on.

Refill Prescriptions – Refill prescription medications in advance, and pack in your carry-on in their original packaging in order to pass muster with the TSA. This also provides you with an easy way to remember the exact specifications in the rare event that the medication gets destroyed (melts in the sun, gets wet, etc.) or you are delayed longer than expected, and need to arrange a refill while still away from home.

Copy Important Documents – Carry duplicates of your passport and visa (if traveling outside of the country), travel itinerary, and any other vital documents that you need for safe travel, and keep them in a different location than the originals while traveling. Consider also emailing electronic copies to yourself or storing at a secure online site.

Give Your Wallet a Diet – Pare down the contents of your wallet to only what you need during travel. Only bring essential documents, such as driver’s license, medical insurance card (check to see if you have coverage if going outside of the country), passport, and credit cards.

Alert Credit Card Companies – Contact your bank and credit cards companies before you depart and inform them that you will be traveling, so that they will not be alarmed by out-of-town charges and put a security hold on your account.

Inventory the Contents of Your Suitcase – Take photos of your clothes, shoes, and jewelry, which will serve as documentation if your luggage gets lost or stolen. Download the shots onto your home computer or upload them to an online site just in case. It may seem like overkill (don’t all insurance and risk management measures seem so unless you need them?), but it will save you a lot of stress and money if your luggage gets lost or stolen, as well as peace of mind while traveling.

Ways to Organize a Multi-Family Vacation Travel Plan

Many a times it does happen that the family members are quite close to each other, yet due to various reasons such as careers, in-laws or personal preferences, it becomes difficult to find time to meet each other. The increasing busier lives of the people has made it extremely hard to make get together a reality and the rising cost for travel is also one of the major reasons for this. It is important to understand that once you are offered the chance of a family get together, you need to make the maximum use of this opportunity. All you require to achieve this is a little bit of upfront planning and then everything will fall into place.

The best times to plan together a family travel plan is during Thanksgiving and the Fall and Winter breaks. Most of the commonly visited spots get filled up fast and when you are on a multifamily vacation, there is no doubt that there maybe more than a dozen participants and thus availability will pose as a big issue in such matters. Keeping in mind, all the problems and possibilities, the following tips have been put together to help you come out with the right multi-family vacation travel plan for you and your family.

Make one person as the in charge of the vacation – This way one responsible person can coordinate different aspects of the family vacation with each other. While each of the members will be responsible for their own itineraries, but there will be one person who will look after the master schedule of the travel plan. In this manner, decisions can be made quickly without much delays and all the members will have a central point of contact which will reduce the confusion and malaise during vacation time.
Early decision on the dates, location and the venue is important – The part of deciding on the venue is the tough task as each of the members has their own likes and dislikes. Taking the opinion of the majority of the members is the best way of planning the trip. Also, each family member has their own budget restriction and thus putting together the family travel plan involves paying great attention to all these fine details.
Choosing the accommodations – Finalizing the kind of accommodations is extremely crucial in the travel plan. Depending on the average budget of each of the group members, you can either decide to go in for a villa rental or cruise or hotels and resorts.

Travel Planning – 5 Steps to Success

When you are embarking on a travel, the planning is the most important thing you need to do. You have to make sure everything is in order. Even the best things-the best vacation destination, the best hotel, etc.-can be of no avail if you have planned incorrectly.

Here is a travel planning guide you can use. It tells you of a systematic approach to plan your travel, which ensures you have a great time.

Research for the Destination

Where will you be going? This is the first thing you need to decide. The destination should be something that everyone in your party wishes to visit. That makes the vacation more enjoyable. It is great if there’s someone in the party who has visited the destination before, but if not, you need to get as much information as possible. Every popular vacation destination has a tourist website of its own, which is mostly run by the government of the place. Take some time out to research for your options through this website. Get somewhat acquainted with what kind of place it is-conservative or liberal as regards tourists, what kind of food you will get there, the climate, the appropriate dress to wear, the language to speak, etc.

What to Visit

Most people think about the hotel first and then what they would want to visit. This is the wrong way to go about it. First, you must draw up a list of the attractions the place has and then decide which of these you want to visit. Then you must chart out your route, or you could even call it your itinerary. This helps make more focused plans.

The Accommodation

Once you have the places you want to visit listed, you must look for accommodation in the nearby areas. This reduces the hassle and the cost of inner-city traveling. For accommodation, the Internet is your best guide. Every hotel worth its name has a website and you can book from there. Don’t underestimate the power of travel directories either. They will give you good comparative rates of different local hotels from which you can choose the one you like best. You can also read reviews here.

The Travel

You need to make your travel arrangements. Choose the mode you will need to, or like to, take-flight, rail, road, ship, whichever. Then see what dates are available. Getting tickets could be a problem if the place is very popular and it’s the peak season. That’s the reason why you should book travel and accommodation simultaneously, after finding out what options you have with both of them. Also, there are various websites that can give you great packages for travel and accommodation together, with goodies such as sightseeing trips thrown in.

Other Necessaries

Inner city travel is an important thing to book beforehand, or you should at least know what options you have. If the party is big, it makes sense to hire a private vehicle. Otherwise, you must find out about how you can use the local public transport. Also, find out about what sightseeing trips, cruises, adventure packages, etc. the place has. Book anything you want to check out, especially if it is very popular. Try to do your travel planning beforehand which ensures a relaxing time during the entire trip.

Koh Lipe The Peaceful Paradise of Thailand

Loads of fun is what you will get if you choose Koh Lipe as your Thailand destination. The island offers tonnes of activities ranging from as simple as relaxing on the shorelines to scuba diving. First things first, how to get to Koh Lipe. The two main ways are through Langkawi and Pak Bara. The Langkawi route is shorter but less reliable as it is only efficient during the high season (November-May). The other route is from Pak Bara and is available all year round, though ferry frequency depends on demand. It is, however, the most reliable route for anyone traveling to Koh Lipe.

Accommodation on the island is quite affordable especially during the low seasons. The resorts, however are reasonably priced even during the high season. There are also plenty of activities to undertake in especially if you want a more local and natural feel of the place. For instance, there are massage parlours along the beach. The massage is quite relaxing and worth every penny. You can also go shopping in various stalls within the area. For those after local cuisine, make sure to visit one of the many restaurants. You can even read reviews before visiting to ensure you get the best price and value for your money. There are also roadside food servings, which match up what gets offered in the hotels. They may be cheap but to avoid disappointments, ask around or read reviews.

The beaches at Koh Lipe have clear, calm and shallow waters. The four main beaches here are Pattaya Beach in the South, Karma Beach in the north, Sunrise Beach in the east (near Chao Ley Village) and the Sunset Beach in the west. While here, it is imperative that you keep in mind the fact that fishing on the island is restricted. You should, therefore, refrain from fishing trips and make sure you do not eat any fish caught locally. One more precaution, stonefish get spotted in this area. Though quite rare and the chances of getting stung are quite slim, wear protective footwear when swimming in the waters for prevention is better than cure. Nonetheless, there are two hospitals with English-speaking doctors for all your health concerns.

Take a boat to Koh Lipe and enjoy the peace provided by the Island. All thanks to the fact that it is well reserved and no unnecessary developments are allowed. As a matter of fact, only the Sea Gypsies living on the Far East side are there courtesy of a grant. Everything else is as it was when it got created. There are plenty of things to do as well as activities. They range from free diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. Now worries for those not well acquainted with sea sports. There are plenty of dive shops available such as the Castaway Divers, Ko Lipe Diving, and Sabye Diving, to mention but a few. All said and done, plan a trip to Koh Lipe, take your time and enjoy the activities referred to above, as you discover more on your own.

How to Go to Legoland From Singapore

If you are thinking of going to Legoland while in Singapore (SG), then you have to thank heaven for small mercies as there are several transport options you can choose from.

Legoland is one of the most accessible theme parks in the world as it sits just near the Lion City. In fact, getting there is not as difficult as one can imagine. This is why millions of tourists come to Legoland as it is just 45 kilometers away from the Garden City (another name for SG). What’s even more amazing is the fact that the theme park features seven more interesting theme parks within. Other than that, the place is also filled with restaurants, souvenir shops, and mini-shops which can really entice kids and adults as well to make Legoland a part of the itinerary when visiting Singapore.

How to Get There

Thanks to technology and foresight, going to Legoland is as easy as ABC. You can choose a method which suits your individual or family needs, budget and other preferences. Here are the transport options:

Bus

If travelling long distance and spending more time on the road does not bother you or your family, this is one good way to travel as you do not need advance booking. You can present your group at public bus terminals going to Johor Bahru. Just follow the Jurong East and Boon Lay going to Tuas Checkpoint, then get off when the bus stops at CIQ Interlink.

You can travel by bus from 7:00AM to 11:45PM, Monday to Sunday. From this point, you board on to another bus. Legoland will be the first stop of that trip. There are 8 bus trips from CIQ Interlink that starts from 9:00 in the morning every hour and 30 minutes after. Bus SI1 and Bus JP02 only has four trips in one day which starts at 8:30 am and then every 3 hours thereafter.

The price of bus tickets vary from SGD20 to SGD56 per person.

Taxi

If you want to travel faster than by bus, this is one of best options. You can hire an accredited taxi from Singapore and request to be dropped at Johor Bahru Sentral. Take another taxi from this point on to reach Legoland directly. With this method, you don’t have to travel at least two hours. You can even bring elderlies or those with comfort issues.

It is more expensive though and you have to book in advance. You may also optionally avail of a Legoland ticket reservation to facilitate convenient entry when you reach a customs office either in Malaysia or Singapore. Remember, only accredited taxis are allowed inside the Malaysia area and regular taxis are limited to the exit on the Singapore side. So to make it more convenient, you can arrange with your SG taxi to coordinate a Malaysian taxi which will meet you at the border.

Private Transport

When we say private, it is through a personal car or by renting a private vehicle service. The best thing about this option is that you will be picked up wherever you are in Singapore and you will be dropped directly at Legoland in Malaysia. Another amazing feature of this method is that you do not need to step out of the car once you reach custom checkpoints in both the Malaysian and Singaporean stations.

If you are renting a private car vehicle, it will cost around SGD 170 to SGD 320 depending on the type of vehicle you will book. This is of course the ideal option if you prefer a faster trip from SG to Legoland and you have the money to splurge. In addition, this is also great for groups as the greater number of people you travel with, the cheaper it becomes as you are renting the whole vehicle instead of paying on a per passenger basis.

Package Tour

You can book in advance from different travel agencies and let them take care of everything including arrange transportation services from Singapore to Legoland along with other perks like free bottled water (or even food), comfortable seating arrangements, child friendly seats, DVD players, TV monitor, or music player. Some package tours also include insurance coverage and providing entertainment requests whenever possible.

Whether you travel from Singapore to Legoland alone, with your family, or with a group, there is always one option that suits best for you.

Relish the Comfort and Convenience of Family Vacations

Family vacations have managed to earn widespread popularity throughout the world. However, do we really know the reason behind it? Why would we plan such a trip if we spend most of our time with our own folks? The fact that makes these vacations distinct from the rest is that all sorts of family holidays require extensive planning and research, which involves and enriches the people of a household. Let us now delve into some of the reasons, which have made these kinds of vacations or trips quite significant.

Four Reasons that make these Travels Important

1. In today’s world, everyone tends to stay busy. They hardly get time to sit and talk to each other. Vacations are an ideal way of spending quality time with your near and dear ones. You could converse with each other, indulge in various activities and thus, bonds would be strengthened.

2. Both the adults and children have to face many things in their everyday lives. The adults remain buried in their office work or household chores while the children have the pressure of studies. They hardly get any time to relax and their lives turn monotonous. Through frequent trips, both of them could forget their daily routine and enjoy without any worries. These vacations would successfully refresh their bodies and minds.

3. These trips would enable people to create wonderful memories, which could be cherished and remembered forever.

4. As the popular saying goes, ‘Experience is the best teacher’. Through vacations, people could have new and different experiences, which would allow them to perceive life in a completely new way. Moreover, these travels teach patience and the value of togetherness.

To make such trip absolutely successful, people need to pack certain essential goods. Let us see some of those necessary items, which you would need to make these trips accomplished.

Pack these Stuffs for such a Holiday

• Zip-top bags of varied sizes, which would make the organizing easier.

• Quick-dry clothes, which are easy to pack and wash.

• An adequate amount of food and water.

• A camera so that you do not miss to capture any of the memorable moment.

• Necessary cosmetics.

• Warm clothes and toys for your kids.

Taking vacations could do wonders for you as well as your family. However, without planning, these trips could be a big disappointment. There are some ways by which you can have exceptional holidays. Let us shift our glance towards them.

According to your interests, make a list of the destinations, which you would like to pay a visit to. Decide your budget, which would include accommodation and transportation costs. Plan the potential dates and acquire the tickets as well as book hotels duly. Chalk out the tourist attractions and the activities, where you would like to take part.