The Pet Food Ingredient Game

About 25 years ago I began formulating pet foods at a time when the entire pet food industry seemed quagmire and focused on such things as protein and fat percentages without any real regard for ingredients. Since boot leather and soap could make a pet food with the “ideal” percentages, it was clear that analytical percentages do not end the story about pet food value. I was convinced then, as I am now, that a food can be no better than the ingredients of which it is composed. Since this ingredient idea has caught on in the pet food industry, it has taken on a commercial life that distorts and perverts the meaning of the underlying philosophy of food quality and proper feeding practices. Is health reducible to which ingredients a commercial product does or does not have? As contradictory as it may seem to what I have just said, no it is not. Here’s why.

AAFCO Approval

The official Publication of the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) gives wide latitude for ingredients that can be used in animal foods. As I have pointed out in my book, The Truth About Pet Foods, approved ingredients can include*:

dehydrated garbage

undried processed animal waste products

polyethylene roughage replacement (plastic)

hydrolyzed poultry feathers

hydrolyzed hair

hydrolyzed leather meal

poultry hatchery by-product

meat meal tankage

peanut hulls

ground almond shells

(*Association of American Feed Control Officials, 1998 Official Publication)

Simultaneously, this same regulatory agency prohibits the use of many proven beneficial natural ingredients that one can find readily available for human consumption such as bee pollen, glucosamine, L-carnitine, spirulina and many other nutraceuticals. It would be easy to conclude that reason does not rule when it comes to what officially can or cannot be used in pet foods.

From the regulators’ standpoint, they operate from the simplistic nutritional idea that the value of food has to do with percentages and that there is no special merit to any particular ingredient. They deny the tens of thousands of scientific research articles proving that the kind of ingredient and its quality can make all the difference in terms of health. They also are silent about the damaging effect of food processing and the impact of time, light, heat, oxygen and packaging on nutritional and health value.

The 100% Complete Myth

Consumers are increasingly becoming alert to the value of more natural foods. Everyone intuitively knows that the closer the diet is to real, fresh, wholesome foods, the better the chance that good health will result. Unfortunately, people do not apply this same common sense to pet foods. Instead they purchase “100% complete” processed foods, perhaps even going the extra mile and selecting “super premium” or “natural” brands, thinking they are doing the best that can be done. They surrender their mind to a commercial ploy (100% completeness) and do to their pets what they would never do to themselves or their family – eat the same packaged product at every meal, day in and day out. No processed food can be “100% complete” because there is not a person on the planet who has 100% knowledge of nutrition. The claim on its face is absurd. Understanding this simple principle is more important than any pet food formulation regardless of the merits of its ingredients. Everything that follows will begin with that premise, i.e., no food should be fed exclusively on a continuous basis no matter what the claims of completeness or ingredient quality.

Genetics Is The Key

Pets need the food they are biologically adapted to. It’s a matter of context. Just as a fish needs to be in water to stay healthy, a pet needs its natural food milieu to be healthy. All creatures must stay true to their design. What could be more obvious or simple? For a carnivore the correct genetic match is prey, carrion and incidental fresh plant material, and even some fur and feathers, as well as the occasional surprise of unmentionables found in decaying matter. It’s not a pretty picture to think that “FiFi” with her pink bow and polished toenails would stoop to such fare, but that is precisely the food she is designed to eat. Since that is her design, matching food to that design (minus the more disgusting and unnecessary elements) is also the key to her health.

The Disease Price

We may prefer to feed a packaged, sterile, steam- cleaned, dried, farinaceous chunk cleverly shaped like a pork chop, but let’s not kid ourselves, that is not the food a pet is designed for….regardless of the claims about ingredients on the label making one think it is five-star restaurant fare. Pets may tolerate such food for a time, but in the end nature calls to account. The price to be paid is lost health in the form of susceptibility to infections, dental disease, premature aging, obesity, heart and organ disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other cruel and painful chronic degenerative diseases. Because our pets are not out in the rigors of nature where they would quickly succumb to such conditions and end their misery, they languish in our protected homes and under veterinary care that does not usually cure but merely treats symptoms and extends the time of suffering. That suffering begins with the way in which we are feeding our pets, not the ingredients in a supposed 100% complete pet food.

The Perfect Food

What is the solution? It is simple and something I have been preaching for the past 25 years. Return pets to their environmental roots. They need – daily – interesting activity, fresh air, clean water, romps in nature, lots of love, and food as close to the form they would find in the wild as possible. Fresh, whole natural foods fit for a carnivore and fed in variety are as good as it can get. Anything less than that is a compromise. Compromise the least if health is the goal. (Same principle applies to you and your family.) To get a packaged food as close as possible to that goal requires the right starting philosophy of feeding (described above) and the expertise to design and manufacture such foods.

Enter The Profiteers

Elements of these principles (often distorted or misunderstood) have been taken up by an endless line of pet food entrepreneurs. The low fat craze led to low fat pet foods. The high fiber craze led to high fiber pet foods. The “no corn, wheat or soy” craze led to no corn, wheat or soy pet foods. The “omega- 3” craze led to pet foods with fish oil. The “variety” craze led to pet foods supposedly offering variety. The “four food groups” craze led to all four bundled into a package. The “raw” craze has led to raw frozen pet foods. The list is endless and the race for pet owner dollars is at a fever pitch.

One can only feel sympathy for a concerned pet owner as they stroll along the huge array of pet food options in pet food aisles. Unfortunately, armed with only sound bites and lore they may have heard from a friend, breeder, veterinarian or on a commercial, they make choices that not only do not serve the health of their pet but may directly contribute to weakened immunity and disease.

The first thing consumers should keep in mind is the ideal diet for pets as described above. No packaged product regardless of its wild claims is ever going to equal that. The next best thing is to home prepare fresh meals. (Contact Wysong for recipes and instruction.) If that is not always possible, then products should be selected that are as close to the ideal as possible. (More suggestions below.)

Raw Frozen Pet Food Dangers

At first glance, considering the perfect feeding model I have described – raw, natural, whole – the best food may seem to be one of the raw frozen pet foods now clamoring to capture the “raw” craze. I’m sorry to say that some of these purveyors even use my books and literature to convince pet owners that their frozen products are on track. They take bits and pieces of good information and distort it into something that pretty much misses the point and misleads consumers. Also, these exotic frozen mixtures of ingredients of unknown origin, manufacturing and freezing conditions are most certainly not economical nor the best choice. They may, because of the water content and raw state, be outright dangerous.

Human Grade

Then there are claims about “USDA approved” ingredients, “human grade” ingredients and ingredients purchased right out of the meat counter at the grocery store. Again, at first glance – and superficiality is what marketers like to deal with – it may seem that such foods would have merit over others. But such labels only create a perception of quality. People would not consider the food pets are designed for in the wild – whole, raw prey and carrion – “human grade” or “USDA approved.” Because something is not “human grade” does not mean it is not healthy or nutritious. For example, chicken viscera is not “human grade” but carries more nutritional value than a clean white chicken breast. Americans think that chicken feet would not be fit for human consumption but many far eastern countries relish them. On the other hand, “human grade” beef steaks fed to pets could cause serious nutritional imbalances and disease if fed exclusively. Pet foods that create the superficial perception of quality (USDA, human grade, etc.) with the intent of getting pet owners to feed a particular food exclusively is not what health is about.

Pet Nutrition Is Serious Health Science

Pet nutrition is not about marketing and who can make the most money quickly. Unfortunately an aspiring pet food mogul off the street can go to any number of private label manufacturers and have a new brand made. These manufacturers have many stock formulas that can be slightly modified to match the current market trend. Voilà! A new pet food wonder brand is created.

Pet foods are about pet nutrition, and nutrition is a serious health matter. There is an implied ethic in going to market with products that can so seriously impact health. But the ethic is by and large absent in the pet food industry. Starting with the 100% claim and on to all the fad driven brands that glut the shelves, health is not being served. Nobody other than our organization is teaching people the principles I am discussing here. Instead, companies headed by people with no real technical, nutritional, food processing or health skills put themselves out to the public as serious about health … because that is what the public wants to hear and what sells. Never mind whether producers really understand or can implement healthy principles. The façade sells and selling is the game. Ingredients are important, true, but not less important than the expertise and principles of the producer who is choosing them, preparing, storing, processing and packaging them. Consumers place a lot of trust that nondescript processed nuggets are what consumers are being led to believe they are. Many a slip can occur between the cup and the lip. There are many slips that can occur between the cup of commercial claims and what ends up in the lips of the pet food bowl.

Consumer Blame

The consumer is not without guilt in this unfortunate – steady diet of processed pet food – approach to pet feeding. They want everything easy and inexpensive. They don’t want to learn or have to expend too much effort, and they want something simple to base decisions on like: “corn, wheat and soy are evil,” or “USDA approved,” or “human grade” or “organic is good.” They also want something for nothing and think they can get it in a pet food. People want prime choice meats, organic and fresh foods all wrapped up tidy in an easy open, easy pour package, hopefully for 50 cents a pound. They may even pay $1 or a little more if the producer can convince them about how spectacular their product is or how much cancer their pet will get if they choose another brand.

Are By-Products Evil?

In the processing of human foods there are thousands of tons of by-products that cannot be readily sold to humans. Does that make them useless or even inferior? No. Such by-products could include trimmings, viscera, organs, bones, gristle and anything else that humans do not desire. Should these perfectly nutritious items be buried in a landfill? As I mentioned above, while Earth’s resources continue to decline and people starve around the globe, should we feed our pets only “human grade” foods and let perfectly edible – and sometimes even more nutritious – by-products go to waste? How is that conscionable or justifiable for either the consumer or the producer?

Road Kill and Euthanized Pets

This shift to “human grade” for pet foods is partly due to a variety of myths that have gotten much stronger legs than they deserve. Lore has spread in the marketplace that road kill and euthanized pets are used in pet foods. I have never seen the proof for this outrageous claim and after twenty years surveying ingredient suppliers I have never found a supplier of such. However, fantastic myths easily get life and the more fantastic they are the more life they have. It’s the intellectually lazy way and what lies at the root of so much misery. Sloppy superficial thinking is what leads to racism, sexism, religious persecution and wars. People would like to think the world is sharply divided into right-wrong, good-evil, black-white. Marketers capitalize on this by trying to create such sharp distinctions for consumers to easily grab on to: human grade = good/all others = evil; organic = right/all others = wrong; rice = white/corn and wheat = black. Such simplistic and naïve distinctions are quick and simple for advertisers and salespeople to use to sway public opinion. But nobody stepping back and using common sense would ever think that something as complex as health could ever come from what is or is not in a processed bag of food. Reality is not black or white; it is in shades of gray. Grayness requires some knowledge, judgment and discernment before making choices. It’s a little more work but is what we all must do if the world is ever to be a better place and people and pet health are to improve.

Top 7 Specialty Food Trends For Local Food Crafters

The Cooking Channel, a baby sibling to Food TV Network is making its mark showcasing food crafters from around the nation. The old fashioned way to bring freshness and flavor to the community has found a rebirth in the form of homemade foods with a modern touch.

The sagging U.S. economy has motivated the creativity of many foodies who never thought about taking a family heirloom recipe from kitchen to market. Home-based food processing businesses are popping up all over the U.S. and the products are amazingly simple but sophisticated in taste and texture.

The home-based food crafters of today are not in it to get rich quick but to build a brand and become the “Bush Beans” or “Sara Lee” of tomorrow. Food entrepreneurs at this year’s Fancy Food Show in New York showcased everything from gourmet salt, an appropriate product since Kraft has announced it will reduce sodium by 10% for North American brands by 2012 thereby giving the consumer a healthy option.

In tracking the food crafters for the last ten years the prediction for 2011 is simplicity, good things in small packages. Food entrepreneurs are more calculating, seeking product ideas that will again shake consumer taste buds and offer up miniature desserts, breads and delicately flavored baked goods, snacks and condiments stressing quality over convenience.

1. Low sodium seasoning mixes are still popular along with curry spice mixes and adobe mixes. Unfortunately none of the Asian Mixes have made major headway with the American consumer.

2. Chocolate truffles are here to stay, for a while that is, particularly if the economy continues to dip into a black (dark chocolate) whole. There really is nothing more satisfying than good chocolate.

3. We also can’t leave out those super flavorful snack foods like popcorn, baked potato chips and assorted nuts tossed in a variety of herbs and spices. The key here is less salt and more flavor.

4. Natural sweeteners are going to make a great comeback in the form of all natural candies and snack bars filled with nuts, seeds, dried fruits, nut butters and even chocolate.

5. Desserts are about to be reduced drastically in size. It is not longer fashionable to super-size anything. There will be no large chunks of cake or pie except in cheesy diners.

6. The year 2011 is also give way to the introduction of miniature loaves of bread. The type of loaf that will serve 2 to 4 easily; since the idea of “waste not want not” will be on the rise.

7. Bakers will start looking to the international market for unusual flavors and products. A number of European sweets will be introduced like cream horns and fruit tarts using exotic fruits. The skyrocketing cost of food toward the mid 2011 is going to leave consumers who can afford these sweet treasures seeking foods that are completely outside the box in both taste and texture.

Finally the last three gourmet foods for next year will be in the form of beverages; fruit juices, energy drinks and “all-natural” beverages that will take the place of breakfast and lunch. It is unfortunate, but next year Americans will finally be eating less, not by choice but out of necessity.

Finding the Right Kitchen Space for Your Specialty Food Business

While regulations vary by state, most states have traditionally not allowed you to manufacture food products in your home kitchen if you intend to sell them. In the past year or two, however, several states have enacted “Cottage Food” laws, whereby start up food producers CAN prepare certain foods in their homes without the usual licensing. Each state has its own guidelines regarding what kind of foods are allowed or prohibited, what the labeling requirements are, where these food products can be sold and more. These laws also cap gross sales, so once your sales go above that amount, you become subject to all the usual regulations.

Your best bet is to do an online search on “cottage food laws” for more information about the specific rules and laws in your particular state.

Some states with or without cottage food laws may still require your home kitchen meet commercial grade kitchen standards and pass a health department inspection. No one wants to find dog hair in their food! (In fact, every cottage food state prohibits pets from being in the home.) And even if you are allowed to use a home kitchen, you might still choose to find a commercial kitchen because it’s just more efficient. Once I moved to a kitchen that had the full size commercial ovens, planetary mixer and tons of counter space, there was no going back! It was so much easier and quicker to produce in that environment.

Ideas

So where do you look for commercial kitchen space? You have a lot of options. When you’re looking, keep an open mind and be willing to be creative. There’s really no reason for you to invest in creating your own commercial kitchen space at the start up phase (costs can easily reach $50,000 in no time!) unless you know for sure you have significant production contracts in hand that will justify the large capital outlay necessary.

One choice is to rent space in a kitchen that is already licensed for commercial preparation. Many food entrepreneurs have started out using space in a restaurant, working there during the hours the restaurant is closed. Check out restaurants that are open only for breakfast and lunch; maybe you can use their space in the evenings. Talk to area caterers about using their kitchens too. Depending on what kind of catering they do, they may have the equipment you need. Many caterers aren’t very busy in their kitchens early in the week, so you could be in there on a Monday or Tuesday.

Some areas of the country have incubator kitchens for early-stage food businesses. These facilities offer shared rental opportunities and are fully equipped and licensed. Sometimes these facilities are connected to a university. In other cases, this type of kitchen may cater to a specific type of food business, vegetarian or baking or canning only, for example. One place to look for these types of kitchens is www.CulinaryIncubator.com. If you’re making jam, beans, salsa or the like, you could find a local cannery or canning facility. This page has a list of canning kitchens: http://pickyourown.org/canneries.htm that may be a good start for you.

Co-op kitchens are commercial kitchens that are set up for a variety of food producers and allow you to rent time and space in their facility. One example of such a facility is the Production Kitchen in West Palm Beach. Look online for this kind of arrangement in your area.

Do you have a Moose, Elk, Knights of Columbus or Shriners lodge in your town? Believe it not, this was the place I used in the very beginning of my business’ life. I knew some of the Shriners from the Chamber of Commerce and they were happy to help me get started. They charged a minimal hourly rate and I used their kitchen on Mondays. The men who were members kind of adopted me as their own “cookie lady” and loved coming through the kitchen to see what was going on when I was working there.

When it was time to move on, I ended up in a local church kitchen. Religious houses, like churches or synagogues, are great options because they aren’t usually in use during the week. And you might be surprised at how well-appointed these facilities are. I was! Not having had reason to be in one for years, I was thrilled to find three full-size commercial gas ovens, full-size baking pans, five or six cooling racks, a 35-gallon Hobart mixer, measuring spoons and cups, and an incredible amount of counter and refrigeration at my disposal. Like I mentioned earlier, there was no turning back to something smaller after that.

As a note, you don’t necessarily have to be a member of the congregation to use their kitchen.

Keep in mind that regardless of where you decide to produce your food product, even though that facility will (presumably) have proper licensing and insurance, you will still need some of your own licensing (at the least a city and/or county business license) and liability insurance.

Payment

Some facilities, like the co-op kitchens, will have set prices for their use. Others, like the restaurants and churches, may not have ever participated in such an arrangement before, so you’ll have some flexibility in working with them to establish something that works for both of you. Make sure you know what kind of budget you have to spend on this. The very first place I used, before the Shriners, I negotiated an amount that turned out to be way too high (I wasn’t selling nearly enough product to cover my rent there), and I had very limited access to it. Fortunately I didn’t have a long-term agreement and I was able to get away after just a few months and move to the Shriners’ facility with much more favorable terms. When I started working at the church kitchen, payment was made as donations to the church because non-profit organizations cannot legally rent out kitchen space for a for-profit businesses.

Persistence

As with anything worth having or finding, you may encounter several rejections or dead ends as you search for the perfect place to produce your food product. I can’t recall exactly how many facilities I called. I left messages that weren’t returned and started hopeful conversations with countless people who never followed through. Be prepared for this journey and know that the right situation IS out there for you. Keep on searching and calling and you will meet with success!

So You’ve Got a Recipe and You Want to Sell a Food Productc

You’ve been making this recipe forever and every time you share the results, someone says, “Wow, this is so good! You should sell it.” And that’s where you gets stuck, because you have no idea what to do next.

When you’re at this stage, at the very beginning with no clue what to do next, you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know even know what questions to ask. Eight years ago I was in your shoes. I needed help; I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know where to turn.

I stumbled along, making mistakes, spending money I didn’t have and sometimes getting lucky and finding solutions that worked. I looked for help from people who’d “been there” too. Shari Fitzpatrick, founder of Shari’s Berries, and I had a conversation during which I recall asking the most intelligent questions I could come up with. She was very kind in sharing her experience, but in hindsight, and to my point, I’m not sure I got as much as I could have out of that conversation. First because it was only about 15 minutes long and more critically, because I wasn’t sure what to ask. I wonder if she hung up from that call thinking, “ha, good luck to that girl ’cause she does NOT know what she’s doing.”

Eventually, I managed to piece together enough of what I needed to know to get the right incorporation, licensing, business and liability insurance, registration for sales tax, space in which to bake, ingredient, packaging and shipping vendors and so on. Quite possibly, I may have (unknowingly) violated some laws. This was not the fast track, but there wasn’t any other way, and I was determined to keep moving forward!

There is plenty of information “out there” about starting a generic business. Much of it applies to your start-up business whether you’re a food entrepreneur or a hair stylist. And it’s still confusing. Add in that you’re producing a product that people EAT, and laws that change frequently, and now it’s even more confusing and yet important that you get it right.

Here’s a brief checklist of the first crucial steps you need to take if you want to turn a recipe into a successful food business.

1. Determine to WHOM you are going to sell. Is there even a market, beyond your well-meaning friends and family, for your product? Many of the rest of your decisions depend on this one. PS: “Everyone” is not the right answer.

2. Incorporate your business. It’s important for tax purposes as well as liability and asset protection. Which type of incorporation you choose depends on your personal situation and merits discussion with your CPA.

3. Get liability and business insurance. Especially with a food business, there are too many factors and risks lurking to play around here.

4. Take care of these first two steps BEFORE you sell one bite of anything!

5. Register your business with the state and get any local city or county licensing.

6. Find a place to produce your product that fits your (probably) limited budget. Be realistic about how much you can sell, how much space you need to produce, and how much time it will take you to do it. Some states or counties allow you to start out in a home kitchen. Many do not and you have to find a commercial facility.

7. Figure out the most cost-effective way to buy ingredients. There’s a catch-22 when you’re starting out. You aren’t producing in large enough quantities to buy from a food distribution company and you can’t afford to buy ingredients at retail grocery stores. Wholesale clubs are one solution or depending on what kind of facility you’re using for production, you may be able to participate in a group order.

8. Determine what the best equipment to get the job done is. Do you need a mixer, oven, extruder, freezer, steam juicer? Will you have to buy it or can you find another way to get use of whatever equipment you need?

9. OR, are you going to work with a co-packer/contract producer and have someone else make your product on your behalf? Make sure you get referrals and ask all the right questions before committing to this kind of arrangement.

10. Find one or two or ten reliable packaging suppliers. Get samples of what you think you want to use. Test it all out and make sure it works for your purposes. BTW, if you only have one place from which to order your “unique” packaging, what happens when they can no longer supply you? (Trust me, I speak from panicked experience on this one.)

Lots of people have great recipes and many of them have thought about selling their food products. Some even take the leap and pursue the dream. The only ones who succeed are those who find the right resources and help along the way, whether deliberately or by sheer dumb luck. Are you going to rely on luck or would you like a roadmap?

Promotional Products for Travel and Leisure

Choosing promotional products can be tricky for your business. The key however, is to make them as relevant to your business as possible. The next step would be to personalise them to make them not only attractive, but also to define them as representing your company. This can be achieved with a range of printing and design work, aimed to market the product to your target audience.

If your business is involved in the travel and leisure industry, then it goes without saying that you should be searching for relevant products. Thankfully, the market is awash with all kinds of promotional products geared up for every line of industry, large or small.

Travel and leisure encompasses a vast array of products, so you will certainly not be lacking for choice. The one problem will be selecting individual products from such a large list. Even so, having such a range can only be a positive thing.

If your business caters for a type of sport, then you’ll find an excellent amount of products and will be pleasantly surprised by what you can make your own and personalise. Just for golf alone, you can purchase tees, golf balls, gloves, ball markers, club covers, pencils, caps, socks and more still.

Other fantastic options in terms of more general travel and leisure would be luggage tags, bank card holders, travel toothbrush, drawstring bags, beach balls, water bottles, travel games, first aid kits, pool inflatables, travel cushions and pocket fans. The list just goes on and on. Take bottles for instance – this is a single item but one that has a hundred variants, shapes, colours and sizes. It is some task to narrow it down to one particular item, but one that will be worth it in the long run.

The vast amount of goods available out there for travel and leisure makes it a very competitive market and so choose wisely before you buy and not act on impulses alone. The cost varies greatly between each item and you want to try and get the best value for money as possible, without losing too much in terms of quality.

By using the best travel and leisure promotional products, displaying them well and having them printed with your company details, you stand a great chance for a successful campaign. Products like those described are a fantastic marketing tool for getting the word out there about your business.

The Best Deals of Travel and Leisure Magazine

Constant travelers who want to score the best deals in every continent that they step into should never do without a copy of travel and leisure magazine. This magazine which is well known as travel + leisure magazine provides the A lists of the best hotels, restaurants, wellness clubs, cruise ships, events and festivals, resorts and beaches, food and drinks, and other significant facts that are essential to the well-being of one’s travel itinerary. The travel and leisure magazine is a top rated, professional travel companion that would make sure you do not lose your way in every travel decision that you make.

The travel and leisure magazine used to be a compiled journal of travel photographs which placed emphasis on leisure travel and often features contributions from novelists, poets, travel columnists, artists, and avid travelers who are eager to share their acquired wisdom and serve as a helpful guide especially for those who are still neophyte in the realm of travel. The magazine publishes in a monthly basis and has several international editions such as China, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and South East Asia though most of them were already defunct.

The magazine is famous for their World’s Best Awards which is announced every August and has been practiced since 1995. This is an award body created on a basis of an annual survey from magazine readers who gave out their quantitative rating of world’s best travel destination and accommodation. For the 2010’s survey of the World’s Best Awards, the travel and leisure magazine offers a chance to those who will take the survey of winning a $10,000 dream trip. This award has various categories namely hotels, islands, cities, airlines and cruises, wellness and spas and business hotels. These categories are featured on all continents that the travel and leisure magazine encompass such as US and Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, Europe, Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific. Last 2009, the Bushman’s Kloof atop the Cedarberg Mountains in Western Cape, South Africa emerged as the record holder of the number one spot in the survey with an overall score of 98.67.

Aside from the World’s Best Awards, the travel and leisure magazine also has what they call T+L 500 Best Hotels and America’s Favorite Cities where subscribers and magazine readers rank cities in the U.S. based on several categories. The categories are very informative because it covers almost all the things that one needs to know in famous cities such as their culture, hotels, nightlife, shopping malls, food and dining places, and airports.

The travel and leisure magazine also provides educational articles that are full of ideas not just about traveling but also informative discussions such as books and movies, charity programs, sports and fitness, gadgets, arts and culture, and basic photography lessons.

For those who are interested in subscribing to the travel and leisure magazine, the publication is giving out two risk-free issues of the magazine.

Use a Travel and Leisure Magazine to Plan Your Getaway

Whether you are looking to find a romantic weekend for two or a week long getaway for the whole family, a travel and leisure mag can make your planning easier. You can find recommendations for destinations and hotels in the area, a list of things to do, and reviews on lodging, restaurants, and attractions. In addition, you can usually find special offers available only to the readers of the travel and leisure mag that can save you some serious money.

You can read your travel and leisure mag online, or purchase a copy at your local newsstand. Either way, you will find fascinating articles and a wealth of information. Many sponsor contests for the readers of their travel and leisure mag, so you just might win the trip you’ve been longing to take.

Detailed hotel reviews are to be found at almost every travel and leisure site. You can find out whether they are quiet, clean, and efficient, as well as whether they have restaurants or clubs on the premises. Any other services, such as valet parking, turn down service, concierge, and currency exchange will also be provided by the travel and leisure mag.

One of the best sources for information on cruises is a travel and leisure mag. You will discover which lines or ships provide the most activities for children and which ones are planned for adults. You can also find out whether cruises are planned for singles, couples wishing to take a second honeymoon, or the entire family from Grandma to toddler. Often, you can find discount coupons at a travel and leisure magazine online site that will make your cruise even more affordable.

A travel and leisure magazine can also provide recommendations for destinations that may not have been on your list, but are exactly what you are seeking. Perhaps you want to find a beach resort that is off the beaten track, affordable, and far from the crush of civilization. Browsing a travel and leisure mag may be able to provide you with a list of several destinations that fit the bill.

Even if your travel plans are many years in the future, you can still use a travel and leisure mag to plan the vacation you will someday take. Anticipation is half the fun, anyway, and a vacation that you take only in your imagination still offers some benefit to your psyche.

A travel and leisure mag is practically an essential for couples planning a honeymoon. Together they can search for potential destinations and select one with features of interest to both. They can compare hotel rates and amenities, learn how to reach their destination, and perhaps find discounts to make their honeymoon even more special.

You can also use a travel and leisure mag to plan a day trip for the entire family. Almost everyone has state or national parks, amusement parks, or museums within a few hours’ drive. The magazine will provide with information on location, hours of operation, cost, and what is offered. That way, you will know in advance what to expect when you take your crew out for the day or weekend.

Travel and Leisure Hotels to Fit Your Budget

When it is time to plan a vacation or a weekend trip, you may need to find travel and leisure hotels that will work with your budget. You also want to find choices that offer the amenities you need and the location you want.

The Internet is a good place to locate travel and leisure hotels. Many travel sites offer an excellent starting point, although few have enough information available to make your final decision. However, you can find the names of the travel and leisure hotels that meet your minimum requirements and then visit their home pages individually.

Start by answering why you need to find travel and leisure hotels and for whom. Are you traveling for business or taking a romantic vacation? Who will be in the party? Will it be adults only, or will children be included? If children are going, what are their ages? Will you need child care services? Do you plan to rent a car or walk to local attractions? Once you have defined why you are looking for travel and leisure hotels and who will comprise the party, you can start looking for travel and leisure hotels that will fit those needs.

As you find hotels that might suit your requirements, map out their locations in relation to other attractions you want to visit. Travel and leisure hotels with a slightly higher daily rate may not be the best option if everything else is on the opposite side of a large city, since taxi fares will quickly exceed any savings.

Investigate all amenities offered by all the different hotels. If you work out daily, you might want to find one with a free gym for guests. Perhaps you want a hotel with an indoor pool for taking the children for a swim. You might want to limit your potential travel and leisure hotels to those with 24 hour room service, particularly if you are planning a second honeymoon or romantic weekend. Or if you are traveling on business, you might need on-site cleaning and laundry service.

Certain individuals with health needs may need travel and leisure hotels with specific amenities. For example, those who need to keep insulin refrigerated would probably prefer a room with a mini-fridge. Those with breathing problems might prefer a room on a lower floor just in case there is a power failure or other emergency requiring the use of stairs.

Perhaps you want to narrow your search for hotels to only those with onsite restaurants. This can save time and make it easier when traveling with a large party, since people can eat when they want and there is no need to try to coordinate a meal time for a group.

Once you have a list of hotels that seem like suitable candidates, you can check further on things like cancellation policies, check-in and check-out times and procedures, and parking availability. You may also want to know if there is a club, spa, or convenience store onsite.

With just a little research, you will no doubt find many travel and leisure hotels that interest you. By finding the one with the most qualities you desire, you will make sure that you and everyone traveling with you will have the best trip possible.

Travel and Leisure Resorts

If you are planning to embark on a luxury cruise voyage, then do not hesitate any more. As much as it may look like just an ordinary leisure outing, at the end of it all you will have developed great and lasting friendship with your cruising partners. It is from such friendships that you get to learn very many things that you never knew.

During your journey, you will be overjoyed to spend some time in the travel and leisure resorts which offer marvelous services and delicacies. As you cruise all over the fabulous ports and any other place that the cruise ship sails, you should not be worried of where you will sleep or eat. Almost all travel and leisure resorts operate all day and night long. Other than the mega cruise liners, there also exist a number of various types of ships that are of different sizes. Despite the big craze of travelling in the big ships, the smaller cruise ships are better when it comes to inland waterways navigation. This makes it very simple to view historic landmarks and cities.

Travel and leisure resorts offer some good place to relax after all the day’s site seeing and travelling. If you choose to travel on a larger cruise, they organize one or two shore excursions at every port of call. You get to go for one excursion in the morning hours, and the other one in the afternoon then from there you get your time to rest at any of the travel and leisure resorts. After the first excursion, all people gather back at the travel and leisure resorts for a sumptuous lunch buffet.

Although travel and leisure resorts also offer dinner, you might always miss it on the days that you go out for an afternoon excursion and come back late at night or early evening. However, you should not miss out on any adventure just because of one meal or two. The travel and leisure resorts are always open and all of them offer very good and high quality meals. Sometimes, you can even explore the city, an island, town, or other landmarks and tourist attractions on your own provided you get to the ship on time or else, it will sail without you.

Do not forget that your vacation time is limited. You should distribute your time effectively so that you do not spend too much time in the travel and leisure resorts at the expense of shore excursions. The other very important thing that you should not forget to carry with you is the travel guide book. Without this book, you may end up lost or you may never know where certain sites are found. Some travel and leisure resorts have these guides but they cannot allow you to leave with them. Similarly, you can also carry a camera which you will use to take photos and videos. You should therefore make sure that the memory card is big enough to store all those images and videos.

Travel And Leisure Jobs Available

Actually working in this industry is so exciting. You work as you enjoy and also get to meet a lot of amazing people with different cultures and beliefs. This makes the job an exciting experience that you don’t even want to go on leave. Don’t give me those eyes, you will know what I am saying once you start working in the industry.

The list of travel and leisure jobs available is long and endless. There are so many jobs to choose from. Ranging from travel to sports to holidays and to anything leisure you can imagine. You can work as a sport instructor, like say a swimming instructor. You can be a gym instructor, can work in a massage palour, can be a tour guide, can be a travel agent, can be in the cabin crew, can even be a driver for a tours company and the list is endless!

The most common place you can work while in this industry is in a hotel. This is where most people who travel stay while on their holiday or trip. This place therefore offers the largest percentage of jobs in this category. From hotel managers, to those who take care of you during your stay, to the chefs, to outdoor activities managers and many other uncountable posts. All you have to do is have the required skills and the job might be yours. These top hotels should therefore be one of your top search places for travel and leisure jobs.

Hotels are everywhere because lots of people are travelling daily. This therefore means, the jobs are everywhere and getting your dream travel and leisure should be a big problem. Apart from hotels, jobs are available in national parks, animal sanctuaries and orphanages, sports clubs, airports, beaches, travel agencies and almost virtually everywhere.

Internet can also be a good place where you can get your travel and leisure job. In this day, there are so many sites online just dedicated to find you a travel and leisure job. All you have to do, is register and maybe upload your curriculum vitae, then your employer will find you. Alternatively, you can browse the jobs available and apply for them online. This is a very easy and efficient way of looking for that travel and leisure dream job.

Having known that you can always get that job you wanted, I will advise that you make a move towards getting it. You also understand that competition is high and you got to be smart and fast when you are eyeing a certain job. As I said, hotels are always a good place to start with. Chances are your fate might be to work there. These other places too should not be ignored. So start now and get your travel and leisure job, before someone takes it.