It’s no wonder that travelling can be a stressful affair when you have to contend with huge waiting lines at the airport, long flights and other general discomforts for a work trip. If you are unfamiliar with your destination, even simple tasks such as finding good restaurants, gyms and entertainment can be a chore. With that in mind, we bring you ten of the best tips to help you make the most out of your working day and have some time to left over to sit back and enjoy the experience of business travel.
Double book flights for important trips
If missing out on a meeting or event is not an option, it may be a good idea to double book your flight for added security in case a flight is delayed or cancelled. Do this by purchasing a fully refundable ticket from a different airline but be sure to double check the airline’s terms and conditions in order to make your claim once you have successfully boarded your intended flight. Most airlines offer fully refundable tickets to passengers who fly business class.
A good way of making sure you have all your essentials in the event your luggage gets lost in transit is to pack a carry-on bag. Include your valuables, clothing and toiletries and medicines if you have any; to make room for crucial items you can skimp on things that can be bought easily at your destination. It helps to choose the right hand luggage that fits the airline’s specifications and to double check how much your bags weigh so that you won’t end up having to check them in.
Arrange your mode of transport in prior to the trip
Chauffeured airport transfers are an excellent way of getting around efficiently and will impress your clients at the same time. It is reassuring to have a pre-arranged limo smoothly take you from airport to hotel in comfort with none of the stress of having to wait for your pick up or wonder if your driver knows where he or she is going. Professional chauffeurs are often friendly, knowledgeable about the local area and are more than happy to assist you in whatever way they can.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle on the move
Staying healthy is even more of a challenge when you are out of your usual environment but by eating and sleeping properly, you will be better equipped to tackle your working day. Arrive refreshed at your destination by maintaining your routine as best as you can – eat, sleep and brush your teeth at the same time you normally would and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water during the flight. On arrival, keep up your healthy habits by preparing healthy snacks such as fruit and yoghurt to carry with you and avoid excessive alcohol and heavy foods. It doesn’t hurt to take a dose of multivitamins to ensure you get all the nutrients you need to power on.
Prepare for any potential or existing health issues
According to a government health agency, there is a 50% that overseas travellers will experience a travel-related illness the most common of which is gastrointestinal infection. For this reason it is best to avoid poorly prepared or raw foods such as milk and uncooked eggs as well as untreated water if you are unsure of the hygiene standards of the place you are visiting. For other medical issues you may have, it is handy to check in with your GP before you travel and obtain all the necessary medications and prescriptions beforehand. Also have a medical check up and find out the closest place for you to get medical attention before you leave.
Use the concierge
Hotel concierges are extremely useful for anything from directing you to the best spas and salons in the area to helping you find the local gym. The concierge at luxury hotels like the Four Seasons or Westin has extensive contacts with top restaurants and can often arrange last minute reservations for you not to mention a better table than you may be able to get yourself.
Make use of technology
There are many handy apps and websites that can make travel a whole lot easier. Try Flightstats.com to check the status of your flight, Tripit, an all-in-one travel organiser and Translate. You can check online reviews to scout local gems or use maps on your smart phone to explore someplace new. To keep track of finances, download a currency converter app.
Learn the local lingo
It’s important to know the basics of the local language if you’re visiting a non-English speaking place. Not only will you be more respected for making an effort, learning a few key phrases such as “please”, “thank you” and “where is…” will help you get assistance if you find yourself on your own without a translator. Brush up on the local etiquette, culture and laws to avoid causing offence especially at business meetings.
Arrange for internet and phone access
For the modern business traveller, steady internet and phone access is crucial to productivity. In more metropolitan places it can be easy to find free wifi hotspots but consider buying an international data plan to ensure that you always have access. Negotiate with your mobile service provider to establish rates as they may be able to set up a deal for you which will save both time and money. You will have the advantage of having an internet connection no matter where you are. If you are unable to obtain a wireless connection, check with your hotel to see if they offer a wired option or have workstations available for rent.
Track your expenses
Having to put together an expense report after an exhausting business trip can be fairly unpleasant especially if you are inputting them by hand. Try using an automated expense app such as Concur Travel & Expense will save you the hassle of gathering bits of travel papers and receipts for your report. Other similar apps include Trip Boss which is an expense and budget travel manager with tip and currency calculators and XpenseTracker which features a mileage tracker, both available on iTunes.
With summer just around the corner in Sydney, there are a multitude of events and festivities that are perfect for celebrating the warm weather. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day out or a fun filled party, kick start your spring time revelries with our exciting list of events and get there in style with Encore.
Spring time in Sydney is dominated by the fabulous Spring Racing Carnival (14 Sep – 19 Oct) which is fast becoming one of Sydney’s iconic events of the year. With newly renovated facilities worth 150 million, the Royal Randwick Racecourse and Rosehill Racecourse are perfect venues for a buzzing fashion and social scene. The premier event of the Spring Racing Carnival is Golden Rose Stakes at Rosehill, held on Saturday 14 September with a prize of 1 million, the richest in Sydney.
Book your ticket at http://theraces.com.au/
Hit the Northern Beaches for the Willoughby Spring Festival (1-30 Sep) and Manly Arts Festival (19-29 Sep). The month-long Willoughby Spring Festival is packed full of events that range from fashion, art, music and theatre. Highlights include a street parade through the heart of Chatswood and Sands of the Silicate, a one-off event featuring the lighting of a fire sculpture to be held on Saturday 28 September. Similarly Manly Arts Festival is loaded with attractions featuring exhibitions, films, concerts and dance.
In tune with the increasingly balmy weather, the must-see production of South Pacific will be playing at the Opera House from 10 September to 2 November. South Pacific is a sell out show featuring acclaimed Australian actors and singers Lisa McCune, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Christine Anu. Escape into catchy tunes like Some Enchanted Evening, There is Nothin’ Like a Dame and Bali Ha’I and immerse yourself in the romance of two couples dealing with the realities of WWII. For a glamourous and stress free night out, book in advance at Ticketek to get the best seats in the house.
Spring racing season is upon us and what better way to celebrate than to dress up and enjoy a friendly bet over a glass of champagne with friends. It’s important to look your very best and this year’s various events is a chance to showcase your personal style. If you are in need of inspiration on what to wear this season or want to update your current look, here’s a list of all the latest trends and essentials to get you started on perfecting your Spring races wardrobe!
Ladies Spring Racing Fashion
For 2013, it’s all about 1920’s style flair, monochrome and elegant classics. Think the Great Gatsby, and sophisticated style muses like Grace Kelly and Liz Taylor. Channel the glamour of silver screen actresses with a modern day interpretation for the races. Remember that race day fashion needs to look polished and put-together so even though the ensemble doesn’t have to match, the components of the outfit have to complement each other.
Headwear: An essential part of race day fashion. From fascinators to hats and everything in between, headwear should reflect your style and personality. Popular colours for 2013 are bold shades of green, purple fuchsia and tangerine. Choose your headwear according to the occasion and weather conditions and consider visiting a milliner who will make a piece uniquely tailored for you.
Frocks: Continuing with the 1920’s flapper trend, look no further than the Great Gatsby for your style inspiration. Key looks include flared dresses, ruffles, feathers and furs along with pretty pastels and romantic lace, beading and other intricate details. For another classic look, black and white ensembles are right on trend so look for monochromatic stripes and block patterns.
Shoes: Shoes can make or break your spring races outfit and should be chosen to add the finishing touches to your outfit without detracting from it. Make sure they are in good condition and invest in accessories such as silicon pads to avoid blisters and a pair of heel protectors such as Starlettos which will prevent your heels from sinking in the grass so that you can stay on your feet all day long at the races.
Men’s Spring Racing Fashion
The Spring Racing trends for 2013 are blue, in all different shades, and French Riviera inspired fashion with its striped patterns and palette of red, white, navy and black. Utilise a combination of textures to play up the contrast between separate pieces. Be on the lookout for combinations of wool, cotton, linen and silk as well as standout accessories such as hats, hankies, socks and ties to pull off a sophisticated race day look.
Headwear: Heavy fabrics such as felt and tweed are more suited to winter and should be avoided. Opt for something lighter such as quality straw in different styles such as gangster-inspired or Mad Men-esque headwear. If in doubt, a classic fedora is an easy option that will match with almost everything.
Suits: It almost goes without saying that tailored suiting is essential for looking perfect on race day events. Express your individuality by choosing fun patterns and quirky accessories to distinguish your race day outfit from your every day corporate look. This season bold hues especially various shades of blue from aqua to indigo, navy and turquoise are a big part of the 2013 look. Be adventurous by mixing various patterns such as check and polka dot and don’t forget to accessorise with cufflinks, ties and sunglasses. Keep in mind that pocket squares are mandatory for Spring Racing.
Shoes: Choose good quality leather shoes and ensure that they are well maintained. Avoid loafers and suede shoes as they may end up covered in mud or otherwise ruined. A lace-up style with rounded toes is a fashionable and comfortable option for race day wear.
Spring Carnival Racing is a marvellous affair with fashion and fun but for those not involved in the world of racing, placing a winning bet can be a challenge. Arm yourself with our races cheat sheet and you’ll be betting like a race track pro in no time!
Types of wagers
There are two types of wagers to pick from when you make a bet: straight and exotic. Most people stick to straight wagers which are simple and cost effective; to make a bet, pick a horse to come in first, second or third. Exotic wagers are harder to win and require more skill in picking horses but the pay offs are higher.
For straight bets you have four options:
- Win horse finishes first
- Place horse finishes first or second
- Show horse finishes in top three
- Across the board wager horse finishes first, second or third
Types of races
There are several main types of races:
- Maiden races are for horses that have yet to win a race
- Claiming races where the horses are available for purchase
- Allowance races are races with specific conditions such as the weight a horse can carry
- Stakes which is the premier race for the best horses
- Oaks races for 3 year old fillies only
- Derby races which are restricted to 3 year old horses
How to place your bet
Once you have made your betting decisions it is time to go to the ticket window and place it. You’ll need to relay the following info to the teller:
- Name of the racetrack
- Number of race
- The amount you’re betting
- Type of bet
- Which horse or horses you’re betting on by the number
Once you’re done be sure to put your ticket in a safe place so you can come back and collect your earnings with it if you win.
Aside from your fabulous outfit, there are some additional items you may want to take with you at the races:
- Binoculars will help you see your favourites across the finish line
- Race track program or race card where you can find information about the horses, jockeys and trainers
- Daily Racing Form (DRF) contains information about the past performances of horses and other tips
How to pick the winning horse
If you’re not an expert you can still increase your odds of winning with the following tips:
- Get as much information as you can from the race day program and listen out for tips from the experts
- Consider what class they are racing in and if it is higher than the class they usually race
- Surface of the race track
- Past performance of the horse, jockey and trainer
- Observe the horse prior to the race. Like people horses may be jittery or moody and not as prepared to race compared to a calm and focused horse.
A day at the races is always a dramatic and entertaining experience. Win or lose, you’re still able to have a great time soaking up the spring weather and enjoying the atmosphere that is the Spring Carnival.
With her chart topping single Diamonds, pop star Rihanna’s Diamonds World Tour is her fifth concert tour and was launched to support her 7th studio album Unapologetic (2012). The entertainment veteran is the recipient of six Grammy Awards® and seven Billboard Music Awards and is the current record holder for being the top selling digital artist of all time.
Expect to see Rihanna don top notch outfits created by designers from Givenchy, Christian Dior and Christian Louboutin as she performs chart toppers such as Umbrella, Don’t Stop the Music, Only Girl (In the World) and Take a Bow. The Diamonds World Tour has been successful world-wide, selling out in many locations across the globe as Rihanna showcases her lush performance style and sassy attitude, wowing fans and critics alike.
Add to your VIP experience, by booking a fuss-free transfer with Encore to see this sell-out show. Don’t miss a beat and get there in style.
Sydney Roosters v Manly Sea Eagles
This year’s NRL Grand Final between the Roosters and Sea Eagles promises drama, excitement and plenty of action. After their knockout victory against the Newcastle Knights over the weekend, the Roosters will roll on to face the Sea Eagles at the sell-out match at ANZ Stadium. As of yesterday it has been announced that Shayne Hayne and Ben Cummins will be the referees of the match. Furthermore, former Bulldogs fullback Luke Patten will make history by being the ex player to officiate at a match as he takes on the role of video referee for the upcoming game.
Manly coach Geoff Toovey has yet to make his final decision on star player Richie Fa’aoso after calling for an extended bench yesterday while the Rooster’s line-up remain unchanged. For the Roosters the stakes have never been higher since they have won only two of their previous ten matches with the Sea Eagles in the lead up to 2013 in spite of their solid performance this season against other teams. For fans, it is impossible to make predictions for the outcomes of the Roosters/Sea Eagles matchup but it is undoubtable that the clash between the two teams will be intense.
As the premier sporting event in Sydney, the Grand Finals have always sparked excitement across the city as thousands tune in to catch the game. Get to your match on time without hassle by making all your transport arrangements as early as possible. Our impeccable service will deliver you to and from your destination so that you can sit back, relax and enjoy the amazing atmosphere of the Grand Finals. Add the perfect touch to what has been a fantastic finals series and celebrate in style with Encore’s luxury transfer.
Keep the Spring Races going with Sydney’s extravagant Fernhill Estate Picnic Race Day
If you’re still in party mode after the Melbourne Cup, don’t miss out on Sydney’s first and only country race day which will be held at the historic Fernhill Estate. Located just an hour from Sydney’s CBD, the annual Fernhill Picnic Race Day features the $25,000 Carlton Mid Cup as part of a six-race program. The glamorous event encompasses live music performances, gourmet food and fashion set amongst a gorgeous backdrop of 1850 acres of land where the early 18th century sandstone Fernhill mansion sits. Dress up and join thousands for old fashioned race day fun and enjoy champagne, stylish cocktails and canapés in the private lounges or soak up the sunshine on Fernhill’s picnic lawns.
Aside from the main attraction of the Carlton Mid Cup, there will also be a live broadcast of the final races of the Melbourne cup as well as full bookmaker facilities for enthusiasts. Fernhill Race Day is also a very family-friendly event with plenty of entertainment for the kids and an alcohol-free picnic zone. Activities for children include horse drawn cart rides, a jumping castle, petting farm, pony rides and games.
Fernhill Race Day offers a sophisticated selection of the finest international and local cuisines which include gourmet burgers and steak sandwiches from the Aussie Grill, Brazilian BBQ and Mexican. Head to the Carlton Mid Beer Garden to sample the range of refreshing beers or finish off lunch with a quality coffee and gelato. With so many options to choose from, Race Day at Fernhill is a culinary delight for everyone.
For those who are passionate about races fashion, the best dressed ladies and gentlemen will be eligible to receive a share of $2,000 worth of prizes. The experts will assess participants’ individual style and creativity in showcasing country races attire in the Fernhill Fashion Spotting Competition as well as their understanding of current trends.
Fernhill Estate Picnic Race Day starts at 10am on Saturday 9 September and finishes at 9pm.
The first race will begin at 1pm.
For tickets visit the Fernhill site .
With the International Fleet Review in full swing, today will be the last day for visitors to take the opportunity to visit the open warships and tall ships that are docked in Sydney Harbour as part of the celebration of the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy’s arrival on 4 October 2013. Over the past few days Sydney has already witnessed many spectacular naval displays including the tall ships parade, ceremonial fleet review, naval gun salutes, fireworks and military band concert but there is more yet to come.
If you still haven’t had a chance to catch the International Fleet Review in action, here is a quick guide to the remaining noteworthy events.
Monday 7 October
- Warships are open from 8am-6pm at Fleet Base East, Garden Island and Barangaroo
- Tall ships are open from 9.30am-5pm at Cockle Bay/Darling Harbour
Tuesday 8 October
- Tall ships day sails 9.30am-5pm at Sydney Harbour. Visit http://www.tallshipfestival2013.com/daysails.html to book corporate packages and individual tickets for lunch and dinner cruises aboard the Tall ships.
- 30pm-2pm Navy Memorial Service at the Cenotaph, Martin Place
- 30pm-2pm HMAS Penguin exercises its Freedom to Entry to Mosman at Military Rd, Mosman
- 1pm-2.30pm HMAS Parramatta exercises its Freedom to Entry at Church St, Parramatta
Wednesday 9 October
- 30pm-2pm Combined Navies Parade takes place in Sydney’s CBD
Thursday 10 October
- 11am-2pm Tall ships depart for Auckland from Sydney Harbour
- 3pm-5.30pm Sailing Regatta with RAN Sailing Association takes place at Sydney Harbour
Friday 11 October
- From 7.30am Warships depart from Sydney Harbour for Exercise Triton Centenary 13 – Part 2.
The Ultimate Getaway: Hunter Valley Edition
Located only two hours from Sydney, the picturesque Hunter Valley is an internationally renowned wine producing region best known for its fine semillons and shiraz. With over 140 wineries to visit, wine tasting at the Hunter is perfect for a relaxing weekend getaway. Encore Cars offers private tours so you can comfortably enjoy your day trip to the Hunter and explore at your own pace. Here are five of the best boutique wineries to get you started on discovering this amazing region:
With incredible 360 degree views of the Hunter’s hillsides and groves, Audrey Wilkinson’s Winery is a must-visit vineyard for all tourists. One of the oldest wineries in the Hunter, Audrey Wilkinson has been consistently rated as a 5-star winery known for its founder’s mantra of “it’s all about the taste”. The winery’s signature vintage is their crisp and refreshing Rosé as well as their premium quality reserve Shiraz.
Audrey Wilkinson, DeBeyers Road, Pokolbin 2320 www.audreywilkinson.com.au
Visit Brokenwood for its famous Graveyard Shiraz, a complex, and full-bodied wine that is characteristic of the exquisite shiraz wines from this region. Brokenwood has an extensive collection of quality wines for you to try and also offers a behind-the-scenes tour for those who want to learn more about their production processes.
Brokenwood, 401-427 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin 2320 www.brokenwood.com.au
Another essential stop, David Hook has earned rave reviews from top sommeliers and restaurateurs due to its consistently top-notch quality wines. Hidden away in a shady and charming courtyard at Peppers Creek, David Hook’s rustic décor is not unlike a winery typical of regional France. Savour the popular Sauvignon Blanc with its fresh and fruity finish and for reds, try Barbera which is exceptionally balanced and has a soft finish.
David Hook, Cnr Broke and Ekerts roads, Pokolbin 2320 www.davidhookwines.com.au
Meerea Park is owned by brothers Rhys and Garth Eather, who continue their family tradition of wine producing with an innovative twist. Calling themselves ‘terroirists’, the brothers have snapped up many awards for their wines, each featuring quirky names such as ‘Hell Hole’ and ‘XYZ’. Meerea Park’s flagship wine is an earthy shiraz named after their grandfather Alexander Munro.
Meerea Park, 2198 Broke Rd, Pokolbin 2320 http://meereapark.com.au/
The family-run Scarborough is well known for their hospitality and outstanding White and Yellow Label Chardonnay. Scarborough also produces Black Label Shiraz, a traditional red with smooth and earthy flavours that ages particularly well in the cellar. Visitors are able to round off their Hunter Valley trip by sampling the wines with a serving of bread and cheese and tap into the expertise of Scarborough’s wine makers who are always up for a chat.
Scarborough, 179 Gillards Rd, Pokolbin 2320 http://www.scarboroughwine.com.au/
Encore Cars Team up with Westfield’s Sydney to Provide a Luxury VIP Shopping Experience
Sometimes, the logistics of shopping can ruin the actual experience of shopping. Just to get to the shopping centre, you must coordinate travel and fight for a parking spot. Once inside the mall, finding the perfect outfit or gift can feel overwhelming and be extremely time consuming. And when you eventually do find what you need, you have to haul your heavy bags back to your car, or even worse, try to flag down or call a cab. Instead of it being a day to remember, it can end up being an event that you would just like to forget.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
Let’s make shopping enjoyable again. Here at Encore Cars, we are partnering with Westfield’s Sydney to provide you with an unforgettable, VIP experience every time you venture to the mall. We’ll make sure you get to Westfield in comfort and style! This new experience offers two options:
The Exclusive VIP Experience
As a VIP shopper at Westfield’s Sydney, leave your worries at home. This experience includes a chauffeured ride from your hotel provided by our experienced and professional fleet of cars and limousines. From the comfort of our vehicles, you can enjoy a stress free ride. You will also receive a completely personalised styling session with one of Sydney’s top fashion stylists. Instead of searching for items on your own, the Westfield’s team will guide you and your guests on a private tour of Westfield’s Sydney’s best shops and top brands. And after all of this, you can celebrate your purchases by indulging in a decadent high tea that includes champagne! Finally, you can forget about having to carry all of your purchases, as they will be delivered straight to your hotel/address.
The Westfield’s Sydney Privilege Card
As a Privilege Card holder, you’ll enjoy access to an onsite concierge team. They will provide services such as personal flight check-in, Sydney travel guides and tourist information, domestic and international parcel delivery, and car service. In addition to all of these services, cardholders get special offers and exclusive discounts on Westfield’s top luxury brands.
We are extremely excited about this new partnership and we look forward to working closely with Westfield Sydney to ensure that every one of our VIP customers has a unique, extravagant, enjoyable and memorable day.