Geography Trips to China With a School Travel Service

Taking a geography trip to China brings students face-to-face with issues of human and physical geography in a vitally important country. China has a lot to offer geography classes: exploring the ultra-modern urban landscape of Shanghai, discussing the Chinese responses to desertification and the need for sustainable agriculture, visiting the Leye Tiankengs karst caves, and, of course, visiting some of the sites central to Chinese cultural and political history – including Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing. By using a school travel service, school groups can ensure a safe and intellectually stimulating trip with a full itinerary.


Shanghai is a vast city, and a major financial and shipping centre with a population of over 24 million people. Visiting it gives students the opportunity to raise and discuss questions of human geography in such a populous country, from rural-to-urban migration to the city’s modern development. Students can also enjoy a day in the Shanghai Natural History Museum, which has a formidable collection of animal, plant and mineral specimens, including the rare species Yangtze alligator, giant panda, giant salamander and Yellow River mammoth. A school travel service can arrange high quality accommodation in the city, as well as a suggested itinerary within the city and outside it on excursions.

Eco Village

A particularly interesting excursion that can be organised is a trip to one of China’s eco villages. These eco villages are one answer to the vital question of sustainable agriculture and living: they are designed to be a self-sustainable community, with environmentally friendly energy sources (such as solar energy) and farming techniques. They exhibit modern and traditional modes of living, maintaining traditional ways of life with sustainable updates where needed, thus make a fascinating case study for geography students.

Leye Tiankengs

The Leye Tiankengs are rare karst caves – spectacular geological formations – in Guangxi Province. A school travel service can arrange an excursion to see them, which will be a definite treat for geography students. The deepest cave is over 600 metres deep, with a forest growing at its base – home to a secluded, precious ecosystem of flora and fauna including new species of crab and spider. Standing at the top of the cave, students will be treated to a stunning and rare view.


It would be impossible to visit China without taking in some of its major historical sites, many of which are found in or near Beijing. With the help of a school travel service, school groups can take some leisure time to stand in Tiananmen Square, wander through the Forbidden City or leave the city behind to see the legendary Great Wall of China, parts of which date back over one-and-a-half thousand years.

Travel Nurse: Checklist (Salary and Benefits)

Several years ago I decided to quit my job as a charge nurse at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and travel the United States as a travel nurse. The thought of being paid to visit the beaches of Hawaii and California or participate in the culture of New York City had become just too appealing. Looking back, there are several things I wish I had known prior to signing up with my first travel nurse agency. The following includes a checklist of some of the things I wish I had known from the beginning:

Being a travel nurse is very different from being employed by a hospital. First, travel nurses are paid considerably more hourly than regular hospital staff nurses. Although you may not view it this way, hospitals reward travel nurses with higher hourly pay because of the “sacrifice” the nurse is required to make in uprooting herself or himself from home and family. I didn’t necessarily view basking in the Huntington Beach, California sun on my off days as a sacrifice, but that is the way hospitals look at travel nursing.

Make sure your travel nurse agency is willing to negotiate the highest rate of pay for you before you sign a contract to take a travel nursing assignment. Don’t just take the first offer that comes along; you may be able to do better. Remember, travel nurse agencies get paid to fill hospital nursing vacancies. If one agency cannot fill the vacancy, another will. As a result, you need to make sure your agency is working to get you the highest possible hourly rate of pay and not just trying to beat the next agency to fill a vacancy. One suggestion I would make is to check with several different agencies and see which one offers you the highest pay rate. You may even be able to create a bidding war between the agencies for your services.

Second, most hospitals will pay for (or at least assist in paying for) your move to their city. This too is an issue you will need your travel nurse agency to negotiate for you. Third, most hospitals will also pay you a monthly housing stipend. In many cases, the stipend will only be paid if you are renting, but not if you buy a home in your new assigment location. The stipend is often tax free.

You may also want to ask these questions to your travel nurse agency:
(1) Does the agency guarantee my assignment in writing?;
(2) Are my hours guaranteed?;
(3) Do I get paid weekly, bi-weekly or monthly?;
(4) Does the travel nurse agency pay me or does the hospital?;
(5) Will the hospital pay for my move; as is often the case?; and
(6) Will the hospital pay a stipend for my housing; as is often the case?

Top Scrapbooking Tips

Once you have discovered the fun of scrapbooking, you will discover the endless layout possibilities, the numerous tools available, and the dizzying array of material for enhancing your page. Here are a few practical scrapbooking tips to help you save time, eliminate frustration and get the most out of your investment.

Basic Tips

1. Acid Free Everything: The name of the game here is preservation. So make sure you are using paper that will last. Most will say either acid or PVC free on the front. Also, use an adhesive tape that comes with a tape runner instead of glue. Any of the tapes sold by scrapbooking companies or websites should be acid free.

2. Work Outside the Box: Ok, in this case you will work outside the book. Good albums have removable pages. I recommend adding pages only after they are completed. It’s easier to have a single page in front of you while you cut, adhere and manipulate materials, than your entire album. Also, you have more flexibility to move pages around.

3. Be Thematic: Choosing a theme helps to unite your choices of paper, color, quotes and embellishments. Whether it’s a holiday like Halloween, a place like “The Farm”, or time related like “Age of Innocence,” you can weave this theme throughout your related pages, and gain inspiration from them at the same time.

4. Focus Focus Focus: Each page should have a focal point. It may be a single photograph, a journal entry or a series of pictures, working together. Know where you want people to look when they first view your page and work outward from that point.

Tips for Tools

As much as we women like to tease men about their obsession with power tools, many a scrapbooking gal gets tingles all over when she unwraps a new cutter, shape maker or package of rainbow assorted markers. Let’s face it ladies, the tools make the project. Here are some tips on how to choose the right ones.

In addition to your most basic tape pair of sharp scissors, straight and decorative trimmers can make a cropper’s life much easier. Trimmers are basically small paper cutters that help you achieve perfectly straight or wavy lines. As some one who can’t cut straight to save my life, my cutter is a must have. Cutters that come in round, oval, heart-shaped and other patterns are also fun.

Every scrapbooker needs a good set of writing utensils in a variety of colors. You will want both fine-tipped and broad pens for different needs. Pens to reduce red-eye and photo labeling pencils are also handy. Finally, stencils that allow you to create arcs, swirls and half circle for headings and labels will be useful.

The Icing on the Cake

The materials you use to decorate your page will make it uniquely yours. Beginning scrapbookers are often overwhelmed by the many choices that exist. Here are a few favorites to get you started.

Fastening brads are those tiny gold pieces that go through the holes in paper and flatten down on the other side. These are available in stars, hearts, and almost any shape or color you can imagine. Using brads to fasten ribbons, ticket stubs or memorabilia is fun and inexpensive.

Scrap paper and your gel pen can be used to create a quilted appearance by making stitch-like marks around the outside of the paper. Another easy embellishment is to punch holes in a piece of paper and weave ribbon in and out of it.

Anything is fair game for your scrapbooking needs. Probably the best scrapbooking tip of all is to look at everything from a scrapbooker’s point of view. You will suddenly see pages of music, menus, church bulletins, fabric swatches and cheap jewelry in a whole new light.

Three Sales Lessons From Restaurant Menu Design – Boost Sales, Increase Margins

Every time we sit down at a restaurant we are unconsciously playing the biggest sales game in the business. The best thing for the restaurant owner is this type of marketing and selling does not even have to involve a person. It’s just between you and the menu, and the menu wins most of the time.

Hold on a moment!”, I hear you say, “I decide what I want to eat, and it’s according to my tastes at the time.” Hmmmm, OK if that’s what you want to believe, but I have news for you. We are constantly manipulated into making choices that we don’t necessarily want or even like, and this is how it’s done.

Most restaurateurs give careful consideration to what goes onto a menu and the pricing around items. These techniques are tried and tested. So much so, that there are people who make a living around menu engineering. Gregg Rapp in New York is one such person and he has even been able to commoditize this science into a software product that maximizes profit for your menu

I will examine three techniques that restaurateurs use and then provide some tips as to how you can use this in your business.

Position, Position, Position.

Yes, it’s not only the real-estate business where this factor is important, but menu real estate is as important. Where is this expensive neighborhood? Top right hand corner of the menu. It’s the spot where our eyes go first and this is typically where the most expensive items are placed, and where the big sales come from.

Watch for the Price Anchor

When making a choice and judging if an item is good value for money, we often look for items on the menu that we can compare it to. This is the reason that restaurants create a price anchor. Normally, an expensive seafood dish teaming with lobster and prawns. The most distinguishable characteristic is that it’s hardly ever ordered. It’s there for you to compare it to the second most expensive dish, and for you to come to the wisest conclusion that the $70 Admirals Platter is fantastic value compared to the $120 Seafood Supreme. The top selling dish? The Admirals Platter of course.

Delectable Descriptions

Would you like the “Cheese Burger and Chips” $20 or may we interest you in a “Delicious Lamb Burger, topped with crispy crumbed French onions, and a chili creme Fraiche dressing topped with rocket and sun ripened tomatoes, shoestring pomfrites on the side” for $30. Reality check, it’s the same thing but we would happily pay the extra $10 for the deliciously described meal and our taste buds will expect a different experience altogether.

Well this might be great for restaurants but do these techniques apply for the world of traditional sales e.g. furniture, computers, houses etc.? The short answer is yes. The next time you create a proposal, think about your layout. Perhaps do the design differently, frame an item or two in a box in the top right hand side of your proposal. Create a price anchor, so your customers can appreciate the value they are getting in the item that they want. And last but not least use descriptions in your product definition. Even if you are selling a service, describe the service. Tell us about how much fun your team has in working with customers. Use descriptive words to explain about the experience that we will go through when we do business with you and watch the sales climb.

If you want to learn more about how to use these and other sales techniques that you can incorporate into your business, why not book Kevin for his talk on “Priced to Sell – The Psychology of Buying”.