New Year’s resolutions and how to achieve them.

Last year, a ComRes survey revealed that, in UK, a 35% of the people asked, wanted to lose weight, a 33% wanted to get in shape and a 31% aimed to cook healthier, while a 63% of the surveyed people, recognized to fail in their goals. The main key to achieve them, is being realistic, not to over press oneself and maintain yourself consistent day by day.

From Cititravel, we know sometimes, it is difficult to achieve the New Year’s purposes, so we have outlined which are the most common people´s goals each year:

– Earn money and control personal finances.

Planning in advance which are the expenses we may be having for the next year is one of the most popular goals proposed for the New Year.

– Lose weight and keep fit.

Especially during the first months of the year, people want to lose the weight gained during the holidays and to keep fit for the rest of the year.

– Stop smoking.

The king of the New Year’s resolutions. The end of the holidays and the start of a new year, is always a time to reconsider some aspects of our life, and tobacco is one of the “bad habits” most of the people want to change/quit…

 

How to achieve your New Year’s goals.

 

01. Positive statements.

Our brain focuses in what we prefer to think of, so we will feel more attracted to those thoughts oriented to what we want or expect, instead of those that we don’t really hope for. A good method is trying to train yourself to vision your goal in a positive way, for example… instead of: “I don´t have to spend my money in things I don’t need”, why not:  “I have to save money”.

02. Keep your purposes under control.

Our objectives must depend on us, not on other people.

03. Divide big objectives, better in small and achievable ones.

People usually try to achieve big projects, instead of small and more feasible ones… the energy needs to be maintained more than just the first month of the year… so, try to divide your final resolutions in small tasks to do every day, and step by step.

04. Help yourself with technology.

Mobiles devices are here to help us. There are a lot of apps prepared to count the days you haven’t smoked, or the kilometers you do in a running morning routine. To help you earn money, we recommend a financial app: Fintonic, which will help you knowing how to operate your finances.

 

Remember that the key of success is to be realistic, not to set big goals and decide which are the ones that we want the most. Starting with a lot of resolutions, may be confusing and demoralizing, so it’s better to start with only one and a small objective, and when achieved with time and perseverance, then go for more and bigger ones!

How to stay focused at work during Christmas holidays.

It’s Chistmas time! How to balance shopping, hosting, planning, partying and traveling with work during Christmas? It’s a good time to prove to yourself that you can focus and not lose the focus in the office.

1.Prioritise.

If you DO have to manage your focus at work, try to have realistic expectations and to prioritise your important and urgent tasks.

2.Separate.

It’s important to keep yourself focused at work prior to your Christmas holidays, it will let you enjoy your free time and in turn, you will be ready to start the New Year with more energy!

3.Schedule.

In order to keep on top of your busy Christmas period, it is vital to schedule your activity at work and outside of work.

4.Personal tasks.

Plan, schedule and organize your time: try to prioritize tasks, even personal ones. It makes your holiday more joyful and energizes you to accomplish your goals in the New Year.

5.It’s Christmas!

Take time to do a little shopping or enjoy what makes you happy, after all, it is Christmas!

 

“There are so many competing demands and expectations during the holidays that it is very easy to get overwhelmed and even burn out”

Michael Kerr, international business speaker, author and president of Humor at Work.

Don’t miss these 5 suggestions about festivities for the coming year.

It’s time to think about 2018: calendars, plans, travels and New Year’s resolutions! In Spain and Portugal, we will be celebrating plenty, and you can join us. Today we wanted to share with you some of the traditional celebrations of the two countries, to at least help you with your New Year travel plans!

 

The Fallas,

A UNESCO cultural heritage of humanity party with 5 DAYS of celebrations in the streets. Explosions from fireworks and horns can be heard all day long, all coming from the streets. Crews of artists, artisans, sculptures and painters spend months elaborating their ninots or fallas, made of paper and wax to create their iconic towering sculptures.

Arraial do Monte,

Or mountain verbena, is the biggest party on the island of Madeira, with a big celebration of Senhora Do Monte. It takes place during August in the famous Monte’s Church, where family and friends meet to dance, sing, eat and drink during the night. It is traditional that the next day there is a procession where all of Senhora Do Monte’s pilgrims gather for blessing.

April’s fair,

Which is celebrated after the Holy Week, normally takes place sometime between the first week of April and the beginning of May. This party is taken as a tribute of sorts to the arrival of spring. The experience is one that draws more than a million participants, local and international. Officially opening at midnight, crowds flock to the ceremonial switching-on of the lights which signals the beginning of party time!

Madeira Flower Festival,

Allows you to enjoy the spring days and floral glories of Madeira, when people fill the streets with flowers and sculptures. They even put on a flower market so you can enjoy these flowers for yourself! There’s also a big parade on the Sunday of the festival, with floral floats and groups of party goers dressed to the nines in traditional outfits.

Tenerife’s Carnival,

With contests for adults and children comparsas, lyrical and musical groups, rondallas (string ensembles), the Queen of the Elderly, the Child Queen, Song of Laughter and adult and children’s murgas. This is another continuous street party, full of disguises, food, drinks and music.  The queen is responsible for representing the carnival at tourism fairs as an ambassador for the Canary Islands.

 

Of course, Spain and Portugal are two countries rich in culture and celebrations, stay tuned for upcoming recommendations. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy them with us!

How to eat healthy while travelling.

For business executives, traveling is very much part of the job. While business trips are frequent, it can be difficult to maintain a balanced diet while travelling. Don’t worry! It doesn’t matter if we have to break the rules for a few days; after all, enjoyment is a must for business travelers. Even so, you can set yourself up for success by following these healthy eating tips:

1. Drink up.

Especially during flights, this will keep you awake and prepared for all the activities upon landing. It also counteracts the dry airplane environment and dehydration from any alcohol you might be consuming.

2. Don’t get too hungry.

When you’re hungry, it’s hard to resist a cheeseburger. Make plans for your next meal before you get too hungry, and munch on a high-protein snack if mealtime is too far away.

3. Pack your own snacks.

Also during the flight, healthy snacks are useful so you don’t have to resort to foods like crisps and candy bars.

4. Have a complete breakfast.

Don’t consume only a coffee if you’re going to travel. Carry your own protein to have on the flight.

5. Avoid fast food.

As a rule, try to look for best options.

Don’t forget to drink coffee, tea and water during meetings instead of high-sugar or artificially sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks. If you suffer from jetlag, try to sleep well before travelling and try to keep awake and active during the daytime. These healthy habits will help your efficiency and will allow you to enjoy more the travel.

What do Spaniards celebrate at Christmas time?

Spaniards celebrate Christmas by having meals together, giving presents and lighting up spectacular decorations around city centers. However, many traditions are unique to their culture. What do Spaniards celebrate at Christmas time?

24th December.

Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena. In the evening, people go home to enjoy a meal with the family. Prawn starters followed by roast lamb would be a typical meal rounded off with a typically Christmas dessert called turrón which is a nougat made of sweet toasted almonds. Most families eat their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve before Mass. There’s a famous service held in Mallorca called “Misa del Gallo”.

25th December.

Children may receive a small gift on Nochebuena or on the morning of Christmas Day but the day for presents is 6th January, when the Three Kings bring gifts for the children. On this day, people start celebrating the holidays: ¡Feliz Navidad! In Catalan it’s ‘Bon Nadal‘; in Galician ‘Bo Nadal’; and in Basque (or Euskara in basque) ‘Eguberri on‘. Be prepared to travel around Spain at Christmas!

28th December.

This is the day of Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents) and is the equivalent of April Fools’ Day when people play practical jokes on one another.

31st December.

New Year’s Eve is known as Nochevieja. Until midnight people stay at home and at midnight it is traditional to eat 12 grapes, one on each stroke of the clock to bring good luck for the New Year. In Madrid, people congregate in the main square (Puerta del Sol in Madrid), if you eat the twelve grapes, you are said to be lucky for the new year.

5th January.

There are processions all over Spain in the evening. The Three Kings have come! Sweets are thrown from floats to all the children in the streets.  There are as many processions as cities in Spain, and each one is special but, sincerely, we think that going to Sierra Nevada to see the Three Kings skiing down to the village, is amazing!

6th January.

This is the most important day of the year, when children wake up to find that the Three Wise Men have left gifts for them in their house.

 

Do not hesitate to taste the Jijona’s turrón, the most famous turrón in Spain, or to buy a national lottery ticket at “Doña Manolita” shop, in Madrid. Better yet, why don’t you ask Cititravel to put you together a trip to Spain at Christmas time and prepare to enjoy these magical traditions?

What to see in Madrid: Top 5 tourist attractions.

Madrid is the capital of Spain with 3.166 million inhabitants. It’s the third-largest city in european Union after London and Berlin. An alive city, that really knows how to live, and a Cititravel’s destination.

These are our TOP 5 recommendated places to visit while you stay in Madrid:

Gateway of the Sun (Puerta Del Sol). 

This is one of the most famous places in Madrid, with some of the most interesting points and buildings in the city. The clock on the Mailing House’s tower is well known by Spaniards for the clock, where since 1962, the New Year’s chimes have been rung. Kilometer 0 is also found in this square, the starting point of all Spanish roads. The area is always crowded, especially at night time when the city comes to life with people passing through the square looking to party at some of Madrid’s hottest bars and nightclubs.

Plaza Mayor.

Madrid’s grand central square is surrounded by doorways and story buildings and has 9 access doors. Here, you will find the Bread House (Casa del Pan), the square’s first structure, built in 1590. For almost 150 years, La Plaza Mayor has been full of Christmas market stalls, where you can find ornaments, joke gifts and a large variety of souvenirs. It’s a winning combination of imposing architecture, historical tales and street life across its cobblestones.

La Gran Vía.

Founded between 1910 and 1929, La Gran Vía is the most famous boulevard in Madrid. Its construction was a project that lasted several decades. In this street it is easy to find incredible concerts, restaurants, fashion stores, cinemas and theatres. Be aware that while some of the cinemas are no longer operational, they still have many shops inside them! Still showing films on the big screen, however, are the Palacio de la Prensa, Capitol and Callao cinemas, in the square that divides this famous street.

Park “El Retiro”.

Opened in 1868, ‘El Retiro’ is one of Madrid’s largest public parks. There’s a lot to see and do in El Retiro, from puppet shows, musicians and fortune tellers, to a gentle row down the park’s pond! The Palacio de Cristal, a Palace completely made of glass, has permanent exhibitions, despite being a spectacle on its own!

Royal Palace.

Madrid’s Palacio Real is a gem, although it’s used only occasionally for royal ceremonies as the royal family moved to the Palacio de la Zarzuela years ago. The Palace is surrounded by the Campo del Moro’s garden (in the West, from medieval age), and Sabatini’s garden (in the North, created in the XX century). Guard’s change is celebrated every Wednesday from October to July at 11 am.

 

Do not hesitate to visit Madrid, we are sure it has a lot to offer!

Security in Europe is not cause for concern.

A CTW survey, published this month and answered by 1900 people, has revealed some interesting details about the trade of Business travel. Just a third of people in Europe consider security as a worry, below the concern of being attacked or being a victim of theft (37%), weather conditions (37%) or losing something important (38%). The primary concern of European business travellers is forgetting something necessary for work.

The survey also revealed that America’s travelers’ worries (47%) and Pacific Asia’s worries (56%) are significantly higher than that of Europeans. The survey importantly revealed that the 66% of people who do not consider European security as a concern feel this way due to the many available apps that keep business travellers informed and secure.

Seven out of 10 surveyed use at least one security protocol like travellers’ location or emergency contacts. 68% of them also have travel insurance.

Furthermore, for the companies which manage business travels, security is always a priority (94%), according to ACTE. Security is followed by cost reduction and client satisfaction on their list of priorities. They also prioritise simplifying trips (72%).These companies know that business travel contributes to professional success, not only because it has a positive effect on business, but also because of the opportunity for employees to broaden their horizons. 60% of those surveyed around the world believe that experiencing other cultures’ improves their work and adds new values.

5 places in Seville you must visit in 2018.

According to Lonely Planet, Seville is the best city to visit in 2018, and we certainly agree with them! Seville is the essence of everything that crosses your mind when thinking “Spain”: sunshine, flamenco, tapas, ceramics, opera, stunning monuments of rich architectural heritage (Moorish, Catholic, Jewish…), bulls and much more.

When visiting Seville, the following places are ‘must see’:

 

Cathedral & Giralda Tower.

Built on top of the Mosque after the Catholic Kings’re-conquest, the Cathedral of Seville is the third largest church in the World after Saint Peter’s in the Vatican and Saint Paul’s in London. The Giralda Tower was the former minaret which has been preserved within the Cathedral structure because of its outstanding beauty. Nowadays, the Giralda Tower is the city bell tower.

Royal Alcazar.

This fortress of Moorish influences is a jewel of architecture. The oldest part of the fortress dates back to the 10th Ceramics and beautiful tiles cut according to the tradition of the alicatado, courtyards with fountains, beautifully carved wooden ceilings and plaster walls and amazing flowered gardens are what this structure has to offer. This monument is certainly one of the most beautiful in town.

Plaza de España.

Built as the main information pavilion during the 1929 Iberian-American exhibition, Plaza de España is another jewel of architecture in Seville. Located in María Luisa Park, the green epicentre of the city, it invites visitors to relax and wander around the beautiful ceramics representing the 50 provinces of Spain. This place is stunning and has been part of the set for many movies including Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia.

Santa Cruz & Triana Quarters.

Santa Cruz quarter is located just behind the Cathedral and Alcazar. It is a maze of narrow streets full of white-washed houses with flowered courtyards (although private property, some are open to the public). This quarter is also full of small boutique hotels, tapas bars, souvenir shops and museums. This is probably the most touristic neighborhood in town but it definitely is worth the visit. If you wish to visit a more “genuine” quarter, cross the Guadalquivir River and visit Triana. Triana is one of the favourite quarters of the locals. Famous for its ceramic shops, churches and its colourful market, we highly recommend you pay a visit to this part of the city. The market is located inside Saint George Castle, a castle that served as Tribunal of the Inquisition; you can visit, on its -1 floor, a museum dedicated to this theme.

Metropol Parasol.

Seville is not only traditions and old monuments, it is also a vibrant and evolving city, constantly looking to the future. Metropol Parasol is a perfect example of this mix between past, present and future. Built a few years ago by a German architect, Metropol Parasol offers a very modern type of architecture (all made from white concrete and wood). On the -1 floor you will find a museum dedicated to the Roman ruins that were discovered during the resurrection of this building. On the top of the building, you will find a venue (suitable for gala dinner or meetings), a bar and a stunning rooftop where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city. An interesting contrast of architecture in the middle of the old town.

What’s more, don’t forget to try as many tapas bars as possible (Iberian ham, salmorejo, spinach with chickpeas, fried fishes, sangria & sherry wines are only some examples). Enter a tablao flamenco to immerse yourself in our traditional flamenco or enjoy an opera performance at the Teatro de la Maestranza. Come and visit Seville, you won’t regret it!

Technology usage trends in business travels. Infographic.

Nowadays, companies and business travel are connected by technology: tablets, smartphones, smart watches… all sorts of mobile devices are now being used by travellers – for work, to take photos, to find a restaurant or to simply not get lost in a foreign city! It’s important to be prepared at the beginning of a business trip and to have previously download all the necessary apps to help, but…

What’s the technology usage of an average traveller, before starting a trip?

  • 50% of them take videos and photos.
  • 47% use their devices to check maps and routes in foreign cities.
  • 45% of travellers need them to stay connected with other people and to share on social media.
  • 38% also check the weather.

Optical doctors asked Cititravel to get 300 pigs’ eyes.

How does a DMC Company help their clients in certain situations? It obviously depends on each company, but what we can let you know, is how Cititravel reacts, after all the experience gained during more than 30 years of groups´ operations in these cases. Solving problems, events´ special logistics or last minute requests from clients, are our daily tasks, but today, and as an anecdote to illustrate our savoir-faire, we would like to share with you, an episode we underwent, not long ago.

At the beginning of October, we had an Optical Medical event in Spain, this time in Madrid. The 300 doctors on the event, made a real “peculiar” request; they made us look for 300 pig’s eyes, to test a medication during their event. It was the reason why so many physicians were in attendance too. Imagine how to get 300 fresh pig’s eyes in such short notice! Our Madrid’s Project Manager started by asking many slaughterhouses, starting in Madrid and finishing in Gerona, where he finally found them. It was the company Friselva, who helped us get the eyes we needed, understanding the urgent situation and collaborating with us all the time. It seemed that, luckily enough, they were very much demanded for the Chinese market and though it took some time, the Factory made it happen and we got them just in time.

The next step was to get them to Madrid, so we asked different companies if they could help us. The problem was that, on that very same day, a transport strike in Cataluña started. No car, van, private company or refrigerated truck could be able to help us transporting the goods to Madrid…airports and highways were closed, so here, we had the second challenge!

On top of that, the eyes had to be kept fresh, so we needed a fast solution. We had the valuable help of our Barcelona office, buying cool boxes, to maintain the eyes fresh. And, then, it happened: our Project Manager had the idea of using an ambulance, as due to force majeure, no strike could stop it. The trip started in Gerona and on its way to Madrid, the ambulance driver had to make some stops during the way, to buy and replace the ice. When it finally arrived, every delegate was talking about the ambulance and they couldn´t be more grateful to Cititravel. They finally had their fresh pig’s eyes on time: “Thanks again for making this happen!!  We really appreciate everything you did for us!” Were their appreciative words all the time, which made us feel real proud.

It was a real odyssey, but we finally resolved it, thanks to Friselva, our Madrid’s Project Manager, our Barcelona office and, of course, Cititravel expertise on solving satisfactorily, any issue. Our clients’ satisfaction is our main concern and top priority!