Lisbeth Salander is many things. A feminist heroine, a survivor that took the world by storm. The hugely successful ‘Trilogy’ by Stieg Larsson, wrapped a sinister web of tales around this fascinatingly strong and unforgettable character. She certainly is unforgettable. It’s not surprising that the adaptation of the movie made such an impact on pop culture. Her character epitomizes speed and a strong will, together with keen survival instincts. Her unmistakable air of mystery, combined with a hard exterior and a soft, gentle soul, creates such a complex persona. So it was amazing to see how the Hollywood version of our heroine, translated from the page. With Rooney Mara as the dark haired, pale skinned and skinny Lisbeth, they successfully transformed a perfect, sun-kissed girl-next-door, into this unforgettable gothic being.

Her black leather-clad figure makes us want to reach out for our leather, biker jacket, teamed with faux leather leggings. Her bleached brows and high fringe, might not be what we aspire to, but the soft drapery of the white tee shirt and charcoal sweatshirt, and other Alexander Wang inspired outfits, are certainly the classics we like.

The spring and summer 2012 collection from Ann Demeulemeester is a strong reminder of the movie. As reviewed by Vogue, the collections ask us to “Imagine the outfits Lisbeth Salander would splurge on when she suddenly felt inclined by her financial chicanery toward high fashion. Demeulemeester’s new designs had Salander’s ‘kick-ass’, high-performance quality. There was a pointy sharpness to the layered garments on leather jackets that suggested warrior action, as did the stiffened sculptured, leather neckpieces. The sleek, linear quality of suits made of bias-cuts, funnel-necked jackets and pencil skirts, provided a fierce new silhouette for the designer.”

We can plainly see that Lisbeth is becoming a major influence on the fashion credits front. It is surprising to see just how wearable her wardrobe is, for it can easily translate into our day-to-day busy life. In David Finchley’s stylish adaptation, she confidently rides her motorcycle through an ice storm, discovering sinister murderous crimes. She weaves through crowds of 60s inspired, well-heeled suburbanites and in her imaginative clothing, stands out from the crowd in her rebellious colors.

Her daily outfits consist of many layers of tee shirts that pile over each other with lots of ripped seams. The sweat shirts and comfy knits lean heavily on shades of charcoal. The leather, biker jacket is her armour through life, the trusty dark jeans and the nailed and studded biker boots make sure she can cause damage. They guarantee quiet confidence and a steel-cold personality, enough to ward off any uninvited attention.

We can all have a bit of gothic in us. Imagine a day when nothing is better than a weather-proof leather jacket, and skin-tight, black jeans with combat boots. So go out there, and face the world like our heroine, and, if you are brave enough, consider that a high hair line could potentially stir the world.

Fashion is more or less synonymous with females. Most women have this undying craving of dressing up according to the on going fashion trends, no matter whether it suits them well or not. Fashion trends which change almost every fortnight, are endearingly followed by the female segment of our society. However, a million dollar question remains unanswered that, where does these “Fashion Trends” exactly start from? Since most ladies pick up the trends by watching their friends and peers, the exact source of the fashion trends gets lost somewhere down the line.

The fashion trends actually start from the runways of London, Paris and New York. It is the ramp of these renowned fashion events that head starts the so called “Latest Fashion Trend” fever throughout the world. Designers persistently keep renovating the fashion styles and come up with varied designs every now and then and so does the trends in fashion markets too.

Since most of the people are unable to buy the exuberantly expensive brands showcased on the ramps, people tend to pick the reasonably priced imitations of the same. Most departmental stores copy the runway dress designs which are later sold like hot cakes in the market.

Its not just the runway shows which influence the public in general, but the celebrities too, who are considered as the style icons by youth. Youngsters imitate their favorite stars and try to dress like them in order to prove themselves fashionable enough among their friend circle. On one hand where the younger lot follow the dressing sense of celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Jamie Lynn Spears, the older lot on the other, dress as per the various popular television shows like Desperate Housewives.

There is nothing wrong in following the latest trends or styles but the trick is to copy the trends sensibly. The most important thing to remember while dressing is to maintain your own individuality within the fashionable drapes. One is not suppose to look like a carbon cut out of a runway model but the thing is to express the same style through your own self and as they say when you will be comfortable within your own skin you would indeed be making the biggest fashion statement around.

It’s been a long time since women have been actively participating in different kinds of sports. Athletic women apparel can be just simple t-shirt and shorts. Many sporty women are thought to be lesbians because of what they wear. But with the rise of the fashionable sports icon such as Maria Sharapova, women have learned to combine fashion and sports perfectly.

Even you are into “boy’s sports” or any other sports, you can still look good and fashionable. Here are some of the tips on how to balance fashion and sports.

• Putting some details on your uniform is one way of being stylish without sacrificing the total look of your uniform. You can ask your clothing suppliers to put embroidery hemlines or necklines. You can also have different designs like butterflies, flowers or whatever icon you want to put for your outfit. Other details such as ribbons or buttons that you can add to your outfit depending on the sports that you are in.

• Try new different colors to your uniform for a trendier look. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors like pink, red and yellow with the neutral one such as black and white for more elegant mishmash. You can also make use of glittering colors like gold and silver. But don’t make use of too much color.

• The kind of design of the uniform makes it stand out. But you cannot just put designs on your uniform without taking into consideration its suitability and functionality for the game. You can play with the cuts and fabrics that will be using. Patterns are also great designs that you can include to your uniform. You can also use fabrics that have patterns that match the design that you want.

• In sports, the opportunities for you to add different accessories are limitless. Even sports attire has its appropriate accessories that you can add to your look. There are different wholesale apparel like wrist bands, brightly colored athletic tanks and other paraphernalia that will complete your outfit. Personalized accessories can also be used.

Sporty women who combine fashion and athleticism are getting much more attention nowadays. There are numerous ways that an athletic woman can achieve that striking feminine charm even in a sporty outfit, one just have to know the right mix and match of designs and styles.

Introduction

If you know that business travel is not without its risk and the potential for crisis, then you need to read this article. In this article we are going to talk about the management and containment of crisis as it relates to travelers and travel managers. The objective of this article is to share with you the collective knowledge on managing crisis and significantly improve your ability to identify and manage a crisis but also improve your business travel efficiency.

During this article I am going to discuss travel risk myths, crisis management, plans and options so you can immediately compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travelers or travel management department.

Crisis by definition is something you didn’t have a plan for or something in which you are unprepared. Additionally, it can be a series of events that in concert create a crisis. Events or issues that occur, to which you have a plan and strategy, is merely an incident.

Crisis Management/Leadership

The first thing is to clarify what is the difference between crisis management and leadership. More importantly, which one is the more important?

Crisis management relates to the response to event/s that threaten your business, travelers or travel activity. The event leads and you follow with plans, decisions and actions.

Crisis leadership, on the other hand, is more about getting ahead of the events and issues to prevent, management and even contain the impact to your business or business travel activities. While management is a portion of the leadership demand, your actions and involvement lead the outcomes rather than a more passive wait and act approach with pure crisis management.

Crisis leadership is the less practiced of the two, but the most significant in terms of results and reduction in risk and impact. If you take nothing else away from this session, it should be that your focus should always be on Crisis Leadership, not crisis management.

Myths

There are many myths and half-truths about crisis, disruption and threats within the travel management sector. Much of this misinformation has originated from travelers themselves, media, travel managers, friends and family or so called “experts”.

For example, many travelers and planners are focused on terrorism. The reality is, you have a very, very small chance of being exposed or affected directly by a terrorist act. It doesn’t mean you should discount it as a threat altogether but it shouldn’t dominate your plans or processes if not a proportional threat to you and your travelers. Conversely, almost everyone overlooks motor vehicle accidents. Yet, they happen far more frequently, can have devastating affect on travelers and are the least common plan contained within company travel management departments.

Travelers and travel managers must be prepared, educated and have supporting plans for any event that has the potential to delay, disrupt or harm the traveler or the business.

The most common events include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Airline delays or cancellations
  • Airport closures or disruptions
  • Transport delays
  • Bad weather
  • Sickness and illness
  • Petty crimes
  • Hotel fires
  • Political disputes
  • Demonstrations and gatherings

Motor vehicle accidents within your own country can be stressful and dangerous but on an overseas business trip they can be 100 times more challenging and dangerous. Consider language, local authorities, first respond, standard of healthcare, families and support in your plans and initial response.

Airline delays and cancellations. They happen all the time but they are not just an administrative response. You may need to consider safety, transport, quarantines, security threats, government response and wide spread suspension of services to overcome the issue and maintain safety of your travelers.

Airport closures or disruptions. Failed systems, electrical problems, threats, weather, construction and so on can prevent you even getting to your flight. Consider the impact this has on your plans and how your traveler will need to possibly extend stay, move to alternate airport or find accommodation.

All other transport delays and disruptions can create crisis when everyone no longer has access to trains, buses, key roads or even water transport. Have a plan and add it to your immediate decision making process.

2010 and the commencement of 2011 has seen travel of all kind affected by natural disasters and weather. Weather and natural forces have and always will impact travelers. It does and will continue to occur. It is highly concerning how unprepared travelers and companies are for volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, earthquakes and general bad weather.

People get sick or feel unwell all the time. This is compounded significantly when traveling. Standard of care, language, access, cost, complications, choice and numerous other location based concerns will determine just how at risk your traveler will be. A single, “one-size-fits-all” plan or solution will fail and you need to be aware of these issues immediately with the onset of an affected traveler.

Crimes are a reality of any city in the world. However, travelers seldom know the risks and may be preyed upon by thieves and criminals. The loss of phones, money, and other items may seem less likely to constitute a crisis but when overseas, injured or not able to speak the local language, all these simple events can create a major concern for your business travelers. This can be amplified if you have a senior executive or a group of executives affected.

Hotel fires and emergencies are more common than most people think. The immediate threat to an individual is fairly obvious but the impact that the lack of accommodation choices can create from the temporary or permanent closure of a hotel is a much bigger concern. This was graphically displayed during the Mumbai terror attacks (as extra ordinary as the event was) when most of the best/preferred hotels were now unavailable in a key part of the city. This removed thousands of rooms for business travelers and forced many to cancel or significantly alter travel plans just because there were a lack of suitable accommodation options, whether affected by the events or not.

Any event that alters the political stability of a location or region or results in thousands of people out on the streets constitutes a risk to your business travel plans and travelers. They can happen spontaneously or take time to develop. The immediate dangers and the ongoing disruption can have a major impact on your business or traveler.

Again, plans, preparation and thought to these issues will greatly reduce the impact and improve your business too.

Now that we have removed the most common misconceptions, let’s focus on the management and containment of a crisis.

Crisis management

The key to successful crisis management is planning, training, plans, decision-making and adaptability.

Planning

Given the issues previously covered, you now have a better insight into how and why planning is important to remove the more emotive issues from the realities of real business threats and events.

Planning needs to include multiple departments and perspectives to be truly effective. One of the greatest weaknesses I see regularly is that departments continue to manage the risk of travel through multiple departments with multiple plans. The input and plan needs to be unified. Depending on the company, it may include travel managers, security, HR, finance, marketing, C-suite and operations.

All plans need to be continuously updated, location specific, aide in the decision-making process and modular enough have elements extracted quickly and effectively. Modern, effective plans embrace technology. Rapid, efficient access to information, along with running updates is the hallmarks of a modern sustainable plan, regardless of the size of the issue or the company.

Training

No plan is effective without training and rehearsal. Training, whether through simulations, drills or live, full-scale exercises are vital to the success of any crisis situation. Such sessions don’t need to be boring or overly complicated but must include travel managers and planners along with the more common crisis and emergency managers.

Increasingly, training is becoming a mandatory requirement for key positions and roles. It can be linked to internal HR processes but must support the business objectives and measurable on how it reduces the risk to people, business, brand and travel demands.

While the plan creates the framework for crisis decision-making, teams can learn a lot from training on how and when to adapt their plans. How the team interacts, strength, weakness, leaders, followers, limitations, tools and many more planned and surprise outcomes are possible with effective training.

Adaptations

No plan will completely script all the events, issues and options available for every plausible travel delay, disruption or crisis. You need to be able to adapt and evolve from the original plan and intention. This can only be achieved with planning, plans and training.

Solutions So what do I need in my plan?

Here is the best travel risk management content for your plan:

  • Objective(the single most important part of any travel policy)
  • References
  • Scope
  • Legal
  • Insurance
  • Finance
  • Reimbursements
  • Limits
  • Priority/precedence
  • Management Authority/ies
  • Situations

Procedure will likely cover:

  • Planning
  • Resources
  • Tools
  • Authority
  • Executive Decision making
  • Limits
  • Budgets
  • Training
  • Compliance
  • Pre-trip admin
  • Providers
  • Booking
  • Accommodation
  • Airlines
  • Ground Transport
  • Safety and Security
  • Health and wellness
  • Emergency
  • SOP/Actions on
  • Insurance
  • Travel Monitoring /tracking
  • Reporting
  • HR
  • Entitlements
  • Threat/risk levels
  • Shelter in Place
  • Relocations/evacuations
  • Management Authority
  • Review

Don’t forget your risk assessment will need to include the key elements:

  • Traveller
  • Location
  • Activity
  • Support/Resources
  • Response

Conclusion

There you have it. Now you know what is required, how do you rate your current plans and preparedness?

You now have the most relevant issues and areas to focus upon that will reduce or contain the majority of incidents you may face your travelers will be safer, your business more profitable and your costs will be contained by reducing your exposure to expensive crisis events.

We have debunked popular travel threat myths, identified the difference between crisis management and leadership, outlined plans and options so you can immediately compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travelers or travel management department. Review your plans and make the immediate improvements.

You will know when you have an effective crisis management system for your travel risk management strategy when you have little to no crisis.

You may have numerous events or incidents but you have a plan, you’re prepared and your decision making is fast and consistent. If not, you have failed and you will run from crisis to crisis on a regular basis.

There are a lot of misconceptions related to travel insurance, and understandably most people aren’t as well versed in the fine details of this type of cover as I am – I can’t say that I blame them! However, many misconceptions put people at risk of spending unnecessary amounts of money on areas that could and should be covered by their policy.

So, I’ve compiled this mini travel insurance FAQ to assist those who have doubts, worries or questions about what they should look for.

Q: What should I do before going abroad?

A: Make sure you have checked the FCO Travel Advice for the countries you are visiting. Check you have sufficient money and that your passport is up-to-date. Take a photocopy of your passport details and keep in a safe place. Check what inoculations and visas are required. Note down the numbers and addresses of the UK embassy and consulate in the country you’re traveling to.

Q: Should I take out travel insurance before my holiday?

A: I may be a little biased on this one, but yes! It is extremely important that you take out adequate travel insurance even for short trips or visits to Europe, and absolutely imperative in countries outside the EU where different conditions make illness more likely and affordable medical cover that bit more difficult to get hold of. It also covers for cancellation as soon as you book your trip.

If you travel to a country, or part of a country, against FCO advice, it is unlikely that your insurer would meet any claim, however. Should the FCO advice change after you have booked a holiday, check the position with your tour operator and travel insurance company.

Q: Should I be looking at single trip or annual multi trip travel insurance?

A: Only you can answer that really – although single trip is (generally) cheaper, it does exactly what it says and covers you for just the one trip. By contrast, annual multi trip travel insurance will cover you for the whole year on various breaks, making it the choice if you think you’re likely to travel that much. You may find that just taking two trips a year would make annual multi trip travel insurance cheaper than the single trip variety!

Q: What sort of reason for cancellation is valid to ensure cover?

A: As long as your reason is within the scope of cover provided by your policy, then you should be entitled to claim in most cases. Legitimate reasons for cancelling your trip could include an illness or death in the family (as defined by your policy), freak weather conditions suspending travel for 24 hours, burglary or damage to your home, being a victim of criminal assault resulting in you being medically unable to travel, being called up for emergency military service or jury duty (subject to the specific terms and conditions of the policy). Likewise, if the hotel or resort (for independent travelers) you’re due to visit suffers from a terrorist attack in the days leading up to your travel, you will generally be able to claim.

Q: Who pays if I need to be hospitalized overseas or flown back to the UK?

A: If you have proper cover, the travel insurance company should pay such fees. If not, the cost will fall to you or your relatives and friends.

Q: Is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) the same as health insurance?

A: No. The free European Health Insurance Card shows that the holder is entitled to reduced or free emergency care only within the EU. You will still need travel insurance to ensure you will be covered fully in the event of illness or injury. The EHIC card will help though, by reducing your initial outlay before you can be reimbursed by your insurance company.

Q: Is my pre existing medical condition a big issue?

A: Generally, yes. Check the wording of your policy to ensure it covers pre-existing medical conditions. Often they’re not covered unless you pay an extra premium, and if you fail to declare your condition when you buy your cover, you’ll be unable to claim on it. As always the key advice here is to check the policy wording with a fine tooth comb.

Q: How can I find out whether it is safe to travel to a particular country?

A: It is strongly advised that you check the FCO Travel Advice section of their website. This information is regularly updated and should give you solid advice on where is and is not safe to travel (remember, areas officially outlined as ‘unsafe’ will seldom be covered by travel insurance policies).

Q: Is it safe to travel after a terrorist attack overseas?

A: Unfortunately, there is no such thing as risk-free travel, and the absence of advice against travel to a particular country or area does not imply that the FCO guarantees safety in that country or area.

I hope this travel insurance FAQ has proved useful – it’s only really scratching the service and each policy is different, but with this advice you should be in a better position to shop around, next time you need to purchase travel insurance.