Can Adventure Travel Increase Productivity and Build Stronger Teams?

July 13, 2016 post by Kelly Mwila

AA_Connect

Is adventure travel just an exciting way to spend a family vacation? It certainly could be but the benefits for corporate teams are truly outstanding! Specially designed team building adventure travel increases workplace productivity and builds stronger teams in amazing ways.

 

  • Adventure travel helps teams make authentic connections which are lacking in so many corporate environments. How? By getting teams to disconnect from technology in remote locations (like fishing lodges in Alaska!), they spend time together preparing for activities etc. Communicating in these natural environments encourages honesty and openness. This, in turn, provides the space for connections to be made that strengthens a team for future challenges.

 

  • Adventure travel increases happiness! Does that increase productivity? YES! Studies show that happy employees are more engaged and significantly more productive than those who simply work to make a living. And it is no secret that traveling is a joy! Adventure travel also has the added bonus of thrilling adrenaline rushes like those experienced while zip-lining over glorious landscapes. These memorable experiences go a long way in building cohesive teams that outshine their competitors in the long run.

 

  • Adventure travel provides opportunities for individuals to break out of their comfort zone and see in a real way what they’re capable of. This is a huge mindset shift. Completing challenging activities like white water rafting together leaves everyone feeling confident to take calculated risks in their businesses in order to move forward more productively.  They get more and more comfortable taking appropriate risks because they’ve seen the advantages and sense of accomplishment it brings. This momentum is invaluable for companies who want to stand out, increase profits, and grow exponentially.

 

  • Adventure travel increases loyalty to the company and, more importantly, loyalty between team members themselves. Experiencing something life-changing and new TOGETHER bonds people in ways nothing else can. Imagine: a team is on a safari drive at sunset, they pause to turn off the engine, and out of the silence they suddenly hear their first lion roar in the distance. They will remember that moment forever. They will remember the people they were with and these share experiences create unbreakable ties.

 

Kelly Mwila is the Founder & CEO of Alaska to Africa Travel, a boutique corporate adventure travel firm helping teams and leaders increase productivity, engagement, and loyalty while reclaiming much needed balance during custom journeys to some of the most amazing places on earth!

Are You Wasting Your Time?

June 15th, 2016 post by Kelly Mwila

Strong Arm

A few weeks ago I was reading some hot tips for entrepreneurs and the one that struck me the most that people often have the hardest time with is delegating. That is dedicating your energy to your strengths and what you’re good and then delegating what you’re not good at. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Am I going to design my own website for Alaska to Africa? Absolutely NOT! Just figuring out how to use social media on a regular basis takes up enough of my time. I’m not a website designer. I’m a tour operator, a travel designer, and team builder. If I were to spend all of my time trying to learn web design my business would be going nowhere fast. I can’t do it all and thankfully I don’t have. Neither do you.

Why is this concept of working with our strengths and not doing it all so important for my corporate clients to be aware of? READ MORE

Is Employee Engagement Even a Real Thing???

April 13th, 2016 post by Kelly Mwila

team-115886_960_720

I recently read a GREAT article by Kim Monaghan, a career coach, on how exactly employee engagement grows and I can’t stop thinking about the great points she makes. It’s so important for team leaders to take it very seriously. When I speak to groups, teams, and individuals about how adventure travel contributes to happy, engaged employees, I often find that there is a very large segment of the corporate world that doesn’t have a clear idea of what that engagement really means and how it benefits businesses in major ways that can make or break their financial success. It seems like many feel that, yes, employee engagement is nice, but it’s not a priority that should be studied, measured, and fostered regularly.

Monaghan nails it when she says that “It’s important that we recognize the “realness” of employee engagement. It’s not just a state of mind, a fuzzy feeling or emotional blanket that keeps us warm in cool winter months. Employee engagement is a validated psychological state, often measured by increased performance and productivity amongst other positive business outcomes.” Yes, employee engagement is not just a feeling and keeping on top of it within your company can increase productivity. READ MORE

Alaska to Africa Presents: FAQ’s – Destination ALASKA

March 30th, 2016 post by Kelly Mwila

 

Have you ever been curious about what details might be involved to prepare for a trip to Alaska? For every one of our guests traveling to any of our destinations we provide a list of frequently asked questions and wanted to share Alaska’s with you today! Please check it out and let us know if you have other burning questions about tShis incredible destination. We’d love to get your feedback. Feel free to email me at: kelly@alaskatoafrica.com and I promise to respond personally to each of your emails.

Fishing in Alaska

Salmon Fishing in Alaska…You’re invited!

FAQ’s DESTINATION ALASKA

What are the requirements for my passport?

Passports are not required for travel to Alaska for US Citizens unless a portion of your travel takes you to any destination in Canada. However, a valid government ID is required for flying.

 

Do I need a Visa?

No, US Citizens do not need a visa to travel to Alaska. For citizens of other countries, a visa may be required.

 

How do I deal with money / banking?

There are plenty of banks and ATMS in the airports, stores, etc., and most retailers accept common credit cards: AMEX, VISA, Mastercard etc. We recommend traveling with some cash when traveling long distances via rental car. For example, when traveling from Anchorage to Denali etc. Be sure to inform your financial institutions that you’ll be traveling to Alaska so they don’t suspect fraudulent usage of your credit and debit cards and freeze your accounts.

 

What about my safety / security?

Alaska is generally a very safe place but normal precautions are wise. Lock your vehicle with any valuables out of sight, use hotel safes for important valuables, and be aware of your surroundings. Take any safety warnings seriously and if it’s deemed a safe area to hike in, be sure to make noise and talk to each other to avoid surprising any wildlife.

 

What is the time difference?

Most of Alaska is on Alaska Standard Time (AKT) UTC -9. It is 4 hours earlier than the East Coast of the USA and 1 hour earlier than the West Coast.

 

What’s the weather like?

The weather will depend on which month you are traveling and which part of Alaska you’ll be in. Interior Alaska (Fairbanks etc.) has one of the widest temperature ranges of any city in the world.  It is generally dry and can be as hot as 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit (or colder) in the winter. South Central Alaska (Anchorage etc.) has much milder weather ranging from 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit during the peak tourist months of June-August.  Southern Alaska is generally rainier than the interior and the weather throughout Alaska can be unpredictable. It can be very chilly out on day cruises as well so it’s important to pack accordingly: layers are KEY!

 

What should I pack?

LAYERS, LAYERS, LAYERS!!! Alaska weather, even in the summer, can vary dramatically from warm and dry to wet and chilly. One thing that can ruin a vacation is being cold while trying to enjoy the sights! There are also more daylight hours than most are used to so sun protection is advisable. Additionally, Alaska is fairly informal so casual dress is appropriate almost everywhere, including most restaurants.

Suggested Alaska Packing List (You will also be sent this list in an email during the weeks prior to your departure.):

Warm sock/fleece hat (this is a life-saver!)

Light/thin gloves

Sturdy shoes for hiking (NOT NEW! Please make sure they’re broken in well before travel)

Sandals or open toed shoes for hot days

Socks: Wool and Cotton

Lights shirts – Tank tops/T-Shirts

Long Sleeve shirts (long underwear can help keep out moisture and keep warm during chilly days)

Long pants (convertible pants are GREAT for Alaska)

Shorts

Underwear

Swimsuits (for spas/float trips/lakes etc.)

Fleece Jersey/Jacket (A middle layer to be worn over the inner layer)

Warm sweater

Rain jacket (This should be a general outer layer that fits over the inner layer and fleece jacket

Sunscreen

Brimmed hat

Sunglasses

Binoculars

Water bottle

A day pack/regular backpack (to carry jackets, water bottles, etc.)

Prescription medications

Insect repellant

Small flashlight

 

What are the luggage restrictions on charter flights?  What are the luggage allowances?

For flights from home to Alaska the airlines have various luggage allowances, so be sure to check with your individual airline prior to packing. If you will be on a charter flight within Alaska, we will send you weight restrictions separately. Duffle bags are preferable, but a soft-sided roller back works as well. If possible, one large bag per person is best as well as a backpack as your carryon.

 

What do I need to consider in order to rent a car?

Make sure to have a valid driver’s license and make sure to have insurance. If you have travel insurance, often times it will cover car rentals if you request it, so double check with your insurance.

 

Can I use my cell phone?

Generally, if you have a national cell phone plan you can use it domestically in Alaska. Due to the relatively spread out population and remote locations of some lodges, there are areas of limited or no cell phone coverage as well. Many locations also have wifi for wifi calls as well.

 

Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is HIGHLY recommended. Unexpected health problems, worldly events, and weather are only a few examples of why travel insurance is so important.

 

What are your suggestions on tipping / gratuities?

Tipping is not required and is based entirely on your discretion. For restaurants a 15-20% tip is customary. For a private fishing guide, $40-60 for a full day is a good tip. If he also flies you out somewhere to fish, an extra $10-20 is nice and they will usually split it with the pilot. For other guides and drivers a modest tip is customary as well.

 

How early should I check in for my flight?

For international flights, check in at least 3 hours prior. For domestic flights, it’s a good idea to check in 2 hours prior to flights. If you can check in online, this will save you some time at the airport.

 

Should I reconfirm my flight?

It is always good to check on your flights a few days in advance, though if anything changes the airlines should call you if you booked your flights yourself. They should contact us as well if we booked your flights for you.

 

What are the rules on wildlife and safety when staying in Alaska?

Alaskans truly respect the environment, wildlife, and nature in general. Do not ever approach or feed any wildlife you encounter in Alaska unless a professional guide is directing you in order to get a better look. Always dispose of your trash properly and if hiking or elsewhere, carry out your trash. Listen to the guides’ safety instructions and follow their directions for a safe trip.

 

PRESS RELEASE: Lack of Employee Engagement? An Innovative Team Building Program Promotes Happiness, Loyalty, and Productivity!

AA_FINAL_Logo

 

New York, NY — Companies of all sizes across the country are struggling with employee engagement and the profit draining results therein. It seems like their top talent will leave without warning despite being offered higher wages, great health benefits, and other perks.
Kelly Mwila, CEO of Alaska to Africa and founder of the team centered tour company will be at WeWork Bryant Park on Thursday, March 31st, in New York City to share her insights and solutions with professionals from across New York.

 

A recent Gallup poll found that only 13% of employees are engaged at work, meaning the vast majority of working adults don’t enjoy their work.  As it turns out, people not enjoying their work is costing US companies roughly $450–$550 billion annually. The statistics show great potential for companies to boost their productivity by investing in their employees’ welfare and workplace happiness. Unfortunately, the methods that companies have used in the past are often made up of lists of tips that have not shown positive results. Worse yet, the lack of engagement have resulted in lack of retention and loyalty. Today, turnover is one of the biggest challenges for HR professionals face. Engaged employees are happier, happier employees are loyal and more productive, and the productivity of these inspired employees naturally promotes innovation and increases profits.

 

What is the key to unlocking engagement, happiness, loyalty and productivity? Mwila says, “It’s connections.” She says, “Adventure travel is one of the most valuable investments a company can make. It’s amazing to see life-changing moments before our eyes and the connection our clients feel…no one in the world besides their closest colleagues know how they feel in that moment and it’s beyond powerful.”

 

Authentic connections to colleagues are not actively promoted in many company cultures because the focus on the lack of productivity and retention obscures the root of the problem. However, a recent Globoforce survey found that employees are far more likely to stay with a company when they have strong connections and friendships at work. Companies can no longer afford to presume that cultivating strong relationships at work is not a priority.

 

While it’s well-known that travel makes people happy, a Yale study shows that experiences are amplified when shared. So the benefits of teams traveling together go far beyond a “good time.” After many years on Wall Street observing first-hand the lack of connection among high level teams and the negative impact on employees and the company at large, Kelly Mwila through Alaska to Africa Travel has created corporate team adventure travel programs which build real team connections naturally is some of the most amazing places on earth. The boutique tour operator custom designs each adventure based on the needs and demographics of the team. Adventures range from fishing trips, white water rafting, and glacier hikes in Alaska to Safaris, wine tastings, and zip lining in South Africa. Depending on the desired outcome, some trips are escorted to promote communication and discovery.  Regardless of the destination, teams return happier and more connected having tapped back into nature and reclaimed their balance.  They think bigger, are more collaborative, creative, innovative, and productive. Loyalty is fostered and companies are provided a solid tool to foster true and lasting engagement.

 

Availability:

 

Mwila will be available in conjunction with Olami Akinosho of Travelushious Travel Concierge for one-on-one discussions at WeWork Bryant Park at their table in the common area where visitors are encouraged to stop by between 5-7pm for info, wine, and snacks. Mwila can also be reached by emailing kelly@alaskatoafrica.com to discuss opportunities to improve engagement through adventure travel. Please stop by!! No appointments necessary.

 

Alaska to Africa Travel, LLC will also be providing attendees a chance to win a $500 travel voucher to help launch their own life-changing adventure.

 

When:                   March 31, 2016  5-7PM

 

Where:                  WeWork Bryant Park
                                     54 West 40th Street,
                                     New York, NY  10018

 

About Alaska to Africa Travel, LLC:
Alaska to Africa Travel, LLC, is a boutique corporate adventure firm, where they design exceptional travel itineraries for small groups with carefully selected elements of outdoor adventure, challenge, and the luxury their clients have come to expect. They wholeheartedly believe that in order for teams working in highly competitive environments to flourish and to retain their edge, they must tap back into nature, disconnect from the concrete jungle and fully recharge. When their clients step away from the fast paced corporate life and experience these exclusive journeys, they come back refreshed, stimulated, and ever more productive. They’ve done something awesome together. And they know it

 

About Kelly Mwila:
Born and raised in ruggedly beautiful interior Alaska, Kelly Mwila fulfilled her dream of conquering big city life when she moved to New York in 2001. She began her career at various Wall Street investment banks where she enjoyed the fast-paced, high-energy culture that proliferates corporate life. After several years she began to feel the negative impact of the competitive environment she was immersed in and noticed the lack of engagement, loyalty, and happiness of her colleagues. It was this imbalance and first-hand experience with the transformative power of adventure travel that moved her to be of service, becoming the Founder and CEO of Alaska to Africa Travel, LLC. She is passionate about designing unique luxury travel excursions for high-end corporate teams to help them make authentic connections, reclaim their balance, and give them the cutting edge they need to be successful. She also speaks to diverse audiences about how to achieve balance, productivity, and happiness at work.
 
Our team of rafters

Our team of rafters

WHAT ARE 5 OF THE GREATEST BENEFITS OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL FOR TEAMS?

March 16th, 2016 post by Kelly Mwila

A Team: Experiences help to think BIGGER!

 

 

Management is always looking for ways to keep their high level teams productive and cohesive.  They want a sure fire method for energizing their most talented players so they don’t fall prey to burnout, discontent, and ultimately leaving for what appears to be a better employer. There is nothing worse than investing in team building activities that fail to improve the teams dynamic and creates awkward moments seared into everyone’s memories. Here are 5 of the greatest benefits of adventure travel for corporate teams:

  1. Adventure travel builds skills naturally. KEEP READING

PRESS RELEASE: Alaska to Africa to Attend the Book More Travel Workshop!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                      Contact: Kelly Mwila

January 25th, 2016                                                                                                                     Phone: 347-755-6511

Lack of Employee Engagement?
An Innovative Team Building Travel Program Promotes Happiness, Loyalty, and Productivity!

 

New York, NY — Companies of all sizes across the country are struggling with employee engagement and the profit draining results therein. It seems like their top talent will leave without warning despite being offered higher wages, great health benefits, and other perks.

 

Kelly Mwila, CEO of Alaska to Africa and founder of the team building and leadership training tour company will be a supplier at the upcoming Book More Travel Workshop from February 4-5th in Charlotte, NC to share her insights and solutions with travel agents from across the country to provide them with amazing value for their current and future clients.

 

A recent Gallup poll found that only 13% of employees are engaged at work, meaning the vast majority of working adults don’t enjoy their work.  As it turns out, people not enjoying their work is costing US companies roughly $450–$550 billion annually. The statistics show great potential for companies to boost their productivity by investing in their employees’ welfare and workplace happiness. Unfortunately, the methods that companies have used in the past are often made up of lists of tips that have not shown positive results. Worse yet, the lack of engagement have resulted in lack of retention and loyalty. Today, turnover is one of the biggest challenges for HR professionals face. Engaged employees are happier, happier employees are loyal and more productive, and the productivity of these inspired employees naturally promotes innovation and increases profits.

 

What is the key to unlocking engagement, happiness, loyalty and productivity? Mwila says, “It’s connections.” She says, “Adventure travel is one of the most valuable investments a company can make. It’s amazing to see life-changing moments before our eyes and the connection our clients feel…no one in the world besides their closest colleagues know how they feel in that moment and it’s beyond powerful.”

 

Authentic connections to colleagues are not actively promoted in many company cultures because the focus on the lack of productivity and retention obscures the root of the problem. However, a recent Globoforce survey found that employees are far more likely to stay with a company when they have strong connections and friendships at work. Companies can no longer afford to presume that cultivating strong relationships at work is not a priority.

 

While it’s well-known that travel makes people happy, a Yale study shows that experiences are amplified when shared. So the benefits of teams traveling together go far beyond a “good time.” After many years on Wall Street observing first-hand the lack of connection among high level teams and the negative impact on employees and the company at large, Kelly Mwila through Alaska to Africa Travel has created corporate team adventure travel programs which build real team connections naturally is some of the most amazing places on earth. The boutique tour operator custom designs each adventure based on the needs and demographics of the team. Adventures range from fishing trips, white water rafting, and glacier hikes in Alaska to Safaris, wine tastings, and zip lining in South Africa. Depending on the desired outcome, some trips are escorted to promote communication and discovery.  Regardless of the destination, teams return happier and more connected having tapped back into nature and reclaimed their balance.  They think bigger, are more collaborative, creative, innovative, and productive. Loyalty is fostered and companies are provided a solid tool to foster true and lasting engagement.

 

Availability:

 

Mwila will be available for interviews and one-on-one meetings at the Book More Travel Workshop Tradeshow where attendees are encouraged to either make an appointment ahead of time by emailing kelly@alaskatoafrica.com or stop by their booth on the trade show floor to discuss opportunities to increase the value to their clients through adventure travel.

 

Alaska to Africa Travel, LLC will also be providing attendees a chance to win a fabulous prize!

 

When:                   February 4-5, 2016

 

Where:                 The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge
                              10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway,
                Charlotte, NC 28277

 

About Alaska to Africa Travel, LLC:

 

Alaska to Africa Travel, LLC, is a boutique corporate adventure firm, where they design exceptional travel itineraries for small groups with carefully selected elements of outdoor adventure, challenge, and the luxury their clients have come to expect. They wholeheartedly believe that in order for teams working in highly competitive environments to flourish and to retain their edge, they must tap back into nature, disconnect from the concrete jungle and fully recharge. When their clients step away from the fast paced corporate life and experience these exclusive journeys, they come back refreshed, stimulated, and ever more productive. They’ve done something awesome together. And they know it

 

About Kelly Mwila:
Born and raised in ruggedly beautiful interior Alaska, Kelly Mwila fulfilled her dream of conquering big city life when she moved to New York in 2001. She began her career at various Wall Street investment banks where she enjoyed the fast-paced, high-energy culture that proliferates corporate life. After several years she began to feel the negative impact of the competitive environment she was immersed in and noticed the lack of engagement, loyalty, and happiness of her colleagues. It was this imbalance and first-hand experience with the transformative power of adventure travel that moved her to be of service, becoming the Founder and CEO of Alaska to Africa Travel, LLC. She is passionate about designing unique luxury travel excursions for high-end corporate teams to help them make authentic connections, reclaim their balance, and give them the cutting edge they need to be successful. She also speaks to diverse audiences about how to achieve balance, productivity, and happiness at work.

Is Alaska Calling Your Name?

January 20, 2016 post by Kelly Mwila
Why Alaska?

Why Alaska?

 

Do you ever wonder why our leadership training and team-building adventure experiences take place in Africa and Alaska? Is it just because I’m from Alaska and think it’s great? Next week I’ll discuss the amazing benefits that traveling to Africa has, but what about Alaska? Why are we so committed to getting executives there and what does Alaska have to do with helping your business gain the competitive edge you’ve been craving? Here’s why:
 AA_Connect
  • Alaska is VAST allowing you to completely disconnect from corporate life and make the major mindset shifts you need to up level your business.
  • Alaska is remote and allows time for true reflection on the activities you will take part in and, more importantly, the people you are with.
  • Alaska’s wilderness is untamed, allowing you to tap back into nature and refocus on your business goals in the context of your bigger vision or to be inspired to create that bigger vision.
  • Alaska’s unmatched diversity of wildlife, mountains, glaciers, river, lakes, and valleys helps foster peace, helping you reclaim much needed balance.
  • Alaska provides the setting for amazing adrenaline rushing adventure activities that break you out of your comfort zone and see in a real way what you’re capable of personally and as a team.
These are just a few benefits of leadership training and team building in Alaska. Click below the picture to request a free consultation on setting up your greatest adventure yet!
As always, Let’s Do Something Awesome. Together.

4 Steps to Starting Fresh…Especially After Some Epic Fails

January 6, 2016 post by Kelly Mwila

IMG_4034

As we enter into 2016 many of us are excited about changes…shedding emotional baggage from some bad decisions, taking on new challenges, and setting bigger goals than any other time in our lives. A lot of great things happened for Alaska to Africa in 2015 but in many ways 2016 is a new start. Is it for you? Whether last year was a mess of a bad decisions and regrets or a wonderful year of forward movement…or more likely a mixture of both, looking at this year as a fresh start feels amazing and full of hope for me at this very moment. How can 2016 be a fresh start for you in your business and your personal lives?

As you probably know, my philosophy about our business and personal lives is that there really is no difference. Hopefully your work life is very personal to you. It is for me. We spend so much of our lives at work that we should keep it balanced and have the same type of goals that we might for our lives outside of work, namely, to be successful, to be happy, to have amazing relationships that nourish our emotional and intellectual needs, and time to enjoy the fruits of our happy labors. A fresh start can rejuvenate us in huge ways and open the door to unseen opportunities, but how can we actually start fresh? What does it really mean? KEEP READING

Why Do Some Teams Coalesce and Others Fail Miserably?

December 22, 2015 post by Kelly Mwila

 

_DSC0421
Have you ever noticed that in many companies there are ‘teams’ who have literally worked ‘together’ for years, but have never REALLY become dynamic, loyal, productive groups who collaborate efficiently and supportively to reach a goal? Yes, they may be doing their jobs and making money for the company, but they are far from what we see from some businesses whose team energy is evident in everything they do. Where does your team fall on this scale?

A ‘team’ is by definition a group of people who work together, but why are so many teams actually a group of co-workers who generally work very independently and communicate just enough to get their own tasks accomplished on time? That ideal team that thrives in an environment of collaboration and camaraderie wherein they relish in the satisfaction of their shared accomplishments and individual achievements seems elusive. So what is the missing link? What is the key to forming a new team or transforming an old one into a group that is energized, happy, engaged, inspired and productive? KEEP READING