Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Accommodation Travel Tips

BEFORE YOU GO

Do a hotel research on the net looking not only for the cheapest rates but also considering the amenities and services provided, location, possible references from other people. Travel guidebooks can also be very helpful for choosing the hotel that suits you best. Be as much flexible with your trip schedule as possible. For example, business class hotels often have lower weekend rates.

As soon as you reserved the room(s) online, document all information about the hotel(s). The easiest way is to print out the whole page off your computer screen so you will have a clear statement that you can use as evidence in case of misplacing or incorrectly entering your information by a hotel clerk. Take a copy with you, make another one for your relatives so they will know when and where you are going to stay so they can contact you in emergency cases.

WHEN CHECKING-IN

Learn the proper check-in and check-out times. Confirm the amenities and services the hotel provides. Ask for directions, a local map. Get a card with the hotel's name, address and phone number so you can show it to a taxi driver or a passer-by in the street if you get lost.

Some hotels may provide extra services that you may not know about unless you ask for it:

- laundry service,
- hair dryers,
- voltage converters/ adaptors,
- newspaper service,
- complementary meals,
- access to fax machine, copier, printer, computer, Internet connection,
- cable TV, rental movies, video games,
- portable beds, baby cribs,
- complementary shuttle service to airport,
- rental safe for your money, jewellery, documents,
- telephone access charges,
- fees for using mini-bar,
- guided tours, excursions.

AT THE HOTEL

Safety should be a priority for everybody and you have to take some precautions. We devoted a whole separate page to travel safety including hotel safety measures so we will skip this part here. When you go out for the day, leave your key at the reception desk. Confirm closing time. Some hotels do lock up at night and you're expected to keep the key if you stay out late.

BEFORE LEAVING YOUR HOTEL

Check out your room for left-behind items. If you need extra time for staying over the regular check-out time (usually it ranges from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m), make a request in advance or the hotel may charge you an additional night.

Review the hotel bill making sure that all charges are accurate.

We wish you a successful and safe trip!

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A New Beginning Down Under

Australia, according to the 2005 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, is the best place in the world to live in! That is probably why the application for migration to Australia annually is extremely competitive as many people dream of starting a new life down under.

There are numerous factors attracting people to live in Australia - the quality of life easily achievable, abundant employment prospects, world-class education and good health care facilities. However, it can be very tricky to achieve permanent residence status in Australia because the competition for the limited number of visas given each year is intensive.

There are a number of ways for those who are serious on starting a new life in Australia to apply for residency.

You can apply for immigration for your whole family with the Skilled Visa Program if you have a specific skill set that is in demand in Australia. But, there are little people that applied for immigration under this particular scheme despite the intense demand for visas to live, study and work in Australia.

There are those who were put off at the thought of having to prove experience in their profession and demonstrate their skills should actually take this scheme if they truly possessed the skill and if their profession is listed in the Skilled Program List of in-demand skills, because they can stand a great chance of acceptance.

For those who find filling in millions of forms and turn up for lots of interview to be accepted for immigration horrifying, they need to be well prepared. Because, you will have to go through a series of interview, fill up plenty of paperwork no matter which program you apply for but in the end, if you are granted a visa, all these will be worthwhile.

A trip to Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane, Perth or Cairns will perk up your desire to immigrate to Australia if you are serious of starting a new life there. Cities like Sydney and Melbourne in Australia are considered some of the most appealing, interesting and enjoyable cities in the whole world. The lifestyle is languid and carefree and yet the cities are modern and fashionable. Blessed with fine weathers and fun people, Australia is a country with so much fun and attraction.

You can apply for a visa to reside in Australia permanently with the Partner, Child, Parent or Other Family Migration schemes if you already have family living in Australia. Those who already have a business and intended to relocate to Australia or those who wish to start a new business there and employ the locals have other alternatives available for them. There is a special visa available for refugees and last but not least, the option available to any one with lots of money is to invest a sum of money into a bank in Australia for a period of time.

Whichever scheme that suits your situation best, be sure to put in everything within your power to make your dream of starting a new life come true. As Australia has been voted to be the best country to live in, demand for residency there will increase significantly as we all move to Australia to get the best quality of life possible!

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A Guide to Rocky Mountain Vacations

The majestic Rocky Mountains are a major tourist location in the western United States. Visitors can participate in a quantity of activities, including hiking, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, & plenty of more. The Rockies are home to several campgrounds, ghost towns, gold prospecting sites, & national parks. a quantity of the biggest tourist attractions in the Rockies are Pike's Peak & Royal Gorge. There are several world famous national parks in the Rockies, including Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, & Glacier.

The legendary Rocky Mountains stretch from old Mexico up through the United States & into Canada. The Rocky Mountains are over 3000 miles long, spanning parts of california, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, & Wyoming before continuing into Canada. Stories of early adventurers like Lewis & Clark exploring the Rocky Mountains are legendary.

 about everyone will find something to enjoy on a Rocky Mountain holiday. Aside from all of the great outdoor activities, the Rockies have a quantity of other attractions as well. The Telluride Film Festival is a prestigious yearly event that attracts a quantity of the biggest stars in Hollywood to a small Colorado town. plenty of Smoky Mountain resorts offer spa treatments & other relaxing diversions.

The Rockies are a tourist attraction all year round. The summer months are  warm, with the average temperature reaching 82 degrees Fahrenheit. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 7 degrees Fahrenheit. The year-round average temperature is a brisk 43 degrees, a perfect temperature for plenty of outdoor activities.

there is a plethora of lodging options in the Rocky Mountains. Travelers can camp, visit RV parks, stay in hotels or ski resorts, or lodge in distinctive cabins & chalets. Vacationers on any type of budget will be able to find an affordable place to stay.

A Guide to North Carolina Mountain Vacations

The mountains in western North Carolina are among the most attractive in the entire United States. two mountain ranges -- the Great Smoky Mountains, the Appalachian Mountains, & the Blue Ridge Mountains -- converge in North Carolina, giving the area a charm unsurpassed in the rest of the country. These two mountain ranges provide the perfect backdrop for a fun & adventurous North Carolina mountain holiday.

There's a wide variety of attractions in the mountains of North Carolina. Visitors can go camping in the vast wilderness surrounding the mountains, stay in an historic cabin not unlike the dwellings of the area's early settlers, or stay in a modern, state of the art resort. The Appalachian Trail, Nantahala National Forest, & the Western North Carolina Nature Center are just a quantity of the exciting places to visit in this region.

Nantahala National Forest encompasses lots of of the peaks & valleys of the western North Carolina mountains. It includes the Tusquitee River. Another attraction of the Nantahala area is the river rafting. there's difficult class II & III rapids along with calmer waters more agreeable to families.

The Appalachian Trail is a footpath that stretches over 2000 miles from northern Georgia all the way to central Maine. This attractive trail winds through a number of the most stunning parts of the mountains in North Carolina. Clingmans Dome, the highest point on the trail, provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding area. On a clear day, visitors can see up to 100 miles away.

The Western North Carolina Nature Center offers a quantity of features for visitors. The Center has a petting zoo, gardens, a predator habitat, a nocturnal hall, & other interesting & educational attractions to lure visitors. The Center also serves as a sanctuary for injured or orphaned animals that couldn't survive in the wild.

A Guide to Great Smoky Mountain Vacations

The Great Smoky Mountains are two of the biggest tourist draws in the southern United States. This majestic area is considered to be a part of the Appalachian Mountains, which run from central Alabama all the way to Canada. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is two of the most attractive sites in the country. The Great Smoky Mountains are conveniently located within a day's drive for the approximately half of the country's population that lives east of the Mississippi River.

There's a multitude of attractions in this region. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a staggering range of activities. The historic and attractive cabins in nearby Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge provide excellent lodging options for people who need to get a feel for the area.

Lots of tourists stay in the historic cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge while on their Great Smoky Mountain holiday. These cabins range from being simple one-bedroom houses perfect for a romantic holiday, to ten bedroom dwellings made for large families or corporate events. The cabins have all of the modern amenities that travelers require, including hot tubs, cable TV, and swimming pools, all within miles of the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is two of the best-known tourist attractions in the country. The park features camping, RV hookups, and cabins for lodging. Visitors can hike on the numerous footpaths, including parts of the 2000-mile long Appalachian Trail. Travelers can also visit the old growth forests contained within the park. The most visited part of the park is Cades Cove, which is a valley that's fully surrounded by mountains. Within the cove, visitors can marvel at the natural foliage and wildlife, go hiking, or ride the trails on a mountain bicycle.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Australia Surprise

Australia is not just about the city of Sydney and the grandiose Opera House. More than the famous kangaroos, koalas, trackers and the outback, the continent down under actually tops the list of every nature lover’s favorite escape to paradise.

Lismore

Lismore is perfect for those looking for the chance to commune with nature. Because forests are all around and even within the city, avid hikers, trekkers and campers alike would love to immerse in the beauty of nature that is just a few minutes away from the city center.

Credited as the birthplace of ecotourism, Lismore boasts of breathtaking waterfalls and national parks of World Heritage rainforests. Aside from the usual nature adventure, tourists should not miss Organic Tuesday which is a showcase of everything that grows on the fertile volcanic soil that is officially certified organic.

Kununurra

Kununurra is a city no only for a rendezvous with nature but also for inspiration and motivation when everything else seems to go another way. When all else fails and the moral is so down and low, Kununurra and its story is sure to bring back the smile and the determination to make things work.

Literally meaning Meeting of the Big Waters, Kununurra is a relatively new town in Australia. Contrary to most places which grew from small communities that gradually evolved into towns and cities and on the process developed a rich backdrop of culture and tradition, the city traces its history only a few decades back to the creation of the Great Ord River Irrigation. The town was created, in the truest sense of the word, with the purpose of being the service town for laborers and farmers that were implanted to the area during the construction of the dam and the irrigation system.

Sitting on arid lands, Australian government did not just resign to the fact that agriculture would not be feasible in the Western region. They then determined to challenge the adversities offered by nature. Aside from the dam, they also factually created two man-made lakes to ensure that farmlands they aim to develop would never go dry. True enough, what used to be hot and warm landscape of barren lands, Kununurra now features croplands and greeneries as far as the eyes could see.

Indeed, Australia never fails to keep surprising her visitors. Lismore and Kununurra are delightful desserts after a hearty serving of a taste of life in the outback.

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Do Not Use 800 Numbers When Booking Trips

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The theme of modern society seems to be give me convenience or give me death. In the case of booking trips, this convenience will really cost you.

Do Not Use 800 Numbers When Booking Trips

Toll free numbers are touted as a service offered to make our life easier. If I need to call a business, the toll free number allows me to do so without spending a dime. The real question, however, is just how much money are we saving? In fact, are we saving any when it comes to vacations?

When booking a trip, there is an inherent desire to get everything done as easily as possible.  This makes sense since who wants to call airlines, car rentals, hotels and so on? In each instance, however, using the toll free number can really cost you.

Here is some breaking news. When you call a toll free number, you are getting a national call center who more or less has a set list of prices. In many instances, these prices are actually higher than if you just walked into the business at your destination. In exchange for the convenience of a toll free number, you are paying a premium! Let’s take a closer look.

Car rentals are the most obvious area where you get killed using the national toll free line. They may give you a slight upgrade, but nothing compared to the local office. The best approach is to contact the lot the morning you are flying in to simply see if they expect to have extra cars. Don’t reserve one unless they are going to be tight. Upon arrival, just stroll over and ask for a deal. They will always give you upgrades and tremendous pricing. Even better, take a cab into town to a local car rental. You will save anywhere from thirty to fifty percent on the pricing.

Hotels and toll free numbers are also a bad mix. The call centers are concerned about overall sales across the entire chain. The desk clerk of a hotel, however, is only concerned about his bookings. This gives you an opportunity to score a deal. Instead of calling the toll free national number, find the local number and see what you can score. Unless there is a convention in town, you can usually do very well.

Face the facts. Using a toll free number doesn’t save you much on calls. It can, however, cost you a bundle in your travels.


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Did I Forget To Pack Anything?

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The line from the old movies was always, "Did you remember to turn off the stove".  This goes back to gas powered stoves and really doesn’t apply anymore.

But there are some electrical appliances you should turn off before you go.  I always turn off my power strip that powers my computer, since it will be with me.

I shut off the microwave and any other electrical appliances that won't be needed for three weeks.  About the only things I leave plugged in are the television, refrigerator, and stove.  Of course, all the lights have power and are on a timer to make it appear like I am at home.

With numerous checklists, it is difficult for me to forget anything.  I am a frequent traveler and use lists to ensure that I don’t forget anything important at home.

Technically, I could get by in Thailand with just my passport, plane tickets and an ATM card.  But I do like to have some clothes, gifts, and most of my toiletries with me when I go.

Plus, with all my electronic gizmos, I need all kinds of chargers, power cords, and batteries or I won't be able to function.  The computer, camera, DVD player, noise reduction headphones, and cell phone all need attention.

Having a detailed checklist makes it so much easier to travel and not forget anything.  It may be a bit anal, but it works for me.  It lists everything that I will need to bring for the 3 weeks, a list of gifts for friends, and also includes things I need to do before I depart.

This trip is a little different for me.  Usually my son takes me to the airport and takes in my mail.  However, he has moved to a city just outside of Las Vegas, so I am on my own.

I had to arrange for a shuttle to take me to the airport and fill out the little card for the post office to hold my mail.

I also have a list of items to buy as soon as I arrive in Thailand.  This cuts down on some of the packing as the items I want, mainly toiletries, are cheap in Thailand.

I bring a minimum of clothing because I know that I will do some shopping over there.  It just can't be helped.  The prices are so cheap; you just have to buy some goodies for yourself, family and friends.   I hate shopping with a passion, but love to bargain over the Land of Smiles.

It is much easier when you have everything written down.  As I get older, I tend to forget the simplest of things.  So, a travel checklist works for me.  If I just had to rely on my memory, I know that I would forget something.

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Derby City Guide, Including Derby Hotels

Introduction:

Derby holds a great appeal for those visitors in search of unspoilt tradition and character. In the shadow of the ornate Cathedral tower lies a great multi-cultural city bursting with a wealth of entertainment venues, attractions, parks and shops. Derby is perfect for those in search of a short break, whatever their needs.

Places of interest:

Derby is a busy industrial city, home of the famous Royal Crown Derby Porcelain. Derby sits on the west bank of the River Derwent, close to its meeting with the River Trent. Located in the beautiful rolling countryside of  Derbyshire, it is an ideal base for touring the area, exploring the Derbyshire Dales and the Peak District National Park.

Derby Cathedral - The Medieval Tower is the second highest in England at 212 feet; its bells are rung regularly and are the oldest ring of ten bells in the world. James Gibbs designed the superb early 18th century classical gold and white nave. Features include the wrought iron screen by Robert Bakewell, Bess of Hardwick's elaborate memorial and St. Katherine's Chapel.

Derby Museum and Art Gallery - The Museum, which has a gallery dedicated to the craft of ceramics, also features on Natural History, Egyptian Mummies and Military history. In the town's history section you will see the Bonny Prince Charlie Room, with wood panelling taken from Exeter House where the Prince stayed in 1745. The Art Gallery has a collection on the work of the local artist Joseph Wright.

Pickford's House - This is one of Derby's fine Georgian Town Houses, built in 1770 by local designer Joseph Pickford. In the beautifully decorated rooms, you will find scenes of Georgian domestic life and historic costume displays.

Derby Heritage Centre - This quaint timber-framed building is home to a wealth of historical local information, including photographic displays and books.

Derby Industrial Museum - Situated in the first factory building in England, an 18th century Silk Mill. Here you can learn about the history of railways, coal mines and Rolls-Royce aero engines. There is also a variety of changing exhibitions.

Things to do:

Derby not only offers all the activities associated with a large city but those associated with living in rural England. You can shop till you drop, or enjoy the local countryside and historic monuments. Tourist routes are available to enable you to make the most of any walk or cycle tour you wish to take.

Shop in a traditional department store established in 1864, or one of the well known High Street names in the modern indoor shopping centre, explore the Victorian Market hall, and the colourful crafters market.

Eat in one of the speciality restaurants, coffee or tea shops Derby has to offer. Evening entertainment in the city can vary from a visit to one of the cinemas or theatres, to live music in one of the many wine bars and clubs.

Take the Kedleston Lanes cycle route that starts and finishes in the Riverside Gardens by the Council House in Derby. The route takes you through the lanes north-west of Derby and visits the villages of Kirk Langley, Weston Underwood and Quarndon. Unfortunately this route is not suitable for young families or inexperienced riders.

Discover the beauty and heritage of Derbyshire's River Derwent by following the Derwent Valley Heritage Way. The total distance is 55 miles but it can be taken as a long distance walk or as a series of shorter walks. The Derwent Valley Heritage Way has been way-marked using small yellow and purple disks.

Allestree Park dates from the end of the 18th Century when the present Hall was built. The park is preserved as a Local Nature Reserve because of its wide range of wildlife habitats. A Nature Trail follows an easy, reasonably flat route around the lower part of the Park and the lake shore. The trail is just over 1.5 miles long and should take about an hour and a half to complete.

Food & Drink:

Derby offers an excellent choice of restaurants where you can savour traditional and worldwide cuisine to suit any palate and wallet. There is also a multitude of modern cafes and bars, many hosting live evening entertainment.

Famous for being the ‘real ale’ capital of the UK as the city is home to a great selection of traditional pubs, together with the annual summer and winter Beer Festivals at the Assembly Rooms.

White Derby occupies a prime position in Old Blacksmiths Yard. White has revolutionised Derby's restaurant scene overnight with its unique mix of exquisite food and drink, sumptuous interior design and exemplary service. White is a truly unique experience.

Lamp and Seam is located in the New Bath Hotel is popular with local business men and women and tourists alike. The Lamp and Seam offers French/English traditional cuisine in a charming setting. Service is friendly and efficient.

The Paddock is a friendly pub located on the outskirts of Derby, where you can find good food, drink and conversation. Traditional pub food is served from a main menu, and special boards offer homemade and favourite dishes.

Bennetts Ltd is a traditional style coffee shop in an elegant setting, with large tables and comfortable padded armchairs. A varied menu is available including toast, teacakes, scones, cakes, sandwiches, salads, hot and cold meals and snacks. Freshly ground coffee and specialty teas are available all day.

Mediterranea occupies part of an older building on Friar Gate and offers a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in modern casual surroundings. The food is based on the cuisines of the Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern.

Hotels & Accommodation:

The city of Derby has a wide range of hotels and quality assured guest houses. As Derby is a base for tourists and business people accommodation is available all the year round. Prices can be found that are suitable for any kind of budget suitable.

International Hotel
Express by Holiday Inn Derby
Menzies Mickleover Court Hotel
Derby East Premier Travel Inn
The Priest House on the River
Kegworth Whitehouse Hotel East Midlands Airport
Yew Lodge Hotel - Best Western
Express by Holiday Inn Nottingham East Midlands Ai
European Inn
The Stuart Hotel
Days Hotel Derby
Best Western Midland Hotel
DAYS INN HOTEL DONINGTON(Derby South)
Swallow Hotel Derby

Entertainment

The Assembly Rooms is Derby's leading entertainment venue, located on the Market Place in the centre of Derby. A programme of Arts and Entertainment, including an orchestral season, comedy, rock and pop events and family entertainment can be found there.

The Guildhall Theatre, also located on the Market Place, provides a blend of professional touring theatre and music events. It also offers a venue for many amateur productions and is perfect for small meetings and exhibitions.

The whole city of Derby has something to offer whatever style of break you prefer. Entertainment, historic homes, parks and good food is on offer. There is something and everything for every visitor regardless of age or budget.

This Article may be freely copied as long as it is not modified and this resource box accompanies the article, together with working hyperlinks.

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Cheap Reservations Without The Hassle

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-Plan your vacations on off seasons, Hotel rates, even airline and car rental rates are lower during this time due to lower demand. You can get as much as a 50% discount if you book a room during off season, so try and call the hotel if they have off season discounts and ask them when the discounts will be effective.

- Some hotels give discounts to certain people like students, military contingents, Senior citizens, honeymooners etc. Ask for these discounts and what their details, you can save a lot with these.

- Ask if your kids can stay for free, if you’re with your family, sometimes hotels can allow up to two kids for a two bed room provided that the kids are within the age limit.

- If you’re not very particular with hotel locations, you can access name-your-price websites for car rentals and hotel reservations. They’ll do the haggling for you and you’re sure not to over-budget.

- Some hotels and even car rental companies, give “free days” if you use their services for more than a week. Ask about these certain perks if you’re planning a long stay.

- Make sure that the room fees are the only ones you’re paying for. Some hotels have surcharges and extra fees that aren’t mentioned in room rates and then suddenly pop-up on check-out. Before you reserve, ask about these, and if upon check-out you suddenly find yourself with fees that you didn’t know about, refuse to pay it.

- You can also exchange frequent Flier miles for hotel lodgings so if you have an expiring miles card, or a miles card that you’d just want to get rid of, ask the hotel if they honor these exchanges.

- Sometimes, hotels provide free airport pick-up you can use this as bargaining tool. Ask for a free pickup when haggling so you’ll get something extra even if you pay the full price.

- If you’re planning to travel during peak season, always call in advance, rates tend to get higher as the season approaches.

- Sometimes, weekend rates are lower than regular fees, or vice versa, ask your agent, or ask the hotel yourself if they have these, then you can schedule your trip during these times and be able to avail of the discount.

- Always ask for a confirmation number when you reserve a room, so that they can’t say that they didn’t receive your reservation.

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Budget Travel Basics

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The world of budget travel can be filled with excitement and appeal, and in our expensive world today traveling on a budget is becoming more necessary if you want to travel at all.  It is important to keep costs low when traveling, whether you are traveling solo seeing a foreign country for the first time or a family with your car filled with kids and luggage heading for the beach or an amusement park.

If you want to go the lower cost route while traveling, it is definitely a good plan to generate a travel budget.  Determine the approximate costs and prioritize the different portions of your trip, such as hotel, airfare, car rental, visiting attractions and sights, food, and gasoline.  Once you have a good idea of what you want to spend on each part of your trip, then you need to begin shopping around for the best deals.

When it comes time for you to formulate a budget for travel, you should first prioritize by deciding what is most important to you and what you can cut back on.  For example, while some travelers would rather spend a more on a higher class of accommodations, others would rather save money by staying at lower priced hotels or motels splurge on sightseeing or their food budget for the family.

Once you have prioritized the elements of your trip, begin researching what the best deals are.  Often, discounted admission rates on area attractions are the most common and easiest to find, since many theme parks, museums and other attractions run specials to draw tourists.

To get big discounts on local attractions, the best place to start is the Internet, specifically the web site of whatever attraction you want to visit.  Often you will find great deals online, such as two-for-one deals, free admission for children, special reduced admission days, even discounts on food and lodging. 

There are other ways to get great discounts.  If you are in the military, a senior citizen or a member of an organization such as AAA, you will find that there are many discounts available to you.  Most AAA offices sell discounted tickets for theme parks, museums and other attractions within driving distance, and most AAA offices sell discounted tickets to popular destinations like the Walt Disney World Resort, too.  The secret to making the most of your travel budget is to research and take advantage of any discounts available.

If you plan to drive your car on your trip, make sure you get it services so that it is in good condition before you leave.  Something small like under-inflated tires or worn spark plugs or brake pads can affect your gas mileage and increase your fuel budget.

A good tip for keeping your fuel spending under control is to invest in a map of your destination.  It will keep you from getting lost and therefore wasting gas.  Being able to find your way to and from the hotel or other destinations without trouble will make your vacation less stressful and less costly.

No matter how work to save money on your next vacation, planning a budget and adhering to it will let you enjoy your vacation more, and worry about the costs less.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Most Important Travel Tips

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Experienced travelers the world over know the tried and true saying: Less is more. Who wants to schlep around heavy, bulky bags when you’re far from home, most likely running from place to place, trying to make sure all of your belongings continue to be your belongings? The trick of the trade, according to seasoned travelers, is to consider packing only one bag. What’s more, to consider making that bag the size of a carry-on bag. That’s right, the size of a bag that fits, or mostly fits, in the overhead compartment on today’s commercial airlines.

Consider the following reasons to travel light:

1. Safety
Simply put, one bag is easier to keep tabs on than two bags, or three, or... You get the idea. You don’t have to check your bags and risk losing them altogether as you travel.

2. Efficiency
One bag means less to carry, which means you don’t have to pay someone to help you or pony up for one of those Smarte Cartes at the airport. Also, with one bag, you won’t be as tempted to buy as many useless souvenirs you’ll never need, because there won’t be room for anything extra in your bag on the return trip.

3. Flexibility
With only one bag, you don’t have to worry about getting to the airport so early or sticking around so long after your flight lands. You can run through train terminals more speedily and shove yourself more quickly into the backseats of taxi cabs. And customs inspections? No problem.

So, now that you’re convinced you should limit your travel bags to one, you may well be wondering how on earth to fit all your necessaries into a single satchel. Plan carefully what you will need for your trip and take only those thing: If you think, “I might need this” then it’s probably safe to assume that you won’t. If you think “I can’t live without this,” then into your travel bag it goes.

Other tips:

* Plan to do laundry while you’re traveling (even if that means doing them in your hotel room sink!). This way you won’t feel as compelled to take as many clothes.

* Take clothes that you can mix and match.

* For your toiletry items, use travel-size products. Even if they’re not easy to find, you’ll be glad you took the trouble. And remember that most of them can be refilled and reused—even toothpaste tubes can be refilled with enough patience and manual dexterity!

* Pack underwear, socks, and other small cloth items inside larger items, such as shoes, to maximize all available space.

* Check the weather of your destination ahead of your departure time so you can plan your wardrobe accordingly.

* If you’re the type of person who can’t resist a good—or a bad—souvenir, take one or two items of clothing that are mostly worn out. Wear them once, toss them, and fill up the space they occupied with that plastic replica of Mt. Rushmore that you just can’t live without.

And, of course, the most important travel tip of all: remember to have fun, wherever you go and however you get there.

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Preparing For Your Student Trip

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A little bit of planning can result in a big increase in security and satisfaction when it comes to student travel.

Here are some tips from experts on how to prepare for a student trip:

* Before you go, learn about the laws and customs of the countries you're visiting, especially those concerning drinking age, drugs and curfews. You are not immune to a country's laws just because you're a visitor.

* Tell your trip leaders about any medications you're taking. (Medication should be in the original containers and you should take the actual prescriptions with you when traveling overseas.)

* Play by the numbers. Give your parents the phone and fax numbers of your hotel, the cell phone numbers of the chaperones and a full itinerary of your trip. If anything changes, e-mail your parents immediately with the new info.

* Pack all valuables, medications, travel documents and passport in your carry-on bag. Occasionally, checked luggage gets lost at airports, so you want to have your important items on you.

* Do not carry all your cash at once. Keep your wallet in a zippered pocket, preferably inside your jacket. If you need to exchange money in a foreign country, only use authorized vendors such as banks.

* Don't be flashy. Wear an old, inexpensive watch and leave the bling at home. Don't make yourself a walking target for thieves. Avoid flaunting your digital camera or MP3 player.

* When you check in at your hotel, grab a card from the counter with the hotel's name, address and phone number on it. Keep this card on you at all times.

* Travel with a buddy at all times and never wander off alone from the group.

* If a charter flight is involved, check the operator's registration with the U.S. DOT's Special Authorities Division at (202) 366-1037. You will need your dates of travel, the name of the carrier and the charter operator's name, address and public charter number.

* Make sure your trip is designed and sponsored by a reputable travel firm.

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Personal Security Tips While Traveling

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* Notify your immediate family of your departure and return dates, but don't otherwise publicize your travel or vacation plans. Always leave contact information with your family. Provide them with an itinerary, hotel names, phone numbers, airline flight info, and any other important travel information.  It is a good idea to also leave them a copy of your passport.

    * Register your trip with the state department online or with your embassy upon arrival.

    * Check plane, train, and bus times before you travel.

    * Sit near other people or near aisles or doors. Learn the location of emergency alarms and exits.

    * Stay awake and alert when using public transportation.

    * Consider purchasing special clothing or accessories to hide your passport, money, or credit cards. Keep the majority of your funds in traveler's checks and hidden; carry some in your wallet or handbag. Use a money clip. If you are robbed, you may lose the money in the clip but will retain important credit cards and documents.

    * Keep valuables out of sight and luggage close at hand. If carrying a handbag, keep it in front of you, closed, with the fastening toward your body. Keep a wallet in your front pants pocket.

    * Let go if your bag is snatched.

    * Do some research on the area you are visiting. Talk to your security officer or consular colleagues regarding travel advisories or warnings.

    * When traveling, dress casually; dress down where appropriate. Be aware of local customs.

    * Don't wear excess jewelry. Reduce wallet and purse contents, particularly cards that denote affiliations, memberships, accounts, etc.

    * At airports, proceed through security checks and go to the boarding area as quickly as possible. These areas are usually the most secure in the airport.

    * In any crowded situation, be aware of any crowding or jostling, even if it appears innocent. This is often a ploy by pickpockets to distract you.

    * Be very careful any time you use a telephone calling card. Fraudulent uses of these cards are on the rise. Look for people observing your card or your fingers as you dial your code. Avoid being heard giving the number to local telephone operators.

    * Maintain a low profile, use common sense, know your surroundings, and have a safe trip.  Don’t bring attention to yourself with your clothing or your actions.  Be alert, report anything suspicious, and obey security personnel.

We live in dangerous times and have to remain ever vigilant.  You never know when something bad may happen to you or your family.  Follow the above tips to minimize your risk and increase the odds of you having an incident free holiday.

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Personal Security In Overseas Hotels

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* Do not discuss your business or travel plans in public areas where they may be overheard. Discuss your travel plans and movements during your stay with as few people as possible.

    * Selecting a hotel room on the third to fifth floor generally will keep you out of reach of criminal activity from the street but still within reach of most fire truck ladders.

    * Do not entertain strangers in your hotel room.  If you feel you must, require them to leave a valid ID card with hotel security or the front desk.

    * Be alert to overly friendly locals who may have criminal intentions. They may offer to take you to a "special" restaurant. Their ruse may be to offer drugged refreshments.

    * Never leave valuables in your hotel room exposed or unattended, even in a locked suitcase.

    * Place valuables--money, jewelry, airplane tickets, credit cards, and passport--in a hotel safe deposit box or room safe.

    * Familiarize yourself with escape routes in case of fire or other catastrophe.

    * Use the door chain or bolt lock whenever you are in your room.

    * Use the door viewer (peephole) before opening the door to visitors.

    * Do not discuss your room number while standing in the lobby or leave your room key on restaurant or bar tables.

    * Keep your room neat so you will notice disturbed or missing items quickly.

    * Secure your laptop to an immovable object using a lock and cable.  You can purchase one of these for about $25 online.  If you have sensitive files on your laptop, consider removing your hard drive and bringing it with you when you go out.

    * Carry a business card from the hotel to make it easier to get home in a foreign country where not many taxi drivers speak your language.

    * Carry a color copy of your Passport wherever you go.  Some countries, like Thailand, require you to carry your Passport at all time, but most law enforcement officials will not penalize you for having a copy and going to your hotel room to get the original.

    * Make sure you know the local phone numbers for police, fire and emergency.  Countries like Thailand have tourist police in addition to the regular police and they are trained to speak foreign languages and assist tourists.

    * Try not to let your credit card get out of sight.  It is very easy for someone to skim your card in just a few seconds.

Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you should let your guard down.  Big cities are big cities everywhere in the world and all big cities have their share of crime.

A little prevention can go a long way in a foreign country and make your vacation a memorable one.

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Plan Your Return Before You Go

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Return Transportation

You should confirm your return reservation at least twice, and at least 72 hours before your scheduled departure. Whenever possible, obtain a written confirmation. If you confirm your return reservation by phone, record the time, day, and the name of the agent who took your call. If your name does not appear on the reservations list, you have no recourse and may find yourself stranded.

Departure Tax

Some countries levy an airport departure tax on travelers, which can be as high as $50. Please ask the airline or a travel agent about this tax. Make certain to have enough money at the end of your trip so that you will be able to get on the plane.

Immigration and Customs

If a passport was required for your trip, have it ready when you go through Immigration and Customs. If you took other documents with you, such as an International Certificate of Vaccination, a medical letter, or a Customs certificate of registration for foreign-made personal articles, have them ready, also. Have your receipts handy, in case you need to support your customs declaration. When returning to the United States by car from Mexico or Canada, have your certificate of vehicle registration available. It is a good idea to pack your baggage in a way to make inspection easier. For example, pack the articles you acquired abroad separately, if possible.
Articles acquired abroad and brought back with you are subject to duty and Internal Revenue tax. U.S. Customs currently allows each U.S. citizen to bring back $400 worth of merchandise duty free, provided the traveler has been outside the United States for at least 48 hours, has not already used this exemption within the preceding 30 day period, and provided the traveler can present the purchases upon his or her arrival at the port of entry. The next $1,000 worth of items brought back for personal use or gifts are subject to duty at a flat 10% rate. (Your duty-free exemption may include 100 cigars, 200 cigarettes, and one liter of wine, beer or liquor.)  Make sure you check for the latest information as this changes periodically.

There are two groups of destinations from which the duty-free exemption is higher. These are a group of 24 countries and dependencies in the Caribbean and Central America from which the exemption is $600, and a group of U.S. insular possessions (the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam), from which the exemption is $1,200.

Ensure you declare all that you purchased or received as gifts overseas.  If you are selected to have your baggage checked upon arrival, cooperate with the U.S. Customs agent and, unless you have something to hide, this should only take a few minutes.  If you are caught with undeclared items, be prepared to pay stiff penalties.

Plan ahead – save time and money.

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Passport Safety Tips

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Protect Your Passport

Your passport is the most valuable document that you will carry abroad. It confirms your U.S. citizenship. Please guard it carefully. Do not use it as collateral for a loan or lend it to anyone. It is your best form of identification. You will need it when you pick up mail or check into hotels, embassies or consulates.

When entering some countries or registering at hotels, you may be asked to fill out a police card listing your name, passport number, destination, local address, and reason for travel. You may be required to leave your passport at the hotel reception desk overnight so that it may be checked by local police officials. These are normal procedures required by local laws. If your passport is not returned the following morning, immediately report the impoundment to local police authorities and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Passport Fraud

Law enforcement records show that U.S. passports are sometimes used for illegal entry into the United States, or by criminals abroad seeking to establish another identity. This can cause embarrassment to innocent U.S. citizens whose names become associated with illegal activities. To protect the integrity of the U.S. passport and the security of the person bearing it, consular officers overseas have found it necessary to take precautions in processing lost passport cases. These precautions may involve some delay before a new passport is issued.

Safeguard Your Passport

Carelessness is the main cause for losing a passport or having it stolen. You may find that you have to carry your passport with you because you need to show it when you cash traveler's checks or the country that you are visiting requires you to carry it as an identity document. When you must carry your passport, hide it securely on your person. Do not leave it in a handbag or in an exposed pocket. Whenever possible, leave your passport in the hotel safe, not in an empty hotel room, and not packed in your luggage. One family member should not carry all the passports for the entire family.

Guard Against Thieves

Coat pockets, handbags, and hip pockets are particularly susceptible to theft. Thieves will use all kinds of ploys to divert your attention just long enough to pick your pocket and grab your purse or wallet. These ploys include creating a disturbance, spilling something on your clothing, or even handing you a baby to hold!

You can try to prevent theft by carrying your belongings in a secure manner. For example, consider not carrying a purse or wallet when going along crowded streets.

Women who carry a shoulder bag should keep it tucked under the arm and held securely by the strap. Men should put their wallets in their front trouser pockets or use money belts instead of hip pockets. A wallet wrapped in rubber bands is more difficult to remove without notice. Be especially cautious in a large crowd - in the subway, on buses, at the marketplace, at a festival, or if surrounded by groups of vagrant children. Do not make it easy for thieves!

I always make a color copy of my passport and visa and carry that with me and secure my passport in the hotel safe.  Some countries require you to always carry your passport on your person.  But, most will not have a problem if you carry a color copy.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Where To Stay When Visiting Bangkok

It is the same as buying real estate.  The three most important things to remember are location, location and location.

If you will only be over-nighting in Bangkok, you may just want to stay at a hotel near the airport.  Traffic can be horrendous in Bangkok, and you don’t want to risk missing your flight.

If you are like me and want to get out during your stay in Bangkok, staying in the Sukhumvit Road area is the place to be.

I only stay in Bangkok when I absolutely have to but when I do I look for hotels in the Sukhumvit and Soi 4 area.  There are a few reasons for doing this:

- It is right in the heart of the action.  Bars are within walking distance and prices for the hotel are reasonable.

- There are numerous restaurants within a five minute walk. I can get Thai, American, Italian, and many more European and Asian dishes easily.

- If I do need to get a taxi, I can open the front door of the hotel and take about 3 steps and get a cab.

- When it is time for me to depart and head for the airport, I get a taxi and a short jaunt across Sukhumvit and we are on the tollway.  You don’t want to get stuck in Bangkok traffic when you need to catch a flight.

- Even though I speak reasonable Thai, it is nice that most of the stores and shops in the area speak a little bit of English.  It saves time and makes the shopping easier.

- Speaking of shopping, Sukhumvit is a mecca of street vendors.  Sharpen your negotiating skills and get all of your souvenirs at dirt cheap prices.

- Free breakfast.  I usually stay at the Majestic Suites Hotel on Sukhumvit between Soi 4 and Soi 6 (closer to Soi 4) and they have a basic free breakfast.

- I can book online.  There are many places to book hotels in this area using online booking which saves me time and money.

- Relatively safe. There is a police box right on the corner of Sukhumvit and Soi 4 if you need help from the boys in brown.

- Quiet.  Even though it is on a main road, and overlooks a bar complex, the hotels in the area are quiet

So you can see that for about $40 USD per night, you can get excellent value for your money.  You can go upscale a couple of blocks away and stay at the JW Marriott but I prefer value for my Baht.

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Where to stay in Pattaya?


First thing you want to do is check your budget.  Hotels, resorts and guest houses are available in every price range – but you need to know how much you want to spend for your accommodations. Depending on the time of year, you can find a room in prices ranging from USD $10 up to a couple hundred dollars per day.

Next, figure out where in Pattaya or Jomtien you want to stay. There are three basic areas in Pattaya to consider – north, south and central.  The northern end of Pattaya is a little less crowded but further away from the nightlife.  Central is in the middle of all the beer bar action.  And, south is closest to the infamous Walking Street. Rooms in all price ranges are available in all areas.  And transportation is not a problem anywhere in Pattaya.

If you want to spend time at the beach, none of the above areas are recommended.  Jomtien is a bit better or go to an outer island, like Koh Larn, to get your toes wet.  I would not go in the water at Pattaya Beach.  Jomtien may also be a better place to stay if you are bringing over the family.  It is close enough to Pattaya, but far enough away from the naughty nightlife.

Once you have decided on which area to stay, you need to figure out which hotel to make your reservations at.  There are numerous online reservation web sites that provide a lot of information, prices, and reviews.  You can also visit any of a number of online Pattaya forums for up-to-date info.

Consideration should be given to what is available at the hotel.  Does it have a swimming pool?  Do they charge for bringing in a guest?  Are prices higher during peak season? Is breakfast included?  Are there any promotions? Any mandatory holiday dinners I have to pay for (even if I don’t attend)?

Most of the hotels offer the basics – bed, air conditioning, refrigerator, western bathroom/shower, and cable/satellite TV.  Some of the more expensive resorts will offer room service and have one or more restaurants on the property.  If there is no restaurant in the hotel – don’t worry.  There are plenty of small restaurants and street vendors all over the city.

Here you can find better deals from 1000's of Hotel Booking websites.  Don’t worry – it is safe and secure and the service is faster and better than dealing direct with the hotel.

Finally, make sure you book your hotel or resort before you go.  You don’t want to arrive and have nowhere to stay.  And, book early if you are planning to visit Thailand during “high” season – generally November to March.  Pattaya resorts and hotels may also have higher prices during Christmas/New Years and during Songkran (Thai New Year – mid April).

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Yes, You Too Can Take A Vacation

Surveys are interesting. I took note of this one done recently by American Express because it backed up some data I learned at the (National Association of Female Executives) NAFE National Conference in May. According to the survey, 40% of the smallest business owners - those with less than $200,000 in annual revenues - are planning no vacation whatsoever this summer. But even business owners with higher revenues aren't doing much better - only 75% of them expect to get away from the business this summer.

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As we were told at the NAFE Conference, even those business owners who do get away from the office, won't truly get away. Rather, one in three will link their vacation time to a business trip and 50% will still check in with the office at least once a day.

Why can't business owners let go? What are the concerns that keep them tied to the business? According to the survey:

* An important client or customer will not receive appropriate service
* The business will miss out on a new opportunity
* There is no other competent person to leave in charge
* The individuals left in charge will make the wrong decisions
* An operational or equipment breakdown will occur without anyone to solve the problem

Such concerns are not surprising. It is hard for a business owner to take any type of vacation worry-free. But with planning, preparation and good leadership you can boost the enjoyment level of your time off to come back refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges and opportunities. Here are 8 steps to prevent vacation angst.

1. Make a plan - To avoid surprises, create a list of scenarios on your current projects and brief your staff on the possibilities and your major concerns about each client. Assign specific staff to each client/account so there is someone that clients can speak to who understands their concerns when you aren't there.

2. Brief your key clients or customers - Offer them advance notice of any extended absence you are planning. There's no reason to keep your vacation schedule a secret. Introduce them to your deputy and convey your confidence in their ability to handle any issues that may arise. If appropriate, consider letting them know how to reach you should a true emergency arise - not that one will because of all your pre-planning.

3. Leadership is being a delegator not a dictator - If you never delegate important tasks to others, you can't expect them to be ready to fill your shoes when you want to take time off. To create a saner situation and build confidence that good things will happen when you aren't there, learn to delegate responsibilities - divvy up those pieces that must still happen in your absence and postpone those that can wait for your return.

4. Strategically schedule your vacation time - Most businesses have a slow season or times of the year when the pace is slower, or at least a bit less crazy. Plan your vacations to coincide with those lulls.

5. Mini-Vacations - If you just can't let go of the business for a whole week or two, or you can't bear to be too far away from the office, try taking a few days out of town, or extend a weekend somewhere else. Even a brief escape from routine with a change of scenery can do wonders for your perspective and re-energize you.

6. Disconnect entirely - When you do take a vacation: turn off your cell phone, don't bring the laptop, don't check your email, don't bring work with you and avoid the temptation to call or visit the office to "check up" on what's happening. If there's an emergency they can't handle, they will find you.

7. Take time off to sharpen skills - If you just can't justify taking time off to kick back and relax, then take time off to learn something new - business or personal. Taking continuing education courses at a local college or business school is a low-cost and effective way to break from your office routine, be with new people and try new things. Some programs are 3-5 days off-site if that fits your schedule better.

8. Keep your priorities straight - When you go through the exercise of listing the things you really care about, is your business really #1, 2, and 3? Outside of work, your priorities might be connecting with family and friends, spending time with kids, cultivating personal interests, staying healthy or pursuing an avocation. To regain balance in your life, you need to keep work, family and personal time in perspective. Those other priorities help you find more enjoyment in your time away from the business.

Let me know if these tips help you take a well-deserved vacation (or two) this summer.

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Your Health While Flying

Flying is a routine activity for millions of Americans, and raises no health considerations for the great majority of them. However, there are certain things you can do to ensure that your flight is as comfortable as possible. Changes in pressure can temporarily block the Eustachian tube, causing your ears to 'pop' or to experience a sensation of fullness. To equalize the pressure, swallow frequently; chewing gum sometimes helps. Yawning is also effective. Avoid sleeping during descent; you may not swallow often enough to keep ahead of the pressure change. If yawning or swallowing doesn't help, use the 'valsalva maneuver':


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* Pinch your nostrils shut, then breathe in a mouthful of air.

* Using only your cheek and throat muscles, force air into the back of your nose as if you were trying to blow your thumb and finger off your nostrils.

* Be very gentle and blow in short successive attempts. When you hear or feel a pop in your ears, you have succeeded. Never force air from your lungs or abdomen (diaphragm); this can create pressures that are too intense.

Babies are especially troubled by these pressure changes during descent. Having them feed from a bottle or suck on a pacifier will often provide relief. Avoid flying if you have recently had abdominal, eye or oral surgery, including a root canal. The pressure changes that occur during climb and descent can result in discomfort.

If you have an upper respiratory or sinus infection, you may also experience discomfort resulting from pressure changes. Postpone your trip if possible. (Check to see if your fare has cancellation or change penalties.) A final tip on pressure changes: they cause your feet to swell. Try not to wear new or tight shoes while flying.

Alcohol and coffee both have a drying effect on the body. Airliner cabin air is relatively dry to begin with, and the combination can increase your chances of contracting a respiratory infection. If you wear contact lenses, the low cabin humidity and/or consumption of alcohol or coffee can reduce your tear volume, leading to discomfort if you don't blink often enough. Lens wearers should clean their lenses thoroughly before the flight, use lubricating eye drops during the flight, read in intervals, and take the lenses out if they nap. (This may not apply to extended wear lenses; consult your practitioner.)

If you take prescription medications, bring enough to last through your trip. Take along a copy of the prescription, or your doctor's name and telephone number, in case the medication is lost or stolen. The medicine should be in the original prescription bottle in order to avoid questions at security or Customs inspections. Carry it in a pocket or a carry-on bag; don't pack it in a checked bag, in case the bag is lost.

You can minimize the effects of jet lag in several ways:

* Get several good nights' sleep before your trip.

* Try to take a flight that arrives at night, so you can go straight to bed.

* Sleep on the plane (although not during descent).

* During the flight do isometric exercises, eat lightly, and drink little or no alcohol.

Try to use a rest room in the airport terminal before departure. On some flights the cabin
crew begins beverage service shortly after the "Fasten Seat Belts" sign is turned off, and the serving cart may block access to the lavatories.

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Your Vacation First Aid Kit

Your vacation supplies must include a first-aid kit.

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Have it available while traveling and take it with you whenever you go walking, hiking, or any activity that takes you away from civilization.

You can use just about any type of container for your first-aid kit. It's best if the container is lightweight, like plastic, and has a good lid. A handle can be useful also. A small toolbox, lunchbox, fishing tackle box or even kitchen Tupperware would work.

Here is a list of things to consider including in your vacation first-aid kit. This is not a comprehensive list and you may have other items to add.

You should have some sterile gauze with adhesive tape and scissors to cut them. Make sure the scissors are sharp. Also multiple sizes of band-aids. Tip: Sanitary napkins are sterile and make good compresses to stop bleeding.

To clean cuts and wounds include antibiotic cream, hydrogen peroxide and antiseptic wipes.

Consider including aspirin and acetaminophen, instant cold packs, calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream.

Also, antacid, insect repellent, motion sickness medication, anti-diarrhea medication, sunscreen, cold and flu tablets

If anyone is taking prescription medicine be sure to bring enough for the whole trip.

The first-aid kit is a good place to store a list of emergency numbers along with your medical insurance information.

It's always a good idea to have a first-aid manual on hand and review it before you leave. This way you will be much more prepared should a situation arise where you need it. This is a great opportunity for children to learn a little about first-aid so review the manual with them too.

Other miscellaneous items that could be helpful are thermometer, latex gloves, tweezers and flashlight with spare batteries.

Keep your vacation first-aid kit easily accessible at all times but away from small children.

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Your Travel and Holiday Money Options

With summer finally getting into full swing, many of us will be looking forward to travelling abroad for a well earned holiday. Of course, you'll need access to cash while you're away, so what are the best and safest ways of arranging your travel money?


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1) Local Currency

It's a good idea to take a small amount of local currency with you whenever you travel, if only enough to last you for your first few hours. You'll probably need to arrange travel from the airport to your hotel for example, and local currency is the easiest way to pay for these initial expenses. The exchange rates charged at airports are notoriously expensive, so buy some currency before you leave and you'll get a much better deal.

The drawback to carrying currency is that if it gets lost or stolen, it can't be replaced. For this reason it's best to use another form of travel money for most of your funds.

2) Travellers Cheques

These are the traditional way of carrying money abroad. When you buy the cheques, which can be in Sterling, Euros or US Dollars, you have to sign the stub of each cheque in the presence of the teller. Once abroad, you can convert the cheques into local currency by signing the other half of the cheque at a currency exchange, where the teller will compare the two signatures and also inspect your passport.

This system is more secure than cash as each cheque is uniquely numbered, so if a cheque goes missing it can be quickly cancelled and replaced by the cheque issuer. There is a drawback in that you have to cash the cheques at a currency exchange, and you might not find one offering a good exchange rate.

3) Credit Cards

Credit cards are accepted virtually the world over, and may seem a good way of paying your way while abroad. As well as using them for shopping, they can be used to pay restaurant bills and even to withdraw cash. Before choosing this as your travel money option though, check your card's small print to see what interest rate is charged on overseas use - it will probably be higher than the standard rate of your card, and you'll probably have to pay exchange charges too.

4) Cash Machines

There are now several international cash machine networks in operation, for example the Cirrus network, and it's likely that your cash card can be used internationally, especially in Europe and the USA. This is a good way of financing your holiday spending, as you can draw out what you need while keeping the rest of your money safe in your normal bank account. The downside is that you may have to pay a fee for each withdrawal, and the exchange rate you're charged may not be the best available.

5) Prepaid Cards

These are a relatively new kind of plastic card, which are used in much the same way as credit or debit cards, with the big difference that you have to 'load' the card with funds before you can spend with it. They are a secure way of carrying money, as the card is replaceable if lost, and as it can only be used in conjunction with a PIN number then even if stolen it's difficult for a thief to make use of it. There will, however, still be exchange commissions payable when you use the card, and also usually a flat fee for cash withdrawals.

The main thing to bear in mind with travel money is that while each of the above options is useful, not all are suitable for use everywhere in the world. The best advice is not to rely on a single kind of travel money, but to take a sensible mixture of cash, local currency, and plastic or cheques, to make sure you can always get local currency when you need it. Enjoy your holiday!

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Common Sense Travel Tips

Changes in pressure can temporarily block the Eustachian tube, causing your ears to 'pop' or to experience a sensation of fullness. To equalize the pressure, swallow frequently; chewing gum sometimes helps. Yawning is also effective. Avoid sleeping during descent; you may not swallow often enough to keep ahead of the pressure change. If yawning or swallowing doesn't help, use the 'valsalva maneuver':


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    * Pinch your nostrils shut, then breathe in a mouthful of air.
    * Using only your cheek and throat muscles, force air into the back of your nose as if you were trying to blow your thumb and finger off your nostrils.
    * Be very gentle and blow in short successive attempts. When you hear or feel a pop in your ears, you have succeeded. Never force air from your lungs or abdomen (diaphragm); this can create pressures that are too intense.

Babies are especially troubled by these pressure changes during descent. Having them feed from a bottle or suck on a pacifier will often provide relief. Avoid flying if you have recently had abdominal, eye or oral surgery, including a root canal. The pressure changes that occur during climb and descent can result in discomfort.

If you have an upper respiratory or sinus infection, you may also experience discomfort resulting from pressure changes. Postpone your trip if possible. (Check to see if your fare has cancellation or change penalties.) A final tip on pressure changes: they cause your feet to swell. Try not to wear new or tight shoes while flying.

Alcohol and coffee both have a drying effect on the body. Airliner cabin air is relatively dry to begin with, and the combination can increase your chances of contracting a respiratory infection. If you wear contact lenses, the low cabin humidity and/or consumption of alcohol or coffee can reduce your tear volume, leading to discomfort if you don't blink often enough. Lens wearers should clean their lenses thoroughly before the flight, use lubricating eye drops during the flight, read in intervals, and take the lenses out if they nap.

If you are permitted to buy bottled water and bring it on the plane (check before your fly), get the biggest bottle you can carry.  Some countries don’t allow you to carry a bottle of water through the security checkpoint – but you can purchase one in the terminal (at ridiculously higher prices).  Even if you can buy the water at the terminal, doesn’t mean you can carry it on-board.  Check, check and re-check.

If you take prescription medications, bring enough to last through your trip. Take along a copy of the prescription, or your doctor's name and telephone number, in case the medication is lost or stolen. The medicine should be in the original prescription bottle in order to avoid questions at security or Customs inspections. Carry it in a pocket or a carry-on bag; don't pack it in a checked bag, in case the bag is lost.  Check with TSA on latest rules and regulations.

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Discount travel – do you need the frills?

Everyone wants to see the world, but few people have got the money to go everywhere they’d like to. What’s the solution? Do it on the cheap! Discount travel is an industry that is rapidly growing: it seems like every few years some entrepreneur comes up with another new way to get to nice places and stay there without hurting your bank balance.

The most important advance in discount travel has probably been the widespread availability of cheap flights, from companies like America’s Southwest Airlines and Europe’s Easyjet and Ryanair. They use a so-called ‘yield management’ system that allows prices to vary wildly depending on when you book your flight – meaning that if you book far in advance, you can fly for pennies.

Booking online makes it possible to look through all the dates available for months in advance and choose the one that will be cheapest for you. Third-party price comparison websites allow you to then compare the fares from different airlines that fly on the route you’re looking for, meaning that you can fly with the cheapest airline on the cheapest day with very little effort.

Once you’re there, you can stay in some kind of no-frills accommodation, like a youth hostel or a cheap hotel. Companies are starting to realize that many people want nothing more than a bed when they travel, and budget hotels are exploding in popularity all around the world, making it cheaper to stay abroad today than it has ever been before in history.

If you’d like to travel for longer than just a one or two week holiday, there are plenty of ways to do that at a very steep discount – in fact, if you work part-time when you’re abroad, you might be able to travel around and come out having made a profit. More and more students especially are opting for programs where agencies arrange jobs for them in lots of countries over the course of a few years, allowing them to see the world and work at the same time.

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