Why you really get sick on planes – and how to prevent it

imagesbIf you’re about to fly somewhere for Christmas, you’re probably dreading the possibility that you’ll catch a bug along the way. And with good reason: Many people come down with something nasty in the days following an airplane flight. Why does this happen, and how can you keep yourself from getting sick?

A couple I met on a plane flight prompted me to find out. I met Tom and Nancy some years back on a trip from Boston to Phoenix. The two of them were on their way to San Francisco to visit with Tom’s sister for the week. A few seconds after we’d introduced ourselves, the smell of antiseptic drew my attention away from the baggage handlers on the tarmac loading luggage into the belly of the plane; each of my row-mates was armed with a disinfectant wipe. Tom was busy wiping down his tray table, and Nancy had already moved on to dabbing purposefully at her seat’s headrest. I asked if she brought cleaning supplies on all her plane flights.

“Our doctor recommended it to us a few years ago,” she said as she reached for her clutch bag, withdrew a powder-blue face mask and began looping its elastic straps over her ears. “We’ve been bringing wipes on all our plane flights ever since.”

And the mask, I ask her. What is that for? “It’s to help filter the air,” she explained from behind the mask, its pleats expanding slightly as she mouthed-out her word. “The air you’re breathing is being recirculated through the cabin — we’re all breathing one another’s air.

“It’s disgusting,” she concluded as she reached back into her bag and pulled out two more masks. She handed one to Tom and presented the other to me. “Would you like one?”

Do we have to turn into Nancy and Tom to stay healthy on a plane flight? Yes and no.

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Click here to find out!

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How to survive holiday travel

imagesThere’s not much good news for fliers this Thanksgiving. Airports will be packed, planes will have few — if any — empty seats and you might sit apart from a loved one, unless you pay extra.

During the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, 25.1 million people are projected to fly, an increase of 1.5 percent from last year, according to Airlines for America, the industry’s trade and lobbying group.

That would make this the busiest year since 2007, when an estimated 26 million people flew over the holiday period.

The busiest travel day will be Sunday, Dec. 1, with an estimated 2.56 million passengers, followed by Wednesday, Nov. 27, with 2.42 million passengers. In case you were wondering, the slowest travel day is Thanksgiving itself, with just 1.44 million people expected to fly.

But don’t fret, there are some things you can do — in some cases paying a little extra — to make your trip more pleasant, or to at least buffer the damage if something goes wrong.

Follow this helpful story here

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Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I am a big fan of Autumn. The changing of the leaves is a photographer’s dream, and the cooler temps in some parts of the nation mean more outdoor activities and kitchen’s full of warm smells of cooking apple pies and pumpkin seeds.  One phenomenon of this time of year is the pilgrimage of “Leafers.” The parade of colored-leaf hungry citizens looking for the panoramic views some places in the nation seem to be famous for.  If you have your “leafer” card, and are not sure where to spend your Autumn vacation days, here are some clues from Yahoo Travel. – My suggestion?  Maine.  Stop and get some Lobster rolls while you are there. Tell em Gene sent you!

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Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations

Nothing – not sweaters, not the smell of fireplaces, not pumpkin patches, and not apple picking – says “fall” like the blazing red, glimmering gold, and burnt-orange leaves that cover trees and crunch underfoot during the autumn months. Whether you’re practically a professional leaf-peeper or just a casual enthusiast, you’ll need to know where to take in the season’s splendor. Lucky for you, we’ve scouted out the 10 best fall foliage travel destinations – and while some perennially popular places made our list (because it just isn’t possible to do a story on foliage without including New England), we think you’ll be surprised by some of the less-obvious-but-just-as-glorious destinations that did, too. Oh, and no need to fret about when the peak colors will peek out – we’ve done the research for you, as well.

 

Aspen, Colorado

While it’s the place to see and be seen every winter, autumn brings a sense of serenity to Aspen – and the golden foliage of the town’s namesake tree along with it. While Colorado’s aspens don’t offer the vibrant fall color spectacle of say, the Northeast, the yellows, golds, and bold oranges that cover the mountainsides here, against a backdrop of intermittent evergreens, are still reason enough for a visit. Mid- to late September is the ideal for fall foliage travel, but with the color change lasting just about a week, timing is everything.

Click here to see the entire list!

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Common Mistakes When Packing for a Trip

OK, you’ve planned for a year for this trip.  You have the reservations, the tickets, the cash, and now only one thing left to do.  PACK!  If you are now careful, you will add misery to your trip by not packing properly.  I have several tips on packing on this website, but I ran across this article on what NOT to pack and I thought you might learn something from it, I did.

 

Common Mistakes When Packing for a Trip

Stress-free ways to slim down your suitcase

Frommers: What Not to Pack for a Vacation, less is more

Use these tips to avoid over packing and streamline your luggage bulk. — Photo by Mark Weiss/Getty Images

1. Items Prohibited by the TSA
If you’re flying, check with the Transportation Security Administration to see whether anything you plan to pack is prohibited. The TSA website has clear guidance about what’s allowed and what’s not: in carry-ons, checked luggage or both. When in doubt about an item, leave it at home.

2. Regular-Sized Toiletries

Full-sized bottles of shampoo and lotion are heavy, take up precious space and, because of TSA 3-1-1 guidelines, make carry-on flying impossible. Create a toiletries kit with trial-sized drugstore sundries (toothpaste, deodorant and the like) and plastic bottles or jars filled with favorite products. A trip is also a great opportunity to finish off those almost-empty tubes of toothpaste and cosmetic samples. If you frequently visit a friend or relative, ask to keep a stash of your favorite products at his or her house.

Click here for the rest of the article on AARP.

 

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Top 10 travel mistakes and how not to make them

I just ran across an article from NBC News Travel that spoke directly to me.  I have made most of the mistakes listed in this article!  I wanted to post their article here so you can prevent the same from happening to you.

Top 10 travel mistakes and how not to make them

 

July 18, 2013 at 9:31 AM ET

 

Stefano Rellandini / Reuters
A classic travel mistake is to stick to the beaten path. When in Venice, for example, sneak away from the popular squares and get lost among unforgettable neighborhoods most Americans never set foot in.

Even the dreamiest of trips can go off the rails when you fall into one of these all-too-common travel traps. We’ve been there—and we’ve brought back advice on foolproof booking, smart sightseeing, and making the most of every minute.

Even the most meticulously planned trip is subject to snafus, but with a little insider know-how, you can avoid making the common mistakes that can derail a vacation. Stick to the guidelines below, and you’re more likely to have a trip that’s memorable not for lost luggage and rushed sightseeing, but for the thrill of discovering a new place and savoring it.

Not booking enough connection time between flights
Leaving a window of at least an hour and a half between connecting flights will significantly drop your chances of missing your flight or having your luggage lost, says Sally Watkins, travel agent at Century Travel and Cruises in Austin, Texas. Having only 45 minutes to connect between flights might seem doable — not to mention the siren call of less lag time spent hanging out at a dismal food court — but it’s often not enough, especially in large airports where the gates could be far apart. Don’t rely on airlines to do the math for you, either: “Flights can’t be booked unless it is a legitimate change time according to that airport, and usually if it’s the minimum change time and airlines let you book that, they will make it work,” Watkins says.

Not applying for your passport early enough
Routine passport processing takes about four to six weeks, so as soon as you start planning for your trip, apply for a passport if you need one, or make sure the one you already have hasn’t expired. Plus, in certain countries you need at least six months’ worth of validity remaining to enter, says Elizabeth Finan, spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. (Go to travel.state.gov for more information.) If your trip is coming up quicker than that, you can shell out $60 to cut the processing time to two to three weeks, but if you’re planning to board a plane in less than two weeks, make an appointment at your local passport agency by calling 877/487-2778. The $60 fee still applies. If you’ve traveled so much you’ve practically worn out your passport, flip through it as a precaution: “Frequent travelers should make sure that they have enough pages in their passports,” says Finan. “For example, South African law requires travelers to have one fully blank visa page in the passport; without the requisite number of pages, you may be refused entry.” No one wants that.

 

Read more   CLICK HERE to go to the article.

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Traveler’s Rights!

Travelers Rights

You’ve planned your vacation carefully, packed only the essentials, and double-locked the front door, only to find out that … your flight is canceled, the airline lost your luggage and your hotel room is not exactly what you expected. I found this article to be very helpful and informative! You do have rights. 

We have put together the best tips to protect your rights as a traveler, including how to get your luggage back, how to get your flight re booked and how to negotiate compensation when things go really, really wrong.

If you get bumped from a flight
Airlines are legally allowed to sell more seats than they have, to hedge against no-shows. Most passengers give up seats willingly in exchange for cash or travel. Because this is a problem that just won’t go away, the Department of Transportation has raised the compensation for passengers who are bumped, or, in DOT parlance, “involuntarily denied boarding,” and requires an airline offer cash on the spot to victims — not just a travel voucher.

But some passengers are bumped from their flights before they even get to the gate. You’re more likely to be bumped if:

Check it out by clicking here.

 

 

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Caribbean vacations – Official Site of the Caribbean

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The perfect winter getaway is the Caribbean.  The weather is mild, fairly dry humidity, and it is “the tourist season”.  This means the islands are “lively”!  Whether you are looking for a quiet, secluded beach or jamin night life, it’s all there!

SEARCH THE CARIBBEAN. Destination of the Month. Caribbean Guide 2011.  The Caribbean is the perfect place for beach vacations, golf vacations, and scuba diving. Visit the Caribbean Tourism Organization to learn more about the Caribbean, and gather information to start planning tropical vacations.

Don’t miss the Caribbean again this year!  Click here and join the celebration, Mon

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10 Inexpensive Winter Travel Ideas – J.D. Power

Travel

 

10 Inexpensive Winter Travel Ideas – J.D. Power

Whether you’re traveling in the continental US or abroad, here are 10 destinations that will fit most any travel budget. Prices drop dramatically after the New Year, and Manhattan has mild winters, with more rain than snow.

OVERSEAS:

  • Thailand. The rainy season ends by October, and in the winter months it’s still warm enough to enjoy shopping, sightseeing, sports, and Thai hospitality.
  • Egypt. Crowds and pollution are less of a factor in the winter months, and the pyramids and other historical sites are still just as accessible.
  • Italy. If you’re visiting Italy for the culture, you’ll find that the museums, galleries, and musical venues are less expensive and less crowded in the winter–and the weather is usually mild. The Italian Alps are a good alternative for skiing.
  • London. One of the two best cities in the world for theatre; prices are lower in winter; crowds are smaller; and it doesn’t get as cold as in most of the U.S.
  • Buenos Aires. It’s summer, south of the Equator, and prices are low in this vibrant cosmopolitan city while the locals escape to the countryside.

IN THE U.S.

  • New York City. Prices drop dramatically after the New Year, and Manhattan has mild winters, with more rain than snow.
  • Las Vegas. You don’t have to walk the Strip in the hot summer sun. Nights are cold, but daytime temperatures are delightful–and hotel rates drop after the Consumer Electronics Show in mid-January.

For the details and even more locations, click here!

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How to Pass Time at an Airport: 17 steps (with pictures)

stuck

Dec 12, 2012

Being stuck at an airport, especially big ones, can be an unpleasant experience for you in many ways. You can hardly move because of the enormous crowds, temperatures have rocketed, and your arms are aching because of the amount of luggage you have been carrying around. All this and then you discover that your flight is going to be delayed for a long time. Thankfully, there are ways to pass the time.

Think ahead. Before you depart for the airport, prepare for the possibility of a delay and make sure to pack some things to keep you busy and comfortable should the inevitable happen. For example, a tablet computer, a book, a portable music player, a handheld games console, or maybe a puzzle book. A watch is also a must. Children can become extremely impatient waiting around, keep them amused and entertained with a coloring book, or possibly a story book and don’t forget their favorite toy!

Be sure to Pack a toothbrush, toothpaste and a facecloth. Being able to freshen up when trapped in a crowded airport can really make a difference and lift your mood. Be certain to carry your cell phone charger, it’s always important to keep your phone charged up and ready to go. You may want to have a separate small backpack or purse to keep things that you can easily take out in the airport.

 

Read more exciting steps by clicking here!

 

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Taking a Winter Vacation?

Winter-travel-advice

Are you planning a vacation this winter, or just going to Grandma’s for the holidays?  Don’t forget to PLAN first!  Winter brings a whole different set of challenges when traveling.  Whether you are traveling by air or car there will be many “inconveniences” along the way.  Among them are flight delays, missed connections and cancellations, full flights and overstuffed overhead compartments.

Road travelers face road closures, traffic accidents, road hazards like ice and snow.  That’s where a little planning will smooth out some of the bumps of winter travel.  If you are flying, book early.  I can’t say that loud enough or often enough, book early!  Try to avoid the “crunch” days before the holiday, if possible.  By doing this you are less stressed if you do get “bumped”, “cancelled”, or “delayed” (you also fight smaller crowds)  Carry a minimum number of bags which will save time in security lines and baggage charges.  Ship your gifts ahead of your trip and your baggage also, if you can’t “travel light”.

If your trip involves driving, leave early enough to avoid delays due to weather or other traffic problems.  The Winter season is considered to be the most dangerous season to travel by car.  Make sure to have your car checked, “bumper-to-bumper” and it is in “peak” condition for a trip.  Plan a couple of different routes in case your trip is interrupted by weather.  Check the weather at your destination also, to help you pack the right gear. 

You should always carry a safety kit in your car which would include items like first aid kit, car charger, tow rope, ice scraper, jumper cables, blankets, matches, flashlight, candles, sand (to help with traction) and FOOD!  When I was growing up a local TV weather man used to say “always put a jar of peanut butter in your trunk in November and leave it there until April” 

Here is a video that contains a great idea.  Build a “Winter Box” for your car.

 

 

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