Holiday Tips – How to Survive the Airport

For many people, the airport is the most stressful part of the holiday. Sometimes the process is a dream, but much more commonly it feels like a nightmare. If it isn’t a giant queue at check-in, then it’s frantically checking your million bags for your passport or losing your way in the maze of gates and having to run through the airport to catch your plane. Indeed, airport experiences are never going to be perfect, but here are some tips to make sure yours is as painless as possible:

Before you get there:

– Check and double-check your itineraries
– Make sure any special needs are sorted out before you leave for the airport
– Gather all important documents together and store them in a safe place so you won’t spend ages panicking and searching for your passport
– If possible, use a check-in online option. Maybe airlines offer them these days and they can safe you a lot of time, particularly if you only have carry-on baggage.
– Double-check you have no banned items in your carry-on luggage: be extra careful, as this can be include harmless-looking things like nail files
– Seal any liquids, gels and creams you’ll be taking with you in a clear plastic bag ready for inspection. Check online ahead of time how large the containers are allowed to be – often it is less than 150ml and includes things like makeup and cosmetics.
– Research the airport online to find out how long it usually take to get from checking in to reaching your gate.
– Dress comfortably – dress in layers so you can be comfortable whatever the temperature happens to be.

Getting to the airport:

– Allow yourself plenty of time – two hours ahead of your departure time for international flights and one hour ahead for domestic flights.
– If necessary, plan your transport and route to the airport.
– If driving, make sure you have booked airport parking in advance. If a friend is driving, make sure they are aware where drop-off points or short-term parking are.
– If taking public transport, check beforehand that there are no road works or expected delays that could lengthen your journey time.

On arrival:

– Prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario – bring some snacks and something to read in case of long waits
– Do not leave your baggage unattended (this goes without saying, surely?)
– Watch the display boards announcing your departure gate for any updates.
– Drink plenty of water before the flight to avoid becoming dehydrated.

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Buying Cheap, Discounted Airline Tickets and Vacation Packages Online

I love buying airline tickets and vacation packages on line for two reasons. Convenience and price. Convenience because I can look and then purchase them on my own time and then can spend less time in lines at the airport. With an e-ticket, purchased on line I can check my baggage at a kiosk or at curbside (for a small price) and then proceed directly to the gate, no waiting for my boarding pass. And I like getting the best price I can. But I had to learn a few things about how to get the best price first.

When is the best time to buy the cheapest airline ticket? Buy early; the best prices may be 21 days or more prior to your travel day. The fares will generally increase after that. The highest prices are fourteen days prior to travel. Buy late; sometimes you can purchase tickets for the following weekend at cheap rate if the plane has empty seats. But you may have to return on Monday or Tuesday.

What is the best day to buy the cheapest airline ticket? Most airlines release the new prices on Wednesday, so the best time to look is between midnight on Tuesday and early Wednesday am.

When is the best time of year to travel? The highest rates are June, July and around the holidays, although sometimes a good price can be obtained for the actual holiday itself. Most people do not want to fly on Christmas or Thanksgiving. The lowest price trends tend to be mid January to mid February, April to May, and mid September to mid October.

Where should I fly to and from? Flying through an airline hub may get you a lower price on that airline. For example Southwest has a hub in Phoenix, so check for lower rates there, and American has a hub in Minneapolis, so check for lower rates with them there. Try an alternative airport. Often arriving at a smaller airport just a few hours away can save you a lot of money. Balance the price of a rental car or travel time to see if is worth it to you. Often it is.

What should I purchase? Combining airline tickets, hotel and car rental can decrease the price of your plane ticket. Look at purchasing the whole package from one place to save money.

I think if you use these tips for looking for and purchasing your airline ticket and vacation package on line you will love it as much as I do. Give it a try!

Five Important Senior Travel Tips

Often when we near retirement, seniors have big dreams of all the places they want to visit. However, as we get older, traveling often isn’t quite the delight we hoped it would be. Although it can be great fun traveling to new places and meeting new people, the logistics of traveling can be challenging for many seniors.

This is especially true if you are traveling alone. However, with some advance planning, you can make your next trip much more pleasant and enjoyable. Here are some travel tips that I follow myself, to make sure my trips are as enjoyable as possible.

First, consider your particular health conditions. If you need to take medication daily and you are traveling internationally, it is important to make sure that you always carry medications and copies of your medication list with you at all times. Never check your medications in airline baggage, as you may be facing a life threatening situation if your baggage gets lost.

Second, plan well in advance. Although spontaneity is great for many things in life, as we age, making well thought out travel plans is very important. This is especially true for those who face mobility challenges. For example, if you have trouble standing in lines for a long time or climbing stairs, then you will want to avoid situations that requires this. Ask the questions you need to ask before you leave on your trip.

Third, make back up plans as well. Even the best plans can backfire, and having a contingency plan for when things do not go as planned is important as well. Although the idea of making not one, but two (and maybe even three) travel itineraries may seem overwhelming, if things go wrong you will be very happy you made the effort.

Four, travel as lightly as possible. You do not need the added difficulty of lugging heavy bags around. There are some wonderful new luggage models that have very useful features such as wheels and multiple handles. Don’t go with the cheapest you can find either, as you want your luggage to be durable and last.

Finally, always think about safety. Seniors are often the target of pickpockets and thieves. Consider investing in a money belt, and maybe even carry a decoy purse or wallet with only a little money in it in case you get robbed.

With proper thought and preparation, you will find that your journeys are much more comfortable, safe and enjoyable!

Managing the Holidays – Top 10 Tips

The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of year for many people. It’s a classic example of how we ask too much of ourselves and of others.

November comes around and suddenly we expect to turn into a “Martha Stewart!” We want a beautifully decorated house, delectable homemade treats, perfect, well thought out personalized gifts and well-behaved, eternally grateful children……even after we’ve disrupted their sleep routines and filled them up with cookies and candy. A little unrealistic, perhaps?

So how do you avoid creating a horribly hectic holiday? Here are some tips:

1. Ask each family member what their number one favorite part of the holiday is and only do those. You don’t have to do everything! You might be surprised that there are some things that aren’t as important as you thought.

2. Skip the holiday cards-send New Years cards in January or Valentine cards in February when you have more time. When you send something later, people are more likely to read it. If you send cards and family updates in January or February there’s a better chance they’ll remember what it said.

3. Give theme gifts: magazine subscriptions, donations in their name, gift cards, tickets to a concert, movie, play, etc. Go through a list of magazines and choose one that fits each person on your list. Think about their favorite store, go online and order a gift card for them. Give them tickets to an event you both like and maybe they’ll share the second ticket-the gift that keeps on giving.

4. Take a nap after Thanksgiving Dinner and wake up when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. Thought I’d toss that in for fun.

5. Make a list before heading out the door. Nothing is more time consuming that wandering around the mall waiting for the perfect gift to jump out at you. Go through catalogs or magazines for ideas, decide what you want and buy only what’s on your list.

6. Go shopping with a friend and combine it with a massage, spa treatment, sauna or a soak in a hot tub. How fun would it be to shop for an hour or two and have a great meal or spa date afterwards!

7. Breathe……breathe…….breathe. A deep breath will help you slow down to think and make better decisions. Think about the last minute craziness before guests arrive-mind racing, bouncing from one thing to another. Stop, take a deep breath and your mind and body will automatically slow down.

8. Make the holiday meal a group event: ask guests to bring part of the meal. If you are hosting an event say up front you are providing the main dish and they can choose a side dish to bring. No need for a hostess gift then. How many candles or knick knacks do you need?

9. Schedule FUN things for yourself. While you do lots for your families and friends this time of year, don’t forget to do something for yourself-go to a movie, buy yourself a little gift, hang out with a friend, go skiing or try something you’ve always wanted to do.

10. And finally, do only the things you need to do and the things you love to do. Let go of the rest. What traditions do you love and which ones feel like chores? Going back to Tip #1,only do the number one favorites. And don’t forget your favorites as well! When you do activities you truly enjoy, you will be more energized and happy. Doing activities that feel like chores is draining and can leave you with feelings of emptiness and fatigue. That’s NOT what the holidays are supposed to be like.

The holidays have special meaning for everyone, gratitude, giving and celebration. You can’t honor those when you’re stressed out and exhausted.

Make this Holiday Season the happiest and least hectic one yet!

Family Christmas Holiday – 5 Top Tips

If you are looking for a family Christmas Holiday here are 5 top tips for something a little different and exciting this year.

1. Since Christmas is traditionally a time for Children you might like to hear about this very special Christmas Holiday in Lapland. Up inside the Arctic circle is Lapland the home of Santa Claus. What better way to see in Christmas than to visit Santa, his Elves and his Reindeer at home before he sets off on his big day. Each child will get to see Santa,and receive a present. There are also sleigh rides (pulled by reindeer of course), husky rides,Snowmobiles, a lovely Christmas Gala Dinner, Christmas Carols and cosy log fires. So a truly wonderful family Christmas Holiday.

2. The next is a very unusual family Christmas Holiday. It is at the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden which is 200km inside the Arctic Circle. This is a truly unique Hotel. Every year it is newly built from the crystal clear ice provided by the fast flowing Torne River. Each year it has a new design and newly designed suites. You spend one night in the Ice Hotel suitably prepared with a nice warm bed and the other nights in a cosy and warm Swedish Hotel. There is every winter outdoor activity available or you can just sit quietly by the fire and read a good book or play games.

3. For a totally different Christmas our next destination is Australia. Sydney to be precise. If you are tired of the cold and snow try “Down Under” for a summery Christmas. The weather will be great but you will have all the usual Christmas fun. Christmas Trees, Carols, turkey dinner and of course Santa Claus. Sydney has a number of free events over the Christmas Season these include choirs, entertainers, slide shows, concerts and of course the fabulous fireworks display on New Years Eve.

4. How about a cruise for Christmas. This is a great one for Mom because after getting the family on board she can relax and let the party begin. This is a great opportunity for the adults to relax during the day while the kids are entertained then in the evening the fun of dressing up for the Gala dinners for each night of the Christmas period. Delicious food, great entertainment for all ages and a wonderfully relaxed Christmas for Mom.

5. Finally one of my favourite Christmas holidays. Christmas in New England. When you think of Christmas in New England you think of snow, skaters on a frozen pond, white churches with slim spires, twinkling lights on Christmas trees and pretty colonial homes with large holly wreaths on the front door. They are the images from a million Christmas cards.There are many beautiful Hotels and B & B’s all ready to provide you with a wonderful Christmas. Many of these buildings are beautiful old colonial homes. There is so much to see and do in New England. You and the kids could be busy from dawn till dusk. There is every conceivable winter activity and being on holiday you have the time to enjoy them together. Whether it is a simple toboggan ride down the nearest hillside or a day skiing it will be great just to enjoy it as a family.

So make the most of your family Christmas Holiday this year plan an exciting Christmas Vacation. From the cold of the Arctic circle to the warmth of an Australian Christmas there is sure to be something to please everyone.

Holiday Weight Loss Tips – How to Lose Weight During the Holiday Season

I love the progress I have made so far to lose weight and burn off excess fat but my greatest challenge now is how to lose weight during the holiday season and not fall back and gain the weight I have successfully lost. The holiday season is usually a period of weight gain because of the overabundance of food, parties, and tempting treats as well as the increased stress and busier schedules that goes with the holidays. Here are some holiday weight loss tips to help you during the holiday season.

With the right healthy foods and some discipline, you can make it through the holiday season without adding excess weight; feel livelier, healthier and happy. The weight loss tips you will read here will help you lose weight during the holiday season and you start the New Year with your desired weight size and keep it throughout the New Year.

Tip 1: Practice eating slowly during the holiday season

The first holiday weight loss tip you should know to lose weight during the holiday season is to practice eating slowly. Most times we hurriedly eat our food during the holiday season to catch up with several appointments and events lined up for us. Do take time to slowly eat your food. Recent research showed that people who eat their food slowly are more likely to eat less than those who quickly wanted to finish their food.

Tip 2: Eat more fruits and vegetables

Some people will advice you to eat some food and avoid some food but my advice is that you should eat more to lose more. How? Eat more of low calorie food to lose weight during the holiday season. Some researchers found that overweight people who eat more of lower calorie foods lost more weight than those who simply reduce their overall calories. Eat more fruits and vegetables. One secret to lose weight successfully during the holidays is to reduce grains consumption and increase greatly on fruits and veggies. You will discover that as you eat more of fruits and veggies, the more you will crave them and the less you will eat fatty and greasy foods, the more you will lose weight.

Tip 3: Drink Oolong tea or other green tea to kill sugar cravings

Drinking oolong tea stimulates your body to burn fat for energy. Drink a cup of Oolong tea in the morning, afternoon and before bed to help stave off sugar cravings and energy slumps. Drink a cup of Oolong 30 minutes to 1 hour before your usual daily walk or workouts.

Tip 4: Discipline your self to stick to a food plan

If you want to lose weight during the holiday season, you must do a positive self-talk every day to stick to a food plan. To lose 1 pound, you must burn 3,500 calories per week. So stick to a daily calorie loss of 500 to achieve 3,500 in 7 days. By the end of the holiday season, you must have lost roughly 5 pounds minimum instead of adding more weight like other people.

Tip 5: Know the foods that make you fat

What foods make you fat? By now you should know them. There are certain foods that may cause weight gain in some people. These are trigger foods which make us to overeat. Once you identify the foods that make you gain weight, you must do everything possible to avoid them during the holiday season.

Yes. It will surprise you to know that a simple weight gain of 5 pounds during the holiday season may not seem like much for you to worry about but it could develop into a more serious health problems in the New Year if not quickly addressed. We hope this holiday weight loss tips will help you to lose weight during the holiday season.

Top Five Tips to Avoid the Post-Holiday Blues

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, many people experience the post-holiday blues. Learn some easy and powerful tips from International Certified Success Coaches, Amy Ahlers and Melissa McFarlane, to beat post-holiday depression:

1. Look to nature and hibernate:

Mother Nature is the master of all things, isn’t she? She lets us know when to Spring into action, bask into the glow of Summer, gear for change for Fall and finally, hibernate for Winter. After the holiday bustle and stress, why not use the months of January and February to hibernate and practice RADICAL self care? Get massages, take hot baths, spend more time with your family and friends. Allow yourself the time and space to cocoon so that come spring, you are a full-blown butterfly ready to emerge.

2. Set your sights on the year ahead:

January is a time for new years’ resolutions and goal setting-a way for you to look at what you want to CREATE for the year ahead. And when you’re in the mode of creation, it’s hard to find the space to be depressed. At Electric Kites Success Coaching, we always begin with the vision of where we want to be. Look at the following questions:

o What’s the story I want to be telling about this year?

o What’s the vision for the year?

o What is my #1 focus/goal for the year?

o What MUST occur in order for this year to be considered a “success”?

o What MUST STOP in order for this year to be considered a “success”?

As you lean into what you want to create this year, you’ll find your inspiration, energy and passion rise, as the post-holiday blues easy fade into the background.

3. New Years’ Resolution Burn Out:

One of the things that often leads to the post- holiday blues is New Years’ Resolution failure. Many times, we make a resolution for the New Year that is WAY TOO BIG and fail in week two. And then we spend a month (or several years!) beating ourselves up. Instead, set yourself up for success by making a resolution for the first month of the year that feels like a delicious baby step-then build on your success.

4. The Big Project Withdrawal Syndrome:

Let’s face it, the holidays are a huge project! It’s a time filled with shopping, card writing, receiving, giving, scheduling and cooking. It can suck up your time, energy, and patience all at once. Perhaps what your blues are telling you is that you are, quite frankly, bored and need a new project. Maybe now is the right time to take on a charity event, a new project at work, a class you’ve always wanted to take. Anything that feels big and juicy will do the trick!

5. Gratitude and Appreciation:

Gratitude and appreciation are the simplest (and often most overlooked) keys to fighting any kind of blues (holidays or otherwise). Take time to practice gratitude and appreciation on a daily basis. Perhaps you can set up a gratitude ritual around the dinner table, at morning mediation or at night prayers. As you appreciate and express gratitude your blues will become a thing of the past.

Holiday Gift Buying Tips

With the holiday just around the corner, it’s now time to think about buying gifts for mom. Most often we always buy gifts that we purchase each year for our moms. Sooner or later the appeal of these gifts wear off, make it a point to choose a different set of gifts this year. Try shopping for holiday gifts online this time.

Instead of giving the same old gifts to your mother you should try to inject new energy and fresh vibes into the gifts you buy this holiday season. Below you will find a few fresh holiday gift ideas. Remember, these ideas are just guidelines so feel free to improvise whenever necessary to fit the needs of the mother in your life or your budget.

Idea no. 1: If you are buying your wife or mother a gift, buy them gold jewelry this holiday season. Jewelry is something that women always need, and stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Idea no. 2: When buying mother’s jewelry always make sure that you purchase from an online jewelry store that only sells jewelry for moms. These stores usually have jewelry that they know that moms really love.

Idea no. 3: When choosing a special gift for mom, make it a diamond gold ring this year. Diamonds are a woman’s all time favorite as women love gold rings with diamonds.

Idea no. 4: Clothes and shoes are something everybody gives and everybody gets, if you want to make a difference this year, buy your mom a gold pendant. A good pendant along with a gold chain is a stellar gift.

Idea no. 5: The simplest gifts for mom can even be a bouquet of roses. Women love flowers and specially roses. This is the cheapest yet most effective gift that you can give your mom.

Idea no. 6: If your mother doesn’t like jewelry with a lot of flash then remember to purchase a holiday gift that is simple. A simple gold ring with your mom’s name engraved will stay on her hand forever.

Buying gifts for the holiday season is not easy, especially if you are buying gifts for a person so close as your own mother. Gifts for mom need to be simple, and communicate the feeling of love for her. Moms want to be loved and your gifts should only be used as a means of showing your love for her and making her feel loved.

Holiday Stress Tips

Holiday stress tip #1-

If you do not actually have a saber tooth tiger leaping towards you, and you are feeling that jittery feeling in your gut, then it is your thought about something (or several things) that is bringing the stress physiology into your body. To change the physiology, simply change the thought.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

There are some complicating factors that I do not see addressed in many stress management programs or trainings which I think are important for holiday stress management or any other time of the year stress management. If you are not actually in danger from an aggressor, then it is your thought that brings the stress response into your body.

For example, when I look at my social calendar for the month of December, I find myself scheduled to attend a number of social functions, which I would prefer not to attend.

So the thought about being in a crowd of people, none of whom will attack me by the way, several weeks ahead of time will bring an uncomfortable feeling into my body, which will be strong enough for me to notice. That is a stress response, and when I decide that I would prefer to feel something else besides stress, then I will need to deal with…

Holiday Stress Tip #2-

The physiology of stress, especially for men, if it has been strong, can take about 20 minutes to clear from the body. That is why a time out process can be important for stress reduction.

John Gottman, Ph.D., talks about what he calls Diffuse Physiological Arousal in his workshop The Art and Science of Love, describing the stress response to a tee. What Gottman does not mention is that my stress response is designed to come on line fast and strong, to motivate a leap away from the tiger.

Mihalyi Csikszentmihaly, Ph.D., in his book FLOW says the human central nervous system processes packages of data, sound waves, photons for vision, pressure for touch, tastes, smells, etc. at the rate of a package every 1/18th second.

Paul Ekman,Ph.D. says that we respond to facial expressions in perhaps 1/25th second, and Micheal Merzenich, Ph.D. says Senior Drivers need to process changing road conditions in 1/45th second.

It takes me about 1/10th second to blink my eyes. The point is that the stress response happens fast, and it takes some time to change your physiology back to calm if the diffuse physiological response was strong.

Stress management programs need to teach that information, so that folks who are using visualization or breathing or a combination of those stress management techniques do not give them up because they do not experience an immediate return to a Norman Rockwell vision of the holidays, which feels like calmness and contentment.

I do think that if I have practiced breathing and visualization techniques, for example, Open Focus, from Les Fehmi, then my body may return to a resting state faster than it would if I were just beginning my practice. What News is There From the Research? Are there holiday stress tips from recent research? Yes, there is and the most promising, in my experience, is based on technology from the new field of neurocardiology, which is the study of the heart’s own nervous system.

With some practice, I can teach my heart to change the coherence or time between heart beats from incoherent to coherent much faster than the 20 minutes that Dr. Gottman talks about in his DPA descriptions.

And this process, called heart rate variability biofeedback, works in the proverbial heart beat, using thinking and breathing tools, so as I contemplate my December social schedule, and bring a stress response, way ahead of time, I can do my heart rate variability biofeedback and return my feelings to quiet contentment now.

I have been using heart rate variability biofeedback with anger management and domestic violence clients for about 8 years, because it helps me show clients,using the computer’s feedback, how fast thoughts change physiology, either in a helpful or unhelpful direction, and how simple it is to sustain long periods of heart rate variability coherence by choosing to think cooperative and affiliate thoughts more often than not.

Heartmath does not require one to become a guru, and chant a mantra, it fits with our life style and busy schedules.

Once I train the brain in my heart to become coherent, I can think my cue thought and breath deeply and feel a very pleasant feeling in my body, a feeling so different than an unnecessary stress response. I can do this process every five minutes for 2 heart beats, and begin to steer my physiology towards the kind of physiology that encourages neurogenesis, or the growth of new brain cells, and neuroplasticity, which is the growth of new connections between neurons.

Increased brain fitness is a side effect of Heartmath? Sure is, and if you are an athlete or a student, the key to peak performance is relaxation, not stress.

Holiday Stress Tip #3- Learn and do heart rate variability biofeedback. It took me six 1/2 hour practices to make a serious improvement in my ability to cue the relaxation without a computer. You will feel it happening.

Vacation Packages – Tips on Getting the Best All-Inclusive Deals

The best solution to your budget constraints when it comes to going on a vacation is getting special deals like all-inclusive packages. All-inclusive may mean differently based on the kind of destination or lodging you choose. Some resorts may pertain to the rent, transportation, food and drinks. Cruises might include on-ship entertainment, and other necessities. Hotels may also interpret all-inclusive in a different way. They might include the rent, tours and meals but won’t include the transportation in going there. Before booking or making any reservations, you should always check out the necessary details of your prospective packages.

Here are tips on how to get the best deals:

1. Checking out last-minute offers. There are many websites that concentrate exclusively in this kind of package. Search online, you can type in ‘last-minute vacations,’ on the search engine and press enter. Then you will see a large list of sites where you can find such holiday trips. Always remember that reserving on the last-minute for cruises are not applicable. Generally, cruise vacations are reserved two weeks before the said departure. As for hotels and resorts, they can let you book on the day of your departure.

2. Various websites offer all-inclusive vacation packages. Look for tempting offers like 2 plus 1 deal, stay for 2 nights and get one night free. Another appealing offer that you might find is getting free spa treatments or unlimited beverage.

3. Getting a break during the off-season is also much affordable. Air companies and hotels have less number of customers after summer (July to November). You will definitely get very interesting all-inclusive rates at low-cost prices. However, travelling on July and November can only mean more rain is coming. It might be affordable but you also have to be patient with the weather. You might not enjoy it as much as you could have when its summer.

4. Always make sure you get to book a package deal. There are various travel sites online that allows you to book them altogether from renting a car, tickets and lodging like Hawaii hotels you will receive much bigger discounts than booking them separately.

5. Join reward programs. Lots of resorts offer perks for regular guests, like reduced rates for numerous stay and some even offer free nights. There are also some hotels which give out free dining packages, which can be redeemed per travel points. You might as well check out your favorite hotel and see if they have loyalty programs available and what they offer.