10 Tips For Great Road Trips

These ten tips will make your road trip more of a breeze than a whirlwind. From car care to what to pack, we’ve thought of everything, so you don’t have to.

1. Have car in good repair. While you can make the most of a car breaking down, and still enjoy yourself, a great road trip is easier to have without being stranded, towed, or spending money on costly repairs.

2. Know the route. There is something to be said about hopping in the car and just driving in whatever direction sounds fun, but for a great road trip, planning helps immensely. That way you get gas when you need to, have places to stop for food, rest, and fuel. Being lost when you are trying to get somewhere is never fun, so plan some activities, and print out directions for how you are going to get from Point A to Point B.

3. Seating arrangements. How you sit in the car is going to make a difference in how enjoyable the road trip is. No one has fun if someone in the car is puking. The car smells, it is gross, and it stalls the trip. So, putting people who are prone to car sickness near a window, putting kids that need help near someone that can help, and separating those that tend to argue or fight can make a trip so much more fun!

4. Movies. Pack a movie player and movies for all ages. Just do not forget to pack some headphones so that those unable to watch the movie do not have to hear it. Having a DVD player in the car can make a world of difference in how well kids handle road trips.

5. Music. Put together a fun playlist or mixed CD for the road. Having a continuous set of tunes that are fun, upbeat, and will make the trip go by faster is a great idea. It always pays off to have some music ready for the road.

6. Audio Books. Nothing makes a drive go by faster than being immersed in a good book. Of course because it is hard to read and drive at the same time, not to mention it can make you sick, or be difficult without daylight, an audio book you can load on your iPod, or put in your car CD player is a great idea. Find an audio book that is the approximate length of time as your trip, that way as you end your book, you also end your destination.

7. Snacks. It is not a road trip without some delicious snacks and treats. While you will likely still stop for food, having pretzels, wheat thins, licorice, beef jerky, apple slices, cheese, yogurts, chips, candy, etc. in the car to snack on when the urge hits, can make it a much more comfortable and satisfying ride.

8. Stops. If you are on a road trip with kids, it is important to give them a break from the car. So, stop every three or four hours for about thirty minutes. It will make the trip far more enjoyable, and ironically, make it go faster. Stop at a McDonald’s and let them eat and play in the indoor play area for a while. Stop at a rest stop and let them run around for a few minutes, or take them shopping. A little break from the car can make it much more pleasant to be in it.

9. Temperature control. Keeping the car comfortable will make the ride better. So, make sure your AC works, and make sure that those who do not like it cool bring along a light jacket.

10. Sight seeing. Make the journey part of the fun. Stop along the way at various monuments, tourist spots, beaches, or whatever else you find. Taking time to stop and see the sights on the way to the site, can be really rewarding and fun!

Hints and Tips For Traveling in Italy

Traveling anywhere these days is not very difficult. Technology has allowed traveling to become easier and cheaper than it has been before, the price of fuel at the moment aside. The world has become more accessible to everyone and you should rightly make the most of it. One experience that I thoroughly recommend is traveling in Italy. The country is beautiful, the climate is warm and you will never be bored, but there are certain things you can do to make your trip even better:

1. If you are traveling in Italy and visit a large city like Rome or Milan then keep your bag, purse or wallet close, and hidden if possible, at all times. Pickpockets are everywhere and the crime rate is high, especially where tourists are concerned.

2. Never forget the bug spray! Italy may be beautiful but it is very hot in summer and the bugs, including mosquitoes, are out in force. You could end up with painful and itchy bites at the very least and in hospital with a nasty illness at the worse so take precautions and apply bug spray!

3. Stay out of the sun during the siesta hours. Siesta is in place in Italy for a reason – it is simply too hot for people to be out and about. If the locals think that then take their word for it!

4. Buy a good guidebook with a map. Many Italian cities have what is usually called the “Drains” or something similar. They are old drainage systems and tend to wind around a lot. As such, it is easy to get lost! Make sure that you have a guidebook on hand before you get exploring just in case you get lost.

If you take these tips on board then you will enjoy every moment of your trip to Italy. As with everywhere, it does have it’s drawbacks but protect against those when traveling in Italy and you will have the best holiday of your life!

5 Holiday Weight Loss Tips & Their Reality Checks

Do you find it almost impossible to stay conscious and contentious about weight and nutrition during the holidays? Of course you do. More than half of all Americans are overweight: You’re not alone.

A new government study might give you a ray of hope though: The study shows that Americans gain only about one pound over the holidays. The study found that people participating were influenced by two main factors over the holidays: The level of their hunger, and the level of their activity. In other words: Those who reported being less active or more hungry during the holidays had the greatest weight gain.

So common sense says: If you can stay focused on dealing with just those two things, you’ll probably win your personal holiday weight loss battle. At the very least, you’ll win by not adding more weight to what’s already waiting to be shed.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of weight gain,” says Dr. Samuel Klein, the Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. “Preventing the increase in weight is a lot easier and better than actually gaining weight and then trying to get it off again.”

So the answer seems simple: Eat less and exercise more. The reality of implementation of course, is far more difficult.

The good news is that most of the people overestimate how much weight they’d gained over the holidays. Fewer than 10% gain 5 pounds or more.

The bad news is: The small amount of weight gained is never lost. One pound of weight gain is quite a small amount, but since it’s not usually lost again: The weight adds up over time – to obesity.

Now we all know there are tons of tips out and about this time of year, designed to help us keep from putting on that extra pound or two during the holidays. Unfortunately what’s usually not talked about is: The reality of day-to-day holiday stress and situations. Let’s explore the tips… along with their reality checks… in depth:

Weight Loss Tip 1: Stay active. The best thing you can do is try to stick to your normal schedule and routine.

Holiday Reality Check: It’s pretty hard to have any kind of decent routine in the busy months of November and December. Busy people tend to sacrifice yoga classes, long walks, and visits to the gym because they need time for extra things like decorating the house, cooking, cleaning up before the visitors get there, and of course: Shopping.

The Good News: Walking around the shopping mall and stores is great exercise, and so is cleaning the house. In addition to those activities, decorating can be quite intensive too: You’re climbing up and down to hang things; lifting, lugging, and dragging boxes out of storage; bending, twisting and turning to get it all looking just right. So don’t beat yourself up about not making it to the gym… you’re getting plenty of activity and every little bit helps!

Weight Loss Tip 2: Don’t let yourself get too hungry. If you go to a party and you’re starving, everything will look even more scrumptious than normal. And of course, you’ll eat much more because of it. Try starting each day with a good, solid breakfast – particularly something with protein. And when you’re at the party, try munching on the veggies to help keep you feeling full. These two things will help your hunger stay under control, and will in turn help you refrain from “gorging” on anything you see just because you’re famished.

Holiday Reality Check: We’re all very busy during the holidays, and it’s not always possible to remember to eat – let alone eat well – particularly in the morning when we may have already overslept and are now running late for everything. And eating healthy at a party isn’t always possible either: Not everyone in this country serves vegetable plates, salads, or fruit bowls. Sometimes the only things in site are junk: Chips, candy, and cookies.

Here’s a suggestion: Try taking your own veggie plate to a party where you know there won’t be one available. A quick and easy way to do this is simply buy a bag or two of pre-cut veggies and some ranch salad dressing. Alternatively, eat a decent meal before you go to the party. Don’t overdo things, but don’t make it a light snack either. Eating first will help you to just “nibble” a bit on the worst of the holiday treats offered.

Weight Loss Tip 3: Stay away from the food. Literally. Just don’t go anywhere near the buffet table, appetizers, or treats… and you’ll be fine.

Holiday Reality Check: In most cases, the food is everywhere. And even if it’s not right in front of your face, you sure can smell it! Trying to just “stay away from it” is pretty unrealistic – and it can feel like torture for some of us. And for most people: When you can’t have something, you want it even more. So trying to stay away from the food will most likely just make you overindulge worse than you would have otherwise.

Try this instead: Allow yourself whatever you’d like. But with a catch. First: Take only half the amount you normally would. And take just one food item. Eat that and enjoy it without guilt. Then, wait a full 20-30 minutes before you get something else. Then repeat the process: One item, half the portion size as you normally would, enjoy it without guilt, then wait before getting something else.

Allowing yourself to eat gets rid of the mentality of “I can’t have it (and thus I’m more determined to have it)” It lets you enjoy the good food and the holidays, without beating yourself up. This is healthy and can help tremendously with the way you view food and eating in general. Only taking half of it though, will help you not take in as much calories, fat, sugar or other bad stuff you usually avoid. And then waiting 20-30 minutes before you get something else will help your body realize when it’s had enough… or too much. So you’re much less likely to overdo things, and feel horrible physically later.

Weight Loss Tip 4: Wear cloths that are slightly tight on you. This should help you feel full faster, and keep you from eating too much food.

Holiday Reality Check: We want to wear looser cloths because we’re looking forward to eating all that great food! Yes, wearing something tight might help us not go back for a second helping of potatoes… or it might ruin a favorite outfit.

In the end, how you approach this tip is up to you, and you alone. Make your decision and be happy with it.

Weight Loss Tip 5: Keep your portions small. Try to load up on salad and vegetables, and take just tiny amounts of anything else.

Holiday Reality Check: Taking just a “bite sized” amount of anything is going to put you into the have-not mental state mentioned earlier. You’ll feel as if you can’t have something, and you’ll want it all the more.

Try the tip noted above instead: Take half the size you normally would. Trying to have just a little bite of pie will whet your appetite for more, but having a whole piece is going a bit overboard – particularly if there’s 5 different pies for you to sample. So try actual sampling instead: Cut a piece half the normal size. This allows you to have a “whole slice”, and more than several little bites. Then wait about 20 minutes before you go and try the next pie. Even if you end up eating a bit of all 5 pies, by having a half-sized slice of each, you’ve drastically cut the amount of calories, carbs and sugars compared to what you would have had with whole slices. And you’ll still feel stuffed and satiated, instead of deprived and resentful.

So there you have it: 5 different, common holiday weight loss and eating tips, followed by the reality check of each, and a suggested compromise that should help you enjoy the holidays to their fullest, without depriving yourself of the great food we all look forward to.

Whatever you decide to do, remember to actually have Happy Holidays!

Tips for Selecting a Travel Agent

Even with the proliferation of options to directly purchase a holiday, a flight, or almost any accommodation, it is still mostly beneficial to share your plans with a reputable travel agent or consultant. Many of use have dreams to see new places, experience new opportunities and generally have a penchant to leave home but return safely. Here we look at what to look for in a such a person.

1. Personal Touch

The personal touch is important as you will get better results if you have a good working relationship with your travel agent. Find one who you can relate to and who listens to your needs and meets them. Most holiday packages are prepared and managed by an organisation that is not directly owned by the agent, so the best consultant will have no favourites or preferred suppliers. He or she simply listens to your requests and find the best options for you to choose. Generally it will take several iterations to plan the dream holiday.

2. Expert Knowledge

As a consumer of travel, you want to deal with someone who has expert knowledge. Fortunately, there are tens of thousands of options for you to choose but unfortunately no one travel consultant knows everything. Hence choosing someone who has travelled and has access to robust knowledge in other areas is wise. A travel consultant who knows what he or shes does not know but has research capability can help in most situations.

3. Availability

The travel agents availability is important both during the pre-travel time as well as during the travel time. The availability can be in person, online, email or whatever means you need during the pre-travel phase. Many arrangements are made now-a-days without face-to-face meetings, although much can be gained by meeting. A discussion on response times from your travel agent is important to understand should you be visiting countries of higher risk. Often, there will be people in-country with whom any challenges can be discussed.

4.Willingness to Answer Questions

A good travel agent will answer all the questions that you ask and clarify any confusions that you may have. They want to build their and retain business, hence reputable travel agents will do whatever is in their power to answer your questions.

In summary, choose a travel agent who you can build a relationship. People like doing business with people they trust. With so many options available it is impossible to know the details of each tour. Let the travel agent research with the suppliers and you will develop the best expectations for your travel. Happy travelling.

Travel Tips – Packing Your Suitcase without Stress

The thrill of planning a trip will often light you up and consume all of your time. You look through guidebooks, talk to friends about their experiences, and research your itinerary on the internet. Still all this planning and research will not make the task of packing any less daunting.

Who hasn’t stood at the foot of their bed with empty suitcases spread on top, the

night before a big trip, filled with anxiety because you still haven’t packed?!?! You

try and try to think about exactly what you should be packed, throwing things in

and then taking them out. And you wonder, why didn’t any of the guidebooks give

you any advice on packing?

Well, hopefully this guide will help you, so that you can confidently pack and enjoy

the moments leading up to your trip, rather than being stressed over the contents

of your bag.

Luggage – I recommend taking one carry-on and one checked suitcase.

Shorter trips may allow for a carry-on only, but I would never take more than one

checked bag no matter how long you are traveling. Remember, when you get to

your destination, you will need to carry your luggage and you don’t know how far

you’ll be lugging it. While we’re talking about lugging your luggage… I would

recommend selecting a suitcase or pack that had wheels, but that you can also hand

carry. There are many varieties of large backpacks with wheels. The reasoning is

that if your wheels break off (a common occurrence along cobblestone streets), you

will still be able to carry your pack.

Shoes – Bring a pair of sneakers (or boots) for outdoor activities such as

hiking, and a dressier pair of closed-toe shoes for museums, dinner’s out, or other

city activities. If you are traveling to a hot locale, then also bring a pair of sandals

that can go from beach to dinner. Resist the urge to bring 10 pairs of shoes!!! As

someone who loves shoes, I always want to pack a wide variety… but we must avoid

packing too many shoes! They take up space, are heavy, and are an unnecessary

addition.

Shorts – When traveling to a hot climate, shorts are often considered a

requirement. Still, remember that in many cultures shorts are not considered

acceptable. For example, many museums and churches such as the Vatican will not

allow you to enter if you are wearing shorts (or have exposed shoulders for that

matter). Bring only a pair or two of shorts, and make sure that you have other light

weight options for hot weather.

Basics – Bring enough socks and underwear to last for every day of the

trip (up to two weeks) so that you will not need to do laundry. For longer trips,

understand that you will likely need to do laundry on the road if you do not want to

bring ridiculous amounts of luggage. As far as shirts, pants, skirts, and the rest…

Bring clothes that could be worn during the day or at night, and as a general rule

bring half as many items as you have days. Wearing items twice should be no

problem, and you will significantly lighten your load.

Rolling – To avoid wrinkles and use your precious packing area to the

max, fold your clothes in half (in the long direction), then roll as smoothly and

tightly as possible. When you arrive at your destination, your clothes will unroll

wrinkle-free. Stuff socks and underwear into your shoes and carefully place the

shoes on top of the rows or rolled clothes.

Toiletries – Bring all of your toiletries in travel size containers. Full size

shampoo bottles add unneeded weight to your pack. After selecting your toiletries,

place all items into zip-lock bags. If a bottle bursts during travel, you will be much

relieved to have the protection. If you are bringing make-up, keep it to the bare

necessities, avoid bringing extras like eyelash curlers. Any prescription medication

should be accompanied by the actual prescription and if possible, a note from your

physician. Keep the medication, as well as your toothbrush and toothpaste in your

carry-on, just in case your luggage is lost.

If you follow these basic packing rules, you will find that the process of packing and

carrying your luggage will be much easier. Additionally, you will be able to enjoy

your travels much easier knowing that you have brought what you need, but can still

carry the load.

Enjoy your trip (and your packing!)!

Packing Tips For Motorcycle Trips

Most people who ride motorcycles, from enthusiasts to occasional riders, have at one time or another thought about getting away for a long road trip. For such a trip, planning is a very important part of the preparation. In this article we’ll talk about what to pack on your bike.

Make a list First, after the initial rush of energy and excitement when you finally are able to arrange your dream trip, the first thing you need to do is relax and start making a list of all the things you might need. Some suggestions:

  1. Road map. You can buy fold up maps, or if your cell phone has internet access, you can use one of the many free map services (Yahoo, Google, Mapquest). If you really want to get fancy, you can purchase a navigation system for your motorcycle.
  2. Tool bag/kit. Don’t forget to bring along some simple tools in case the need for minor repairs arises. Cable ties, screwdrivers (Phillips and standard), pliers, a couple of standard size wrenches, and a repair manual may save the day in case of a problem. You certainly don’t want to be out in the middle of nowhere and be stuck because of a minor problem that could have been easily fixed with a simple tool.
  3. Clothes. Keep an extra set of clothes handy, and don’t forget your rain gear. It’s best to pack the rain gear last, so you can get to it in a hurry if a sudden rainstorm kicks in.
  4. Snacks. You should pack some light snacks for the road-nuts, dried fruit, power bars, granola bars, water, and a couple candy bars are OK if you have a sweet tooth. Don’t forget to take care of your trash.
  5. Think of anything else you might want or need on your ride, and include that on your list. You can always remove non-essential items if you are getting too loaded down.

After you make your list, gather everything together, and go through each item, checking it off. It may seem like overkill, but sometimes this is the stage where you remember a critical item that you forgot when making your initial list.

Packing Make sure that as you pack your luggage, the weight is balanced on both sides of your bike. An off balance bike is harder to handle, takes much more energy, and safety is always a major issue for riders. When your bike is fully packed, take it on a short test drive to ensure that everything is packed tightly and well-balanced.

Planning for your long bike trip is essential to the enjoyment of the ride, you won’t have to spend time (like I do!) wondering what you forgot, you can just relax and enjoy being on the open road.

Holiday Tips – How to Build the Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe

For many people, the capsule wardrobe is the holy grail of dressing. The concept in itself is simple: it is simply a collection of clothes that work well together, and can be worn in different ways to suit different occasions. Achieving a capsule wardrobe for everyday wear can be tricky and certainly expensive at first, but almost everybody will already possess the essentials for a holiday capsule wardrobe.

Before you even start mixing and matching, take a deep breath. What kind of holiday are you planning? How long will you be going for? Will you be going to any events requiring a particular dress code? What is the weather forecast like?

Once you’ve answered all these questions, you can start drawing up a preliminary list. This should include your absolute essentials, such as underwear, socks and tights, as well as essential holiday items. If you’re going skiing, it’s likely you need a ski jacket! If you’re going to the beach, you probably want a sarong, bikini and a pair of flip flops.

So. Now you have your essentials sorted. These are things you will take no matter what. Now you need to do a bit of calculating! You need to know how many outfits you’ll require for your trip. Remember, this includes the flight or journey there and back. One thing that’s really worth taking into consideration is if you will have access to laundry facilities. If so, you can afford to take less with you and maybe even save on baggage charges if you’re flying.

Look at your itinerary. Are you planning on spending all day on the beach, but going out to clubs and restaurants at night? Would you rather spend your time wandering around museums and galleries? Are you planning to go to bars or go clubbing? Will you be doing any sports, and if so, what kind? Your holiday capsule wardrobe will fit around these considerations.

By now you should have a basic idea of how many separate outfits you will need and what you will need them for. Now you can start putting the actual wardrobe together.

With a capsule wardrobe, you are aiming for flexibility. While you do want one or two stunning, unusual pieces, the majority of the items should be classic and in neutral colours, such as black, grey, navy, khaki or white. The best pieces are ones that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. For example, a smart pair of jeans can be worn with a shirt for a casual daytime look but snazzed up with an evening top and heels for going out. Or, a wrap dress with leggings is great for the day, but at night bring out those heels again, ditch the leggings and put on some pretty jewellery and you’re ready for anything. See what I mean?

Here is an example of what I’d take to a hot, beachy destination:

shirt or safari dress

wrap dress or sundress

floppy hat

flat sandals

tote bag

clutch bag

sunglasses

one pair neutral-coloured high heels

neutral-coloured sweater, wrap or cardigan

one or two sets of swimwear (depends on use)

one or two sarongs

one pair linen trousers

one mid-length skirt

two sets of jewellery

two or three simple day tops

one going out top

one pretty camisole top

Most items of this list will work for any destination, so basically just adjust it to wherever you’re going. Bear in mind when choosing the items that as far as possible, you should be able to mix and match them. Skirts and trousers in particular should be in neutral colours.

Good luck!

Asperger’s and the Holidays

In my private practice I’ve noticed a trend. Around November, old, current and new clients call wanting to schedule sessions to talk about one topic: the holidays. The trend is not surprising: most therapists find themselves busy at this time of year, when expectations and realities can clash, and even the most mature find themselves stuck in teenager roles and feelings long since discarded.

But for a therapist who counsels adults with Asperger’s the increase in client need may be surprising to some. Aren’t Aspies supposed to be unconcerned with the judgments of others, even family members? Don’t Aspies face holiday family time with few, if any, expectations for intimacy or fun? Don’t Aspies who find themselves alone during the holidays consider their solitude a “Get Free Out of Jail” card, rather than a reason for loneliness or depression? After all, Aspies don’t really seek out relationships, right? If any of these assumptions sound familiar to you, beware of the Aspie Stereotype, which pervades media (think “Rainman”), research teams (think “Yale”), pop culture (think SNL’s “Nick Burns: The computer Guy”) and even some therapist circles (not me!).

Contrary to popular notions regarding Asperger’s, many clinicians, those who work in the trenches with adults struggling with the challenges of Asperger’s, find their Aspie clients confused and overwhelmed by the holidays. Most of us harbor conscious or unconscious expectations about the holidays – how they should feel, who they should be spent with, how tall the tree should be, who should host dinner…the list can go on. A lack of awareness of one’s own “rules” regarding the holidays can set the stage for confusion, disappointment, impulse coping skills and depression. If you have Asperger’s, you may be surprised at your own “automatic” answers to questions such as:

Should holidays be spent with friends or family? Should loved ones exchange gifts, or not? Who should travel where for the holiday celebration? Tinsel, or lights? While these questions may seem trivial, they’re not – and often they shed light on our automatic thoughts that go unchallenged and cause problems. For instance, if your “rule” is that Christmas or Hanukkah is a commercialized money-making holiday to benefit department stores, you may refuse to participate, and thus miss genuine opportunities to connect with loved ones. If you automatically decree that holidays should be spent with family or friends, you may miss the comfort that solitude can bring you.

Please don’t fall into the trap of trying to live up to what you think “normal holidays” (an oxymoron) should be like. Holidays for Aspies are often riddled with “shoulds”, which trigger resentment and resistance. Adults with Asperger’s who give themselves permission to meet their own unique needs for togetherness and solitude, fun and rest, engagement and disengagement, often find themselves less pressured, less anxious and more accepting of themselves and others. This balanced approach can prevent total shutdown mode, which is a natural response to over stimulation and helplessness.

Here are some tips Aspies may find helpful:

Plan for taking breaks during visits. Examples are taking a walk outside, taking a nap with a book, taking some quiet time for deep breathing, taking a quick ride or offering to run an errand in the car, playing a video game with someone or alone, or announcing a time-out and removing yourself from the group.

Schedule realistically. Over scheduling during the holidays can lead to burnout when being around people is gratifying, but stressful (or just plain difficult). While it’s great to push yourself to socialize, the holidays are a time to be reasonable – don’t expect yourself to go from no parties to three or four in a month. Beware of the lure of substance use. Many of us rely on the cocktail or two to help ease party anxiety. While there may not be too much harm in this, most clinicians see a surge in substance use during the holidays, which can lead to hangovers, a shaken sense of self, embarrassment, or worse. Remember that as long as you’re using substances to quell the anxiety, you’re not truly growing in your ability to handle social situations.

Be extra kind to yourself. This sounds corny, and it is. But think about it: we spend so much time during the holidays thinking about giving to others (or avoiding it!), but how much do we think about truly giving to ourselves? This is the time to use kind words and actions to take care of yourself. Ideas include buying or checking out a new book, going to the movies alone, eating a favorite meal, spending quiet time petting the cat. Seek help if you need to. Holiday therapy can be a temporary bridge to January 2! Here’s to your success in creating a holiday this year that you can anticipate with groundedness and optimism.

Best Tips for Traveling Alone in a Car Trip

If you must travel alone in a car, here are a few things you need to know and be aware of to help you survive the trip. You can make the trip as pleasurable or as adventurous as you want. Always set a timetable for departure and arriving and try to stick to it. Make allowances for emergencies or problems.

Before you take the trip include the following tips in your plans:

1. Prepare your mind – avoid stress of any kind before getting on the road

2. Prepare your body – make sure you get a good night of sleep and rest

3. Prepare your car – have your car tuned up, oil changed, brakes checked, tire rotated and in good condition, extra fluids in the car (oil, brake, transmission, windshield, antifreeze, etc.) and make sure your windshield wipers and lights are working properly

4. Plan your route – find out the nearest hospitals, hotels, rest stops and restaurants

5. Let someone know your route and check in with that person at designated times to be safe

6. Have your cell phone charged and available for emergency calls.

7. Take along a map or GPS and have it handy or ready in the event you get lost or need directions.

8. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes to drive in

9. Travel with suitcases or bags in trunk of car for safety reasons

10. Try to map out or organize your route (beware of road construction and detours)

11. Have a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks in the event your credit or debit card does not work

While traveling during the trip follow these tips:

1. Try to travel during the day. At night is too risky, especially if the car breaks down.

2. Make frequent or regular stops to break the monotony of driving.

3. If you feel tired or sleepy pull over at the nearest safe place and stop or get a hotel room to spend the night and wake up refreshed.

4. Take along a snack (gum or candy) if it doesn’t make you sleepy

5. Listening to the radio or music is usually good for some people

6. You may want to drive with windows down a little to get fresh air

7. If at all possible do not sleep in the car alone

8. Wear a pair of shades if the sun is too much of a strain on your eyes

After reaching your destination follow these tips:

1. Take a nice hot shower and rest or get some sleep

2. You may want to eat a nice meal after resting

By following these tips your trip alone should be much easier and stress-free. Rather business or pleasure driving alone can be a memorable experience.

Holiday Tips For Bird Safety – 5 Ways to Keep Your Bird Safe During the Holidays

Keeping your bird safe is a lifelong commitment that probably will need a little extra attention with the arrival of the holidays. Here are 5 things to do to make sure your bird has a safe and happy holiday with you and your family.

Keep the Routine Normal

Try to keep your bird’s routine as close to normal as possible by maintaining feeding, cage cleaning, hygiene rountine, and its interaction with your family the same. Keeping the bird’s schedule low-key and on track will prevent anxiety in your bird which can sometimes lead to health issues signaled by symptoms such as feather plucking, aggression, shrieking, loss of appetite, and change in elimination habits.

Provide Adequate Darkness

Birds need between 10 and 12 hours of darkness each day to stay healthy. Even though you may stay up late at night, and get up early in the morning more frequently as the holidays approach, your bird still needs its beauty rest. Use a cage cover to insure your bird gets enough down time to stay healthy.

Prevent All Contact with Decorations

A decorated tree is probably the first place a bird will fly. This is to be avoided as the wires could cause the bird to be hung if he is unable to untangle himself, and many of the ornamental decorations used on the tree that might usually be a part of the bird’s diet in the wild are made from substances that are toxic if ingested.

Cage Your Bird during Parties

Having your bird in its cage during holiday parties is the safest place it can be. This will prevent your bird from encountering dangerous situations such as drowning in a punch bowl, being burned by a hot coffee urn or eating people food that is likely to be on the table and is known to be fatal to birds such as chocolate, alcoholic beverages, sweet, and salty snacks to name a few.

Use an Air Purifier to Avoid Respiratory Problems

Birds have very delicate respiratory systems which are easily overtaxed with perfumes, scented candles, odors from the kitchen and overheating of pots and pans (particularly Teflon) at any time during the year. Using an air purifier to keep indoor air quality high is a good idea throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. Be alert about the number of odors that are introduced into your home and keep the exposure to an absolute minimum to avoid respiratory complications in your bird and worse. Using a purifier to filter your bird’s air will insure that your bird, and you are breathing the cleanest air possible.