10 Family Friendly Travel Tips

Traveling with the family can be a nightmare. Not only is family travel expensive if you can’t find affordable airline tickets, it’s also a huge inconvenience for you and for your fellow travelers. The key to a smooth travel experience is to plan ahead and prepare, as much as possible, for the unexpected.

1. Book non-stop flights. Although you may not be able to find non-stop flights with cheap airline tickets, avoiding extra time in the airport during layovers and the possibility of delays or cancellations is hugely beneficial when you’re traveling with family. Plus you’ll never have to wake a sleeping baby. It can never hurt, however, to check discount airfare sites for the most affordable non-stop airline tickets.

2. Pack your child’s travel carry-on with a surprise. Stuff you kids backpack full of new toys, games, and activities. Or, you may even want to consider wrapping a few old items like a present. You’d be surprised how exciting an old toy can become after it’s pulled out of new wrapping paper.

3. Schedule extra time. Whether you’re traveling with discount airfare or with full-priced airline tickets in hand, every traveler has to go through the same check-in and security routine. Always build in plenty of time for check in and connecting flights; everything takes twice as long and is twice as complicated when you’re traveling with children. Don’t forget to double check that TSA prohibited items list before heading to the airport for updates on carry-on or checked items to avoid delays at the security gate.

4. Reserve seats in advance. Eliminating any unpredictability when traveling with your family is a plus. When buying your airline tickets always check to see if you can secure your seat assignments in ahead of time. Consider booking your family’s seats all together, splitting up the family if traveling with another adult to avoid in-flight sibling feuds, or trying to find aisle seats for easy maneuvering. Also, even if you booked advanced seating, ask at the gate if the flight is full; you may be able to request a vacant seat between you and a fellow passenger.

5. Check flight restrictions when booking. Cheap flights can sometimes come with hidden restrictions such as strict cabin baggage weight limits or fees for checking strollers.

6. Test your stamina in advance. You may be able to benefit from cheap airfare by paying for one less child if you can handle having your child sit on your lap in a chair at home for the length of your flight.

7. Schedule flights during sleep time. Use discount airfare to try to find cheap airline tickets around the time your child normally naps. Also consider booking redeye flights; not only will you find cheap airfare, you may be able to benefit from having you child sleep through a nighttime flight.

8. Board first or last. You receive the same boarding privileges with cheap airline tickets as you do with regular-priced tickets: when traveling with children you’ll have the option of boarding first. Early boarding can be convenient because it allows you extra time to get situated; however, boarding last will cut down on the time your kids have to wait on the plane.

9. Beware of bulkhead seats. What you gain in legroom with bulkhead seats you’ll lack in under-the-seat storage, which is even more valuable when traveling with children. Also these seats often lack armrests, preventing your child from comfortably cuddling with you.

10. Check your luggage. You already have plenty to keep track of when you’re traveling with family – multiple little ones, tickets, IDs, bags – but you can eliminate unnecessary hassle when you check your bags. Think of it this way: what you save on discount airfare you can put toward the extra fees airlines may charge you for checking bags.

Travel Tips & Advice

Notify Family, Friends and Relatives

Before leaving on holiday, make sure that you give all travel information to your family and close friends. If anything should happen while travelling, multiple people know where you are and have a better chance of getting a hold of you and others who might need to reach you. Prepare photocopies of your passport, airline tickets, accommodation booking form. It might also help if you leave telephone numbers of where you are stopping just in case anyone needs to get in touch with you urgently.

Do you have a valid Visa and/or passport?

ALWAYS check your passport and ensure that you renew your visa or apply for one before departing. Make sure your passport does not expire within 6 months of your date of travel. A large majority of countries insist that your passport be valid for at least that time period or a year. Make a copy, in case you lose it while on vacation, you can send the copy to your Embassy.

E111 Medical form.

Still thousands of UK holidaymakers go on holiday without getting a signed E111 form from your local medical practitioner. This form is free and means that whilst you are in a country which is a member of the European community you will receive free or subsidised medical treatment. Be warned through this does not mean you are covered for return flights, transfers from destination to hospital, and pharmacy costs.

Travel Insurance

Millions of holidaymakers worldwide go on holiday WITHOUT travel insurance. How crazy can you people be, for the sake of completing a quick form, or telephone conversation you can be covered for any event whilst on holiday. It is so important that people get back in to the habit of buying travel insurance. The decline in holidaymakers taking out insurance is due to the increase in independent travelling, many UK travel agents insisted that you took out travel insurance as part of your booking.

Confirm your Reservations

Be sure your airline tickets and vacation rental booking is confirmed, otherwise you may have an unpleasant experience if the owners of the property are out of the country and have not left the keys. Visit the airport website, or if you are in the UK look on ceefax, or teletext for the latest flight departures and arrivals from UK airports to find if your plane is on time, back that up with a telephone conversation with the airline.

Location of the Vacation Rental

When making your booking, you may want to find out if the property is located near a hospital, chemist, police station etc. These services are great in an emergency, and it’s always good to know your way around before you arrive. You will find that most owners will have some literature about local doctors, chemists etc you never know what may happen whilst on holiday.

Buy a Destination Guide / Language dictionary.

Get yourself some travel books to know all the best spots, cheapest restaurants, best food, and hundreds of insights about your destination. You may want to write down some notes from the travel book relevant to the area you are visiting rather than taking the entire book with you to cut down on weight. Most importantly get a language translation dictionary and carry it with you. Learn a few essential terms in the native language of the country you are travelling to. People will appreciate and be a lot more helpful if you at least make an effort, it can also help you in an emergency.

Luggage Advice

Place photocopies of your identification in your luggage to help your airline or cruise ship to return it if lost while travelling. Another good idea is to get some masking, insulation tape or stickers and put it all over the suitcase, the worst start to a holiday would be to loose your luggage or get it taken by accident because its identical to another holidaymakers. Use your own padlocks instead of the padlocks supplied with suitcases. It is usually safer. Remember to keep the key(s) in your carry-on luggage., don’t do what I did and leave the keys in the suitcase!

Photocopy your Identifying Documents

Photocopy all documents and cards and store it in a secret place in your suitcase. If your wallet is ever stolen, you will know exactly what you have lost and will have all the telephone numbers to call to cancel credit cards and the credit card numbers, etc. at your fingertips. Or instead of photocopying all your important documents and carrying them with you, you can scan everything and email the images to your email account or family and friends as attachments.

Airport Transfers

Don’t forget to try and arrange your transfer to the vacation property before you set off. Worse thing that can happen is that it’s 11pm, and there’s no buses, and you have to pay a fortune for a hour drive to your accommodation. Most owners will have a contact for airport transfers, or there own management company will pick you up, there’s a charge, but it’s certainly cheaper than local taxi companies… it’s also safer.

Cash Safety.

Think of this scenario. You’ve just got to your hotel, and you see a nice bar over the road, you go to your pocket to get all of your foreign currency, and it’s not there! Your in a strange country, with a strange language and it’s your first day on a holiday you’ve been paying for all year. Please remember travellers cheques, order them before you go and you will not be in this scenario.

This article is not written to scare you but to put your mind on the important issues you will face when booking and organising your next vacation rental holiday. The best holidays I have had are ones where I have organised them myself.

Have fun.. but more importantly… BE SAFE!

Traveling Made Easy

Traveling these days certainly can be a hassle. Everything from long lines to airline delays can cause travelers unnecessary and unfortunate inconveniences. Prior to your travels, considers the following ten tips and you will have a greater chance of limiting the hassles of traveling.

1. Know what to pack – Take some time to review the Transportation Security Administration’s “Permitted and Prohibited Items” list. You can find the list on the Transportation Security Administration Website located at http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/editorial/editorial_1254.xml

2. Call the airport ahead of time to verify flight times – Don’t rely on the airlines to notify you of delays or flight changes. Travelers can contact their airline directly or their travel agent to ensure their flight is on-schedule.

3. Be prepared and schedule proper time for travel to the airport – Traveling can cause anxiety, which causes travelers to forget necessary travel items. Consider all-inclusive travel kits to avoid forgetting the essential personal items.

4. Secure a seat assignment prior to check in – This will prevent unnecessary problems during over-booked flights.

5. Secure your valuables – Traveling continues to be one the top times that people fall victim to crime. Travelers should limit the amount of cash they carry and use credit or debit cards when possible. Credit and debit cards offer a higher level of protection than carrying cash.

6. Check the destination on your luggage tag – Ask the ticket agent or curb assistant to double check the tag on your luggage. This can prevent your luggage going somewhere other than where you will be!

7. Research your destination point – Travelers should research their destination point prior to traveling. Being familiar with major highways, climate, customs, and points of interest will help traveler avoid unnecessary situations.

8. Be aware of unclean hotel rooms – There have been rising complaints about unwelcome insects in hotel rooms, according to pest control businesses. Demand fresh sheets from hotel management or carry portable silk bed sheets. Additionally, inform hotel management if you find any insects or unwanted messes in your hotel room.

9. When traveling for business, compare the cost of renting a car to utilizing taxicabs or public transportation. Travelers may find it convenient to rent a car; however, rental car costs can sometimes include exuberant “extra” fees.

10. Remember your agenda – Traveling in new places can sometimes be distracting and take away from the purpose of the trip. While on business, make sure to write down the times and places of your business. This will help to ensure you are not late to business meetings.

Cancun Weather – Best and Worst Months to Go

Cancun weather is one reason why this Mexican resort enclave is the second most popular vacation destination in the Caribbean region.

Other reasons why Cancun draws so many tourists include its hotel, shopping and restaurant strip; the inexpensive bus transportation system; plenty of things to do; and convenient access to and from U.S. airports. It is 1.5 hours flight time from Miami and four hours from Chicago.

The best time to go to Cancun depends in part on whether you prefer to spend a lot of time on the beach and in the water, or if you like to spend most of your time shopping, dining and visiting the various attractions in the region. Some fabulous Mayan ruins are located nearby.

Cancun weather is generally warm throughout the year — in fact many hotels and resorts have open air lobbies — but offshore breezes can make the air and water more chilly in winter months.

Average Temperatures

The average year-round high temperature for this resort destination is nearly 88 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low temperature is just less than 74 degrees, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Cancun weather in May through September is the warmest time to visit when the average high temperature exceeds 90 degrees each month — peaking at 92.5 in August.

Cancun weather in December, January and February is coolest when the average high temperatures are about 83 degrees.

The average low drops below 70 degrees in January and February, and barely breaks 70 in December.

Average Rainfall

The average rainfall is 4.4 inches per month and the average number of rain days per month is 9.6.

The rainfall and rain days are about average for a Caribbean destination.

February, March and April are the driest months when it rains less than 1.8 inches a month. It also rains only five days a month during that time.

Total rainfall increases in June, drops in July and climbs during the most active hurricane season months of September and October, when it rains nearly nine inches per month.

November also has a higher than average amount of rain.

Best Times to Go

Vacationers will find that the best time to go to Cancun is February through May, while they should avoid it in September and especially in October.

However, be aware that water temperatures in February and March are chilly and not comfortable for swimming for any great length of time.

Internet – The Smart Way of Getting the Cheapest Fares

Airplanes have brought the distant exotic holiday destinations closer to all of us. Today you can reach even the farthest places in just a few hours. So, whether it’s a trip to beautiful Australia or a trip to Dubai, it is all ‘in-reach’. The credit for this goes to Engineering and Technology.

Another face of technology is ‘Internet’. Internet is being used extensively for many different purposes (e.g. online shopping, content research, entertainment etc) and booking air travel is one of them. Though the various conventional ways are in use too, internet is by and large the most popular route for booking air travel. Besides being convenient, internet is the place where you can get the cheapest airfares most of the times.

Let’s take a look at some smart tips that can help you get the cheapest air fares on the net:

1. Book Early: Most airlines offer some ‘hot deals’ on air fares. These are the deals that airlines use to promote/advertise their services too. Generally, the earlier you book your flight, cheaper are the airfares. So, plan well and book your flight 3-4 months in advance (or even earlier, if you can).

2. Good Research Can Make A Difference: Good research is the key to getting cheapest airfares on the net. There are a number of websites through which you can book your air travel online. Some websites are operated by online travel agents while there are others that are operated by airlines themselves. If you shop around, you will find that various travel websites offer different fares for the same dates, times and facilities. However, instead of searching for air fares at various websites, you can use one of the multi-site airfare search engines that automatically get results from various travel websites (including airline websites).

3. Participate In Online Auctions: There are several websites that sell air tickets and travel packages through the auction route. Sometimes you can get the cheapest airfares here. The only condition is that you should be super-flexible in terms of dates, times, airline preference etc. Mostly, you will not know about the airline, hotel name, car rental etc till you have actually won the auction and made the payment. But that is something that you have to bear in order to get the cheapest deals.

4. Book Travel Packages Instead Of Just The Flights: Since most airlines, car rentals and hotels have tie-ups with each other, they offer you a discount if you book everything together. This discount is reflected in the travel package deals that you book over the internet. However, you might like to take a sneaky look at hotel rates that are available through other websites or through phoning the hotel (remember most hotels will give you a discounted rate, if you ask for the ‘best price’). Moreover, booking travel packages is much more convenient too (especially if you are short of time). Some websites will even have the pictures of hotel rooms and details of the hotel amenities, so as to facilitate your decision making process.

5. Be Flexible: The cheapest airfare deals are generally available to those who are flexible on the travel dates, times, airlines etc. This is because airfares and travel package costs are based on the demand; and cheapest airfares are for flights that are the least in demand. Holidays and weekends are the busiest times for airlines; so, the airfares are higher for such days. Similarly, evening flights are costlier than the morning or noon flights. Most travel websites provide you cheaper options if you demonstrate flexibility.

These are the smart tips that can really help you in getting the cheapest airfares.

Holiday Eating Anxieties for Bariatric Patients

Most Bariatric Surgery Patients experience a wide range of Holiday eating anxieties which can actually ruin a perfectly good Holiday around friends and family.

Prior to surgery, Holidays meant family, friends, and lots of food to indulge in and enjoy – often at a glutinous rate simply because Holiday foods are “special” because they are only provided during the season and they are prepared so carefully which adds guilt if you don’t partake of it.

How many times do you hear these phrases said at a Holiday gathering?

“That’s ALL you’re going to have? I worked so hard on that dish…”

“You better eat this now, because it won’t be here for another year….”

“It will hurt my feelings if you don’t eat this…..”

“These are very special ingredients I ordered specifically for this dish…”

“You can’t be NOT HUNGRY… it’s a Holiday!”

“Just ONE LITTLE BITE, PLEEEEEZEEEEZ…..”

“Have more, there’s plenty…”

“Take some of this home with you if you’re not going to eat it now…”

“Oh nonsense! You’re allowed to eat a lot today!”

“You should have worn your FAT PANTS to gorge yourself like the rest of us…”

OH, how this list could fill a book, right? Such comments add enough stress to non-surgery individuals who carefully watch their weight, let alone those who have had the Bariatric surgery and have to be careful what they eat, how much they eat, and how often they eat. So you are NOT ALONE in feeling some anxiety about being around all of the special food at gatherings this season.

I’d like to offer some suggestions that have worked for me and others during this most stressful time when Holidays equates to special foods and the pressure to partake in them is way too much out of hand at times.

1. Prepare you mind for the event: Reflect on past Holiday experiences and evaluate what lies ahead this year for you. Have it in your mind what you will say and do when those food-pushers taunt you or down-right threaten you to eat during the “special occasion.

2. Anticipate the food: Reflect on past Holiday foods that are always provided to you within your social circle. Predetermine what you WILL eat and what you WON’T eat. Making a decision ahead of time will curb your gut-reaction to “cave in” to the urgings by others to eat what you shouldn’t eat.

3. Never try anything new at the party: Not knowing how you will react to the food carries the high risk of making you ill and calling for you quick retreat to the bathroom or feeling sick for an hour or so. This will draw attention to you, which is something you don’t’ want. The host and guest will feel badly for you, so don’t put them or you in such a situation. Only eat things that you are absolutely certain that you can tolerate.

4. Take baby-bites of the “special” foods: Literally, take a baby-bite if you absolutely must partake of foods strictly for the social expectations. If it’s too much for a baby’s mouth, then you’re putting too much on the spoon or fork.

5. No-Guilt in Tossing it: In a social event where you don’t’ want attention drawn to how little you are eating, take a small plate with small portions of food, then take small bites of each item, then TOSS the rest away when no one is looking. This gives the appearance that you’re “normal” and all will assume you have gotten your fill. This spares hurting the feelings of Great Aunt Gerdie who truly does cry if you refuse her special 60%-sugar/90%-fat/carb-loaded/stroke-on-a-plate pie. Tossing out the unwanted uneaten portions is just a “different” way of consuming… so don’t’ feel guilty about it. All that matters is that Great Aunt Gerdie delights in seeing her pie disappearing.

6. Eat healthy before you go and bring your own essentials: Never go to a Holiday party hungry… NEVER! This is self-sabotage in the worst way! Enough said? Take along your own treats and drinks that are RNY-Friendly to you. Don’t request an extra effort on your host. You know what you need, so take it with you. While they are eating pies and cakes, you can have the sugar-free fudge sickles you brought along or those sugar-free pudding cups. And if they are serving only sodas or alcohol and you cant’ do them, bring your own herbal teas or no-sugar-added hot chocolate packets. This will make you, the host, and the guests feel comfortable and nobody will feel that you are “suffering” as they eat your NO-NO’s.

7. Talk more than you eat: The Holidays should be about PEOPLE, not food. So be social. Focus on the people; laugh with them, tell stories, listen to their tall tales, play games, etc. If you do these things, you’ll be amazed at how well the gathering will go for you simply because you didn’t focus on food. And when the food-pushers come along, just glance by them off into the distance and make your exit because you “want to talk to so-n-so or your cell phone is vibrating and you’ve got to excuse yourself for the call…. Perfectly acceptable to have a pre-planned “way out” when you need one.

8. Change the food-subject: Others may want to cry boo-hoo with you if you keep telling them of all the foods you’re missing out on this year. Don’t do that! Rather than mourn the loss of your favorite Holiday treats, brag on the fact that you’re feeling so much healthier, your clothes are getting baggier, and you’re dreaming again of all the great things that are in store for you now that you are slimming down. Don’t’ allow anyone to pity you for not eating like you used to eat.

9. Wear a “knock-out” outfit: WOW them all this Holiday season by wearing a special outfit that you feel very proud to be seen in. The food isn’t special to you anymore… you’ve swapped that for the special outfits you can now wear! Let people whisper to each other how great you look rather than how little you are eating. The stress of not eating so much will be far away to you when you feel good about yourself and look good too.

10. Make your visit brief: if you are getting too much pressure from others or are experiencing too many anxieties, let leave the gathering earlier than you originally planned. Maybe you’re tired, the roads are getting bad, you realized you need to do something… remember that “pre-planned” escape should be there for you if you need it.

I can attest that these are tactics that I’ve used and STILL use in social gatherings when it is expected to eat special foods during special times. Granted, I am three years post-op, so my anxieties are not as high as they once were… but they certainly threatened my Holiday happiness not too long ago!

Remember this most of all…. The more prepared you are ahead of time, the less you’ll feel nervous about those awful Holiday Eating Anxieties. Now go have fun!

Office Christmas Party Safety: Top 5 Tips

Christmas is a time for letting your hair down and having some fun, but it’s important to make sure you prepare for a safe Christmas season, particularly if you are responsible for other people. Office Christmas parties are meant to bring a company together and raise morale, make sure yours doesn’t do the opposite by carrying out a proper risk assessment before it begins.

Safety hazards and compensation claims

If you are responsible for maintaining a public space like an office then failing to address safety hazards at Christmas could put people in danger. An unsafe environment at Christmas time could cause serious injuries and injured people have the right to make compensation claims. Here are the top 5 tips for office party safety.

1. Keep an eye on alcohol consumption

Employers should take careful control of alcohol consumption at office Christmas parties. All underage visitors and employees should be supervised. If employees are supplied with so much drink that they end up with alcohol poisoning or any other injury then employers can be subject to compensation claims against them.

2. Ensure food is safe to eat

If you intend to supply food at your office party then it should be prepared with caution to make sure employees don’t become ill after eating it. Failure to carry out safety checks could result in compensation claims, and a potentially compromised workforce. Christmas party snacks such as canap├ęs are liable to cause tummy upsets if the re-heating process is not administered properly.

3. Take care to label foods

Did you know that unlabelled food can potentially be dangerous? For example, if any food contains nuts then someone with a serious nut allergy could experience a fatal reaction. Ensure that all food and ingredients are clearly labelled to avoid any allergies and to ensure that the employer’s duty of care has been carried out. Employees should be able to decide what they can and can’t eat.

4. Make sure attendees get home safely

Employers have a duty of care to make sure their staff are capable of arriving home safely after the office Christmas party. Employees who are involved in car accidents as a result of drinking too much at the office party can make successful compensation claims against their employer. This can be avoided by Providing a shuttle bus or car pool.

5. Eradicate trip and fall hazards

Typical Christmas trip and fall hazards include seasonal decorations such as trailing Christmas lights and other decorations, office equipment which is out of place and bags and coats which are left in walkways. Make sure there is a proper place for everything, ideally signposted where necessary, so that items can be safely tucked away. Ensure that all Christmas decorations are securely fastened before the party begins, as an employer you should be covered against any compensation claims.

As long as employees and employers alike are vigilant about safety, the Christmas season will end with peace and happiness – not injured staff and compensation claims.

Disneyland Vacations – 4 Steps To Booking Your Trip

Some people say “80% of your vacation is the anticipation!” Let’s get started with tese tips on booking a trip to the ‘House of the Mouse?’. If you have a particular interest in Disneyland Vacations, then this informative article will help, even before you strap on your mouse ears…

Disneyland park at Anaheim, CA in the USA is in fact one of the best theme parks in the world and booking a trip to Disneyland can itself get you into a good mood. However, like any vacation, you need to make sure that you’ve got your Trip to Disneyland planned out. Good planning will not only add to your enjoyment but will also help you in saving some money.

Here are some tips that will help you plan your Disneyland trip:

Before you book: You must make sure that Disneyland is open on all the days that you plan to visit Disneyland on. Though Disneyland is usually open on all days throughout the year, there might be times when it is closed e.g. Did you know that Disneyland was closed for one day in 2005 in preparation for their 50th anniversary celebrations?

Timing is everything: If you plan a trip to Disneyland during off-peak days, you not only get great deals on travel and accommodations, but also on the entry tickets for parks. Moreover, the rush in Disneyland is a lot less on off-peak days so you might be able to reduce the wait time for the attractions. However, some attractions and events might not be open during off-peak times. Also, the opening hours might be limited during off peak period of the year. So, check the calendar at Disneyland website and decide on the dates you want to visit Disneyland on.

Book in advance: The general rule of booking travel / vacation applies to Disneyland too. Booking your hotel and flight in advance is especially important if you are planning to travel to Disneyland from a far off location. It can really save you a lot of money.

Booking a complete package all at once: The website of Disneyland offers many ways of booking vacation packages in one shot. You can book ‘hotel + Air + tickets’ or just ‘hotel + tickets’ or just the hotel through their website http://disneyland.disney.go.com This can save a lot amount of time and hassle. However, if you want, you can book your trip through a variety of travel agents too.

There’s a lot to understand about Disneyland in California. In knowing the facts above, your trip to Disneyland will be a much more enjoyable experience, but there is still plenty more you’ll learn about in subsequent articles.

Travel Tips – Documents to be Carried While Traveling

While traveling outside US, documentation is an important part of your trip. Outside US and even in other States, you and your luggage are recognized by your documents. Carrying proper travel related documents and identity proofs could help you avoid unnecessary jitters.

The best international travel tips is to carry original copy of some documents and keep one or two photocopies of the other in case of emergency. You should also leave a copy of your documents with some friends, which they can fax to you if you loose yours. Ask your travel agent or friends who have gone to those destinations about the necessary travel tips for documents.

Vacations and Business travel Tips

Whether you are on fun, business or a personal trip, the important documents required while traveling outside US are: Passport, Visa, Driving License, Medical Certificates and Insurance documents. A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer.

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave most foreign countries. The Passport Services Office provides information and services to American citizens about how to obtain, replace or change a passport. To obtain a passport for the first time, you need to go in person to passport acceptance facilities with your two photographs, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid form of photo identification such as driver’s license and apply for the passport. You can seek travel tips for documents from your friends and acquaintances that have traveled to those destinations.

Airline Travel Tips and Visa Requirements

Most countries require a visa before you can travel there. You can board on aircraft only if you have a valid visa and return air ticket for the destination. Few countries allow free passage to US Citizens. However, it is mandatory to carry a valid identification proof with you in these countries to avoid legal complications and prove your identity in case of emergency. It is the responsibility of travelers to obtain Visa, where required, from the appropriate embassy or nearest consulate of the country you are planning to visit. Certain countries have proper validation requirements for Visa applications take some time before approving your visa. It is therefore necessary to obtain the visa well in advance to avoid last minute problems.

Luggage Documentation Tips

If you are carrying valuable and electronic items, good travel tips is to keep a copy of the invoice, insurance and troubleshooting manuals with you while you are traveling. While invoice and insurance are needed to prove your ownership, a manual will help the technicians if some problem occurs in it. These documents will also help you to avail international warranty and service facilities wherever applicable.

Travel insurance tips

Most countries require the foreign tourists covered up with insurance before they enter the country. However, insurance during travel is a critical issue due to legal differences between two countries. Contact your insurance company to find if the present insurance covers the foreign trips or not. Even your travel agent can help you with important travel insurance tips.

5 Tips To Help You De-Stress For The Holidays

Let’s face it. We all live pretty stressful lives.

With deadlines to meet; presentations to create; exams to study for; raising kids; caring for aging parents; the leaking roof or broken dishwasher that need to be repaired; the mortgage or rent that is due next week; and then there’s the technology that keeps changing faster than the speed of learning, providing us with the opportunity to constantly be on call, many of us are at the point where all it takes is one more stressor for us to collapse into a ball of emotion, or worse.

I have had the great good fortune to work with first and second year University and College students for the past twenty years and this time of the year is always the worst for stress levels for both students and faculty. Even friends and family who do not work around students are beginning to show classic symptoms of stress as the holiday’s approach – moodiness, anxiety, worry, feeling overwhelmed, fatigue, eating too much or losing their appetite. The scary thing is that the person under stress often does not even realize they are experiencing these symptoms or the extent to which they are being affected by stress.

So, before preparations for the holidays begins in earnest and stress levels begin to creep ever upward, here are 5 tips that I would like to share that can help you lower your stress levels and increase your ability to enjoy the holiday season:

1) Practice mindfulness: we often move through our days performing tasks and activities while being distracted by other things. We drive while reliving conversations or planning some future event; we have conversations with coworkers while trying to think through a solution to a work-related problem; we listen to our children tell us about their day while we are mentally going over our to-do list.

Mindfulness is the act of being present, in the moment. Of focusing on what you are currently doing without being distracted by other thoughts. For someone under stress, mindfulness involves being aware of not only the situation you are in, but of how you are reacting to that situation. Are you experiencing stress reactions of fight, flight or freeze? If yes, then how bad are these reactions? By noticing your reactions as they are happening, you can consciously choose to alleviate the stress that you are beginning to feel so the stress doesn’t continue to build.

2) Self Care: anyone who has traveled on an airplane has heard the steward’s speech about applying the oxygen mask to yourself first and then to your children – basically you are being instructed to take care of yourself first before you take care of others. The same instruction holds true in real life. If you do not have the energy to take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of anything or anyone else.

Self care is more than treating yourself to an occasional mani-peni or trip to the local spa. Self Care involves eating right, getting a bit of exercise every day, spending time on activities or hobbies that bring you joy.

Practicing Self Care can involve setting a weekly date with yourself to spend an hour a week doing exactly what you want to do – learn to swim, learn to paint, wander through nature, photograph beautiful local architecture, read, listen to music… the choice is yours as long as the activity excites you and is something you look forward to doing every week. Practice mindfulness during this hour, focus on what you are doing and how you are feeling while you are doing it – and on nothing else.

3) Identify how you want to feel and find ways to accomplish this: Identify your core desired feelings, tap into these core desired feelings and find ways and activities that honour them. Our core desired feelings are keys to understanding our true self. When we deny our core desired feelings, we are acting at odds with our true self and this can leave us feeling disconnected, frustrated, restless, stressed.

Identify how you like to feel – do you like to feel adventurous, creative, inspired, challenged, needed, etc – and then identify activities you can bring into your life right now to help you feel this way. Honouring your core desired feelings is a fun, effective way to begin to de-stress.

4) Delegate: A fourth way to begin to de-stress is to drop the need for everything to be done by you and only you. And while you are at it, you can also drop the need for everything to be perfect. If you are a solo-preneur, there are some magnificent virtual assistants who can provide you will all the support you need, without costing a small fortune. Eliminate the unnecessary, focus on what’s important, and delegate the rest.

5) Relax and have fun: Above all else, relax, have fun and be happy!! Take time to breathe, relax, and play. For most adults, play is something we stopped doing as part of the process of growing up. But play and fun can be awesome de-stressors. What did you enjoy doing for play when you were young – arts & crafts; riding a bicycle; video games; swimming; skating; reading; writing; drawing – whatever it was try it again. Or find a new activity that is playful and fun – kick through a pile of leaves, build a snowman, dance like no-one is looking, start that hobby you have always wanted to do. Tie play and fun to your core desired feelings and double the impact these activities can have on bringing joy to your life.

How do you relax and de-stress for the holidays, or anytime through the year?