Dec 31
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Well, it is time now to say goodbye to the year 2010, and welcome in the new year ahead of us. Instead of greeting it with resolutions in hand, why not jump in with both feet and a few goals in mind?

Travel goals worth considering:

1) Finding more cost-efficient ways to get about. Search new websites, blogs, and forums for tips.

2)Visiting a new (state, country, continent).

3) Explore new and amazing locations right in the area that you live in…open your mind and look closely at what is around you.

4) Travel alone, if you’ve never experienced this before

5) Join a public group and meet new “like minded” people to share your passion with. MeetUps.com and LinkedIn are two good places to start.

6) Learn another language specific to the place you like to travel most.

Whether you are a seasoned traveler, or just starting out, there will always be new avenues for you to explore. May you find many happy trails in the coming year!

Dec 28
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It has been all over the news this past week that extreme weather conditions have delayed flights at various places worldwide. That means a lot of stranded travelers wondering where they are going to sleep.

Sleep in the airport! You might not have a choice. Whether you choose to sleep at the airport to save on hotels costs, or have no other choice, here are some pre-trip tips to help you be prepared.

Keep an eye on the weather in the days up to your trip. If it looks like there could be a chance to be “weathered” in, pack these things in preparation. Put something comfortable to sit on in your carry-on bag.  A travel pillow, a lightweight blanket, towel, or even a travel pad are all options. Some compact inflatable rafts or sleep pads will fit in many bags. If you don’t have room for any one of these things, check with the airport when your flight is canceled. Some airports actually provide cots and blankets for this reason.

A few more items that will make your stay more comfortable include a small stash of snacks and something to drink. A book, magazine, or crossword puzzle can keep you busy if you have a hard time falling asleep. But if you REALLY need some shut eye? Pack an eye mask and some earplugs.

But most importantly, practice safety. Keep your belongings close by you and never leave them unattended. Know where the security station is in case you need help with something. And sleep where you see other travelers as well as security cameras.

A prepared traveler is a happy traveler.

Dec 22
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As you know, I love to travel.

But sometimes? Sometimes while I’m traveling…I hate it! The trip from point A to point B can be monotonous and boring. For example, there have been times when I’ve been stuck on a bus at night and it is near impossible to see the scenery. There have been times when I am on an airplane and the only semblance of entertainment is listening to a nearby toddler negotiate snacks with his mother. Or better yet, watching the expressions of the passenger in front of him whose seat he is kicking…

When I’m stuck between destinations in less than ideal situations, that’s when I’m going to be glad I have the newest Kobo in my purse. A Kobo is an eReader sold by Borders (and now at Walmart), and nothing pacifies a dreaded situation like a good read!

Thinner than a paperback, my Kobo slides right in to my small purse. I can whip it out on the bus, the train, the plane…any place I am that I have absolutely nothing else to do but sit and wait.

On occasion I choose the train as a way to get where I want to go. It is the most comfortable way I can think of to travel, besides my dream transport (an RV, do you hear that, Santa?)…but sometimes it is also the longest. But if I have my favorite novel waiting for me on my Kobo, then I suddenly just shaved off several hours of my time.

Now if only I could do a crossword puzzle on my Kobo…

Dec 20
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I happen to live in a state that is cold and snowy. Many of my readers enjoy their winter in balmy states and snow-free regions. For those of you who don’t…we’ve been getting pummeled this season, haven’t we?

Even if we are familiar with the woes of driving in winter, yearly reminders of how to be safe are always good to refreshen the memory. We need safety items in our vehicles, and we need safety tips for the road.

Pack an emergency car kit to store in your vehicle. Stock it with warm items (extra hats, gloves, clothes, blankets). Pack non-perishable food and snacks, and be sure to include water. A first aid kit is important, as well as essentials like a flashlight, flares for the road, shovel, ice scraper, small radio, and sand or kitty litter for traction when you are stuck in snow. And one item you’ll never regret making room for — jumper cables.

Before you  head out on any road trip, make sure your gas tank is full and your kit is packed. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged, if you have one. Remember to bring emergency  numbers (family members, AAA, etc). If you have a baby along, pack extras for the child (diapers, food, warm clothing).

Once on the road, follow basic safety measures. Drive slower according to conditions. Leave plenty of room between you and the car ahead of you. Clear off your car and headlights of snow and ice that could impair visibility of the road and to other drivers. Use extra caution and pay attention to other drivers — while you might be following safety measures, it doesn’t mean the other driver is.

Here’s wishing you safe and happy travels!

Dec 12
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Welcome to the busiest season for travel…you have places to go and people to see.  How many of us have chosen one way to travel, and have just stuck with it over time? Here is a breakdown of several ways you can travel this season, some of them at a fraction of the cost of what you may be used to.

The main ways to travel include car, bus, train, and airplane. Each mode has its benefits over another, depending on what your needs are.

When it comes to traveling a short distance, lets say approximately 200 miles or less, the bus, train or car is the fastest way to go. Flying is really only beneficial when the trip is a significant distance, covering several states or half the United States.  Alot of time can be wasted getting to the airport, waiting at the airport, sitting on the plane…it is likely you could  have already reached your destination by ground travel if you had gone that route instead.

However, if you are weighing the benefits of drive time compared to ride time, ride time allows you to take care of other tasks during the trip. You can work, eat, sleep, and tackle other things while sitting on a train, bus or airplane.

What about comfort? While our own vehicle would seem to make sense as the most comfortable, the train would likely be the winner. In a car you have more flexibility in when you want to stop and where you want to go. But the train is roomier, has food service, and a place to sleep if you upgrade.

And then there is cost. The cheapest cost for short trips would be the bus or your car. And the more people you can get to split the cost of gas in a car, the cheaper that bill becomes. For long trips, the cheapest route is by plane or train…depending on the time of year and how early you are able to book a seat.

Last but not least, traveling safely is an important consideration. If you wanted to choose the safest way to travel, you would buy a train ticket. Trains have the lowest fatality rate of passengers per year, with automobiles having the highest. The bus and train land in the middle, with similar results to each other.

Regardless of how you choose to travel during the next month or two, here’s wishing you safe and happy trails.

Dec 1
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This time of year is a tough time for staying healthy. Besides the advent of winter — closed doors and windows, and lower levels of activity — the stress of the holidays is enough to knock your immune system down a notch or two.

Add traveling to that equation, and you’re almost guaranteed to be spending a few unexpected days under your covers! Can it be avoided?

Probably not, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you are a step ahead of those nasty seasonal viruses.

Get plenty of rest. This can be very difficult as you cross time zones and have a tightly packed schedule, but getting enough sleep is essential. Also, watch what you eat. Beware buffets while on the road. Wash your hands often…an easy rule to remember since you’ve been hearing it since kindergarten. And while you are experiencing new places and things, be careful what you touch. Avoid touching animals, and do what you can to avoid insects from touching you.

And embark on your travels well armed. Be prepared with medications designed to treat nausea, diarrhea, allergies, and indigestion. Pack suncreen and bug spray. And one final important suggestion…look in to travel health insurance.

Here is to happy trails, and your health!