Monthly Archives: September 2016

All About Health And Safety Travel Tips

You’ve planned and packed – you’re all ready for your trip – but you may have overlooked one of the key ingredients for a great vacation: taking the necessary steps to make sure you and your family have a safe and healthy trip.

The healthier your body is, the easier it will be for you to adapt to the effects of jet lag. If you plan a few days ahead, however, even the most out-of-shape may be able to head off the misery of jet lag. Several days before you leave, try going to bed a little earlier or a little later (if you are flying east or west, respectively), and start a stretching regiment. Hydrate yourself and eat lightly the day you travel. The headache, light-headedness and nausea associated with jet lag should lessen significantly when such measures are taken.

COMMON TRAVEL AILMENTS
Motion Sickness
Motion sickness is an unpleasant problem for many travelers; however, there are some over-the-counter and prescription medications available. If you wish to combat motion sickness on your own, try the following:

When traveling by car, try to sit in the front seat and, if you can, avoid reading as it only heightens the feeling of motion sickness.

When traveling by boat, sit as close to the middle of the vessel as possible and look straight ahead at the horizon, a fixed point that will not move. Today’s high-tech cruise ships are built for comfort, with stabilizers for smooth sailing, and most passengers experience little or no motion sickness.

When flying, try to sit near the wing of the plane, or the side where you are accustomed to driving. Ear plugs also may help.

Extremes: Heatstroke and Hypothermia
To avoid heatstroke, stay out of the sun for prolonged periods of time. By the same token, try to avoid unusually cold water to prevent hypothermia.

Dehydration
It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of a vacation and get dehydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Avoid caffeinated drinks, which can dehydrate you even more.

Allergies
People who suffer from allergies should take the same precautions on vacation as they do at home. Bring any medications used on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to bring an antihistamine in case of accidental exposure to a substance that triggers an allergic reaction. It also may be helpful to pack your own pillowcase for use in hotels, and to request a non-smoking room.

Arthritis
The inflammation of the joints that occurs with arthritis may be especially troubling during long trips that restrict movement. Taking frequent breaks to walk around and relieve stiff joints and muscles can make car, plane and cruise trips more enjoyable. Remember to pack aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or any prescription medications you normally use for arthritis.

Diarrhea
There’s nothing more miserable than getting sick while on vacation. For most destinations, the major health risk to travelers is diarrhea, which may be easily avoided. In general, common sense prevails. When in doubt, steer clear of uncooked meat, raw fruits and vegetables and unpasteurized milk products, and drink only bottled water (although the tip of the bottle may be contaminated, so wipe it clean before drinking from it) or water that has been boiled for at least 20 minutes. If you begin to feel sick or develop a fever, rest and drink tea or purified water. Most cases of traveler’s diarrhea clear up within a few days.

Overactive Bladder and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
If you suffer from an overactive bladder or irritable bowel syndrome, you may require frequent bathroom visits during long trips. Over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications are often helpful for the latter, and there are prescription medications available for people who may experience more severe symptoms. Avoiding stress, caffeine, and certain types of high-fat foods can help keep these conditions under control.

Animal and Insect Bites
If you are bitten by a wild animal, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Many animal bites require a tetanus shot and, in certain cases, a rabies shot. If bitten by a snake, lie as still as possible so not to spread the venom that may be present; then send others to get help immediately.

Check your body for ticks. Remove any with tweezers and watch the area for rash over the course of the next few weeks. See your doctor if you develop abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, rash, cough or weight loss.

FIRST AID KIT
It’s a good idea to keep a first-aid kit handy for any emergencies that may arise during your trip.

PERSONAL SAFETY TIPS
Work with your travel agent to get as much information as possible about the destination, especially if you will be traveling alone.

Hotels
Stay in hotels on well-traveled streets in safer areas of any city. The more expensive hotels usually have better security. Stay on lower level floors in case of fire or other need to evacuate quickly. Avoid the first floor, as it may not be safe from burglars. When returning to your hotel at night, use the main entrance. Be observant before entering parking lots.

Close and lock your hotel room door at all times. Check sliding glass doors, windows and connecting room doors. Acquaint yourself with the location of stairways, fire escapes, exits and alarms.

Do not answer your hotel room door without verifying who it is. If someone claims to be a hotel employee, call the front desk to verify. Never invite strangers into your room.

If you see suspicious activity or suspicious object, contact someone in authority immediately.

Transportation
Your travel agent can arrange for transfers from the airport or port, if necessary. Taxis or private car hires are recommended, as you are more insulated. Most airports, ports and train stations have areas clearly marked for taxis and car service pick-up. Do not enter any vehicle that does not have a proper license or does not pick you up from the designated area.

If you will be renting a car, get maps in advance and clearly write out the directions from the airport to your hotel. If you need to stop for directions, go to well-lit public areas. Keep the phone numbers of your destinations with you.

Lock your car doors while driving. Do not pick up strangers or stop for people you don’t know. Police cars will have blue and red lights; do not stop for cars flashing their high-beams.

Keep a low profile
Do not discuss your travel plans or itinerary publicly. Vary your schedule, if possible. Vary travel routes when possible.

Maintain a low profile. Dress down, if possible, and leave the expensive jewelry and watches at home. Do not display large amounts of cash or travelers checks. Look like a person of modest means. Do not leave your itinerary or other sensitive business information in your hotel room.

Blend in with the locals as best you can so you do not want to stand out. Cultural and racial differences may make this impossible, but you can still make yourself look like a person of modest means.

Be alert for surveillance, especially in high-risk countries. Kidnappers and extortionists identify their targets and then watch their potential victims to determine daily patterns.

Avoid disturbances and civil demonstrations, as they may become violent. Seek safe shelter away from the disturbance as quickly as possible.

Out and about
Keep your valuables, including passports, etc., in a money belt concealed under your clothes. Or, use the hotel safe to store valuables. Keep a copy of your passport with you at all times, but separate from where you are carrying your passport. In high-risk countries, it is a good idea to check in with the American Embassy and provide them with a copy of your passport in case you need to have it replaced. Pickpockets and thieves operate widely in many cities around the world, but especially near tourist attractions.

Whenever you use your credit card, keep an eye on it until it is returned to you. Always verify that it is your credit card before storing it again. Check credit cards when they are returned

If you are unfamiliar with the local language, carry a card or matchbook with the hotel’s name and address. You can show the card or matchbook to a cab driver or police officer if you get lost. Before leaving the United States, make up several pocket cards with key phrases in the local language. (i.e., “Which way is the airport?” and “Where are the restrooms?”)

Be careful when out on the town at night. Watch your drinks being poured and never accept a drink from a stranger. Get advice from your hotel concierge or other trusted source about reputable restaurants and other entertainment. Avoid being out on the streets late at night. Have your hotel arrange for car service or taxi service and know the addresses and directions before getting in the car.

BLAZING YOUR OWN TRAIL SAFELY
If you’re charting unknown territory, you’re going to want to take extra precautions to avoid putting yourself in harm’s way. Plan for the worst. Pack a survival kit that includes your first aid kit, a map, compass, flashlight, knife, waterproof firestarter, personal shelter, whistle, warm clothing, sturdy hiking boots, rain wear, high-energy food and water. Ask your doctor about necessary immunizations. Take a first aid course before you leave and learn the ABC’s of treating emergencies. Learn to recognize medical emergencies and respond to them immediately and appropriately, comforting the victim until help arrives. As common sense would dictate, avoid areas of natural hazards such as avalanche, rock fall, floods, and hazardous plants and animals, and check for potential hazards of terrain, sanitation (including infectious disease) and climate.

TRAVEL INSURANCE
Finally, the best thing you can do for yourself to keep healthy and happy while on vacation is to purchase travel insurance. Neither Medicare nor Medicaid pays for care outside the United States, and most health insurance plans don’t, either. Travel insurance is advisable, especially since the odds are you or someone in your family will need to seek some type of medical assistance while away. Talk with your travel agent to help you decide what coverage you’ll need based on your type of travel (developing country, adventure safari, Disneyland, etc.). Be sure to examine different policies, make careful inquiries and always read the fine print. Two features are essential: a 24-hour, toll-free, English-language phone assistance and a plan that provides direct, immediate payment to the medical provider.

Although you can’t anticipate every contingency, these are steps you can take to ensure a healthy vacation. For travelers with special needs, your travel agent can assist you with any personalized services.

How To Using Overseas ATM When Traveling

Wherever you travel in the world, cold hard cash is your most essential necessity. This is true if you’re buying a cup of coffee in Los Angeles, a silk scarf in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar or a bracelet off a street vendor in Hong Kong. That is why the first thing many travelers look for when they step off the plane in a foreign country is an ATM machine.

ATMs usually solve the traveler’s dilemma of where to safely and quickly obtain local currency. All cash withdrawals, regardless of size, are exchanged based on the wholesale exchange rate, which is usually a few percentage points better than the rate at a local exchange counter. Plus, these machines are practically everywhere – ATM cards linked to the PLUS or Cirrus networks can be used in more than 135 countries – which makes them the convenient choice of cash-strapped travelers.

Yet some travelers are running into ATMs that, like stingy uncles, refuse to give them money, usually when they try using their debit cards. Recently, debit cards have been the targets of international frauds, prompting banks to block out entire countries where these frauds occur most often. Travelers usually don’t even know a block is currently in place until they are standing cashless in front of an ATM, mildly cursing at their debit card that no longer seems to be working.

Countries that have recently been blocked by various banks include England, Thailand, the Philippines, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Singapore and Japan, though different banks utilize different criteria when selecting countries. Also, some banks block PIN-based transactions, while others block signature-based transactions; it all depends on their risk threshold.

Unfortunately for travelers, banks are not required to inform their customers about these bans, for they do not want to tip their hand to the countermeasures they’re employing to criminals. Travel agents urge you to call your bank or check out its Web site before you leave to find out if your debit card will work at your destination.

Here are some additional tips from travel agents concerning the use of ATMs when traveling abroad:

Take a variety of payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards, traveler’s checks and currency, to be prepared for all circumstances.

Go to a bank if you have problems withdrawing cash from an ATM. Many debit cards can also function as a credit card, which will allow you to get a cash advance (though at a higher interest rate than a normal debit transaction).

Bring your bank’s contact information when you travel, just in case your card fails to work like you expect.

If your PIN number is longer than four digits, go to your bank and have it changed. Many ATM’s abroad, especially in Europe, do not accept PIN numbers longer than four digits.

If your PIN number is based on letters, translate the letters into numbers before leaving the country. Many ATMs abroad only have numbers on their keypads.

Always have your travel agent’s contact information with you. It’s good to have an ally back home you can call whenever a problem arises.

With these tips and a little TravelSense, you should be able to freely explore the world without standing in long lines at the bank trying to access your money.

More Information About Students Travel Tips

The permission slips are signed, your bags are packed and you’re, like, so ready to ditch the classroom and head out on your class trip. Travel is an exciting opportunity to experience different places and wondrous cultures, so the key is not to blow it by doing something that will ruin the trip for yourself and others.

While it’s tempting to forget about all the rules as soon as your chaperones turn their backs, you should keep in mind these tips from ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Some of the most travel-wise people in the world, ASTA members know that studying for your upcoming trip is a homework assignment you’ll actually enjoy.

student travel, what to know before you go

Before You Go
Before you go, learn about the local laws and customs of the countries you’re visiting, especially those concerning drinking age, drugs and curfews. You are not immune to a country’s laws just because you’re a visitor, and you can be arrested.

Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses. It’s hard to enjoy the sights when you can’t see them.

Pack a simple first aid kit with bandages, antibiotic cream and pain relievers. It’s a good thing to have “just in case.” And tell your trip leaders about any medications you’re taking.

Give your parents the phone and fax number of your hotel, the cell phone numbers of the chaperones and a full itinerary of your trip. If anything changes during the trip, e-mail your parents immediately with the new info.

Pack all valuables, medications, travel documents and passport in your carry-on bag. Occasionally checked luggage gets lost at airports, so you want to have your important items on you.

While You’re There
Do not carry all your cash at once, especially if all you need is enough to buy lunch and a few sodas. And keep your wallet in a zippered pocket, preferably inside your jacket. If you need to exchange money in a foreign country, only use authorized vendors like banks.

Don’t be flashy. Wear an old, inexpensive watch and leave the bling at home. You don’t want to be a walking target for thieves. If you bring a fancy digital camera or an MP3 player, don’t flaunt them.

When you check in at your hotel, grab a card from the counter with the hotel’s name, address and phone number on it. Keep this card on you at all times.

Look both ways before crossing the streets. Yes, you’ve heard that a billion times, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is to step into oncoming traffic in foreign countries, especially the ones where they drive on the other side of the road.

Student Travel, be respectfulTravel with a buddy at all times and never wander off alone from the group.

Be respectful around, and ask permission before taking photographs of, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and other religious sites. Also, ask permission before taking photographs of government buildings and military installations. In some countries you can be detained for taking a picture of the wrong building.

Talk to your trip leader or to a travel agent about types of food or beverages to avoid, and don’t buy food from street vendors.

Class Dismissed
Going on an extended class trip may be the most fun you’ll ever have while actually learning something. If you follow the rules above and stay out of trouble, the only memories you’ll bring back are good ones.