No More Plastic Shampoo Bottles At Holiday Inns

The hotel chain has announced a new policy to help lower pollution that plagues many oceans. Tons of plastic and other dangerous trash are dumped daily into the water, endangering whales and other sea life.

Other hotel and restaurant chains are also eliminating the small plastic bottles and using large refillable containers in bathrooms and kitchens. Question: Are the business beancounters doing it to save ocean bottoms or to save corporate bottom lines?

Airport security: Keep your eyes on valuables PDF Print E-mail

We continue to hear the sensational stories of airport security guards groping and doing all kinds of other bothersome things to airline passengers. Another question we have about them: Are they honest about passenger property? The reality is, just like cops, firemen, taxi drivers and the rest of us, the great majority of the TSA screeners do their jobs with total honesty.

However, where there’s temptation to steal, it can happen at the airport, mall, school locker room or anywhere else. There's a recent report about a TSA airport screener who was caught stuffing stolen jewelry, cell phones and other small electronics into his pants, while clueless passengers failed to notice anything missing. This should give all air travelers a wake-up call about how to prevent it.

The guy was reported to have made more than $50,000 on Ebay selling the stuff within just six months. That means a lot of travelers helped him succeed by not taking simple precautions and keeping their eyes open.  

For experienced business flyers, these hints should already be automatic in protecting possessions. For the infrequent vacationer, it’s worth reviewing before you hit that next airport security line.

Eyeball your valuables: Keep all electronics gear on your person or within your sight when it enters the x-ray line and where it exits.

Zip it up: If you’re required to put electronics gear, jewelry and other valuables on the conveyor belt, zip them into large briefcases or coat pockets. The items most frequently stolen are in open sight of the screener and other passengers, and easy to snatch and stash quickly.

Make it buddy security: If two of you put gear to go through the conveyor belt, hold back one set for a moment. Then, one goes ahead and closely watches from the end of the belt.  

Report anything missing: After the screening, check all of your gear closely for signs of theft. If anything is missing, demand to see a supervisor immediately.

Don't check luggage: Travelers don’t only lose things when going through security. Since airline travel began, checking luggage has always been a gamble. Once your checked luggage is out of your sight, anyone can go through it until you claim it at your destination.Whenever possible,  travel with a wheeled carry-on, plus when necessary, an over-the-shoulder bag or knapsack.

Orlando FL: Hot air balloon rides PDF Print E-mail

Not counting the current political debates, where is the biggest hot air experience in the world? It’s a ride in Orlando, Florida by Aerostat Adventures. It’s a hundred feet high, 90 feet wide balloon and its passenger gondola below holds up to 24 people.

For a four-hour experience and great photo ops across the Central Florida landscape, including champagne brunch, the cost is from $145 per person. For more information, go to www.orlandohotairballoons.com

Arizona: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument PDF Print E-mail

This scene of soaring cacti is at the lower tip of Arizona near the town of Why, on the border with Sonora, Mexico. This is the only place in the U.S. that the magnificent 30-foot-high cacti grows.


Frequent flyer tips: How to deal with jet lag PDF Print E-mail

Jet lag is one of the most bothersome problems for frequent flyers. Many regularly fly three hours coast to coast, six hours to Europe or 10 hours to Asia and Australia.

As soon as the flight lands, they may be required to show up fresh and rested at meetings and conference events. Recently we talked with several globe hoppers, and asked them to reveal their secrets of handling the tough schedules. These are some of their suggestions.

1. Try to keep your sleep-wake times as close to your at-home routine. Of course, if you can fly first class, schedule your flight as a red eye. If not, and you can get comfortable in your aircraft seat over a four- or eight-hour flight, make yourself at home.

Take along loose clothing, slippers and night shades. Get as much sleep as you can, and in the morning, dress up in the plane’s bathroom or airport restroom. Then, bright and fresh, go to that important assignment.  

2. The disruption of your regular schedule of sleep can affect your body. Eat spare meals, go very light on alcohol and drink plenty of water. If it’s a red eye flight, stay away from coffee and other stimulants. Aircraft cabin air conditioning is very dry, so in addition to drinking lots of water, at least once an hour, splash your face and hands with some of it and/or a light skin wash.

3. Don’t just sit there for four to eight hours, all stiff and cramped. Get up from your seat at least once an hour and do some stretching exercise. In some aircraft there’s an aft space near the exit door. Use it for some in-place jogging and other light workouts.

In the airport awaiting your flight, walk around briskly for about ten minutes per hour.  Exercise helps in digestion and blood flow, and makes your body ready for the challenges of the day.

4. If you can't get long hours of continuous sleep in flight, take as many quick cat naps as you can throughout your travels. Use terminal benches, taxi seats or anywhere else you can curl up safely for 10 to 15 minutes.

Whatever your flight schedule, treat your body with respect, and it will reward you with alertness and energy to face a new day thousands of miles away.

Mexico travel: Is it safe for U.S. tourists? PDF Print E-mail

A week after the State Department issued a warning about potential dangers in many Mexican states, a Mexican official has angrily denied it.

Mexican Interior Department Alejandro Poire says millions of tourists from the U.S. and other countries visit Mexico every year, and enjoy safe and pleasant times.

However, whether you travel in Mexico, New York, Tokyo, Rio or Detroit, you can assure your safety by following simple rules:

1. Blend in with the locals, by not flashing touristy clothing and hats. They attract aggressive vendors, pickpockets and street thieves.

2. Don’t venture alone in a strange city, especially at night. Take at least one other person along and stay in brightly-lit, heavily-traveled streets.

3. When you venture out of your hotel, take only the amount of cash you expect to need that day. Use the hotel safe for most of your money and valuable jewelry.

4. Keep your wallet in a zipped or buttoned pocket. Purses should be on strong straps and held close, preferably tucked tightly between your arm and body.

5. Carry a fully-charged cell or smart phone with you at all times. Before you venture out, you should have set up instant, one-key access to local police, hospitals and the closest American embassy or consulate.


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